A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
March 27, 2008 Volume 38 / Number 5


Outstanding Service and Advisor Awards 2007–2008

Service is Second Nature to James O’Bannon

James O'Bannon

James O’Bannon, Construction Management, has been selected for the Outstanding Faculty Service Award. O’Bannon was selected for his leadership, his excellence as a professor, and his outstanding record of philanthropy to his profession and within the community.

In January 2007, O’Bannon traveled with a delegation of students, faculty, and staff from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management to New Orleans to assist citizens in rebuilding their homes. Professor O’Bannon’s contribution to the success of that trip was described by the dean of the college, Ken Derucher: “Dr. O’Bannon took 55 students, most of whom knew little of the construction trades, and taught them most aspects of construction related to rehabilitation of housing. The students learned and applied their newly found skills working on 18 houses in one week and moving in six families. With Professor O’Bannon’s mentoring, this was a genuine service-learning experience, one that will forever remain in the hearts of students.”

Attorney Leo Battle, who accompanied the ECC group to New Orleans, said that, in addition to the instruction in building skills, O’Bannon contributed numerous hand tools, battery-powered drills, drywall screwdrivers, and saws that were necessary for the project. “While in New Orleans, Jim, out of his own pocket, expended several hundred dollars to purchase additional building materials. Without his guidance, I know the accomplishments made during that week in New Orleans would have been far less.”

In his letter of recommendation, Glen Toney, a member of the University Advisory Board, described some of O’Bannon’s other charitable projects, including rebuilding and repairing computers for a middle school in Oakland and developing a plan, with Professor Tracy Butts, English, and Charles Carter, Student Affairs, to help motivate and recognize African American students. The group has designed a program to publicly acknowledge the discipline, hard work, and achievements of all African American students that make the dean’s list each semester.

Before coming to CSU, Chico in 1978, O’Bannon was assistant project manager for Jon F. Otto Inc. in Sacramento. During his time in Chico, in addition to acting as an advisor for the Rebuild New Orleans project, he was a founder and board member of the Boys and Girls Club, a board member and project supervisor for Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee, and a founder and co-sponsor of Dream Keepers.

A former student of O’Bannon’s, Coleman W. Jones, who is now a project engineer with Rudoph & Sletten Inc., said in his letter of recommendation, “Dr. O’Bannon has united people in such a way that the bonds created can never be broken or forgotten. He has shown leadership, accountability, and dedication in ways that many people only imagine. … I am extremely thankful to have met and been influenced by a person so hard working and willing to help others.”

Recreation and Parks Management Professor Receives Outstanding Advisor Award

Roger Guthrie

Roger Guthrie, Recreation and Parks Management, received the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award for 2007–2008. Guthrie was chosen for his commitment to advising students, his devotion to student success, and his contributions to developing a department-wide advising system.

Guthrie has been at CSU, Chico since 1989. He received his master’s in recreation administration from the University in 1972 and his doctorate in leisure studies from the University of Illinois in 1982. Before coming to Chico, he was a division director and assistant professor in recreational administration at Southwest Texas State University.

Guthrie coordinates two different options within Recreation and Parks Management: Community and Commercial Recreation, and Special Events and Tourism. He is an advisor to more than 100 students each year. Additionally, he assists students in finding internship placements to fulfill their academic requirements.

In letters of support for the award, students mentioned Guthrie’s commitment and enthusiasm for their success. “While Roger was always a teacher, he was also a mentor, an expert, a student, a friend, a coach, a role-model, a supporter, a fan … and an inspiration,” said Caitlin Dutro, who graduated from Recreation and Parks Management in 2007. “Roger encouraged each of us to be self-sufficient, free-thinking, intelligent, and free-spirited in both our schoolwork and our lives outside of school.”

“Roger’s commitment to good advising extends beyond his own advising sessions,” said Laura McLachlin, a colleague in Recreation and Parks Management. “Roger developed a system for advising students that has become the standard for all departmental advisors. … He created electronic advising forms for each pattern within each option for recreation majors. These forms are now used as advising tools as well as major clearance forms in nearly all student advising sessions.”

McLachlin also praised Guthrie’s professional networking. “He maintains connections with former students and professionals through conferences, phone calls, and e-mail correspondence. He shares the current state of the industry, including issues, trends, and competencies, with students. This guidance allows students to enter the field with state-of-the-art skills and sets our students apart from other recreation departments.”

Lisa Jorgensen, assistant professor, CSU, Sacramento, credits Guthrie’s interest in her academic development with her career direction and success. “As a new professor, my hope is I will be able to follow in Dr. Guthrie’s footsteps by moving well beyond the procedures of advising to the relationship of advising. His work with students such as me demonstrates his ability to proficiently provide students with clear and focused direction with course scheduling and career planning, while creating a relationship that is truly student centered.”

“Being selected as the University Outstanding Academic Advisor means my mentors, both alive and dead, are still making a difference,” said Guthrie. “My professional persona has developed through the influence of my parents, my major professors, and my colleagues. I teach, I advise, I do research, and I do service. These are the key parts of my career. The tools I use to perform these key functions are a direct reflection of the influence of my mentors. It is my good fortune to have received the very human touch of their tutorage.”

Kathleen McPartland, Public Affairs and Publications