In the last convocation speech of his tenure at Cal Poly Pomona, President Michael Ortiz charted a nostalgic, yet forward-looking path, reflecting on his administration while at the same time addressing big changes to come for the university.
Chief among the changes is Cal Poly Pomona’s next president, Soraya M. Coley, whom Ortiz introduced to the audience. Coley, currently the provost and vice president for academic affairs at CSU Bakersfield, will take the helm following Ortiz’s retirement in December.
Ortiz also introduced new vice presidents, college deans and the Associated Students Inc. leadership. The deans included Lea Dopson, who is leading the Collins College of Hospitality Management, and Mary Holz Clause, who is heading the College of Agriculture. The vice presidents included Michelle Stoddard, who is serving as the acting vice president for University Advancement; Steven Garcia, vice president of Administrative Affairs; and Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, who is serving as acting vice president of Student Affairs. ASI’s new president is James Cox and Louis Harfouche is the vice president.
Another major campus development Ortiz outlined is a campaign to prevent sexual assault and violence. While the university has already been applauded for its efforts by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education, it will be hiring a special Title IX director and deputy director to conduct investigations into sexual violence.
Ortiz also announced a number of Web-related changes, including the switch to the cpp.edu domain name, a new email and online file storage system, and the launch of the We Are Cal Poly Pomona website, which shares the personal stories of the university’s students, staff and faculty.
“Personally, I like to call this our bragging page,” he said. “You can’t read through the stories of our faculty and staff or watch videos of inspiring students and not be proud of our community.”
Ortiz provided an update on semester conversion, which is making progress and scheduled for implementation in fall 2018, and he touched on the success of the Campaign for Cal Poly Pomona, which exceeded its $150 million goal by more than $10 million, and thanked faculty and staff for their time and donations.
Other new programs and initiatives he mentioned were:
- A new summer program called Engineering Your Future, which helps incoming engineering students with their transition to college.
- Learning in Communities, or LinC, which will give students a cohort-themed approach to their education.
- The construction of a parking structure with 1,500 spaces near iPoly High School, to be completed by fall 2016
- The Students Services building, which will include an underground parking garage, to be completed by fall 2018
- Innovation Village’s Phase 5, a three-story, 123,000-square-foot office building
- The potential acquisition of the Lanterman Development Center by the university.
On a personal note, Ortiz thanked his wife, Betty, for her years of volunteer service in the University Library, as a board member for Partners in Education, at the Veterans Resource Center, and in leading the All-Steinway School Initiative. He looks forward to spending more time with family, in particular his grandsons.
In an emotional closing, he thanked staff and faculty for their commitment to the university and its students.
“Thank you for allowing Betty Faye and me to call this beautiful campus home,” he said.
“Remember everything that we have accomplished over the years and think of all that we can still achieve in our final months together.”
For a video of Convocation, visit https://video.cpp.edu/streaming/fallconf.php.
Later in the day and on Tuesday, workshops held in the Bronco Student Center covered many of the upcoming changes, and last year’s achievements in greater detail.
Summaries of selected workshops follow:
Semester Conversion 101
With a huge undertaking at hand and the first of two target dates looming in December, the chair of the Semester Conversion Steering Committee urged faculty members to start work on adapting classes and programs for the semester system.
Referrals regarding general education structure and units, degree programs, semester length and class time modules are due to the Academic Senate on Dec. 5. The target date for pre-proposals that give the first hint of how classes and programs will be revised is Feb. 2, 2015.
Francelina Neto, chair of the Steering Committee, assured faculty members attending the Monday workshop that their input is needed and that their concerns about semester conversion would be addressed.
During the spring and summer, the committee has held more than 30 meetings with departments, colleges and chairs on semester conversion planning. In addition, the committee has held discussions with counterparts at Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Bakersfield, which also are converting to semester systems.
Other issues addressed at the workshop included the length of the semester, class sizes and course unit conversion from the quarter to semester.
Department Planning —Semester Conversion
Semester conversion will provide both opportunities and challenges for departments, representatives said during a Monday afternoon panel discussion.
The mandate has provided departments such as liberal studies and urban and regional planning the chance to reevaluate their mission, goals and curriculum.
However, the transition raises questions in other departments about balancing faculty workloads, how to schedule classes, whether class sizes will need to increase, and how faculty will continue scholarship during the process.
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to semester conversion, the panelists encouraged everyone to participate in the process, consult with other departments on campus, and even study how other universities have made the transition.
General Education and Academic Programs Senate Committees: Semester Conversion Update
At a two-pronged workshop, the complexity over how units should be counted and the switch to a 48-unit general education requirement for the semester conversion were examined.
The Academic Programs Senate Committee made the first round of recommendations on unit rules to “saw off the roughest edges.” One of the main points of discussion was the double-counting of units that overlap requirements for majors and general education.
The committee also addressed unit requirements for options within the same major. Panel members are leaning toward not requiring a minimum number of units for an option.
After conducting extensive research of general education requirements across the Cal State University system, the General Education Committee concluded that converting to a 48-unit system for general education units is “doable” for the semester model.
The committee has an Oct. 20 target date to seek feedback and consultation and write a report on the 48-unit plan for a first reading in the Academic Senate.
The General Education Committee also is tasked with changing existing general education language in the curriculum guide to contain broad and inclusive language that encourages student opportunities and creates learning options.
Cal Poly Pomona has developed a steering committee to help the university attain the new Cal State University Graduation Initiative.
The CSU is looking to increase six-year graduation rates of freshmen and decrease the gap in degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students.
Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate provost for academic programs, and Teshia Young Roby, co-chair of the Graduation Initiative Steering Committee, presented some of the programs and initiatives that will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year to help attain those goals.
They include the designing of advising models, implementation of advising software and degree programs, co-curricular engagement software expansion as well as starting the learning communities’ pilot, or LinC, which consists of four general education courses focused around an interdisciplinary theme.
Innovations in Instruction
Shanthi Srinivas, associate vice president for academic planning, policy and faculty affairs, led a workshop that featured faculty guest speakers who had engaged in innovative ways of instructing students.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Paul Nissenson reviewed his experience creating and running the university’s first massive open online course, or MOOC, last spring.
The course, which taught basic programming skills, attracted nearly 2,000 students from many countries. Nearly 60 percent of those who remained engaged with the class ended up passing it. Of those who completed the course, 97 percent said they would take another MOOC, and more than half said they would pay $10 or more for such a class. Nissenson said he intends to teach another MOOC this year, possibly on a larger scale.
Business Professor Olukemi Sawyerr gave a presentation on the Innovation and Commercialization lab, a multidisciplinary course that brings together STEM and business students with the goal of having them develop a technology-based business.
In the three-quarter course, the students are responsible for developing a working product, a business plan, then producing the product and finally selling it. In the past five years, the program has involved 97 students and developed seven new products or services. Their ventures can be seen at https://www.cpp.edu/~polypresents/.
Student Affairs Assessment Showcase
The Division of Student Affairs held a poster session on Tuesday in the Bronco Student Center, giving the campus community a chance to see in-depth assessments of the division’s programs and services.
The purpose of the event was to showcase research findings on the effectiveness of the division’s initiatives, and to help both the division and the campus community better understand student affairs.
The assessment showcase represented the entire division and featured nearly 25 posters. The project topics were diverse, ranging from surveys of the parking permit purchasing system and analytics for the university’s master calendar, to advisor-resident interaction in university housing, and the impact of the campus community on the Cesar E. Chavez Center for Higher Education. Some projects required testing new techniques and engagement with the student body, while others examined pre-existing data and protocol.