College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

Vanguard - Spring 2017

Butte Hall at California State University Chico

Dean's Message

Thank you for taking the time to read the inaugural issue of our new Vanguard newsletter. This issue marks our transition from the format and scope of our first 12 volumes of Vanguard to one that is more nimble and easier to make available. The College began publishing Vanguard in 2010, offering stories about our amazing students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The articles that appeared in those issues of Vanguard were able to highlight only a few of the people, projects, accomplishments, and activities occurring in the College. So much more was happening! The transition to this new electronic newsletter format will allow the College to publish several newsletters each year, and in doing so, cover more of what we are doing and in a timely fashion. Thank you for keeping up with what’s happening in the College, and thank you for your partnership in helping the College remain the vanguard of excellence.

The 7th Annual College of BSS Scholarship Ceremony on December 6, 2016

Seventh Annual College of BSS Scholarship Ceremony

The College hosted our annual scholarship ceremony on December 6, 2016, to honor both donors and scholarship recipients. This event allows the students to be recognized for their impressive achievements and the donors of the scholarships to see firsthand the difference their generosity makes in the lives of our deserving students. Scholarship recipients, donors, family, friends, faculty, and community members were present at the ceremony.

Who are these recipients? Many of these students come from backgrounds of less than desirable circumstance. The adversity they overcome to even step foot on a college campus, let alone thrive, is not only a rarity, but a feat in and of itself. Some have overcome personal tragedies one could not even fathom, including a lifetime of ostracism from family and friends for their lifestyle “choices,” addiction and recovery, living at or near the poverty level, the loss of parents at a young age, homelessness, and escaping abusive relationships. Others are first-generation students with the most proud and grateful familial support system one could imagine. And some are students with no one giving them an encouraging pep talk or pat on the back, yet who persevere because deep down they believe in their own worth, and the receipt of one of these scholarships simply solidifies that internal belief. Some are reentry students, single parents, and individuals who have truly “beaten the odds”. In short, our students are both inspiring and extraordinary. And at this event, it was the honor of our College to recognize each of them.

The 15th annual Capital Alumni Luncheon on Feb. 23, 2017

Annual Capital Alumni Luncheon

The 15th annual Capital Alumni Luncheon took place on February 23, 2017. President Gayle E. Hutchinson hosted the event, and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences had the opportunity to honor recipients of the Charles M. Price Sacramento Internship Award. This year was a record year with five recipients: John Patrick Hanna, Amber Moran, Marina Servantez, Ashira Solomon, and Logan Wolverton. The College of BSS congratulated the recipients and paid special tribute and thanks to Sacramento State Professor Michael Wadle, who directs the Sacramento Semester Internship Program and is retiring this semester. Many of our alumni guests went through this program and got to see Professor Chuck Price, who started Chico State’s Sacramento internship program many years ago.

The luncheon offers alums from a variety of majors and graduation years the opportunity to gather and network, while being updated on all the great things happening at Chico State. In this working lunch environment, Political Science Professor Diana Dwyre presented on the topic “Does the Source of Money Matter? The Contours of Campaign Finance in the US”

As always, the event was well attended and enjoyed, and gave Chico State alums the chance to reconnect and stay connected with the University. We look forward to next year’s luncheon!

A Glimpse Inside BSS Faculty and Students at Their Best

Sara E. Cooper

BSS is pleased to announce that Sara E. Cooper has accepted the position of director of Multicultural and Gender Studies (MCGS) after an internal search. She starts her role as MCGS director this spring. Cooper received her doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a professor of Spanish. She has taught for MCGS since 2001 and created the University’s first LGBTQ course (MCGS 310), which is now part of the General Education (GE) curriculum with US diversity status and is also offered online. It includes a special curriculum for the online RN-to-BSN cohort. She also reestablished GE and US diversity status for the Chicano literature course. When the GE system was redesigned, Cooper converted this class into the new upper division Chicana/o arts and ideas for the Diversity Studies Pathway.

Here at Chico State, Cooper co-led the establishment of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Pathway, serving as coordinator and a member of the Curricular Advisory Board for two years. Cooper chaired the committee organizing the 2006 CSU-Queer Studies Annual Consortium Meeting (attended by 60 faculty and staff from 16 CSU campuses), has been an advisor for the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center since 2000, and was a member of the Education and Scholarship Diversity Task Force in 2011–12. She served as the director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching from January 2013 to July 2014 and currently is in her third stint as Spanish program coordinator. As of January, Cooper is a member of the University Diversity Council.

Please join us in welcoming and congratulating Dr. Sara Cooper.

Ellie Ertle's recognition

In the Spotlight

Civic engagement is one of Ellie Ertle’s passions, and it’s one she passes along to her political science students in fun and engaging ways. Ertle has lectured in CSU, Chico’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice since 1999, and employs a “semi-flipped” teaching approach, using project-based learning and communities of practice in class to engage students in social learning experiences. These projects regularly bear wonderful fruit, as students take full advantage of their opportunities to shine. Illustrating her dedication to providing platforms for student civic engagement, Ertle was the University’s director of civic engagement from 2013–2016. Since 2009, she has been the faculty coordinator for Town Hall Meeting program, which gives students the chance to actively participate in civic and democratic conversations about real world policy issues. Ertle incorporates a strong civic and public component in all of her classes; because she feels civic engagement is critical for the development of lifelong learners and democratically engaged students. Additionally, Ertle helped develop the Political Science U-Course, a team-taught and project-based course. Ertle holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in political science from CSU, Chico, and is currently working on a PhD in educational leadership at the University of California, Davis.

Jessica Candela

Introducing the 2017 College of BSS Outstanding Student Leader

Congratulations to Jessica Candela (Political Science, and Criminal Justice and Multicultural and Gender Studies) on being named BSS Outstanding Student of the Year!

Candela’s record in service, leadership, and academics makes her deserving of this honor. What first stands out about Jessica is that she is a classic high achiever, maintaining a 3.9 GPA even while pursuing an exceptionally rich and ambitious extra-curricular experience. She studied abroad in Torino, Italy, where she matured as an individual and developed a broader perspective of the world. For an entire semester, she was a legislative intern for Congressman Mike Honda in Washington, DC, through The Panetta Institute for Public Policy. Well aware of the learning opportunities offered through service, over her time at Chico State she has volunteered for the Stonewall Alliance Center Chico as well as serving as an intern with Safe Place, the Chico Teen Center, The Esplanade House, University Studies Abroad Consortium, and the First-Year Experience U-Course.

Make a Gift to BSS

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Your support to the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences can make a BIG difference in the lives of our students. Our College offers the following:

  • Unique programs that produce work-ready graduates, such as our nationally recognized Forensics Human ID Laboratory
  • Highly engaged, student-centered faculty and staff, who are too numerous to name
  • Hands-on, applied learning environments, such as the Community Legal Information Center and our Museum of Anthropology
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth, including student organizations and major-specific honors programs

Student is presenting tri-fold poster.

Your gift to the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences enables us to stretch our programs beyond the ordinary and into the innovative. You can give students access to real-world challenges and experiences that give them marketable skills upon graduation, and to sustain a top-notch faculty who are gifted educators devoted to teaching, mentoring, research, and community engagement.

Perhaps you are already a supporter? (A+ for that!) Thank you so much. Every gift is so appreciated and needed. If you would like to learn how you can take your giving to the next level as a Tower Society leader and transform more lives, I would love to hear from you! Please give me a call at 530-898-3641 or check out our Tower Society website at

The Tower Society is a unique Chico State program that is building a culture of philanthropy by engaging our alumni, faculty, parents, friends, and even current students. Your gifts can be designated to the College, to a particular department or program, or to help students directly through scholarships. Remember, Today Decides Tomorrow!

Many thanks for your support,

Lise Smith-Peters
Development Director