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Volume 4, No. 5 | June 2009

All in All, a Great Year

Marvin A. Kaiser

Despite all the challenges brought about by the financial crisis, it has been a great year in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Growth burgeoned. We helped more students toward their dreams than ever before. In fact our faculty taught nearly 400,000 student credit hours. That's the equivalent of teaching a course to 100,000 students. Faculty and students also conducted $19.5 million in externally funded research, 30% more than last year.

Creativity flourished. Foreign language faculty secured a prestigious federal grant to launch an innovative Russian Language Flagship program. English faculty launched a new MFA in Creative Writing, as well as the Portland Center for the Public Humanities, which produced a highly-successful national conference on sustainability. A new school is providing focus to our teaching about the environment and Economics faculty launched the Center for Economics and the Environment.

Excellence abounded. Our Speech and Hearing Department and Applied Linguistics Department won Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Awards for Campus-Community Partnerships. Chemistry professor David Peyton's start-up company, DesignMedix, secured $2 million in venture capital to create new anti-malarial drugs. Chemistry and Engineering Professor Jim Pankow won election to the National Academy of Engineers. English professor Paul Collins was named a Guggenheim Fellow. Six faculty members were named Fulbright Scholars, while students garnered Fulbright Fellowships and Teach for America awards. To cap the year, students recognized more than two dozen faculty members with John Eliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve wonderful students in a great community.

Marvin A. Kaiser
Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Physics Society Bridges Generations

Professor Rempfer & Physics Major Carol Weaver

Physics Major Carol Weaver & Professor Rempfer

PSU's Physics Department and Society of Physics Students are bridging generations of women physicists, including outstanding current graduate students and Professor Gertrude Rempfer, a pioneer in electron microscopy and the country's most senior member of Sigma Pi Sigma, a national physics honor society. Professor Rempfer joined Sigma Pi Sigma in 1933.

A self described outdoor girl who enjoyed math, Professor Rempfer originally attended University of Washington in 1930 to study forestry. She was redirected to physics when it was discovered that the required forestry summer logging camp did not have facilities for women! Today, she shares more than 70 years of notable expertise with PSU's Student Physics Society and has inspired the club to focus on promoting the important, and increasingly more prominent, role of women in physics.

According to graduate student Allison Whited, "For a generation of young female scientists, she is the embodiment of what we all strive to be: active, contributing scientists, proud, strong mothers, and contributing members of our society."

Learn more about Whited and other PSP club members' inspiration and experience in physics at PSU after the jump...

Pre-Dental Students Serve 2,200 Hondurans

Pre-Dental Students in Honduras

Pre-Dental Students in Honduras

PSU pre-dental students traveled to Honduras in March, where they joined doctors and local volunteers to provide free dental and medical care for more than 2,200 rural villagers.

During four intense days of service, PSU students and volunteer dentists formed "the Dental Brigade" to provide services including tooth extractions, topical fluoride treatments, and oral hygiene instruction in Spanish. Medical volunteers provided physical examinations, vitamins, family health education and referrals to specialized clinics. Students organized fundraising events and donation drives to procure the necessary medications and supplies prior to departure.

PSU's chapter of Global Brigades is planning a return trip to Honduras in the spring of 2010. If you would like to participate or donate towards a brigade, please visit the Global Brigades website:

Professor Called to Advise Bhutan

Conference Attendees in Bhutan

History Professor Ken Ruoff was one of just five Westerners invited by the king of Bhutan to advise that country on its transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Probably best known for its "Gross National Happiness Index", Bhutan is a unique country that highly values environmental sustainability and equitable economic development.

One of the world's foremost experts on Japan's constitutional monarchy, during his visit Professor Ruoff met with the Bhutanese prime minister and other officials. While advising Bhutanese officials that governmental transparency is important, based on his expertise on the historical role of Japan's emperor, Ruoff urged the highly respected king to keep his political views private so as not to sway public opinion. He also suggested the king use his role's moral authority to distinguish between national traditions that promote well-being from those that do not.

Read more about Professor Ruoff's work at Portland State here.

CLAS Events & Announcements

Professor Priya Kapoor

Professor Priya Kapoor, Graduate Program Director for the Department of Communication and Associate Professor, is a recipient of the 2009 Civic Engagement Award. Professor Kapoor received the award in May for her work in partnering community members and students in engaging activities that serve the community.


Professor Matthew Carlson

According to Portland State Professer Mathew Carlson, "It's the study that shouldn't be possible." Designed to show what difference insurance makes, the study in question is the Oregon Health Study (OHS). Read how this three-year, $11 million dollar project is promising to pick up where the RAND Corp. Health Insurance Experiment, or RAND, left off over 25 years ago in the Oregonian article Before the Oregon Health Study.


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