Community Engagement

Photo from left to right: Cody, Cherstin Lyon and CSUSB President Morales.
(Photo from left to right: Cody, Cherstin Lyon and CSUSB President Morales.)

May 17, 2018

Cherstin Lyon, History, Named CSUSB Outstanding Professor and Outstanding Faculty Advisor
by Office of Strategic Communication

Cherstin Lyon, Cal State San Bernardino history professor, was surprised during the university’s seventh annual Meeting of the Minds event on May 17 with not just one, but two awards: the 2017-18 Outstanding Professor Award and the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award.

President Tomás D. Morales and the senior leadership of CSUSB and the College of Social and Behavioral Studies, as well as history department members and attendees of the event, were there to see Lyon awarded. Morales said Lyon was highly deserving of both awards.

“The first recognizes her consistent excellence in teaching, scholarly activities and service to our students and the academy,” Morales said. “The Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award honors her caring attitude toward advisees, her effective interpersonal skills, and her ability to motivate student progress and provide career and life guidance.

“Provost (Shari) McMahan and I join the University Awards Committee in saying that Dr. Lyon is an excellent example of a faculty member whose presence at CSUSB has made a difference for her students and this university,” he said.

Lyon was deeply appreciative.

“If it weren’t for my students, I wouldn’t be here,” she said during her thank-you speech. “I have some students in the room and they’ve inspired me and they’ve given me purpose, so thank you.”

Lyon also thanked Tiffany Jones, chair of the history department, who she described as a friend and supporter; Diane Podolske, director of the Office of Community Engagement, who she says has inspired her and has helped transform her life; and Rafik Mohamed, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, for giving students and faculty an environment where they can succeed and thrive.

“The university has been just an incredible home,” Lyon said.

“She is one of the most dedicated faculty to students on campus,” said Podolske. “She really has a heart for students — that’s why she does what she does. And I think it’s the personal care that she takes in the relationships with students. And also her scholarship is outstanding and she invites students to be part of that as well.”

In its selection announcement, the Outstanding Faculty Award nominating committee noted that Lyon was regularly evaluated by her students as “very good” to “excellent” in her teaching, an especially remarkable assessment given that she teaches courses that range from large lectures to small seminars.

She is also highly engaged with students outside of the traditional classroom, through Independent Studies, study abroad, thesis supervision and as the faculty mentor of the History in the Making student journal — in the five years leading up to her 2016 evaluation, she led 100 out-of-class interactions.

Colleagues who have visited her classes have observed her strong content knowledge and the quality of her interactions with students and the effectiveness of her teaching.

Her students have described her as an “expert in oral history” who is “passionate” about what she teaches and who structures her courses in a way that supports their learning.

For the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, one student nominator described Lyon as “one of the most dedicated educators of her profession” who “continues to inspire her students in ways that only truly gifted teachers can.” Another said she offers “excellent advising to students” and has “extensive knowledge of the educational opportunities that students could take.”

Lyon’s areas of research focus on American History: Immigration and Citizenship Law, and Asian-American and Pacific Island History: Public and Oral History. Courses taught include a survey course in U.S. history, courses on oral and public history, the history of California, the history of the American West, American history through film, editing and publishing history, U.S. citizenship and law, and immigration/ethnic American history.

A prime focus of her research is the preservation of Japanese-American internment camps. This has resulted in three books: the sole-authored “Prisons and Patriots: Japanese Americans and Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory,” a co-author of “Introduction to Public History: Interpreting the Past, Engaging the Public,” and co-editor of the forthcoming “Place and Citizenship: Global Case Studies,” along with numerous articles, chapters and conference presentations.

Lyon co-established the Public History program at CSUSB, which introduces undergraduate students to a field practiced by non-classroom professionals. She has also served as the coordinator of the master of arts in social sciences. Currently, she is co-director of the Faculty Center for Excellence and the faculty associate in the Office of Community Engagement. In addition, she is a favored speaker at community events. And these are just a few highlights of her service activities.

She is the 2017 winner of the Francis M. Wheat award for best scholarship in the Southern California Quarterly, a first runner-up in the international book division by the Wayne State University Center for the Study of Citizenship, and a 2015 Vision Award winner (Save Our Chinatown Committee) for professional service, guiding student research, and academic research in support of historic preservation and public awareness of Chinese immigrant history in Riverside, California.

While faculty advisor to History in the Making: A History Journal, the journal was awarded several national awards for excellence from Phi Alpha Theta’s Nash Award for student history journals: second place in 2015, first in 2014, third in 2013, second in 2012, and third in 2009.

Lyon was awarded both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Arizona.

Also during the Meeting of the Minds event, Gisela M. Bichler, CSUSB criminal justice professor, was named the recipient of the Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities Award.

Both will be recognized during this year’s commencement ceremony at the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in June and honored at the annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit

6th Annual Coyote Cares Day

On April 21st, the CSUSB community turned out on a beautiful spring day for the 6th annual Coyote Cares Day. Our goal was to promote service to the community, with a special focus on environmental projects in celebration of Earth Day. Our community partners are very grateful for everyone’s efforts, and we hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!

A heartfelt thanks for all of the students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni who participated this year!  Please enjoy the slideshow highlighting some of the projects and the fun we had at the after party. We have begun planning next year’s Coyote Cares Day on Saturday, April 13, 2019, and we hope that all of you mark your calendars and plan to join us!

CSUSB Little Libraries Are Fully Stocked With Books

Just in time for the holiday break! Our CSUSB Little Libraries are filled with books. FInd our Little Libraries at the following locations in the San Bernardino area:

  • Helping Hands Pantry
  • Option House, Inc.
  • Veronica's Home of Mercy
  • Central City Lutheran Mission
  • San Bernardino Boys and Girls Club of America
  • Delmann Heights Community Center 


TRACKS Alternative Spring Break Program - New Orleans
  • CSUSB students volunteer with St. Bernard Wetlands Foundation
  • CSUSB students volunteering with ARC of Greater New Orleans
  • students volunteering at New Orleans Mission.
  • TRACKS collage photos of their last two service projects at NOLA.
  • TRACKS Alternative Spring Break at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Let's Get on Board with Service
  • sixty #CSUSB students volunteered with San Bernardino County
  • Our CSUSB Students created almost 700 family food boxes
  • Getting on board with service group photo.

CSUSB Partnership Form

Apply now

The resulting database will enable CSUSB to showcase community-bassed collaborations through scholarship, teaching, research, creative activities, service, and more.

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Podolske at (909) 537-7483 or email