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Faculty Member Earns Award for Efforts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

May 19, 2014

Almost from the moment she stepped onto campus, Kristin Beals wondered what she could to do to help Cal State Fullerton become more welcoming to LGBT students. She also wanted to help enhance education for all students and see them succeed in completing their degrees.

For her efforts to develop both academic and student support programs, as well as for providing guidance and encouragement to students, Beal was recognized with the University's inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. The honor was presented at the Celebrating Excellence University Awards Program in April.

The award stunned the associate professor of psychology, a member of the campus community since 2005.

"This is a great honor," she said, expressing her surprise and appreciation of department associates Laura Zettel-Watson and Barbara Cherry, who nominated her for the award. "But none of this would have happened without others. I have to acknowledge all of the other people and the collaborations that made these efforts possible. I could not have dreamed of these efforts without Dr. Karyl Ketchum [assistant professor of women and gender studies], Tony Ragazzo [director of the Associated Students Inc. Leader and Program Development], Carmen Curiel [director of the Multicultural Leadership Center] and many others."

One such example of Beals' award-winning efforts is her service as chair of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences advisement committee for the college's Pathways program. The program bundles courses based on specific areas of study, such as globalization and social justice.

"The program was developed to help students plan their upper-division courses to be more meaningful to them," said Beals. "Such as the globalization pathway, which has courses that explore the increasing interconnectedness of people, places and ideas around the world and define globalization and its key concepts. Such courses help students analyze the impact and effects of globalization on a local scale and acquire knowledge to discuss political, economic, socio-cultural subjects related to globalization.

"This year, we created three more areas: human rights, power and politics, innovation and leadership."

Working with Ketchum, Beals was involved in the development of the University's minor in queer studies. She also helped form the University's Lavender Working Group and was co-organizer and facilitator of the campus SafeSpace Program.

"The SafeSpace Program provides faculty-staff training on issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, as well as resources they can use to help these students on campus," said Beals. "Through the program training, the number of campus allies has grown to approximately 200, providing a safety net to help these students feel safe and welcome on campus."

Most recently, Beals serves as the psychology department's unoffical adviser for AB 540 students, undocumented students who have grown up in the state and are pursuing a college education. "I help these students find internships where they can feel safe, while gaining real-world experience and the practical skills that will help them succeed beyond the University.

"I love Cal State Fullerton students," she said. "I look forward to advising and supporting them in their efforts to succeed and graduate from college. It's a real privilege to serve here."

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