May 18, 2017 – End of Semester Message

End of Semester Message

To: Campus Community

From: President Gayle E. Hutchinson

Dear Colleagues,

As another semester draws to a close, I’d like to take this occasion to say thank you to all of you for the opportunity to lead this University in building on its prominence as a thriving and distinguished institution of higher learning. An affirmation comes from Forbes Magazine which named Chico State on its list of Best Value Colleges in April. I want to express my gratitude to our entire campus community. First, to our students for giving the best of themselves in the pursuit of knowledge and for exhibiting ingenuity and innovation in achieving their academic goals. Secondly, to faculty and staff for their commitment to students and their success, as well as making Chico State a great place to work.

We have been making steady progress on some of the goals we set for ourselves. In February, I highlighted early progress in the President’s Listening Tour Report and set long-term goals. Here is a look at some of what we have accomplished in the past four months:

Leadership team: Two new vice presidents have joined the administrative leadership team. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Debra S. Larson arrived in March. Our newest VP, Robbi Stivers, joined us May 1 as head of the Division of Business and Finance.

Student Affairs VP search: With the upcoming retirement of Vice President for Student Affairs Drew Calandrella, the University has launched its search to fill his position. The announcement will be published nationwide later this month, followed by campus visits of finalists in the fall with the goal of naming a new vice president before the end of 2017. Graduation Initiative update: Led by William Loker, interim vice provost for academic planning, we continue to make progress on Graduation Initiative 2025. Earlier this month the campus updated and refined the long-term student success plan, which places emphasis on strengthening our academic community through hiring, pedagogy, and curriculum, and improving student support systems.

WASC teams gather feedback: Our WASC team, led by Interim Chief Institutional Research Officer Ben Juliano, held an open forum for campus feedback on May 1. The information gathered will support the efforts of the WASC essay committees as they begin to draft our institutional report over the summer. An online feedback form is available until May 26. Building community: We continue to build understanding and aspire for inclusivity among members of our diverse campus community. After the divisive political season, we launched the Our Democracy website to guide student learning and provide support for student success. We continue to refer to the resources on this site when challenged with difficult conversations. We recognize the importance of meaningful dialogue to help students with issues in ways that are respectful and build community. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee contributed to the inclusion efforts with the “We Don’t Say” language matters campaign, which drew national attention.

Shared governance statement: In recognition of our campus commitment to shared governance, a celebratory signing ceremony was held May 12 to formalize the Statement on Shared Governance and Consultation. I signed the official document, along with Academic Senate Chair Betsy Boyd, Staff Council Chair Annette Heileson, and AS President Michael Pratt. What sets this statement apart is that it brings student, faculty, and staff voices into conversations with administration at their very start.

Chico Cares Campaign: Knowing that Chico State has a significant number of students who face food or housing insecurity, the Office of the President and the California Faculty Association established the Chico Cares Campaign. This endowment will provide nutritious food, short-term emergency housing, and emergency grants for students experiencing financial stress and poverty.

Spirit of giving: Our University Advancement team members met with hundreds of alumni, parents, and friends this semester, sharing with them how faculty and staff are transforming lives. Thanks to their efforts—and all those who support their work—we recently surpassed $10 million raised in cash and commitments this year. Inspired by our donors, the Chico State Student Philanthropy Council and more than 1,800 students donated over $13,000 to support students in need.

Abusive conduct policy and HR trainings: We will continue to explore efforts to establish healthy and supportive work environments. On May 11, the Academic Senate passed the Abusive Workplace Conduct Policy. A new training, Bullying in the Workplace, is available online through the Development and Training System.

Compensation program: Beginning in June, a salary adjustment program will use the In-Range Progression provision to reduce salary compression and promote equity for two groups of staff members. About 330 employees will be included in this round of adjustments, estimated at $567,645.

Voter friendly: Chico State was designated a voter-friendly campus by the American Association of State Colleges and University American Democracy Project due to the combined efforts of the Office of Civic Engagement and the First-Year Experience Program. We were the only CSU so named.

Community collaboration: The Department of Music and Theatre and the Chico Unified School District collaborated on an opera for children called The Little Sweep. More than 1,600 elementary students attended the performances in Harlan Adams Theatre. Recognition of faculty and staff: Meriam Library and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs premiered Inspired ’17, its first annual celebration of research and creative activity, showcasing the scholarly publications and creative achievements of 140 faculty and staff.

Sustainability efforts: Installation of water-saving plumbing fixtures are expected to yield a reduction of water consumption by approximately 400,000 gallons per year.

Renewal of facilities: The University obtained $82.9 million to fund construction of the new science building. The project is set to begin in summer 2018.

In support of students: Student Affairs created the Rental Housing Certification Program and Off-Campus Housing Connections, which has raised $30,000 to date to address housing insecurity. The division also opened the Dream Center, the PATH Scholars Program Center, and a larger Student Veteran Center. With the support of Academic Affairs, the Student Learning Center was expanded, and a Math Learning Lab opened in the library. These efforts resulted in 4,000 students making close to 40,000 visits to the center.

We can all be proud of our accomplishments this spring. I look forward to continuing our good work during summer and fall. I hope you will join the festivities this weekend as we celebrate the Commencement of our students who have achieved their degrees and are embarking on new adventures.

I wish all of you a relaxing and enjoyable summer.