SDSU, Cal State San Marcos honored by CSU chancellor

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SAN DIEGO — Two San Diego County university professors were among the winners of the California State University’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards, the CSU Chancellor’s Office announced Monday.

San Diego State University associate professor Sonja Pruitt-Lord and Cal State San Marcos professor Youwen Ouyang are two of the 19 recipients of this year’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards, which are given to faculty members who have improved student success through innovative teaching, course design and student support methods.

A selection committee of faculty members, California State Student Association members and staff from the CSU Office of the Chancellor selected the winners from a pool of more than 200 nominees. Each honoree will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $10,000 allocation to their department at their respective schools.

Pruitt-Lord, an associate professor in SDSU’s Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department, has formed a child language development and disorders research program within the department and has secured funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education to teach and train bilingual speech-language pathologists, school psychologists and special education teachers.

Ouyang, a computer science professor, has worked to create and support computer science education avenues for women, minorities and first-generation students like the 12-hour Women’s Hackathon for local high school students, which she founded in 2014. She has also helped secure grants from the governor’s Education Learning Lab and the National Science Foundation.

“These outstanding faculty consistently engage students with innovative practices and foster stimulating and equitable learning environments that support these students on their path to graduation,” CSU Chancellor Timothy White said.

CSU officials will formally honor Ouyang, Pruitt-Lord and the other 17 award winners in October at the fourth annual Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium, which will be hosted in Sacramento.

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