SAN BERNARDINO – Eri Yasuhara, who announced this past September that she will retire as dean of Cal State San Bernardino’s College of Arts and Letters this year, says she looks forward to the next chapter in her distinguished career.
“I’m looking forward to finishing my final quarter at CSUSB, but I look back on 13 wonderful years at this campus,” Yasuhara said. “It is truly amazing how quickly this time has gone by and I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the university for so long and to have worked with so many outstanding faculty, staff and administrators. Cal State San Bernardino is a remarkable institution, and now I look forward to what retirement will bring.”
Yasuhara, who has served as dean of CSUSB’s College of Arts and Letters since 2000, will retire this summer. A national search for her successor has been launched.
“Dean Yasuhara has been a tremendous leader for the university and the College of Arts and Letters,” said CSUSB President Tomas Morales. “She will leave a rich and long-lasting legacy.”
Yasuhara also announced that she has established a scholarship endowment to benefit the university’s President’s Academic Excellence Scholarship students in the College of Arts and Letters to commemorate her 13 years as dean of the college.
“This allows me to give back to the college and the university in a meaningful way,” she said.
During her tenure as dean, Yasuhara has overseen the college growth in terms of program offerings and enrollment. Of particular note are two new master of fine arts programs in creative writing and art; both are terminal degrees analogous to the doctorate. She also played a critical role in the development of the university’s Strategic Language Initiative and the Arabic program, which is the only Arabic language major in the California State University system. The university also has offered intensive summer language programs in Arabic, Persian and Chinese.
“The majority of the excellent faculty in the college were hired on her watch, and the vitality of the intellectual and creative life of the college is a testament to her leadership,” said Andy Bodman, CSUSB provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dean Yasuhara has served the faculty well through her unusual diligence in the faculty review process.”
Bodman said that Yasuhara has strengthened ties between the college and the community, built strong community advisory boards and markedly improved grant writing and fundraising in the college. She has also been a strong advocate of diversity on campus and in the community.
Under her leadership, CSUSB’s Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art has become a nationally recognized museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The only accredited art museum in San Bernardino, RAFFMA has accumulated a permanent collection of nearly 1,200 objects focusing on Egyptian antiquities, ceramics and contemporary art, and it houses the largest permanent and public display of Egyptian art in Southern California.
As dean, Yasuhara has overseen seven academic departments – art, communication studies, English, music, philosophy, theatre arts, and world languages and literatures – along with the interdisciplinary program in liberal studies.
She has served on a national deans association, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and was twice elected to serve on its board of directors.
Yasuhara, who says she is one of very few deans of academic colleges at four-year institutions across the nation who are Asian women, came to CSUSB in 2000 from Cal State Los Angeles, where she was professor of Japanese and associate dean of the School of Arts and Letters. During her 20 years at Cal State LA, she also was coordinator of the Asian and Asian American studies program.
Born in Japan, Yasuhara moved to the U.S. with her parents as a child shortly after the end of World War II. She earned her bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude), master’s and doctorate in Japanese language and literature, all from UCLA.
A specialist in haiku poetry, she held a Japan Foundation Professional Fellowship at Toyo University in Tokyo in 1991.