By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Professor Tom Long had prepared his history class on exhibition design and development to welcome visitors to talk about the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences work as part of CSUSB’s ongoing plans to convert from a quarter system to a semester system (Q2S).
Instead, Long, who is also the college’s assistant dean and serves as its Q2S coordinator, was himself surprised. The visitors turned out to be university President Tomás D. Morales, who led a group of about 30 faculty, staff and administrators to surprise and congratulate Long with the news that he had been named the winner of the university’s Outstanding Service Award.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker. Our faculty do research and scholarship, and teach, obviously the most important activity, but also he also does a tremendous amount of service. This year we have an outstanding recipient of our faculty service award,” Morales told the class and visitors. “Tom, we just really want to thank you. Our students and our faculty really appreciate the work that you do every day.”
Provost Shari McMahan was equally effusive about Long.
“He’s an excellent teacher, but behind the scenes, he is doing so much more to move the university forward and to transform lives, and that’s what we’re all about,” McMahan said. “We so appreciate you.”
Rafik Mohamed, the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which houses the history department, praised Long.
“I honestly don’t know how you have time to teach because of all the things that you do to support the college and the university. I value your leadership, I value your ability to build bridges where bridges seem impossible to build,” Mohamed said. “The students know that he really deeply cares about them in the classroom, but really, you’re a tireless advocate for the most important people on our campus, our students. They really appreciate the work that you do there and we would be nowhere in Q2S in transforming our programs if it weren’t for your leadership … we appreciate all you do.”
“This is really nice and humbling,” Long said. “You guys got me,” he said referring to the surprise announcement. “Thank you so much.”
Long is no stranger to surprise announcements. In 2015, he was teaching when Morales and an entourage of faculty, staff and administrators barged into one of his classes to surprise him with the news that he had been named the winner of the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.
In its letter of recommendation to the president, the university awards committee wrote, “… Dr. Long’s extensive and sustained contributions over more than a decade led the Committee to recommend him for the University’s highest award for service. Dr. Long serves as the embodiment of Department, College, University, and Community citizenship, and we are delighted to present him to you for the Outstanding Service Award.”
The committee praised Long’s dedication.
”What is clear in reviewing his service activities is that he does not shy away from committee work,-he seeks it. As a matter of fact, much of his service involves serving on laborious and significant committees with extensive and impactful assignments, such as curriculum development , academic program reviews (2016-2018), evaluations of faculty , hiring committees, quarter to semester curriculum development and conversion activities, to name just a few.”
At the department level, the committee wrote, Long has served on the part-time lecturer evaluation committee, curriculum committee, and department chair evaluation committee. He has also served as the Palm Desert Campus coordinator for five years and is the internship coordinator and faculty advisor. In between all of these activities, he makes time to mentor new faculty.
At the college level, Long’s leadership talents have resulted in him being elected to serve as chair of the college evaluation and college curriculum committees, CSBS elections officer, as well as the college coordinator of all Quarter to Semester Conversion activities.
The committee also praised Long’s service to the university and community as wide-ranging in scope and impact. He has served on the university curriculum committee, the university scholarship awards committee, and search committees for the vice president for advancement and for the director of the career center. Long’s expertise and willingness to assist other colleges within the university were also mentioned as he has given his time and expertise in the development of the California Indian Language Program in the World Languages and Literatures Department.
At the community level, Long has been a long-standing faculty board member of the Water Resources Institute. He has served as the historian for the San Bernardino County and the city of Perris archives and the archives of the Edward Dean Museum in the city of Beaumont. In addition, he is a board member of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, and he lends his expertise in public and oral history to the Temecula and Coachella Valley historical societies.
He is a valued member of the Native American Task Force and has also served as the faculty liaison for development and fund raising for the California Indian Conference in 2014.
Also noteworthy is his service to students. Long provides leadership in his role as internship coordinator for the history department. In addition to establishing positive relationships with the community in the areas of history, museum studies, archives, etc., these relationships have been fruitful, as they have resulted in meaningful undergraduate and graduate internship experiences.
The committee also quoted CSBS Dean Mohamed, who said, “Dr. Long has been more instrumental than any other professor in securing meaningful internship placements, many of which are paid through grants secured by Dr. Long.”
Long’s dedication to students and their academic achievements is also evidenced by his long-term service as the CSBS commencement coordinator; an activity that requires a great deal of time and planning “behind the scenes,” yet whose outcomes are often invisible to observers because he is a professional at masterful orchestration, the committee wrote.
Mohamed also wrote his own nomination letter commending Long, who he wrote, “has been an unusually effective leader in service for the university and our off-campus community, and I couldn’t be happier to nominate him for this wonderful and well-earned campus distinction.
Tiffany Jones, professor and chair of the history department applauded her colleague in a nominating letter to the committee.
“His dedication to the university as a whole has always been apparent and he often doesn’t take credit for the extensive amount of work he does,” Jones wrote. “Tom is a team player, and always someone that can be relied on to get things done. His positive attitude and cheerful demeanor makes him a pleasure to work with on projects and it is no surprise that he is well sought after to sit on committees.”
Kevin Grisham, associate professor and chair of the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, also nominated Long, praising his work with Native Americans.
Grisham, who himself was surprised last month when he was named the university’s Golden Apple teaching award, wrote, “He has connected our campus with the local Native American tribes and in doing so has helped to connect our past with our future. Also, this has allowed many of his students and colleagues to gain a better understanding of the amazing contribution these peoples have provided to our local Inland Empire area.”
Long joined CSUSB in 2006. He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in history from Sonoma State University, a master’s degree in history from Cal State Fullerton and a doctorate in history from the University of California Riverside.