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The 2009 Cuban Film Festival at CSULB ctitled “Viva Cuba!” continues on consecutive Thursdays at 7 p.m. through March 19 in Lecture Hall 150 at CSULB. Admission is free.

“Our target audience is anyone at any age with an interest in Cuba (all movies will be in Spanish with English subtitles),” said Bonnie Gasior, a member of Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures (RGRLL) since 2001 and festival co-organizer with Nhora Serrano, who joined Comparative World Literature and Classics (CWLC) in 2006. “We hope to attract students from CSULB and beyond, faculty and community members.”

The festival’s final three screenings will be “Balseros” (2002; directed by Charles Bosch and Josep M. Domènech) on March 5, “Habana Blues” (2005; directed by Benito Zambrano) on March 12 and “Suite Habana” (2006; directed by Fernando Pérez) on March 19.

One key to the eclectic selection is accessibility. “We wanted to include quality films that are not easily accessible,” said Gasior. “Many people, for example, are familiar with ‘Fresa y Chocolate’ or ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’ because they’ve managed to permeate Hollywood circles. The ones we’ve chosen are less well-known but still critically acclaimed. Once we identified several viable movies, we began to look at themes identifiable with Cuba, namely race, gender and class. We feel that these issues are and have always been important in Cuban films and are keys to the Cuban experience. We also sought out movies that are stylistically diverse in the movie medium itself so as to offer insight into the late 20th century Cuban film industry.” The festival is sponsored by International Projects, RGRLL, CWLC and the Latin American Studies Program.

Cuba Film Festival

The series has its roots in Cuba’s changing leadership. “Last year, when Fidel Castro stepped down from power, Nhora Serrano and I thought it would be an appropriate time to commemorate the end of an era, so to speak,” Gasior explained. “Since we, as Americans, have little access to and contact with Cuba, we thought a film series would be a good way to inform, educate and enlighten people about this tiny island-country that, because of political reasons, is often a big question mark for many people in the U.S.”

Gasior feels the series’ timing couldn’t be better. “This festival comes at an extremely appropriate time because 2009 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Revolution,” she said. “And more importantly, now that we have a new president who has expressed a desire to better Cuba/U.S. relations, Cuba will surely gain more visibility over the next few years.”

The festival is a first-ever event for the campus. Gasior and Serrano saluted the annual Latin American Film Series but stressed their films were dedicated solely to Cuba. They also praised administration support for the event. “We are lucky to be at an institution that supports both financially and academically this type of endeavor,” agreed Gasior and Serrano.

Gasior and Serrano encouraged both campus and community to attend the five-week series. Gasior summarized, “I think Ingrid Bergman said it best -‘No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight of the soul.’”

In memorium

Rhoda “Randy “ Andersen, faculty emerita, died Dec. 20, at her home in Huntington Beach. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation from San Jose State University and her Master of Arts degree in Administration of Voluntary Associations from Lindenwood Colleges, St. Charles, Mo.

Andersen was an accomplished musician who played double reeds, bass viola and drums in the Women’s Marine Reserve Band during World War II. Following her discharge, she played in the Hormel All-Girls Orchestra as well as the Drum and Bugle Corps which took first place in national competitions.

She began her career in recreation in 1949 in the U.S Army Special Services as a civilian, operating military recreation clubs for enlisted military and their families (what is now MWR – Morale, Welfare and Recreation) in Munich, Germany. She proceeded to establish new clubs in various U.S. military bases in Germany and France from 1951-53.

Eventually, she returned to California and began working in the USO in Hollywood, working with the movie industry people and thousands of volunteers from the community. She then was assigned in 1956 to the USO in Paris and went on to establish a USO in Greece. Coming back to the United States, Andersen became the national program director at the National USO Headquarters in New York City. In 1962 she came to Los Angeles and became the chief executive officer of the Volunteer Center of Greater Los Angeles, where she convened the first International Conference on Volunteerism.

From 1970-74, Randy became the western regional director of the National Center for Voluntary Action. She traveled the 13 western states plus Hawaii and Alaska, assisting local communities with their volunteer programs and helping them establish volunteer centers. She made an incredible impact on individuals engaged in not-for-profit organizations.

In 1974 she joined the faculty of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department at CSULB, where she established a Certificate in the Management of Volunteers and a course in volunteer management. She headed up the internship program for the department and established and directed the Elderhostel program until she retired in 1988.

After her retirement she continued to teach recreation leadership for the department and continued to be involved with the Senior University (now the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). Andersen was a guiding force in the establishment of RALSAA – Recreation and Leisure Studies Alumni Association.

In support of Randy Andersen’s legacy, the family requests that donations be made in her memory to any of the following:

• The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at CSULB, c/o Maridith Janssen, chair, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840-4903
• The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at CSULB, c/o Jeannette Schelin, director, 1000 Studebaker Rd., Ste. 1, Long Beach, CA 90840-0601
• Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Dept. 560 Washington, D.C. 20042-0560

Bruce Berg

Bruce Lawrence Berg, a CSULB criminal justice graduate adviser and professor, died on Feb. 20 in Santa Ana. He was 54.

Berg was born on Oct. 7, 1954, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied sociology, earning his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1975 and his master’s and Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1982 and 1983, respectively.

Berg’s primary area of specialization was policing. Within that broad field, he was particularly interested in police training and police practice which involves both academy training and in-service types of training experiences.

A secondary area of specialization for Berg was qualitative research methods. Within that broad methodological area, he employed both traditional mainstream strategies as well as various innovative techniques of modern qualitative data collection and assessment, including action research, photo-voice, visual-ethnography, and the use of the Internet both as a data collecting instrument and as a source of qualitative data.

Berg began his teaching career as a criminal justice professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1988 and 11 years later became a professor at CSULB. From 2001-03, he served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Department.

“Dr. Bruce Berg was a good man who had a passion for teaching, a great sense of humor who told us often to enjoy every minute of life,” said Sam Torres, a professor and former chair of the CSULB Criminal Justice Department. “His academic and scholarly accomplishments were impressive. They included books on criminal investigation, qualitative research methods, policing, methods for the social sciences, and intro to law enforcement. I also counted eight book chapters and 41 journal articles, not counting many essays, paper presentations and educational software. He was a real ‘workhorse’ for the department and was quick to mentor junior faculty.”

In addition to mentoring faculty and students, Berg taught 10 different courses about subjects such as criminological theory, thesis project writing, research methods, and causation and criminal investigation. He also worked with students through CSULB’s Partners for Success program.

He taught on campus as well as for the off-campus accelerated master’s program in criminal justice. Also, Berg was involved with an exchange program that sent criminal justice students to universities in China.

He worked on research projects with various groups including the Massachusetts State Police Academy. He especially took an interest in studying policing, police training, juvenile justice and substance abuse.

Berg is survived by his wife, Jill; his daughter, Kate, 27, of San Diego; and his son, Alex, 25, of Irvine.

A memorial service was held on Feb. 24 at the Shir Ha-Ma’alot synagogue in Irvine, proceeded by the burial at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar.

Employee Discount Program
Staff Human Resources and University College and Extension Services (UCES) are pleased to offer the CSULB Staff Employee Discount Program for UCES Professional Development for non-credit courses and programs. This program entitles CSULB staff employed for six months or more (full-time temporary/permanent or part-time permanent) to a 30 percent discount on select UCES Professional Development courses and programs.

Covered under this program are the Human Resource Management Certificate program, Professional Meeting and Event Planning program, Global Logistics Specialist program, IT Technology and Engineering courses, AutoCAD and UNIX courses, Forensic Science and the High Tech Crime Certificate programs, Senior Level Human Resource Management Certificate program and on-camera leadership courses. Courses in photography, animation and writing for TV are periodically offered.

Professional Development Grant Program
The Professional Development Grant Program, sponsored by Staff Human Resources, provides financial support for any staff employee who wants to pursue job-related and/or skill-enhancing training opportunities. Matching grants of up to $750 are available. For more information on the program or for grant application, go to the Staff Human Resources forms Web page.

Tuesday, March 3 / 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
A representative from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) will be present to discuss retirement benefits, and enhancements to the CalPERS retirement resources available online through MyCalPERS, in the Karl Anatol Center, AS-110. Seating is limited and is offered to employees who are eligible for a CalPERS Service Retirement (have a minimum of five years of earned service credit in the CalPERS system and are at least 50 years of age). If you plan to attend this workshop, register by contacting Benefits Services at, or call 562/985-2381.

Wednesday, March 4 / 9–11:30 a.m.
This course will provide information on work related injury and illness reporting and the mechanics of the workers’ compensation program. To register contact Gary Pons at 562/985-8893.

Friday, March 6 / 9–10 a.m.
In the University College and Extention Services’ executive conference room, Foundation Building, Room 204. Facilitated by Tom Angell, Director of Staff Human Resources. A fun and informal training session loaded with “need to know” information.

Tuesday, March 10 / 9–11 a.m.
This introductory session of Excel 2007 will provide the basic tools needed to use this software program. To register contact

Tuesday, March 10 / 1–3:30 p.m.
This course instructs the participants on the possible locations of ACCM, the health hazards of asbestos. To register contact Gary Pons at 562/985-8893.

Thursday, March 12 / 9 a.m.–noon
Topic: “Employment Law / Non-Discrimination.” Facilitated by Tom Angell, Director Staff Human Resources and Perrin Reid, Director Equity and Diversity. Attendance by invitation only.

Friday, March 13 / 7:30 a.m.–3:30 pm
This course instructs the participants on both the Cal OSHA Title 8 Sec 5157 regulations and the CSULB confined space entry program training also includes confined space hazard identification, hazard mitigation, job assignments and their individual responsibilities, preparation of the confined space entry procedure, entry permit and atmospheric monitoring re-fresher. To register contact Gary Pons at 562/985-8893.

Tuesday, March 17 / 9 a.m.–noon
Topic: “Resume Writing/Interviewing Skills.” Facilitated by Karen Kerr, Staff Human Resources. Attendance by invitation only.

Tuesday, March 17 / 2-4 p.m.
This workshop will take place in the Karl Anatol Center, AS-110 and is open to all faculty and staff employees. It will be presented by the Social Security Administration and will provide information on Social Security benefits, Medicare Parts A and B, and eligibility. Participants will be able to ask questions and receive valuable information. No registration required.

Thursday, March 19 / 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
This course instructs the participant on the types of hazardous energy identified within the university and the types of isolation devices used to control or eliminate hazardous energy, as well as devices used to secure isolation devices. Included are the university’s Hazardous Energy Control Program requirements for de-energizing and re-energizing of machines and equipment as well as the application and removal of lock out devices, locks and tag out devices. To register contact Gary Pons at 562/985-8893.

Thursday, March 19 / 2-4 p.m.
Benefits Services will be conducting workshops in the ITS Lab in Brotman Hall, First Floor on “Understanding Your CalPERS Retirement Benefits” for CSULB CalPERS members. The workshops are two hours in length and are presented by Benefits Services. Subjects to be covered include the following: Introduction – A brief overview of the CalPERS program and an introduction to information available on their Web site; Understanding CalPERS – Participants will be guided through the navigation of the CalPERS Web site and assisted in accessing the CalPERS online retirement calculator, service credit purchase information and the annual member statement. Information also will be provided on benefits at retirement and the CalPERS retirement application process. The workshops will be presented in a computer lab setting for hands-on learning. Due to limited seating, reservations are required and are on a first-come first-served basis. To register, contact Benefits Services at 562/985-2381 or e-mail at

Tuesday, March 24 / 9–11 a.m.
Facilitated by Stephanie Wright and Neil Iacono, Employee Relations. One of the most challenging roles for managers involves handling employees with behavior or performance-related problems in the workplace. This workshop is designed to familiarize managers with the tools available to them, and how to properly apply these tools in dealing with challenging types of situations. Open to HEERA managers only.

Thursday, March 26 / 9 a.m.–noon
Topic: “Safety and Risk Management.” Facilitated by Gary Pons and Barbara Sasser, Safety and Risk Management. Attendance by invitation only.

“Classes and Events” are brought to you by Staff Training and Development, part of Staff Human Resources in Human Resources Management, BH 335. Register online or contact Berta Hanson at 562/985-8798 for more information.

CSULB’s Sandra Shirley, associate director of Student Athlete Services, was named recently by her coworkers as Employee of the Month.

“It’s very touching to know my coworkers voted for me and thought I deserved this honor,” said Shirley, who joined the university in 1989 on her way to a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 1994. “I try to show my hard work and dedication in the graduation of our student athletes.”

CSULB President Dr. F. King Alexander praised Shirley for rising through the ranks from a student assistant to become the associate director of Student Athlete Services. “Sandra is noted for being instrumental in increasing student-athlete graduation rates. Her collaboration with the Division of Academic Affairs and the Athletic Department has led to many new academic support programs for CSULB’s student athletes,” he said. “Because of her exceptional skills as a counselor and as an administrator, plus her absolute willingness to go the extra mile for CSULB, no one is more deserving of this honor.”

Shirley began her career at CSULB in 1994 as a part-time student assistant in Student Athlete Services, advising student athletes on NCAA eligibility and CSULB requirements. In 1997, she accepted a full-time position as student services professional.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure Student-Athlete Services runs efficiently,” she said. “Most of that responsibility is centered on face-to-face guidance to my staff and academic counseling of student-athletes on a regular basis. I understand student’s needs; mentoring and tutoring. Mostly, they need the opportunity to talk to somebody.”

One key to her empathy with student-athletes is that Shirley was one herself. She was first recruited as a walk-on to CSULB’s women’s softball program when she arrived on campus in 1989.

“I played for Pete Manarino and participated in four College World Series 1990 to 1993,” she recalled. “I remember feeling lost and alone when I was a freshman. Thankfully, I had guidance from my sister, Susan, who is another CSULB graduate. I found myself ‘self-advising’ and one of my goals today is to show student-athletes that there are knowledgeable people around campus who can assist them through their college years. I want the student athletes to be aware of all the campus resources and open their eyes to more than the classroom and sports.” Because of her outstanding athletic abilities, Sandra has been inducted into the CSULB Athletic Hall of Fame (2004) as well as the City of Long Beach Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame (2007).

Shirley needs a varied skill set to do her job. “I need interpersonal skills and the ability to manage my time,” she said. “It is important to listen and to know what to listen for. I try to use a holistic approach with student athletes. I need people skills and I need administrative skills. Balancing the difference can be interesting. Part of the job’s appeal is that I never know what will come my way from day to day. Whenever my door opens, there is someone there with an interesting question for me.”

Employee of the Month:Sandra Shirley
Photo by David J. Nelson
President F. King Alexander with Sandra Shirley

Today’s student-athlete faces more challenges than ever. “It’s a lot different from when I was a student athlete,” she explains. “NCAA rules have tightened up for student-athletes and it is up to Student-Athlete Services to show our students how they can get through these rules. This can be difficult at times. Today’s student-athletes have so many rules and demands placed on them. Sometimes I wonder if I would have stuck with it.”

One of her career highlights is her commitment to raising student-athlete graduation rates. “We have five counselors working with 350 student athletes,” she said. “There is mandatory advising every semester and each student is carefully tracked. I think this is a real tribute to the effort we make toward student-athlete graduation success. Their graduation is our number one priority.”

When she isn’t working to make CSULB a better place, Shirley enjoys spending time with her husband, John, another CSULB graduate, and their 4-year-old son, Trevor. “We take good advantage of our vacations and go boating every weekend we get a chance, relax at our Hawaiian timeshare and visit out of state sisters once a year,” she said.

Shirley is glad she made the choice to join CSULB. “I feel proud and fortunate I’ve been given the opportunity to work with our student athletes,” she said. “I’m glad I chose CSULB for my career. It has been an enjoyable experience and I advise others to think about a university career.”

Shirley received several gifts in addition to seeing Friendship Walk renamed Sandra Shirley Lane, including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift certificate for Bella Terra, a gift certificate for four tickets to a 2009 CSULB home game, a $10 gift certificate for Finbar’s Italian Kitchen and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.

Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex and Power

Shira Tarrant, Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies

Published in January 2008 by Routledge, Men Speak Out is a collection of essays written by and about feminist and anti-sexist men. In the essays, which feature original and accessible prose, these men make sense of their gendered experiences in today’s culture. The lively collection of first-person perspectives on sexuality, identity and positive change asks sharp questions about negotiating what Tarrant calls “the masculinity trap.” “I’m really excited about Men Speak Out because it is the first book of its kind,” said Tarrant, who joined the university in 2006. “There are other books about critical masculinity but they tend to be written more exclusively for an academic audience. Men Speak Out includes essays by men who are looking at critical perspectives and who write in an everyday voice.” Tarrant traces her interest in men and feminism to her instruction at Baltimore’s Goucher College where she first encountered a rising male enrollment in her women’s studies classes. “Up to then, the feminist communities I hung out with were primarily composed of women,” she said. “All of a sudden, a world of feminist-minded men began to open up worldwide. I was really blown away.” One reason Tarrant wrote Men Speak Out is the idea that there is strength in numbers. “As a political scientist, it was my strategic thought to invite more people to participate in the feminist movement,” she said. “This is not the kind of book that coddles men by telling them ‘Oh, we’re so excited you’re here.’ But it does say no one group can promote feminism alone. Just like white people need to actively interrogate our own prejudice and skin privilege in order to end racism, men need to step up and question masculine privilege and misogyny to end sexism.” Tarrant earned her B.A. in political science in 1989 from CSULB and her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from UCLA in 2001. Tarrant’s work has appeared in Bitch magazine, Genre, Women’s Studies Quarterly, the UCLA Historical Journal,, The International Encyclopedia of Political Science (forthcoming), The Women’s Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third-Wave Feminism, the Journal of Intercultural Studies, and Barnard College’s Scholar and Feminist Online. Her next book, Men and Feminism (Seal Press) will be on the shelves in spring 2009.

Men Speak Out

Alan Colburn, Science Education, continued his column, “The Prepared Practitioner,” for the journal The Science Teacher published by The National Science Teachers Association. His latest entry titled “Multiple Choice Season” weighs the pros and cons of multiple choice tests and offers both test-making and test-taking strategies.

Lesley Farmer, ASEC Librarianship Program Coordinator, presented a session on “Teen Girls and Technology” for the California League of High Schools conference in January. In the same month, she also spoke about international connections for library educators at the Association of Library and Information Science Educators conference in Denver.

Boak Ferris, Comparative World Literature and Classics/English, published a juried article titled “The Collected Episodes of Gilgamesh: Epic or Gospel?” in Genre, Vol. 27, released in January.

Brian Finney, English, recently saw his chapter titled “Furious Simulation or Simulated Fury: Salman Rushdie’s ‘Fury’ (2001)” published in Rushdie the Novelist: From ‘Grimus’ to ‘The Enchantress of Florence,’ ed. Meenakshi Bharat, Pencraft International, 2008.

Steve Fleck, Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures, published an article titled “Molière’s Revolutionary Dramaturgy” in the Comparative Drama Conference’s annual volume, Text & Presentation.

Wendy Griffin, Women’s Studies, gave the keynote address at the Conference on Contemporary Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University held Feb. 7-8. Titled “What Would Janus Do,” the talk looked at the history and future of contemporary pagan studies.

Maulana Karenga, Africana Studies, published an article titled “The Moral Anthropology of Marcus Garvey: In the Fullness of Ourselves,” Journal of Black Studies, 39, 2 (November) 2008, pp. 166-193. He also gave a series of Kwanzaa lectures including “Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: Repairing and Renewing the World” at the Kwanzaa Cooperative’s Annual Kwanzaa Celebration, Philadelphia, Dec. 27; the National Association of Kawaida Organization’s Annual Kwanzaa Program, Brooklyn, Dec. 28; the Buffalo Kwanzaa Committee’s Annual Celebration, Buffalo, New York, Dec. 29; and the African-Newark International Kwanzaa Celebration, Newark, Dec. 30. He also received several awards including the Proclamation of Dr. Maulana Karenga Day, City of Buffalo; Executive Chamber, City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown Citation for Creation of Kwanzaa and Other Intellectual and Leadership Achievements, as well as several awards and citations for the Creation of Kwanzaa, Intellectual Achievements and Service from the Mayor and City of Newark, Essex County, State Assembly of New Jersey and the Representative of the 10th Congressional District, Hon. Donald M. Payne.

Karen Kerr, Staff Human Resources, presented a workshop titled “Integrating Active Learning Strategies into a Career Exploration Class” with CSU Fullerton’s Lea Beth Lewis at the 25th annual International Career Development Conference held in Los Angeles.

Joanne Tortorici Luna, Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling, recently became a licensed psychologist in the U.S. Previous to coming to CSULB, Tortorici Luna had practiced as a psychologist abroad for many years.

José Sánchez-H., Film and Electronic Arts, collaborated with the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on the creation a new 35mm print of Mario Soffici’s film “Encounter on the Border (Cita en la frontera, 1940).” “Encounter on the Border” is considered to be Libertad Lamarque’s best-known Argentine film. The film was presented at the Egyptian Theatre as part of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on Sept. 14.

Clifton Snider, English, has a poem, “St. Anthony’s Church,” published in the anthology Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, edited by Robert L. Giron (Gival Press, 2009). The poem was first published in Chiron Review.

William Straits and Susan Gomez-Zwiep, Science Education, saw the publication of their article titled “Better Multiple-Choice Assessments” in the National Science Teachers Association’s College Science Teachers Guide to Assessment. This book chapter offers practical suggestions for creating effective multiple-choice assessments. Straits also saw his chapter titled “Varied Assessment: A Brief Introduction,” written with colleague R. Russell Wilke of Angelo State University, published in this same volume. This second chapter offers suggestions for expanding the range of assessment options available to college science teachers.

Terry Witkowski, Marketing, published “General Book Store in Chicago, 1938-1947: Linking Neighborhood to Nation” in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 1 (1) 2009, pp. 93-121. He also published an editor’s introduction “Marketing History at the Center: Papers from the 2007 CHARM” in the Journal of Macromarketing 29 (March) 2009, pp. 5-6.

It has taken 44 years and a few twists and turns along the way, but Betty McMicken is having the time of her professional life.

Her journey has included a speech and audiology internship at the West L.A. Veterans Administration Hospital in the 1960s, co-founding and directing the Orange County-based Newport Language and Speech Center in 1971, directing a speech and hearing program at Western Medical Center in Orange County for 20 years, owning and running the Silver Pines Lodge in Idyllwild for 15 years, competing and winning races in amateur windsurfing in the 1980s and serving as the chair and full professor in the Communicative Disorders department at Cal State Los Angeles in the 1990s. Then there are the horses, which McMicken has ridden since the age of 3 and continues her passion by riding in numerous trail competitions every year.

“My horses and I won about 15 buckles last year and we have a few national and many state titles,” she said proudly.

After retiring from Cal State L.A., McMicken figured she would work part-time as a lecturer in the Communicative Disorders Department at CSULB and spend even more time riding horses, but things changed.

“I started out in 1998 as a part-time lecturer, got bored, and within a year I was full-time,” she said. “There was a need for more faculty members and my chair is very persuasive and talked me into becoming an assistant professor in 2006. Initially I really thought I had lost my mind because I would be starting on a tenure track all over again.”

By her own admission, much of her apprehension of beginning all over was the somewhat daunting task of having to publish and doing the community service required of the position. And, most recently, she had lost her dearest friend from the age of 7, to suicide and readily admits that it “really knocked me off my feet and I kind of lost my direction and energy for awhile.”

Then, along into her life came Kirk Douglas. Yes, that Kirk Douglas, the 92-year-old, three-time Academy Award-nominated actor who has survived, among other things, a helicopter crash in which he suffered a broken back, later a pacemaker, replacement of both knees and, of course, his much-publicized stroke in 1996.

Douglas, whose speech was affected by the stroke, had been working with speech therapists for a decade before meeting McMicken at a 2006 Christmas party.

“I knew who he was, of course, and I walked up to him and said ‘Hi, I’m a speech pathologist,’ and we spent a long time talking to each other that evening,” said McMicken. “I told his wife, Anne, that if there was ever a need for help, they could give me a call. Several months later I received a call and my life changed, literally.”

McMicken and Douglas hit it off right away.

“There was a tremendous personal connection between us. The very first day I was with him, he read me a poem he had written and we connected because I appreciate and love to write poetry. His poetry is charming and so well done,” praised McMicken.

“I wondered if I could encourage him more with poetry and with, of course, some lyrics and dialogue that he could act out, maybe in a poetic fashion that has more of a rhythm and more predicable rate. I thought perhaps that he could practice materials which would bring in his creative side and incorporate those aspects more into his speech,” said McMicken. “Over the past year we have worked on creative projects and now he is preparing a one-man show which I think will be fantastic and most inspirational. I think he would probably say that he is encouraged by our time together.”

McMicken added, “He has taught me a great deal about courage, creativity, and making impossible dreams come true. I have had a rare, marvelous opportunity to assist this incredible man. He has a bravery and an energy that I’ve never seen before. He has remarkable abilities with his post-stroke speech that I have never seen duplicated. He rewrites my textbooks.

“He has an enormity of spirit and a creative side that continues to be vibrant, and that creative side assists him enormously in his ability. I love the person that he is. I help him once a week and I have learned more about strength and humanitarianism from him and Anne than from anyone in my life. He’s taught me volumes about what the brain can do and I’m still not sure how he does what he does.”

Photo by Victoria Sanchez
Betty McMicken

In October 2007 McMicken was invited by Anne to a luncheon where she was being honored as Woman of the Year by The Friendly House, a substance abuse program in Los Angeles. During the luncheon they played a video showing the Anne Douglas Center, a women’s substance abuse rehabilitation center established at the Los Angeles mission in 1992.

“I felt like the dumbest person on Earth because I had never heard of the Anne Douglas Center and I know downtown L.A.,” admitted McMicken, who received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. “I was invited to come down the next week to see the center and I have been deeply involved ever since. It was during this first visit I became aware of the tremendous efforts of Kirk and Anne Douglas in rebuilding the Los Angeles Mission and establishing the Anne Douglas Center for women. I have become a volunteer speech pathologist for the Los Angeles Mission, specifically for the Anne Douglas Center, with individuals in rehab and with the homeless population. I am down there 10, 15, 20 hours a week depending on my university commitments.”

McMicken is also involved in the L.A. Christian Community Clinic which is located across the street from the mission.

“These rehabilitation centers and clinic have become a passion of mine and a tremendous blessing,” she said.

The L.A. Mission/Anne Douglas Center and the clinic have certainly aided McMicken in helping her fulfill her community service and publication requirements, but an extension of that relationship is the hands-on experience it has provided for her students.

“My students would say it’s changed the way I teach. It’s changed the way I think. It’s an extraordinary experience,” said McMicken. “It’s given me the best post-doctoral education I ever had. It’s given me an opportunity to involve my students with a neglected population of communication disordered people, and to evaluate and treat the problems that are associated with these individuals. I have students from CSULB and CSULA that are volunteering, and we are providing a tremendous service for everyone involved, and it is all because of the introduction from Kirk and Anne Douglas.

“I never imaged I would be doing this,” said McMicken, who brought Kirk Douglas to campus in October to speak to a full house in the Daniel Recital Hall. “By far this time is the most rewarding time of my life. Five years ago I would never have imagined I’d be volunteering and setting up programs at the Anne Douglas Center and the L.A. Mission. This experience has given me a new sense of purpose and many blessings continue to fill my days. I can never say thank you enough to Kirk and Anne Douglas, for their manifest kindness, for all they have done for the city of Los Angeles, and for all they have taught me.”

“Exploring Challenges to Free Expression and Belief” is the theme of the second annual President’s Forum on International Human Rights at CSULB. The three-day event is set for Wednesday-Friday, March 4-6 with most events taking place in the University Student Union.

“In America, many of us take for granted our rights of freedom of expression and religion, but it is not as clear cut and easy as most Americans might think,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander, who will give both opening and closing remarks at this year’s forum. “Nearly everyday, we witness another example of the lack of freedoms or basic rights outside the United States. But even within our own nation, there are cases that challenge just how free we are to express our opinions and beliefs – cases in our classrooms, over the Internet and, ultimately, in our courtrooms.

“This year’s President’s Forum on International Human Rights will explore some of these issues from a variety of international perspectives, including instances in our past where clearly these freedoms were challenged,” Alexander said. “We will also look at current global issues impacting these basic human rights and what we can do in the future to maintain them.”

Delivering the forum’s keynote address will be Erwin Chemerinsky, dean for the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. He will discuss “Free Speech in an Internet World,” on Wednesday, March 4, beginning at 2 p.m. in the USU Ballroom. The founding dean of the UCI law school, Chemerinsky is one of the nation’s most prominent constitutional scholars. Having argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, he was named one of the “top 20 legal thinkers in America” by Legal Affairs.

Also on the first day of the forum will be a conversation with Norma Barzman, author of The Red and the Blacklist, at 7 p.m. The program is titled “The Hollywood Blacklist: A Screenwriter’s Story of Exile.” An aspiring screenwriter, Barzman was blacklisted during the McCarthy era for her refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. She chose exile in France but later returned to the United States to campaign to restore the reputation of film artists whose careers were affected during that era.

Highlighting the second day of activities will be a 7 p.m. lecture and documentary screening by Egyptian-American film maker Jehane Noujaim. Noujaim will discuss her documentary “Control Room,” which describes U.S. Central Command and its relations with Al Jazeera and other news organizations that covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The film drew international attention by contrasting the coverage of the American invasion presented by the Arabic-language channel with U.S. military and American news outlets. Noujaim was the 2006 winner of the Technology Award Design (TED) “Wish to Change the World” award for her work.

Closing out the last day of the forum on Friday will be a 10 a.m. panel discussion on “The Free Expression Policy Project” (FEPP), featuring Marjorie Heins, the founding director of the project as part of the National Coalition Against Censorship. Heins has long championed the rights of artists to test the limits of censorship, media regulation and intellectual property laws, and FEPP is dedicated to exploring the challenges they face.

Other activities during the three-day event will be a lecture on “The Evolution of the First Amendment” by Professor Craig Smith, director of the Center for First Amendment Studies at CSULB; a lecture on “Start the Movement!: How You Can Contribute to Human Rights Advocacy” by Shahram Hashemi, executive director of the Student World Assembly, which is dedicated to global democracy, human rights and preparing students to be the leaders of the next generation; and a lecture titled “Some Ideas About Ideas” by Cleveland State University President Michael Schwartz, author of “The Chief Purpose of Universities: Academic Discourse and the Diversity of Ideas.”

In addition to the lectures, panel discussions, screenings and other sessions, there will be several student performances throughout the three-day event. For a complete schedule of activities, visit the Web site at

For other information about this year’s forum, call 562/985-5136.

Mark Rudometkin is happy to be at CSULB, and that’s probably an understatement.

“It worked out well to come back home and work for a university such as Long Beach State,” said the interim general manager/Parking and Transportation Services at the university. “I wake up every morning and pinch myself to see if it’s still real.”

His homecoming of sorts applies to him as well as his wife, Keri. A Cal State Fullerton grad, Rudometkin was born in Downey and grew up in Yorba Linda. His wife, who was born in Pasadena and grew up in Upland, is a CSULB grad. When working, she is a lower elementary school teacher, but is currently a stay-at-home mom with their 1- and 2-year-old sons, which her husband noted is the toughest job.

Rudometkin returned to the Southland after spending five years in Phoenix as director of parking and traffic support at Chase Field and the U.S. Airways Center, the major venues in downtown Phoenix. U.S. Airways Center is where the NBA’s Phoenix Suns play and Chase Field is home to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks.

Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Disneyland, starting in 1990 while in college and working his way up to management in 1996. He played a major role in the development, the opening and operation of the Mickey and Friends parking structure at the Disneyland Resort, which at the time was the largest parking structure in North America with more than 10,100 spaces. He made a lateral move to security in 2001 and did that for two years before going to Phoenix.
Parking has always been something that Rudometkin has had an interest in.

“What always appealed to me was the fact that it was constant movement and every day it was different, everything about it was different,” he said. “It wasn’t a desk job, so to speak, and even as I got into management, I was in the area a lot overseeing a lot of projects, developing training projects and manuals. It was all about being in the operation and understanding the operation. For me, being as active as I am, it was just a good fit.”

Working for a major university attracted Rudometkin in great part because he had already been involved with major sporting venues and theme parks, so he looked at the next thing on a large-scale basis and a large university such as CSULB fit the bill.

“It is so unique from what I have done in the past,” he said. “What appealed to me is all the permitting and all the dynamics that go along in dealing with such a diverse group. You have students, faculty, staff, guests and we have a large number of special events, whether it be a 25-person event for a classroom or 5,000 that might attend a game at The Pyramid.

Mark Rudometkin
Photo by David J. Nelson
Mark Rudometkin

“This was just something I really wanted to be a part of and the challenge it presents,” he added. “It seems like parking is always an issue at a large campus; there never seems to be enough. And, if there is enough, there may be problems with the customer service, so the ability to come back with all of the knowledge I have gained and hopefully enhance that here to provide a better service for everyone involved is what really intrigued me.”

From talking with people during his relatively short time on campus, Rudometkin feels the perception is there may be a kind of “us versus them” mentality when it comes to parking, but he insists it’s not the case. Citations, he noted, are how parking lots are regulated.

“It would be just a free-for-all if we did not have a form of citations to monitor and regulate parking,” he said. “It’s all about service. We’re all here to help these students graduate and we play a small part in that. We’re here for the students, faculty and staff. We’re going to keep striving to provide the best service we can.”

Rudometkin likes to get out in the field himself, which in turn aids him in learning what everyone does. By having done that wherever he has been, it keeps him in touch with what staff members encounter on a day-to-day basis and he acknowledges the best way to learn that is to get in there and do it yourself.

“We have such a wonderful team here,” he said. “We have a lot of alums and a lot of people that have been working here a long time and they all take a great amount of pride in the university and the job they do.

“Every day I am learning a lot, but then something will come up and I realize I still have more to learn, but that’s what appealed to me,” he added. “The things that I have learned since I have been here have been wonderful and I just know it’s going to continue, not only from a selfish personal standpoint with the growth that I am getting, but hopefully my past experience and my leadership style. My goal is to help all of us, our team, grow.”

Pow Wow
Photo by Victoria Sanchez

The American Indian Studies Department, American Indian Student Council, Native American Alumni and Friends Chapter, the Division of Student Services, and Associated Students Inc., at CSULB, will host the 39th Annual Pow Wow on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, on the campus’ Central Quadrangle. Admission and parking to this American Indian social event are free.

Pow Wow at CSULB is an American Indian celebration and is the largest spring event of its kind in Southern California. Focused on displaying the university’s strong American-Indian presence, the two-day event will feature American Indian dancing, arts, crafts and food beginning at 11 a.m. each day and running until 10 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition to contests and inter-tribal dancing, there will be gourd dancing with dancer registration closing at 2 p.m. on Saturday. All dancers and drums are invited.

“Our celebration this year will have many special aspects including a men’s traditional and men’s fancy dance specials,” said Craig Stone, a professor of American-Indian Studies who has served as the faculty advisor to the CSULB Pow Wow Committee for the past two decades. “We have the honor of introducing two new dancers into the arena whose families have been a part of our celebration for many years and we also expect to have many CSULB Native American alumni traveling from out of state to support our head lady dancer, Donna GoingSnake-Falls Down and our head man dancer, Ben Wolf. This is shaping up to be a reunion of our CSULB alumni and faculty whom we have not seen in many years.”

This year’s master of ceremonies is John Dawson (San Carlos Apache); Arena Director, Leroy “JR” LaPlante (Lakota); Head Man Dancer, Ben Wolf (Kiowa); Head Lady Dancer, Donna GoingSnake-Falls Down (United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee); Head Southern Singer, Gene Ray Ahboah (Kiowa); Host Northern Drum, White Cloud (Southern California); Host Gourd, Golden State Gourd Society; and Spoonkeeper, Michael Cruz (Chumash).

As always, American Indian vendors will be selling both traditional and contemporary American Indian art. Foods such as corn soup, Navajo tacos, fry bread, and Indian burgers will be available for purchase.

Parking is readily available at no charge and the campus is handicapped accessible. It is strongly recommended that spectators bring folding chairs.

For more information, call 562/985-8528 or e-mail Campus map and directions can be found at