Campus: CSU Long Beach -- June 05, 2002

3 Professors Named Recipients of CSULB Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award

California State University, Long Beach has selected three professors to receive its 2001-2002 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, which is given annually to selected faculty members in recognition of sustained excellence in teaching.

Barbara LeMaster, Arthur M. Levine and Reza Toossi were recently recognized and presented with the awards at the campus' year-end University Achievement Awards celebration.

LeMaster, a professor of anthropology/linguistics, is an experienced signer with a special interest in the Irish deaf. She is an American Sign Language/English certified interpreter (certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., at the Comprehensive Skills Certificate level). She also knows Irish Sign Language (ISL) as one of her research tracks focuses on the study of gendered ISL.

Among the reasons for her recognition are her outstanding student evaluations and her involvement of students in hands-on research groups.

"One of the most important parts of my work is the level of student involvement," said LeMaster, who joined the university in 1988. "Two of my students and I went to England where we gave a presentation to the International Gender and Language Association meetings in April. And, I continued on to Ireland where I gave a guest lecture at Trinity College Dublin (where I was previously a visiting professor) and collected more data on my ISL dictionary project."
Her two lines of research are the investigation of gendered Irish Sign Language and the investigation of the acquisition and socialization of gendered forms of floor-taking behavior by preschool children.

Levine, a professor of legal studies, believes his passion for teaching and students, his ability to
communicate clearly and directly and his style of bringing the outside world into the classroom all contributed to his being honored.

Levine teaches courses on the legal environment of business at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The courses all include a module on ethics and values, a subject in which he has a special interest.

"The Enron debacle, while tragic both for the employees and the investors, has been a golden opportunity for an extended discussion of law and ethics," said Levine, a CSULB faculty member since 1974 and a graduate of the Educators' Workshop of the Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics.

Founder and faculty advisor to CSULB's pre-law society, Levine has used his extensive contacts to bring speakers to campus to help students make informed choices about going to law school, selecting a law school and exploring different areas of legal practice. The Law Society has been selected twice as the "Organization of the Year" by the CSULB Associated Students from among the more than 200 campus clubs and organizations-the only group ever to be so honored.
Toossi, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the first faculty member in the College of Engineering to be awarded both the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award and the Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activity Award, which he received in 1995.
"If you want to be a good teacher, you must have three qualities," said Toossi, a CSULB faculty member since 1981. "You have to know what you are teaching; you have to have a passion for what you are teaching; and you must be compassionate and dedicated to the students you teach. Having one without the others is not sufficient."

Toossi also believes that a good teacher, especially at the university level, needs to be a good researcher and up-to-date on the state-of-the-art and subject matters as well. He thinks his work as a researcher may have helped set him apart from other candidates for the award.
Among his areas of research is the development of a new type of refrigeration system for bus systems that, if successful, will increase fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent. He is also doing some research in the area of hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cells.

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