Sachiko Matsunaga, President’s Distinguished Professor of the Year for 2019 at Cal State LA . Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA

Cal State L.A. recognized Sachiko Matsunaga and five other faculty members for excellence in the classroom and service to the community during the 2019 Fall Convocation at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex.

Matsunaga, a professor of Japanese and chair of the university’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, was presented Cal State L.A.’s 2019 President’s Distinguished Professor Award during the Aug. 19 event. This award, which goes to a previous outstanding professor recipient, recognizes the faculty member’s superlative teaching and exceptional commitment to students, as well as professional accomplishments and services.

A leader in her field, Matsunaga served on the Japan Foundation Consultant Committee, Japanese Study Abroad Scholarship Review Committee, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing panels, and the CSU Academic Council on International Programs.

Matsunaga was also a board member of Teachers of Japanese in Southern California and Association of Teachers of Japanese. She is an editorial board member of the journal Japanese Language and Literature. She also frequently reviewed manuscripts submitted for publication in various periodicals, such as The Modern Language Journal.

Matsunaga’s research interests include reading processes and acquisition of reading skills in Japanese as a foreign language. She has authored more than 40 publications and delivered more than 50 presentations in these areas, as well as on the topics of online learning, Asian language curriculum development, and Japanese language education in the U.S.

During her tenure at Cal State L.A., Matsunaga has served on the Academic Senate, Strategic Planning Coordination Committee, and Faculty Retreat Planning Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. She was on advisory boards for the Asian and Asian American Institute and the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. Additionally, she held the positions of Japanese section coordinator, director of the Japanese Studies Center, and principal investigator/director of the Strategic Language Initiative Korean Program.

Matsunaga, who resides in Sierra Madre, received her Ph.D. in Japanese linguistics and pedagogy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Additionally, four Outstanding Professor Awards went to Cal State L.A. faculty members Mark Balaguer, Heidi Riggio, Deborah Won and Howard Xu. The Outstanding Lecturer Award was presented to Jessica Bodoh-Creed.

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