A Publication for the faculty, staff, administrators and friends of California State University, Chico
Feb. 10, 2005 Volume 35 / Number 5

Page One Stories

Outstanding Award Recipients for 2004–2005 Named

Scholar on Contemporary Religion in America Is the Outstanding Professor

Professor Sarah Pike, above, Department of Religious Studies, has been selected as California State University, Chico’s Outstanding Professor for 2004–2005.

Outstanding Professor is the highest honor awarded to faculty at CSU, Chico. The Faculty Recognition and Support Committee recommends the recipient from a pool of high-achieving faculty nominated by colleagues.

Professor Pike received this award for her publications, which include two books, her national reputation in the field of religion in America, women and religion, and new religious movements, as well as for her exemplary teaching and service to the University.

Pike received a PhD from Indiana University in 1998. She came to CSU, Chico in 1996, while completing her dissertation. Since then she has taught 14 different courses, in-cluding Religion and America’s Ethnic Minorities; Religion and American Society; Violence in American Reli-gious History; Religion, Nature, and Environmentalism in America; and Gender, Family, and God.

Joel Zimbelman, chair of the Department of Religious Studies, said of Pike’s teaching, “Students let us know of their appreciation each semester by the enrollments that we see in her courses. Eight challenging years of course development and hard work have paid off handsomely, and our department majors and general education students are the direct beneficiaries of Sarah’s commitment.”

Pike’s most recent book, released in summer 2004, is New Age and Neopagan Religions in America (Columbia University Press). In 2001, she published Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community (University of California Press). The books, according to Zimbelman, “have established her as the leading scholar in these areas of contemporary religion in America.”

Pike was elected in 2002 to chair the Religious Movements Group of the American Academy of Religion. This is a national organization of 10,000 scholars in religion, and it provides the most important and respected venue for the ongoing study of religion in American society.

“Sarah Pike is a splendid colleague—tireless in her work, accessible to students and colleagues, demanding and passionate about her work, and committed to making CSU, Chico a better place academically, intellectually, and in its support for and nurturing of students,” said Zimbelman. “She is truly an outstanding professor.”

‘Versatility and Commitment’ Describe Outstanding Service Award Recipient

Jim Postma, Department of Chemistry, has been selected for the 2004–2005 Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Postma is an alum of CSU, Chico, graduating in 1974 with a BS in chemistry. He received his PhD in chemistry from UC Davis in 1982 and returned to CSU, Chico that same year.

Postma is praised by his colleagues for going above and beyond the ordinary demands of his faculty job description to serve students, the campus, and the community.

The College of Natural Sciences and the Department of Chemistry have also benefited from Postma’s talent and leadership. Postma served as chair of the chemistry department for two terms. Randy Miller, a colleague in the department, said, “I appreciate the leadership and spirit of cooperation he fostered. He provided a vision for the department as we worked through some difficult budgetary constraints.”

He has been representative to the California Science Project and chair of the Chemistry Department Advisory Board.

Postma has served multiple terms on the Academic Senate, chairing it for two terms. He has also served as secretary, been on the General Policies Committee, the Educational Policies Committee, of which he was secretary and chair, and the Faculty and Student Policies Committee.

Postma had a leadership role in the President’s Task Force on the Future of CSU, Chico in 1994. “Jim was always urging and willing to help in the process, to transform ideas into concrete proposals that could be assessed and stand or fall on their merit,” said Kaiser, with whom he served on that task force.

Outstanding Advisor Blends Advising and Teaching

Peter Kittle, Department of English, has been selected as the 2004–2005 Outstanding Advisor.

Kittle received his BS in English education, his MA in English, and his PhD in English, all from the Univer-sity of Oregon. He came to Chico in 1998 and has taught Reading Litera-ture, Literature of the Child, Advanced Composition, and Literature, Language and Composition: A Synthesis. He is codirector of the Northern California Writing Project.

Kittle advises more than 100 English education students and incoming credential students. Four years ago, as the new English education advisor, he established a Web site used by subject-matter competency and precredential candidates.

In addition to advising future students on how to obtain competency in English, Kittle helps evaluate their prior course work at other schools in terms of how it meets the requirements of the CSU, Chico Program in English Education.

Kittle works with other single-subject advisors on campus and keeps abreast of developments in teacher education. He regularly attends CSU English Council meetings. He served on the panel that created the new state standards for approved subject-matter programs in English and is in close contact with developments at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Dale Steiner, advisor to future teachers in the Department of History, works closely with Kittle. “I appreciate and respect the activist approach Peter takes toward advising: he recognizes that much more is needed than simply helping students sort out their schedules and progress more or less smoothly toward graduation,” said Steiner.

Kittle’s efforts for students, according to students who wrote letters of support for him, include providing encouragement, assuaging fears, meeting outside of prescribed times, and helping with difficult decisions. He has inspired these students with his own love of teaching.

Thia Wolf, Department of English, who once occupied the advising position Kittle now holds, said, “Peter is an advisor who goes well beyond the usual limits in his advising practices. His support of both students and the colleagues who teach these students is, in a word, superb.”

Kathleen McPartland



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