Faculty Achievements

Congratulations to the following faculty who received tenure, promotion, or an award in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Dr. Chiara Bacigalupa, Early Childhood Studies. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Bacigalupa demonstrates a consistently strong level of teaching over the years, as well as significant engagement in curricular reform at the department level. Her excellent teaching record spans a variety of nine different courses, many of which she has created and developed. She designed a new major in Early Childhood Studies, which has grown to 320 majors since its inception. Her service and leadership roles are particularly noteworthy, chief among them serving as Chair of the newly created Early Childhood Studies Department. As a scholar, Dr. Bacigalupa continues to be productive, with three peer-reviewed publications and three invited papers. Her service is wide-ranging and greatly exceeds the requirements for promotion. The URTPS recognizes and applaud her contributions to Sonoma State as a teacher-scholar; her reputation for hard work, innovation and professional expertise are clearly well-deserved.

Dr. James Dean, Sociology. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. James Dean is a dedicated and impactful teacher at Sonoma State. Most impressively, he offers a wide variety of courses that provide students insight into race, ethnicity, and sexuality and broaden the view and awareness of these subjects in the larger content of our society. Dr. Dean's active research agenda is impressive in both scope and productivity. His scholarship and creative achievements are recognized both regionally and nationally. His service to the department as Chair is laudable given the number of majors and workload.


Dr. Stephanie Dyer. Promoted to Full Professor.

The Hutchins School evaluation of Dr. Dyer documents a strong record of teaching, significant accomplishments in scholarship, and commendable university and community service. Dr. Dyer is an innovative and gifted teacher whose skills at student-centered pedagogy are greatly appreciated by her colleagues and students.

Dr. Steven Farmer, Chemistry. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Farmer is an award-winning educator, having received both SSU's Teaching Excellence Award and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education award since being awarded tenure in 2011. His primary research is student-centered, and focuses primarily on improving learning and access to quality chemistry materials in a subject matter (Organic Chemistry) that is widely known as being extremely difficult, yet required for future careers in most of the health professions. Dr. Farmer's efforts in explaining chemistry to the public and his record of community service exceed expectations, and his University service is commendable at all levels.

Dr. Jeremy Qualls, Physics & Astronomy. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Qualls has made remarkable contributions to Sonoma State through his teaching, scholarship and service. His record as an excellent educator, accomplished scholar, productive grant writer, and dedicated mentor in the retention of STEM majors at Sonoma State clearly exceeds the requirements for promotion to professor. As a campus leader, he has excelled as a champion for STEM majors by developing a model program for the support of freshman, as a mentor of the new faculty in areas of teaching and scholarship, and as a dedicated advocate for the School of Science and Technology.

Dr. Scott Severson, Physics & Astronomy. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Severson's evaluation documents an exemplary record of teaching, significant accomplishments in scholarship, and a commendable degree of university and community service. Dr. Severson's high student evaluations are particularly impressive in light of the high enrollments in many of his classes. His mentorship of students and his leadership role in the departmental Self-Study represent notable contributions to his department. Through his expertise in adaptive optics, Dr. Severson has provided students with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation in his field. His work as the Director of the Sonoma State University Observatory contributes significantly to SSU's outreach efforts in the community.

Dr. Michael Visser, Economics. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Visser is an exemplary teacher, to be applauded for his Excellence in Teaching award and Economics Student Chioce Award in addition to his development of innovative new courses in Economics. His service at all levels, particularly Department Chair, has been sustained and impactful. Dr. Visser's colleagues are enthusiastic about his research agenda, and the URTPS encourages Professor Visser to bring his numerous works in progress to fruition through publication.



Dr. Laura Watt, Environmental Studies and Planning. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Watt is an outstanding teacher who has helped pioneer the Sophomore Year Experience and other interdisciplinary collaborative learning environments. Her scholarly output is significant and relevant to the local community, and we are extremely impressed by the work that has led to her forthcoming book about the Point Reyes National Seashore. This important manuscript builds upon many public articles, presentations and other scholarly contributions. Dr. Watt's expertise and insights into ongoing conflicts between the modern environmental movement and historical land use policies brings great credit to Sonoma State. Dr. Watt's record of university and community service is exceptionally strong and we commend her leadership.

Dr. Mary Ellen Wilkosz, Nursing. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Wilkosz' file documents her contributions as a dedicated and outstanding teacher, evidencing remarkable success in online teaching. Her courses offer students a highly engaging blend of theoretical and practical knowledge and are a credit to the Nursing Program. As Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner's Master's degree, Dr. Wilkosz provides significant leadership to a widely-recognized graduate program. Her scholarship exceeds expectations and her outreach to the local community through consulting, public speaking and other service is noteworthy.

Dr. Chingling Wo, English. Promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Wo demonstrates consistently improving teaching and pedagogy over the years, as well as significant engagement in curricular reform at the department level. Her dedication to transforming the lives of students is particularly noteworthy. As a scholar, Dr. Wo has produced a body of research that has received international attention.



Dr. Kyuho Lee, Business Administration. Received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

Dr. Lee's excellent peer evaluations and strong SETE scores reflect a teacher described as flexible, consistent, and effective by his Department. Peer observers report clear lectures, excellent real-world connections, and high levels of student engagement and participation in discussions. He has a consistent record of efforts to continually improve his teaching, taking advantage of both on- and off-campus opportunities for professional development.

Dr. Mark Perri, Chemistry. Received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

Dr. Perri has taught a wide range of Chemistry courses, and has demonstrated a commitment to hsi students and to continuing improvement in the classroom. His consistently excellent SETE scores are corroborated by peer observers, who commend his efforts to connect abstract topics to real-life issues and examples. He notes in his self-assessment that efforts to provide more active learning opportunities in his classes have been successful, and he plans to implement even more of such opportunities in response to this year's peer observations. Dr. Perri's significant efforts to integrate computer technology into chemistry education are particularly noteworthy. We join his department in encouraging him to be a resource to his departmental colleagues in these areas of expertise.

Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Economics. Receivede early tenure and early promotion to Associate Professor.

Dr. Hanauer's record of 9 published refereed papers, 13 conference presentations, and 3 non-refereed publications since coming to SSU demonstrates that he has met the criteria for early promotion. He is a good example of a reflective, productive teacher/scholar and substantive participant in the affairs of the university and the community. I congratulate him on receiving the Cozzarelli Prize as well. Most important to us is his 12 different university service activities.

Click here to read more about the Excellence in Teaching Awards and the 2016-2017 recipients.

Dr. Joseph Lin, Biology


Dr. Michael Visser, Economics