Political science professor named CSUSB Outstanding Professor

Political science professor named CSUSB Outstanding Professor

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“Ready? Let’s go!” said Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales.

With that, he led a group of more than 15 faculty and staff as they barged into Professor Brian Janiskee’s evening class on American Foreign Policy.

A surprised Janiskee at first smiled, and then raised his eyes as more and more visitors entered the lecture hall.

“Are you blushing?” Morales asked, standing at the front of the class.

“A little bit,” a sheepish Janiskee responded as the class burst out laughing.

Morales smiled.

CSUSB professor Brian Janiskee, chair of the Department of Political Science, is congratulated by university President Tomás D. Morales as the 2015-2016 Outstanding Professor on March 17. Photo: Robert A. Whitehead/CSUSB

CSUSB professor Brian Janiskee, chair of the Department of Political Science, is congratulated by university President Tomás D. Morales as the 2015-2016 Outstanding Professor on March 17. Photo: Robert A. Whitehead/CSUSB

“This is a wonderful, wonderful tradition here at CSUSB,” Morales said. “We’re coming here to interrupt your class for a bit, and I brought a posse of faculty, staff and the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to share with you, and to share with Professor Janiskee, that he’s been awarded this year’s Outstanding Professor, which is CSUSB’s highest honor.

“While there was a group of distinguished faculty who are previous awardees, the reason why Brian is being recognized is because of you and other students that have responded to Brian’s amazing impact on our students and his fellow colleagues,” Morales said.

The Outstanding Professor Selection Committee, in a letter to the president, wrote that there were many outstanding award nominees from across the university. “Professor Janiskee, however, stands out due to his sustained superior teaching, strong record of professional accomplishment, and his extensive record of service activities to the University, community, and his profession,” according to committee co-chairs psychology professor Kenneth Shultz (last year’s Outstanding Professor award winner) and history associate professor Thomas Long (last year’s Golden Apple teaching excellence award winner).

Janiskee has consistently received praise from students and colleagues on his outstanding teaching, according to the committee.

“Students comments range from, ‘He is totally awesome! He made an 8 a.m. class worth getting up for!’ to ‘He is very thorough and knowledgeable,’ to ‘Makes everything possible for students to succeed,’ to ‘This professor is simply outstanding!’” according to the committee’s letter.

Since joining CSUSB in 2008, Janiskee has taught 14 different courses ranging from introductory courses to graduate classes. He also helped to create and champion an interdisciplinary minor in philosophy, policy and economics.

In addition, Janiskee frequently mentors undergraduate and graduate students. In 2006, an honor’s thesis he supervised won the Dean’s Award for Best Senior Thesis in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He has overseen many graduate comprehensive exams, independent studies, as well as internship placements.

Janiskee has also been the long-time adviser for the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, which has won six national awards under his guidance.

He has published three books on politics, including his acclaimed book, “Democracy in California: Politics and Government in the Golden State,” which was recently released in its fourth edition. The text is regarded as the “go to” book for California politics. He has also published more than a dozen articles, encyclopedia entries and book chapters, as well as presented more than 20 times at professional conferences, the committee wrote.

Janiskee also serves as a peer reviewer for several journals in his field. He has been interviewed by the news media for his expertise on California and national political issues. Those outlets include the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, The Press-Enterprise, the San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Hesperia Star.

Janiskee has also taken on additional service roles on campus, serving as the internship director, Enrollment Retention Advisor, Freshman and Transfer Day Advisor and on various committees that include the Curriculum Committee, Outcomes Assessment Committee, Chair’s Review Committee, Student Recruitment Campaign and Library Liaison. He has also served on the university’s Teacher Credential Program, Honors Committee and the Teaching Resource Center’s Teaching Academy.

For the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Janiskee has served on the its Hall of Fame Committee, the Behavior Health Summit Organizing Committee, the Budget Task Force, the Professional Awards Committee and as Head Faculty Marshall at graduation.

He has also worked on numerous community education opportunities from Redlands to Hesperia, such as reenactments of the Constitutional Convention and American Revolution debates, to serving a moderator and panelist with local and regional politicians.

“We’re just very proud. He’s an incredible citizen and we’re very fortunate to have Brian as a senior member of the professoriate,” Morales said.

  1. Rafik Mohamed, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said since his arrival at CSUSB last summer that Janiskee has been a great source of help to him.

“I always go to you when I need counsel, and I really appreciate all that you’ve done,” Mohamed said. “Your chili’s not half bad either. This is the second award for the year. He won the first annual Behavioral Sciences Chili Cook-off with Spartan Chili.”

One of the visitors, information and decision sciences professor C.E. Tapie Rohm added, “You have to understand that this is the best of the best, the best in teaching, the best in research and the best at service. You can’t get any better than what he is this year. So we’re excited for him.” Rohm was the 2010 CSUSB outstanding professor.

After all the tributes and kind words, Janiskee thanked the visitors.

“This is a humbling experience because in my time here, I worked with so many great people,” Janiskee said. “To think that somehow I managed the opportunity to be recognized for this knowing all the great people that teach at this university. It’s humbling. I don’t know if that feeling makes sense, but that’s what I’m feeling. And so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

As the Outstanding Professor, Janiskee will receive a $3,000 faculty development grant, and be recognized at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences June Commencement and at the university’s annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon.

Janiskee has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Western Michigan University and master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Michigan State University.

Set in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, CSUSB is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015-2016, CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually.

For more information, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

1 Comment

  1. Tom Lorincz '07 March 29, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    He is the inspiration that got me through college. He and I were from Michigan and there was many fun times with the Michigan jokes.

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