College of Natural Sciences

Distinguished Emeriti

2016–2017: David Kagan

Department of Physics

David graduated from CSU Hayward (now East Bay) with a BS in Physics in 1977. He earned a Ph.D. in Atomic Physics at UC Berkeley in 1981. He started as physics faculty at CSU Chico in the same year.

David served as the Chair of the Department of Physics from 1998-2003, the founding Chair of the Department of Science Education from 2009-2012, and the Assistant Dean of the College of Natural Sciences from 2011-2012. As the Faculty Advisor of the Society of Physics Students for over twenty-five years, his students earned national recognition twenty times as an Outstanding Chapter. David's service with SPS was also honored on campus with the Myles Tracy Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award twice, as well as the SPS National Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award. David also played the key role in establishing a degree program specifically designed to train high school physics teachers. It was one of the first in the country.

For many years, David has been a tireless force and passionate advocate in the College for supporting secondary science teacher candidates. He has been the Science Advisor for our Math/Science Teacher Initiative program for years, and the PI on a recent Noyce Scholarship program. The Center for Math & Science Education (CMSE) has been greatly benefitted from David's energy and passion for supporting both in-service science teachers and our university pre-service students. He has served in the unofficial role of Science Coordinator for CMSE since 2010, offering problem solving skills, brainstorming guidance, and generally an overall willingness to support all program and recruitment efforts. He has continued to work closely with physics students, spend a great deal of time advising secondary science students, supporting program efforts and recruiting at university events.

David has been a model of scholarly teachers not only in the Department of physics but at a national level as well. He has been implementing physics education research-based practice in his own classroom, and he was a regular contributor to The Physics Teacher having published over thirty papers in the journal. He also served on the Editorial Board of TPT and in leadership of the local section of American Association of Physics Teachers for many years.

Throughout his career he remained true to his lifelong obsession with baseball by using it to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. He has presented many talks about physics of baseball to our students and at national physics conferences, in addition to publishing popular papers at the Hardball Times every month. Dave has earned his reputation as "Dr. Baseball" at a national level.

Upon his retirement in 2014, he still actively serves to our students and contributes to the Department as a FERPed faculty. In addition to his continuous efforts in improving student learning in his Quantum classes, Dave is a key supporter to our newly established Physics Summer Research Institute, which sponsors students to do research with physics faculty for ten weeks over each summer break. David also plays an important role for the Physics Department in mentoring junior faculty and new Department chair, drafting a self-study report for the recent five-year physics program review, and writing a mandatory report for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. On the top of all of these, he still enjoys to present seminar talks about physics in baseball to our students and be the umpire at College Baseball games by student clubs!