Welcome to the 2021-2022 Academic Year
Headshot of man with gray hair, dark suit and red tie.
Welcome to the College of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS)! My name is René Vellanoweth and I’ll be NSS’ interim dean for 2021-2022. I am an archaeologist by training and have been part of the California State University (CSU) System for over 20 years, serving as a professor, department chair, and now interim college dean. NSS is made up of twelve diverse departments and programs, over 150 talented tenured and tenure-track faculty, scores of gifted adjunct lecturers, and an incredible staff. We serve almost 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students pursuing their career goals and personal dreams. It is my honor to lead the college over this year of transition, as we gradually begin to repopulate campus over the coming months. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing students and professors work in person again!

Last year we dealt with loss, anxiety, loneliness and some of those feelings will linger with us for a long time. At the same time, we saw superheroine efforts from faculty, staff, and STUDENTS alike navigate us to some level of normalcy as we experienced the effects of a global pandemic. Despite when it seemed like the odds were against us, we continued to offer classes; honor’s and master’s theses continued to be written; degrees conferred; and the heart of higher education continued to beat. We used available technology, teacher ingenuity, and student commitment to get us through a difficult year.

Let’s hope COVID-19 numbers continue to look good and more and more people become fully vaccinated. As we transition during Fall Semester and more students and faculty come back to the classroom, NSS is committed to providing a safe return-to-campus experience, where your health and safety will be at the forefront of our decision-making. Fall Semester will have a mixture of online, remote, in-person, and hybrid classes and labs. Many faculty research labs will be open as will the library and other campus resources. For now, college and department offices will be open and staff will be available to help you online, over the phone, and/or in person.  

Over the coming year, we will work to ensure that clean spaces can be used in a safe manner for all. We will continue to monitor campus health and safety conditions and will maintain strict adherence to changing local, state, and federal health guidelines. If all goes well, we will occupy campus at full capacity during Spring Semester 2022. 

Whether you are a first-time freshman, graduating senior, new graduate student, or someone in between, we look forward to serving you at and making your experience at Cal State LA both rewarding and enjoyable!  
Faculty Awards and Recognitions
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The University recognized NSS professors Choi Chatterjee (history) and Krishna Foster (chemistry and biochemistry) for their outstanding achievements and excellence in teaching during the 2021 University Convocation. Chatterjee was named one of the two President's Distinguished Professors, and Foster received an Outstanding Professor Award.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences congratulates the following faculty on their promotions and range elevations:
Promotion to Full Professor
Gar Culbert, Political Science
Katrina Yamazaki, Biological Sciences
Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor
Shweta Adur, Sociology
Kristine Bezdecny, Geosciences and Environment
Michael Hayes, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chongmyoung Lee, Political Science
Christine Lee, Anthropology
Yangyang Liu, Chemistry and Biochemistry (early)
Paul Nerenberg, Physics and Astronomy/Biological Sciences
Yixian Wang, Chemistry and Biochemistry (early)
Robert Weide, Sociology
Eric Wood, Biological Sciences
Susan Cohen, Biological Sciences
Kristen Discola, Sociology
Matthew Jackson, Psychology
Libby Lewis, Sociology/Pan African Studies
Christine Scoffoni, Biological Sciences
Alexandra (Sasha) Wright, Biological Sciences
Karen Wu, Psychology
Range Elevation for Lecturers
Lecturer A to Lecturer B
Carlos Amaya, Mathematics
Ousmane Ba, Mathematics
Shanna Dobson, Mathematics
Aiken Lenh, Mathematics
Jennica Melendez, Mathematics
Herwick Mok, Physics and Astronomy
Yoshie Hagiwara, Geosciences and Environment
Lecturer B to C
Jessica Bodoh-Creed, Anthropology
Michael Chen, Biological Sciences
Michiaki Ishimura, Physics and Astronomy
Sanjay Jayachandran, Biological Sciences
Sharri Kornblum, Mathematics
Claudia Molina, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Charity Perry, Sociology