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Educator Lynda Randall Honored With Top Teaching Honor

May 8, 2014

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A surprised Lynda E. Randall, professor of secondary education, thanks her colleagues at Thursday's Academic Senate meeting for honoring her with the University's Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award.

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As an educator for 40 years, Lynda E. Randall, Cal State Fullerton professor of secondary education, has been committed to her teaching, engaging both students and faculty colleagues in leading-edge and innovative instruction.

For her dedication, outstanding teaching and contributions to education, Randall was honored today (May 8) with the University's 2013-14 Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award.

In a surprise announcement at a meeting of the Academic Senate, where Randall serves as a senator, her colleagues applauded the campus veteran whose career has focused on student learning in the classroom and online.

"Her rigorous academic standards, various publications, pedagogical innovations and perhaps, most notably, her creativity in the world of technology and online teaching, encapsulates all of the criteria" of this award, said President Mildred García. "We, at Cal State Fullerton, are 100 percent more likely to continue succeeding as a model, comprehensive university with her in our classrooms, leading our programs and contributing to our curriculum."

Claire C. Cavallaro, dean of the College of Education, agreed that Randall is deserving of the accolade and that her commitment to students reaches beyond the academics of the classroom.

"Dr. Randall is visionary, innovative and exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner," said Cavallaro. "The breadth and depth of her expertise and contributions to teaching and service are unmatched, and her scholarship is noteworthy and award-winning."

Randall, who was caught off guard, quipped, "For once I am speechless!"

Beaming before her colleagues, she added that she was thrilled to be recognized for excellence in teaching, especially with the support from her students and colleagues.

"I'm so proud of this honor; it means so much to me, particularly because it is an honor that values rigor in the classroom," said Randall, who shared that she has great respect for Barnes, one of her early mentors when she arrived on campus in 1990.

As part of her nomination, students wrote letters of high praise for Randall's teaching. One student called her a "rare find," a supportive teacher dedicated to ensuring that her students learn and grow. "She pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I am now considering pursuing a Ph.D. because of her ... She is the best teacher I've ever had," the student stated.

Andrea Guillaume, professor of elementary and bilingual education, and the 2011-12 Barnes award recipient, said Randall, whom she nominated, "embodies the best of university instruction.

"An excellent college faculty member truly does make a significant and lasting impact on students, and Lynda Randall is making that kind of impact on our students daily."

In addition to being passionate about teaching, Randall has been a member of the CSUF Information Technology Committee, Ad Hoc Committee on Online Course Policy and the Faculty Development Center's Advisory Committee. She has served on the campus Planning, Resource and Budget Committee and was founding director of the E-Learning Consortium.

A past faculty coordinator of the Academic Technology Center, she provided support to colleagues in the use of innovative tools for online, blended and classroom learning. She has made more than 100 international, national and regional conference presentations, and published two textbooks on pedagogy and teacher training.

Over the years, Randall has earned grants focusing on strengthening teacher support and assessment, and her research has focused on enhancing student preparedness and engagement in online course work, particularly in the use of the technology and engaging online instruction.

The educator, who holds a master's degree and doctorate from Springfield College in Massachusetts, noted that she recently considered retiring, but realized that she still has "so much to do — and I love my students."

Most importantly, it's been a rewarding career to prepare future teachers for the classroom, she said. "I'm proud of my thousands of students who have graduated and who are out there making a difference in the world. ... I'm at the point of my career where it's motivating to work even harder and do all I can to help my students succeed."

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