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Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

2011-12 was an exceptional year for research, scholarly and creative activity. CSULB faculty and staff were awarded a total of more than $49 million – a University record for external funding.

Of the 328 proposals submitted, 198 were funded - a 62 percent success rate. This is at a time when national funding rates are at historic all-time lows for the major federal funding agencies that support our programs, such as the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation which have funding success rates of 18 and 22 percent respectively.

This speaks volumes about the dedication and competitiveness of our faculty, as well as the quality of their research as judged by their scholarly peers.

At this time of funding frugality we received nearly 57 percent of the total funding requested - significantly higher than at any other time in our history.

Discover more about research at CSULB.

Support for Scholarships, Stipends and Tuition/Fees

The amount of external funding received in 2011-12 is impressive, but what really matters is the impact that this funding has in support of our mission.

Direct support for scholarships, stipends, and tuition/fees allocated from grant awards amounted to more than $4.8 million with an additional $2.2 million allocated to Student Salaries & Wages.

These figures do not include funding for curricular development or pedagogical and faculty professional development initiatives that indirectly support students by enhancing our educational programs and our Highly Valued Degree Initiative. Nor does it include funding for supplies and resources to allow our undergraduate and graduate students to participate and collaborate with our faculty in meaningful, cutting edge research projects and scholarly activities that enable them to be trained in the skills and competencies required by employers to fill workforce needs.

Supporting STEM

In his State of the Union address back in January, President Obama confirmed his commitment to improve Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education over the next decade, stating that the decline in U.S. competitiveness in science and technology was a national crisis and a governmental priority. "Educate to Innovate" was the campaign phrase for promoting excellence in education to increase STEM literacy and quantitative and critical thinking; improving the quality of math and science teaching so American students are no longer outperformed by those in other nations and expanding STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and minorities.

Our faculty responded to this national call and this year were awarded over $7.8 million in support of STEM initiatives, a significant proportion targeted to increase competitiveness of minorities and under-served students. Among the awards received was:

  • A $4.4 million Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI): STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help increase the number of Latino students earning degrees in the STEM disciplines.
  • A $900,000 grant from the Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for a joint project between the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Education. The project, “Raising the Bar for STEM Education in California: Preparing Elementary Teachers in a Science Rich Clinical Setting,” allows UTEACH students and their master teachers to participate in intensive STEM content and pedagogy professional development, receive STEM related equipment and teaching materials, co-teach STEM lessons and integrate STEM content across the curriculum. Opportunities to earn middle school math and science credentials will also be provided. Co-PIs Dr. Babette Benken (Mathematics and Statistics) and Dr. Laura Henriques (Science Education) are working with co-PIs Dr. Linda Symcox and Dr. Felipe Golez (both of Teacher Education) and Dr. William Straits (Science Education) on the 42-month project.
  • A $525,000 combined National Science Research Foundation research grant awarded to Dr. Laura Portnoi (Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling) and Dr. Karen Kim from Cal State Fullerton to study how innovative computer science and engineering (CSE) departments improve interest in, and retention of, women in CSE fields and careers.
  • A $9,000 fellowship award that allows Ashlee Wilkins, a student in the Student Development in Higher Education program, to work with her faculty mentor, Dr. Angela Locks (Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling) on a mixed methods research study that focuses on African American females interested in STEM fields.

New Software Helps with Research

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) introduced a program to make the pre-award grant approval process easier and the Library unveiled new products to help faculty and staff with research and university business.

  • Cayuse logoORSP introduced Cayuse, web-based software that helps streamline and improve the current manual, labor-intensive Internal Clearance Form routing process at CSULB.
  • The Library launched Qualtrics, which provides a web-based survey tool for users to conduct research, evaluations and other data collection activities. Faculty and staff can build survey forms, launch online surveys, and download the data collected for analysis in SPSS, SAS, Minitab or other statistical software products.
  • The Library also unveiled NVivo, a statistical software program that helps users organize and analyze unstructured information like documents, surveys, audio, video and pictures.
  • In 2011 the Library upgraded RefWorks, software that helps researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies. RefWorks 2.0 uses the latest web technologies, provides a clean, intuitive design scheme and makes the most frequently used features more prominent.

Multidisciplinary Research

Academic Affairs awarded five Multidisciplinary Research Awards to motivate collaborative research among different academic units at CSULB. The following awards, with the grant total of $59,890, were selected for their level of interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, student involvement, and overall merit.

  • “The Role of Belonging: Uncertainty in the Underrepresentation of Latinos in Science,” Dustin Thoman (Psychology), Andrew Mason (CNSM) and Paul Buonora (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
  • “Miniaturizing Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) for High-Throughput Analysis of Histone Modifications,” Roger Chih-Cheng Lo (Chemical Engineering) and Houng-Wei Tsai (Biological Sciences)
  • “Types of Perseveration in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Work Setting,” Tina Arora (Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling) David Whitney (Psychology)
  • “Incidence Testing for HIV-1 in an At-Risk Population Residing in Long Beach, CA,” Grace Reynolds (Health Care Administration) and Eric Hass-Stapleton (Biological Sciences)
  • “The Economic Impact of a Large Earthquake on Ports and Transportation System in Southern California,” Khosrow Moshirvaziri (Information Systems) and Behnam Bahr (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)


Recognizing Excellence in Research

Several faculty members were recognized for excellence in research, scholarly and creative activity at the University Achievement Awards and Celebration of Instruction, Research, Creative Activity and Service.

  • William JeynesDr. William Jeynes (Teacher Education) received the Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement award for his work to address the achievement gap, specifically the role that parental involvement, religion, divorce, family structure, bullying and other factors play in students’ academic success.
  • Dr. Chris Lowe (Biological Sciences) and Dr. Hamid Rahai (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) were presented with the Academic Affairs Awards for Impact Accomplishment of the Year in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity. Chris Lowe and Hamid Rahai

    Dr. Lowe has a diverse research program that includes studies on sting rays and maternal offloading, population dynamics of barred sand bass, spread of contaminants via white croaker populations, use of newly restored habitat by California halibut and fish habitat in Baja California.

    Dr. Rahai has received more than $3 million in grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation, the Federal Highway Administration, the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, The Port of Los Angeles, the Boeing Company, Southern California Edison, the Long Beach Airport, and Long Beach Transit, among others.
  • Dr. Stephen Mezyk (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was given the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Stephen MezykResearch, Scholarly & Creative Activity for his work with students.  His six graduate students, 18 undergraduates and 12 student laboratory volunteers have all been highly successful in the number of awards and scholarships they have won, the number of articles they have co-authored, and the national and international conferences at which they have presented.
  • Dr. Grace Reynolds (Health Care Administration) and Dr. Dustin Thoman (Psychology) received the Early Career Excellence Awards, which recognize the extraordinary academic and professional achievements of faculty early in their careers.
    Gracey Reynolds and Dustin Thoman
    Dr. Reynolds demonstrates outstanding academic achievement in her work as the Associate Director for Research at the Center for Behavioral Research and Services and as the graduate advisor for Health Care Administration.

    Dr. Thoman is an interdisciplinary collaborator who is co-investigator for a highly prestigious National Institute of Health RO1 grant, normally awarded to research intensive institutions.

Improving Education

  • The College of Education received nearly $250,000 from the California Postsecondary Education Commission to prepare teachers for new common core State standards. Faculty participating in the project include Dr. Rhoda Coleman and Dr. Leslie Reese, both from the Center for Language Minority Education and Research, and Dr. Fay Shin and Dr. Paul Boyd-Batstone, both from Teacher Education.
  • Faculty in the College of Education received a two-year $234,260 grant from the James Irvine Foundation to prepare new high school teachers for Linked Learning, a promising reform for secondary education, that brings together problem-based learning in small learning communities for college and career readiness. Linked Learning models are transforming students’ high school experience as they follow industry-themed pathways in a wide range of fields, such as engineering, arts and media, biomedicine and health. These pathways prepare high school students for careers, college and a full range of postsecondary options.

    The Linked Learning project at CSULB, in collaboration with partners in the Long Beach Unified School district, is a transformational model of clinical teacher preparation and induction that prepares beginning teachers for teaching in Linked Learning settings.
  • Faculty in the College of Education are currently working on two professional development projects with the support of Google.

    Led by Dr. Stephen Adams, faculty in the College of Education are developing a three-unit online course designed to assist new teachers in developing innovative pedagogical methods using technology thanks to a $10,000 grant from Google.

    Dr. Adams, Dr. Lesley Farmer, and Dr. Ali Rezaei are part of Google's Principles of Educational Technology effort. This project, supported by $15,000 in funding from Google, combines two days of educational technology workshops for teachers at Garden Grove Unified School District with a one-unit follow-up course.
  • Dr. Clorinda Donato, Dr. Claire Martin, and Dr. Marcus Muller received a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support the French for Spanish Speakers Initiative, which teaches “intercomprehension” of more than one language at a time. The grant allows the university to expand the program to high schools and community colleges throughout the region.
  • The School of Nursing received a total of $1.8 million to allow CSULB to educate more culturally competent and linguistically more proficient family nurse practitioners to care for patients and families in underserved areas.
  • Dr. Tang-Hung Nguyen and Dr. Tariq Shehab (both Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management) received a $54,000 grant from CALTRANS for the National Summer Transportation Institute, which provides transportation career awareness to secondary school students and encourages them to consider transportation-related courses in college.

Groundbreaking Research, Nationally Recognized Creativity

  • Perpetual MotionAn exhibition co-curated by University Art Museum Director Chris Scoates and graduate art student Elizabeth Anne Hanson, won the “Best Show in a University Gallery” award from the American chapter of the International Association of Art Critics.
  • Working with students, Dr. Steven Manley and Dr. Chris Lowe, both from Biological Sciences, conducted research that found radioactivity from Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was present in California kelp more than a month after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense provided a three-year, $589,999 grant to Dr. Yohannes Abate (Physics and Astronomy) and Dr. Shahab Derakhshan (Chemistry and Biochemistry) to aid their research and prepare students for nanotechnology careers and studies.
  • Keith Johnson (Dance) became the first choreographer in the history of the American College Dance Festival Association to have more than one dance chosen from the same regional conference for the National College Dance Festival in Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Hamid Rahai and Dr. Hamid Hefazi received a $1.8 million grant to help fight pollution at the Port of Los Angeles through a new application of technology that has the potential to significantly reduce emissions of Ocean Going Vessels by as much as 85 percent. In addition, Dr. Rahai, along with Dr. Roger Lo and Dr. Sepideh Faraji (both from Chemical Engineering) received a $28,000 summer grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for investigation of humid air system and electro-static fog for controlling diesel emissions.
  • Dr. Michael P. Schramm (Chemistry and Biochemistry), along with undergraduate students Katie M. Feher and Hai Hoang, recently demonstrated that they could embed a molecule inside a vase-shaped carrier molecule called a cavitand that they created, then successfully insert it into a cell membrane.
  • Dr. Tulin Mangir (Electrical Engineering) and Dr. Jin Lee Kim (Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management) received the CSU Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WPRI) grant awards for investigating nanotechnology applications to water resources and heavy metal removal efficiency of constructed wetlands in California.
  • Dr. Eric Besnard of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department received a $52,500 grant from Garvey Spacecraft Corporation for high altitude launch of nano-satellites and 4.5K thrust LOX-propylene engine.
  • Christine Guter (Bob Cole Conservatory of Music) sang on the soundtrack of the hit animated feature, “The Lorax.” Her voice can also be heard in support of “Men in Black III,” scored by Danny Elfman.
  • Dr. Lisa Klig (Biological Sciences) received a $1.7 million extension of a $1.3 million grant (totaling $3 million) from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for the Stem Cell Biotechnology Training Program at CSULB. The funding will support three more cohorts of up to 10 students in the program each year through spring 2015. The student interns will prepare for careers in medicine and/or biomedical (stem cell) research.
  • In collaboration with a team from Arizona State University, College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani and 10 collaborators from CSULB received the highly competitive Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award from the National Science Foundation. Funded by a $3 million grant, the initiative aims to create an interdisciplinary doctoral program in the area of “Person-Centered Technologies and Practices for Individuals with Disabilities.”
  • Dr. Chin Chang of Electrical Engineering in collaboration with Dr. Josh Hamel of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Dr. Khosrow Moshirvaziri and Dr. Omer Benli of the College of Business received a three-year $220,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Homeland Security Education in Engineering Systems Program.

In Print

  • Dr. Kevin Malotte (Health Science) was a co-author of an article published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. He was a member of the research team that conducted a study that involved giving a combined drug to heterosexual adults in Botswana to prevent HIV infection. You can read the article, Antiretroviral Preexposure Prophylaxis for Heterosexual HIV Transmission, on the Journal’s website. This was one of the studies cited by the FDA in licensing the first drug for the prevention of HIV in the United States this week.


  • Dr. Andrew Jenks wrote The Cosmonaut Who Couldn’t Stop Smiling: The Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin after a semester sabbatical compiling research that took him from the spaceman’s home town to his landing site to the museums established in his memory.
The Cosmonaut who Couldn't Stop Smiling:  The Life and  Legend of Yuri Gagarin

  • Dr. William Leiter (Political Science) is engaged in research on the Obama Administration and Affirmative Action, with the objective of publishing a volume to supplement his recent book co-authored with Samuel Leiter, Affirmative Action in Antidiscrimination Law and Policy: An Overview and Synthesis (Second Edition) (State University of New York Press, 2011).
Affirmative Action in Antidiscrimination Law and Policy: An Overview and Synthesis


  • Dr. Carl Lipo (Archaeology) published his research on Easter Island in The Statues that Walked, which won a Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) Book Award this year. His research was featured in the July issue of National Geographic. He also discussed his research in a NOVA/ National Geographic television documentary, which will air November 9.
The Statues that Walked


  • Dr. Ebony Utley (Communication Studies) published Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God, which tackles a sensitive and controversial topic: the juxtaposition—and seeming hypocrisy—of references to God within rap music.
Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta's God

  • Dr. Tim Keirn (History and Liberal Studies) and Dr. Norbert Schürer (English) wrote British Encounters with India, 1750-1830: A Sourcebook, a collection of 18th- and early 19th-century texts and images that represent various facets of the cross-cultural interaction between India and Britain.
British Encounters with India, 1750 - 1830: A Sourcebook


  • Dr. Kim-Phuong Vu (Psychology) wrote Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design (2nd Edition), a 794-page Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design that covers basic human factors issues relating to homepage and website design, universal access and accessibility, types of input devices for accessing the web, and how to organize and search for information on the web.
Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design


  • Hold-Outs: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance by Bill Mohr (English) details what Mohr describes as a “West Coast poetry renaissance.” The book offers a multi-generational account of the role of the poet-editor-publisher in Los Angeles.
Hold Outs: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance


  • Dr. Ali Igmen (History) published Speaking Soviet with an Accent: Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan, the first English-language study of Soviet culture clubs in Kyrgyzstan.

Speaking Soviet with an Accent: Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan


  • Biological Sciences’ Dr. Chris Lowe, Dr. Gwen Goodmanlowe, and six alumni of the Shark Lab co-authored seven of the 32 chapters of the Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the White Shark, from CRC Press.

Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the White Shark


  • Ida A Novel by Gertrude Stein was made available in a workshopped edition created by Logan Esdale (English)
Ida A Novel by Gertrude Stein