California State University, Stanislaus President Joseph F. Sheley addressed hundreds of campus community members today during his annual address at the University.
His opening point of emphasis focused on financial matters. He noted the budget was flat for this year, however he cautioned, “there is not nearly enough funding available to permit us to address many of our challenges, let alone pursue our aspirations. Nor can we bet on the future with any real confidence. Prop 30 expires just two years from now and then we will be back into the discussion about how to fund higher education again.”
While the budget was flat, the University’s success has skyrocketed. Sheley emphasized the many accolades CSU Stanislaus has earned, including the No. 28 ranking nationwide by TIME Magazine, among others and the success of the athletic programs, most notably being the women’s soccer team.
Sheley continued to repeat the mantra of classroom success and a focus on molding young people into competent writers and oral communicators.
“So strong should our students be in the basics that employers hire them practically sight unseen, confident that a Stan State student always will come through for that employer.”
In order to accomplish that goal, as well as improving the continuing push for improved advisement and foundational academic skills, Sheley said efforts to connect with K-12 schools will prepare students and parents for not what it takes to reach college, but what it takes to succeed once there.
“The Central Valley needs more college graduates,” he said. “That will entail an advising effort writ large, community wide, coordinated and focused. If we do that we will see students ready for college, not wondering if they should be here.”
The commitment to student success should be CSU Stanislaus’ signature, Sheley said, and with that signature must come easier identification of the University itself.
He joked that “California State University, Stanislaus” takes six seconds to say and no one takes the time to spit it all out.
Sheley plans to launch an effort this year to develop a new University logo, to settle on consistent short names for the University, be it Stan State, Cal State Stanislaus, etc. He also hopes to develop a tagline that encompasses the University’s mission and strengths.
“There is real value in forcing ourselves to distill our purpose to fewer than 10 words or to attempt to capture the University’s essence in a single image or design,” Sheley said.
Another part of the CSU Stanislaus story must be the health, safety and security of everyone on campus, he said. Colleges across the nation are facing new regulations aimed at improving their response to and handling of sexual assault cases, in particular, and CSU Stanislaus will continue to work diligently to implement all laws and to educate students, faculty and staff about relevant policies. But even more important, Sheley said, is the sense of community and responsibility that everyone within the University family should feel.
To help illustrate the point, Sheley was joined on stage by students from Warrior Watch — a program that promotes individual responsibility in helping other students who are in trouble — and members of the Student Health Advisory Committee.
“This is our home, and we look out for each other in our home,” he said. “Those here on stage already have committed to help us change ours to a culture of bystander intervention. They are making a difference, and I am grateful. I now ask others to join them.”