Bacon retires, staff reminisce


Leo Garcia

Steven Bacon, Dean of Social Sciences & Education, reads and walks down the halls of the Education Building.

By Lauren Silvis, Reporter

Steven Bacon, Dean of School of Social Sciences and Education, has had an impact on the life of students and staff at CSU Bakersfield. Just this semester, Bacon has announced his retirement after 24 years at CSUB.

“We all have so many chapters throughout our life, and while I like where my story has taken me so far, I have some additional chapters I would like to write,” Bacon said.

In 1979, Bacon had just received his bachelor’s from UCLA majoring in the study of religion and pre-med.

While attending graduate school at San Diego State University, Bacon spent a summer working in an emergency room, where he learned he did not enjoy the “blood and guts” of medicine, but he loved the research and academia.

Going off to receive his doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Bacon faced a life-changing decision: would he continue his track into medicine, or would he follow his heart leading him towards academics?

Spoiler alert, he chose academics.

By 1992, Bacon received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and completed a fellowship through UC San Diego in pain research, before moving to Bakersfield. In 1995, while working as a clinician, his chapter with CSUB began.

Bacon has been at CSUB for 24 years; 18 of which were teaching and the last six he spent in administration. After starting as a part-time lecturer and finishing as the Dean of SSE, Bacon worked his way through every position CSUB had to offer him. In the beginning, as a professor at CSUB, the only university he has ever taught at, Bacon taught classes in psychology.

“I would get up in the morning and be excited about going to work,” Bacon said. “And when I started at CSUB, we were on the far west side of town. Over the years the town has grown around us and the community has grown around us.”

He explained that he has seen CSUB develop into the university it is today. Bacon said that in the beginning, the community had a hard time understanding the difference between Bakersfield College and CSUB. But, through partnerships, and the expansion of this campus, CSUB now stands out in the community.

Dr. Kathleen Knutzen, the interim associate vice president of enrollment management and Bacon’s previous mentor said, “We worked very closely together, he was a really great colleague of mine, and we were a really good team. He is an outstanding leader.”

“Then, when I left, he became the interim dean for the School of Social Sciences and Education. It was a natural transition for him because he had shown such great leadership at the department level and the school level,” Knutzen said.

Bacon thought about his chapter of administration.

“I have had the chance to impact the lives of students, but more importantly, they have impacted mine,” said Bacon.

Renee Martin, assistant to the Vice-Provost explained, “During his time in administration, he has contributed to the school’s efforts in the Q2S conversion and GE transformation, Graduation Initiative 2025, acquisition of grants, fundraising in the community, and development of the CSUB Quality of Life Center.”

Taking a look into his future, Bacon said, “I really liked the challenges that I had as being a Dean, but I think teaching is great fun. I love teaching and I love the interaction with the students. I don’t miss grading, but I do miss the classroom, and I hope to do some of that in my retirement.”

Knutzen said, “I’m sad to see him go at this time, but he’s really a person of integrity. He has a great personality: very friendly, easy to work around, work with, and is just an outstanding colleague.”
“He took his time to sort through various issues and in the end, decided he wanted to take a different path at this time,” Knutzen said.

Bacon said, “Sometimes when I write, I plan it all out and I know exactly how the story will end.

He added, “At other times, I trust the process, and a great ending just emerges, leaving me pleasantly surprised. For my retirement, I hope to do more trusting and less planning.”

But he does have some plans which include traveling to Uganda this summer, reconnecting with students and increasing his political involvement in causes closest to his heart.

Bacon has had a positive impact on so many lives thanks to his time at CSUB.

As this is his official retirement, the campus will see much less of him. But, it has not seen the last of him. Bacon will continue to change the lives of CSUB students through working on the Quality of Life Center, teaching psychology classes and writing for scholarship and the popular press.