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Vol 57 No. 10 : May 18, 2005
Vol 57 No. 10 | May 18, 2005
Decyk Named Hardeman Award Recipient

Betsy Decyk

As CSULB's longest-serving lecturer member of the University Academic Senate, Betsy Decyk's “personal commitments to promote inclusion, fairness and academic freedom, to improve teaching and learning, and to build networks and communities,” demonstrate the qualities that led to her selection as the 2005 recipient of the Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award.

The Hardeman Award is the CSULB Academic Senate's highest honor “to reward and acknowledge publicly significant contributions to the principle and practice of shared governance” at the university.

In 1984, Decyk joined CSULB as a full-time lecturer in philosophy. In 1994, she began teaching part-time in philosophy and the following year, began teaching critical thinking courses in psychology as well.

“In the 1990s I was awakened to the tensions between individualism and community in American organizations and American life by Richard Rodriguez' book Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father. I began to understand that the university has both a vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension. Perhaps the easiest way to indicate this is to point out that in the university we all have ranks (the vertical) and yet are colleagues (the horizontal),” she remarked. “What I wanted to do was to strengthen the horizontal dimension, to make networks of people and to build communities of colleagues.”

That insight inspired her to run for the CSULB Academic Senate in 1992. Since then, she has served on a number of committees, becoming the first lecturer to serve on the Senate Executive Committee and also the first lecturer to serve on the Faculty Personnel Policies Council. Over the years, she has helped revise policies that benefited faculty members of all ranks, including the mission statement for the Faculty Center for Professional Development and the University Awards Policy.   She was also instrumental in developing the amendment to the Senate's constitution so that now lecturer Senators are elected by their respective colleges, and she has contributed to the development of a range elevation policy for lecturers and to the lecturer evaluation form and process.

Decyk's leadership in faculty development also began in 1992 when she and Professor Susan Rice of the Department of Social Work presented a program on conflict resolution. In 1998, Decyk, along with Elizabeth Hoffman and Troy Myers of the English Department, developed the Professional Enhancement Network, or the PEN Project, supported by the Faculty Center for Professional Development. The PEN Project offers faculty members opportunities for mentoring and peer coaching, presents workshops to faculty of all levels on topics such as workplace stress and plagiarism, and provides advice on best teaching practices.

Moreover, as a direct result of Decyk's efforts, CSULB is now a member of the Carnegie Academy on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, belonging to the Campus Cluster   “Sustaining the Student Voice in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” The cluster includes the University of Western Washington, University of Washington–Bothell, North Seattle Community College and University of Maryland–College Park.   The purpose of the Campus Cluster, as well as its local version, Inter***Active***Voices, is to gather and share information about engaging students and faculty for effective learning.

With a full teaching load and involvement in university governance, Decyk also remains active in her primary academic discipline. She is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, the AAPT. She has held virtually all of AAPT's leadership positions over the years, culminating in 2000 by being selected as its executive director. Her leadership led to an extension of the directorship until 2009.

Decyk earned her B.A. in philosophy from Mount Holyoke College magna cum laude and M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Claremont Graduate University.


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