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University Update

University Update

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February 17, 2016

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 through the spring to commencement, there is much information to share and many accomplishments to celebrate.

Strategic Plan Update

We are now in the third year of implementing our strategic plan, “Building on Excellence,” and we continue to build momentum in our three focus areas: Student Success, Research and Creative Endeavors and Community and Communication.  Here, we provide updates on student success initiatives focused on increasing four- and six-year graduation rates and on investments in research administration designed to enhance and streamline our processes.

Student Success

Our Student Success Committee, chaired by Provost Chukuka Enwemeka and Vice President Eric Rivera, is working with faculty and staff across campus to implement a series of new initiatives.  Foremost among these is the provost’s advising initiative, which includes professional development opportunities for advisers and multiple forms of outreach to help students identify pathways to graduation.  Initiatives to facilitate course registration, such as this semester’s debut of the Wait List, are an important part of our efforts, as are pedagogical innovations that increase academic performance.


“Building on Excellence” recommended investments in research infrastructure that were proposed by the National Council of University Research Administrators in an analysis of our campus.  We have made significant investments in infrastructure that have dramatically increased the efficiency of key administrative processes. Review times for animal research protocols (IACUC) have, on average, decreased from 40 business days to 23 business days (a 43 percent reduction).  Review times for exempt and expedited Institutional Review Board proposals have, on average, decreased from 21 to 11 days (a 48 percent reduction), and biosafety protocol reviews have decreased from 70 days to 31 days (a 56 percent reduction).

The strategic plan website provides detailed information about all of the university's initiatives.  Find goals and initiatives for the 15/16-year.

Budget & Enrollment Update

Both budget and enrollment remain 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 campus revenue initiatives.  Gov. Brown’s 2016–17 proposed budget allocates $140.4 million for the California State University.  This is consistent with the governor’s multiyear funding plan first adopted in 2013–14.  Additionally, the proposal provides the CSU with one-time funding of $35 million for deferred maintenance and $35 million in one-time funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on CSU campuses.  The governor will issue a revised state budget in May, and a final budget should be approved in June.

Our spring enrollments were 24,710 full-time equivalent students, almost identical to our budgeted enrollment target of 24,616.  Undergraduate applications for fall of 2016 are strong at 83,461.  Graduate application processes are ongoing.  Our goal is to maintain stable enrollments in 2016–17.

Given recent turbulence in global capital and commodity markets, we will continue our longstanding tradition of conservative planning for the 2016–17 budget.  We will continue to focus on allocating resources to achieve the goals articulated in “Building on Excellence.”

Campaign Update

The Campaign for SDSU has now raised over $670 million – with $70 million raised to date in the current fiscal year.  Over 1,200 current and former faculty and staff members have played a critical role in the Campaign, contributing over $60 million.  Dr. Deborah M. Dexter is one of those making a gift this year, and she is funding an endowed scholarship in Musical Theatre.  Dr. Dexter, a professor emerita in biology and former department chair in the College of Sciences, has been a season ticket-holder for our Musical Theatre productions – thus the impetus for her gift.  With Dr. Dexter’s contribution, we have raised over $132 million to support student scholarships during our Campaign.

Construction & Maintenance Update

This fall, we completed the Zura Residence Hall renovation and the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center. We also replaced the aging freeway marquee to provide clearer images and increased functions, such as direct access to Amber Alerts.  Construction on the South Campus Plaza mixed-use facility is currently underway.  The project, which includes student residences and retail space, is on schedule for a fall 2016 opening of the residences and spring 2017 opening for the retail components.  Construction also has begun on the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, which is on schedule for completion in spring 2018.  College Square, on the east side of College Avenue across from South Campus Plaza, is also undergoing a major renovation that will be completed in March.  It will provide additional classrooms for our College of Extended Studies.

We have also completed initial maintenance on the Library/Manchester Hall roof. Similarly, a major repair project to replace aged heating and cooling supply lines to the Gateway building has been completed.  Heavy January rains underscore the timely nature of these repairs.  A second phase is currently being planned to address additional roof repairs on the Library.  We also will be retrofitting the Chemical Sciences building’s energy systems – part of a general initiative to reduce energy use and costs in line with our signing of the Campus Climate Commitment.  We anticipate payback of this investment within a five–to seven–year period.

Finally, we experienced damage to the Alvarado Medical Center site, the SDSU Children’s Center, Love Library and other university buildings during January’s torrential rains.  We are extremely grateful for the incredible response by members of our community who worked so hard – many through the night – to assist and care for all those impacted by the storms.  Our sincere thanks to each and every one of you!

Recent Alumni Honors

We take pride not just in the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students, but also in the accomplishments of our Aztec alumni.  Matt de la Peña was recently named the 2016 recipient of the Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature for his picture book “Last Stop on Market Street.”  Pam Muñoz Ryan was awarded the prestigious Kirkus Prize for young reader’s literature for her book “Echo” and recognized with the Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to travel into space, has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  Continuing our tradition of excellence in sports, Kawhi Leonard was named to this year’s NBA All-Star team.

All of these efforts and successes reflect the hard work and extraordinary dedication of our faculty, staff and students. We are grateful for these efforts and for the legacy they are creating for our university. We wish everyone an enjoyable and productive spring semester.


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