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Former Dean’s Dream Comes True :: Behavioral Science College Opens At CSUSB

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San Bernardino

By Cheryl Brown


In 1990, years before Thurman, 9, and Tiffani Paul, 7, were even thought of, former President Dr. Tony Evans and former Dean Dr. Aubrey Bonnett had a dream. Their dream was of a building to house the classrooms and staff and faculty offices of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino.

The two Paul children have grown up on the campus and they will be attending some day. Anita Higgins, their mother and a student in the Psychology department, has had her children beside her through her undergraduate classes and now her graduate level courses. These bright children are the future of the university and with all the exposure they have already had Thurman says he can’t wait to attend college.

In September the doors were opened to the five story well designed 135,635 square foot building. On April 10 the ribbon was cut to celebrate the $32.8 million home to the college’s nine departments. For the first time, they will be housed in the same building. Dr. Bonnett and his wife Dawn were present to see his dream come to fruition. He is presently on the faculty of the State University of New York, Old Westbury, where he also held the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The building will strengthen greatly the college’s already outstanding teaching and research efforts. As the second largest building on campus, it will provide lecture and large meeting spaces for many kinds of university activities. For the first time, it will allow all of our social and behavioral science faculty to have offices in the same facility," said Albert Karnig, President of the university.

"Having all of the departments of the college in one building pulls faculty together into a community where they have much more interaction in the natural flow of their daily work," says John Conley, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "And that in the long run, will contribute to more natural development of collaboration across the disciplines."

Of all the colleges at Cal State, the disciplines housed in this college tend to have more of a direct bearing on daily life. Disciplines include: anthropology, criminal justice, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, social work and sociology.

As it provides a vehicle for faculty to collaborate across department lines, the college now can provide students with more up-to-date and concentrated research opportunities, not just in the classrooms with their instructors, but also in the college’s various research laboratories.

"This provides students with more hands-on experience, sharpens their critical thinking skills, shapes their ability to question, experiment and test," Conley said. "And it doesn’t matter what discipline you’re in. These are the kinds of skills you need to have to succeed in the larger society."

Associate Dean Jenny Zorn oversaw the building process and move-in for the college and served as the liaison with the other departments and construction teams on the project. "All of our classrooms have been wired to take advantage of the Internet and other digital technology, "said Zorn.

The money for the building came from the 1998 voter-approved education bond issue. It has offices for 102 faculty and 21 staff. It features a large auditorium, two lecture halls, nine small classrooms, and six conference rooms. It will also house a museum for anthropology exhibits and Geographical Information Systems laboratory with cutting –edge technology. Other features include a Psychology Community Counseling Center, a Child Development Center and a Political Science Debate Room.

The building was designed by A.J. Lumsden in 1992, and was updated to meet new seismic building codes.

CSUSB has over 16,000 students majoring in over 42 baccalaureate degrees and 22 master’s degrees, 48 certificates, 26 Credential programs and 6 Pre-professional programs.

It is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS) but there is no single majority ethnic group among students on campus.

When the Paul children get ready to attend Cal State there will be even more state of the art equipment as well as a new set of professors. Zorn, Karnig, and Conley will have retired, but these children will be further ahead because they know the history of the college and the university. They will have the mentorship of the great men and women who were responsible for the lasting building that formally opened on April 10.

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