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Communications Professor Honored for Service to Campus and Community

Irene Matz Receives Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award
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Colleagues and associates of Irene Matz cannot say enough about how her servant leadership, passion for Cal State Fullerton and enthusiastic support for students, women and underrepresented populations make the 30-year campus veteran a qualified choice for the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award.

“Matz is what this award is all about: advocacy, service and commitment to the ‘Fullerton Way,’ said Jack Bedell, chair and professor of electrical engineering.

“She has contributed consistently throughout her career at CSUF in ways that have made our university a better academic institution,” agreed Mark Stohs, professor of finance and chair of the Academic Senate.

He has worked extensively with Matz during her four terms on the governing body, three of which included an executive committee role. Highly respected by her peers, Matz was most recently elected as a State Academic Senator for the CSU (2019-22).

Another senate colleague, Mark Filowitz, associate vice president for academic programs, described Matz as the person who “comes up with creative solutions to move forward … always looking for compromises that benefit the campus and students.”

Matz’s service goes well beyond the senate. “The sheer volume and breadth of her leadership roles across the university and community should amaze all of us,” said Stohs, noting she has held more than 100 committee roles, often acting as chair. On campus, these include participating on the President’s Scholars search committee, Council of Deans, Latin American Studies Association and the 2018-19 president search committee, to name a few.

In the community, Matz “enjoys a statewide reputation for gender equity, empathy and a deep sense of fairness,” said Bedell. Much of her volunteer work has centered on gender equality and female leadership also her area of scholarly research as well as criminal justice.

“I cannot say enough about Irene’s enthusiastic support of the university,” said President Fram Virjee. “She is the epitome of everything this awards stands for — advocacy, commitment and service. She is warm and welcoming and a beacon of goodness and gratitude on campus.”

In 1999, she was tapped by President Gordon to create and build the California Corporate Board Registry to advance women and minority participation on corporate boards. Since 2007 she has been a CSUF representative to the Southern California ACE Women’s Network to advance women in higher education careers.

Terry Saenz, professor of communication sciences and disorders, explained that Matz’s “uniquely warm, gracious, personal brand of leadership, supported by her research and presentations on female leadership represents everything I want to be in a leader. Her pioneering work in this area has been an inspiration to the generations of female faculty members and administrators who have followed her.”

Such leadership in the criminal justice world has resulted in Matz volunteering as a court mediator, Court Appointed Special Advocate and member of the Los Angeles Youth Gang Committee, where she puts her expertise in intercultural communications and conflict management to work.

At CSUF, Matz has been a faculty member and administration in both the College of Communications and College of Business, teaching human communication studies and business writing, and serving as assistant dean for students in both places.

She spent seven years as associate dean and dean for the College of Communications and also enhanced the university’s international partnerships for student and faculty exchanges in South Korea, Japan, China and Cuba. She has been recognized as an outstanding faculty member several times, most recently as 2019 Faculty Marshal for the College of Communications and Distinguished Faculty Marshal for the Human Communication Studies Department.

“When I started here,” said Jon Bruschke, chair and professor of human communication studies, where Matz currently serves as a faculty, “I was a lecturer and Irene was an administrator. Later I was on the committee that hired her as a faculty member, and after that she became my dean.  She’s now my colleague and fellow senator. I think that says a lot about how rich and varied her service has been.

“What has never wavered is an absolute dedication to the students and a total respect for everyone she encounters, regardless of station,” he added.

And how does she do it all? Jason Shepard, chair and professor of communications, said he is in awe of Matz’s remarkable work ethic. “She is in the office before 6 a.m. and often works well into the evening,” he shared. “She sets a tone for high productivity and expectations for students, faculty and staff, and lives up to it herself.”

The two-time CSUF graduate earned her B.A. and M.A. in speech communication, with an emphasis in organizational communication. She holds a doctorate in education from Claremont Graduate University.

Contact: Karen Lindell,