University President Michael Ortiz and ASI President Johnathan Jianu responded to questions on a variety of topics, including getting into classes, on-campus activities and repaving South Campus Drive, at the fall quarter Pizza with the Presidents.
Timely graduation, more course sections and night classes were the main concerns raised at the lunchtime event Tuesday. Ortiz said the university is ¿laser-beam focused¿ on the Graduation Initiative, which seeks to decrease bottleneck courses, improve advising and ensure that students have the resources they need.
¿We¿ve really made tremendous efforts to provide as many courses as we could and as many sections as we could,¿ Ortiz said. Despite a $36.9 million cut to the university¿s budget, students are carrying an average unit load of 13.2, which is higher than the average at many CSU campuses. However, it would be impossible to meet every demand for certain courses at certain times of the day, such as 9 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday or 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
Improving advising is a university goal this year, said Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate vice president for academic programs and one of the Graduation Initiative coordinators. Committee members will be getting input from faculty, staff and students about advising, what works and what may need to change.
¿Everything about advising is on the table,¿ Pinter-Lucke said. ¿Who does the advising, how the advising is done, when is the advising is done, what resources we have to support advising.¿
Doug Freer, vice president of student affairs, urged students to be actively engaged in the university by getting involved in student life, meeting with their advisors regularly and utilizing the available resources. Being engaged is key to graduating, Freer said.
¿This is a two-way relationship¿ You have a horse in this race too,¿ Freer said. ¿Have you made those kind of connections with this place that are out there and available to you? I hope the answer is yes.¿
Jianu echoed those comments and suggested that students join a club, council or ASI. One of ASI¿s weekly activities involves visiting the offices of local legislators to advocate for higher education. Also, Jianu highlighted two new ASI programs ¿ the sustainability board, which brings together various groups and individuals interested the university¿s climate commitment, and the Freshmen Involvement Team, which gives first-year students the opportunity to have their voice heard.
¿We¿re all here to get a job afterward. Building those networks now is vital to getting a job after you graduate,¿ Jianu said.
More highlights of the quarterly Q&A:
- Mark Miller, director of facilities management, said the city of Pomona has received state funding to maintain roads and is planning to repave South Campus Drive next summer.
- Cal Poly Pomona just finished a campus-wide discussion about a proposal to convert to the semester system. Although it might be a good idea for in the long term, Ortiz said, there is no funding for the conversion and it is not on the university¿s five-year horizon.
- Last year, students requested and received extended hours for the University Library for Week 10 and finals week during winter and spring quarters. On weekends, the library is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Library Dean Ray Wang welcomed students to speak with him about additional hours.
- Cal Poly Pomona has the largest housing population among the urban CSU campuses, Freer said. At the beginning of the year, there were some challenges in providing enough housing for freshmen and returning students, but Freer does not expect the scenario to repeat itself. He said the campus is planning for a new freshman village that would replace the traditional residence halls.
- If students have concerns, they should first seek out their advisor, department office, department chair and college dean, especially if it relates to an academic issue. Lavada Austin, director of the Ombuds Office, serves as a confidential resource for those who have concerns or need independent counsel in conflict resolution.
- In preparation for the university¿s 75th anniversary in the 2012-13 academic year, a traditions committee is looking at ways to celebrate campus traditions. Contact Ron Fremont or Doug Freer for details.
- What video games do the presidents play? Jianu described himself as an Xbox gamer who enjoys Gears of War, Gears of War 3 and ¿all the good stuff.¿ Ortiz said: ¿My daughter works at Blizzard, so obviously I play World of Warcraft.¿