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Political Science Professor Puts Collegiality at the Center of His Work

Stephen Stambough Honored With 2024 John W. “Jack” Bedell Leadership in Collegial Governance Award
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When Stephen Stambough walked into his first Academic Senate meeting at Cal State Fullerton, he looked around the room to find that it was filled with smart, dedicated faculty members who brought unique perspectives to the table. 

“Shared governance only works when there is a venue for all voices and not just the most experienced voices, the loudest voices, the familiar voices, or any other single type of voice,” said Stambough. 

It’s this mentality and dedication to inclusivity, academic excellence and community service that earned Stambough the 2024 John W. “Jack” Bedell Leadership in Collegial Governance Award.

CSUF President Sylvia Alva presents Stephen Stambough, professor of political science, with the 2024 John W. “Jack” Bedell Leadership in Collegial Governance Award at the April 25 Academic Senate meeting.

“Collegial governance has been the hallmark of Steve’s career at CSUF, and it’s only fitting that he be nominated for and receive this award,” said Matthew Jarvis, associate professor of political science and chair of the Academic Senate. 

The award recognizes a faculty member who has gone above and beyond to serve and uplift the Titan community through their work in collegial governance. It is named in honor of John (Jack) Bedell, the late professor of sociology who exemplified campus leadership through his dedicated service and passion for helping others.

Stambough first joined CSUF as an assistant professor of political science in 2003. Combining his love for teaching and research, he said his role on campus quickly became “the best job imaginable.” 

His passion for helping others in academia continued to thrive when he joined the Academic Senate in 2009. Since then, Stambough has served as CSUF’s Academic Senate chair and vice chair, and he also served two terms on the Academic Senate of the California State University system. 

Though his time with the university senate has been marked with significant challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the renegotiation of general education requirements and social justice issues, Stambough championed collaboration, critical thinking and community support, ensuring that faculty, staff and student success were at the forefront of every decision. 

“I was really proud at the way we all came together — even on Zoom meetings — to work on these issues together,” said Stambough, who oversaw changes to general education requirements in social sciences and helped create policies for the creation of the ethnic studies requirement. 

A Legacy of Championing Student Success

A first-generation student himself, Stambough said every decision he’s made throughout his 21-year career has been guided by what is best for students. 

Over a decade ago, Stambough realized that the best way to prepare students for careers in government, business, entertainment and other industries was to have them apply their knowledge in the field. 

That’s how he became the founding director of the Cal State DC Scholars program, which provides students with opportunities to study and intern in the nation’s capital. Since 2006, more than 600 students have studied and earned professional experience in Washington, D.C., and the program has expanded to nine other CSU campuses. 

“It never gets old seeing our students in our nation’s capital,” said Stambough. “Our students prove time and time again that, if given the chance, they can succeed anywhere. Leading this program gave me the honor of seeing that happen. I realize this was only possible due to our tradition of collegiality, collaboration and determination to work together to build things that matter for our students and community.”

During his time at CSUF, Stambough has served as chair of the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice, collaborating with faculty to plan the university Town Hall event, develop an OC Fellows program for local internships and service learning, and improve outreach to emeriti and alumni. He also supported students as a faculty adviser for multiple organizations, such as the Political Science Student Association and CSUF College Democrats. 

“He is eager to advance the mission of the CSU and higher education to be more just and equitable. He cares about doing the right thing, and seeing the right thing be done. Many people on this campus strive to be more like Steve,” said Jason Shepard, chair and professor of communications. “I know Jack Bedell, ever the campus statesman if there was one, is looking down and smiling at Steve being recognized for this award in his name.”

Taylor Arrey