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Liberal Studies Professor Receives Faculty Leadership Award

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Emily Miller Bonney, associate professor of liberal studies, vice chair of the Cal State Fullerton Academic Senate and chair of the University’s interim subcommittee on assessment for campuswide accreditation, is this year’s recipient of the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award.

President Mildred García announced the award during today’s Academic Senate meeting. “You know you can tell a great deal about an individual by the letters written in support,” said García. “They are indicative of the scope of collaboration that has made a huge difference on this campus … Emily has played a critical role in shared governance.”

Among those García quoted was a letter from José Luis Cruz, provost and vice president for academic affairs: “Dr. Bonney intuitively understands that as an academic leader, her work is more about enabling the future than protecting the past, more about leveraging what works than salvaging what doesn’t, and more about honoring the people that serve the institution than the abstractions that shape it.”

Bonney’s peers gave her a standing ovation in recognition of the honor and her work.

Following the Senate meeting, Bonney said she was very honored “to be in the company of such great people who have previously won this award.

“I consider our service to be incredibly important — not more so than teaching — but for its value in a college community,” she added.

Bonney, who joined the University in 1995 and was involved in the transition of liberal studies from a program to a department, has served on a wide range of department, college and campuswide committees dealing with everything from assessment and curriculum to faculty grants and online instruction.

Since 2013, she has served as an administrative fellow in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, encouraging other faculty members to serve on various college committees and identifying opportunities to participate in conferences and other forms of faculty development.

Bonney has worked on a campuswide accreditation steering committee, served on the Diversity and Inclusiveness Task Force and participated in the creation of the campus climate survey to support implementation of the University’s Strategic Plan. She served on search committees for the vice president for human resources, diversity and inclusion; dean of students; and the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Emily’s fearlessness in the face of complicated documents or situations, along with her commitment to making CSUF better, are two reasons I think she is an outstanding candidate for this award,” stressed Sean Walker, chair of the Academic Senate and professor of biological science. The two have served as officers on the senate since 2012.

“I have always been very impressed with Emily’s ability to lead and work towards consensus,” wrote Scott Hewitt, interim university librarian and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Noting a particular incident in which there was conflict, Hewitt reported: “Instead of reacting to criticisms that would have inflamed discussions further, she just continued to work toward a compromise that would be a win/win for both parties and a win for the University.”

“Emily is clearly one of the hardest working Academic Senators I have worked with in over 40 years of collegial governance,” noted John W. Bedell, emeritus professor of sociology, who served as Senate chair for six terms over his career. “I always knew I could depend upon Emily to get things done. She always does so with civility and collegiality.”

“While I expect she did not know this, Emily has served as my role model,” said Sheryl I. Fontaine, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Watching her, I see the expert committee member; the person who leads and participates; the person who listens, gathers information, asks just the right questions, and never leads with her ego. … Emily is a quiet, confident and generously open leader.”

Bonney earned a Juris Doctor from UCLA and spent a decade as a litigator before accepting a tenure-track position with Cal State Fullerton. She also holds a doctorate in classical art and archaeology from New York University.

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.