Letter from the Chair - Spring 2024

Published January 22, 2024
Jim Kisiel

Welcome to 2024!

For me, the new year brings reflection of times past and future possibilities. Twenty years ago, I found myself working through my first year here at CSULB. Things were a bit different then—there was no CANVAS or student management systems, no 'single sign-on,' no Hall of Science. But there was still a strong drive within the department to help our students make sense of science, make sense of teaching, and find the confidence to use these experiences and understanding to succeed in a new career.

Much has changed since 2004. MySpace is no longer the top social media site. Apple iPods, in lots of different colors, are nowhere to be found (except maybe on Ebay). We can't set our VCRs to record the final episode of Friends (although we can stream the final episode of Reservation Dogs pretty easily). But some 2004 highlights are repeating themselves here in 2024, including a contentious presidential election, war in the Middle East, threats to LGBTQ rights and... the movie Mean Girls (yes, the original was released in '04).

As science educators, we continue to strive to help all students achieve success. Yet a deeper understanding of our students and their challenges, and a recognition of how educational practices (and science practices) of the past may have led to unjust situations and marginalized learners, reminds us that education, like science, is not static. With new discoveries and new understanding comes changing perspectives and with effort, changing practices.

This year, we are excited to be able to bring a new full-time faculty member into our department. The difficult process of interviewing and selecting a new colleague from an outstanding group of candidates began last fall and will continue through spring semester, 2024. We look forward to the new ideas, new experiences, and new perspectives that this scholar will be able to share with our evolving department. For those of us who have been here for a while... we continue to learn and endeavor to help our students achieve and even surpass their goals.

As we begin another semester, I look forward to working with all of our SCED faculty and staff, who continue to amaze me in their dedication to students' needs, all while juggling other commitments such as research, university and community service, K-12 teaching, and of course, family. It is this dedicated team that will help the department meet the challenges of change as we continue our work of supporting CSULB students in 2024 and beyond.

Here's to the opportunities of a new year!


James Kisiel
Chair and Professor
Department of Science Education
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
CSU Long Beach

P.S. For more on some of the cultural highlights (or lowlights?) from 2004 (before many in our CSULB community were even born), explore this list: 50 Things That Happened in 2004. Or, check out these top news stories from 2004 (as identified by US journalists) from 20 years ago.