February 6, 2024

Volume 2, Edition 11

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Photo: Holi Colors of India, photo by Debashis RC Biswas

Dean’s Letter 

 Service as Joy:

In Tribute to Dean Vandana Kohli


When I entered higher education full time as a professor from the PK12 world of leadership, I tapped into my love of international research, having conducted my dissertation work in the Soviet Union during the collapse in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Walking through Red Square amidst swirling snow at midnight for the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States on December 31, 1991, I had clarity of what it meant to stand at the crossroads of history.


My first, major international study as a professor focused on the leadership of India’s “Silicon Valley” multinationals in Bengaluru and their perspectives on leading in the 21st century. Interviewing the Indian leaders of corporations that were changing the face of globalization in the 21st century left me curious to learn more about the women who were some of these major players.


I became fascinated about the progress, successes, and challenges facing women leaders of all races and ethnicities throughout the world. That investigation arguably served as the foundation for the series of studies I have engaged in globally ever since that examine women in leadership.


I had learned from my work in the Soviet Union that the most deeply held beliefs of the people could be unlocked through study of the arts, literature, and philosophy. To prepare for the study in India, then, I began to read broadly and deeply—Indian philosophers, writers, political scientists, economists, and others—for I wanted to frame my understanding as much as possible through the lens of Indian culture.


The Indian Institute of Management remains India’s most prestigious institution for those seeking MBAs and PhDs in management, and shortly after my arrival, I had the privilege of lecturing on leadership.


Dr. Narendra Agarwal began the introduction to my lecture with all of us standing, hands folded under chin as if in prayer, and about two minutes of silence. I did not know if we were praying, meditating, or engaging in some other activity. Later, he shared that he was demonstrating a sign of respect to his students, as they were to him and to each other.


Many of the issues Indian leaders face are like those in the West; some are unique to India. One is the idea of heterodoxy, the ability to embrace a variety of perspectives. India, as reflected most quintessentially in the 8th century work, the Isa Upanisad, truly is a paradox, a riddle, a conundrum, a contradiction.


It stirs and it stirs not; it is far, and likewise near; it is inside of all this and it is outside of all this.


The ability of Indians to hold seemingly antithetical states simultaneously astonishes me. In the early days of initiating my research, recurring notions, possible themes began to emerge, and one was this uncanny ability for individuals to be and/or simultaneously. Is this recognition of khela, of change coupled with an underlying and unchanging harmony in nature and in us, one key to acceptance, and ultimately to loving the other in our midst?


Change and unchanging harmony.




These themes resonated when January 2024 arrived and I learned that my colleague, Dean Vandana Kohli, had chosen to retire. Not at the end of the academic year. Not at some distant future. At the end of the first month of the new year. With her imminent departure came an invitation to make remarks at her retirement party, Chai and Bye. Clever, no?  


What was I to do without this brilliant, Indian-born woman leader as my coach and colleague? While that remains unknown, I did write a tribute to Dean Vandana Kohli to honor and celebrate her countless contributions to education.   



In his book, The Argumentative Indian, Nobel prize winning economist, Amartya Sen, writes,


Prolixity is not alien to us in India. We are able to talk at some length. Krishna Menon’s record of the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nations—nine hours non-stop—has not been equaled by anyone from anywhere. We do like to speak.


Citing ancient Indian epic narratives such as the Mahabharata, Sen explains that they present “tales engagingly full of dialogues, dilemmas, and alternate perspectives…and we encounter masses of arguments and counterarguments spread over incessant debates and disputations.”


Much of the Mahabharata is laden with contrary moral perspectives—“Krishna’s emphasis on doing one’s duty on one side, and Arjuna’s focus on avoiding bad consequences (and generating good ones), on the other.”


To know Dr. Vandana Kohli, to truly know her, is to appreciate her love of the substantive argument and of dialogue. It is to recognize her profound commitment to the project of education—even at the risk of Arjunian bad consequences—because through the debate, we can, as a community, come to find the most elegant path forward. That is not to discount the consequences, however, and in typical Kohlian fashion, I can hear Vandana present convincing evidence for avoidance of the less-than-ideal consequences.


To know Vandana, to truly appreciate her, is to be willing to live on a spectrum of ambiguity and allow the argument to continue unabated.


In my short time of knowing Vandana, I have come to appreciate more deeply the ancient culture from which she hails, and the gift that the Indian argumentative style affords us leaders. I will miss my nearly daily debates on every matter ranging from the best breakfast in Camarillo to the moral imperative of education, from bemusing discussions over decanal attire to the nuances of our relationships with our adult children. She has been my confidant. She has been my friend.


Philosopher Rabindranath Tagore wrote,


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.


Please raise your glasses—or your cups—to a leader who has engaged in a long and noteworthy career of service with joy in a profession that changes lives.


Vandana, I will miss you as my colleague, but I know I need not miss you as my friend, for we shall continue the next part of the journey as friends.


To Vandana!



Reflecting on my lecture at IIM and now on Vandana’s departure, perhaps the standing, the hands folded, the quietude, and the humble honoring of another individual can serve a both metaphor and action in our own lives not only when class begins, but when we choose to turn out the lights, say farewell, and continue on a new path.



Yours for Service,


Elizabeth C. Orozco Reilly


Photo: Mysore Palace Jasmine, photo by Elizabeth C. Orozco Reilly


President Yao's Spring Welcome Message


To kick off the Spring 2024 semester, President Richard Yao, PhD, wrote a message to students and staff. He discussed how California State University Channel Islands leadership and the California Faculty Association reached an agreement in principle on contract negotiations for a one-day strike that happened on the first day of this semester. 


“I am immensely grateful for the coming together of CFA and CSU leadership that led to an agreement in principle on contract negotiations. Not only did that agreement establish the outlines of a potential tentative agreement – it ended a faculty strike that for many faculty and students, could have disrupted the entire first week of the Spring 2024 semester,” he wrote in his message. 

The CSU’s Impact on High School Literacy

For 20 years, the CSU-led Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) has prepared high school students for college and their future careers by helping them develop critical thinking and rhetorical literacy skills.

Implemented in about 1,000 high schools across California, the English language arts curriculum for 11th and 12th grades is designed for A-G approved English classes and prepares students for college-level writing courses.

Schools interested in adopting the yearlong course may submit a two-page application to the CSU. Once implemented, the class can be added to the school's list of UC-approved "A-G" courses.


Visit the EWRC website to learn more about the curriculum, apply, find workshops and access teacher resources.

CSUCI ranks 7th in Nation in Social Mobility

Over the past few years, our university has garnered honors for student social mobility. Knowinsiders mentioned CSUCI’s ranking the Top 20 American Universities this year in the U.S. News & World Report ranking for social mobility.

CSUCI placed seventh on this list, which also included eight other California State University campuses such as Monterey Bay, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Northridge.

Upcoming Information Sessions

All sessions will be held via Zoom. Registered participants will receive an email with meeting details.

Please register in advance. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming session.

MA in Education Information Sessions

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2024, 5:15-6:00PM

Please register here

MS in School Counseling Information Session

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 20, 2024, 5:15-6:00PM

Please register here

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership


Please register here

Upcoming Events



School of Education Faculty Meeting

Our next faculty meeting will take place February 13th in the J. Handel Evans Room, Broome Library from 8:30-11:30AM.

View our full School of Education Events Calendar

California Lutheran University's Center for Economics of Social Issues is hosting a conference on February 22, 2024.

This year's theme: Challenges Undocumented Immigrants Face and Their Economic Impact in California.

This conference brings attention to the economic and social life of undocumented immigrants in California. The most crucial objective of this conference is to separate the prevailing myths from the realities of life and the economic contribution of undocumented immigrants in the State of California. The conference will feature the release of a study on the socio-economic profile and economic impacts of undocumented immigrants in California. The study's author will present highlights of the study.

Click here to learn more.

ChiLFASA announces date for Noche de Familia


Orientation & Engagement Programs and the Chicana/o/e/x Latina/o/e/x Faculty & Staff Association (ChiLFASA) invite students and their families to attend this year’s Noche de Familia, the evening program featuring cultural entertainment, dinner and celebration of student success. Registration is now open for the February 24 event held in the Grand Salon from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Berkeley School of Education Research Day - April 5, 2024

The graduate student organizers of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education's Research Day would like to invite students and faculty to apply to their annual Research Day Conference. The Committee will be accepting applications from students across the UC and CSU systems.

Research Day is an annual conference hosted by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education that offers an opportunity for students to share work with their faculty-moderated paper and poster presentations, and interactive sessions. All students and faculty are encouraged to submit work, such as finished and in-progress research or non-empirical texts, through their website:

University of California, Berkeley – Graduate School of Education Research Day

Show Your School Pride with CSUCI Gear on Wednesdays

The School of Education invites you to display your school spirit by wearing your CSUCI apparel every Wednesday! Stop by the Cove Bookstore on Wednesdays to get your gear and receive an extra 20% off your purchase.

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