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Awards and Honors

Olmsted Named Recipient of Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award
by Dave Reid


From Dateline (June 19, 2003)

John A. Olmsted
John A. Olmsted, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, second from left, is congratulated on receiving this year’s Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award by, from left, J. Vincent Buck, professor of political science; President Milton A. Gordon; Barry A. Pasternack, chair and professor of information systems and decision sciences and last year’s award recipient; and Joan V. Greenwood, emerita professor of English and Comparative Literature.

John A. Olmsted, emeritus professor of chemistry and biochemistry – who has always told his physical chemistry students to “think like a molecule” – is this year’s winner of the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award.

The annual honor was presented May 29 by President Milton A. Gordon before a large audience of Olmsted’s peers in the Academic Senate Chambers.

“You were selected as the recipient of this most prestigious award in recognition of your outstanding record of superior leadership in collegial governance,” Gordon told Olmsted. “And, in particular, for your 23 years of exemplary work as a faculty advocate representing rights of faculty members, as well as in appreciation for your continued leadership, professionalism and excellence, which has contributed to the success of collegial and shared governance and to the spirit of true community at California State University, Fullerton.”

Gordon lauded Olmsted’s service as a member of the Academic Senate Executive Committee, associate dean for the former School of Mathe-matics, Science and Engineering, chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, and as a member on a long list of university committees, including faculty personnel, outstanding professor selection, curriculum and graduate education committees.

“You have demonstrated to all of us that faculty leadership is not simply about holding office or sitting on committees,” Gordon continued. “Effective leadership, in the context of shared governance, means identifying what is important and what is not, enabling others to work effectively and collegially toward a common goal and staying with an issue until a resolution is developed, agreed to and implemented. As all of us know, this is much harder than it sounds and requires a very substantial commitment.”

Gordon went on to cite Olmsted’s committee work in rewriting faculty personnel policy and procedures and in re-envisioning the campus Honors Program. “John, you have done an outstanding job in representing the outstanding faculty on our campus and you have earned the esteem and affection of your colleagues and the respect of administrators.”

The Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award is designed to acknowledge faculty members who have made significant contributions to collegial governance and the mission of the California State University. All full-time and emeritus faculty members are eligible for the award, with the exception of the current chair of the Academic Senate. The honor carries a cash award of $300.

“While I am particularly honored to be the first person to have received the Outstanding Professor Award and the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Gover-nance Award,” said Olmsted, the university’s 1997-98 Outstanding Professor, in accepting the leadership honor, “I consider that to be a historical accident. Several of my Outstanding Professor colleagues could equally well have been the first to receive both awards: Keith Boyum, Jane Hall, Carol Barnes and Al Flores all have been leaders in collegial governance.

“One of the best rewards of involvement in faculty governance is the many good friends one makes, from every college of our university,” said the honoree.

In his Outstanding Professor lecture, Olmsted outlined the ideal role of university professors: “We love to teach and I think that students recognize that passion and respond positively to it. We believe the highest calling is to assist aspiring students in achieving their goals.

“And we are dedicated to the betterment of the university, participating widely in faculty governance.”

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