Dr. Dave Goorahoo, plant science professor, was selected for Fresno State’s 2020 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, announced Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Fresno State’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

The Provost’s Awards also honored the following faculty:

  • Helda Pinzón-Perez, professor of public health — Faculty Service Award
  • Beth Weinman, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences — Innovation Award
  • Kao-Ly Yang, lecturer of linguistics — Outstanding Lecturer Award
  • Blain Roberts and Ethan Kytle, professors of history — Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award

Six 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:

  • Katherine Fobear, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies
  • Vadim Keyser, assistant professor of philosophy
  • Zhi Liang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
  • Matin Pirouz, assistant professor of computer science
  • Mariya (Masha) Yukhymenko, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Tricia Van Laar, assistant professor of biology

In addition, the Center for Faculty Excellence received a Special Award for Exemplary Service.

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 recognized during a virtual celebration from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 6. For more information about the reception, contact Randy Aoki at 559.278.2636.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Dave Goorahoo

Dr. Dave Goorahoo

Dr. Dave Goorahoo (plant science) came to Fresno State in 2000 as a research soil scientist at the Center for Irrigation Technology and became a full-time assistant professor in 2006. He has taught a number of courses related to crop production, food society and the environment, research methodology and more while integrating field experience and research opportunities for students. In 2010, he co-led a study abroad program to Trinidad and Tobago, where he was born, so students could learn about the culture, agriculture and cuisine. He has also been invited to speak to students and extension groups around the world due to his expertise and experience with agricultural systems in different geographic locations. Goorahoo regularly advises students and supervises research projects. Many of his students have gone on to receive top University awards. His major guiding principle to improve as an educator is that “to be a good teacher, one must first be a better student.”

Faculty Service Award

Helda Pinzon-Perez

Dr. Helda Pinzon-Perez

Dr. Helda Pinzón-Perez (public health) joined the faculty in 1999 and is now director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She is involved with the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate mentoring program that pairs faculty mentors with Ph.D. students to help them become instructors. She has collaborated with colleagues on translations of “The Silent Garden,” creation of general education courses in the multicultural arena, development programs with Project Rebound for formerly incarcerated students and the Renaissance Program for students who have been in foster care or who are homeless.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment

Drs. Blain Roberts and Ethan Kytle

Drs. Blain Roberts and Ethan Kytle

Drs. Blain Roberts and Ethan Kytle (history) joined Fresno State in 2007 and soon began a major research project memorializing the historical memory of slavery in the United States. The 12-year project resulted in more than 30 co-authored publications, including 26 op-eds and similar essays, five peer-reviewed journal articles and the book, “Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy.” They have developed a reputation as historical experts and are often called on by national media for analysis of present-day situations tied to history.

Innovation Award

Beth Weinman

Dr. Beth Weinman

Dr. Beth Weinman (earth and environmental sciences) joined Fresno State in 2012. Weinman led the development of a first-year learning program called “Building Opportunities of Network and Discovery,” (BOND) for freshmen in the College of Science and Mathematics. The program introduces students to high-impact practices to improve retention, sense of belonging and self-efficacy. She and her colleagues are working to introduce this program to all students. Weinman was also an early advocate of including virtual labs in her courses. Her leadership was recognized by CSU administrators, and she now leads the CSU Faculty Learning Community on Course Re-design with Technology.

Outstanding Lecturer

Kao-Ly Yang

Kao-Ly Yang

Dr. Kao-Ly Yang (linguistics) joined Fresno State in 2004 and has taught French and Hmong courses. She currently serves as the coordinator, academic adviser and club adviser of the Hmong studies minor program. Yang designed most of the Hmong courses and the framework for the program. She has also written and revised 11 textbooks for teaching Hmong and 300 audio files for lab activities. Her passion lies in preserving the Hmong language and culture and helping students, many of whom are Hmong, reconnect with their heritage while reaching their full potential.

Promising New Faculty

Katherine Fobear

Katherine Fobear

Dr. Katherine Fobear (women’s, gender and sexuality studies) joined Fresno State in 2017 and has deepened the expertise and instructional capabilities of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, especially in the LGBTQ area. Her interest in research and activism shows through her work with students to develop community reports about transgender housing, and the Qistory project in which students helped document the lives of elderly LGBTQ people in the Central Valley. She also started the first undergraduate, student-led CSU gender, race and sexuality conference at Fresno State, which did so well that it was institutionalized as a CSU-wide conference.