President Leroy M. Morishita (center) and James Phillips (right) with CSUEB Outstanding Professors (from left) Jeffery Seitz, Jane Lopus, Stephen Gutierrez, Sue Opp and Derek Jackson Kimball. (Photo: Jason Singley)
Faculty at Cal State East Bay are teacher-scholars, advisers and innovators, and they are at the heart of the university’s engaged, hands-on learning environment. To launch the Week of Scholarship on April 22, the university community held a reception honoring the work of faculty members in and out of the classroom.
President Leroy M. Morishita introduced this year’s George and Miriam Phillips Outstanding Professor, Derek Jackson Kimball, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Physics in the College of Science. The annual award is named for civic leaders who helped bring the university to Hayward, endowed by son James Phillips in their memory.
Kimball joined the CSUEB faculty in 2005 and quickly gained a reputation as a dedicated teacher and an energetic physics advocate. “I truly love being a physics professor at Cal State East Bay,” Kimball said to the audience at the reception, which included several of his undergraduate students.
“All of the people at the university are part of that brief time with students, where something profound happens to them, and it’s really amazing to be a part of that,” he said.
Kimball is the principal investigator on several major research grants, which have totaled more than $1 million, and published dozens of articles and two books. His research into fundamental laws of physics — as we currently understand them, as he always clarifies — involves regular student collaborators, many of whom become his co-authors on published papers.
“Dr. Kimball is truly enthusiastic about his service to the University community and exemplifies an outstanding professor as an excellent teacher, great scholar and researcher,” Morishita said in his introduction, as he and James Phillips officially presented Kimball with the award. They were joined before the event by several previous recipients of the Outstanding Professor award.
Provost James Houpis launched the Provost’s Awards this year with the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate. The aim, he said at the event, is to reward the many talents and great work of faculty across campus. Nominations were open to the entire campus community.
Jennifer Eagan, professor of philosophy and public affairs and administration in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, received the award for Outstanding Mentor of Students. She is one of the advisors for “Reflections,” the annual undergraduate philosophy journal CSUEB, and has advised more than 30 students on independent study projects.
Establishing this award is important, Eagan said, because it relates to personal interactions and relationships, which are a critical part of the student experience. She added that it’s a positive trend “to think about the ways we acknowledge the work of faculty and its centrality to the university’s mission.”
The Outstanding New Researcher award went to Jiming Wu, assistant professor of management in the College of Business and Economics. His research in information systems and system use behavior has been published several times in recent years; his upcoming projects include developing new theories on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and meta-analysis of the data he’s collected. He regularly works with student volunteers in his classes and other management classes to gather information.
Being recognized for his work, Wu said, makes it clear that faculty have the support of the university to do meaningful research. “We’re motivated to work hard and find something interesting,” he said. Wu also expressed his appreciation to the provost, the selection committee and his colleagues in CBE for their nominations.
Lettie Ramirez, professor of teacher education in the College of Education and Allied Studies, was recognized as Outstanding Contributor to Community Engagement. She said this new award celebrates not only faculty, but also the valuable connections the university has made in the community.
Ramirez is very involved with the Hayward Promise Neighborhood partnership, and has supported service learning and community-based learning since her arrival at CSUEB in 1994. “It’s an honor to receive an award for your passion,” she said.
The Week of Scholarship reception also acknowledged the work of faculty who have published scholarly articles or exhibited creative work in the previous two years. The list is compiled by the University Library, said Associate Provost Linda Dobb, formerly the University Librarian, as a way to recognize those “without whom there would be no libraries anywhere.”