Sacramento State continues to Redefine the Possible – as the campus-wide initiative states – in innovative ways as California’s economy recovers from the recession, President Alexander Gonzalez said Thursday in his Spring Address to faculty, staff and special guests, including incoming Provost Frederika “Fraka” Harmsen.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s recently proposed 2014-15 budget for the California State University’s 23 campuses is generally favorable because it once again freezes tuition fees at current levels, Gonzalez said. And the $142 million increase to the general fund is “in line with what we were expecting.”
However, the President noted, the state’s long-term plan calls for moving away from funding higher education based on enrollment targets and instead puts an emphasis on affordability, completion rates, greater numbers of transfers from community colleges and time-to-degree.
“The message here is clear,” Gonzalez said. “As educators who have to plan for the current and future needs of our students and California’s workforce, we should be thankful for the promise of stability. But we also must change. I can report that Chancellor (Timothy P.) White has acknowledged the need for change, as well.”
In many ways, Gonzalez said, “we have already begun to make these changes.”
For example, by this fall, Sac State will be in compliance with the CSU’s 120-unit threshold for all programs, which previously required between 121 and 129 units, and although hiring levels are “not where we’d like,” he said, more than 40 new faculty members will come on board this fall.
Other highlights of the President’s address:
Four chemistry labs were renovated to help alleviate the bottleneck in introductory chemistry classes and allow the Chemistry Department to offer an additional 10 sections per semester.
Fourteen classrooms were upgraded with smart technology, and more classrooms are scheduled for upgrades this summer.
Sacramento State continues to use its resources to benefit students and the community. An example is the Department of Physical Therapy’s move to Folsom Hall, where it joined the School of Nursing as the first two components of what will become the Center for Health Professions. The move allowed Physical Therapy adequate space to launch STEPS, a program that provides treadmill training to children with neuro-motor impairment, at no cost to their families. Speech Pathology and Audiology will be the next department to move into Folsom Hall.
A $75,000 grant from Wells Fargo to Sacramento State’s Veterans Success Center will help student-veterans move from school into civilian careers.
A $78,000 grant in Proposition 50 funds from the City of Sacramento will cover more than half of the estimated cost of replacing the campus’s water-wasting toilets and urinals, which date to the 1950s and ’60s.
The College of Health and Human Services is partnering with Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully to establish a Family Justice Center. The center, which most likely will not be located on campus, will offer opportunities for faculty research, student internships and community service.
Sacramento State will be tobacco-free by Fall 2015, thanks to the efforts of the student group Hornets for a Healthy Hive and a campus-wide task force.
Several roads have been renamed, or named for the first time, to make navigating the campus easier for visitors and first responders.
To accommodate a growing student population desiring to live on campus, a proposed 350-bed residence hall with spectacular views of the American River could be ready for move-in by Fall 2017, if the Chancellor’s Office approves the project. No state dollars would be used.
Sacramento State continues to accept input from the campus and Sacramento communities for its new Strategic Plan, which is expected to be finalized this fall.
Gonzalez will chair the March of Dimes’ 2014 March for Babies fundraiser, set for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26, on the west steps of the State Capitol. “I agreed to the offer because the campaign fits with our commitment to be a resource for the community,” he said. “The campaign also gives us the chance to showcase some of our greatest strengths, such as public service, students and faculty who have deep ties to our region, and educational excellence in areas that include health care and nutrition.”
For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156. – Dixie Reid