During the fall 2005 term, a three-year review of J. Michael Ortiz, president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), was conducted. The review took the form of collecting and summarizing letters from a selection of the campus community, both internal and external. The review concluded on Jan. 31, with discussion of the review by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees and I appreciate the contributions of those who worked with us on this review.
Criteria established by the Board of Trustees in 1984, and updated in 1994 and 2001, were used to assess the performance of President Ortiz and the progress of the institution. These measures included the overall management of the institution, relations on campus and within the system, educational leadership, community relations, major achievements of the campus and the president, and personal characteristics of the president. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community representatives were invited to submit written comments responding to the trustees criteria.
The upshot of this review is that President Ortiz is doing a fantastic job at Cal Poly Pomona. Before he arrived, the morale among administrators was very low and the divide between the faculty, particularly the leadership of the academic senate, and the administration was very deep. President Ortiz has reversed that atmosphere. Dr. Ortiz treats everyone – faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members – with respect, and in return, they treat him with respect.
It was reported that President Ortiz is not defensive in responding to questions when attending meetings of the academic senate. Occasionally, he attends meetings of the senate executive committee and, through mutual agreement, potential conflicts are minimized. Dr. Ortiz disagreed with a few individuals by discontinuing some committees, but he created new, more inclusive committees in their place.
Overall, the friendly, open, accessible, and gregarious approach of President Ortiz has changed the university in positive ways. He is hands-on, but not a micro-manager. People trust Dr. Ortiz. The campus is filled with optimism and satisfaction that talented and caring people serve as recently appointed administrators.
President Ortiz works well with the multicultural student body and the diverse faculty and staff of the university. For a campus having engineering, agriculture, hospitality management, and architecture, there is much diversity in the student body; it looks like the surrounding communities.
With regard to educational leadership, President Ortiz brought Dr. Sally Johnstone, an expert on educational technology, to campus recently to encourage faculty to develop on-line and hybrid courses.
Dr. Ortiz aspires to provide more grants for high achieving students. Currently, the number of presidents scholars is relatively low and honors students do not receive any financial reward.
In order to devote critical time to the important task of healing the campus, Dr. Ortiz has not spent as much time in the community as a president might. He has, however, made a practice of speaking before advisory groups meeting on campus throughout the year. In the future, President Ortiz will be increasing his time in the community with business leaders and others.
The trustees and I appreciate knowing that Mrs. Betty Ortiz participates in campus events.
The following are goals for President Ortiz for the next three years:
1. Continue efforts resulting in good communications and relations with campus constituent groups, especially faculty leaders.
2. Complete the updating of the campus physical master plan.
3. Raise funds that would allow for significant increase in financial rewards for high achieving students and an expansion of the number of students being recognized, including presidents scholars, honors students, and foster care scholar students.
4. Continue pursuing opportunities for campus sponsored housing for faculty and staff.
5. Increase the overall fund raising results of the development division.
6. Start plans for a capital campaign.
7. Continue being available for service on CSU system committees.
President Michael Ortiz is an enthusiastic and solid executive for Cal Poly Pomona. He is an effective leader and a person of civility.
With kind regards,
Charles B. Reed
The California State University