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


Faculty Honored for Professional Achievement and Outstanding Project Direction

The Research Foundation and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) held their 13th annual STARS luncheon Feb. 11 to honor faculty for outstanding performance. Vice Provost for Research Katie Milo and Research Foundation Executive Director Richard Jackson hosted the event and handed out the awards for Professional Achievement Honors and Outstanding Project Directors.

“The Professional Achievement Honor recognizes faculty, who, through their scholarship and teaching, provide unique and exciting learning opportunities for students,” said Jackson. “Their disciplines are different, yet the outcome of their good work is similar: hands-on learning opportunities for students that allow them to build important skill sets to use throughout their lives while they contribute to the world around them.”  

“The outstanding project directors are selected by the staff of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. ORSP looks for project directors who communicate well with RESP staff and do their very best to hit those old deadlines as they meet the goals of their research projects,” said Milo. “To a degree, these professionals run small businesses as they direct their projects: dealing with purchasing, payroll, contingencies—all essential functions that make their work more complicated.  In spite of the minutia, they accomplish great things as they step out of the traditional classroom to inspire and involve Chico State students.”


Cynthia DaleyCynthia Daley, College of Agriculture, was recognized for exemplifying the “teacher-scholar” model, making her research a presence in her classroom. She engages students in every stage, from planning to data collection, analysis and presentations. This research connects students to industry, leading to internships and eventual employment.

Daley’s boundless energy, especially in establishing the College of Agriculture’s organic dairy, one of only two located in a university setting in the United States was highlighted at the luncheon.  So was her relationship with students. One student wrote in a class evaluation: “Being away from my mom this year leaves me with a void that you fill be being a smart, intelligent, and great person. Thank you for all your help this year, and even though I didn’t have a class with you this semester, I just like bumping into you.”

Cynthia Daley

Jonathan Day, Department of Biological Sciences, has received funding from the National Institute of Health and recently received a National Science Foundation grant that allows him to continue the work he has been doing for several years with graduate and undergraduate students.  He works shoulder to shoulder with his students as they learn modern techniques. These students learn to present their findings orally, in writing and via poster sessions. 

One student project involves pharmacological intervention for age-related neuron-degeneration like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. His team has successfully tested the use of a compound already approved for human use on a cell culture model of the disease.

These projects provide excellent training for undergraduate students who wish to pursue a research career. Day says his most satisfying outcome is to see his students enter a PhD graduate program at a major university.

Cynthia Daley

Andrew Dick, Department of Sociology, specializes in juvenile delinquency, criminology, adolescence, social problems, and social deviance.  His research agenda offers students learning opportunities ranging from racism and Confederate flags to student volunteerism to ego identity status. Most recently, Dick and his students conducted a community-wide survey assessing how the citizens of Gridley view youth and youth programs in their town. The results of this study have been presented to local community organizations and leaders, and a monograph summarizing their efforts and results will be made available to all citizens of Gridley via the Internet.  

In another student-centered project, Dr. Dick conducted the first systematic evaluation of CAVE, Chico State’s service-learning and student volunteerism organization.

Cynthia Daley

Rebecca Lytle, Department of Kinesiology, is internationally known for her program of adapted physical education with special emphasis on autism-spectrum disorder. She collaborates with local agencies and faculty across the university to serve hundreds of children and adults each semester. As the coordinator of the Adapted Physical Education Program, Dr. Lytle mentors and advises credential candidates, undergraduate, and graduate students. Through her mentoring, University students, as well as those served by them, learn to see ability rather than disability, said the award presentation team.

Lytle is on sabbatical this semester, and her award was accepted by her colleague Duane Knudson on her behalf.

Cynthia Daley

Stewart Oakley, Department of Civil Engineering, is our next recipient. Oakley looked beyond our campus and community when he established a chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a group offering real-life experiences to students. Oakley is an expert in wastewater treatment and collaborated with students to provide the town of Tela, Honduras, with a formal remediation and renovation plan to improve the municipality’s wastewater treatment system. He challenged his students to develop new skills that would solve the community’s problem, and their work improved the health and future of Tela. Oakley was recognized as a “true teacher-scholar,” and has published five journal articles on wastewater stabilization and nitrogen removal and presented at 15 conferences and workshops.


Cynthia Daley

Joe Greene began teaching in the Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering, and Manufacturing Technology Department in 1998 after a 14-year career with General Motors in Michigan. His research interests include compostable and biodegradable polymers, recycled plastics, composting technology, anaerobic digestion, and biodiesel technology.

Greene has received 13 external research grants and awards, which total $1.57 million, during his 10 years of teaching.  He spent the last three years researching the use of biodegradable plastics for the California Integrated Waste Management Board. He has published his biodegradable plastics research work at five international conferences since 2006. He and Dean Ken Derucher secured $1 million federal grants to purchase new plastics molding machines for the CSU, Chico plastics laboratory. Currently, Greene is researching ways to convert the organic sugars in beer and rice waste to biodegradable plastic and is actively pursuing research with biodiesel.

Derucher accepted the award on Greene’s behalf.

Cynthia Daley

Joe Cobery is a CSU, Chico alum and the executive director of PASSAGES Adult Resources Center, which administers social service programs for older adults, caregivers, and adults with disabilities. The strength of PASSAGES’ programs in the North State lies in the dedicated staff and volunteers who provide excellence in care, said the award presenters.

PASSAGES is the designated Area Agency on Aging serving Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Plumas, and Tehama counties. In addition, PASSAGES is also a designated Caregiver Resource Center providing additional services to Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Trinity counties.  More than 100 Chico State interns assist with the various programs, obtaining hands-on learning opportunities. Care management, Medicare counseling, and support to caregivers are just a few of the essential programs offered through Passages under Cobery’s direction.

Cynthia Daley

Lori Holcomb, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has led the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program for several years and during that time has met with success in every way imaginable, said the award presenters. For example, through a summer calculus boot camp, Latino, African American, and American Indian incoming freshmen learn problem-solving skills while building a sense of community. They get to know the campus and are motivated to succeed in their majors and in their lives. 

While the primary goal of the program is to increase the number of minority students earning degrees in science, math, engineering, and technology, participating students give back to Chico State as they grow and succeed. An example is found in workshops where the students serve as facilitators, helping other students succeed in math and science classes. These same workshop facilitators use this experience to help them qualify for graduate school programs where they will advance even further.