Newsletter of The College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Message from the Dean

Dear colleagues and friends of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences,

Welcome to the 2018-19 edition of Highlights and Signature Stories, the annual newsletter for our College. Our faculty, students, and staff have accomplished much over the past 12 months, and, as we take a summer breath, I'd like to use this time to share some of our successes. As the headlines and stories in this newsletter show, we have formed new connections and nurtured continuing relationships with our students, faculty, and the community here in Orange County and in countries around the globe.

As we look forward to the fall semester, I invite you to use the college website, hss.fullerton.edu, to stay informed about upcoming events, including this year’s HSS Faculty Lecture series: Interdisciplinary Conversations: Community, Identity, and Belonging. The campus celebrates the start of the new academic year with President Framrose Virgee’s CSUF Convocation at 1 pm on September 6th in the Titan Gym. Please let me know if you will be attending so we can create some HSS presence at this important event.

Once again, thank you for your commitment to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Together, we are dedicated to student achievement, community connections, and faculty research. Together, we prepare the students of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to embrace the community and engage the world!

Featured Stories

What are Digital Humanities?

Dr. Jamila Moore Pewu, Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and New Media in History, sits down to explain Digital Humanities and Digital History, the difference between public and back facing projects, how they can introduce new audiences to humanities-based research, and why CSUF is poised to expand the infrastructure of Digital Humanities.

Investing in our Future

Last year, the campus celebrated Cal State Fullerton’s 60th anniversary. In honor of this important anniversary, the College established the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Legacy Endowment to recognize the importance of the intellectual and scholarly values of the faculty members who laid our foundation, and ensure that their legacy lives on.

We are grateful to a small group of forward-thinking emeriti faculty members who, together, have contributed more than $60,000 to create the seedbed for the endowment and to inspire others to give. As this endowment grows, it will provide a financial resource to ensure sustained support for the research and innovative teaching that are the hallmarks of H&SS.

“Our college has a number of faculty research and teaching awards that it funds with college dollars” Dean Fontaine explained, “the money from the Legacy endowment will offset some of what the college contributes, and in rough budget times, when there are fewer college dollars, the endowment will be there to assure funding.”

One example of College research support is the “Dean’s Research Award for Associate Professors,” currently funded through the support of an anonymous donor and College contribution. This award is given to two associate professors each semester to assist them in completing the research and publications necessary to attain the rank of full professor.

Dr. Karen Stocker, who received the award in the Spring 2018 semester, explains its importance: “I am appreciative of the award not only for the recognition, but for the support it offers with regard to my research and publishing agenda. Facing a book deadline within the year, creating intermediate deadlines helps me pace myself. One way I am doing that is by convening writing retreats, complete with peer review sessions, with colleagues within my academic discipline from campuses across the country.” Stocker went on to say that she believes these measures, and the feedback that she will garner from them, will play a substantial part in allowing her to turn in a higher quality writing when the deadline set by University of Toronto Press arrives next May.

To further recognize the anniversary of the campus and the successful creation of the Faculty Legacy Endowment, the College financed six Faculty Legacy Awards of $6000 each. While more than 50 faculty members submitted proposals for this one-time award in honor of the 60th anniversary, our panel of reviewers selected six projects that most completely demonstrated innovative research, creative activity, or pedagogy. To read more about the 6 faculty members and their work, or to learn more about contributing to the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Legacy Endowment, please visit the links below.

Service Learning in Cambodia

This summer a cohort of 12 CSUF students spent the month of June traveling, volunteering, and studying abroad in Cambodia.

In conjunction with Pannasastra University in Siem Reap, 3 teams comprised of 4 CSUF and 4 Pannasastra students, came together to assist 3 different non-profit schools (Future of Khmer Children, ABCs and Rice, and Anjali House.) Each of the 3 schools provides English and general education classes, nutrition, and health services to children from severely underprivileged communities in the Siem Reap area.

In addition to their volunteer work, students also visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the nonprofit organization Apopo (who work alongside the Cambodian Mine Action Center and are conducting a humanitarian landmine clearance project, utilizing rats, aimed at returning safe, productive land back to the villages who have been most affected by mines leftover from war,) and a number of other sites to supplement their lessons in the two classes they completed “Cambodian Life and Culture” and “Cross-Cultural Social Thought.”

Students also kept a travel blog to document their experiences in real time. Below is an excerpt from one student, Sean, reflecting on his excursion to the temple of Ta Prohm earlier that day.

Excerpt from Sean's travel blog:

One of the more atmospheric temples visited during this Cambodia trip was the temple of Ta Prohm. An ancient building built and deserted by the Khmer people is well known for its connection to the nature it is set in. Unlike many of the other temples, the stone that Ta Prohm was built out of has become a part of the environment that it was set up in. This temple consists of towers, closed courtyards, narrow corridors, and broken down walls that only exacerbate the ageless feeling of this ancient temple. On arrival, it is easy to see the banyan tree encapsulating and enshrouding the entrance to the temple that is easily older than a few hundred years. These trees are world-famous for their “larger-than-torso” sized roots that snake through the time-worn stone of Ta Prohm. This picture is a perfect representation of the interconnectedness between the architecture and the environment. This sculpture immediately It’s almost as if the roots of the banyan tree split apart just so you could witness the smirk on this sculpture of Buddha. This amazing piece of spontaneity exemplifies how amazing these temples truly are. Although this temple was not built with the intention of having the Buddha peeking out from a tree root, through hundreds and hundreds of years’ nature wove its way around the sculpture. This amazing process creates a situation that seems like it is an impossibility.

To read all of the blog entries or to hear more about this summer’s program, follow the links below:

Preparing Students For Doctorates in the Humanities & Social Sciences

This January, Cal State Fullerton received $444,000 as its portion of a $2,211,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF). Cal State Fullerton and 4 sister CSU campuses have been selected to host the program for the CSU. The goal of the MMUF program is to increase opportunities for students from underrepresented populations to pursue doctoral degrees in the humanities, and, ultimately, to increase faculty diversity in these disciplines.

Under the guidance of Cal State Fullerton professor of Religious Studies, Dr. Zakyi Ibrahim and Humanities faculty mentors, four MMUF student fellows will be selected each year from among applicants in the rising junior class. The selected Mellon Fellows will receive mentoring, specially-designed academic and internship opportunities, and significant financial support to prepare them for application and entry into PhD programs and, eventually, for successful academic careers. Our first cohort of Mellon May Fellows includesDaniella Camacho (American Studies Major, History Minor), Ileana Perez (Spanish Major), Vivian Ngo (Comparative Literature Major), and Danielle Narciso (Linguistics Major).

"To have received this grant from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is significant not only for our campus but, most particularly, for the students and faculty of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences." Dean Sheryl Fontaine said, "I am excited for the opportunities this program will provide our students and faculty and the long-term impact it will have on higher education. Receiving this Mellon Mays grant, our campus joins a list of institutions of higher education that, until now, has mostly included only private colleges or research-based universities. With this award, Mellon announces the importance of public, comprehensive universities to higher education and the significant place for our students in its future."

For more information about the MMUF program, or to see the bios of students selected for CSUF’s 2018/19 cohort, click on the links below.

MMUF 2018 Cohort

Cal State DC Scholar

For Marco Sanchez, the Cal State D.C. Scholars Program was something that he had wanted to participate in ever since his freshman year. However, since the program is only open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students, he focused his earlier efforts on volunteer work for the United Nations Association in the Orange County Area, as well as on helping to establish a Model United Nations club here on campus. “Everybody figures it out as they go,” Marco says, “but it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about these kinds of opportunities early on.”

Marco is the son of two Mexican-American immigrants, both have lived and worked in the United States for over 30 years. Realizing that his parents have never been as politically engaged as he is, Marco saw an opportunity to educate his family about why he is so motivated to work towards global progress. “I have dedicated a lot of time to learning and understanding the challenges that people face in my community” Marco says, “Challenges such as poverty, gender inequality and food insecurity are just a few of the several issues that face many around the world today, including some of my own family and friends.”

Marco realizes that working to end these issues is an ambitious undertaking, however he also believes that his generation is more motivated and passionate than ever when it comes to making a difference. “My parents have always taught me to work hard and believe in my dreams” he says, and this is something that Marco has reminded himself of daily since arriving in DC to intern, and while transitioning into his new career where he has the opportunity to work with and inspire other American youth to take action for global progress in their own local communities.

“Often there is a stereotype of interns running around getting coffee, or making copies…but that wasn’t my experience at all,” Marco says about his time interning for the United Nations Foundation in D.C. While there, he had the chance to play key roles in several projects, including taking charge of a project in which he created an advocacy roadmap for areas across the United States where there isn’t an established U.N. presence. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to meet with Senators from various states, and even spoke at a meeting for the House Senate Relations Committee.

Upon completing the D.C. Scholars Program in spring 2018, and a two-month consulting contract for the World Bank Group, Marco was offered a full time position as a Youth Engagement Coordinator with the United Nations Foundation this past July. For Marco, working at the United Nations Foundation is a continuation of the work that he is already so passionate about. "Our mission as an organization is to mobilize other Americans to support the vital work of the United Nations" Marco explains, “As the Youth Engagement Coordinator, I will be supporting a network of campus chapters (including CSUF) that engage other students to take action for the United Nations in their own communities.” In addition, Marco will be working to establish additional United Nations chapters where none are currently present. As Marco continues in his early career, he is looking forward to engaging youth on a grassroots level so that a new generation of Americans can lead our world to a better future.


For additional information or to learn more about opportunities for investment and support in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, please contact Alina Mircea-Trotz at amircea-trotz@fullerton.edu or 657-278-2559.

Questions or Comments

Please contact Chris Salomone at csalomone@fullerton.edu

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