CSUMB community honors current faculty and future generations

2022 Tenure and Promotion - Photo by Adrienn Mendonca-Jones

2022 Tenure and Promotion reception - Photo by Adrienn Mendonca-Jones

October 1, 2022

By Adrienn Mendonça-Jones

The second annual Tenure and Promotion Reception celebrated the accomplishments of newly promoted faculty on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. 

The event was created last year by Provost Katherine Kantardjieff to formally acknowledge the good work and significant contributions which lead to tenure and promotion for faculty. The reception brought CSUMB members together in a collegial, family-friendly atmosphere. 

President Vanya Quiñones fondly recalled her own journey toward tenure as a junior faculty member—a journey that many faculty recognized as similar to their own. 

“My daughter once told me to never come to a lacrosse game again,” said Quiñones, as she reflected on trying to complete her dossier for tenureship during her daughter’s school match, which drew laughter from the audience 

Quiñones encouraged children in attendance to celebrate their parents, because achieving tenure is such a major accomplishment. 

Indeed, some faculty arrived with a cheering section, as did Lisa Stewart, professor of social work, whose husband and two daughters — alongside most of the faculty from the Department of Social Work — applauded her success. 

“This is such a significant event,” said Harald Barkhoff, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services. “Not only for professors but also for their family and our community.” 

Barkhoff lauded the accomplishments of faculty members such as Stewart, who has been with the university since 2011 and administered a 2017 dependent care survey, which addressed important aspects of inclusion for university colleagues.

Stewart previously served as the program director for the Master of Social Work, as well as its assessment coordinator, developing much of the core curriculum for a department which turns out not only well-equipped professionals, but also regularly welcomes them back into the fold. 

“There’s such a sense of satisfaction in seeing former students come back here as field instructors,” Stewart said. “That’s what makes our university special. The level of mentoring we can do here is immense.”

Other faculty also treasure the same ability to connect with students. 

John Olson, associate professor of Applied Environmental Science, appreciated being able to train juniors and seniors in field data collection methods, just as he once did when working at Fort Ord as an Army officer. Olson sees his career as a scientist as a direct carryover from his Army career. 

“Back then, I would train, equip and lead young people to do things out in the world,” said Olson, who does the same thing now: training, equipping and leading students to collect water samples in nearby states, including New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Colorado. 

The samples students collect become first the data, then the foundation, of water policies which directly affect residents of those states, as well as California. 

“Water is an issue of the world,” Olson said. 

Faculty reflect that world, not only in their chosen subjects — including a public history of Okinawa and base-towns in Japan, highlighted in the work of Dustin Wright, a professor of Japanese culture and language — but also in their individual backgrounds as well. 

Dennis Kombe, associate professor of Education and Leadership, traced his work as a mentor to future middle- and high-school math teachers to his own initial career as a high school math teacher in Kenya, Botswana and Charleston, South Carolina.

“To impact K-12 student learning, I decided to become a teacher educator,” Kombe said, of the time before his recent promotion. 

Achieving tenure felt good for a minute, Kombe laughed: “And then you get on with it.”

Deans from the university’s five colleges plus the library recognized the following faculty members:

Juanita Cole, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and the Social Sciences, introduced five faculty members:

  • Patrick Belanger, Humanities and Communication, promoted to full professor
  • Christine Fernández, School of World Languages and Cultures, promoted to associate professor
  • Kelly Medina-López, Humanities and Communication, promoted to associate professor
  • Mrinal Sinha, Psychology, promoted to full professor
  • Dustin Wright, School of World Languages and Cultures, promoted to associate professor

Marylou Shockley, interim dean of the College of Business, introduced one faculty member:

  • Angel González, School of Business, promoted to associate professor

David England, interim dean of the College of Education, introduced one faculty member:

  • Dennis Kombe, Education and Leadership, promoted to associate professor

Harald Barkhoff, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, introduced three faculty members:

  • Alyssa Erikson, Nursing, promoted to full professor
  • Ryan Luke, Kinesiology, promoted to full professor
  • Lisa Stewart, Social Work, promoted to full professor

Thomas Horvath, associate dean of the College of Science, introduced five faculty members:

  • Lipika Deka, Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to full professor
  • Cheryl Logan, Marine Science, promoted to full professor
  • John Olson, Applied Environmental Science, promoted to associate professor
  • Peri Shereen, Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to associate professor
  • Alana Unfried, Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to associate professor

Jacqueline Grallo, interim dean of the Library, introduced one faculty member:

  • Jeff Corrigan, Library, promoted to associate librarian