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Chico State

Chemistry Professor Emeritus Honored for Scholarly Contributions, Impact on Campus

Jim Postma

The Chico State Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association (ERFSA) is pleased to announce the 2024 Hall of Honors class. Eight renowned faculty and staff members will be inducted into the Hall of Honor on Friday, May 31, 2024, during a ceremony and luncheon. Buy tickets.

James Postma’s many years of service to campus, statewide higher education and the wider community span nearly every area of engagement a faculty member can have.

A Chico State alumnus, Postma (Chemistry, ’74) joined the Chemistry Department faculty in 1982. He served as department chair from 1998 to 2004.

Postma was a strong, effective advocate for K–12 science education, serving on the California Science Project (CSP) Advisory Board for 20 years including 12 years as its chair. During his CSP tenure, the state adopted new standards, methods, and materials for the teaching of science.

Postma also was a key figure in improving guidelines for community college transfers to the California State University. He was chair of the chemistry and biochemistry component of the statewide Project on Lower-Division Requirements in Majors and helped coordinate the CSU’s input to the state STAR Act, which sought to make transfer to the CSU more efficient. His efforts also included developing the structure of Associate’s Degrees for Transfer and the inter-system process for creating such degrees.

As a scholar and research chemist, Postma has made his mark in the classroom and the community. He is the co-author of Chemistry in the Laboratory, now in its eighth edition, a widely used textbook for freshman chemistry courses. He is the chief science officer of Advanced Light Technologies, which has developed a grain disinfecting process using light and a light-based treatment for toenail fungus. Postma also served as a consultant to the US Environmental Protection Agency, contributing to a national policy on silver wastes and giving presentations throughout the state on the viability of electric cars.

On campus, Postma was a leader representing faculty in helping shape the future of the University. He was the editor and principal author of the 1994 Report of the President’s Task Force on the Future of CSU, Chico. Postma worked with campus administration to create a faculty position on the University Foundation Board, and served in that capacity for 11 years.

For 22 years, Postma was a prominent member of the University’s Academic Senate, involving multiple leadership roles including chair for two terms. Among his many accomplishments was helping to develop the Executive Officer Selection and Review (EOSR) Committee, and subsequently leading many EOSR searches, including playing a lead role in two presidential searches.

For his myriad contributions to campus, Postma was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 2005. He retired in 2019 after 37 years on the faculty.