of Livingston Lecture
professor Dan Decious will challenge faculty to continue improving
student retention during the annual Livingston Lecture at California
State University, Sacramento. The talk will be at 3 p.m. Thursday,
Nov. 14 in the University Union Ballroom. A reception will follow.
Nationally, some 50 percent of baccalaureate-seeking students never
graduate, Decious said. "What makes this particularly sad is
that fully 75 percent of the students we lose are as well prepared
academically as those who graduate," he said. "This represents
an incredible loss, not only to the students and their families but
to the nation."
The title of Decious's talk "Making Use of the CSUS Web: A Small
Town Retention Model" refers not to the Internet, but to the
network of resources available to help students succeed.
Decious, a faculty member since 1967, said that vital should network
not be forgotten while the campus is undergoing a 50 percent turnover
in faculty over a five-year period.
Senior faculty must pass on what they know, he said.
"We're losing a memory bank of information about how to help
students graduate," Decious said. "I want to inform the
faculty, especially the new faculty, in my 40 minutes about what a
wonderful set of people and resources we have to keep students in
class and get them a degree."
Decious said senior faculty members know "who is out there, who
can help and that they're delighted to help."
"It beats the heck out of shuffling papers if you can help someone's
son or daughter get a degree," he said.
Helping students succeed has long been a passion of "Doctor Dan,"
as Decious is affectionately known. After graduating from the University
of California, Berkeley, in 1960, he went on to earn his doctorate
in theoretical physical chemistry from the University of Washington
in 1965. It was there he offered his first pre-exam review session
to 60 students, only to have 250 show up. Two years as a research
associate at the Johns Hopkins University did nothing to lessen his
enthusiasm for aiding students.
At CSUS, Decious and Tom Griffith worked together to create the Academic
Advising Center, which Griffith directs. Decious worked as an orientation
counselor for 14 years and, as the chemistry department's advising
coordinator, remains available 15 hours each week to advise students
or help them with class work.
Decious is also a passionate advocate for educational equity. He has
coordinated the faculty-student mentor program and taught in a program
for underrepresented ethnic students at the UC Davis Medical School
for 11 years. He also acts as a "freeway flier" in the National
Institute of Health-funded Science Transfer Program, aiding the transfer
of underrepresented ethnic students from community college to CSUS.
Decious' devotion to students has earned him several honors, among
them the CSUS Alumni Association's Outstanding Faculty Award, the
student-selected T.H. Cheng Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Award,
the School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, the CSUS
Outstanding Freshmen Advocate Award and two CSUS meritorious performance
The Livingston Lecture is named for the late Jack Livingston, a respected
CSUS government professor and faculty leader from 1954 to 1982 who
inspired a generation of faculty and students.
The Livingston is among the University's most prestigious honors.
It recognizes a faculty member who has played an active role in the
life of the University and shown a strong commitment to students while
remaining active in creative and scholarly activities. The faculty
senate organizes the lecture.