|May 4, 2000
Volume 30 Number 19
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
VP Biechler Answers the Call of the Wild
Michael Biechler, vice provost for Human Resources is retiring after seven years at CSU, Chico. He and his wife, Marilyn, are headed for northern Wisconsin to Nelson Lake, seven miles from the nearest town. "As far north as I could convince her to go," he said.
For nine summers, Biechler has gone fishing with a group of like-minded buddies at a lake in Canada that is literally at the end of the road. Anyone wishing to reach villages further north has to fly in. Heavy supplies are brought in over the ice during the winter when the lake is frozen. The lake is pristine and isolated, and Biechler likes it that way.
A geographer by training, environment is extremely important to him. He chose Chico in 1993 after having lived in a Fresno that exploded with development during the time he was there, from 1977 to 1993. He went to Fresno State as a profes-sor, then moved to administration as assistant vice president for academic personnel.
The administration of Human Resources at CSU, Chico enlarged the scope of Biechler's personnel work. He has adminsitered payroll and benefits, affirmative action, faculty and staff personnel, faculty and staff assistance, and staff development.
During the years of his tenure at Chico, Biechler's greatest challenges have been the huge budget shortfall that happened shortly after he came, the controversial merit pay programs, and legislation such as the family medical leave act. The medical leave act, which he considers good social legislation, is an example of the increased workload and complexity of demands placed on human resources personnel in the last several years.
He cannot say enough about his excellent staff and how they have consistently done more with fewer resources. The regard is mutual. Staff members talk about the respect they have for Biechler's fairness and integrity. He has lived his philosophy. "Above all else, human resources is a service component of the university. We have to maintain integrity and confidentiality. We have to be trusted."
Biechler received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Michigan State in Clearwater. His field was economic and agricultural geography with an emphasis on Latin America. He and Marilyn lived in Guatemala for a year in 1968-69 where he researched the coffee industry.The Biechlers have two grown children, Cheryl and Steve, both of whom live in California, and two grandchildren. -- KM
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