In Spring Address, President Luke Wood outlines plans sparked by comprehensive listening tour
January 18, 2024
Members of the Sacramento State campus community spoke up, and President Luke Wood listened.
After hosting 92 “100 Days of Listening” sessions with more than 1,500 faculty, staff members, students, and others in recent months, Wood on Thursday, Jan. 18, detailed specific actions he will pursue in response to the feedback.
Wood, who became Sac State’s president in July 2023, outlined those plans during his first Spring Address, which he delivered in the University Union Ballroom.
Among the 23 action items he identified are funding more paid internships for students, expanding the campus Pride Center, and boosting enrollment of former foster youth, community college transfers, and Native and indigenous students.
Wood said he learned during the listening sessions that students, faculty, and staff members take considerable pride in Sacramento State. They particularly appreciate the University’s rising graduation rates, its proximity to the state capitol, its ethnic diversity, and its commitment to quality education.
Business owners told Wood that “they prefer and love to hire graduates of Sac State” because of the “real world” experiences they have on campus, he said.
“But it is also clear that some things need work,” Wood acknowledged.
Listening session participants cited equity gaps between certain groups of students and their peers, aging campus infrastructure, and a disconnection among alumni as some of the areas of concern.
Wood pointed out that Sac State enrolls more Black and African American students than any other college in the CSU system, but he noted that graduation rates among those groups are lagging.
To help ensure their success, the University this fall will establish what is believed to be the nation’s first Black Honors College, focusing on students interested in Black life, history, and culture, Wood announced.
In response to concerns that Sac State is distributing only about a third of the $6 million in scholarship money that it has at its disposal, the University will work to ensure that more students access the money. The work will include assessing why some scholarships are sitting dormant, actively encouraging students to apply for scholarship money, and helping them complete necessary paperwork, Wood said. The goal is to increase scholarship distribution to 95% by 2028.
To streamline various tasks and processes for faculty and staff members, the University is launching a “Cut the Red Tape” committee. The committee will seek ways of eliminating “excessive and redundant” processes that stand in the way of productivity and work satisfaction, the president said.
Near the end of his speech, Wood addressed the looming faculty strike that is scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 22, acknowledging that the situation is “incredibly stressful” for the campus community. Faculty members are seeking higher wages, an issue that rests with the CSU and not individual universities, he noted.
“Next week is going to look a little different,” Wood told the audience. “But we appreciate everything that you are doing for Sac State.”
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