Provost's Awards Lecture Series
Spring 2019

This series is to honor and showcase each year's recipients of the Provost's Awards. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Veena Howard, Department of Philosophy
(2017-2018 – Promising New Faculty)


"Experiments with Buddhist Mindfulness in Secular Teaching"
Mindfulness” has become a buzzword in popular culture, but most people are not aware of the term’s specific religious origins. This practice, meant to be a part of the Buddhist path towards inner peace, has been utilized as a tool in medicine, positive psychology, law-enforcement, education, economics, etc. In this presentation, Dr, Veena Howard will focus on her personal journey from feeling aggravated by such aberrant adaptation of mindfulness to experimenting with “mindfulness” strategies in teaching. She will share some approaches that have enhanced her pedagogy and classroom environment, and discuss how these strategies have led her to appreciate mindfulness in a secular context.


Thursday, March 7, 2019 – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Zhanna Bagdasarov, Department of Management
(2017-2018 – Promising New Faculty

"Decentering the Self: Implications of Service-Learning Pedagogy on Ethics"
Service-learning (SL) is known as a high-impact educational practice and has been increasingly incorporated into curricula across institutions of higher learning. Although various student learning outcomes have already been linked to SL, studies linking SL to ethics are few and far between. Dr. Zhanna Bagdasarov will share findings from an exploratory research project examining the impact of SL on college students’ ethical decision making and its related processes and strategies


Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mary Husain, Department of Communication
(2017-2018 – Outstanding Lecturer)

"Opening a Door to the World; Learning Beyond the Text"
Dr. Mary Husain will discuss guest speaker supported learning and the use of film in multicultural courses to foster intercultural understandings and respect for diversity. These powerful pedagogical tools encourage students to think globally and gain an experiential knowledge of the real world beyond the textbook.


Fresno State is committed to providing universal access to all our guests. Please contact the Office of the Provost at 559.278.2636 to request disability accommodations.



Fall 2018

This series is to honor and showcase each year's recipients of the Provost's Awards. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Paul Price, Department of Psychology
(2017-2018 Excellence in Teaching)

“Are You as Good a Teacher as You Think?”
Research in social psychology shows that people generally think they are better than their peers on a wide variety of traits, skills, and behaviors. This "better-than-average effect" is especially strong among college professors assessing their own teaching. In this talk, Dr. Paul Price will discuss some reasons for these optimistically biased self-assessments, along with some antidotes for them. Dr. Price will also reflect on some potential benefits of teaching with greater humility.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Benjamin Boone, Department of Music
(2016-2017-Excellence in Teaching)

“What We Can Learn About Psychology, Perception, Teaching, and Existence by Examining Music, Speech, and Ghanaian Fashion”

Having just served a year as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Ghana, Professor of Music Benjamin Boone will lead an exploration of musical structure and how it relates to other aspects of life -- and other disciplines in this interactive and participatory session. 

 Thursday, October 11, 2018
Qiao-Hong Chen, Department of Chemistry
(2017-2018- Distinguished Achievement in Research, Scholarship or Creative Accomplishment)

"The Quest for Natural Product-Inspired Anti-Prostate CancerAgents"
Our research aims to engineer more effective derivatives  and analogues of natural products of for the potential treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Four Dietary natural products, together with one marine natural product, were selected as our lead compounds to develop potential anti- prostate cancer agents through appropriate chemical modifications. Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen will present the major findings from the medicinal chemistry and drug discovery efforts driven by the quest for effective anti-prostate cancer agents.  


Andrew Fiala, Department of Philosophy
(2017-2018- Distinguished Achievement in Research, Scholarship or Creative Accomplishment)

"Peace: What is it Good For?"
Dr. Andrew Fiala will present ideas he discusses in his new book, Transformative Pacifism (Bloomsbury Press, 2018).  Dr. Fiala's thesis is that peace is an important primary good that provides a focal point for ethical theory, while pacifism is best understood as a critical social theory.  He will explain how pacifist critical theory can be applied in various contexts as a situated and self-conscious theory that aims at the incremental transformation of self, society, and world.

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Rajee Amarasinghe, Department of Mathematics
(2017-2018- Innovation)

"Path of Least Resistance: Integrating Teaching, Research, and Service with the Help of Your Colleagues"
As faculty of a comprehensive university, Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe knows that we are expected to engage and excel in teaching, research, and service. To some, this may appear to be an intimidating task involving three completely different areas of activities. However Dr. Amarasinghe has found ways in which we can integrate these activities while enjoying our work and fulfilling the expectations of the tenure process and beyond.


Carolyn Cusick, Department of Philosophy
(2017-2018- Faculty Service)

"Service as Opportunity: Tales of a Life Long Learner"
Opportunities abound on university campuses. Opportunities for classes, clubs, and committees. Opportunities for new learning, improvement, or awareness of possibilities. Opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members. But busy faculty often ignore and miss out on many of these opportunities. In this talk, Dr. Carolyn Cusick will share bits of her own journey in higher education from wide-eyed, curious undergrad to junior faculty committed to instructional and community service and argue that service can be seen as an opportunity rather than a burden.

 Thursday, November 8, 2018
Qin Fan, Department of Economics
(2017-2018- Promising New Faculty)

“Opportunities and Challenges for Local and Regional Economic Development: the Synergy of Teaching, Research, and Service”
Human capital-represented by the share of college graduates-and the quality of life in a community were found to significantly contribute to economic growth. Dr. Qin Fan and her co-authors are also learning that human capital and quality of life are mutually reinforcing. Larger share of college graduates and better amenity and quality of life factors—air quality, open space views, pleasant climate, and coast, for example—give economic growth an additional boost. Dr. Fan will specifically discuss how her experience working with students and being involved in community service shape her research agenda and how she incorporates her research into the classroom and engages her students in community service supporting community economic development.


 Alison Mandaville, Department of English
(2016-2017- Promising New Faculty)

 “Comics in the Classroom: Valley Water Voices”
Comics are a great teaching tool. Dr. Alison Mandaville will discuss – and show – why comics strategies work so well across disciplines to engage students, support learning, and foster critical thinking. Dr. Mandaville will share a student research project assignment, "Valley Water Voices", for which students read about and researched the role of water in the Central Valley community and then presented their work in comics form. She will also discuss how this assignment could be adjusted to any discipline, from Engineering to English.

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Ignacio Hernandez, Department of Educational Leadership (2017-2018-Promising New Faculty)

"Community College Transfer Students at Fresno State"
For transfer students, coming to Fresno State requires numerous adjustments to the new environment and institutional culture, including larger classes, increased academic rigor, new friends, a larger campus and a new location. Dr. Ignacio Hernandez will share the findings from a research project using data from the Office of institutional Effectiveness at Fresno State. 


Susana Hernandez, Department of Educational Leadership
(2016-2017- Promising New Faculty)

"Moving beyond enrolling to Serving: The role of Hispanic Serving Institutions in higher education"
Hispanic Serving Institutions play a critical role in the American higher education landscape. Dr. Susana Hernandez will share the role faculty and student affairs educators play in ensuring LatinX students are supported. 

 Fresno State is committed to providing universal access to all our guests. Please contact the Office of the Provost at 559.278.2636 to request disability accommodations.