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University Update

University Update

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February 4, 2015

University Update

TO: SDSU Faculty and Staff
FROM: President Elliot Hirshman
Provost and Senior Vice President Chukuka S. Enwemeka

Vice Presidents Mary Ruth Carleton, Tom McCarron and Eric Rivera
Vice President and Graduate Dean Stephen Welter

We write to provide an update on a number of significant university developments. As we proceed into the spring semester, there is much information to share and many accomplishments to celebrate.

Strategic Planning – “Building on Excellence”

We continue to make progress in our second year of implementing the university's strategic plan, “Building on Excellence.” This fall, we continued to build momentum in our three focus areas – Student Success, Research and Creative Endeavors and Community and Communication. Significant milestones from this fall include the initiation of 68 tenured-track faculty searches, an increase in freshman commuter students enrolling in learning communities, the expansion of the University Grants program, the addition of new academic advisors to support our graduation initiative, and the second annual Get Together, Give Back series to celebrate staff and faculty contributions. Significant investments were made this fall to enhance laboratories, upgrade classroom technology, and improve the accessibility and safety of our campus, with more to come this spring. The strategic plan website provides detailed information about the university's investments, an account of the progress made in 2013-2014, and the summary reports for each working group. Find more information information about these and other selected accomplishments.

Financial and Budget Update

The 2014/15 budget remains stable. During the fall, we were able to pursue additional investments of one-time funds in our people and programs as a result of the continuing success of our revenue initiatives.

In early January, Governor Brown released his proposed 2015-16 California budget. Consistent with the Governor's multi-year funding plan, this budget includes an additional $119.5 million for the CSU. The proposed budget also provides the CSU with one-time funding of $25 million for deferred maintenance.

Over the next several months, we will continue to monitor the state budget development, as well as our own ongoing revenue initiatives. A revised state budget will be issued in May by the Governor and a final budget should be approved in June. We will plan our 2015-2016 budget based on conservative assumptions, focusing on allocating our resources to achieve the goals articulated in “Building on Excellence.”

Facilities Construction and Maintenance

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue construction and renovation of a significant number of facilities. These include: the construction of South Campus Plaza, a new mixed-use facility including student residences and retail opportunities; the renovation of Zura Residence Hall; the construction of the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center supporting men's and women's basketball; and Page Pavilion, a renovation of portions of the College of Business Administration. In addition, we have completed the first three phases of upgrading our campus heating and cooling infrastructure. This project, which will be completed by the summer of 2015, will increase the reliability and capacity of our heating and cooling systems and significantly reduce our annual energy expenses. No state funds or tuition revenues were used to support these projects. All were funded by private philanthropy, auxiliary revenues or increases in energy efficiency.

We are also fortunate to have received $5.8 million from the CSU for deferred maintenance, the largest such allocation in several years. These funds, combined with funds from our revenue initiatives, will be used to address significant deferred maintenance issues (roofing, energy efficiency, elevator repair, painting) in Love Library, Student Services East, the Music building , the Engineering building and other campus buildings. Energy controls will also be upgraded to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs throughout the campus. Significant initiatives to increase the accessibility of our campus, including the provision of 24/7 access to elevators in Education & Business Administration and Geology, Mathematics & Computer Sciences, have also been completed. Last, but certainly not least, we have commenced planning and fundraising for our new Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Complex. Three town hall meetings have been held to share preliminary ideas and solicit community input. Construction is planned to start later this year, with completion expected at the end of the 2017 calendar year.

Campus Safety

This semester will provide ample opportunities for meaningful dialogue and action as it relates to eliminating sexual violence from our campus. Addressing the significant challenge of sexual violence will require a resolute communal effort. Among other activities, significant educational and training efforts continue with our Greek Community and our resident advisors, and communication outreach is occurring through bi-weekly public briefings by members of our Sexual Violence task force and the highlighting of Sexual Assault Awareness week (April 20-24). In addition, the search process is nearing completion for a coordinator of the soon-to-open Women's Resource Center, and, thanks to a grant awarded to SDSU and the Center for Community Solutions, we will have a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate on campus full time to work with survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence.

Find additional information about our education, communication and outreach efforts.

Research and Creative Endeavors

Graduate and Research Affairs is pursuing three new initiatives this spring. The Discovery Slam series pioneered by the College of Sciences and co-hosted by Graduate and Research Affairs provides an opportunity to build intellectual community and support interdisciplinary work. The weekly series offers faculty, students, and staff three rapid fire presentations by faculty designed to foster discussion and intellectual interaction. A second important initiative is the continuation of the Grants and Research Enterprise Writing Workshop (GREWW) Series for two additional cohorts of faculty. In addition to providing a series of half-day workshops on grant writing, this program provides opportunities for faculty to meet with leaders in federal agencies and enhance communication with key funding partners. A new initiative, designed to foster interdisciplinary discussions on campus, will begin this semester. The initiative will provide seed funds to help faculty develop new shared visions and collaborative grant opportunities. Proposals will be sought that help facilitate formative discussions on activities between faculty from different disciplines.

The Arts Alive SDSU initiative, designed to engage students, faculty, staff and community in transformational art interactions, attracted over 50,000 people to performances, exhibitions and events in the fall semester. Additional information about our support for research and creative endeavors can be found here.

Enrollment Update

We are fortunate to have received a record number of undergraduate applications for fall 2015. The total number of freshman and transfer admission applications is 81,349. Both the average GPA and the average SAT of our freshman applicants has increased. The average GPA of our transfer applicants has also increased. The graduate student admission application filing period has not yet ended, but it appears that the total applications will exceed the number of applications from last year. Acceptances for high-achieving freshmen were communicated in mid-December. All other undergraduate admission decisions will be sent to applicants by March 1.

The Campaign for SDSU

In September, SDSU celebrated reaching the $500 million goal for its first ever campaign and announced that the campaign would be extended to $750 million. As of December 31, 2014, the Campaign for SDSU now stands at $550.3 million after the most successful fall ever for fundraising. Gifts to The Campaign support the initiatives of the strategic plan including student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication. A total of 106 gifts of $1 million or more have been raised in the seven and a half years of The Campaign. Among this fall's gifts of note were $2.5 million to endow the Conrad Prebys Chair in Biomedical Research, $2.5 million to endow the Behner/Stiefel Program on Brazil, $4 million from a planned gift to support the Honors College, $1 million to endow the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and $3 million in anonymous gifts from two donors. New gifts to SDSU have helped us reach our goal of endowing the Honors College. We have now raised over $10 million for the Honors College initiative.

Our Appreciation

This is an exciting time for San Diego State University. We are grateful for, and deeply appreciative of, the extraordinary collective efforts of our faculty and staff. Thank you for everything you do for the university and best wishes for a productive and rewarding semester.