History of the California Chapter of the College Reading and Learning Association

By Kathi Bartle Angus

The California Chapter was founded in 1993 to provide an official organization to speak at the state level for college educators on issues that affect reading and learning. The charter meeting was held at the 1993 national CRLA conference in Overland Park, Kansas. It was decided that the President and President-Elect should come from different parts of the state. Gretchen Cupp (Yuba College) was elected President, Kathie Engstrom (Fullerton College) was elected President-Elect, and Tom Dayton (American River College) was elected Recorder-Treasurer. Membership was expanded the following year at the national meeting in San Diego.

Based on its charter to serve as a mouthpiece for college educators in California, the California Chapter sent statements to Sacramento. In 1993, Gretchen Cupp, spent much time informing members of the proposed changes in the community college minimum requirements for faculty in the Reading Discipline and served as spokesperson to the California Community College Academic Senate in challenging the proposed changes in standards. In 1994, Kathie Engstrom sent a letter to the CCC Academic Senate informing them that one of the responsibilities of our organization was to be the spokesperson for the Reading Discipline in California Community Colleges. Their efforts helped establish the qualifications for instructors of reading courses as an MS in Education with an emphasis in Reading or a minimum of 12 units in graduate level Reading courses.

Also in 1993, Tom Dayton, serving as the Secretary-Treasurer, put together the first membership directory for the California Chapter. This inaugural directory was made up of the names of all CRLA members who resided in California. The directory was mailed to all included along with an invitation to pay California Chapter dues. Directories in subsequent years have included only the names of members who have paid their dues within two years of the directory's publication.

In 1999, the issue of standards was raised again at the state level. Then President of the California Chapter, Anne-Marie Schlender, sent all members notices about state-level hearings that were being called to again review the standards. Members were able to attend the hearings and voice their concerns. Member support at the hearings was an important factor in keeping the standards for qualifications of instructors in reading courses high (MS in Education, Reading is the preferred standard, a minimum of 12 units of graduate work is required for instructors of reading courses).

Also in 1999, an editorial about the International Reading Association’s Position Statement on Adolescent Literacy in the California Chapter Communique (the newsletter of the chapter) sparked Tom Dayton’s interest. Tom had just been elected president-elect of CRLA. He made it a goal of his presidency to form a group to develop a CRLA position statement. That position statement, on Rights of Adult Learners, was presented at the 2003 CRLA conference and is available on the CRLA website.


The California Chapter is required to meet twice annually, once at the national meeting, and a second time to be determined by the members. Initially, this second meeting occurred at the California Reading Association Conference in November of each year. In 1997, when CRLA moved its national meeting to November, this was no longer feasible as the California Reading Association as the two conferences frequently were scheduled for the same dates. In 1998, the California Chapter began holding the second meeting in the spring. A videoconference format with selected locations across the state was implemented. Due to scheduling concerns and costs of the video conferencing, the 2001 spring meeting was held in conjunction with the ACCTLA conference in Los Angeles .

Since then several of the spring meetings have been hosted at the current president’s campus. President Melissa Gunning hosted the spring meeting at Fresno Pacific University in 2005. In 2007, President Elizabeth Boretz hosted the meeting at her campus, UC Merced and the 2009 meeting was held at Cabrillo College, hosted by President Tera Martin. Most other years the spring meeting has been held in conjunction with the Parachutes and Ladders conference at Mt. San Antonio College. Former California Chapter President, Rick Stepp-Bolling was instrumental in establishing this relationship.



Officers of the California Chapter

Year of Service


President


President-Elect


Recorder-Treasurer

1993

Gretchen Cupp
Yuba College

Kathie Engstrom
Fullerton College

Tom Dayton
American R. College







1994

Kathie Engstrom
Fullerton College

Lonna Smith
San Jose State

Tom Dayton
American R. College







1995

Lonna Smith
San Jose State

Dennis Spare
Mira Costa College

Tom Dayton
American R. College







1996

Dennis Spare
Mira Costa College

Shirley Sloan
Evergreen Valley College

Tom Dayton
American R. College







1997

Shirley Sloan
Evergreen Valley College

Karen Lim
San Diego City College

Marion Wronsky
DeAnza College







1998

Karen Lim
San Diego City College

Anne-Marie Schlender
CSU, Hayward

Marion Wronsky
DeAnza College







1999

Anne-Marie Schlender
CSU, Hayward

Kathryn Bartle Angus
CSU, Fullerton

Bruce Henderson
DeAnza College







2000

Kathryn Bartle Angus
CSU, Fullerton

Roger Rezarri-Elrod
Santa Clara University

Jan Bagwell
CSU, Fullerton







2001

Roger Rezarri-Elrod
Santa Clara University

Rick Stepp-Bolling
Mt. San Antonio College

Jan Bagwell
CSU, Fullerton







2002

Rick Stepp-Bolling
Mt. San Antonio College

Julie Hanks
Cabrillo College

Jan Bagwell
Saddleback College







2003

Julie Hanks
Cabrillo College

Bailey Smith
University of LaVerne

Jan Bagwell
Saddleback College







2004

Bailey Smith
University of LaVerne

Meinda Gunning
Fresno Pacific University

Jan Bagwell
Saddleback College







2005

Melinda Gunning
Fresno Pacific University

Jan Bagwell
Saddleback College

Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2006

Jan Bagwell
Saddleback College

Elizabeth Boretz
UC Merced

Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2007

Elizabeth Boretz
UC Merced

Diane Eisenberg
CSU, Long Beach

Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2008

Diane Eisenberg
CSU, Long Beach

Tera Martin
Cabrillo College

Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2009

Tera Martin
Cabrillo College



Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2010

Maureen Dupont
CSU, San Marcos



Christiane Fuller
Long Beach City College







2011

Kathryn Bartle Angus
CSU, Fullerton &
Barbara Gonzales
Mt. San Antonio College

Mary R. Bogan
Fullerton College

Siria Martinez
Palomar Community College







2012

Mary R. Bogan
Fullerton College

Angela Henderson
Fullerton College

Maureen Provenzano
CSU, Fullerton