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Weekly Wednesday Message
April 9, 2014

Did You Know?

zebrasWhy do zebras have stripes? Biological Sciences’ Theodore Stankowich has the answer to the question that has puzzled scientists, including Darwin, for more than a century.

It’s not camouflage, heat management or predator defense that causes zebras to have stripes. Biting flies, including horseflies and tsetse flies, are the evolutionary driver for zebra stripes, according to research published by a team of scientists that included Stankowich in the online journal Nature Communications.

“There have been experiments that have shown that biting flies don’t detect animals with stripes,” Stankowich said. “The stripes disrupt the fly’s ability to detect the animal in nature.” Learn more.

Academic Affairs Recognizes Academic Departments for Student Success

This year Academic Affairs is recognizing departments for high performance and improvement with respect to student success. Awards are provided in two categories, “High Achievement in Student Success” and “Improvement in Student Success.”

High achieving departments are the 12 departments with the highest graduation rates. Improving departments are the 12 with the largest gains in retention in the major. Recognition is accompanied by $10,000 awards. Departments winning in both categories will receive $20,000. Departments will also receive plaques that can be displayed in department offices.

President Obama has set ambitious goals for the U.S. to increase degree completions. The U.S. cannot achieve these goals without California and California cannot achieve these goals without the large CSU campuses such as Long Beach. Our campus is at the center of the national strategy to increase U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

Most importantly, students benefit greatly from the efforts of departments to support retention and timely completion. Academic Affairs is pleased to recognize these high performing units. Thanks to the faculty and staff for their outstanding work in helping our students reach their academic goals.

The following departments were recognized for High Achievement in Student Success:

  • Anthropology
  • Communication Studies
  • Film and Electronic Arts
  • Human Development
  • Linguistics
  • Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Arts
  • Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

The following departments were recognized for Improvement in Student Success 2014:

  • Anthropology
  • Communicative Disorders
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Geography
  • Human Development
  • Liberal Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Marketing
  • Nursing
  • Religious Studies
  • Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Departments were selected based on combining several years of data for native and transfer students using six-year graduation in the major figures and junior level retention in the major figures for respective awards. This method evens out year-to-year and subgroup variability, increasing confidence that data are showing trends.

Display RSCA at Awards Event

Faculty and students who would like to display posters, exhibits, books and/or published works at the University Achievement Awards on Thursday, April 17 should notify event coordinators today.

This is an opportunity to honor the outstanding accomplishments of faculty, students and staff and showcase recent and ongoing research, publications, and creative activities.

  • To submit a book/publication, please email the book or article titles with the list of authors to Lori Vidal by Wednesday, April 9.

Additional information about submitting items for the event is available online.

Funding for Transportation Research

Funding is available through METRANS Transportation Center to conduct research directed at solving significant metropolitan transportation problems organized around two multimodal themes:

  • Understanding passenger/freight interactions; and
  • Achieving system efficiencies

Principal Investigators at CSULB or USC are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators.

Proposals are to be emailed by 5 pm, Monday, April 28 to Vicki Valentine Deguzman at

Project awards are for Fall 2014, are capped at $100,000/year and normally are offered for one year only. Proposals may include multiple investigators. Guidelines and further details are available online.

Summer BeachBoard Workshops

Workshops to help faculty members learn about upcoming BeachBoard improvements will be held in the summer. When are you available? Take this survey to let Instructional Technology Support Services know.

The Fall 2014 BeachBoard improvements include the following:

  • Drag and Drop features in the content area
  • A new look for the navigation bar
  • Improved Discussion features
  • Improved Dropbox feedback features

Scholarly Writing Institute is June 10-12

Registration is underway for the Summer Scholarly Writing Institute (SWI), a three-day intensive writing experience designed to help faculty complete scholarly writing projects.

Organized by the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs and the Faculty Center for Professional Development, the SWI will be held Tuesday, June 10 – Thursday, June 12 in the Anatol Center (AS-119). It will provide participants with 19 hours of dedicated writing time and resource consultants who are recognized for their expertise in specific areas such as editing and statistical analyses.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty interested in registering for the Scholarly Writing Institute are asked to have most of their research completed (i.e., ready to write) and have a laptop or desktop computer available for their use.

Registration closes on May 23, but it is suggested that you register early as demand has exceeded capacity in recent years. Additional information is available online.

Staff Needed to Help with Commencement

Staff are invited to participate in the 2014 Commencement ceremonies, May 20-23. Volunteers are needed to help make the day special for graduates and their families by:

  • Distributing Commencement programs
  • Assisting the Platform Party in the VIP Staging Room
  • Providing directions to guests on campus, including directing guests with special needs to accessible routes.

Volunteers are asked to work a minimum of two-hour time periods. If you are interested and have received your supervisor’s approval, please contact Michelle Terry via email at or at extension 5-4546.

Event Kicks off Earth Week Activities

Kick off campus Earth Week activities at the Green Generation Mixer and Sustainability event on Thursday April 17 from 5 to 8 pm at the Japanese Gardens.

The event will feature student projects, green vendors, community non-profits, and city services focused on sustainability and the environment. The event is free and open to the campus community.

Support Student-Athletes at Jewels of the Night

The 20th annual Jewels of Night is less than a month away. The event opens at 5 pm on Saturday, May 3, providing the opportunity to bid on items, enjoy entertainment and food from area eateries, participate in wine tastings and more – all while raising money for student-athlete scholarships.

Make reservations or get more information.

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