FEB. 21, 2001

CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661-664-2456


Iyasere named founding dean

Marla W. Iyasere, who has taught and worked at California State University, Bakersfield since 1973, has been named founding dean of CSUB's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

CSUB President Tomas Arciniega announced Iyasere's appointment today (Wednesday, Feb. 21), which will take effect July 1.

"I am delighted and most pleased that Dr. Iyasere has accepted to be the first dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences," Arciniega said. "She is exactly the right person to lead this new school. She knows and understands its needs and has a clear vision regarding the direction the school needs to take. I look forward with enthusiasm to working with her in the years ahead."

Iyasere will head a school that came into existence in June 2000. The former School of Arts and Sciences, which had become too large, was split into two schools at the conclusion of the 1999-2000 academic year. The new schools are the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering. Concurrently, Ray Giegle, who had served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for many years, retired, prompting the search for two new deans. Iyasere was one of six finalists for the School of Humanities post; CSUB continues to interview for the School of Natural Sciences position.

Iyasere earned a bachelor's degree in English from Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., in 1968, and her doctorate in English in 1974 from Binghamton University, in Binghamton, N.Y., part of the State University of New York system.

She and her husband, Solomon Iyasere, an English professor, came to CSUB in 1972. Marla Iyasere started as an adjunct lecturer in English in January 1973. She was promoted to lecturer in 1974, assistant professor in 1975, associate professor in 1979, and full professor in 1984.

She served as part time associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 1990 to 1992, and was named to that position full time in 1992. She was named interim dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering in June 2000, and will continue in that role through the end of the academic year.

Iyasere is delighted and excited at being named the new dean. During an interview, she looked out over the campus and said, "It's remarkable when you look at this campus now and see how beautiful it is. ... I remember when I first got here, the dean at the time said, 'We need a school newspaper.' Now we have a Communications Department.

"The evolution of the campus to meet the regional needs is why I wanted a leadership role, to help direct the campus," she continued. "There are an abundance of riches here at CSUB - wonderful people, wonderful students. It's made it possible for us to flourish.

"There's such a wonderful confluence of opportunities right now making Bakersfield the best place to live and the best place to go to school. We all know how important the university is to the community, but it's so important to make it more broadly available.

"It's time to end the best kept secret in the CSU, so that people will know what a remarkable resource we have here."

Initial campus response to Iyasere's appointment was delight. "We have a visionary," said Judith Pratt, an instructor in the Communications Department.

Iyasere and her husband are the parents of three children, ages 25, 22 and 20. They live in southwest Bakersfield.


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