|November 13, 2003
Volume 34 Number 5
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
Zingg Makes First Visit to Campus as President-Elect
Paul J. Zingg, whose selection as the 14th president of CSU, Chico was announced on Nov. 3, came to campus on Nov. 6 to talk to key groups of faculty, staff, and students. "I wanted to come back to Chico as soon as I could after the announcement. I came to hear from the people I'll be working with about their priorities."
He spent time with Interim President Scott McNall, met with Associated Students President Michael Daily and other members of the A.S., directors from Advancement, and the Academic Senate. He and his wife, Candace Slater, had dinner with members of the University Advisory Board, and then attended the Josh Redman Elastic Band concert in Laxson Auditorium.
On Friday, Nov. 7, he met with deans and then looked at potential homes. Slater is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese and head of the Humanities Center at University of California, Berkeley. Zingg said that their primary residence will be in Chico, and his wife will commute several days a week.
At the end of Thursday, after a day filled with meetings, Zingg said that what he had encountered that day was remarkable unanimity about CSU, Chico's strengths among faculty, staff, and students. He said that faculty and staff work for students, and students know that. "It was gratifying to hear how clear that message is," said Zingg.
He was impressed by the great affection the A.S. members he talked with had for faculty and staff, echoing the sense of responsibility and commitment faculty and staff have to students. "Faculty and staff clearly take great joy in the successes of their students," said Zingg.
Zingg encountered discussions throughout the day about issues that unite rather than issues that divide. "CSU, Chico is clearly a university characterized by this quality, and the people I met with were asking the right questions: How are we going to maintain quality and access in times of financial crisis? Will the process of making budget decisions be accessible? Will it be inclusive?"
Zingg expressed the hope that the people he met with saw in him someone who wants to be a partner and a colleague in the decision-making process. Kathy Kaiser, newly appointed faculty member on the Board of Trustees, said, "We are excited about Paul's early engagement with the campus leadership, and his willingness to come to campus today for that purpose. He is aware of and appreciative of the strong shared governance reputation of the campus in the CSU, of the very healthy sense of the 'Chico Way' and seems sincerely engaged in helping Chico to first prepare for the fiscal challenges that we face in the state but also to take Chico to the next level of a nationally recognized institution of excellence."
Zingg said that the favorite part of his day was at the end of the Academic Senate meeting where a discussion about the meaning of higher education and the importance of "spirit and passion" arose around a discussion of the arts and morale. Greg Tropea, Department of Philosophy, asked the question, "What is it we do if it is not the work of spirit?"
"That is music to my ears," said Zingg. "It [what we are doing] is about the spirit of the place, the passion behind what we do -- and that includes the spirit of inquiry, the spirit of curiosity."
In terms of private passions, Zingg listed "our dogs, our books, our students." Two yellow labs, named Watson and Annie, are part of the Zingg household. He is looking forward to finding a home, moving to Chico, and officially beginning his job as president on Feb. 1.
Kaiser suggested that the campus and community are also looking forward to Feb. 1: "One of Paul's great attributes is his appreciation of Chico and its diversity as a community of residential academic institutions, strong town and gown relationships, and a budding arts community in the midst of great natural beauty. I am confident that the campus and community will reach out to him and that he will return the embrace."
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