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Cal State LA anthropology professor receives CSU’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award

August 25, 2020
James Brady
Photo: James Brady, professor of anthropology at Cal State LA. (Credit: Robert Huskey/Cal State LA)

Cal State LA anthropology professor receives CSU’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award

August 25, 2020
James Brady
Photo: James Brady, professor of anthropology at Cal State LA. (Credit: Robert Huskey/Cal State LA)

James Brady, an anthropology professor at Cal State LA, has received the prestigious Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for his remarkable mentorship of students.

Brady is one of only 25 faculty members in the California State University (CSU) system to receive the award, which recognizes faculty leaders who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing student success.

“I am deeply appreciative of the CSU honoring me with the Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award because it recognizes my efforts that are at the heart of what I have done as a faculty member for the last 20 plus years,” said Brady, who is an Arcadia resident.

A selection committee comprised of faculty, student representatives from the California State Student Association and staff members from the CSU Office of the Chancellor reviewed hundreds of nominations to identify the awardees.

“The CSU’s world-class faculty continue to advance bold, creative solutions to enrich student learning, despite the daunting and unprecedented challenges facing higher education,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “The awardees have demonstrated brilliance, ingenuity and adaptability, and their steadfast commitment to student success is at the very core of the CSU’s educational mission.”

A Cal State LA alumnus, Professor Brady is recognized internationally for his innovative field research and credited by preeminent scholars for creating a new sub-discipline of Maya cave archaeology.

Through research and other unique learning opportunities, Brady provides students with the experience and knowledge needed to stand out as applicants for graduate school. His Archaeological Field Program in Central America empowered students to conduct original research centered on Mayan archaeology and present their findings at professional conferences, including the annual international meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Students in the program have presented more than 165 papers at professional meetings and 26 have been accepted into Ph.D. programs.

Brady guides students to build a strong curriculum vitae through his Academic Writing and Publishing course. Students also receive guidance developing their applications to postgraduate programs.

Brady’s students have garnered scholarships and fellowships, including the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

As part of the CSU recognition, Brady will receive a $5,000 cash award and $10,000 will be allocated to the Department of Anthropology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State LA to support ongoing innovation and leadership to advance student success.

Brady hopes to return next year to his team’s investigation of Balamkú, an ancient Maya ritual cave system on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, which was named by ARCHAEOLOGY magazine as one of the 10 most important discoveries of 2019. The cave system, containing a trove of more than 150 ritual objects that are believed to have been left untouched for more than 1,000 years, was also featured in the New York Times.

“These funds will allow me to take students into the field,” he said. “This will be their first steps on the path to doing great things. The publicity associated with our discovery demonstrates that CSU is a frontline research institution, changing the way we know the world.”

The Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards program was created as part of the CSU’s efforts to recognize faculty for their crucial work in improving student achievement and their leadership towards reaching statewide Graduation Initiative 2025 goals. The initiative is part of a broader system-wide effort to eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps, and increase graduation rates for all CSU students.

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