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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Hepner Hall (Photo: Joel Ortiz) Hepner Hall (Photo: Joel Ortiz)

What's New at SDSU

SDSU welcomes nearly 11,000 new students to a campus in the midst of change.
By Beth Downing Chee

On Monday, Aug. 29, San Diego State University kicked off the 2016-17 academic year, welcoming nearly 11,000 new students to campus.

New and returning students will step foot onto a transforming Montezuma Mesa, distinguished by remarkable peers, exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff and innovative programs.

"As we enter the fifth year of our strategic plan, ‘Building on Excellence,’ this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for San Diego State," said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman." Through our collaborative campus efforts, we have made extraordinary progress in our core areas of Student Success, Research and Creative Endeavors, and Community and Communication. I am excited about the initiatives we will pursue in the coming year and our prospects for achieving even greater excellence and distinction."

Guided by the strategic plan, the university is moving forward with campus construction, the addition of new faculty members, the introduction of 23 new courses and several other initiatives designed to enhance the Aztec Experience for SDSU students.

New students

More than 83,000 freshmen and undergraduate transfer students applied for fall 2016 admission to SDSU – an all-time high for the university. Approximately 8,500 new undergraduates and 2,200 new graduate students are joining 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 one of the most academically impressive ever with an average GPA of 3.68. Twenty incoming freshmen have two-part SAT scores over 1500, and more than 800 have scores over 1300.

The incoming class is also one of the most internationally diverse cohorts, with 315 new exchange students and 825 new degree and certificate seeking international students representing 80 countries.

New faculty

This semester, SDSU welcomes 51 new tenured and tenure-track faculty members, surpassing the halfway mark of an ambitious five-year goal to add 300 new faculty members. Since 2014, more than 155 faculty members have been hired – thanks in part to funding by the campus Student Success Fee – boosting the university’s research and creative endeavors and supporting student success.

New faculty members this year come to SDSU from Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, Emory, the University of California, Berkeley, and other world-class research universities.  They are experts in a variety of fields including aerospace and biomedical engineering, neuroscience, computational archeology, furniture design, music theory, astronomy, geology, art history and social psychology.

New classes

SDSU has added 23 new classes from departments all over campus to its fall 2016 schedule. They include Sound Design for Film; Philosophy, Racism and Justice; Advanced Watershed Analysis; and Media Technology and Society.

American Sign Language (ASL) classes have also been reintroduced as part of the College of Education’s curriculum.

The changing face of campus

Students, faculty and staff returning to the Mesa may be surprised by the progress that has been made on construction projects across campus, including the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex and South Campus Plaza, both of which are dramatically changing the campus skyline.

Other ongoing construction projects include new monuments at the main campus gateway at Campanile Drive and Montezuma Road; a new recreation field located on the north side of Parking Structure 12; and the addition of new restrooms and concession stands at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.

Campus parking lots and parking structures have been renamed. Name changes are reflected on signs installed in each parking area. They list both the old and new names. A map with the updated names of all parking lots and structures can be found here.

A new student lounge has also been added to the southwest corner of The Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The 1,600-square-foot lounge, operated by Associated Students, will be a hub for students to relax, socialize, study and collaborate. It will be open daily and features breakout work spaces, writeable surfaces, comfortable seating and five televisions.

To better help the campus community navigate all of the changes, the university has launched a new interactive map

New dining options

The former dining room at Cuicacalli Suites, renamed  The Garden, is  SDSU’s only all-you-care-to-eat facility, The Garden features a fresh salad bar as the main attraction, complemented by proteins and soups. Pasta and flatbread stations round out the menu, which is overseen by SDSU Dining Executive Sous Chef, Justin Mead. The Garden will be open to faculty, staff, and students from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch on the weekends during the fall semester.

SDSU Dining is also adding Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in East Commons during the fall semester. Dickey’s, which is famous for authentic, slow-smoked Texas BBQ, will open in the location that was previously home to Daphne’s Greek Cafe.