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Chico State

Seven Faculty Earn Professional Achievement Honors

The sun lights up entryway of Kendall Hall.
Jessica Bartlett/University Phot

Kendall Hall on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 in Chico, Calif. (Jessica Bartlett/University Photographer)

Seven Chico State faculty members are being celebrated this week as recipients of the University’s Professional Achievement Honors, which recognize exemplary teacher-scholar achievement on our campus.

These honorees are chosen by the University’s Faculty Recognition and Support Committee. They will be honored at Inspired ’19, Bridges to Knowledge, a Celebration of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity from 5–7 p.m. March 27 on the fourth floor of Meriam Library.

This year’s Professional Achievement Honors recipients are:

Maris Thompson, associate professor in the School of Education

Thompson won a Maggie Award from the Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center in spring 2015 and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society for Leadership and Success in spring 2018, and has continuously pursued excellence in teaching and scholarship. Her three research areas are immigration and schooling, literacy and teacher education, and diversity and equity in education. She is also interested in the German American experience and understanding the connections between previous histories of anti-immigrant sentiment with today’s immigration climate. She has actively published in all of these areas, completing a book and three journal articles since she was tenured in 2014. She has worked diligently to research co-teaching pedagogy and conduct a number of workshops in our region around co-teaching for K–12 partner schools.

David Keller, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences

Keller has received a National Institutes for Health Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) for $353,750 and is a collaborator on a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant for $544,343. He serves as an ad hoc member of the National Institutes of Health, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology Study Section. In his 10 years at Chico State, he has mentored 40 students. Of 33 lab alumni, 10 have attended doctoral programs, two have attended professional health sciences programs, three have attended master’s programs, one is an instructor, and six are research assistants in biotechnology companies.

Colleen Milligan, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and co-director of the Chico State Human Identification Lab

Colleen serves as the graduate coordinator for the Department of Anthropology. In addition to her seven peer-reviewed publications in the last three years, she is co-principal investigator for two federal grants totaling more than $900,000. Her most recent National Institute of Justice grant to study how human remains are transported by river currents has local, national, and international applications. She has also been recognized on campus, receiving the Outstanding Research Mentor Award and the Myles Tracy Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, both in 2015.

Denise Minor, professor of in the Department of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Denise is a scholar in Spanish linguistics with an emphasis on second language acquisition. Her scholarship and professional achievements attest to her commitment to creating inclusive and equitable learning environments for all students, most notably those with learning disabilities or differences, heritage language learners, and second-language learners. She has published two books and has a third under consideration. She received an HFA International Fellow Award to develop a summer study abroad program in Quebec, Canada. Another current project is to have Spanish declared the “co-official language of California.”

Fay Mitchell-Brown, associate professor in the School of Nursing

Fay has extensive clinical and educational expertise in medical surgical nursing, pediatrics, critical care, and case management and quality improvements across the continuum of care. Fay has lived and worked in Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, and across the United States, and has taught a “Global Health and Culture” class with the University Studies Abroad Consortium in San Ramon, Costa Rica, in 2018. She is the faculty mentor for the California Nursing Students Association, mentors and chairs master’s dissertations, and also mentors junior faculty. Her research interests are chronic illness, vulnerable populations, culture, and global health. Fay has seven publications in peer-reviewed journals and has given more than 15 presentations, including papers or posters across the globe. Two recent endeavors are a focus on health care challenges in Ghana and innovative ways to teach nursing clinical through digital storytelling. With over three decades of health care experience, Fay is passionate about engaging students locally and globally.

Asa Simon Mittman, professor in the Department of Art and Art History

Asa has served as department chair since 2016 and is a prolific scholar both locally and abroad. A July 2018 interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education speaks volumes about his commitment to creating a just, equitable, and inclusive environment not just on Chico State’s campus, but in his academic discipline and the field of medieval studies at large. He received a National Endowment for the Arts $25,000 Art Works grant in support of his curated exhibition Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, and Wonders at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York (2018), and for the accompanying book. The exhibition will travel to the Cleveland Art Museum and to the Blanton Art Museum in Austin, Texas. He has shared his research widely, including invited talks and keynote addresses at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, University College Cork in Ireland, Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare in Vercelli, Italy, the University of Salzburg in Austria, and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, as well as at UC Berkeley, Columbia University, NYU, Stanford, Yale, and many others. He is widely published in books, journals, articles, and chapters, and online.

Matthew O’Brien, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology

Matthew has excelled in research grants and publications during his tenure at Chico State. He is principal and co-principal investigator of a state grant and a national grant totaling more than $630,000, as well as director for the Archaeological Research Program, which partners with the Bureau of Land Management, Cal Fire, and the National Forest Service on several contracts. His research includes archaeological studies of North American hunter-gatherers spanning over 12,000 years of prehistory. This work has primarily focused on the American West, but he recently completed a five-year field ethnographic study of the Dukha reindeer herders of northern Mongolia. The focus of this work sought to broaden our understanding of pastoral settlement structures of nomadic cultures. He has had six peer-reviewed publications and eight presentations at professional meetings between 2014 and 2018.