Allan Crosthwaite

Enrollment Coordinator for the Child Development Center

Allan Crosthwaite

Allan Crosthwaite

Allan Crosthwaite sounds like a professor; he uses a lot of big words, and speaks voluminously at a high speed. But instead of coming off as intimidating, the enrollment coordinator for the Child Development Center (CDC) is quite charming.

Crosthwaite, a Riverside native, does enjoy many academic hobbies; his interests span the gamut from British history to geology, astronomy and historical science. He is an avid photographer and specializes in astrophotography, taking pictures of planets and star formations.

“I enjoy paying attention to what’s happening in the sky,” he said.

And when he’s not viewing the sky from a telescope or camera lens, he is looking up at the stars as he runs marathons, or during one of his regular camping trips to Joshua Tree. For many reasons, he attributes his varied interests to his time spent at UCR.

Crosthwaite has logged in a total of 22 years at UCR. For the past three years, he has worked at the Child Development Center (CDC) as an enrollment coordinator, where he helps the CDC to implement new software and acquires grants to keep costs and expenses down.

Crosthwaite spent most of his career at the Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research (CBSR), working on several grant-funded projects. He trained volunteers to report on various projects, worked on digitizing California’s early newspapers, and catalogued and reported rare books for the libraries’ collection.

“My work just kept getting more interesting and complex,” he said.

One of his projects, the English Short Title Catalogue, dealt with books printed from 1473 up to 1800. Crosthwaite travelled to England on different occasions to work with other libraries in hopes of cataloguing more rare books. During this time, Crosthwaite began to learn a great deal about British history.

“As I catalogued my way through the many collections, I realized that during the Renaissance and Enlightenment, people knew and understood that they were living through key parts of history, and they tried hard to record all of it,” he said. “It’s very fascinating because the birth of so much of our culture happened there.”

Due to budgetary constraints, Crosthwaite was laid off from his job at CBSR in 2008. Fortunately, he was preferentially rehired and given a position at the CDC.

“The CDC people made me feel welcome. All of the teachers and staff are incredibly warm people and I’m very proud of this place,” Crosthwaite said . “There is no place better at what we do in the Inland Empire, and it’s a crying shame that there aren’t more centers like ours.”

Crosthwaite has employed the skills he learned working with libraries and the CBSR to update software at the CDC and acquire grants for the center, because “it’s quite expensive running a school for children.”

“Outside UCR, the CDC is perceived as a place where people just babysit and watch kids. But the CDC is far from ‘just watching kids.’ Children gain a social sophistication that makes them better students in the future,” he said. “The kids leave at the level of kindergarten and above. They get introduced to the expectations of the classroom, to the fun of learning and are fully expected to enjoy and excel at primary school.”

Reflecting on his time at UCR, Crosthwaite is both grateful and hopeful. He thinks of UCR administrators as a “good bunch of people,” and envisions a day when places like the CDC proliferate and bring up the national level of education.

“I’m glad that our people at the top are working on this. More needs to be done to make this kind of education available to more kids,” Crosthwaite said with pride. “I feel very strongly about this place. Schools and the education system would be much better off if there were more places like the CDC.” — Konrad Nagy

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