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Faculty Highlights

Community-engaged faculty members create innovative learning experiences, conduct meaningful research, and publish work that contributes to their field and highlights their expertise. We feature those accomplishments and more in this section.

The Land of Milk and Honey

Land of Milk and Honey

Edward Gomez (Associate Professor, Art & Design) created an Artist in Residence project titled, The Land of Milk and Honey. The project aims to help institutions increase public awareness by producing an inclusive community-based art project that focuses on Chicano/a art, history, and culture. The invited artist for the project is Daniel Ruanova, a practicing artist working between the borderlands of Tijuana and Vallecitos, Baja California, Mexico. 

The Land of Milk and Honey will entail a series of Digital Art and Fabrication workshops and lectures, resulting in a kinetic sculpture titled The Mexican Labor Agreement, which will be a part of Ruanova's long-term and ongoing collaborative "Bracero Legacy Project." The project's goal is to provide students with a hands-on project-based learning experience by working with a practicing artist, Daniel Ruanova, to produce a museum-quality art installation that will be publicly displayed at the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture of the Riverside Art Museum. In addition, this project will provide students with experience working with international artists and a world-class museum. These connections and networks are paramount in becoming a successful artist. Students will be able to inform their art practice, their own identities, and the identities of their community through this experience.

Edward Gomez received a 2021-22 Community-Based Research Mini-Grant and an Establishing Community Partnership Grant from the Office of Community Engagement. The Community-Based Research Mini-Grant will provide funds for art materials, promotional materials, art space rental, workshops, and transportation/installation of art. The Establishing Community Partnership Grant solidified a continuing partnership between CSUSB, MexiCali Biennial, The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum, and the Garcia Center for the Arts.

PDC Street Medicine Program

PDC Street Medicine Program

Younglee Kim (PDC Associate Professor, Nursing) and Diane Vines (PDC Lecturer, Nursing and Director, Nursing Street Medicine Program) are creating a Foot Soak Program to service the homeless population in the Coachella Valley. 

The Foot Soak program will help CSUSB students develop deeper compassion and understanding for the homeless population while providing much-needed foot care. Dr. Kim and Dr. Vines believe that providing student nurses opportunities to understand and witness the struggles of homeless individuals will contribute to changing the in-hospital culture of discourteousness towards homeless patients. Students participating in this program will be oriented to provide guests with a safe place for meaningful interactions, active listening, and non-medical conversation.

The Office of Community Engagement has funded a $5,000 Community-Based Research grant to fund the Foot Soak Program during the Spring 2022 Semester! Thank you Younglee and Diane for developing a valuable learning experience for students and providing a needed service for the community.

Bridges that Carried Us Over: Documenting Black History in the IE

Bridges Project

Dr. Marc Robinson, Assistant Professor in History, partnered with the Wilmer Amina Carter Foundation, the University of Redlands Program in Race and Ethnic Studies, and multiple local nonprofit organizations to document Black history in the Inland Empire. 
The “Bridges that Carried Us Over” project was founded by Wilmer Amina Carter and Ratibu Jacocks and served as one of the first documentation projects in the area to capture the stories, experiences, and history of the Black community in this region. 
Robinson received a Service Learning Fellowship from the Office of Community Engagement to integrate this community-based collaborative initiative into CSUSB coursework. Robinson’s History 3460: Women in the Black Freedom Movement was assigned the CSLI: Community Service Learning course designation for the use of a distinct pedagogy that intentionally and explicitly integrates course learning, civic learning, community learning activities, and community partners. Congrats Marc!

Criminal Justice 5508: Preventing Crime in Transportation Systems

Student Group Photo

Dr. Nerea Marteache (Associate Professor, Criminal Justice) partnered with two local transportation agencies, Omnitrans and Foothill Transit to create a service-learning assignment for the course CJUS 5508: Preventing Crime in Transportation Systems. Students enrolled in the class worked in groups and with the agencies to identify and analyze issues such as fear of crime among passengers, property and violent crimes in buses, and crime and disorder issues in transit centers. The analysis included interviews with agency representatives, crime data provided by their safety departments, and site visits to transit centers. At the end of the course, students created innovative and targeted crime prevention initiatives that were presented to the agencies. Omnitrans and Foothill Transit were impressed with some of the responses proposed, and are currently in the process of seeking funding to implement them.

Students' feedback on the service-learning project included comments such as “Being able to work with agencies and tackle real issues in transportation systems was one of the best things I have yet to do in my academics”. Another student said, “this was a new perspective of learning and I really enjoyed the concept of helping someone. It felt like I was being seen and heard. It was different and I loved it!

The CSU has designated Criminal Justice 5508: Preventing Crime in Transportation Systems, Section 01 offered in Fall 2021 with the course attribute CSLI: Community Service Learning. The assigned course attribute recognizes the use of a distinct pedagogy that intentionally and explicitly integrates course learning, civic learning, community learning activities, and community partners.

Congrats Nerea for developing an impactful student learning experience!

Salton Sea Faculty and Student Research Team


Salton Sea Research Team


Michael Karp (PDC Assistant Professor, History) and Michael Salvador (PDC Professor, Communication Studies) partnered with the Salton Sea Authority to lead a team of students to conduct a community-based research project focusing on local perspectives of the Salton Sea. The faculty and student-led research team are conducting qualitative interviews with local residents to uncover prominent cultural narratives concerning the Salton Sea and its impact. After the research is concluded, they will present their findings to the Salton Sea Authority and other local agencies and community groups in hopes of facilitating community and agency interaction. The group hopes to provide a foundation for more effective communication and policymaking.


Michael Karp and Michael Salvador were recipients of a 2021 Office of Community Engagement - Establishing Community Partnership Grant, which provided funds to support student researchers.

Kids Discover Egypt Workshop

Student at Kids Discover Egypt


The CSUSB Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA), Dr. Kate Liszka (Associate Professor, History) and Bryan Kraemer M.A., M.Sc., (Lecturer, History) partnered with two community agencies to bring Kids Discover Egypt to children in our local communities.

The three-day Kids Discover Egypt workshop provided children ages 6 – 13 an opportunity to learn about Ancient Egyptian Art, Archaeology, History, Culture, and Society. RAFFMA staff and CSUSB faculty created interactive lessons and activities that revolved around the museum’s art collection. The Kids Discover Egypt team worked with the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) and local nonprofit Music Changing Lives to distribute over 280 free art packs for children of San Bernardino & Riverside counties! Each art pack included materials for the workshop and art supplies that children could use to further their interest in art, even after the workshop.

The workshop also provided CSUSB Art & Design students valuable learning experiences, from developing workshop curriculum to production and editing. Chase Hanson (Student, Art History) said, “I learned a lot about putting on a long-form production like this, and what it takes to set that up in writing and produce it!”

Liszka and Kraemer were successful recipients of a 2021 Office of Community Engagement-Establishing Community Partnership Grant which allowed them to provide free art packs to children in historically under-resourced communities. The Kids Discover Egypt team plans to continue its annual partnership with SBCUSD and Music Changing Lives to provide free high-quality art education to children.

Thank you, Kate, Bryan, and the entire RAFFMA staff for organizing an engaging and educational event!



Thomas McGovern, Art & Design (Photography)
Thomas McGovern, Art & Design (Photography)

Thomas McGovern, CSUSB Professor of Art and Design, partnered with Ms. Vanee Matsalia and Mr. Albert (Ablie) Hewlett from Curtis Middle School in San Bernardino to teach an 8th-grade photography class. McGovern met with students virtually to talk about how photography can create a compelling and valuable documentation of their lives and community.

The 8th-grade students worked on a special photography project that combined Black History Month with their own lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The class also studied the history of photo documentation and the impact it has made in defining communities and empowering individuals to see their lived experiences as worthwhile. Students were tasked with capturing moments through photographs that illustrated what the concept of “home” meant to them. McGovern assisted students throughout the project by teaching camera techniques and helping students develop a sense of vision for their photography. The class placed a special emphasis on the importance of making pictures about people, places, and things that they care about, regardless of whether they think photos are inherently ‘interesting’ or ‘picturesque’.

The students’ work culminated in a virtual exhibition that offered students an opportunity to present and discuss their photographs. In addition, a magazine titled "HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS/THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME" was published to showcase the students' photographs, alongside a personal statement about their pieces.

Thomas McGovern received an OCE Community-Based Research Mini-Grant to purchase the point-and-shoot digital cameras students used for this project. The grant also covered the costs of five photo prints for each student and the creation of the photo magazine.

Thank you for all your great work, Tom! OCE would also like to recognize the teachers and students of Curtis Middle School for their participation, amazing work, and moving photographs!


Click Here to View the Magazine

Course Spotlight:  Mathematical Mayhem: Puppet Stories About Numbers 

Math Mayhem
Mathematical Mayhem

Johanna Smith’s Theater Arts 3122: Touring Theatre for Youth class partnered with CSUSB’s Department of Mathematics and the Pomona Unified School District to present Mathematical Mayhem: Puppet Stories About Numbers.


In collaboration with Math Professor Dr. Susan Addington and Pomona fifth-grade teacher Peter Rainville, Johanna Smith and her students created educational math videos performed by puppet characters.  According to Mr. Rainville, the educational videos were designed to address common math gaps or misunderstandings on key concepts. The videos were first presented to Mr. Rainville’s elementary school colleagues and fifth-grade students. Shortly after, the videos were uploaded to to be shared freely with San Bernardino area schools.


CSUSB President Tomás Morales praised the project by saying, “Professor Johanna Smith has converted her touring production for local elementary schools into a distance learning experience for younger audiences … I deeply appreciate the way that members of this campus give back to our community, and I am delighted by initiatives such as this one which continue in that tradition.”


The Mathematical Mayhem program also allowed Johanna Smith to include meaningful learning and reflection experiences for her Theatre Arts 3122 undergraduate students. The project helped students develop an understanding of the logistics of writing, shooting, and distributing an educational puppetry video; participate directly in the video-making process for a specific demographic; and perform original puppet characters with unique voices and physicality.



In 2018, Dr. Arianna Huhn and Dr. Annika Anderson received an OCE Community-Based Research Mini-Grant. The grant supported In|Dignity, a student and faculty curated exhibition featuring the autobiographical reflections of 43 Inland Empire Community members who discussed the role of difference in shaping identities, opportunities, and experiences. The exhibition premiered at the CSUSB’s Anthropology Museum and was later converted into a mobile exhibition that has traveled throughout the San Bernardino County Unified School District. The partnership provided SBCUSD students the opportunity to participate in an immersive museum exhibition experience which fostered opportunities for reflection and understanding.


The In|Dignity project resulted in an article titled, Promoting Social Justice through Storytelling in Museums, which was accepted for publication at Museum and Society, an open-access journal that provides cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research on museums. The article was published in November 2020 and included contributions from Drs. Huhn and Anderson, and also Kelly Campbell (Psychology), Thomas McGovern (Art & Design), and the CSUSB Theatre Department.

Parenting in a Pandemic

Parenting in a Pandemic
Parenting in a Pandemic

Mark Agars, Director of CSUSB’s Institute for Child Development and Family Relations (ICDFR), partnered with First 5 California, the Making Hope Happen Foundation, and Community Action Partnership to launch a digital campaign titled, “Parenting in a Pandemic.”  The project’s focus was to address parental stress as a result of the pandemic. As schools and employers paused in-person operation, many parents and families were forced to handle new responsibilities for their child’s day-to-day education and care.


The campaign included a coordinated social media strategy, text message-based outreach and support, and a web-based center for parent and family resources. The partners worked across multiple mediums and provided research-based information in both English and Spanish. 

Rancho de Los Proyectos

Rancho de Los Proyectos
Rancho de Los Proyectos

Dr. Erik Melchiorre and Dr. Becky Talyn grew and distributed over $2200 worth of vegetables to nonprofit agencies serving people in need during the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic. The partner nonprofit agencies are the Redlands Community Center and the City Mission Food Bank. Erik and Becky’s donations supplemented the prepared and packaged foods provided by these nonprofits; the donations provided families in need with organic, nutritious options. Erik said, “Much of the Inland Empire is a "food desert" that has poor access to high-quality, nutritious food. Plenty of corner markets in strip malls with empty calories, but not a lot of fresh veggies and fruit.” 

Erik and Becky are proud owners and operators of Rancho de Los Proyectos, a small, organic family farm. The farm has also provided research opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Erik and his Geology 2030 students use soil samples from the farm to compute the carbon sequestration value of native soils, pasture, and intensively-farmed land. Meanwhile, Becky studied the toxicity and effects of plant herbicides. Becky added, “I think volunteer service helps motivate me to work harder to protect the safety of our food supply.”


Congratulations, Erik and Becky, for earning a Spring 2021 Do Good Volunteer Recognition Award!