At The Beach we enjoy a reputation for “quality instruction provided in an environment in which scholarship, creative, artistic and professional activity are valued and supported.” Included among the activities we value and support is research.
Faculty and student research play a huge role at our teaching institution. I consider research activities as vital in support of cutting-edge teaching. Research education is an important extension of classroom learning.
We don’t just teach current facts, but the tools to be an informed person across a life span. At Cal State Long Beach, we look for every opportunity to include students in research.
A wonderful “snapshot” of these activities can be found in our recently published Quest magazine (web.csulb.edu/sites/quest/). This annual publication spotlights some of the exciting work being done at The Beach. The articles present an array of scholars who are contributing to the creation of knowledge, inspiring others and contributing to the betterment of the world around us.
Included in the new issue of Quest:
• Assistant Professor Fangyuan Tian in the chemistry department, is developing a safe and effective material that could one day help more than 500,000 heart patients each year. She is researching a biodegradable coating for stents that will slowly release medicine into the patient following surgery without flaking. Dr. Tian is currently exploring two areas of bio-inspired research that have the potential to improve the lives of thousands.
• Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Joseph Kalman and his students are trying to acquire a better understanding of energetic materials — the hot-burning stuff of solid rocket propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. “We are in a hotbed of the aerospace and propulsion industry, and having students exposed to this work and equipment, with hands-on experiences, will give them a leg up from their peers at other schools,” he said.
• For decades, Cal State Long Beach has had a vibrant American Indian Studies program and its director, Craig Stone, is also a professor in the School of Art. He views his dual roles as “educating through discovery and artistic creativity, while providing students with knowledge of Native American cultures and their diverse traditions.” (It should be noted that he also heads our annual Pow Wow, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020.)
• Three Beach professors have teamed up to find solutions to the growing homelessness crisis. Assistant Professors Kristina Lovato, Sara Nourazari and Suzie S. Weng are creating a systems dynamic-based model that will help planners and policymakers better address homelessness issues in Long Beach.
• Because students don’t always understand the relevance of what’s being taught in the classroom, Associate Professor of Teacher Education Corrine Martinez is helping current and future teachers provide those answers through Linked Learning. The aim is to make every class in high school relevant to careers that might interest students.
• Robin Richesson, professor of illustration, creates storyboards and costumes that have been part of numerous television shows, TV commercials and film productions (including several films by fellow Beach alum Steven Spielberg!).
This is just a small sample of the scholarship being conducted by our faculty and students throughout campus. Last year, we were awarded external funds totaling $31.2 million to support faculty research. In addition, CSULB is honored to host, in 2021, the prestigious National Conference on Undergraduate Research, which promotes undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study.
The Beach has an impressive roster of researchers who are making significant and vital contributions to the ways we learn and live. We are teaching-centered and research-driven.
Jane Close Conoley is president of Cal State Long Beach.