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University Update

University Update

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June 16, 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 through the summer, there is much information to share and many accomplishments to celebrate.

Graduation and Enrollment Update

San Diego State University's 2015 Commencement ceremonies were held each day from Thursday evening May 14 at our Imperial Valley campus to Sunday afternoon May 17. Nearly 9,600 students participated in the excitement of our commencement ceremonies. Students decorated their mortarboards in myriad ways to celebrate the culmination of years of effort. “Thanks Mom” and Greek letters are common decorations. The construction engineering graduates attach a tassel to a hard hat to celebrate their achievements. Cords, shawls, medallions and leis – each representing various honors and affiliations—are highly visible. Members of our students' families are equally excited. Proud parents, grandparents, siblings and others family members join our students, wielding bouquets and snapping photos. This year's graduating class also left a legacy through philanthropy, raising $25,000 for an endowed scholarship that will benefit future Aztecs.

Turning to next year's freshman class, the number of freshmen who have submitted an “intent to enroll” at SDSU has exceeded its target again this year. The average grade point average for our resident California freshmen students who submitted an “intent to enroll” for fall 2015 is 3.75 (compared to 3.73 in fall 2014). The average SAT is 1125 (compared to 1118 in fall 2014). San Diego State University continues to strengthen its ethnic diversity and commitment to our local service area. Students of color are projected to be 60.4 percent of the new freshman class and local area students account for 37 percent.

At a time when universities across the nation face enrollment shortfalls, the recruitment of a diverse, high-achieving freshmen class is a testament to the quality of our programs, the dedication of our faculty and staff, our commitment to student success and our vibrant campus life.

Budget Update

The 2014/15 budget remains stable. During the spring, we were able to pursue additional investments of one-time funds in our people and our programs as a result of revenue from strong enrollment and other initiatives. The largest one-time investment was in our planned Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Project, which is scheduled to break ground this summer.

Governor Brown released his May revision to the 2015-16 budget on May 14th for the state of California. The “May revise” budget proposes increasing funding for the CSU by $157.5 million above fiscal 2014-15. This amount is $38 million more than the Governor's initial $119.5 million budget released in January. The Governor also added $35 million in one-time funds for energy efficiency, renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction projects. California's financial outlook is strong and we are optimistic that the final CSU budget, negotiated between the Legislature and Governor by the end of June, will be at, or above, the $157.5 million.

Our allocation of the additional $119.5 million in funding, along with an analysis of our other operating fund revenue projections, allowed us to allocate $3.2 million of additional base budget funding for the university's divisions for 15-16. Find funding details here. Funding is being provided to support critical support needs and initiatives that support our strategic plan, as well as anticipated enrollment growth of at least 198 FTE students. These funds are in addition to funds that will be allocated for mandatory costs such as health and retirement benefits, as well as planned compensation increases. Compensation increases are dependent on the outcome of collective bargaining and all unions have not completed bargaining regarding compensation at this point. We will provide further updates regarding the budget situation when the California budget process concludes and the CSU allocates any additional funding.

Strategic Plan Update

As we near the end of the second year of implementing the university's strategic plan, “Building on Excellence”, we continue to build momentum in our three focus areas – Student Success, Research and Creative Endeavors and Community and Communication. We share a few examples of many ongoing initiatives. In support of Student Success, our Aztec Mentor Program created over 830 successful alumni/student pairings in which alumni provide professional mentoring and support to current students. Similarly, our efforts to support commuter student success reduced academic probation rates and increased fall to spring retention for commuter students this year. In the area of Research and Creative Endeavors, we identified three additional Areas of Research Excellence this year: Digital Humanities and Global Diversity, Blue Gold: Mitigating the Effects of Water Scarcity, and Wearable Biomedical Sensors for Precision Medicine. 12 additional tenure-track faculty will be hired in these areas over the next two years. In the area of Community and Communication, our efforts to support entrepreneurship in our region have progressed significantly. Over 40 teams of students, faculty and staff are creating for-profit and social enterprises in the Zahn Innovation Center and the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.

The strategic plan website provides detailed information about all of the university's initiatives, an account of the progress made in 2014-2015, and the summary reports for each working group. Find more information about these and other selected accomplishments.

Campaign Update

The Campaign for SDSU has just concluded its eighth year and is headed toward our new goal of $750 million. The total raised for the Campaign is now at $590 million. In support of the strategic plans' focus on research and creative endeavors, the Campanile Foundation has a goal of raising $2.5 million to endow a chair for the purpose of recruiting an eminent scholar to the university. Thus far, $1.5 million has been raised toward the goal. In support of the strategic plan goal of student success, the Campaign has raised $96 million in endowed scholarships. The endowment for SDSU has increased 85% during the Campaign. It now stands at $191 million.

Construction Update

There are a significant number of construction and renovation projects currently underway. The South Campus Plaza mixed used facility, including residences and retail space, is progressing and on schedule for a fall 2016 opening. College Square on the east side of College across from South Campus Plaza is undergoing a major renovation and will open in early 2016 as College of Extended Studies classrooms. Both the Zura Residence Hall renovation and Jeff Jacobs JAM Center are on target for opening this fall. In addition, the Library/Manchester Hall roof and paver repair project will continue over the summer. Much of the landscaping needs to be removed for this project and will be replaced afterwards.

Finally, the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science (EIS) Complex financial plan was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in May. The construction site will be fenced later this month and demolition of the Industrial Technology and Engineering Labs buildings, both built in the 1950's, will begin this summer. The building being erected in Lot A along Canyon Crest Drive will provide temporary space for labs and classrooms as EIS is constructed. Completion of the EIS Complex is expected at the end of the 2017 calendar year.

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 the legacy they are creating for our university. We wish everyone an enjoyable and productive summer.