Top Fresno State teaching award goes to psychology prof Paul Price

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Top Fresno State teaching award goes to psychology prof Paul Price

Dr. Paul Price, psychology professor, was selected for Fresno State’s 2018 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, announced Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, Fresno State’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

The Provost’s Awards also honored the following faculty:

  • Dr. Carolyn Cusick, assistant professor of philosophy — Faculty Service Award
  • Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Andrew Fiala, professor of philosophy — Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award
  • Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe, professor of mathematics — Innovation Award
  • Dr. Mary Husain, professor of communication — Outstanding Lecturer.

Five faculty members were selected for the Promising New Faculty category of the Provost’s Awards in recognition of their exemplary achievements in teaching, research, creative activities and/or service among non-tenured, tenure-track faculty. The honorees are:

  • Dr. Zhanna Bagdasarov, assistant professor of management
  • Dr. Qin Fan, assistant professor of economics
  • Dr. Maziar Ghazinejad, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
  • Dr. Ignacio Hernández, assistant professor of educational leadership
  • Dr. Veena Howard, assistant professor of philosophy

The Provost’s Awards were established in 1993 to recognize the outstanding teaching, research and service that is central to the mission of Fresno State.

Honorees provide students with a stimulating environment that fosters learning and affirms the University as an intellectual and cultural leader in the Central Valley.

The awardees will be celebrated at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the North Gym (Room 118) on campus. For more information about the reception, contact Randy Aoki at 559.278.2636.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Paul Price (psychology)

Dr. Paul Price

Dr. Paul Price (psychology) joined Fresno State in 1996. Since then, he has successfully laid the groundwork for thousands of students to earn psychology degrees. Price involves undergraduate students in research projects, and he makes it a priority to connect with students on a personal level. His mentoring extends beyond his students’ time at Fresno State. By the end of May, Price will have made 14 conference presentations, many with student co-authors. Price has earned the Fresno State Psychology Professor of the Year Award four times since 2005.

Faculty Service Award

Dr. Carolyn Cusick (philosophy)

Dr. Carolyn Cusick

Dr. Carolyn Cusick (philosophy) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2013. Cusick has tirelessly devoted herself to service at all levels. She assisted the Philosophy Department in the establishment of department milestones, helping students to have a clearer idea of what classes they should have completed by specific points during their course of study. Cusick chose to serve in areas that allow her to help achieve the University’s mission of discovery, diversity and distinction across campus.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award

Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen (chemistry)

Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen

When Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen (chemistry) joined the faculty at Fresno State in 2012, she was already well-established as a researcher in medicinal chemistry. She has brought that expertise to campus, establishing a well-developed research program at Fresno State. She has conducted cancer research, exploring the therapeutic uses of curcumin, a yellow spice used in curry, in possible treatment of prostate and other aggressive cancers. Chen received a previous Provost’s Award for Promising New Faculty in 2014. She has published 29 peer-reviewed journal articles since she has been at Fresno State.

Dr. Andrew Fiala (philosophy)

Dr. Andrew Fiala

Dr. Andrew Fiala (philosophy) has been at Fresno State since 2005. In addition to being a nationally recognized academic scholar and philosopher, Fiala regularly shares his expertise with local and regional groups and organizations. He has written four books, edited four more and produced two textbooks. His latest book, “Transformative Pacifism,” will be released in August. He has also produced hundreds of timely op-eds through his award-winning weekly Fresno Bee column and his essays are read on Valley Public Radio’s “The Moral Is” series. Through his work as the director of the Ethics Center, he has stimulated dialogue and discourse on campus with thought-provoking lectures and events.

Innovation Award

Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe (mathematics)

Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe

Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe (mathematics) joined the faculty at Fresno State in 2000. Amarasinghe redesigned the math curriculum, using creative and innovative ideas to improve student learning. He also worked with two other departments — decision science and criminology — to assist in creating new course models for their general education quantitative reasoning courses. Amarasinghe also redesigned the remedial mathematics program at Fresno State in a way that provides more support to students. He introduced Fresno State’s Summer Academy in STEM for children in grades six through nine, and Common Core teacher professional development workshop for K-12 teachers.

Outstanding Lecturer

Dr. Mary Husain (communication)

Dr. Mary Husain

Dr. Mary Husain (communication) has been at Fresno State since 2002. She is a lecturer in both the departments of Communication and Media, Communications and Journalism. Husain’s teaching involves traditional and innovative classroom techniques, inviting distinguished guests. For the past 11 years, Husain has taught CineCulture, a unique course that strengthens the campus and broader community by arranging weekly screenings of award-winning foreign films, many of which also address timely and diverse topics. Husain brings key figures related to the films to campus as speakers. The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno recently honored CineCulture and Husain with its Spirit of Abraham award for promoting more harmonious relationships between different groups of people.

Promising New Faculty Awards

Dr. Zhanna Bagdasarov (business)

Dr. Zhanna Bagdasarov

Dr. Zhanna Bagdasarov (business) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2014. Bagdasarov provides many opportunities for students in her classes to connect material to real-world examples and engage in hands-on, high-impact practices. She has excelled at delivering an entirely new course on training and development (HRM150), which is now one of the most popular courses in the department. She received the Craig School of Business top teaching award in her first year of eligibility. Bagdasarov has produced a steady stream of research, focusing on ethical decision making in the context of organizations.

Dr. Qin Fan (business)

Dr. Qin Fan

Dr. Qin Fan (business) has been at Fresno State since 2013. Fan has embraced leadership roles in the Economics Department. She supports her students by providing research and internship opportunities. Fan has also sought and received significant grant funding for research projects. She is an active member in the Urban and Regional Transformation Cohort and was invited to be a panel expert in refining the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint.

Dr. Maziar Ghazinejad, (mechanical engineering)

Dr. Maziar Ghazinejad

Dr. Maziar Ghazinejad, (mechanical engineering) joined the faculty at Fresno State in 2013. Ghazinejad, considered a pre-eminent scholar in his field, has conscientiously developed new technical, elective courses. His continuous efforts to expose students to modern and interdisciplinary areas of engineering have been instrumental in keeping the curriculum relevant and up to date. He also established a research lab, where he and students — both graduate and undergrads — perform research on advanced materials, mechanics and manufacturing techniques.

Dr. Ignacio Hernández (educational leadership)

Dr. Ignacio Hernández

Dr. Ignacio Hernández (educational leadership) has been at Fresno State since 2013. Students and other faculty members look to Hernandez for ideas and guidance. He teaches courses in the higher education option of the educational leadership (HEAL) master’s program, as well as the doctoral program. He has twice been nominated for the Outstanding Adviser Award. In March, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the NASPA Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community. In the fall, Hernandez will take over as the director of the doctoral program in education leadership at Fresno State.

Dr. Veena Howard (philosophy)

Dr. Veena Howard

Dr. Veena Howard (philosophy) joined the faculty at Fresno State in 2014. Philosophy Department Chair Sergio La Porta said her efforts have raised the recognition of excellence of religious studies and the department in the University, the larger community and internationally. Howard’s expertise is in South Asian religious traditions and Gandhi’s philosophy. In 2017, Howard was elected to the board of trustees for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a leading global interfaith organization. Howard focuses on creating a safe and respectful classroom environment that fosters curiosity and critical thinking.