Responses to Your Feedback
I want to thank all of you who submitted your thoughts on this feedback page. I read every comment submitted!
I am encouraged by many positive remarks about what Fresno State does best. I am especially pleased to see multiple comments that we are a campus that genuinely cares about student success and takes steps to make that happen.
Comments on what we can do better are very helpful to me and Cabinet members as we continually look for ways to improve our University. I appreciate your honesty, your desire to see our University improve and your genuine affection for Fresno State.
Members of my Cabinet and I have prepared Responses to the most commonly submitted Concerns. I hope these will help explain and clarify some issues and inform you about background and procedures on others.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D. M.P.P.
Posted on: 09/28/15
Feedback Concerns received 7-28 to 8-29
Concern: I very much miss the special dinners the President hosted for newly hired faculty and newly promoted faculty. The events were very elegant, and really contributed to the sense that being hired and being promoted was special. A stand-up wine and cheese reception is a very poor substitute.
Response: Thank you for sharing your perspective. I want our new faculty to feel welcome and for our newly promoted faculty to feel appropriately acknowledged for their distinguished achievements. Mary and I have begun a new tradition of inviting the new faculty and their families to University House for a luncheon. I will discuss this matter in greater depth with the Provost and Deans.
Concern: I would like to see Fresno State do more to create a supportive environment for parenting students. Many of my students who are mothers, for example, are unaware of their Title IX rights and feel invisible within the institution. I'd like for Fresno State to consider a program similar to UCLA's "Students with Dependents" program, which provides resources and information for students in caregiving roles. I'd also like to see at least one high chair in each major dining area.
Response:Fresno State has taken a proactive approach to ensuring pregnant and parenting students are supported in their learning environment. Although not required by law, Fresno State has created four lactation stations across campus easily accessible to students. We’ve also developed a website that provides information on Student's Rights, the locations of the Lactation Stations, and our policy. Additionally, bookmarks to inform students of their rights and other helpful assistance were recently provided to the president of the Fresno State Breastfeeding Coalition, a student organization that supports and advocates for pregnant and parenting students. The group maintains a presence on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FSUBC. We will look into the feasibility of providing high chairs in certain dining areas on campus.
Concern: I have several ideas that would streamline the services provided, as well as free up staff time. One, there are many holds on accounts in regards to Cal Grant. There should be FAQs on the Financial Aid page detailing what the hold means and when the hold should be lifted. Second, the Fresno State Choice Card page should detail when the card should arrive at your address. I believe these easy fixes would make the user experience much better. It would also free time up for staff to work rather than answer questions or deal with problems that could otherwise have been avoided.
Response:We are in the process of reviewing our Financial Aid website and FAQs and a timeline are good ideas that will be taken into consideration. We are also looking at our email communications to students as well. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where many of our upcoming deadlines are also published.
Concern: Please explain how Fresno State has defined the Local Area of Admission, which will be used to give preference for admission now that the campus is impacted. Why does Fresno State give preference to students from only certain schools in remote counties? Fresno State should serve all schools in a geographic area, as other CSU campuses do, instead of choosing to give preference only to students from schools that fit a certain ethnic profile.
Response: Fresno State’s local admission area comprises all schools in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. However, based on past enrollment and recruitment analysis, we found that there are many other schools outside of our four counties that are historically served by Fresno State as well. A list of these schools can be found here. As this list shows, the San Joaquin Valley and our coastal area are represented. The analysis that we used to determine which schools to list was based on past enrollment and partnerships and not on a particular ethnic makeup. Feedback on what schools should be listed as “local” is always appreciated and reviewed for possible changes.
Concern: At my previous university, faculty were given a 10 percent discount at the bookstore. This helped me purchase spirit gear to wear on Fridays and encourage school pride. Students often remark that Fresno State is lacking in school spirit. A discount may encourage faculty to purchase and wear Fresno State gear and model school pride in the classroom.
Response: The Kennel Bookstore, like all University auxiliary organizations, is self-supporting. The bookstore donates and gives back to the campus community in many ways, and we strive to make our products and services affordable for students, staff, faculty and the community at lower margins. Unfortunately, a discount is not financially feasible at this time, but we encourage you to watch for sales and our annual holiday open house held in December each year.
Concern: I would be nice if student workers had csufresno.edu email accounts. Without them it makes it hard to share calendars with staff, set up appointments and include them in our Zimbra account.
Response: Thank you very much for writing about how we can use our technology tools to better collaborate. Our technology team can help. Those who would like to request a csufresno.edu email account for student employees can make the request online (https://help.fresnostate.edu/). A nominal fee may apply. Also please note, there may soon be an integration between the Zimbra (@csufresno.edu) and Google (@mail.fresnostate.edu) email calendar tools.
Concern: Two questions regarding campus catering: (1) Why does Catering Services feel that we are not entitled to the leftover food when hosting a breakfast or lunch event? The departments pay for the food. I think that it's unfair that the departments cannot take whatever is left over. (2) I was told that all items must be thrown out per campus catering policies. This seems completely unnecessary that food is being thrown out on a campus where there are programs like the Student Cupboard trying to feed students who don't have enough food.
Response:We understand; however, we are required to follow specific Health Department standards for proper food handling and avoid potential liability for any food-related illnesses. But at the same time, we also want to avoid waste, and we are thrilled to share that a new Fresno State Mobile app has been developed that is called the "Catered Cupboard.” This is a convenient and immediate way that we will be able to push communications to students as part of our Food Security initiative. The mobile app will advise when and where food is available at the conclusion of campus catered events. This notification will be delivered to cell phones of students who sign up for this service. This option is now available and depends upon the organizing department of each event to determine if logistically feasible.
Concern: Invest more in the science laboratories. Build the proposed lab facility that has been on the books for a long time. McLane Hall is antiquated.
Response:I completely agree that McLane Hall is antiquated! Next summer we will be modernizing one Biology and one Chemistry undergraduate lab, thanks to the support from the Fresno State Foundation, the Office of the Provost and the College of Science and Math. We recognize we need to invest in modernizing both McLane Hall and Science I and will be working to develop a strategic plan to address in collaboration with college leadership.
Concern: How is the campus police department funded? Rumor was that parking fees on campus funded some, if not all, of the police department. Can the department be made more financially responsible? It doesn't seem necessary to have the total number of full-time officers we have, let alone to even have investigators when it seems that regular officers could call on Fresno PD investigators when needed. Why is there a fleet of police vehicles constantly sitting idle? Did they really need a new Explorer, new Chargers, off-road buggies? Can't officers share vehicles across shifts?
Response:The Fresno State Police Department is within the Division of Administrative Services and is held to the same fiscal standards as the rest of the University. There are tools and equipment that our police officers are required to have and which are comparable to other CSU campuses of similar size and acreage. The safety and security of our campus community is very important, and we need to ensure that we have the appropriate number of police officers to provide support to our large and growing campus and can support large-scale events held on campus. The Fresno State Police Department has two operational units — patrol and traffic/parking. Funding to support the patrol operation comes from a Level A allocation as part of the Division of Administrative Services. The Police Department also receives some funding from the parking operation. Since parking is considered a self-support operation, parking is required to pay its fair share of costs it receives from the patrol operation, which includes technology, administration and dispatch (ref. CSU Executive Order 1059).
The Fresno State Police Department is responsible for the campus footprint plus one mile beyond the University property. Since crime activity that takes place on our borders impacts the campus and the safety of our students, faculty and staff, we must balance our commitment to securing our campus and at the same time contribute viable solutions to the safety and well-being of nearby neighborhoods and adjacent areas. In order to do this, we maintain a concurrent jurisdiction with both Fresno PD and Clovis PD.
Fresno State Police provides 24-hour patrol protection to the campus, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We strive to have two officers patrolling the campus at all times. Compared to other CSUs, the UCs and public four-year institutions across the nation, the Fresno State Police Department is currently understaffed. The national average of university police serving public four-year institutions is 1.5 officers per 1,000 students. Currently, we have less than one officer per 1,000 students and we are working to increase the number of officers.
Also, several of the new vehicles purchased for the University Police Department have been made possible due to grant funding from the San Joaquin Air Valley Pollution Control District.
The opening of Campus Pointe has dramatically increased the calls for service for our police department. Fresno State Police Department is reimbursed by the respective development entities when responding to calls at Campus Pointe.
Concern: Fresno has a private vehicle policy that is different from other CSU campuses. It states that: “Private Vehicle Use: Mileage allowed is 100 round-trip miles per business travel day. Employees traveling over 100 round-trip miles are required to rent a vehicle.” In some cases rental cost exceeds the personal mileage reimbursement, in addition to adding personnel costs to rent the vehicle and pick-up and drop-off the car. It would be beneficial to the employees to eliminate this restriction and allow them the flexibility to drive their own car if it is a more efficient and cost-effective way of travel.
Response: We have already determined that this will be eliminated in the next version of our travel policy. It is anticipated that the CSU travel policy is going to be modified this fall and this restriction will be removed at that time.
Concern: The majority of students live within one-fourth to one-half mile from campus. In order for low-income students like me to access their e-mail or Blackboard they must come onto campus or buy expensive Internet service. Would it be possible to extend Internet relay modules one-half mile beyond Shaw and Cedar avenues?
Response: We are currently evaluating expansion of our campus wireless infrastructure. However, we would need to evaluate any potential network security issues if we were to expand beyond the campus property and evaluate what would be feasible. We can also explore potential partnerships with our wireless services providers such as AT&T. Currently, we have extended hours at the Henry Madden Library and are also considering a potential 24-hour computer and study space on campus.
Concern: I was driving south on Chestnut from Barstow, and when I came to the roundabout by the Save Mart Center, several students were attempting to cross. I was the only driver who stopped and other cars were zooming by me. This is such a dangerous place for students to cross. The roundabout needs to be removed and a light put in. Please do something before someone is injured or killed.
Response:We recognize the concern. We are working with a local civil engineer and the City of Fresno to increase the number of signs. We are also adding LED flashing lights (replacing solar ones) and ensuring the signage is more visible prior to approaching the pedestrian crossing/roundabouts along Chestnut Avenue. The design is completed and we are awaiting final approval from the City of Fresno, which has jurisdiction over Chestnut Avenue. We are also strongly recommending that the city reduce the speed limit along Chestnut Avenue between Shaw and Barstow Avenues.
Concern: I am a new staff member at Fresno State. What is the University's policy on being contacted on your personal cell phone? I have a personal cell phone, which is on at all times, like most people. It is not paid for by the University. Our department's administrative assistant immediately calls me on it if I do not answer my desk phone. This is including breaks, lunch time and hours I am not at work. Is this a common practice for this campus or an issue that I should discuss with my supervisor and HR? Thank you and Go ’Dogs!
Response:We suggest you speak to your supervisor if you don’t want to be contacted on your personal cell phone.
SUGGESTION: I would to suggest that the Kennel Book Store offer mouse pads, apparel and other items with photos of our new mascot, Victor E Bulldog III. He is so full of personality and charm that would brighten up anyone's day. (I would love a mouse pad with his photo!)
Response: Great idea! We will follow up with our colleagues in the Alumni Association.
Concern: It does not seem that we are servicing our faculty effectively by having Faculty Affairs on the fourth floor of the Library. All other necessary onboarding services for new employees are in the Joyal Administration Building. Why isn't Faculty Affairs over there with the rest of HR? It seems like a better place for them to be even if they don't report to the same VP.
Response: We have been giving considerable thought to how we can better meet faculty needs. We have developed a proposal for a Faculty Center that would include a faculty lounge and faculty development center, as well as offices for the Academic Senate and Faculty Affairs. A consultant will be on campus later this month to help the University community consider the feasibility of this plan along with a plan for a new Student Center. At the same time, there are considerations being given to changing the mix of offices in Joyal Administration. In the meantime, the Office of Faculty Affairs continues to examine how to improve the onboarding process.