California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Fall Conference 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Opening and Welcome
Good morning everyone and thank you, Lisa! I am so glad all of you could join me today, at what is my ninth Fall Conference. And for those of you who have been keeping score, beard now leads no-beard by a score of 6-3.
I hope that everyone got enough to eat this morning. Today’s breakfast was made possible thanks to a generous donation from Eugene Park. Eugene is one of our most generous alumni and has provided major gifts to the Collins College and intercollegiate athletics. I would also like to thank long time supporter Jim Henwood from the Fairplex for contributing the refreshments for the afternoon event. And as long as we are talking about food, let’s thank our team from Kellogg West, under the culinary leadership of Jose Rodriguez, for preparing today’s breakfast. And finally, each of you had access to the best orange juice in the world, as well as fruit direct from our fields. The Farm Store is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, so let’s recognize Dan Hostetler, Dawn Taccone and their team for being a part of Convocation. By the way, everyone knows just how much Professor Hostetler LOVES public attention, so I hope you will be a part of today’s service awards when he gets his 35-year pin.
My next introduction always seems to get the most applause… I guess I shouldn’t be surprised… Betty Faye, will you stand and give everyone a wave?
Those of us who grew up with grandparents in our lives well understand this marvelous relationship. Betty and I are excited to share that in February, our daughter Megan and her husband, Alex, will be giving us our first grandchild. If you know Betty Faye, that is going to be one lucky boy.
Canadian author Ronald Wright once said that “each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.” That’s true – just ask our students. While the California Legislature and the Governor do everything in their power to make life more difficult for our students, I promise you that we will not let their actions drag us down.
Throughout the summer, we have a number of orientation events for incoming students. I am often asked to make a few welcome remarks. When you see their faces and shake their hands, it’s clear that they aren’t thinking about $650 million dollar budget cuts, or the fact that our tuition is roughly 23 percent higher than it was a year ago at this time.
They are excited and energized. This is the beginning of their undergraduate experience. After 13 years of school, they are ready to begin the great college adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must not be spoiled by shortsighted politicians. Just like our banners read: It’s their time.
So here’s my rally cry: Let’s continue do everything in our power to give them an amazing college experience. Everyone in this room plays a role in ensuring student success, and I remain extremely proud of all of your efforts.
One of the most important things we are doing for this and future generations of Cal Poly Pomona students is the $150 million dollar comprehensive campaign. Last year at this time, I was proud to launch the public phase of the campaign and premiere the campaign video. Convocation launched a series of events and gifts that made 2010-11 the single largest fundraising year in university history. This past year we received cash and pledges totaling nearly $60 million dollars. And so let me direct your attention to the big screen and find out where we are today in the campaign.
As you can see, we have raised over $94.8 MILLION DOLLARS.
After reaching this milestone, I certainly want to credit the hard work of our professionals in the Division of University Advancement, under the leadership of vice president Scott Warrington. But as I have said before, the campaign and bringing new resources to the university is not the sole domain of Advancement, it’s everyone’s job. So many of you, as well as volunteers in the community, took this call to action and made a real difference in the lives of current and future students. We’re not home yet, but let me thank you for all your work.
I want to follow that with a wonderful example on the power of philanthropy and communication. Many of you may remember Alan Felzer, who spent almost 40 years on our faculty in the College of Engineering. Alan passed away a few years back, but his widow Laura received the summer edition of PolyTrends. She read the story on Doug Ramsey, a successful alumnus and former faculty member, who made a $1 million dollar gift to the College of Business Administration. Laura was so moved, that she reached out to our advancement team last month. Today I am proud to share that she donated $200,000 to be equally split among the Kellogg Honors College and Partners in Education. Both organizations will individually launch the Alan Felzer Scholarship. While Laura could not be with us today, she asked that I recognize the people in the Electronic and Computer Engineering department for their friendship and support over the past few years. Betty and I look forward to hosting Laura and her family in the near future.
Cal Poly Pomona continues to be a campus of great success stories. I spoke earlier about history repeating itself. Well that was true for the Rose Float team when it – once again – captured two major awards at the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year’s hardware included the Fantasy Trophy and the People's Choice Award.
As many of you know, cyber security is one of the country’s fastest-growing industries. Under the leadership of CIS professor Dan Manson, Cal Poly Pomona has become a leader in preparing graduates for this cutting-edge field. We once again won the Western Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, advancing to the national championships.
In a groundbreaking move, the Collins College launched the first Masters of Science in Hospitality Management on the west coast. It is also self-supporting, which means that there are no state dollars are used to support the program. The program is designed to prepare graduates with the depth of hospitality knowledge and skills that will equip them to make an immediate impact.
Innovation Village welcomes 500 new Southern California Edison employees as they move into their second building this month. The overall project has now reached the 50 percent occupancy milestone. In addition, all infrastructure improvements are complete with the opening of Innovation Way from the circle to Temple Avenue, allowing for better circulation for tenants and their visitors. The Foundation continues to work to attract other businesses to the park that support the mission of the university.
We have a great program in the College of Business Administration that makes a difference in the community. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program allows current accounting students and alumni to perform free tax assistance to people earning $55,000 or less. A month before April 15, 2011, students had filed 200 returns. Professor Ahmed Abo-Hebeish, who oversees the program, received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement from the Center for Community Service-Learning.
One of our core values is environmental sustainability, working to apply and advance sustainable practices in the classroom and on campus. Last year the second phase of our residential suites earned LEED Silver certification. We also became the first public university in the state to complete the STARS report. The Lyle Center was recognized as the first carbon-neutral facility in the CSU system, and our teams in MediaVision and Public Affairs produced a special Earth Day video showcasing sustainable living practices on campus.
Here’s something we can be quite proud of: Responding to the desperate need for affordable housing in the aftermath of the magnitude-7 earthquake in Haiti last year, Professors Juintow Lin and Michael Fox of the architecture department worked with students to develop a prototype affordable house suitable for Haiti's reconstruction efforts. The prototype is constructed using a unique corrugated paper panel, manufactured on-site, which makes this project one of the few in Haiti which can be built entirely by local workers using very few imported materials. At a cost of $8,000 dollars per unit, 25 houses will be built in Haiti during the next two months.
Now I have a great example of an entrepreneurial spirit. A couple of years ago, I charged a blue ribbon task force to develop a new campus master calendar system. At the time, the budget paralyzed our ability to move forward. But that did not stop Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, Kevin Morningstar and a host of people across campus. Today I am proud to introduce the university’s new master calendar system. A new link on the home page will take you to a week’s view of everything happening on campus. In the near future, we will offer training to those responsible for inputting campus events. This is THE master calendar and I want to thank Rebecca, Kevin and so many others for making this day possible.
It was another remarkable year for our student athletes. 185 of them combined for a 3.0 grade-point average across the fall and winter quarters. Six of the 10 teams totaled a GPA above 3.0, with the women’s volleyball team leading the way with a combined GPA of 3.3. And they do pretty fair in competition as well. Seven of our ten teams advanced to postseason play. Five student-athletes – Luis Gonzalez in men’s soccer, Reyana Colson in women’s basketball, Travis Taijeron in baseball, and Jacob Deavers and Lance Walkington in men’s track & field – earned All-America honors. Reyana was also recognized as an Academic All-American after posting a 3.6 grade-point average in accounting.
We enjoyed another strong year in contracts and grants. The total grant and contract expenditures hit a record high for our campus, exceeding $15.8 million dollars. This figure is up 7.2 percent from last year and includes a 17 percent increase from two years ago. The number of applications totaled nearly 140 from 82 different faculty and staff.
Of special note was a TRIO Talent Search award for just over $1.1 million dollars. This grant is designed to prepare 500 secondary school students in Chino Valley for entry or re-entry to a post-secondary institution – and to ultimately graduate. The National Science Foundation provided a $1.4 million grant to the College of Science in collaboration with Education and Integrative Studies. This will support advanced training for middle school master teachers and improve their science, math and pedagogical skills.
And certainly one of our pinnacle achievements last year was when WASC reaffirmed our accreditation for 10 years - the maximum term granted. This was a result of the work of our campus WASC committees and the entire university community. But special consideration needs to go to Claudia Pinter-Lucke and Shanthi Srinivas, who shepherded this program for several years. Thank you both.
Since my arrival, we have spent a portion of Convocation celebrating and recognizing the efforts of our faculty, staff and students. But every year we feel the loss of friends and colleagues who passed away. Let’s take a few moments as we share the names and faces of members of our family who will not be with us today:
Russ Anchondo – Facilities Management
Dave Harmer – Facilities Management
James Sutton – Faculty, Economics Department
Frank Wein – Faculty, Urban and Regional Planning Department
Cal Poly Pomona is a student-centered university. I am proud to introduce the individual who will lead our student body this academic year. Please join me in welcoming ASI President Johnathan Jianu.
It is also my pleasure to introduce new or newly appointed members of our leadership team. Last year, Chief Information Officer Stephanie Doda retired after 22 years of service to Cal Poly Pomona. We were extremely fortunate to recruit a new leader for the Division of I&IT all the way from Savannah, Georgia. Please welcome our new Chief Information Officer, John McGuthry… We also have a new dean for the College of Engineering, Mahyar Amouzegar, who previously served as associate dean of engineering for research and graduate studies at CSU Long Beach… On that note, I also want to thank Don Coduto for his work last year in leading our engineering community… In the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, I am pleased to note that Sharon Hilles will be serving as interim dean this year while we complete a national search. And finally, U.J. Fan made a choice over the summer to return to his faculty position in engineering after serving admirably as the dean of the College of the Extended University. Not only do I want to publicly thank U.J. for his efforts, but I want to welcome Jerry Chesser from the Collins College as the interim dean for the CEU.
We had expected to have a new dean named for the College of Science. But that search process will continue this year. Interim dean Mandayam Srinivas has agreed to stay at the helm for the next year. Thank you everyone.
Today, we begin the academic year with 31 new faculty and 64 new staff. All of our new faculty and staff have a nametag as well as a green ribbon under their Fall Conference pin. This is a great way to identify each of them and personally welcome them to campus.Ladies and gentlemen, would you please stand and be recognized.
There’s no question that the number of new faculty and staff could actually be doubled or tripled. Over the past three years, Cal Poly Pomona has lost 472 permanent and temporary employees via retirement or separation from the university. During that same window of time, we added only 195 people. So while some might argue about the timing of our new hires, in my mind, we could not afford to wait. This is what our students need and deserve.
Convocation allows all of us to recognize the great work and accomplishments of our faculty and staff. Last year, I was exceptionally proud of the newly developed Provost’s Awards, designed to recognize outstanding faculty accomplishments in the areas of teaching, service, and scholarly and creative activities. Let me direct your attention to the screen to meet our inaugural recipients.
The 2011 Provost’s Award winners:
Celebrating the work of the academy is at the core of this honor. On Tuesday, October 4, these three distinguished faculty members will be presenting at our inaugural Provost Awards Symposium at Kellogg West. You will hear presentations from each of them as well as a keynote address from Howard Charney, a senior vice president with Cisco and one of the more dynamic voices on the impacts of technology on today’s students. If you have not already done so, please make sure you register. Seating is limited and this will certainly be one of the most important campus events this year.
When it comes to making a difference in the lives of our students, few things have a greater impact than the quality of advisement. Let’s meet our 2011 Outstanding Advisors:
The Outstanding Advisors for 2010-11.
And the Outstanding Advising Program Awardees are:
Research has proven that advising is a critical factor in a student’s degree progression. But that counsel also supports their overall academic and social experience, and contributes to persistence. I am proud that we can annually recognize these dedicated men and women for the roles that play in student success.
Each year, select university faculty are confirmed by their colleagues to earn the right of tenure, thus becoming lifetime members of the university family. In 2011, 26 individuals received this honor, with some also earning promotion to professor, associate professor or associate librarian. Let’s acknowledge them now
Receiving tenure and promotion to professor:
Receiving tenure and promotion to associate professor:
Receiving tenure and promotion to associate librarian:
Congratulations to each of you…..
One of my favorite days of the year is Staff Appreciation Day. Not only does it give us a chance to honor all staff, but we also get to hear about four special individuals and their extraordinary impact on our students and their departments. It’s very humbling when you learn how these people have dedicated their lives to Cal Poly Pomona. Join me in saluting the 2010-11 Outstanding Staff.
I have long been remiss in recognizing a dedicated group of people that support our campus. One of our finest examples of teamwork is the network of faculty and staff who volunteer their time and energy to ensure the safety of the campus. These building marshals and floor captains take the lead in emergency situations and hone their skills throughout the year to ensure that they will be ready when they are needed. We have their names listed on the screen for you to see, and each of them is wearing their vests today so you know who they are. Let me thank you for the commitment you have made to the university.
Speaking of emergency preparedness, for a number of years we have relied on our Safety Alert system to alert you in the event of an emergency. A special task force came together last fall to review our emergency communication protocol. While we have made great strides, we still need to improve. A request for proposals is currently out to give us more tools to ensure your safety. It will be a sizeable investment, but we have always made – and will continue to make campus safety among our highest priorities.
I am now proud to announce the 15th recipient of the George P. Hart Award. The Hart Award recognizes faculty members who are regarded as role models and leaders - on campus and in the community. Our 2011 honoree certainly fits that mold, having served on the faculty of the political science department for the past 15 years. He is the founder and director of Colorful Flags, a human relations program that has served roughly 130,000 K-12 students throughout Southern California. He sits on the advisory boards for the Kellogg Honors College and intercollegiate athletics, has published five books, and was named “Teacher of the Year” in his department.
Would you please welcome to the dais one of the university’s most recognizable faculty members, the 2011 George P. Hart award winner, Dr. Renford Reese.
Last year, all of us celebrated the remarkable $42 million gift from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the single largest cash gift in the history of the California State University. This gift has created the Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment, designed to strengthen student success programs, improve support for faculty teaching and scholarly innovation, and expand relations with our external communities. Through this gift, earnings from the endowment will allow us to make annual awards to projects that reflect the spirit and passion of Mr. Kellogg and the Foundation.
Thanks to the work of Provost denBoer and student affairs Vice President Freer, a process was developed to award annual grants to programs that resonate with the goals of the Kellogg Foundation, particularly the advancement of underrepresented students. Last month, we announced 25 inaugural recipients in PolyCentric. Let me direct your attention to the screen.
The Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment Grant Recipients for 2010-11 include:
One way we can help ensure student success is to fully develop and implement the Graduation Initiative. You might remember that last year I stated that the Graduation Initiative WILL BE our highest priority, now and in the foreseeable future. We took some important steps last year, including naming Victor Okhuysen as the co-chair and faculty coordinator. In addition, offices across the university have taken some comprehensive steps, including expanding orientation, better advising for high-unit students and expanded communication to graduating seniors. We are on the right track. This past June, we graduated 4,681 people. That number will certainly grow in the years ahead.
The process continues this year, starting with two sessions during Fall Conference. Today at 2:30 p.m., you can attend a Graduation Initiative overview session and learn what you can do to participate in this very important process. Tomorrow, also at 2:30, you will be asked to offer feedback and share ideas about academic advising. As I mentioned last year, if we had a grade for graduating less than 60 percent, we would be failing. Many states have gone to performance budgeting in higher education. We need to avoid this by demonstrating our ability to be efficient and successful.
Our students typically pay over $800 per year for textbooks. As this cost continues to rise, we must find ways to alleviate the burden. So I’m proud to announce that Cal Poly Pomona is joining the CSU’s Affordable Learning Initiatives campaign. This program provides instructors with information about affordable alternatives on textbooks and other course related materials.
I encourage you to attend the Affordable Learning Initiatives event from 1 to 2 p.m. tomorrow, September 20, in the Faculty Reading Room in the University Library.
Let’s now spend some time talking about our financial future, one that has become precariously ambiguous. I went on the record last year at this event to say that I was optimistic. My hope and belief was that after a year of furloughs, we might have turned the corner. This proved wrong as indicated by the state Legislature and Governor’s decision to disinvest in higher education.
The CSU system was again hit with a huge budget cut. Student tuition rose again. The news on state tax revenues to date has not been promising, with conjecture that the CSU could be hit with a $100 million dollar mid-year cut. The 2011-12 fiscal year will likely result in a total cut of $36.6 million dollars to our university from the previous year.
With the national and state economies showing no sign of improvement, I am troubled by the fact that we aren’t better addressing the new reality of public higher education. There is no question that budgets have cycles and, someday, California’s will improve. But does anybody know when? How long can we ignore the fact that the days of predictable budgets, progressive compensation or a reasonable window of time to graduate are things of the past? Individuals and institutions must make proactive changes or suffer the consequences. Public higher education has long operated differently, certainly tightening the belt, but avoiding long-term change.
Throughout this difficult decade, our faculty and staff have been extraordinary. I really mean that. We have always had an underdog spirit that elevates us to the challenge. Over the past few years, many faculty added to their workload by letting additional students into their classroom, knowing that they need their courses to graduate. When open staff positions went unfilled, colleagues stepped up to ensure our students still received the best level of service possible.
My concern is sustainability, and not the kind that focuses on the environment. My anxiety is the expectation that we can always do more with less. That cannot go on forever, nor is it fair to those of you who keep working harder, expecting that a better budget year is just around the corner.
Do we need to continue to look at efficiencies? Of course! Those are things we should be doing all of the time. But when funding is consistent, it’s easy to put off difficult decisions. Now more than ever, we have to ask ourselves what will higher education look like in the coming decades and are we ready for that challenge. We are a learning-centered university, but are we prepared to teach and offer student services built around the expectations of children who are currently in junior high school or elementary school? Do you know what they expect?
The fact is this: If we don’t take control and address this head on, someone is going to do it for us. Last month, Bill Gates predicted that “place-based” universities will be less important in only five years. He also noted that technology can bring down the cost of a degree to $2,000. GOP Presidential frontrunner and Texas Governor Rick Perry challenged his public universities to develop bachelor's degree programs costing no more than $10,000, including textbooks. And how about this one. A few years back, Chancellor Reed called on every CSU to develop a strong cadre of online programs in support of accessibility. The system’s report card? Not very good. So now the Chancellor is on the verge of launching CSU Online, designed to address workforce needs and increase opportunities for undergraduate and graduate education. Like I said, we have a choice of creating our own destiny – or becoming irrelevant.
I am calling on you to join me in a campus dialogue that will look at these issues. The future is now and we need a progressive course of action. I am prepared to facilitate a redistribution of resources to support creative approaches designed to create a university for the new reality. You can’t stay on the sidelines you have to get in the game if we are to succeed.
That dialogue will actually begin today. At 1 p.m. right here in Ursa Major, Provost denBoer will introduce our new CIO John McGuthry, who will be making a special presentation on the future of technology in education. I strongly encourage everyone, especially our faculty, to join John this afternoon for some bold predictions on what the future holds.
Betty and I invite you to join us today at the Manor House at 4 p.m. to celebrate the beginning of what could be the most exciting year in our history. In the receiving line, we will be joined by John, his wife Katheryn, son Matthew, Hart Award winner Renford Reese, and the three faculty recipients of the Provost’s Award. And finally, I hope you stay here right after Convocation when we recognize the commitment of our faculty and staff with the 2011 Service Awards. Thank you everyone! Let’s have a great year!