Posted on: 6/9/15
Concern: Please bring back the annual Staff Picnic that was terminated in about 2009 due to budget difficulties. It was the one annual event for staff, faculty and students to have some down time and eat and socialize. It was a very fun and uplifting event for all and is sorely needed again.
Response: Thank you for the suggestion. Others have expressed a similar sentiment. I will explore with the Cabinet a 2015-16 version of a new campuswide gathering.
Concern: I find it funny that staff raises are brought up time and time again, yet MPPs get raises much more frequently when they move around. They get rewarded for the work of their staff, but the staff gets just more work, especially in the IT part of our university.
Response: Fair compensation for staff and faculty is a high priority for the Cabinet. In 2014-15, we dedicated $250,000 in new permanent funds to support staff salary equity, among the largest such investments in the CSU system. We will dedicate a comparable amount of funding to support staff salary equity in 2015-16. The equity adjustments for eligible staff will be in addition to other base salary increases agreed to through collective bargaining agreements.
Concern: There is a lot of effort and push towards diversity, yet this is one of the only CSUs that does not have a Diversity Officer. Are we getting one any time soon or do you believe it is not needed?
Response: Strengthening diversity at Fresno State continues to be a high priority. I recently appointed Dean Jody Hironaka-Juteau as Chair of the President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity (PCHRE). Dr. Hironaka-Juteau is a recognized national expert in this area. She is joined in this leadership role by Dr. Alex Espinosa and Dr. Francine Oputa as Vice Chairs of the PCHRE. I am pleased with the new leadership team and the overall direction we are going with respect to diversity. I do not plan to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer in the near future.
Concern: The smoking policy is ignored and not enforced so students and staff are exposed to second-hand smoke every day and the butts contribute to the trash on the ground. Signs in high-traffic areas like the library are routinely ignored and smokers become belligerent when reminded. Can we have some type of enforcement so this situation improves?
Response: I will ask Vice President Deborah Astone and Police Chief David Huerta to review and strengthen our enforcement mechanisms. This is an issue that requires all of us in our community to hold ourselves and each other accountable for following our policy of smoking only in designated areas of campus.
Concern: Create a new award category (e.g. Fresno State President’s Distinguished Professor) to reward and honor those professors who have distinguished achievements. The criteria should be very high, representing the highest quality in teaching/research/service that Fresno State is proud of (i.e. research achievement needs to be comparable to Research One universities). This will help attract established professors to Fresno State and sustain the most valuable professors of the campus.
Response: I will share this idea with the Provost, Deans and Academic Senate and ask for their thoughts about it.
Concern: Reinstate the University Lecture Series and bring inspiring speakers like Sherman Alexie and TED Talk speakers to campus
Response: We hosted a number of prominent speakers at Fresno State during the past academic year, including Sherman Alexie and Daniel Goleman. Other exciting speakers are planned for the upcoming year. Please feel free to share specific suggestions for speakers and we will consider them.
Concern: I wish the Fresno State administration would STOP claiming that "we are family," The bigger the administration grows, the more its officers use the offensive, problematic, questionable and inaccurate metaphor of “family,” instead of community.
Response: Thank you for sharing this concern. I believe that every voice matters and everyone matters. My goal is for everyone at Fresno State – students, staff and faculty – to thrive.
Concern: We should do more to promote the good work that is being done by faculty lecturers. We celebrate staff at STAR DAY; we celebrate the accomplishments of tenured and tenure-track faculty. We should celebrate the great work that is being done by faculty lecturers.
Response: We recognize this as a significant need and are making plans to do a better job of recognizing and celebrating the work of our many faculty lecturers. One of those plans is the consideration of adding an award for lecturers to the Provost’s Teaching Awards.
Concern: Either rename "consultation days" or discontinue current practice of scheduling events on these days. It seems as if they have become busier than regular semester days and the intent was to provide students with an opportunity to consult with faculty prior to final exams etc. Having faculty/staff attend events (not in office) is directly counter to our "student success" efforts.
Response: The last two days of the week preceding final exams are officially known as “Final exam preparation and faculty consultation days.” It first appears in the catalog in 1996-1997. There have been some recent discussions in Academic Senate committees about this issue and it is probably a good time to initiate a broader conversation. We will forward this comment to the Academic Senate for its consideration.
Concern: Ensure that the faculty reflects the student population. For example, increasing the number of Hmong tenure-track faculty members. Fresno State is the largest public institution of higher education in the local community with a high enrollment of Hmong students. Furthermore, Fresno has the second largest concentration of Hmong population in the country. However, when I was a student there, I could count on one hand how many tenure-track faculty were of Hmong descent. As a Hmong student and proud Fresno State alum (BA '09 & MS '11), I find that very problematic and a disservice to the large Hmong student population.
Response: We take very seriously our obligation as an institution of higher education to meet the needs of our students. We recognize the value of students being able to see role models to whom they can relate. All faculty search committees are charged to develop a diverse pool of candidates and they use a number of methods to do this including reaching out to former students, contacting doctoral degree granting programs, attending conferences and spreading the word through advertisements and other strategies. This effort is paying off. In the last five years, the number of minority faculty members has increased by almost 25 percent. Our faculty are also actively mentoring/encouraging promising students to continue to graduate school with an eye toward preparing them for faculty positions in the future.
Concern: I have a couple of faculty members who routinely skip office hours, rarely call students back or return students emails. I am constantly fielding phone calls from irritated students trying to get in contact with them. I also believe one faculty member, who is teaching a hybrid course and is supposed to be meeting the class half the time face to face is not doing so. I believe this is not fair to the students.
Response: As a staff member, you should bring this issue to the attention of your department chair/dean.
Concern: The Financial Aid office needs to improve its response time to faculty and students. Is there a reason there is not a dedicated person in the office for faculty to communicate with? The wait times are long and it affects our ability to service students.
Response: We will work with our staff on how to respond to faculty within one business day with the full understanding that privacy laws restrict the type of information we can give them if it concerns a particular student’s aid. Also, with the proposed one-stop shop we hope this will eliminate many of the long lines and delays that faculty may experience.
Concern: The student government (ASI) is severely disconnected from students. They seem to only care about athletic programs and promoting the "Go Dogs" lifestyle, which is not one that seems to be of the academic side. And we never have any clue who our senators are; they never come to our classes, or are unseen around our colleges etc. I suggest Fresno State do something to train those students so they are more serving.
Response: Associated Students, Inc. provides the official voice through by which student opinions are expressed through the shared governance of the University. ASI assists is the protection of the rights and interests of the student body.
ASI strives to provide services to students to help them excel in academics and co-curricular activities. Tara Powers-Mead, ASI coordinator, has provided response to address each concern individually:
- The student government is severely disconnected with students.
ASI strives to be very closely connected with the student body and represent their voice to the University and beyond. Our team of 15 senators and four executives was elected by 2,620 students in the spring of 2014 to represent them. Since they took office June 2014, these senators and executives have participated in 754 individual meetings with students, faculty or administrators. Though some are more active than others, this translates to almost weekly meetings with or on behalf of students - quite the accomplishment when all senators are strictly serving on a volunteer basis.
As an organization, communication with students is a priority. ASI is actively engaged with students on social media sites such as Twitter (1,619 followers) and Facebook (1,584 likers). In the last academic year, ASI has sent out 43 press releases, 24 Bulldog Blog e-mail blasts, and hosted 47 broadcasted radio shows on KFSR.
ASI continues to explore new ways to connect with our diverse student population and welcomes feedback on how that might be done more effectively.
- They seem to only care about athletic programs and promoting the “Go Dogs” lifestyle, which is not one that seems to be of the academic side.
ASI fully supports the “Go Dogs” lifestyle and we challenge the idea this only relates to Athletics. ASI tries to promote pride in our University and all areas of campus life.
ASI supports co-curricular involvement through providing financial resources for clubs and campus organizations. With nearly 200 active bank accounts, ASI has processed 430 transactions worth $117,328 (as of March 2015). ASI has over-awarded sponsored activity grants at $93,000 for on-campus club events.
ASI supports academic accomplishments and high-impact learning experiences. This year, ASI awarded $2,650 in scholarships and has added an additional $10,000 to current scholarship funds. ASI provided $12,458 to research grants and administered the application process for both Instructionally Related Activities (284 applications) and Undergraduate Research Grants - both in partnership with Academic Affairs.
ASI has been approached by athletic coaches to become more involved in athletics due to a perceived decline in collaboration. Enhanced partnerships with athletics should be considered as a possibility in future endeavors.
ASI continues to explore new ways to promote the “Go Dogs” lifestyle and welcomes feedback on how that might be done more effectively.
- And we never have any clue who our senators are; they never come to our classes, or are unseen around colleges etc.
ASI concurs that continued efforts to educate the campus community about ASI and our representatives are critical. However, ASI has made great strides this year by developing the following mass marketing and outreach campaigns:
- Presentations about ASI were made by the ASI president during “Involvement Ambassador” presentations – including every Dog Days.
- Senator Highlights: Social media posts on representatives during the fall 2014 semester.
- NEW - “Who’s Your Representative?” poster campaign launched fall 2014 highlighting each representative and their yearly goal. Posters were strategically distributed to campus locations based on each representative’s focus area.
- NEW - “My Favorite Thing about ASI” poster campaign launched spring 2015 highlighted each representative and their tweets about being in ASI. Posters were primarily posted in classrooms.
- NEW - Campus Mailings: ASI sent via campus mail each college and major departments a roster of representatives and information regarding IRA, rGrant, banking, elections, programming, and service opportunities.
- NEW - ASI created and widely distributed throughout campus a SWOT Analysis, Annual Priorities and Semester Accomplishments (including demographic breakdowns of the organization).
- NEW - ASI Newspaper Kiosks: Six outdoor locations with continued representative advertisement.
- Elected representatives include four executives (President, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Finance, VP of External Affairs) seven senators at-large (Parking & Safety; Athletics and Recreation; Academic Affairs; Greek Affairs; Clubs and Organizations; Student Affairs; and Resident Affairs) and eight representing each of the colleges/schools.
Of the 19 elected representatives in ASI, nearly half (nine) were nominated for outstanding University awards in leadership capacities by their peers or staff/faculty members. These accolades are testament to their hard work and dedication to our campus community.
ASI continues to explore new ways to have a stronger presence on campus and welcomes feedback on how that might be done more effectively.
- I suggest Fresno State do something to train those students so they are more serving.
ASI employs professional staff members who develop outcomes-based curriculum and trainings for all elected student representatives. A large emphasis is placed on servant leadership.
As a result of emphasis of ASI’s commitment to service, six of our elected representatives received the U.S. President’s Service award: five bronze level awards (125+ hours) and one received the gold level award (250+ hours).
Additionally, ASI manages the Community Revitalization Program. This program works to create real change through service. This year, 349 students served 1,647 hours to this particular program. Community revitalization has continued to gain strength and in spring 2015 ASI received a national “Gold” level award NASPA: Civic Learning, Democratic Engagement, Service Learning and related Excellence Award.
The Fresno City Council declared April 30, 2015 to be “Associated Students, Inc. at Fresno State” Day for recognition of the service efforts led by ASI in the community.
ASI continues to explore new ways to serve our student population and welcomes feedback on how that might be done more effectively.
Concern: I have noticed that many campus Web pages have portrait photos, but do not have the names of the administrators on them, e.g., the Vice Provost's page. It might be a good idea for every office and department to take a look at their Web pages and make sure these folks are identified.
Response: This is an excellent suggestion. We will ask those who administer Web pages to add identifications on the photos.
Concern: Web design and marketing principles, web accessibility and usability. Start with fixing broken links, removing barriers to information and reformatting the long list of feedback responses that span 20 scrolls of the mouse wheel.
Response: Over the past few years, we have adopted a campus-wide branding style that is clean and uncluttered and based on Web usability best practices. With the recent Web upgrades, University Communications has expanded support to incorporate more exciting Web graphics and media formats to continually upgrade our Web presence. We do campus-wide accessibility testing as required by the Chancellor's Office and have excellent accessibility compliance. As a part of our annual accessibility testing, we do link checking and repair or remove broken links.
Concern: I have had many encounters regarding poor phone etiquette by some of the offices located here on campus. I have had this experience when I call as a student as well as a student staff member.
Response: Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. I'm sorry to hear that you are disappointed with the customer service you have received here on campus. Your concern has been shared with the entire Cabinet and we sincerely hope that your next customer service experience is nothing short of excellent. However, if you encounter less than stellar customer service, it would be helpful to make a note of who you talked to (name, department, time, etc.) to ensure that we are able to follow-up and provide appropriate direction or training opportunities.
Concern: Give major donors a private parking code that doesn't expire. Parking is such an issue, it sometimes impedes donor relations.
Response: We agree that parking convenience for our donors is important. Departments have the option to purchase an annual sponsored parking permit for their major donors and advisory board members at a reduced rate. Semester (not daily) coupon codes are also available that departments can provide to their guests. We plan to make changes to simplify this process for academic year 2015-16.
Concern: Build more solar panel covered parking, perhaps on outskirts of campus but provide free periodic shuttle service to strategic spots on campus during the busiest times
Response: The cost of adding additional solar structures on surface parking is cost prohibitive at this time. The prior project cost approximately $27 million and the ROI is approximately 20-25 years paid back through energy savings. However, we are in the process of exploring more cost effective solar options. We have explored remote parking and shuttle services and will continue to evaluate operational support especially in light of getting campus access to and from Campus Pointe.
Concern: Have we thought about using synthetic grass in place of sod in order to help conserve more water? This would allow us to cap certain sprinklers permanently.
Response: Yes, we have explored synthetic grass along with many other water reducing strategies to further our efforts to conserve water. We are exploring this solution for certain large grass areas that would provide the ability to utilize the grass area for various programmatic needs. Synthetic grass is costly so we are being strategic about evaluating areas that would be the most beneficial and impactful.
Concern: It shouldn't take 30+ days to get reimbursed for travel expenses. Attending a conference out of town shouldn't cause a financial hardship. If it takes over 30 days to get reimbursed for travel the University should really consider bringing back travel advances. [Also]: I don’t work in the Accounting Office but I know the Travel Processing Office is completely overwhelmed. It is not fair to the staff of that office to have to handle the number of travel claims that it is asked to process. I hope the University will allocate the additional resources necessary to reduce the stress on the staff in that office and allow travel claims to be processed in a more timely fashion.
Response: You are absolutely right. We regret this inconvenience and we are taking immediate steps to remedy the situation. We are working diligently to catch up and we are in the process of filling positions in accounts payable which will help alleviate the delays, the strain on the department and the impact on the campus community. We are also working on a new travel and expense program that will be launched during the fall 2015 semester. The new system will streamline and simplify our campus travel and expense process. Thanks for feedback and stay tuned for more information on the launch of the new system.
Concern: It is difficult to see pedestrians in the crosswalks near the traffic circles on Chestnut. It would be helpful if sensor-activated flashing signs and crosswalk lights were installed.
Response: We have engaged with an engineering firm to analyze and assess traffic flow and pedestrian crossing. We are reviewing their recommendations, which include installing flashing beacon signage as well as realignment of crosswalks and reduced traffic speed.
Concern: The road that runs north and south in front of the Peters Business Building desperately needs the return of speed bumps before someone gets injured or killed.
Response: We are in the process of adding signage and lane striping in this area. Speed bumps were removed to prevent trip hazards for persons with disabilities. However, we will continue to evaluate other design solutions to help reduce speed in that area.
Concern: Barstow isn't safe at dusk (sun glare) for pedestrians as well early morning (sun glare). Better traffic assistance for pedestrians has been suggested previously. I know it has been suggested on building catwalks over Barstow. I have been told it isn't safe for underground, which I get and assume the cost would be great. An overhead catwalk could be constructed and well lighted at night (with solar). I was told it was stated admin is afraid of signs being hung or worst jumpers. You can rent space for ads for outside vendors, or no fee for campus clubs or organizations. Fine those who are caught as littering (up to $1K fine).
Response: We are continuing to evaluate needs for traffic control along Barstow Avenue to ensure safety of our campus community. The Campus Master Plan (long term) calls for reduction/elimination of parking lot P20, with parking provided south of Barstow Avenue instead. That will mean fewer pedestrians crossing Barstow.
Concern: Could an exit be added to P1 on Matoian Way? Parents are waiting in the driveways of the parking lot and at the curb on Matoian Way to pick up University High students. They block half the lane on the high school side of the street all the way to the Smittcamp House.
Response: We are designing a reconfiguration of P1 which will provide additional waiting area in front of University High School.
Concern: I applaud the installation of the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus but I was disappointed to find out that to use the charging stations you have to download an App to your cell phone from the company that installed the charging stations. I found out that the App only works with Apple Phones or Android phones. I understand Apps for other cell phones are being developed. I would like to suggest that until the Apps are available that the charging stations be made available free of charge. Also, the charge rate for the Level 2 stations is over four times more expensive than the Level 3 stations for the same amount of electricity usage.
Response: We are also excited about the new Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and impressed with how frequently they are being used. We are in the process of evaluating the mobile app payment and pricing structure.
Posted on May 8, 2015
Concern: When can the Fresno State student body, faculty and staff expect the University to establish a Dream Resource Center like UCLA, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Long Beach to serve undocumented students?
Response:We are in the process of considering a Dream Center; finding funds and space to complete in very near future.
Concern: The website on ride share states two in a car when parking. Would it be possible to update the website description to reflect what I think is the true meaning of ride sharing -- not parking sharing? I drop my ride off near their office and continue to my area (across campus) where I park in the share designated area. To people who don't know this, it probably looks like I'm not following the rules.
Response:Great suggestion and thanks for taking advantage of the ride share program. We will adjust the text on the website to be more specific.
Concern: Students who are working (and not attending school) on campus during the summer should be allowed to purchase a summer parking permit that allows them to park in the staff (yellow) area.
Response:Thanks for this suggestion. We have evaluated student access to yellow parking lots in the past and determined this was not feasible due to a limited number of spots available for faculty and staff.
Concern: The first President’s Showcase of Excellence is a very good start but the low quality of some of the self-entertaining “excellence” will have negative impacts on Fresno State and President Castro. Possible improvements include: Impose a maximum number of posters from each unit so each unit will need to select the best of its work to show to the community. Group the posters from each unit together so audience can easily identify the area they are interested in.
Response:Thank you for participating in the President’s Showcase of Excellence. We are capturing feedback from the exhibitors and attendees from across the campus and look forward to the feedback and guidance to build upon the success for next year.
Concern: Campus visitors during Vintage Days should park at the SMC and either parking can be free there or charge $3-5. It’s not fair to faculty/staff who pay for parking and have to leave campus for appointments or business meetings only to return and not find parking during Vintage Days.
Response:We apologize for the inconvenience. Vintage Days is an annual event that is funded and planned by our students and it is an opportunity for our campus and community to come together to enjoy food and entertainment and to welcome our community to our campus. We do our best to create a welcoming environment for visitors while still accommodating the parking needs of our students, faculty and staff. We will pass along this concern to the Vintage Days Committee. As mentioned, there is always available parking in the Save Mart Center North Lot.
Concern: We need reliable access to email 24/7. Technical Services help desk needs to have people working during their working hours listed on its web page. Technical Services also needs to be the first one to notice that the email system is not working and inform users the problem instead of waiting for users to find out.
Response:We are aware of the challenges with our email service and our Technology Services team is diligent in trying to ensure stability and consistent technical support services. Technology Services does have a system in place that alerts them when problems arise and we endeavor to notify the campus community timely of any anticipated and unexpected issues and outages. Occasionally interruptions in service occur to a limited number of users and once reported to the Help Desk, it allows the staff the ability to troubleshoot more specifically. Thank you for your patience as we work to evaluate alternative email systems that may be more viable for our campus in the future.
Concern: The rest rooms in most buildings on campus except for the fourth floor in the library become very become very unsafe and disgusting to use by mid-day. The restrooms in the Science 1 building, especially the first floor, look as if they have never been thoroughly cleaned, and paper towel dispensers don’t work. Numerous calls have been placed by staff members to Plant Operations with no change.
Response:Our custodial crew works diligently to clean and maintain all campus facilities. We are working to increase custodial services and add a mid-day cleaning for high traffic restrooms. We will review the condition of the restrooms in Science I and make sure the towel dispensers are fixed. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.
Posted on: 4/20/15
Concern: Longer library hours that are student-friendly.
Updated Response: Beginning Monday, April 27, the Henry Madden Library will be open until midnight every day until the last day of finals. This is an additional 19 hours per week that the library will be open to provide students a place to study and research opportunities. From April 27 through May 13, library hours will be: Monday-Friday - 7:45 a.m. to midnight; Saturday - 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday - 2 p.m. to midnight.
Concern: I work in the Education building and would love to have a filtered water station.
Updated Response: A filtered water station has recently been added for the Library second floor and the Kremen Building is next. The units cost approximately $5,000. We are assessing their use as we consider expanding these across campus.
Concern: We need a CARE team where supervisors and managers can confidentially contact the team if a staff member appears to be having difficulties
Response: The campus established a CARE team in 2007 and also has a counselor available through our Employee Assistance Program.
Concern: There is trash everywhere on campus.
Response: Our grounds crew works diligently to maintain our landscaped areas and to keep our campus clean. However, there are certain high traffic areas where trash receptacles may overflow or not be serviced at multiple times during the day. If you see areas that are problematic or may have been inadvertently overlooked, please report them to Plant Operations at 278.2373.
Concern: There is too much morning traffic which is dangerous for pedestrians. Classes should not start at 8 a.m.
Response: Traffic control is provided for key intersections along Barstow Avenue prior to 8 a.m. to help students, faculty and staff to park and get to their classroom or office by 8 a.m. Any changes to start of class times would need additional review and consideration.
Concern: Many of the individuals who have rideshare permits do not ride with others. Some areas have too many parking spaces designated for rideshare.
Response: Traffic Operations is currently evaluating the utilization of rideshare stalls. If they determine that there are too many stalls and that stalls are underutilized, our Parking Department will determine if those stalls can be converted to metered or 30-minute stalls, depending upon the need within that particular parking lot.
Concern: Change the name of North Gym. It is not very appealing to receive an invitation to a lecture in a gym.
Response: Good suggestion! We will consult with our Campus Planning Committee to identify a more appropriate name for NG 118.
Concern: Reserve lowering of the flag for US Presidential orders as outlined in U.S. Code Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 175, Subsection M.
Response: According to report conducted by the Congressional Research Service dated February 7, 2011 posted on www.senate.gov the Codes provision is a guide. Fresno State follows the guidelines outlined in the Use of University Buildings and Grounds Policy, section 29.0, which is consistent with guidelines set forth by the California State University system.
Concern: When students are disenrolled due to non-payment of fees often related to financial aid, they should not be disabled in Blackboard so they don’t fall behind in class while the matter gets resolved.
Response:If a student is disenrolled due to non-payment of fees, they can request that their instructor add them back in Blackboard temporarily until their accounting issue is resolved.
Comment: Does President Castro read these messages personally?
Response: Yes! I personally read and give consideration to all of the feedback received. I also read all of the responses prepared by various staff and faculty across the campus.
Comment: The requirements for Dean's List and President's List do not recognize the exemplary academic achievement of students enrolled in fewer than 12 units in a term due to a variety of factors, such as being a parent, caring for family members, working to support their education. We might re-think the reason behind denying them this recognition on their university transcript.
Response: The Dean’s List and the President’s List are among the top academic recognition programs on campus. Although we recognize that there may be students achieving exemplary academic achievement who are not enrolled full time, it would be very difficult to account for all of the life circumstances that would warrant consideration. There are other awards and recognition programs that do seek to do that (Leadership Recognition Awards, various scholarships, etc.). In an effort to maintain the integrity of the very prestigious Dean’s List and President’s List, it is important to focus those awards on those who are also maximizing progress to their degree.
Comment: Where do students go if they have questions or want to learn more about what Fresno State is doing in diversity and inclusion? One of my professors said the president’s diversity committee is just a “part-time hobby” to make it look like the university cares about diversity and inclusion and that committee members have other full-time duties on campus that are more important. How can I as a student feel like I count if inclusion is just a hobby to the university? I don’t think the university understands how hard it can be for a student that is looked at as “different.”
Response: While it is accurate the members of the President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity serve in addition to their primary duties on campus, I assure you, this is a group of dedicated individuals committed to inclusion, respect and equity on our campus. And some permanent members of the commission have full-time jobs related to diversity e.g. the director of Services for Students with Disabilities and the director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. Also, most, if not all of the members that are not permanent on the commission, asked to serve on the commission. Additionally, there is specific staff assigned to coordinate the work of the commission as a part of their daily responsibilities. I encourage you to take a look at ASPIRE the commission's diversity strategic plan This is an action plan that is reviewed regularly to ensure that we are meeting the goals and objectives to continuously work on improving our campus' climate, cultural competency and diversity. The commission's webpage also highlights some of the events and actions coordinated by the commission over the years. Clearly, there is great work being done on our campus to advance inclusion, respect and equity. At the same time, we acknowledge that this is a journey and not a destination. Courageous comments like yours help us to stay on the right road.
Comment: What is the real name of the university? As far as I can tell, the faculty and many alumni are proud of “CSU, Fresno” and in some ways are somewhat dismissive of the cartoonish Fresno State logo and paw as well as the rather blatant attempt by the administration to distance itself from its CSU affiliation. Is CSU Fresno an academic institution that also supports athletics or is Fresno State an athletic organization that also supports academics?
Response: We are proud to be part of the California State University system. Our official name is California State University, Fresno. Fresno State is the only approved variation of our name. No other variations or contractions are approved. Many years ago President Welty committed to using California State University, Fresno as much as possible but Fresno State was also allowed but primarily used more by Athletics than academics. The sunburst logo had both Fresno State and California State University, Fresno. From 2009-2013 we went through a very deliberative and consultative process for campus branding as we sought to develop consistent messaging to help our recruitment, retention, and donor relationships in what today is a very competitive higher education environment. Surveys responses were received from 2,772 faculty, staff, students and community members and 11 one-hour focus groups included 190 participants. Based on the research, in 2013 President Welty and the Integrated Marketing and Communications Council (with University-wide representation) determined that both our formal name and the informal Fresno State were acceptable in all usages. At the same time, the new Fresno State logo with the paw was adopted. The tagline “Discovery. Diversity. Distinction.” was selected from a long list of words and phrases that were frequently mentioned in surveyed and focus groups and embody the essence of the academic experience at Fresno State, as laid out in our Strategic Plan for Excellence. A Branding Standards webpage provides extensive information. Branding guidelines have been modified over time to respond to the interest of academic departments and faculty in using the University Seal in official correspondence and on business cards.
Comment: Improve the staffing and application process for international students in the M.A. program. Requiring hard copies of documents makes the process is very time consuming. Also, notifications are often sent very late from graduate admissions, hence, losing the student to other institutions.
Response: Fresno State is currently planning improvements to our International admissions process by creating an International Transfer Center (ITC). Our goal is to create a center that will provide a service of processing and articulating all international transfer credit prior to student arrival. The ITC will service international students, domestic students with foreign transfer credit and students planning to study abroad. The personnel housed within the ITC will work directly with international applicants/students, the campus community and international partners in identifying the documentation needed for the accurate articulation of foreign transfer credit, and the assessment of the credit for applicability toward degree requirements. With such a service, our hope is to provide a seamless transition to Fresno State for international students, improve overall student success and bolster Fresno State's reputation within the international community.
Comment: Need a better relationship between the campus and athletics. Athletics seems to neglect the campus and it feels like we are two different organizations. Many students feel disconnected from athletics and that's why attendance in student sections is down.
Response: We are always striving to have a more cohesive relationship with the campus and looking for ways to communicate and enhance that feeling. This past season we honored every school/college during the basketball season and encouraged those students and faculty to attend the events. In addition, the Athletics Department held a contest and gave away four $10,000 stipends to students who attended a basketball game. We will continue to work to improve relations and communications in all areas as we move forward. Having increased Fresno State student attendance at our athletic events always significantly improves the atmosphere and experience at the events.
Comment: Host one men's basketball game a year at Selland Arena, which holds good memories. I think attendance would be great and the game would serve as a showcase for the team, which would hopefully translate to more support at the Save Mart Center.
Response: Several years ago we did host a game in Selland Arena and honored Coach Grant that evening. That facility has a rich history and chapter in the Fresno State basketball story. We will always look at ways to engage our fans. Director of Athletics Jim Bartko will chat with Coach Terry and discuss this idea.
Posted on: 3/30/15
Comment: Provide workshops and training to deans about leadership and understanding employee needs.
Response: Your suggestion is appreciated. The Provost has identified leadership development as a high priority and she is actively involved in moving forward on an initiative in this area.
Comment: I wish Athletics had one centrally located phone number that someone answered. So many times Athletic offices are on forward to other offices and even then it usually goes directly to a voice mail. It can be very frustrating trying to get information for anything Athletic related.
Response: The Athletics main phone number is 278.2643 and is usually answered by one individual. If that person is out of the office the call goes to voice mail to allow callers to leave a message. We are looking into options for the phone line to allow callers to select the area they are trying to reach or leave a voice message. Until then, we will forward the main phone number to another staff member who can answer calls when the primary contact is out.
Comment: Athletics Division phone numbers in the directory for men’s and women’s basketball are incorrect.
Response: The women’s basketball phone number is 278.2749 and the men’s basketball phone number is 278.2748. We will work with University Communications to update the University directory. An up-to-date Athletics staff directory can be found at www.gobulldogs.com.
Comment: Fresno State needs to better serve their international students. They are not receiving the advising and support they deserve from the International Student Services and Programs (ISSP).
Response: The complexity of serving international students is a highly nuanced endeavor, which takes a commitment from the entire campus. This has been and will continue to be a priority at Fresno State.
The senior administration at Fresno State is currently evaluating how academic advising services are delivered on campus. One of the goals is to establish an academic advising structure that will serve all Fresno State students in a manner that enhances the success of all Fresno State students, be they international or domestic. What will emerge from these discussions is system that will improve advising and registration efforts.
In regards to enhancing services delivered to international students, we have recently authorized the posting of an Assistant Director position in the International Student Services and Programs office.
Our international students perform very well in the classroom. The average cumulative GPA of Fresno State international students is slightly higher than the average cumulative GPA for all Fresno State students. In addition, our six-graduation rate for international students who entered in the fall of 2008 was 73.7%. Our goal is to increase the six-year graduation rate of international undergraduates to 85% over the next 10 years.
Posted on: 3/11/15
Concern: Admissions office needs to be open and staffed 8-5.
Updated Response: All units of the Admissions and Records Office are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Posted on: 3/9/15
Concern: I am concerned about the latest e-mail regarding keeping the offices open at lunch. While I understand the reasoning behind the order, I don't think the Cabinet realizes the unintended reaction staff has had to this order. We are not happy about it for several reasons. One is that it is not practical. By requiring offices to remain open during the lunch hour, staff feels as if we are not allowed to leave our office at all. This is a morale buster for us.
Response: We understand there may be some concerns regarding the recent announcement about keeping offices open during the noon hour. Please know that this directive was never intended to change, modify or alter any current staff work schedules or to make anyone feel that they could not leave the office during their lunch hour. We appreciate and value the support that our staff provide to our students on a daily basis. We also understand that we have many campus offices where there is a limited number of staff and, as such, it is not feasible nor was it expected for that office to be open during the lunch hour. Please know we only recommended signage as an option to communicate where assistance could be provided for those offices that need to remain closed recognizing that many College/School Dean's Office or Division VP Offices may not be located in the same building as their respective departments. Your comments are valuable as we continue to re-evaluate and examine ways on how to best make this work for our entire campus."
Concern: We need to demystify the undergraduate research application process. There is no flowchart or explanation of the steps for applying to do research.
Response: The program is explained online at http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/offices/undergraduate/research.html. Included on the page is an explanation of the program, the application form, a budget template and a timeline template. ASI manages publicity for the program and collects the applications.
Concern: We need to work to create a graduate school-going culture. Research relationships between students (at Fresno State and beyond) and between students and faculty should be encouraged and funded.
Response: We agree there is a need to expand the graduate school-going culture. To that end, we applied for and received a Title V(B) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the Graduate Net Initiative. The mission of Fresno State’s Graduate Net Initiative is to serve the campus and community by expanding access to our postbaccalaureate academic programs and support services, harnessing technology to bolster the ability of all graduate students to succeed academically and professionally. Housed in the Division of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Net Initiative is partnering with the University’s graduate faculty and community members to capitalize on the latest technological advances and best practices, including an expanded offering of the highest quality online programs and resources that have proven to be effective and realize equity of access and of outcomes with Hispanic and other under-represented students. Made possible by a U.S. Department of Education Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities to Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) grant, the Initiative consists of three interrelated parts. The first is the creation of the Graduate Net, our new digital postbaccalaureate hub. The Graduate Net will serve as a portal to services such as dedicated library support and direct financial assistance for research and publication, online peer writing and statistics consultants, and digital professional development seminars. The second part, meant to support and expand online graduate programs and bolster faculty-student relationships, is the delivery of cutting-edge faculty training on digital postbaccalaureate pedagogy and mentorship. The third key enhancement is a campus-wide expansion of mentorship and internship programs now housed in individual programs, strengthening links to our community and helping better prepare our students to be leaders in their chosen fields. For more information, please contact Project Manager, Dr. Tere Lopez in the Department of History.
Concern: Equity between State and Auxiliary employees.
Response: Auxiliary organizations are required to be self-supporting and given the various types of programs and operations handled by auxiliaries organizations, many auxiliary staff positions are not the same or comparable to state positions. However, when appropriate, comparability studies are conducted on positions to ensure equity and fairness within the auxiliary organization and in comparison to other CSU auxiliary organizations that have similar positions. Auxiliary Human Resources is very responsive to any requests for review of position comparability. The CSU’s fee waiver program does not extend to auxiliary employees; however, each of our auxiliary organizations has an Educational Policy for support of educational goals for our employees.
Concern: Remove the wheels off area.
Response: The Free Speech Area has always been a densely populated area. The campus is constantly challenged with how to keep foot traffic moving in that area, and ensure that persons with disabilities have the appropriate access. The campus buildings and grounds policy restricts the use of skateboards, in-line skates, bicycles, motorized vehicles and scooters in the Free Speech Area building breezeways and structures. These restrictions are in place primarily for the safety of our campus community. The newly installed signage designating the wheels off area is a new communications approach.
Concern: Traffic is too fast on Keats, where there are a lot of pedestrians.
Response: A work order has been submitted with Plant Operations to repaint all of the crosswalks on Keats between Maple and Barton.
Concern: University Dining Services’ vehicles block the sidewalk for pedestrians behind the University Center.
Response: Parking and University Food Service have worked together to resolve this issue, and will ensure that vehicles are parked in the loading dock and not blocking any sidewalks or path of travel for pedestrians.
Posted on: 3/3/15
Concern: Need to improve procedures in order to expedite financial aid awards as students graduate and move into graduate programs.
Response: Processing necessary paperwork for students who finish coursework in December and then move into graduate programs the following January is challenging. Grades are not turned in by faculty until after Christmas and every person who files a December graduation application must have their last semester carefully reviewed to make sure they did fulfill requirements. We continue to look for solutions to improve this process.
Concern: Open Bulldog Stadium for the purpose of exercise, in a limited capacity, to the university community and public on certain days when it is otherwise unused.
Response: This sounds like a great idea and is consistent with our commitment to wellness but unfortunately, use of Bulldog stadium by the university community is not practical at this time. The availability of Bulldog Stadium fluctuates throughout the year due to practice, games, game preparation and camps for Football, Soccer and Lacrosse. Additionally, there are risk, liability and accessibility issues that prevent us from opening up this venue to the campus and the community.
Concern: Campus catering is overpriced and requests for off-campus food waivers are usually denied.
Response: We continue to see improved quality in our catering services and take great pride in ensuring customer satisfaction. If there are specific catering event concerns please contact Megan Sarantos (email@example.com or 278.4345). We welcome feedback.
We do grant waivers for donated items or unique menu items not supplied by university catering. In 2013-14, 228 waivers were granted and in the first six months of 2014-15, 121 waivers have been granted. Catering services is part of the Association, an Auxiliary organization. All of the sales and revenues generated help support our campus community.
Concern: I work in the Education building and would love to have a filtered water station.
Response: This is a great suggestion and one that we are in the process of making a reality. A filtered water station has been ordered for the Library 2nd floor and we are working to identify an appropriate and accessible location in the Kremen Building. The units cost approximately $5,000. We are assessing their use as we consider expanding these across campus.
Concern: Entrance to P1 should be reviewed as it gets backed up when people are getting permits from the dispensers. And trim the landscaping at the entrance so that you can see the parking spaces north of the dispensers and pedestrians walking through the area.
Response: This is currently in design as a part of the reconstruction project planned for next academic year. The dispensers will be moved which will allow vehicles to queue separately from the drive thru lane. The grounds staff will create a clear line of site by removing and trimming the landscaping. This work is expected to be complete in the next few weeks.
Concern: Phones are not working.
Response: The software that supports our phone instruments was recently upgraded. During the upgrade there were additional disruptions which were resolved in a timely manner. Please contact the Help Desk at 278.5000 or submit a work order at https://help.fresnostate.edu/forms/general-request.php if there any further issues.
Concern: Make parking available for students with small children who attend the Huggins Center so that they don't have to walk through the parking lot.
Response: There are nineteen 30-minute stalls in the driveway on the east side of the Education building. This is the most concentrated area of timed zones on campus to accommodate parents dropping off their children at the childcare centers. We will continue to assess usage and traffic patterns.
Concern: Provide more information on our website on the nature of Intersession classes, especially online courses, so that students get a better idea of what to expect before they pay and enroll in the class.
Response: Providing guidance to students about the nature of condensed semesters is an excellent idea. CGE will work with former Intersession instructors to craft a description of the condensed nature of intersession instruction.
Posted on: 12/19/14
Concern: Incorporate healthy, farm fresh options in campus dining facilities.
Response: University Dining Services makes every effort to provide our campus community with diverse retail dining options. We regularly look for ways to collaborate with the Gibson Farm Market, the Food Science and Nutrition Department, and solicit campus feedback to enhance our dining operation as well as opportunities for increasing the availability and variety of healthy food options.
On many occasions we do serve produce and products from the farm at the Dining Hall but due to seasonality and quantity available, it is not always possible to offer on a daily basis. However, the salad bar at the Dining Hall is one of the largest, freshest salad bars with healthy options such as tofu, cottage cheese, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit. The Dining Hall also offers a balanced menu items of protein, vegetables, and carbs depending upon an individual's dietary preference.
In addition, residents with their flex dollars can eat at other campus dining locations like Subway and The Bucket where healthy menu items are available. Dining Services also sells healthy, non-perishable items from our Gibson Farm Market at the Paws-N-Go Market located on the east side of the North Gym.
University Dining Services is also revamping its resident meal plan options for the 2015-16 school year that will provide an option for unlimited meals as well as options with more flex dollars to use at other campus retail dining establishments. Also there is regular feedback solicited from residents and students through the Residents Hall Association and Food Service Advisory Committee.
Concern: Students don’t know about the Campus Pointe project. Is tuition being used for its construction?
Response: The Campus Pointe project, a public/private mixed use development was approved by CSU Trustees as a concept in May 2002 and as a project in November 2005. There are no student fees or state general funds being used on this project. This project is 100 percent funded by private developers who have a ground lease with one of the University's auxiliary organizations.
The ground rent received is helping to support repayment of the bonds on the Save Mart Center as well as financial support to the Jordan College for the loss of the ag land. The developer is responsible for all on-site and off-site improvements including the required utility (underground infrastructure).
During the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) many campus forums and meetings were held including specific meetings with student leaders to confirm that the land uses being proposed would meet the needs of our students.
Palmilla (multifamily) was the first housing project completed in July 2009 and Palazzo (student) was completed in July 2010. Since that time and with the economic impacts in 2008-10, the retail portion of the project slowed down but we are pleased that the first phase of retail including the 19-screen theatre will be completed by January 2015.
We are in the process of working with the master developer to create a website site that will have a link from the Fresno State website. We are fortunate to have such a project on campus that will improve the campus experience for our students by providing the ability to walk or bicycle to a variety of new amenities and services currently unavailable on or near campus. The quality of life for students living on and around campus will be improved by the addition of new housing, entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities.
Concern: Employee texting while driving a Fresno State pickup.
Response: Safety is a priority for Fresno State. Employees driving state-owned vehicles are required to participate in driver’s training and are regularly reminded of their duty to adhere to driving laws and principles. University Police works closely with local law enforcement to monitor drivers in and around the campus. In spite of these efforts, we cannot monitor every single driver. For this reason, we appreciate the community’s assistance and feedback in ensuring that our employees are acting responsibly in this area. We have reminded all of our managers to reinforce this message with their teams.
Concern: Psychology and Human Services building issues: hot water was tuned off during the summer and still off, classrooms not cleaned, rooms too cold or too hot, Internet connection and phone not functioning in one classroom.
Response: We recognize that we have a number of issues on campus that need to be addressed related to the replacement of or repair of existing building systems. Many of our campus buildings are over 50 years old. Fresno State has $148 million in deferred maintenance backlog. Facilities Management receives an annual allocation of $500,000 to address these issues. Our economic realities are such that we must prioritize the needs of the entire campus and focus first on items that impact safety, security and issues of ADA compliance.
CSU campuses across the state are actively engaged in conversations with the Chancellor’s Office to develop alternative means to fund a system-wide deferred maintenance backlog in excess of $1 billion. Fresno State recently secured a commitment from the Chancellor’s Office for $31.3 million to support phase I of our electrical infrastructure repair work. This funding will begin to address the infrastructure challenges.
Concern: Student parking should be allowed in Yellow spaces after 5 p.m. if there are vacant spaces.
Response: We will review the parking data with Omni Means, our traffic engineer and explore this issue with the campus community to determine if this is doable.
Concern: Noise levels from fraternities and inability to reach campus official to talk to.
Response: We have addressed this issue with our students and asked they be more responsible community members taking into consideration the rights of others. Eddie Dominguez or Melissa Ginotti can help you in the future at 559.278.5987 during normal business hours or you can call Fresno State Police Department at 559.278.8400 after 5 p.m. or on weekends.
Concern: Admissions office complaint regarding service, staff response, portal.
Response: We are very sorry you feel you have received poor service from our staff. It is our intention in Student Affairs to always provide superior customer service. If you would like to let the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs know the name of the individual who was rude we will follow up. We also will look into the issues with posting to student portal.
Concern: Let affiliated club sports use the aquatics facilities at little to no cost.
Response: We are looking into sharing the facility with club sports, passing on only the real costs of facility usage. More information will be forthcoming.
Concern: Student Affairs staffers concern that they don’t count.
Response: We’re sorry to hear that anyone in the Division of Student Affairs would feel this way. Vice President Frank Lamas would be happy to meet with individuals one-on-one to discuss concerns. We agree student learning is a very important facet of what we do, as is great customer service.
Comment: Spring Break should not be scheduled in conjunction with the Easter holiday occurring April 1 or later. The performance of our students, faculty and staff are negatively impacted when we wait this long for a break.
Response: Previous campus discussions have led to scheduling Spring Break the week of Good Friday which is determined by the lunar calendar. This does occasionally result in a late date in the semester break. However, the campus expressed a preference for Spring Break to coincide with K-12 school schedules. Child care and family issues were instrumental in this decision. Other scheduling constraints (number of instructional days, number of work days, number of days for an intersession program, holding Commencement the week before Memorial Day weekend) preclude an earlier start date for the spring term.
Comment: There should be a Commencement ceremony for December graduates.
Response: All students completing their degrees in the previous summer or fall are invited and encouraged to attend Commencement in May. This is the practice at most universities including other CSU campuses. Last year, Fresno State awarded 4,265 degrees at commencement, of which 1,322 were earned in fall.
Comment: Work with Valley agricultural leaders, students and faculty in partnerships to research better practices to improve soil, air and water quality. Promote organic, pesticide-free produce and dairy products.
Response: Last year, President Castro appointed a Presidential Commission on the Future of Agriculture. That commission addressed some of the same issues you raise and the campus is moving forward to implement many of their recommendations. You can find a copy of the report online at http://www.fresnostate.edu/president/documents/Ag-Commission-Prelim-Report-digital.pdf.
Comment: A more serious and restrictive General Education Program is needed. Also, too many Fresno State graduates exhibit poor writing skills, as many majors have very little writing assignments.
Response: The components of the Fresno State General Education program are mandated by the CSU. The CSU requires that students complete a minimum of 12 semester units “dealing with human social, political, and economic institutions and behavior and their historical background.” The faculty at Fresno State have designed a program that includes 3 units of American History, 3 units of Political Science, 3 units of a lower division social science and an additional 3 units of upper division social science coursework.
Additionally, students are required to take an upper division multicultural/international course that enables them to “explain and interpret aspects of race, gender, culture, class, ethnicity or the relations among nations in a multicultural world, and identify systems of oppression, inequality, or discrimination within and among groups, cultures, subcultures or nations.”
Relative to writing, the campus continues to emphasize writing. All lower division GE courses require 1,000 words of writing and upper division courses require 2,000 words. All students must complete an upper division writing requirement – usually a course. The campus is actively promoting a “writing across the curriculum” approach to get students writing more in their disciplines. Discussions are underway to require all students to complete a culminating experience in their discipline that would likely require additional writing.
Comment: Lack of diversity in Art Department faculty.
Response: Our campus leadership is committed to attracting and recruiting highly qualified underrepresented candidates, including women. Our current processes are outreach-focused and we expect to continue making progress in attracting faculty who are prepared to meet the needs of our diverse student body.
Comment: Extend the summer hours at the Henry Madden Library and include weekend hours.
Response: There is a significant staff cost to keeping the Henry Madden Library open. We concentrate our hours during fall and spring semesters to provide benefits to faculty and students when the most people are on campus. Without an increase in the library budget, we cannot be open more during the summer without reducing hours during the fall and spring. We established our hours based on usage patterns to maximize service to the majority of people on campus. Our summer hours do allow students to come in after class, since the library is open until 5 p.m. and the summer campus workday ends at 3:30 p.m. And all of our electronic resources – including our research databases, over 60,000 journals and over 100,000 ebooks -- are available 24/7 whether the library building is open or not. If you need to check out materials and are unable to come to the library during our open hours in the summer, please contact Associate Dean Dave Tyckosen at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will try to make other arrangements for you.
Comment: Reinstate Friendly Visitors Center so that senior citizens can hire Fresno State students to do in-home care.
Response: The former Friendly Visitor Services Program was taken over by Catholic Charities of Fresno a number of years ago. The program is now referred to as the Senior Companion Program. You may contact Catholic Charities at 559.237.0851 for further information.
Comment: Graduate students enrolled in “0 units” for thesis have to pay full tuition.
Response: The Registrar requires that students must be continuously enrolled while working on their thesis (and using University resources) up to and including the semester they will graduate. The previous option to pay a lower fee and continue to work on thesis was through Division of Continuing and Global Education. However, the Chancellor’s office no longer allows that. At the present time, the only option available to students to maintain continuous enrollment is to register for 299C for 0 units and pay the 0-6 units fee. A possible solution might be to revise the fee structure to accommodate graduate students trying to finish their thesis who must stay enrolled but are taking 0 units. However, that is a CSU system-level decision.
Comment: The Lyles College of Engineering lacks adequate faculty, funding, supplies, recognition to improve rankings and draw more competitive students to the campus.
Response: There is renewed support for the Lyles College of Engineering from the University, Fresno State Foundation, industry and donors. We are building many new partnerships. All of this support is resulting in the addition of new faculty, new scholarships, updated laboratories and professional development of faculty and staff. Thirteen new faculty have been hired in the last three years and searches are underway to add four more faculty in 2015. New funding has also been allocated to update the laboratories. We have reviewed our communication strategies. We will be expanding our communications to include more Web, social media, email and print media to showcase the College's programs, highlights and accomplishments. A professional writer and photographer will be assisting us with print media publications. We are also expanding our community relations and participation in professional organizations. We fully concur that focusing attention on the College will bring up the University's rankings and draw more competitive students to campus.
Our graduates are finding employment in a wide range of companies, large and small, in our region here and also statewide and nationwide. Some of the companies include: General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Chevron, Dell, Cisco, Boeing, Intel, Apple, Synopsys, Honda, Raytheon, Lockheed, Parsons, Granite, URS, McCarthy, Turner Construction, Kiewit, Qualcomm, Skanska, and many more. We are also expanding our outreach to many other companies.
Comment: Graduate student advising concern.
Response: Our faculty typically work closely with graduate students on their projects but it is ultimately up to the student to conduct the work. Each faculty member has a department chair with whom a student can meet if a problem arises. The dean of the Division of Graduate Studies is also available to meet with students and does so regularly.
Comment: Concerns about Mechanical Engineering program regarding faculty, labs, safety.
Response: The Mechanical Engineering program has been ABET-accredited since 1965, which means it must satisfactorily meet stringent standards. The faculty have designed a balanced curriculum of theory and practice-there are seven “wet” labs, five computer labs and three design lab courses. In addition, the two-semester, year-long senior capstone design sequence focuses on a culminating experience involving engineering design and analysis that results in the testing, refinement and demonstration of either a working prototype or a competition-ready system that addresses a “real-world” problem or challenge. A higher percentage of the curriculum is lab-based at Fresno State than at Cal Poly.
The Mechanical Engineering faculty is aware of inconsistency in the delivery of some courses. The department has hired a number of new faculty but the large increase in student numbers has necessitated the use of temporary instructors who may not always provide the quality of instruction expected. Additional new faculty now being hired are expected to ameliorate this.
Safety is a top priority in any laboratory-intensive environment. Mechanical Engineering labs meet current University ESH requirements for safety equipment and MSDS availability. While no injuries have occurred or been reported in Mechanical Engineering labs for many years, a portion of the $175,000 of Mechanical Engineering lab upgrade budget for 2014 is providing safety upgrades to all Mechanical Engineering “wet” labs. Supervision is mandatory during all “wet” lab activities and the college has processes in place to ensure that students 1) never work alone and 2) have a qualified supervisor in the immediate vicinity even during off hours.
Concern: President’s Advisory Board appointments.
Response: President Castro has appointed distinguished alumni and other friends of Fresno State to campus advisory boards. The appointees provide the campus with a wide range of perspectives on issues of importance to the campus.
Concern: Lack of involvement on campus by the President and senior leaders.
Response: President Castro and members of his Cabinet are actively engaged with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. The president speaks at and participates in many campus and community events each day. President Castro also advises graduate students and plans in the near future to teach a seminar.
Posted on 12/13/13
Concern: Encourage faculty-student interactions so that campus feels more like a family.
Response: Setting the tone for the faculty/student community within an academic program is a mutually shared responsibility of the faculty, chair and college/school leadership. There are many good examples across academic departments and programs where students have a regular opportunity to gather with faculty and college leadership to socialize and share challenges and propose solutions.
Concern: Need more research stipends for graduate students; more scholarships for grad students, especially doctoral level; graduate fee waivers to improve research productivity and improve graduation rate.
Response: Overall, the budget picture for CSU campuses has been stabilized following several years of reductions and increases in student’s tuition and fees. That stability, while offering a sense of relief, has not yet generated sufficient new funds that could provide flexibility for new student support. Going forward, fundraising will continue to be the best venue for seeking and securing funds in support of undergraduate and graduate research. Much work remains to be done in this area.
Concern: Provide more opportunities to graduate students to get internships or volunteer to help reach their career goals.
Response: Faculty in academic departments and programs are the primary source of new internship and volunteer opportunities. One department sought support from the dean’s office to hire an individual for two years with the sole intent of developing new field placement sites. That effort has been very successful and provided a number of new opportunities where students can gain valuable experience working in a professional setting.
Concern: Recognize need for additional resources to support research (infrastructure, consistent assigned time for faculty).
Response: The need for additional resources to support research, infrastructure and assigned time) is well documented. The Provost Assigned Time for Research program is a multi-year opportunity that will, in the 2014-15 academic year, provide $1,000,000 in support for faculty research. Faculty members also have been successful in securing grant funding that provides time buy out. Each school and college should have a prioritized plan for enhancing facilities and laboratories should new funding become available. The Office of the Provost continues to work with leadership in the Administrative Division to identify every funding opportunity available and stands ready to move quickly to respond to new resources.
Concern: Negative culture does not respect work-life balance
Response: One of the most difficult challenges to overcome is consistent negativity expressed by our colleagues. Wounds from wrongs that were committed twenty years ago can appear to be fresh at the mention of another office, level or individual. President Castro and division leaders are committed to clear, honest and consistent communication with students, faculty and staff. Everyone is encouraged to forward questions to managers, deans and other campus leaders when questions arise or rumors persist. Trust rises from open communications and transparent transactions. We must work as a community and demand that this occur at every level. Our goal is to be a campus where faculty, staff and administrators see each other as citizens of Fresno State; a citizen being one who is engaged, pitches in, voices concerns and rightfully expects an honest response and one who participates in community activities while looking out for each other. We are committed to supporting employee engagement and work/life initiatives by promoting and advancing wellness programs and professional development across all faculty, staff and administrators. President Castro recently established The President’s Organizational Engagement Work/Life Review Task Force to further discussions regarding the challenge of enhancing the sense of community and perceived sense of campus citizenship among faculty, staff and administrators.
Concern: Budget allocation to Academic Affairs; reallocate resources to support better academic outcomes. Heavy teaching load is detrimental to meaningful research and discourages commitment to teaching engaging classes.
Response: Our budget allocation model allocates most of the funds available within Academic Affairs. We continue to support appropriate assessment of learning that is supported by sound outcome measures. Each office, department, program and school/college can set priorities for the academic year or multiple years. The increasing recovery of the state economy, coupled with renewed enrollment should produce increased allocations to system campuses.
Concern: Tossing aside plagiarism workshops demonstrates lack of support for academic integrity. Originality in ideas, work, research etc., must be expected and taught, not dismissed as irrelevant.
Response: Funding for Plagiarism Workshops was not eliminated. Requirements were placed on the program to develop an assessment process by the spring of 2013. When that requirement was not met, the workshops were suspended until the assessment was developed. That has now been accomplished and funding for workshops will resume in the near future. A group working on enhancing plagiarism education continues to work toward creating an enhanced online program delivered via Blackboard that would make this important information available to all students.
Concern: Not enough time to advise students. Graduate advisers have too many students.
Response: Student advising is an area that will receive more attention and resources this academic year. The entire advising process will be reviewed to determine what best practices exist that can be scaled up for the entire campus. The number of advisees varies across academic departments and programs to include situations where faculty members have no advisees to other areas where faculty has 80 advisees or more. These disparities will be reviewed as well. Please look for opportunities to engage in the review process.
Concern: Faculty are underpaid.
Response: Faculty salaries are bargained through the activities of the California Faculty Association and the CSU System. Funding to the CSU has not been enough to provide relief to many of the salary disparities on our campus and other campuses. We hope that the future will hold more promise for salary increases.
Concern: Lift travel ban for faculty.
Response: There is no ban in place for faculty travel. Department staff has the information faculty need to apply for approval to travel. Overseas travel, especially to areas deemed hazardous, takes additional time and justification. Funding support for faculty travel is provided by the Dean in each school and college.
Concern: Review need for Graduate Studies Division and Sponsored Programs.
Response: Graduate Studies remains a vital and important office that serves the needs of graduate students and faculty. To further enhance the programs and services provided by the office, Graduate Studies returned to its former home in the north wing of the Thomas Administration Building during the week of November 4, 2013.
The services provided by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) are reviewed on a regular basis. New programs that provide outreach to faculty across campus are in place. Faculty can contact their Dean’s Office for information about college and school support for grant development or contact ORSP directly.
Concern: With increased enrollment, we need more people in Advising Services and more professors.
Response: We agree. As budgets improve, more advisers and professors will be hired.
Concern: Number of students seen at Student Health Center is growing. Need to find way to serve students more quickly and efficiently. Need more staff, services, extended hours.
Response: Students can make appointments if they wish to be seen at the Student Heath Center, in addition to walk-in appointments. The wait time for walk-in appointments is between 15-20 minutes (17.34 on average).
Concern: Students should be able to have a one-stop shop for Student Financials and Financial Aid. Each department cannot answer the others’ questions and students are frustrated when they need help.
Response: President Castro will work with Interim Vice President Coon and Student Affairs staff to explore this option in greater depth.
Concern: Financial Aid Advisers with flexible hours to accommodate students in early morning, lunch hour, evenings.
Response: Current student usage does indicate that extended hours are needed in Financial Aid. New options will be explored.
Concern: Add dental services at health center and increase fees to cover.
Response: The topic of dental services has been discussed with our Student Health Advisery Committee. A recently passed student fee was dedicated to other health care priorities. The Health Center is not in a position at this time to provide dental services, but this issue remains a consideration for services to be added in the future.
Concern: Hot water is turned off in some buildings for a portion of the year. PHS Building listed. Buildings in poor condition; poor ventilation, temperature, design, maintenance of some classrooms; bathrooms are generally dirty and many need remodeling; many facilities out of date and haven’t been remodeled.
Response: We recognize that we have a number of issues on campus that need to be addressed related to the replacement, or repair of existing building systems. Many of our campus buildings are over 50 years old. Fresno State has $148 million in deferred maintenance backlog. Facilities Management receives an annual allocation of $500,000 to address these issues. Our economic realities are such that we must prioritize the needs of the entire campus and focus first on items that impact safety, security and issues of ADA compliance. CSU campuses across the state are actively engaged in conversations with the Chancellor’s Office to develop alternative means to fund a system wide deferred maintenance backlog in excess of one billion dollars. We recently secured a commitment from the Chancellor’s Office for $31.3 million to support Phase I of our electrical infrastructure repair work. This funding will begin to address the challenges that resulted in the campus-wide power outage last winter.
Concern: Parking and traffic:
Need more parking.
Do not sell more parking passes when there is not enough student parking. Do not allow yellow parking permits for students.
Repave parking lots (especially G, M, N, O) and have clear lines.
Don’t build a new leveled parking lot system and then raise price of permits. Traffic monitors to improve flow at busy pedestrian intersections.
Improve parking and more bike racks.
Do not close parking lots for football parking.
Students in classes on NW side of campus had to park in SMC lot.
Let staff leave early on game night.
Response: Due to utilization patterns across the day, the university sells more permits than parking spaces because not all students are on campus at the same time. This method follows CSU and higher education best practices.
Yellow permits are no longer sold to students.
Traffic Operations oversees more than 70 acres of campus property dedicated to parking lots, which includes 7,452 total parking stalls, plus 24 additional spaces dedicated to rideshare. Parking fees provide the only funds available to support the construction, repair and maintenance of the campus parking lots. The most recent student parking fee increase funded the reconstruction of parking lots A & J (which added 500 new stalls) and will also fund expanded repair and maintenance projects in existing parking lots.
Police personnel currently manage traffic control at designated intersections along Barstow Avenue several peak times throughout the day. The campus’ traffic engineering firm, Omni Means, has recently been re-engaged to examine how traffic patterns have changed over the last five years across campus and where additional control measures should be in place.
There are approximately 2,133 available parking spaces for bikes. Changes in class schedules, class locations, student housing locations and gas prices make the quantity and locations of bike parking demanded in constant flux. Parking staff actively monitor and manage this inventory. A special team will further assess bike issues on campus this year. After a successful pilot project in the University Courtyard, we are now exploring the installation of bike barns in popular locations. We will break ground soon on the Barstow Avenue Bikeways project with funding from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The project will improve bicyclist access and safety while also serving as a critical connector between the bikeways systems of Fresno and Clovis.
The closing of parking lots for large-scale campus events happens infrequently, and is communicated, through various channels, well in advance.
Managers are notified and encouraged to support employee work schedule changes on game days.
Concern: No succession planning or mentoring; Positions created for selected people, not posted. New positions hired from off campus. No hiring from within younger staff leaving or looking to leave because no promotion opportunities.
Response: The university is dedicated to promoting the success of every individual. We are devoted to supporting faculty and staff in exploring a multiplicity of career paths (Strategic Plan for Excellence IV). We are committed to ensuring fair hiring processes and we are aggressively preparing future leaders. We completed a successful pilot of a staff mentoring program in 2012-13 and have recently launched a second cohort.
Concern: Need healthy food options. Review University Dining exclusivity. Allow alternatives to catering services that are less expensive. Improve food services. Add vending machines with healthy food and that take credit cards. More options in Food Court. Need Faculty dining room. Need permanent food services and Starbucks on east side of campus. Improve Residence Dining hall food.
Response: University Dining Services makes every effort to provide our campus community with diverse retail dining options. Last spring, University Dining Services contracted with Envision Strategies, a national campus dining consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive study of our retail dining operations. Envision Strategies spent considerable time getting feedback from students, faculty and staff through survey instruments and focus groups in order to better understand customer opinions and preferences for campus retail dining options. They are now in the process of finalizing their data analysis and recommendations and presented their findings in November. University Dining Services, along with members of the Food Services Advisery Committee, have been reviewing the preliminary research results and will be developing short-term and long-term plans that address the priority needs. The goal of this effort is to implement enhancements to our current retail dining portfolio that increases the variety of healthy food options and addresses facility constraints within existing operations, as well as addressing areas of the campus that currently have limited or no dining options. The implementation of this multi-year plan will require a collaborative master planning effort as well as a significant financial investment from the California State University, Fresno Association, Inc. which is the auxiliary organization that includes University Dining Services.
Concern: Inspect buildings, elevators to make sure they are meeting disability requirements. Have been instances where disabled have had problems; Make sure faculty is sensitive and responsible in positive manner in working with students with disabilities; Problems with disabilities center; staff do not appear to follow up with the students; Problems for disabled when keycards are not functioning. Police do not have keys to open elevators.
Response: All campus elevators receive an annual inspection as mandated by the State of California. Some older buildings and smaller buildings (VERC, Industrial Technology, McKee Fisk, Social Science, McLane Hall, Joyal Administration, Conley Art, Smittcamp Alumni House, University Center, Kennel Bookstore and USU) only have one elevator. In these buildings, when an elevator outage occurs, the university relocates second floor classes impacting students with known mobility issues (who are registered with Services for Students with Disabilities) and provides temporary accommodations for impacted employees until elevator service can be restored. All campus buildings have at least one ADA accessible entry with a ramp and powered doors. Facilities Planning verifies all new classroom and office furniture layouts for ADA accessibility.
Concern: Examine need and effectiveness of directors, assistant directors, associate directors; assistant and associate VPs. Many could be returned to teaching.
Response: We take great care to manage non-classroom and administrative spending wisely. Fresno State has a leaner top level of administration than most other CSUs. We have a total of 142 MPPs, 7 percent of the total number of faculty/staff. The top administration - 4 vice presidents and 13 associate vice presidents, represent just 1 percent of the total university employment.
Concern: Restore two mail deliveries a day.
Response: Returning to two mail deliveries a day is not practical given our financial constraints.
Concern: Money wasted on hiring outside consultants.
Response: The university is very judicious in our use of consultants to support key campus initiatives and activities.
Concern: Staff morale low; provide staff a raise.
Response: University administration has listened intently to the feedback expressed in this area. We recognize the prolonged period of no compensation increases due to lack of funding in the state of California. We acknowledge the hardship and frustration this has created for our staff and faculty and the toll it has taken on staff morale. The CSU Board of Trustees supports compensation increases as the budget situation improves. Working within the confines of budget and the collective bargaining agreements, we will continue to explore opportunities to build morale and strengthen employee engagement.
Concern: Professional development:
Provide more professional development opportunities.
Revisit programs that had staff reductions due to budget. Staff, especially exempt, now work longer hours to get job done.
There are limited professional development for supervisors and managers; unclear process of how people are selected to participate.
Provide workshops for promotion opportunities and hiring from within; provide inner-department promotions based on qualifications; lack of opportunities for upward mobility.
Treat staff with dignity, not as second-class citizens. Sometimes current culture seems like a caste system where faculty have special status.
Staff should have same opportunities to earn stipends, funding to attend national conference and workshops for professional development, memberships/fees, subscriptions, etc. More staff recognition (faculty get Provost Awards with stipends.)
Response: Beyond salary, there is much we can do to motivate staff and faculty to continue to contribute to our students’ and the university’s success. In recent years we have built successful learning and development programs dedicated to the needs of faculty and staff. These include Regional Education for Achievement in Leadership (REAL), the Leadership Breakfast Series, Learning for Excellence and Development (LEAD), Staff Training and Recognition (STAR) Day and the Staff Mentorship program. We have also embraced the Lean University philosophy of transformative change and applied it effectively to thirteen process improvement projects across campus. In order to harness and embrace a lasting culture of innovation and process improvement we are launching a new program this fall – Innovation for Change and Effectiveness (ICE). ICE will blend individual development with focused efforts to enhance organizational effectiveness. The effort will combine a professional development program with innovative projects aimed at moving the campus forward. Recognition, stipends and ongoing communication and collaboration are critical elements of this initiative.
Concern: Bring back wrestling; bring back men’s soccer.
Response: President Castro has announced a review of all sports programming in 2014. There are many components included in these reviews. Among them are conference affiliation and NCAA sponsorship, facilities, operation costs, access to prospective student-athletes, scheduling and Title IX considerations.
Concern: Name Margie Wright Field to honor one of our legends.
Response: A proposal has been submitted to President Castro to rename our softball field to Margie Wright Diamond. These actions are governed by CSU policies and procedures and the proposal is being reviewed at this time. http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/aps/documents/apm/643.pdf
Concern: Sports drain scarce resources and deprive academics of resources.
Response: Fresno State Athletics is among the most self-supporting programs in the CSU and Mountain West Conference. Further, a great deal of the money that is derived from Athletics’ annual revenue streams (tickets, donations, corporate sponsorships, etc.) is, in fact, expended on the Fresno State campus in the form of tuition, books, game management costs and numerous campus services.
Concern: Put Jerry Tarkanian’s name on the basketball court with an official portrait of him at the SMC entrance; encourage Alumni Association to make Jerry Tarkanian a 2013 Top Dog in recognition of his Naismith Hall of Fame induction.
Response: The Department of Athletics continues to enhance the visibility and create a presence of Jerry Tarkanian in the Save Mart Center. Within the arena, the entire Athletics hallway f student-athlete facilities is named in honor of Coach Tarkanian. In the coming weeks, a plaque recognizing Coach Tarkanian will be relocated to a place in the Save Mart Center that is more accessible for the public to view.
Concern: Bullying exists (variety of details provided).
Response: President Castro has announced his plan to eliminate bullying practices from Fresno State. The university strives to provide a place free of discrimination, harassment, retaliation consistent with federal and state law and CSU policy. We are committed to maintaining a campus known for integrity, civility, equity, respect and ethical behavior. These efforts depend on the continued dedication of every member of the University community. We must be safe and inclusive. We are all responsible for upholding these core objectives while working and learning at Fresno State. The President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity (PCHRE) supports acceptance and fairness at all levels of the University. The Commission developed a comprehensive plan to make sure this commitment is understood across our campus. To learn more about this plan visit the diversity and inclusion webpage at fresnostate.edu/president/pchre/. (Watch our diversity video posted at http://www.fresnostate.edu/president/pchre/resources/index.html)
Concern: Bring back old logo on letterhead and business cards; use California State University, Fresno as name.
Response: The official name of the university, California State University, Fresno, is unchanged and may be used in all references. The nickname, Fresno State, may also be used in all references.
Following the launch of new branding and integrated marketing procedures in spring 2012, several revisions have been made, including policy regarding use of University Seal on letterhead and business cards. Here is the current policy:
The seal MAY be used on (but is not required on) the following:
- Office of the President – all uses
- University-level formal and official documents such as diplomas, academic awards and certificates, transcripts, resolutions and Commencement invitations
- University business cards
- Letterhead stationery for academic business functions (including but not limited to reports; grant applications; certificates; professional correspondence with academic societies, colleagues and publishers; and letters of reference).
Exceptions: The Vice President for University Advancement or designee will review requests for exceptions.
Please note: Letterhead stationery with the seal must be obtained from Printing Services; the seal cannot be used on electronic letterhead.
Concern: Desegregate graduation ceremonies and not be separated by race; recognize and celebrate the diversity together.
Response: We have the best of all worlds by providing opportunities for students to celebrate their accomplishments by participating in their own school/college convocation, the university Commencement ceremony and with a cultural group with whom they identify.
Concern: Why is cell phone service and internet connection provided for highest compensated staff?
Response: The university will typically provide a cell phone for vice presidents and other senior leaders; MPPs can request reimbursement for monthly phone costs based on business uses. The university does not pay for home internet usage for the vice presidents.
Concern: Lack of African Americans in mid-level and senior leadership positions.
Response: That is a valid concern. There are few senior leaders on campus who are African American.
Concern: Longer library hours that are student-friendly.
Response: During the regular semester, the Henry Madden Library is open 86 hours per week, including 16 hours on weekends and 20 hours during weekday evenings (after 5pm). We have monitored library hours and usage over time and see a sharp decline during the evenings, especially after 8pm. We accommodate most students by being open until 11pm Monday-Thursday. At the end of each semester we also stay open until midnight on weekdays to provide more study time during finals. Many of our resources are available online even when the library is closed, including reference assistance through our Ask Us page http://www.fresnostate.edu/library/ask_us/ which links to the nationwide Questionpoint Service when the library is closed. Given our current funding level, we feel that we are open the hours that best meet the needs of the majority of Fresno State students.
Concern: Special Library Software
Response: A campus-wide license for media production software would be prohibitively expensive, but we have alternatives. The Library has media production and editing software available in the Music and Media area on the 3rd floor north. Six computer workstations with graphic design software and two workstations with music composition software are available for student use. Students may reserve a workstation in advance or on a walk-in basis if any are available. These workstations are available at all times that Music and Media is open.