August 20, 2014 by University of La Verne

A new and unique abstract painting exhibit is coming to University of La Verne’s Harris Art Gallery, showcasing the far reach of contemporary visual culture on art.

P_of_E-PR

Frederick Hammersley Tango, 1979 #5 oil on linen 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm) Courtesy of Frederick Hammersley Foundation and L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

The Pictures of Everything exhibit is a nod to Kirk Varnedoe’s Mellon Lecture Series, Pictures of Nothing, given at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 2003. It features the work of Phil Argent, Karl Benjamin, Sarah Cain, Jane Callister, Frederick Hammersley, Allison Miller, Sandeep Mukherjee, Oliver Sutter, David Reed and Feodor Voronov,
In the exhibit, the word ‘everything’ is not a catchall term that signals a dilution of painting styles or concepts.

Instead, it triumphantly denotes a pervasive expanse, and presents a range of artists with a wide range of ideas and practices. Benjamin and Hammersley, pioneers of the Southern California Hard Edge movement, explore flat planes of color in crisp symmetrical compositions. Argent, Mukherjee and Voronov harness the energy of spatial dynamics and surface tension.

Reed’s smooth waveforms and the explosive spills of Callister emphasize gesture and motion. Cain, Miller and Sutter utilize pattern and structure as the essential elements of their work.

The unique collection of paintings fill the Harris Art Gallery space with color, texture, use of pattern, light, and space, embracing its title Pictures of Everything, and the expanse that it entails.

When: Sept. 2 to Oct. 30, 2014. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
Reception: Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6-8 p.m.

Where: Harris Art Gallery, located in the Landis Academic Center at the University of La Verne.
1950 Third St., La Verne, Calif.

Gallery Hours: Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Details: Ten artists collaborate in Pictures of Everything, an abstract painting exhibition.

Contacts: Dion Johnson, Director of University Art Galleries, University of La Verne, (909) 593-3511 ext. 4383, djohnson@laverne.edu.

August 18, 2014 by University of La Verne

Some people refer to the University of La Verne’s Graduate Success Center as the institution’s best-kept secret. Center Director Dr. Linda De Long aims to change that.

The center is preparing for its annual Graduate Orientation for Academics, Learning & Success – or GOALS – set for Aug. 23. And De Long hopes the event will boost interest in the center.

Tutoring is one of many services offered at the Graduate Success Center.

Tutoring is one of many services offered at the Graduate Success Center.

“In a period of hours, the students are going to get a better and fuller appreciation for who’s there behind the scenes to support them as a graduate or doctoral student, and that there are departments dedicated to making that student be successful,” said De Long, who is also a senior adjunct professor.

The center, located on the second floor of the Campus Center, is a one stop shop for tutoring, mentorship and workshops geared toward graduate and doctorate students. Students who have been away from the academic world for years can brush up on writing research papers. They can spruce up their resumes to get a job. They can even learn how to manage stress.

The orientation begins with check-in at 8:30 a.m. on the east side of Founder’s Hall, and a continental breakfast at Davenport Dining Hall. Students may obtain parking permits and student ID pictures.

University Provost Jonathan Reed and President Devorah Lieberman will kick off the orientation at 9:30 a.m. at Morgan Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion including main campus and regional campus administrators. There will also be a question-and-answer segment where students can gain new information about their Graduate program, and about the departments that service graduate students, De Long said.

Students who cannot make it to the main campus can observe the panel discussion via live Internet stream which can be found on the main page of the center’s website.

A service fair will take place on the third floor of the Campus Center at 11:30 a.m., where students can get information on everything from financial aid and the library to multicultural services and the bookstore. Students have a chance to win an iPad mini or university merchandise during a raffle that follows.

Students can then break out and meet with the deans and department chairs from their colleges.

The center, funded by a Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has been in existence nearly five years. Each semester students visit the GSC in the campus center to obtain support in writing, statistics, accounting and finance, as well as career services and mentoring.

She anticipates those numbers continue to grow.

The center has added new services this year to build on its success.

In September, the center plans to begin offering workshop series’ that will cover subjects such as writing research papers, how to do a keyword search, interviewing, resume writing, the Microsoft Office series and stress management. They are also working with students who are preparing for the California Basic Education Skills Test, required for teaching in public schools.

“I’m really excited about this and the potential to support our graduate and doctoral students,” De Long said.

August 14, 2014 by University of La Verne

A national organization presented La Verne’s Campus Safety Department with an award July 29 for increasing officer training, security equipment and making other school safety improvements.

Stanley Skipworth, Senior Director of Campus Safety, Transportation & Emergency Services, holds his department's latest award from the School Safety Advocacy Council.

Stanley Skipworth, Senior Director of Campus Safety,
Transportation & Emergency Services, holds his department’s latest award from the School Safety Advocacy Council.

It occurred during the 9th Annual National School Safety Conference in Orlando, Fla. La Verne was the only higher education institution recognized during the event, which was hosted by the Maryland-based School Safety Advocacy Council. The group provides specialized services and training for law enforcement, school departments, colleges and universities.

“I’m very, very proud of the people that I work with and I’m very proud of the work they’ve done in support of the work of the university,” Campus Safety Director Stan Skipworth said.

The department has increased the number of security cameras on and off-campus from 24 to 76 this year. The number of blue emergency telephone kiosks has jumped in the last few months from three to 10. The department created a smart phone campus safety application called LeoSafe. And training for officers increased from 16 hours of baseline training to 108, Skipworth said.

The extra training covers areas such as emergency preparedness, crisis intervention and certification from a California Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Certified Academy. Officers are also required to conduct a one-day ride along with a La Verne Police Department officer.

University President Devorah Lieberman said the Campus Safety Department has worked diligently to create a university community that is the safest environment for students, faculty and staff.

“This award is well deserved and we are proud that the University of La Verne has the distinction of being the only college or university to be recognized this year by the School Safety Advocacy Council,” Lieberman said.

The organization also recognized La Verne for having several programs focused on the role of the campus community in safety.

Skipworth established Leos Caring for Leos – or LC4L – last year. Its purpose is to encourage people at the school to report suspicious activity or emergencies to campus officers, so officers can respond quicker. With the help of Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Loretta Rahmani, and Elleni Koulos, director of counseling and psychological services, Skipworth also created the Behavioral Intervention Team to help students, faculty or staff members who may be in distress.

La Verne's LeoSafe smart phone application is one of numerous ways Campus Safety has improved security.

La Verne’s LeoSafe smart phone application is one of numerous ways Campus Safety has improved security.

La Verne’s athletic department created Step UP! to motivate students to help other people on campus in times of trouble.

“When we were recognized, they touched on all of that,” Skipworth said. “I was really proud of that. It was neat to know that our approach was a holistic one.”

Skipworth credits the school’s safety improvements and the award to partnerships on- and off-campus, including relationships with La Verne city and Los Angeles County officials, along with other higher education institutions.

“None of this is possible without the tremendous relationships with people across campus with our day to day mission to keep the university as safe as possible,” he said.

Clive K. Houston-Brown, Vice President for Facilities & Technology & Chief Information Officer praised the numerous awards the department has received since Skipworth took the helm of the department in 2013.

“He has worked tirelessly to raise the level of professionalism, training, and capabilities of the department and the University is receiving national exposure and recognition for it,” Houston-Brown said.

August 7, 2014 by University of La Verne

University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman joins dignitaries in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Small Business Development Center in La Verne.

University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman joins dignitaries in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Small Business Development Center in La Verne.

San Gabriel Valley entrepreneurs used to have to drive to Long Beach to find the nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help hiring employees, accessing capital and developing government contracts.

That commute became shorter on Aug. 6 with the opening of University of La Verne’s Small Business Development Center, in a building formerly occupied by the institution’s human resources department.

“It fits perfectly with the vision that the University has,” said Dr. Ibrahim “Abe” Helou, Dean of the College of Business and Public Management.

University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman speaks during the Small Business Development Center grand opening on Aug. 6.

University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman speaks during the Small Business Development Center grand opening on Aug. 6.

About 100 dignitaries, business officials and educators gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the site.

A confluence of ideas between legislators and the University led to the opening of the SBDC. Congresswoman Judy Chu learned of the absence of such a facility in the San Gabriel Valley during a Pasadena conference in 2011, she said. La Verne had already been discussing the idea while developing its 2020 Strategic Vision months earlier.

“We came up with five areas that the community is going to need based on market research, etc.,” said University President Devorah Lieberman. “Right at the top was small business.”

There used to be a center based at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, but it closed in 2009. When Chu discovered this, she reached out to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA agreed to help fund a center in the San Gabriel Valley, but it required matching funds from a university or college.

La Verne and Pasadena City College stepped up, bringing not one, but two centers to the San Gabriel Valley. The SBA and Long Beach Community College District partnered with La Verne to make the University’s project a reality.

“Small business is the backbone of the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Valley definitely deserved to have one (a center),” Chu said.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano said the region is often looked upon as a stepchild of Los Angeles County, but having the site will change that.

“That will help to develop the jobs we need to increase our economic viability in this area,” Napolitano said. “And that’s something that I’m committed to, not only because it’s in an area that needs it but because it’s an area that is poised to take center stage.”

Small business owners and entrepreneurs will have access to free business consulting, as well as low-cost seminars and conferences. They can increase their sales, obtain loans and position themselves for long-term growth.

The site will be a part of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network, serving businesses in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. La Verne’s center will serve business owners living or working in cities such as Pomona, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Claremont, San Dimas, La Verne, Industry and Hacienda Heights, but it is also open to small businesses and entrepreneurs in surrounding cities as well.

The center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the University of La Verne, visit http://www.lavernesbdc.org, or call, (909) 448-1556.

August 5, 2014 by University of La Verne

University of La Verne sophomore Victoria Matveev-Suarez has been volunteering in her community for as long as she can remember.

Receiving the 2014 Pomona Community Hero of the Year Award still came as a surprise, despite her hard work.

Victoria Matveev-Suarez is the recipient of the 2014 Pomona Community Hero of the Year Award.

Victoria Matveev-Suarez is the recipient of the 2014 Pomona Community Hero of the Year Award.

“I feel so blessed to be given this award.” Matveev-Suarez said.

The award, given by the city of Pomona, is celebrated during Pomona Day on September 5th at the L.A. County Fair.

“One of the perks of the award is that I get to ride in the parade,” she said.

Matveev-Suarez attends the special day every year and has ridden on group floats in the parade before with her father, who has served as president of the Pomona Valley Democratic Club.

“But this time, I get to ride in a fancy vintage car, so that will be fun!” Martveev-Suarez said.

In addition to balancing school and work, Matveev-Suarez always makes time to volunteer and help out in the community. As a graduate of Pomona Catholic High School, and all-girls school in Pomona, she makes sure to go back and help with the track and soccer teams.

She competed on the both teams during all four years of high school, and appreciated the mentors who would volunteer their time.

“When I’m there, and coaching the girls, they ask about college, and have questions about all aspects of life. I can relate to the girls, and am happy to be there and have that time with them,” she said.

On campus, Matveev-Suarez attends all of the events, and makes the most of her college experience. She makes time to campaign, and helps with meetings and events for her father, as well as other members of the Pomona Valley Democratic Club.

“I’ve worked for them my whole life. Because my dad has always been so involved in the community, every Saturday morning I’m there and helping them with their campaign issues,” she said.

And her work in volunteerism shows no sign of slowing down.

“Anytime I have the opportunity to volunteer I take it. Whether it’s staying late in the library to tutor students, or running track with the high school girls; in everything I do, I always try to volunteer and lend a helping hand,” she said.

July 31, 2014 by University of La Verne

High school students dashed up the stairs of the Mainiero Building after a coffee pit stop at Barbara’s Café. They gathered in the biology lab, began hooking each other up to EKG devices and then jotted down results in their notebooks.

Southland high school students participating in the university's STEM summer camp work at the Pomona College Organic Farm.

Southland high school students participating in the university’s STEM summer camp work at the Pomona College Organic Farm.

“We want to show the effects of stimulants on the heart,” said Dr. Jerome Garcia, biology department chairman.

It was all part of University of La Verne’s two-week Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) summer camp, which drew a dozen teens from Southland high schools and 12 students from Taft College in Kern County.

The camp has been held four times through Title V STEM grants.

“The purpose of the camp is exposing the high school students to the diversity of the natural sciences,” said Garcia, who is the STEM grant director for La Verne.

They have dissected sheep hearts, toured Jet Propulsion Laboratory, surveyed insects in the San Dimas Experimental Forest and analyzed water samples from San Antonio Creek near Mt. Baldy. They have also had classes in computer science and mathematics.

Ganesha High School students Elizabeth Flores and Jonathan Tostado haul compost at the Pomona College Organic Farm in Claremont during University of La Verne's STEM summer camp program.

Ganesha High School students Elizabeth Flores and Jonathan Tostado haul compost at the Pomona College Organic Farm in Claremont during University of La Verne’s STEM summer camp program.

That’s what drew 15-year-old Nia Rasshan’s interest. The junior from Ganesha High School in Pomona said she is drawn to computer science and engineering, as well as studying computer hardware and software.

“I hope to get more information on the (college) classes I’d take and to get the college experience,” she said.

Taft students broke off into separate groups, assisting La Verne faculty with their own research.

La Verne did not hold the camp last summer, in part, because coordinators wanted to revamp and expand the program, Garcia said.

This year, there are more areas of study, and debate exercises and competitions make up 50 percent of the session.

How does debate apply to science and technology?

Future scientists need to be able to communicate their novel ideas, Garcia said. Having skills in speech communication will help.

“It’s not really about being right or wrong, but providing different perspectives,” he said.

After the EKG exercise, students ventured over to the Pomona College Organic Farm in Claremont, where they learned about sustainable agriculture. They broke up into teams, preparing soil for planting, sifting compost and removing weeds from a watermelon patch.

Damien High School sophomore Kalani Matton, who helped with the weeding, said he signed up for the camp due to his interest in biology, but he hasn’t decided on a college major yet.

“I’m still thinking about it. I’m just trying out new things,” he said.

The camp continues until Friday.

Participants in University of La Verne's STEM summer camp gather at Pomona College Organic Farm in Claremont.

Participants in University of La Verne’s STEM summer camp gather at Pomona College Organic Farm in Claremont.

July 23, 2014 by University of La Verne

It’s a boon for entrepreneurs and a boost for economic growth.

The University of La Verne is set to open a Small Business Development Center on Aug. 6, offering the East San Gabriel Valley free business consulting, as well as low-cost seminars and conferences. The U.S. Small Business Administration and Long Beach Community College District partnered with La Verne to make the project a reality.

“Supporting our local small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs is our main goal,” said University President Devorah Lieberman. “We are thrilled to host the SBDC program because it aligns perfectly with our core values.”

Dr. Abe Helou, Dean of the College of Business and Public Management, dreamed up the idea as a way to support the business community, said Sean Snider, center director.

“The SBDC program is built on the concept of combining the resources of institutions of higher learning and government to assist small businesses,” Snider said.

The site will be a part of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network, serving businesses in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. La Verne’s center will serve business owners living or working in cities such as Pomona, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Claremont, San Dimas, La Verne, Industry and Hacienda Heights. But it’s also open to small businesses and entrepreneurs in surrounding cities as well.

The University will host an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. to formally introduce the program and its services to the community. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the University of La Verne SBDC or to RSVP for the open house, visit www.lavernesbdc.org, or call, (909) 448-1556.

July 23, 2014 by University of La Verne

A University of La Verne alumnus received an award in June from a national anti-hunger organization for feeding 10,000 students breakfast every morning.

Dr. Robert Lewis, who heads the nutrition services department for the El Monte City School District, was awarded the “No Kid Hungry Breakfast Champion Award” from Share Our Strength. It’s an organization founded in 1984 in response to Ethiopian famine.

From left, Dr. Robert Blake, Melissa d'Arabian and Lorena Quezada pose with Blake's "No Kid Hungry Breakfast Champion" award, which he received in June.

From left, Dr. Robert Lewis, Melissa d’Arabian and Lorena Quezada pose with Lewis’ “No Kid Hungry Breakfast Champion” award, which he received in June.

Lewis, who received his master’s degree in public administration in 2003 and his doctorate in public administration in 2008, launched the free breakfast program in 2013, and a free supper program in 2012. Both programs operate district wide.

Share Our Strength awarded Lewis, district Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia, project coordinator Lorena Quezada and all fourteen school principals within the school district for the program.

Students and community members attended the awards ceremony, which was co-hosted by Blake Michael, star of Disney Channel’s original hit series, Dog With a Blog! as well as television celebrity chef, Melissa d’Arabian. Both celebrities support anti-hunger programs for children.

Lewis obtained a grant for the breakfast program through Share Our Strength. It funded equipment such as food transport carts, and thermal packs, which are used for hot meals and cold milk. Students who receive meals are in preschool through the eighth grade.

“The kids run the program for us, which is awesome,” said Lewis. “We set up the carts, the kids take it to the classes, the teachers keep note of who eats, and we input that information into a computer which keeps track of the program.”

Lewis earned his master’s degree and doctorate through La Verne’s adult-learning CAPA program. He has more than 25 years’ experience as a food service director, the last six being in El Monte. Lewis says his advanced degrees are critical to what he’s doing now.

“I concentrated in collaborative public policy, and it’s really come into play, because in order to make this breakfast program happen, we’ve needed collaboration from administrators, teachers, parents, and custodial staff. That collaboration was essential; we couldn’t have done it without everyone involved,” Lewis said.

The district has seen a jump in student attendance since the program has been in place. It’s a sign of success that district officials are pleased to see, because that means more state funding and better student grades.

“Our meals are nutritionally balanced, blood sugars are more regulated, and teachers have noticed a difference in the classroom,” Lewis said.

The breakfast includes whole grains, low-fat proteins and low-fat or non-fat milk.

“We include our students in the decision making process, and ask them to do taste testing in our central kitchen. The kids enjoy being involved, love the tours, and are especially impressed when they see our 40,000 square foot freezer!” said Lewis.

Sandip Kaur, Director of Nutrition Services for the California Department of Education, came to see the program first hand. A video about the program, made by the California School Board Association, is being used as a model for the state and is used for training other school districts, who want to bring breakfast into the classroom.

Lewis also received an award from the mayor of El Monte in January for his work.

“It’s been a phenomenal year and such an honor,” said Lewis.

July 22, 2014 by University of La Verne

Ideas for collaborative teaching and expanded relations came expeditiously during a recent meeting between faculty and administrators of the University of La Verne and Taiwan’s National Chung Cheng University.

Professor of Organizational Leadership Emeritus Dr. Larry Machi, who recently completed a Fulbright Specialist project at National Chung Cheng University, collaborated with co-teacher and Taiwanese colleague, Professor Kent Cheng about the possibility of creating an exchange program between the two universities.

machi

From left to right, Dr. Larry Machi, Dr. Barbara Poling, President Dr. Devorah Lieberman and Professor Kent Cheng.

Cheng, who worked alongside Machi in Taiwan, made the trek out to La Verne to meet with President Dr. Devorah Lieberman and Interim Dean of the College of Education & Organizational Leadership Dr. Barbara Poling to learn about one anothers’ institutions.

President Lieberman shared her enthusiasm and vision about setting up a mutually beneficial curriculum.

“We can learn so much from each other,” Lieberman said. “We can maximize educational opportunities for our students through video conferencing technology and minimal travel.”

Among some of the ideas shared was the thought of establishing a special leadership program, which President Lieberman could teach a course in during her annual visit to Asia in June.

“Let’s make this happen,” Lieberman said.

National Chung Cheng University, a highly respected national university with more than 12,000 students, is comparable to the University of California system.  Known for its beauty as well as its high academic standards, it is a competitive university that Machi came to know during his stay in April and May.

Machi is one of more than 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who travelled abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialist Program.  The program, which was created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities, (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

Machi worked with the faculty of the Graduate Institute of Education during his time at Chung Cheng.  He taught and developed curriculum in the areas of educational research, leadership, and organizational change.  It is through this program that he met Cheng.

“I have to thank Kent; shortly after I arrived, he took me to lunch.  He was a wonderful host, and the friendship was instant,” Machi shared.   “I was a visiting professor, but they made me part of the team right away, and I was able to do a lot there very quickly, because the collaboration with students and faculty was amazing.”

“Dr. Lieberman has a real sense of where to go.  She had already read everything about our program, and came in ready to make it work,”  Cheng said. “I’ve never seen a university president say that they would volunteer to teach the first class next June.  That’s leadership!”

July 21, 2014 by University of La Verne

The vision to renovate and upgrade a Tijuana clinic for orphans suffering from HIV didn’t come from a large charity foundation or global outreach group.

It came from a 22-year-old University of La Verne student named Tahil Sharma.

It’s that vision, in part, that earned the Spanish major a spot in the Future50, a group formed by the Interreligious Council of Southern California and the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Members were announced in early July.

“I applied for this because I thought it was a really great opportunity to network with people with the same passion as mine in interfaith work,” Sharma said.

Senior Tahil Sharma is one of 50 interfaith leaders throughout Southern California selected for inclusion in the Future50 cohort, formed by the Interreligious Council of Southern California.

Senior Tahil Sharma is one of 50 interfaith leaders throughout Southern California selected for inclusion in the Future50 cohort, formed by the Interreligious Council of Southern California.

He comes from a family with Hindu and Sikh beliefs, and does volunteer work within both communities in the San Gabriel and Inland valleys. Sharma helped establish the university’s Interfaith Student Council in 2011, previously worked as coordinator for the Center for Sikh Studies at Claremont Lincoln College and serves as a youth representative for the Parliament of the World’s Religions for the United Nations.

But even with that resume, Sharma still didn’t expect to be picked for the Future50 Cohort. He found himself in the company of celebrities and other high-profile leaders. And he was too young.

The minimum age to be considered for the post was listed as 24-years-old.

He applied for the position anyway.

“I figured it was worth a shot,” Sharma said.

The attempt paid off. The committee selecting members made an exception to the age requirement and brought Sharma on board.

People selected for the group were chosen based on diversity, range of activities and the “overall quality of the cohort,” said Nick Street, USC spokesman.

“I was absolutely excited,” Sharma said. “I was actually getting a bowl of ramen that I almost dropped on myself.”

He says the group should be able to accomplish great things being based in Los Angeles, an area with abundant religious and secular diversity. Reports released by Future50 officials say 53 percent of the Los Angeles County population is affiliated with a religious institution and there are nearly 10,000 congregations.

Having leaders to bridge divides will be key.

“The Future50 project is an attempt to highlight the coming wave of faith-inspired leaders who will help to shape the Los Angeles religious landscape for the next half century, just as the Interreligious Council of Southern California has shaped this landscape over the previous one,” USC officials wrote in a Future50 overview.

And Sharma hopes to draw on the group to assist in his own projects in La Verne.

He’s working to establish a new campus organization called the La Verne Coalition of Compassion, which will involve faculty, administrators, staff, students and the community.

Assisting the Tijuana clinic is something he hopes will be a pilot project for the organization. Sharma plans to work with clubs and other organizations at the university, as well as the school’s Office of Advancement and President Devorah Lieberman’s office to make the clinic project become a reality.

“The goal is to renovate and rejuvenate their living conditions to a safe and productive environment that can help the kids of all ages live a good life and beyond the worries of the sickness they have,” Sharma said.