CSUSB College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friends,
Welcome to the latest newsletter from the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), which showcases the great accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Although the impacts of COVID-19 have had a profound effect on nearly every aspect of Cal State San Bernardino's operations, enrollment remains strong and all of us are committed to delivering outstanding instruction and services as safely as possible.
Dean Rueyling Chuang
Despite the challenges of this year and the unknowns that lie ahead, the CAL family has responded with resilience and grace, achieving a remarkable record of success, which you will read about below.

It is my honor to serve as dean and I look forward to sharing our news on a regular basis. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow the college on Instagram, FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and YouTube. You can find and tag us with the easy-to-remember handle @csusbcal.
Your support has never been more vital to the success of our mission. To explore the many opportunities available to contribute to student scholarships, faculty research or other college initiatives, I invite you to visit the Giving to CAL section of our website.
Warmest regards,

Rueyling Chuang, Ph.D.
New Performing Arts Center at CSUSB
New CSUSB Performing Arts Center construction project plans approved

Cal State San Bernardino is one step closer to a new performing arts village at the university following approval of a construction and renovation project that will add two new buildings to campus, including a new Performing Arts Center and an academic building that will serve as an anchor to the College of Arts and Letters.

The project also will renovate the existing Performing Arts Building for future college expansion.

The California State University Board of Trustees approved the village project's schematic design at its Sept. 23 meeting. The project currently is scheduled to open during the 2024-25 academic year.
California State University honors professor with Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award
Terri J. Nelson, who recently completed her 25th year teaching French and humanities in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, was named one of 25 recipients of the California State University’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for her creative approach to curricular and faculty development.
Terri Nelson
Dr. Nelson, who received the 2020 Brilliancy Prize of the Reacting Consortium, is a nationally recognized practitioner of the Reacting to the Past pedagogy, which immerses students in role-playing debates to increase their awareness and appreciation of art, philosophy, diversity and significant historical events. Through RTTP, she has redesigned courses on the French Revolution, French Impressionistic art, ancient Athenian democracy and the Mexican Revolution, among others. 

“From day one, my work has focused on how to make learning more interesting, exciting and memorable for students,” she said, “whether that be through teaching or through leading faculty workshops and learning communities.”
CAL faculty receive top awards for teaching, scholarship and advising
In June, CSUSB bestowed some of its highest honors on three outstanding faculty in the College of Arts and Letters.
English professor Parastou Feizzaringhalam, affectionately known as Dr. Feiz, was named the recipient of the 2019-2020 Golden Apple Award, the university’s highest award for teaching. She recently joined the Dean’s Office as the college’s new interim associate dean.
Communication Studies professor Ahlam Muhtaseb received the award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activities, while Bibiana Díaz, associate professor of Spanish, received the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award.
CSUSB faculty awards
CSUSB art museum offers virtual tours and more with ‘RAFFMA @ Home’
Following its temporary closure due to COVID-19, the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) quickly adapted to serve the community with engaging and enriching art experiences in a variety of virtual formats, including 3D/virtual-reality exhibition tours, online lectures, audio tours, fun art activities for children and more.
Building on the museum’s extensive archive of photography and multimedia content, the RAFFMA @ Home brand invites guests to enjoy exclusive audio and video tours of past and present exhibitions, most narrated by the original artists or scholars of their work, as well as art-inspired crafts designed to engage children during stay-at-home orders.
The creative effort has included a bicoastal online symposium and the museum’s first-ever virtual emerging artist exhibitions. Its annual Kids Discover Egypt workshop, held online this year, drew more than 120 participants, a sixfold increase.
CAL Podcast launches with spotlight on Mihaela Popescu and CSUSB's xREAL Lab
Mihaela Popescu of the Department of Communication Studies takes listeners inside CSUSB’s Extended Reality for Learning (xREAL) Lab on the college’s new podcast, an eclectic series offering an exclusive window into the ways CAL faculty, students and staff are defining the future with innovation and creativity.

The CSUSB CAL Podcast’s 20-minute debut episode includes the story of Dr. Popescu’s journey from Romania to the United States and a discussion about the xREAL Lab's use of “extended reality” (XR) technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
CSUSB CAL Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Apple Podcasts
Hosted by Kelli Cluque, operations manager of Coyote Radio, the free program is available now on Spotify and the Apple Podcasts app and soon will be listed in other popular podcast directories and apps. Future episodes are expected to feature Art and Design Professor Katherine Gray; acclaimed soprano Stacey Fraser, chair of the Department of Music; and Eva Kirsch, director of RAFFMA.
CAL employees receive multiple President’s Staff Awards
Congratulations to the College of Arts and Letters staff members honored with 2020 President's Staff Awards during CSUSB's virtual convocation in August:

Michelle Fuller, the college’s budget and administrative analyst, received the Distinguished Service Award, Academic Affairs division.
Michelle Fuller
Kelli Cluque and Felipe Jimenez
Kelli Cluque (Coyote Radio & Advertising) and Felipe Jimenez (Art and Design) received the Team Achievement Award for assisting with this year’s Employee Development Days.
A Team Achievement Award also was given to RAFFMA staff members Eva Kirsch, Michael Beckley, Miranda Canseco, John Fleeman, Diego Irigoyen, Bryan Kraemer and Laura Munoz for the "RAFFMA @ Home" initiative.

Presented annually, the President’s Staff Awards honor "exceptional performance and special achievements by campus staff."
University welcomes new major gift officer supporting College of Arts and Letters
After an extensive search, CSUSB has selected Kerry Neal as the new major gift officer supporting the College of Arts and Letters and College of Education. Neal, who served as the director of development with CSUSB’s Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration in 2006, is a seasoned philanthropy professional with 20 years of fundraising experience and has worked in both private and public institutions of higher learning in support of a variety of disciplines, programs and initiatives.
Kerry Neal
“I am so excited about being a part of the College of Arts and Letters,” Neal remarked during the college’s Fall Welcome. He cited the faculty’s many recent accolades and achievements in declaring it “the crown jewel of the campus."
Documentary chronicles CSUSB Orchestra's concert in Seoul
In March, an original documentary chronicling the CSUSB Orchestra’s 2019 performance in South Korea premiered during a special reception for Department of Music students, friends and family members.
Titled “Flight to Harmony,” the 28-minute film follows the orchestra students and conductor Lucy Lewis as they rehearse at CSUSB over the months ahead of their concert at the world-renowned Seoul Arts Center’s 600-seat IBK Chamber Hall, joined by distinguished vocalists — and Seoul Cyber University faculty — Min-Hyoung Kim and Dong-Won Kim.
The CSUSB Orchestra performs in South Korea
Congratulations to our recently promoted faculty
Faculty promotions
The following CAL faculty members recently earned early tenure or were promoted to associate or full professor:
  • Ed Gomez, Art and Design
  • Mariam Betlemidze, Liliana Conlisk Gallegos and Julie L. Taylor, Communication Studies
  • Yumi Pak, English
  • Dany Doueiri and Maria Garcia-Puente, World Languages and Literatures
Communication Studies lecturer selected as one of only 50 Kopenhaver Center Fellows nationwide
Jess Block Nerren, a full-time lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies, was selected as one of 50 Kopenhaver Center Fellows nationwide by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
“Being identified for the AEJMC Kopenhaver Fellowship means that folks at the highest levels of leadership in communication saw me as a potential future leader in communication and I am deeply honored by their selection,” said Nerren, who is a doctoral candidate in the CSUSB Ed.D. program.
Jess Block Nerren
Online Teaching Committee helps CAL faculty adapt to remote instruction
Last March, when COVID-19 forced CSUSB to begin delivering instruction remotely, the college quickly convened a committee of faculty tech experts to help CAL peers navigate the transition.
Under the leadership of professors Terri Nelson, Mihaela Popescu and Bibiana Díaz, the committee regularly shared information, tips and best practices in the form of weekly bulletins, video tutorials and app recommendations while meeting with colleagues via Zoom throughout the spring and summer terms.
CAL Online Teaching Committee Bulletin
Dr. Díaz noted that faculty “were very eager to address this crisis head-on,” with many seeking ways to promote student interaction and participation. The committee’s efforts helped instructors become comfortable with using technology to make online classes more engaging.
“I think this demonstrates that CSUSB faculty are amazingly resilient and dedicated to learning,” Dr. Nelson said.
CSUSB awarded grant to offer criminal justice Spanish certificate

CSUSB will offer a new Criminal Justice Spanish Certificate program for students majoring in criminal justice professions beginning fall 2021, thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language program grant of nearly $340,000.
“Students in the criminal justice and related fields can now combine their field of study with language study and gain specialized language and culture competency which will ultimately make them much more competitive in the workforce,” said Carmen Jany, professor of Spanish and linguistics in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, who oversees the grant.
Art professor named to American Craft Council College of Fellows
In February, Art and Design Professor Katherine Gray was named to the American Craft Council College of Fellows in recognition of “leadership in the field, outstanding ability as an artist or teacher and 25 years or more of professional achievement as an American craftsperson.”
She currently can be seen as a judge on Netflix’s “Blown Away,” which follows 10 master artists competing in glassblowing sculpture challenges for a chance to win $60,000. The reality television program has been renewed for a second season.
Katherine Gray

Students win multiple awards for outstanding creative work at regional advertising competition

Students from CSUSB’s Coyote Advertising and Radio teams received 10 “Addy” Awards from the Inland Empire chapter of the American Advertising Federation during its 2020 competition.
The American Advertising Awards receive more than 40,000 entries annually through local competitions. Local winners advance to one of 15 district competitions for the chance to move on to the national finals. This year’s Inland Empire competition honored the work of professionals and students in more than 200 categories.
Meet our new faculty
The College of Arts and Letters welcomed nine new faculty members for the 2020-2021 academic year. They are, in alphabetical order, left to right:
  • Jessica Getman, assistant professor, Music
  • Erin Hall, assistant professor, English
  • B. Theo Mazumdar, assistant professor, Communication Studies
  • Martin Premoli, assistant professor, English
  • Florencia San Martin, assistant professor, Art and Design
  • Kate Osana Simonian, assistant professor, English
  • Robert Kyriakos Smith, assistant professor, English
  • George Antony Thomas, chair, World Languages and Literatures
  • Kevin Zhang, assistant professor, Music
New College of Arts and Letters faculty
More news from the College of Arts and Letters
CAL Talk: "Arts and Humanities in the Age of the Pandemic"
The college's CAL Talk series of panel discussions continued with Arts and Humanities in the Age of the Pandemic, recorded live in Zoom on Oct. 1.

On June 16, CAL faculty presented Structural Racism, Civil Disobedience, and the Road to Racial Justice in the Age of COVID-19.
The CSUSB Alumni Association has welcomed three new members to its Board of Directors for the 2020-2023 term, including Hollywood veteran Danny Bilson, who received his bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts in 1978.

Bilson co-wrote Spike Lee's latest film, “Da 5 Bloods,” with his late writing partner and fellow CSUSB alumnus Paul De Meo.
Danny Bilson
For even more CAL news, visit Inside CSUSB.
About the College of Arts and Letters

We are a dynamic and caring community of students, faculty, staff and alumni united by a passion for the arts and humanities at California State University, San Bernardino.
Our college includes the departments of Art and Design, Communication Studies, English, Music, Philosophy, Theatre Arts and World Languages and Literatures, and the Liberal Studies program.
We’re also home to the student-run Coyote Radio, which spotlights the Inland’s Empire’s best local bands around the clock, Coyote Advertising, an award-winning, full-service creative agency, and the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, better known as RAFFMA, one of the region’s most acclaimed cultural centers.
Visit our home page for information about the outstanding programs within the College of Arts and Letters.
Learn more

CSUSB College of Arts and Letters
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2393

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