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Sunday, November 18, 2018

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The Zura residence hall, which was completely renovated for the 2015/2016 year. The Zura residence hall, which was completely renovated for the 2015/2016 year.

New Classes, Faces and Places

SDSU welcomes 10,000 new students to campus with new faculty, programs, initiatives and facilities that will contribute to student success.
By Beth Downing Chee

On Monday, August 24, San Diego State University kicks off the 2015-2016 academic year, welcoming more than 10,000 new students to campus.

New and returning students will step foot on a transforming Montezuma Mesa, distinguished by remarkable students, exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff, innovative programs and new and improved facilities.

Guided by the strategic plan, Building on Excellence, the university is moving forward with initiatives to enhance student success, research and creative endeavors, community and communication.

SDSU is not only inspiring leadership, but also nurturing tomorrow’s leaders.

Here are some of the top new changes, updates and experiences happening on campus this fall:

New students

More than 81,000 freshmen and undergraduate transfer students applied for fall 2015 admission to SDSU, an all-time high for the university. This semester, SDSU welcomes approximately 8,500 new undergraduates and 2,000 new graduate students to the Aztec  family.

Though final data won’t be available until the university’s annual census in September, the freshman class is shaping up to be the most academically impressive ever, including:

  • an average GPA of 3.69
  • 22 incoming freshmen with two-part SAT scores over 1500
  • 800 with two-part SAT scores over 1300
  • Both of these are records for SDSU

SDSU’s incoming class of graduate students is also among the most academically accomplished in SDSU history. Standout graduate students include:

  • 3 National Science Foundation Fellows
  • 4 international Fulbright Fellows
  • 5 campus Fulbright Fellows
  • 20 Presidential Graduate Research Fellows

New faculty

This semester, SDSU welcomes 53 new tenured and tenure-track faculty members. New faculty members this year come to SDSU from Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, Berkeley, and other world-class research universities.  They include chemists, astrophysicists, pianists, and global experts in areas of urgent significance including autism, digital media, climate change, and Middle Eastern politics.

These faculty were hired as  part of an ambitious 5-year project to build SDSU’s excellence in research and creative endeavors and support student success by bringing 300 new faculty members to campus, funded in part by the campus Student Success Fee.

More than half of the new faculty are women, and more than 20 percent are Hispanic or Latino, a reflection of the campus commitment to the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty.

New leadership

Over the summer SDSU welcomed a new dean to the College of Arts and Letters, Norma Bouchard, an Italian scholar from the University of Connecticut.

The university also hired two new associate vice presidents to the Division of Student Affairs: Antoinette Marbray, who will be overseeing Career Services, Counseling & Psychological Services, Health Promotion, Student Disability Services, Student Health Services and the Center for Student Rights & Responsibilities; and Vitaliano Figueroa, who will oversee Student Athlete Academic Support Services, Compact for Success and Collaborative Programs, Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs, the International Student Center, the Office of the Ombudsman and Testing Services.

New degree and classes

Two new graduate degrees have been added to SDSU’s list of offerings: an M.S. degree in kinesiology and a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use.

SDSU has added 30 new classes from departments all over campus to its catalog for the fall 2015 semester. They include Valuing Human Diversity, Dance Making, Notable Historic Earthquakes, Women and Philosophy, Digital Design for Film and Stage, and Morality and the Law.

New Honors College

The Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College, which was officially endowed last semester, is welcoming its first cohort of students. The 245 new students are among the best and brightest at SDSU and will join the students who were previously part of the Honors Program. The objective of the Weber Honors College is to provide the richest possible intellectual experience by helping students become conversant in multiple disciplines, think flexibly, solve problems and pursue the creative expression of ideas.

New Areas of Excellence

Three new interdisciplinary research areas will launch this year, uniting faculty from multiple disciplines in research on the following topics: mitigating the effects of water scarcity; developing wearable biomedical sensors; and advancing digital humanities related to global diversity. Twelve new faculty, four in each area of excellence, will be hired over the next two years.

New construction

Demolition has begun on the future site of the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS) Complex, slated to open in January 2017, which will be a collaborative hub for researchers and students to solve big societal problems at the intersections of science and engineering. It will also be home to the Zahn Innovation Platform, a new center focused on helping students and researchers achieve their entrepreneurial and innovation design goals.

Construction also continues on the South Campus Plaza, a new mixed-use student housing and retail project located immediately south of the SDSU Transit Center, between Hardy Avenue and Montezuma Road. South Campus Plaza will include housing for more than 600 students, along with retail outlets designed to serve both the campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, creating a pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping, dining and living. The project will be constructed in two phases and is estimated to be complete by fall 2016.

New additions

SDSU celebrated the opening of the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center's new, larger space housed within Student Services. To meet the needs of the growing military affiliated population on campus, the larger space will be able to accommodate more students and provide more services.

Visitors to the Campus Computing Hub — formerly known as the Student Computing Center — are in for a pleasant surprise. The largest computer lab on campus has been remodeled for a lighter, brighter appearance and 282 computers have been refurbished or replaced.

Zura Hall underwent the first full renovation of a residence hall at SDSU in the campus history. Renovations included improving the building's infrastructure, increasing interior study, lounge and meeting spaces, increasing sustainability practice and more. The much-anticipated makeover was completed in early August. More than 670 freshmen moved into the residence hall on move-in day, August 21.

Both men’s and women’s basketball teams have begun practicing in the newly-finished Jeff Jacobs JAM Center, a 23,500-square-foot basketball performance center named  in honor of the supporters whose key donations made the facility possible — Jeff, Hal and Debby Jacobs, Steve and Lisa Altman, and Jim Morris.