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Thursday, September 23, 2021

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SDSU President Adela de la Torre, May 2021 Commencement at Petco Park SDSU President Adela de la Torre, May 2021 Commencement at Petco Park
 


CSU Chancellor: SDSU Has ‘Promising Future’ Under President’s Leadership

SDSU President de la Torre’s evaluation reflects her leadership around educational access, instructional effectiveness, philanthropy, research, transborder partnerships and student success.
By SDSU News Team
 

The three-year review for San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre is now complete, with California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro notably recognizing her leadership, the significant advances in student and scholarly success under her tenure, and her contributions to higher education.

In his formal letter at the close of the evaluation period, Castro shared that he and the CSU Board of Trustees are “fully confident in the promising future of San Diego State University under her leadership.”

While specific details of employee performance evaluations are kept confidential, de la Torre is lauded for a number of key initiatives, not limited to the following achievements:

  • Significant progress on Graduation Initiative 2025, which “is of vital importance to the system and the state,” Castro noted. Under de la Torre’s leadership, the vast majority of measures are either at or exceeding expectations.
  • Diversification of the leadership team with substantive efforts toward diversification of the faculty, staff and administrative positions.
  • Broadening SDSU’s funding sources, with record-breaking donations each year under her tenure, and expanding research initiatives and dollars. In 2019-20, SDSU philanthropic gift commitments totaled more than $127 million, representing an increase of almost 10% from the previous fiscal year. And SDSU researchers secured $140.6 million in grant funding for 2020-21, maintaining the institution’s research enterprise in the midst of a global pandemic.
  • Renewed investments in SDSU Imperial Valley, which has led to new programs and the region’s first STEM bachelor’s degree.
  • Strengthened relationships with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. State Department and the country of Georgia in support of SDSU Georgia, which graduated its first class in 2018.
  • Successfully finalized the purchase agreement for SDSU Mission Valley, securing CSU Board of Trustees approval for site preparation and construction, advancing the model for public-private partnerships with the innovation district, and overseeing the on-time construction of the Aztec Stadium opening next fall.
  • Development of the “We Rise, We Defy: Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives” strategic plan for 2020-2025.

“The first time I walked on the SDSU campus, I knew I wanted to be part of this university. For more than a century, it has defined itself through its excellence and tenacity, and I have committed myself to enacting the next phase of this shared vision to secure SDSU's future for generations to come,” de la Torre said.

“The positive response I received from Chancellor White and the Board of Trustees is as much a testament of my leadership as it is to my team, and to the commitment of every one of our faculty, staff, students and supporters,” she continued. “Our future is so very bright, and I am so honored to be part of what we are creating together to define the future of our transborder region, and truly embracing our global impact and identity.”

Castro lauded de la Torre for her leadership and for her management of “substantive academic, student, and administrative issues on campus.” In doing so, he also acknowledged her commitment to sustaining a shared governance environment and for engaging with the broader community, contributing to state and national higher education policy, and for significantly advancing philanthropic stewardship.

“The horizon for public higher education embodies both opportunities and challenges, and we  believe that with the SDSU community working together on substantive matters you will  continue your prominence as a beacon of hope and opportunity through teaching and learning, research and scholarly activity, and community engagement,” Castro wrote about de la Torre following her first comprehensive review since her appointment in 2018.

More than 70 students, faculty, staff, administration, campus advisers and local leaders wrote letters to the CSU as part of de la Torre’s scheduled review, with the overwhelming majority commending her for her leadership and commitment to a shared vision for the future of the university.

"President de la Torre arrived at San Diego State University in 2018 and immediately embarked on a listening tour where she learned about the university and the community and we got a chance to meet her,” Nikki Clay, chair of The Campanile Foundation, wrote.

“With this foundation she proceeded to lead San Diego State University to new heights in philanthropic fundraising and research dollars and defy the critics and make Mission Valley campus a reality,” Clay continued. “She did this with compassion, collaboration and inclusion."

Eugene Olevsky, the College of Engineering dean, wrote in his letter: “One of the emphases of President de la Torre’s leadership at SDSU is on the development of innovative curricula. This has led to the substantial improvement of the graduation rates across the entire university, with dramatic growth in some academic programs. In the College of Engineering, the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 100% during the last three years.”

Olevski continued: “Overall, President de la Torre has provided our university with an unprecedented level of professional leadership, energy, and innovation.”

Mark Wheeler, former University Senate Chair under President de la Torre and current interim Dean of SDSU Imperial Valley, also prepared a letter, indicating that de la Torre’s vision for Imperial Valley has been one of the most distinct, and most needed, strengths she has brought to the university as president.

“President de la Torre’s concern for the Imperial Valley community, and her demonstrated commitment to foster SDSU Imperial Valley and include it in all aspects of shared governance, has transformed the prospects of the region and has brought much needed hope to the community,” Wheeler shared.

“I won’t labor over this fact (others will, I’m sure) — President de la Torre does all the outreach and fundraising work you could ask of a President.” Wheeler continued. “There’s also the Mission Valley Campus success, which is enough, but she has done more. She does the essential in-reaching work that helps to bring a campus community together. She has shown up. President de la Torre makes her care known and demonstrates her commitment to all of us. And, in my opinion, this care and commitment is worth more than gold, and it also helps us attract more gold.”

Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa closed his letter to the Chancellor by acknowledging the President’s ability to apply her economics background to an organizational health assessment early on, and the benefit that has provided to SDSU. “She accurately and effectively assessed SDSU’s organizational strength and health, and her assessment prompted significant improvements in critical, long overlooked areas.  Subsequently, she has improved our ability to address long-term needs and enhanced our ability to meet the goals of our newly developed strategic plan.”

Read CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro’s full letter online. De la Torre’s next formal evaluation will occur with the chancellor and Board of Trustees in 2024.

 
President Adela de la Torre's Review
The three-year review for SDSU President Adela de la Torre is now complete.