Dr. Bonnie Gasior, a Spanish professor in the Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures department, has found her greatest satisfaction in serving students. For many years, though, that interaction was limited to the classroom.
Over time, however, Gasior discovered that advocating on behalf of students was just as rewarding as teaching and mentoring.
As a result of these efforts, including becoming a Mental Health First Aid, Gasior was named a CSU Faculty Innovation & Leadership Award winner. Selected from 230 nominees, this award acknowledges faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to advance student success.
The CSU panel also took into consideration Gasior’s work in designing a service-learning course as part of Alternative Spring Break and joining the Paideia Fellows Studio, which re-imagines the first-year experience for students.
“When I first learned a colleague at another CSU campus nominated me, I was flattered. But when I received the actual notification letter, I was flabbergasted. To receive this recognition, for me, is a pinnacle in my 18-year career and a testament to the power of hard work, vision and persistence,” Gasior said. “I am deeply grateful to everyone who has had a collaborative hand in these particular projects. To say that this award is reaffirming would be an understatement.”
Gasior’s time in the President’s and Provost’s Leadership Fellows Program allowed her to not only develop leadership skills but identify a personally meaningful campus-impacting project, which she said has been her most significant contribution to overall student well-being: Mental Health First Aid. MHFA trains individuals as first responders to understand and respond to people in distress.
Gasior not only received the training, she also became an instructor. Since 2018, she has facilitated six workshops, including one at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and plans to deliver more in the future, both on and beyond campus.
Some of Gasior’s other efforts include co-leading four study abroad programs (to Spain and Cuba); joining the CLA Career Readiness team; serving as the Faculty Athletics Representative as well as undergraduate and graduate advisor; co-authoring a third-year Spanish literature textbook inspired by her Cal State Long Beach students, and publishing peer-reviewed articles with Spanish MA students.
Gasior now hopes to use the leadership tools she has acquired in her new role as Interim Director of the University Honors Program.
“I’m thrilled to be able to share my passion for high impact practices (HIPs) with Honors students,” she said.
She will be recognized at the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium in Sacramento in October.