Cal State Fullerton’s new tenure-track faculty are bringing diversity to campus this semester.
In her fifth annual Convocation Address on Aug. 15, CSUF President Mildred Garcia said that the new tenure-track faculty members this year represent the school’s most diverse group of professors yet.
Child and adolescent studies professor Sasha Zeedyk is new to the school but feels welcomed by the faculty as she transitions into a new position.
“One thing I really like about this department is how open everyone has been to helping me as a new faculty member in terms of giving me suggestions for teaching and telling me what to expect out of the students and courses,” Zeedyk said.
Zeedyk previously taught at University of California, Riverside during her time there as a graduate student. Now at CSUF, she has plans to begin her research in autism and developmental disabilities and work with the school’s Center for Autism.
As a first generation college student herself, Zeedyk aims to provide guidance to students who find themselves in an unfamiliar setting.
“I can relate to that feeling of not really having my parents to go to in terms of knowing how to navigate college and having to figure that out myself,” Zeedyk said.
Another newcomer is LaTosha Traylor, an assistant sociology professor from Temple University, where she taught in the criminal justice department.
Although she is transitioning to a new department, Traylor has found her fellow colleagues and faculty to be supportive. She enjoys the attitudes and engagement of her students.
“I like the students here a lot, and I like that they want to learn things,” Traylor said.
Now settled at CSUF, Traylor hopes to start her research looking at the lives of women after they leave prison. She finds herself excited when her students are also excited.
“It’s all about lighting that spark in students to make them want to learn more about the subject,” Traylor said.
Due to the school’s diverse student body, it’s important that the faculty reflects that, Zeedyk said.
Faculty members with different backgrounds also provide opportunities to collaborate with people that have different viewpoints.
“I’ve learned that it makes a huge difference for a student to be able to see themselves in the professor,” Trayor said.
Diversity plays an important part in creating a space where students and faculty from various backgrounds have a voice, Traylor said.
“It’s not about being politically correct, it’s about being open and inclusive. No matter what walk of life you come from, you have a place here,” Traylor said.
Anil Puri, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, hopes the campus continues to become more diverse by implementing ways to attract diversity to the school.
“Higher education, in some sense, is all about learning about diversity–seeing every aspect of life,” Puri said. “When it comes to faculty diversity, it’s very important to make sure that our faculty provide all different kinds of viewpoints to our students.”