Academic Senate

2018-19 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Outstanding Faculty Service: Jeffrey Livingston
Jeff Livingston

Now in his 30th year at California State University, Chico, Dr. Jeffery Livingston is a Professor in the Department of History where he teaches courses in modern American History. His department and college service includes serving on thirty-four graduate committees, ten of which he chaired, chairing or sitting on the department curriculum and personnel committees for more than a decade each, sitting on or chairing ten college committees, and chairing numerous search committees. Livingston serves as the advisor to approximately one hundred students in the History/Social Science Pre-Credential Option. He is Vice Chair of the campus Academic Senate and has served on a number of campus-wide committees (31 total), including the Enrollment Management Advisory Committee, the Campus Fee Advisory Committee, the Academic Affairs ABC Budget Task Force, and the President’s Post-Camp Fire Touch Base working group.

A first-generation college student himself, Livingston is committed to working with students who likely lack the advantages enjoyed by some of our more affluent students. He worked fourteen years with the Summer Orientation Program (2004-2018), more recently served as a faculty mentor to REACH (Raising Educational Achievement in Collaborative Hubs), and is a member of Chico State’s First Generation and Proud Faculty and Staff Association.

Livingston has authored more than 40 academic book reviews, participated in multiple conference panels either giving or commenting on papers, and in spring 2017 was interviewed by C-SPAN to discuss his book Swallowed by Globalism: John M. Vorys and American Foreign Policy. He continues to work on a longstanding research project, exploring the history and significance of the 1976 American Revolution Bicentennial Commemoration.

Outstanding Professor: Eric Houk
Eric Houk

Dr. Eric Houk is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and serves as the Program Lead in Agricultural Business.  His research primarily focuses on issues relating to agriculture and water. Some examples include examining the economic impacts of water transfers from agriculture, the impact of groundwater decline, the effects of irrigation induced waterlogging and soil salinization, and the contribution of agriculture to the economy.

Dr. Houk exemplifies the teacher scholar model and has excelled in research, teaching, and service.  He has supported his research by securing more than $1.5 million in funding and he has served as the Principal Investigator on over 20 projects.  The results of his research have been published in peer reviewed journals and he has given more than 50 professional presentations.  In addition to contributing to his field, Dr. Houk recognizes that his research improves his abilities as an educator.  He discusses his research in the classroom and provides research opportunities for his students.  Dr. Houk’s teaching was recognized nationally when he received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Western Agricultural Economics Association.  His dedication and commitment to his students was recognized across campus when he received Chico State’s award for Exceptional Level of Service to Students.  Dr. Houk has also been responsible for projects designed to enhance academic programs and support underrepresented students.  With funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, Dr. Houk recently developed an interactive classroom simulation that demonstrates the risks of farming with uncertain water supplies.  This simulation has been adopted as a classroom tool at Chico State and the University of Nebraska.  Dr. John Unruh, Dean of the College of Agriculture, states “Dr. Houk's accomplishments help elevate the status of Chico State, his scholarly activities & teaching have been recognized locally, regionally, and internationally.”

Outstanding Research Mentor: William Nitzky

William Nitzky

William Nitzky joined the Department of Anthropology as Assistant Professor in Fall 2015. At Chico State, Dr. Nitzky wears two hats, teaching and mentoring students in cultural anthropology and museum studies. Since Fall 2018, Dr. Nitzky has served as co-director of the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology. He received his B.A. in International Affairs and East Asian Languages and Literature from George Washington University. He completed a M.A. in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Arizona State University. For the past 20 years Dr. Nitzky has conducted research in China and Japan focusing on heritage management, museum development, tourism, and rural development. His research mentoring is closely tied to his research, filmmaking and museum work.

Over the past four years, Dr. Nitzky has worked extensively to see his students excel. Dr. Nitzky led students to curate two standout museum exhibitions at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology on the Hmong community of the North State (2017) and the Japanese incarceration period in the USA during World War II (2018). He has provided life-changing research experiences for his students, serving as a producer for the student-led documentary film, Stories in Thread (screened nationally on PBS), and recently returning from China with one of his undergraduate students to film a new documentary on changes to cultural heritage among ethnic minorities. As a dedicated mentor, Dr. Nitzky has contributed to the success of his students in receiving several research grant awards and scholarships, presenting at national and regional conferences, conducting fieldwork abroad and in California, developing new approaches in digital collection management and museum education, and completing master’s and honors theses.

Outstanding Teacher: Erik Wasinger

Erik Wasinger

Dr. Erik Wasinger is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  A native of Chico, he loves giving back to his home community as a part of Chico State.  While Dr. Wasinger continues to do research in Inorganic Chemistry, his passions involve learning more about our diverse and evolving student body while adapting classroom activities to match.  His work includes transforming Chem 111 from a standard lecture format to a hybrid model that includes peer mentoring, and in that capacity, he has served as the Chemistry Proven Lead Faculty for the Chancellor’s Office Course Redesign with Technology Program.  His classroom redesign included developing over 60 videos to deliver content to students outside of class while developing in-class active learning modules that build upon video content.  Each semester he has mentored a group of Near Peers, undergraduates who have recently completed the course, to facilitate active learning in the classroom.  The Near Peers are encouraged to make suggestions toward curriculum and active learning design at weekly team meetings.  These students have often become motivated to engage in teaching careers after the experience.  In addition to fostering active learning in the classroom, Dr. Wasinger develops metacognitive activities to encourage critical thinking and uses Mindset activities to help students develop a sense of accomplishment through effort.  He also assists in the expansion and promotion of Supplemental Instruction on campus as a peer mentor program, while concurrently working to become a CSU trainer for Supplemental Instruction to help promote the program across the CSU system.  Most recently, he is building upon the vast experience of course redesign by all faculty in the department by co-chairing the work to overhaul General Chemistry to an integrated Lecture-Laboratory Studio Lab format beginning in Fall 2020.

Outstanding Lecturer: Sarah Pape

Sarah Pape

Sarah Pape is adjunct faculty in the English department and teaches courses in creative writing, editing and publishing, and advanced composition. She is the Managing Editor and Faculty Advisor for Watershed Review, CSU, Chico’s digital literary magazine. She received her B.A. and M.A. in English from CSUC, and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her family connection to CSU, Chico is strong, as her mother is an alumni and her daughter will graduate as an English major next year.

In addition to teaching, for many years she coordinated state-wide outreach programs, led professional development for high school teachers, and worked with student writing mentors. This work led her to teach English 333: Advanced Composition for Future Teachers, and facilitate writing workshops through the Northern California Writing Project as a Teacher Consultant. For the past four summers, she has taught poetry and creative nonfiction for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Her poetry and prose has recently been published in The New York Times, New England Review, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Passages North, Ecotone, and others. Her chapbook, Ruination Atlas, was published by dancing girl press. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She and her husband share a passion for letterpress printing and have collaborated on multiple projects with local writers. A life-long resident of Butte County, Pape is committed to the local arts community, and serves as a board member and curates literary programming at the 1078 Gallery.

Outstanding Academic Advisor: Cindy Ratekin

Cindy Ratekin

Cindy Ratekin is Chair of the Department of Child Development and full professor at California State University, Chico.  In her role she serves as the faculty advisor for the program, overseeing enrollment and student academic planning for 300 Child Development majors. Advising provides her the opportunity to connect with students as they develop the skills to enter careers serving children and families in tandem with a commitment to lifelong learning.

Cindy has been a faculty member since 1991. She was elected as Department of Child Development Chair in 2010, assuming student advising responsibilities at that time. Prior to University arrival, she received her Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Science, followed by a master’s degree and teaching credential in Early Childhood Education at San Diego State University. After graduation, she worked for 10 years as an early childhood special education teacher, educational therapist, parent educator, and family advocate. Her applied experiences led her to enter the PhD program at UCLA, receiving her degree in Educational Psychology in 1990. At UCLA she studied temperament of young children with a focus on children with Downs Syndrome.

During her first 10 years at the University, Cindy directed the Child Development Laboratory (CDL), a nationally accredited state-licensed, university-based early childhood center. Cindy has taught a range of advanced core child development courses, overseen resource development resource within the department and has served in multiple roles with community agencies serving children and families.  

The Department of Child Development is a strong team of faculty and staff that are committed to working together toward the goal of ensuring that every student is successfully launched in a career.  Cindy’s family -- her husband, two children, two grandchildren, father, and siblings -- live in the Chico area.

Faculty Recognition and Support Committee (FRAS)

EM 19-023 establishes the Faculty Recognition and Support Committee (FRAS) for the purpose of honoring and supporting the faculty of California State University, Chico for their excellence and achievements in teaching, scholarly, creative, and research activities and in their contributions to the university community.

FRAS will review, formulate and recommend policy which will maintain, enhance and recognize the professional achievements, teaching excellence and service contributions of the CSU, Chico faculty.

FRAS selects the Outstanding Professor, Outstanding Teacher, Outstanding Faculty Service, Outstanding Academic Advisor, Outstanding Lecturer, Outstanding Research Mentor, Outstanding Lecturer in Bringinging the Profession to the Classroom, and Outstanding Early Career Faculty Awards. In addition they will recommend to the President for Professional Achievement Awards, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Program, and Faculty Professional Development Grants for Assistant and Associate Professors.

FRAS is composed of two faculty members from each of the six larger colleges and one from the two smaller units plus past award winners representing a diversity of academic fields and achievements in teaching, research, scholarly, and creative activities and in service. Faculty are appointed by the Academic Senate Executive Committee, in consultation with the Provost. In addition, there is one emeritus faculty member, one student, and one non-voting administrative representative.