Campus: Fullerton -- September 28, 2007

Promoting Diversity
Cal State Fullerton and Howard University Agreement Brings Predoctoral Fellows to CSUF to Teach

An agreement between Cal State Fullerton and Howard University in Washington, D.C., has brought two predoctoral fellows to Cal State Fullerton this fall from the comprehensive, research-oriented, historically black private university.

The agreement, signed by CSUF President Milton A. Gordon and Orlando L. Taylor, dean of Howard’s Graduate School and vice provost for research, established a predoctoral internship for Howard graduate students completing their dissertations.

Andrene Taylor and Kellie Weiss are teaching women’s studies and English classes, respectively, this fall. A third intern, Ingar Johnson, is due to arrive in the spring to teach sociology.

“This is an opportunity for us to increase the diversity of our faculty,” Gordon said. “Howard University is the nation’s largest producer of African American Ph.D.s, and we are excited about being the first university west of the Mississippi to partner with them.”

Howard has similar partnerships with 11 other universities on the East Coast.

“California is a national leader of a lot of important educational initiatives, and to have our students take part in this agreement is a huge opportunity for our institution,” Taylor said.

The partnership was initiated by Thomas P. Klammer, dean of the CSUF College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Steven N. Murray, dean of the CSUF College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Howard administrators; and graduate students at Howard in the Preparing Future Faculty Program.

“The predoctoral fellows will spend a year with us, teaching a class and learning what is involved in being a professor while they finish their dissertations,” Klammer said. “We see this as both a faculty recruitment strategy and a diversity tool, since many of Howard’s students are African-American.”

The goals of the predoctoral internships are to enhance faculty diversity in American higher education and the quality of graduate and undergraduate education, as well as increase diversity and cultural understanding in collegial and institutional relationships.

As part of the agreement, Howard will invite the Cal State Fullerton faculty to join in academic events and projects sponsored by its faculty and ensure that those chosen for the internships are prepared to teach. CSUF is funding the interns’ salaries and providing mentors, office space and formal evaluations.

Weiss, whose hometown is Pittsburg, said she chose Howard to pursue her doctoral degree because it is known for its African American literature program. Getting to study and teach on both coasts, she said, has exposed her to cultures she had never known, growing up in a mostly Caucasian family and neighborhood.

“The population at Howard and here in Fullerton have been so welcoming,” she said. “I feel like I’m getting the best of diversity on both sides of the country.”

Contact: Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 714-278-7586 or

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