|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
San Bernardino Sun 2-24-04
A prof's surprise props
SAN BERNARDINO - Richard Fehn's lesson plan for Monday's Animal Physiology class at Cal State San Bernardino featured a heady explanation of how neurons transmit signals.
It was not planned to include a surprise visit from university President Albert K. Karnig.
So when Karnig let himself in the classroom to tell Fehn he was the university's Outstanding Professor of the Year, the winner was cool, but understandably surprised.
``We want to recognize the person who is outstanding .‚.‚. in front of his students,'' Karnig told Fehn and his 22 students. ``This is where the real work of the university transpires.''
With a shrug and a shake of his head, Fehn, 52, accepted cheers and applause from his students and a gang of previous winners who crowded the classroom.
``This is collusion!'' Fehn finally cried out.
An alumnus of the school and a professor there since 1983, Fehn was nominated for the award by students and peers at the university. Students lauded the youthful professor's ability to present material in a clear and fun way.
The committee that selected him also took note of his successful mentoring of more than 87 undergraduate and graduate students, including a number of academic award winners. His service and research also was considered.
Fehn's chief research is in the area of diabetes and its relation to thyroid hormones and obesity. He was chairman of Cal State's Biology Department from 1994-97.
As the top professor, Fehn wins $1,000 in pocket money, $3,000 toward professional development or research, and will be honored next month at the Golden Apple Awards dinner in San Bernardino.
Last year's winner, Fred Jandt … then a professor of communication studies and now the dean of the university's Palm Desert campus … said the award made a tangible difference in his professional life.
Not only did he get reacquainted with many of the other faculty, but the honor gave him a platform from which to present to them both his research and teaching skills.
The impression it made on his students wasn't bad either.
``Let's say they knew about it,'' Jandt said with a laugh.
As for Fehn, it was obvious minutes later why he was chosen this year's winner. He declined to be interviewed for good reason.
Twenty-two reasons actually.
All of them with pencils waiting for his lecture to resume.
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