California State University, Long Beach
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Learning Specialist Mulleavy Named Employee of the Month

Published: December 15, 2010

Patrick Mulleavy, a learning skills specialist in CSULB’s Learning Assistance Center (LAC), was chosen recently by his colleagues to be employee of the month.

Mulleavy, who joined the university staff 40 years ago as a biology technician and later served as an outreach coordinator for the College of Natural Sciences, was recognized in a special ceremony held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union which was renamed Patrick Mulleavy Lane for the month.

President F. King Alexander praised Mulleavy for his dedication to CSULB’s students. “Patrick has worked hard to make a difference in students’ lives,” he said. “He always makes time to meet with all of his students regardless of the time, frequently staying late or coming in early. He is totally dedicated to his job.”

As a learning skills specialist, Mulleavy teaches memory, time management and test preparation skills. He also works as academic coach for the 49er baseball team. He volunteers his time to help Long Beach Fire Department applicants to master study techniques and assists with their qualifying exams.

“It was an honor to be selected,” said Mulleavy, who earned his bachelor’s in 1972 and his master’s in 1974 from CSULB. “I was just about to pursue my doctorate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver when a position opened on campus. Forty years later, I’m still here. I joined the Learning Assistance Center in 1992. I love my job.”
Mulleavy feels one reason for his selection as employee of the month is his reputation for working one-on-one with CSULB students. “The goal is to develop learning skills,” he explained. “I also do a lot of in-class presentations about memory and test-taking techniques. At times, I look at my daily schedule and it reminds me of LAX with students landing and taking off every half hour.”

Being a 40-year veteran at CSULB has advantages. As an outreach coordinator, Mulleavy supervised the Mobile Science Museum which partnered with local elementary schools to spark interest in biology. Some of his favorite career memories include being acknowledged by CSULB students who say, ‘Hey, you were at my school when I was in the fourth grade!’”

Success at CSULB can be a matter of timing. “The students who visit us in the Learning Assistance Center often complain about testing anxiety and time management,” he said. “Lots of our students work and must match their schedules outside campus with their academic schedules. I tell my students they have two lives, one academic and the other personal and the trick is to balance those out. I help students set up week-long study schedules on the theory that study is not about the quantity of hours but the quality.”

Learning Specialist Mulleavy Named Employee of the Month
Photo by David J. Nelson
Patrick Mulleavy (l) and president F. King Alexander.

Mulleavy is proud of the LAC in room 104 of the Horn Center and hopes students take advantages of the resources they can find there including a learning skills program that offers workshops and learning strategies. The Supplemental Instruction program offers help for the more troublesome classes while the Tutorial Services Program supports a wide range of subjects through scheduled drop-ins, online and individual appointments and the ESL Support Services provide extensive opportunities to develop English fluency.

It takes a special skill set to deal with hundreds of students face-to-face and one big element of that set is skill with people. “I’ve got a willingness to listen and listen and listen some more,” said Mulleavy. “If you do that, students can take you in the right direction. I work on their self-esteem and self-motivation. There are students who arrive here who are not prepared for college courses and sometimes it takes time to make them feel comfortable. One way to do that is to drop that coat and tie I used to wear in the Biology Department and put on the shirt and pants the students wear. And what I learn from one student, I pass on to the others.”

An average day for Mulleavy means checking his LAX-style calendar before going one-to-one with students. “I’ve also worked for 16 years as academic coach for our baseball teams,” he said. “I run their study hall where they get supervised study Monday through Thursday. I also accompany the team on their spring games where I get a chance to shag a few balls for them.”

The outdoor life is important to Mulleavy. “I enjoy the outdoors and playing in handball tournaments for their hand-eye coordination,” he said. “I also like getting outdoors for bird watching and hiking plus the occasional crossword puzzle.”

Mulleavy is glad he made the choice to join CSULB. “I think I’ve found my niche here,” he said. “It has been a good fit.”
Mulleavy received several gifts with his recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a champagne Sunday brunch for two on the Queen Mary, a coupon good for one free Original Tommy’s World Famous Hamburger and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.

–Richard Manly