Responses to commonly submitted Feedback concerns

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.

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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: Admissions office needs to be open and staffed 8-5.

Response: The Admissions and Records Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week; on Wednesday from 8-10 a.m. the public contact windows are not available to students. That time is set aside for staff meetings, training sessions and quiet time to catch up on paperwork. This has been the case for several years and has been adopted by Accounting Services as well.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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