Presidents Address Transportation, Housing & Financial Aid at Forum

Presidents Address Transportation, Housing & Financial Aid at Forum
University President Michael Ortiz and ASI President Jason Dyogi field questions from students during “Dinner With the Presidents.
Nearly 100 students gathered in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Major Suite to enjoy free pizza and drinks and to speak openly with the presidents.

Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz and Associated Students Inc. President Jason Dyogi answered students' questions about parking and transportation, financial aid, online courses and campus construction, among other issues at “Dinner With the Presidents” on Feb. 8.

Nearly 100 students gathered in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Major Suite to enjoy free pizza and drinks and to speak openly with the presidents at the quarterly event hosted by the President's Office and ASI. More than 400 pieces of pizza and 100 beverages were served.

In addition, dozens of staff, faculty and administrators were available to answer some of the students' questions.

Several questions related to the soon-to-be built parking structure and the campus shuttle system. Charles Holt, director of Parking & Transportation Services, invited students to attend a meeting later that evening at the University Village to discuss the shuttle routes and schedules.

Doug Freer, associate vice president for Student Affairs, updated students on the 2,378-space parking facility that is slated to open by Fall 2006. He explained that although roughly 1,000 spaces have been blocked off while the structure is under construction, an additional 1,000 surface parking spaces across campus have been or are in the process of being rolled out.

“While we understand that you may not have parking exactly where you want it to be, there is tons of parking available in Lots B, K and E,” said Freer.

A faculty member asked Ortiz to explain the concept of becoming a learning-centered university. Ortiz explained that the idea behind a learning-centered university is to make all campus decisions based on how they will affect student, faculty and staff learning.

“We're all here to try to make it a better place for you to learn and reach your goals,” said Ortiz.

One student asked the presidents to share their view on the current proposal to change faculty office hour policies.

“When we go about trying to establish a number of mandatory days and hours, we're going about it the wrong way,” said Ortiz. “Our decision should be based on the purpose of office hours and whether the students' needs are being met.”

Dyogi said he personally did not support the presented idea of a virtual office hour.

“It wasn't really defined. It was very vague,” he said. “The policy doesn't really show how they are going to accommodate the increase of students.”

“As a biology major, I think it would be a little difficult to learn through e-mail communication. The professor can't see my personal expression and my body language to see if I'm actually learning,” he added. “I would like to put the policy in front of the Academic Senate and address some of those issues.”

Another student asked if there were any plans to create a central hub for Greeks on campus. Ortiz said San Diego State University recently created such a place for Greeks, and he plans to look at their model and see how it might impact a campus before making any decisions to create one at Cal Poly Pomona.

Other items of interest that came out of the discussion included: 1) Plans to install a wireless network in the Bronco Student Center by the end of the fiscal year, 2) Plans to identify 10-15 courses over the next few years that could be converted to online classes and 3) A look at the possibility of extending customer service hours in the Registrar's Office and/or Financial Aid during heavy registration periods.

Dyogi urged students to get involved by becoming representatives on various campus committees.

“I encourage students to actively take a role,” said Dyogi. “Remember that ASI representation is roughly under 32 students, and there are so many committees out there that need student input.”

The next “Lunch With the Presidents” will be held Thursday, April 28, from noon to 1 p.m., in the University Quad.