Cal State Fullerton News Release California State University, Fullerton
Public Affairs
800 N. State College Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92632
657-278-2414 Fax 657-278-5226



May 28, 2004 :: No. 269

Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award Presented to Longtime Professor and Campus Leader

Sandra Sutphen, acting director of the Faculty Development Center and professor of political science, is this year’s winner of Cal State Fullerton’s Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award.

During her 37 years on the CSUF faculty, Sutphen has “reinvented” her career several times. Yet, the one constant with each new assignment has been her involvement with faculty in the areas of shared governance and peer review.

The annual award was presented May 27 by President Milton A. Gordon before a large audience of Sutphen’s peers in the Academic Senate Chambers.

“When people ask me what kind of concerns a university president has, I believe it’s losing faculty members like Sandy Sutphen,” said Gordon. “Her commitment and dedication have set the tone for faculty. She is the kind of person who is able to recognize that the final decision is one that has to be made — even if she doesn’t always agree with it.”

A resident of Yorba Linda, Sutphen has been actively involved in a variety of campus leadership roles, including those for the Academic Senate, Women’s Studies, the Division of Political Science and Criminal Justice, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), CSU Channel Islands and, most recently, the Faculty Development Center.

The Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award recognizes faculty members who have made significant contributions to collegial governance and the mission of the California State University.

Sutphen served as chair of the Academic Senate from 2000-02, though her involvement dates back even further. She has served on the Senate since 1992 and was a member of the Executive Committee for three years prior to taking on the chair position.

During her tenure as chair, she established an annual retreat, where Academic Affairs staff work with senators to create position papers, forming the agenda for the upcoming year. The first year’s retreat focused on the 2000 WASC accreditation. The second year centered on distance learning, intellectual property, assessment, year-round operations, El Toro Campus, class scheduling and a second language graduation requirement. Many of the position papers resulted in concrete policy proposals that were subsequently adopted, such as those addressing distance learning and the second language requirement. New, more flexible course schedules were introduced, and El Toro is now the most populous branch campus in the CSU system, thanks to the efforts of many, including Sutphen.

Of course, her duties with the Academic Senate are only part of the story. Sutphen was instrumental in establishing a minor in women’s studies in 1983. She became the founding program coordinator and also served as coordinator from 1999-2002. In 1999, women’s studies was approved as a major, and the program has tripled its size since. Today, Sutphen remains active with the program, serving on the Women’s Studies Program Council, coordinating activities with the Women’s Center and helping with Women’s History Month. More recently, she participated in the university’s Joint Task Force on Domestic Violence.

While Sutphen was involved in these activities, she continued to teach. When the Criminal Justice Department merged with Political Science in the ’90s, Sutphen helped facilitate the dialogue that ensued between faculty members and staff.

When the university was preparing for its WASC accreditation, Sutphen was approached to serve as director of the WASC Self Study Team. The team explored the university’s Mission, Goals & Strategies, and focused on program evaluation and assessment. Ultimately, WASC bestowed a 10-year reaccreditation on the university, the maximum term awarded.

In 1998, Sutphen volunteered to serve on an academic advisory committee for a new CSU campus to be established in Ventura County. That led to almost two years of service on the faculty council for CSU Channel Islands. The group met one weekend each month to create a framework for academic programs, a curriculum, shared governance policies and a constitution for the Academic Senate for the new campus.

After 35 years at CSUF (and 40 years teaching), Sutphen was prepared to consider retirement. However, she was enticed into accepting the position of interim director of the Faculty Development Center. At the center, she is responsible for organizing orientation programs and welcoming newcomers to campus, as well as working with current faculty members to assist them with research support for grant proposals and statistical analysis. The center also provides training to help faculty members develop skills so they can take advantage of new technology. Sutphen has been an active member of the university’s Emergency Operations Center management team, helping members of the campus develop plans in the event that an earthquake or other disaster occurs.

“I truly believe in the premise of participatory democracy,” she said. “During my career, I have tried to assist faculty and staff in developing a deeper commitment to Cal State Fullerton. I have encouraged them to become active members of the campus community. I’m sure the next generation will continue the tradition of collegial governance that has made Cal State Fullerton the fine university that it is today.”

Sutphen retires this summer and plans on continuing to serve the university in a variety of volunteer positions. She is a newly elected member of the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum Board of Directors, and she has also volunteered to write a newsletter for the Titan baseball team’s booster organization, the Diamond Club.

Media Contacts: Sandra Sutphen at 657-278-3468 or
Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs at 657-278-4540 or