Awardees to be Recognized During Tuesday, Jan. 25, during CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
January 24, 2022

Stanislaus State Professor of Cultural Anthropology S. Steve Arounsack has been named one of the California State University’s esteemed Wang Family Excellence Award winners for 2022. 

The Office of the Chancellor announced today that Arounsack received the Outstanding Faculty Scholarship award. He is one of four faculty and one staff member to receive a Wang Award, which is one of the CSU’s most prestigious accolades and recognizes recipients for their unwavering commitment to student achievement and advancing the CSU mission through excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.  

As part of their recognition, each honoree will receive a $20,000 award that is provided through a gift from CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang and administered through the CSU Foundation. The honorees will be recognized publicly Tuesday, Jan. 25, during a virtual meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees. 

“On behalf of Stanislaus State, we extend our enthusiastic congratulations to Dr. Arounsack on being honored as a 2022 Wang Family Excellence Award recipient,” said Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn. “He is an extraordinary professor who truly embodies the spirit of the Wang Award.  

“Dr. Arounsack consistently demonstrates a deep passion to engage, educate, inform and contribute to students’ success and to the lives of all those in the larger community whom he touches through his films and media projects, all with the ultimate goal of enriching the public’s knowledge, empathy and greater cultural and historic understanding.”  

Arounsack served as the lead cultural advisor and principal visual anthropologist on a historic film, Walt Disney Animation Studio’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which was Disney’s first film to feature Southeast Asian cultures. 

Arounsack, who is also a Stan State alumnus, supervises the University’s Keck Visual Anthropology Lab — one of the most advanced of its kind — as a fully operational learning platform for the production of professional-level digital media projects by students engaged in the cultural anthropology curriculum.  

“Dr. Arounsack consistently demonstrates a deep passion to engage, educate, inform and contribute to students’ success and to the lives of all those in the larger community whom he touches through his films and media projects, all with the ultimate goal of enriching the public’s knowledge, empathy and greater cultural and historic understanding.”

- President Junn

In 2012, he won the Sony Award for Innovative Teaching with Technology, a prize that recognized his commitment to the innovative use of technology in the classroom. The hands-on components of his courses equip students with the tools to create digital media content while learning to apply anthropological research methods and understand the value of documenting and archiving cultural information. 

“The Wang Family Excellence Awards wonderfully illuminate examples of the extraordinary teaching, scholarship, innovation and service that are hallmarks of the California State University,” said Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “This year’s awardees perfectly embody the CSU’s core values of inclusive excellence and student success — and they bring great distinction and honor to their campuses and the CSU more broadly.” 

Awardees were selected by a committee comprised of representatives from the CSU Board of Trustees, the chair of the Academic Senate, a previous Wang Award faculty recipient and CSU executive staff.  

Introduced in 1998, the Wang Family Excellence Award recognizes CSU faculty members who have distinguished themselves through high-quality teaching and excellence in their area of expertise. The award also acknowledges a staff member whose contributions go above and beyond expectations.  

In addition to Arounsack, the 2022 Wang Family Excellence Awards recipients include:  

  • Don Edberg, Outstanding Faculty Teaching, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 
  • Loucine M. Huckabay, Outstanding Faculty Service, California State University, Long Beach  
  • Keith B. Humphrey, Outstanding Staff Performance, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo,  
  • Dave Moon, Outstanding Innovator in Student Success, California State University, Northridge 

For additional information on all honorees, visit the CSU Wang Family Excellence Award website.