Story Teacher Preparation

CSU Establishes Scholarship for Future Math and Science Teachers in High-Need Schools

Christianne Salvador

Donations are currently being accepted for the scholarship honoring the legacy of Dr. Joan S. Bissell.


​​​​The California State University (CSU) has established the Dr. Joan S. Bissell Memorial Scholarship fund to support mathematics and science teacher candidates who commit to work in high-need schools. The scholarship honors the late Joan S. Bissell, Ed.D., former director in the CSU Chancellor's Office Department of Educator Preparation and Public School Programs, who dedicated her 15 years of service at the Chancellor's Office to ensure a diverse and high-quality educator force through her leadership in cutting-edge teacher preparation programs.

A generous lead gift of $250,000 by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation initiated the scholarship fund, which will be available to CSU students beginning fall 2021. With additional contributions, the number of available scholarships may increase in subsequent years. The CSU is currently accepting donations for the Dr. Joan S. Bissell Memorial Scholarship at​

About Dr. Joan S. Bissell

Dr. Bissell was instrumental in the development of several systemwide initiatives and programs during her tenure at the CSU Chancellor's Office, including the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership, the Math and Science Teacher Initiative, the Integrated Teacher Education Programs and the New Generation of Educators Initiative.​​


​Dr. Joan S. Bissell

​One of Bissell's greatest contributions to teacher education at the CSU was her ability to garner financial support from external partners. Bissell successfully developed a strong relationship with the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, which provided more than $20 million from 2014-2019 to support the transformation of the CSU's teacher preparation programs.

Prior to her service at the Chancellor's Office, Bissell served as dean of the College of Education and Integrative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona from 2003 to 2005. She also served a number of roles at the University of California, Irvine, including co-director of its joint Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership with the University of California, Los Angeles; vice chair of UCI's Department of Education; and as assistant director of the Office of Teacher Education. Bissell earned an Ed.D. (1970) and an Ed.M. (1968) from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She also earned her bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1967, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in social sciences.

Bissell is survived by her husband, Stanley Newhoff, daughter Elizabeth (Betsy), stepdaughters, Michelle and Angela, and four granddaughters.

To make a donation in memory of Dr. ​Bissell and to support the development of tomorrow's teachers, visit

For additional information about the Dr. Joan S. Bissell Memorial Scholarship fund, contact Wendy Chavira Garcia (​