CSU, Chico News

Six Selected for 2014-’15 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Date: 12-17-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s Faculty Recognition and Support Committee has announced its selections for the 2014-2015 Outstanding Faculty Awards.

The awards, which include Outstanding Professor, Teacher, Research Mentor, Adviser, Lecturer and Faculty Service, are among the highest within the University. Faculty members are nominated by their peers and selected by a faculty committee.

President Paul Zingg announced the awards to campus this week.

Outstanding Professor

Professor John Eckalbar has been selected for the Outstanding Professor Award. A member of the Department of Economics since 1978, Eckalbar teaches some of the department’s most challenging courses, including econometrics and economic forecasting, and mentors tenure-track economics faculty. He is also responsible for developing and managing the department’s honors program, which features annual student presentations.

During his tenure, he has published 23 journal articles and has served as a referee-reviewer for 16 nationally and internationally known journals. Although he is participating in the Faculty Early Retirement Program, he continues to conduct research, including a recent paper on the economics of childhood vaccines he co-wrote with his son, pharmaceuticals researcher Walter Eckalbar.

Eckalbar holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Colorado and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in economics and finance, respectively, from Louisiana State University.

Outstanding Teacher

Professor Zachary Justus has been selected for the Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition to teaching courses in speech communication and conducting research, Justus coordinates the semiannual Chico Great Debate, an event drawing more than 2,000 students to the city center for a day of dialogue about a key social or political issue.

Justus’ reach as an excellent teacher extends beyond the classroom; he runs an orientation program for graduate teaching associates and offers mentoring and professional development workshops for the associates. He is also a leader in the area of technology: Shortly after joining the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences in 2009, he worked with the University’s Technology and Learning Program to convert the lecture portion of a large public-speaking course from prerecorded to live stream, among other efforts.

Justus holds a doctorate in communication from Arizona State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in human communication and speech communication, respectively, from CSU, Chico.

Outstanding Research Mentor

Professor Anita Chaudhry was selected for the Outstanding Research Mentor Award. Since joining the Department of Economics in 2007, she has supported dozens of students in pursuit of their academic and career goals. In addition to maintaining a full teaching, service and research schedule, she supervises internships, mentors independent student research, involves students in her own research and writes letters of recommendation. Currently, she is co-mentoring student interns who are working for the Economics of the Sacramento River Conservation program, supported by a $300,000 grant Chaudhry and economics professor Pete Tsournos were awarded this year.

She holds a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Wyoming; master’s degrees in economics and in agriculture and resource economics from USC and the University of Connecticut, respectively; and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. Chaudhry serves as the economist for the Geographic Information Center at CSU, Chico.

Outstanding Adviser

Professor Kate Transchel has been selected for the Outstanding Adviser Award. Since joining the Department of History in 1996, she has served as a club adviser, academic adviser and career mentor to students in myriad capacities. She served as adviser to the former History Club and to Kappa Alpha Psi, one of two campus fraternities for African-Americans. Since 2002, she has served as adviser to the European Studies minor, helping students study in Europe and participate in Russian language programs, and has mentored dozens of graduate students into prominent master’s and doctoral programs.

Perhaps her most notable advisory role is to the student club S.T.O.P. (Stop Trafficking of Persons), which organizes the Human Trafficking Awareness Week on campus each spring. Recently, Transchel helped create the Stop Trafficking Foundation, a community-based organization aimed at working with the S.T.O.P. to spread awareness about trafficking.

Transchel holds doctorate and master’s degrees in Soviet history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Outstanding Lecturer

Lecturer Timothy Sistrunk has been selected for the Outstanding Lecturer Award. Since joining the Department of History in 1995, he has taught a wide array of history classes spanning from antiquity to the present. In addition to his reputation as an outstanding classroom lecturer, he is considered a program builder; he helps develop new curriculum and does the “legwork” to ensure these classes become part of the University’s general education curriculum.

A longtime member of the campus’ Academic Senate, Sistrunk serves as chair of the Faculty and Student Policies Committee and is a member of the Senate Executive Committee. Perhaps his greatest contributions have been in the realm of sustainability education; among other activities, he recently helped convene a faculty working group to develop curriculum for a new interdisciplinary program in experiential education in nature.

Sistrunk holds a doctorate and master’s degree in history from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history from Kansas State University.

Outstanding Faculty Service

Professor Tracy Butts has been selected for the Outstanding Faculty Service Award. A member of the Department of English since 2001, Butts’ commitment to diversity and her support for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are difficult to match. In addition to teaching a full course load, in 2014 she also agreed to serve as the interim associate dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Over the years, she has played a critical role in working with and mentoring students, serving as faculty advisor for the multicultural sorority Lambda Sigma Gamma and mentor for the Educational Opportunity Program’s Summer Bridge program. In her time on campus, she has also served as director of the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies and as CSU, Chico’s chief diversity officer, among many other service activities.

Butts holds a doctorate degree in English from the University of Georgia and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English and liberal arts and sciences, respectively, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).