A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
February 15, 2007 Volume 37 / Number 5

Professional Achievement Honors 2007

Professional Achievement Honors
Robert Davidson-English (Not picture; presently in London for the London Semester)
Janja Lalich-Sociology
Renee Renner-Computer Science
Neil Schwartz-Psychology
Gordon Wolfe, Biological Sciences

The Faculty Recognition and Support Committee has selected the following faculty for 2007 Professional Achievement Honors. The Professional Achievement Honor recognizes faculty who, through their scholarship and teaching, provide unique and exciting learning opportunities for students.

Rob Davidson, English, has served as a mentor of graduate teaching assistants, advisor to the Honor’s Program, and sponsor of the Sigma Tau Delta honors society. Under his tutelage, several students have been published in national journals and been admitted to PhD programs. In 2005, Dr. Davidson published his first scholarly book, The Master and the Dean: The Literary Criticism of Henry James and William Dean Howells. He also remains active as a fiction writer, encouraged by the time he spent during summer 2005 as artist-in-residence at the Byrdcliffe Artists Colony in Woodstock, New York.

Janja Lalich, Sociology, is an international leader in the exploration of cults and extremist ideologies. Dr. Lalich has involved Chico State students in many phases of her scholarly activity. They have worked as editorial and research assistants during the writing of two of her recent books, assisted with data collection and evaluation for a research project, and provided energy to fuel a service-learning project focusing on the Missing Women of Juarez. She oversees many independent studies for students interested in doing additional research related to the classes they took from Dr. Lalich.

Renee Renner, Computer Science, has employed a variety of methods to involve students in learning opportunities. A three-year National Science Foundation project that Dr. Renner co-directs with two Chico State colleagues provides support for up to seven undergraduate and graduate research assistants each semester. These students work in robotics research, assist with seminars, and are involved with outreach activities for K–12 students. Dr. Renner frequently presents her work at national and international conferences and was a guest scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Gordon Wolfe, Biological Sciences, has guided many students through their graduate work and to the publication of their research. He is an accomplished National Science Foundation project director, currently overseeing two projects with a total budget of nearly $300,000. Through his research projects, Dr. Wolfe has provided support to graduate and undergraduate students who have worked in his lab and traveled to academic conferences. In the last three years, Dr. Wolfe presented his research at six national conferences and published four juried publications.

Neil H. Schwartz, Psychology, focuses his research on learning, cognition, and instruction in technology-rich environments. To prompt the development of scholarship among students, he has developed a mentoring program for his students in the Psychological Sciences Program. Three students are selected each year for a two-year apprenticeship in which they are paired with a group of more senior students. He also includes three to six undergraduates in his research group. During the last three years, Dr. Schwartz and his students have presented 16 papers at national and international conferences.