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Provost Message - July 12, 2017

I've just recently returned from the CSULB Italia Tour with President Conoley and others that included stops in Rome, Siena, Cortona and Venice, and what a tremendous experience it was.

The focus of the trip was in the Tuscan hill town of Chiusdino, where a new art center is emerging. For the last two years, students and faculty from CSULB’s Ceramic Arts Program have been building a wood-fire kiln and ceramics studio at the Tirisondola/Tuscan Art Center property of Thomas Liepsner.

The international arts exchange project holds opportunities for expanding study-abroad programming for our School of Art and other departments in the College of the Arts, and perhaps other campus programs as well as programs across the CSU system.

We had a very good trip. In fact, it was wonderful spending time with our students—about 20 of them—who were taking part in the summer program, and there was a reception and official opening for the kiln. While we were there, we watched as many of the students mixed and used clay from the property, making ceramics in the way that it has been made there for thousands of years.

I think what most impressed all of us is how much the students seemed to have gained from the experience. As always, when I interact with our students, I was impressed with their confidence, with their abilities, with how much I think travel has opened their eyes and broadened their horizons. I know it sounds cliché, but it really is true.

It is amazing to me that nearly 80 percent of all ceramic arts BFA students have spent time studying, doing research, and exploring different cultures abroad over the last five years because of programs like this. It is easy to see the transformative effects that these travels have on our students when they return to the United States.

In any event, we are looking forward to strengthening our ties with the town of Chiusdino. President Conoley and the mayor of the town had a very fruitful meeting of the minds, which we hope will lead to additional student opportunities. I am grateful to everyone involved for exploring this opportunity for our students.

In closing, let me extend a hearty welcome to both Dr. Jody Cormack and Ms. Juliet Hidalgo to the third floor of Brotman Hall and the Office of the Provost.

We are fortunate to have Dr. Cormack serving as Interim Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Dean of Graduate Studies while the office conducts a search for a permanent replacement for the recently retired Dr. Cecile Lindsay. A new search will begin in the fall, and our hope is to fill the position by January, or July 2018 at the latest.

Mrs. Hidalgo is the new senior communications strategist for Academic Affairs, replacing the recently departed Linda Fontes. She comes to CSULB from Cal Poly Pomona, where for the last two years she was the communication and event specialist for the College of Science. I am looking forward to her creative and innovative contributions to our communications efforts.

‘Shark Week’ Segment on Discovery Channel
to Feature CSULB’s Lowe, Shark Lab Students

Chris Lowe, director of the CSULB Shark Lab, will be featured in a segment of the Discovery Channel’s 2017 Shark Week presentation. Titled “Sharks and the City: LA,” Lowe’s segment will air on Tuesday, July 25, at 9 p.m.

Describing the “Sharks and the City” segment, producers note: “Along the coastline of LA, great white sharks are increasing, and they seem to be hunting out of season. Dr. Chris Lowe, director of the CSULB Shark Lab, wants to know why. His investigation takes him to Guadalupe Island, off Mexico, where he finds the answer.”

In conjunction with this, the campus will host Shark Week @ The Beach on Friday, July 21, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Hall of Science. Those in attendance can tour the CSULB Shark Lab, watch a preview of “Sharks and the City: LA” featuring Lowe and CSULB Shark Lab students, and stay for a question-and-answer panel session moderated by ABC7 “Eyewitness News” correspondent Leanne Suter.

The event is free, but reservations are required. Limited seating is available. For details and to RSVP, visit their website.

Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block created at the Discovery Channel and features shark-based programming. It premiered on July 17, 1988 and was originally devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks. Over time, it has grown in popularity and become a hit for the Discovery Channel. Since 2010, Shark Week has been the longest-running cable television programming event in history.

Play by Theatre Arts Faculty Member Has
Successful Run at Fringe Festival in San Diego

An hour-long, family-friendly play title "Flight," written by CSULB Theatre Arts faculty member Ezra LeBank, earned positive reviews in the San Diego Union-Tribune and was labeled "a Fringe Best Bet" when it was performed recently at the 2017 Fringe Festival in San Diego.

Performed by Curbside, a three-member troupe from Long Beach for which LeBank is both artistic director and lead actor, "Flight" is described as a simple but magical story about a miniature prince who travels in a bubble across seven islands in search of a true friend.

The story is told on a bare stage where the actors use their strong, flexible bodies to create the illusions of flight, swimming, whales, turtles, stingrays, cactus, bottle trees and more. Among the best illusions, according to the Union-Tribune reviewer, are those at the beginning when their three bodies intertwine to create the plane in flight and its messy crash.

"It's an adventure story," the reviewer wrote, "but it's also a funny, sweet tale about love, loss, friendship and embracing the wonders of childhood imagination."

Office of Media and Government Relations
Offering Fall Public Knowledge Media Training

The Office of Media and Government Relations will be offering a media training course during the fall 2017 semester. The class will include five separate workshops held on Saturdays from September to November from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The coursework is designed to educate faculty and graduate students on how to interact with online, print, radio and television outlets.

After completion, attendees will be versed in finding news angles related to their research, drafting talking points, participating in interviews, creating videos and using social media. Reporters, media experts and broadcast producers will serve as panelists and provide practical advice.

Faculty members are welcome to register, and graduate students may be admitted with a faculty member's approval. Registration is open until Friday, Aug. 25, and participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. There are limited spaces available.

For more details or to sign up, contact Susan Mills, director, Public Knowledge, at or by phone at ext. 5-7902.

CSU Travel Restrictions Updated

In early December, university officials shared that CSU travel procedures were updated with the passage of Assembly Bill 1887. AB1887 is a California law that restricts state agencies from requiring its employees to travel to any state that has enacted a law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This legislation introduced certain travel restrictions for university travelers effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The campus travel policy and procedures have been modified to ensure compliance with the law. CSULB's travel procedures now include the following:

  • CSULB travelers are defined as employees and non-employees, including students and volunteers.
  • All CSULB travelers are restricted from traveling to any of the affected states unless one of the following legislative exceptions applies:
  1. Enforcement of California law, including auditing and revenue collection;
  2. Litigation;
  3. To meet contractual obligations incurred before Jan. 1, 2017;
  4. To comply with requests by the federal government to appear before committees;
  5. To participate in meetings or training required by a grant or required to maintain grant funding;
  6. To complete job-required training necessary to maintain licensure or similar standards required for holding a position, in the event that comparable training canne obtained in California or a different state not affected;
  7. For the protection of public health, welfare or safety, as determined by the CSU or other state agencies.
  • If travel to a prohibited state meets one of the legislative exceptions, supporting documentation is to be provided with the travel claim.
  • No campus funds may be used for travel to a restricted state, including state or auxiliary funds. If one of the stated exceptions applies, then either state or auxiy funds may be used to support the travel.
  • All travelers are required to review the Attorney General's website to determine if their destination is in an affected state before they book their travel. The comp list of affected states will be maintained on the California State Attorney General's website at
  • If a destination is added to the state website after travel has been booked, the travel may occur.
  • The college and/or department is responsible for maintaining compliance for each of their travelers.