Welcome back! I am looking forward to an exciting spring semester as we continue to create a strategic plan that will take us through the next decade. As co-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee with Stefan Frazier (Academic Senate Chair), I appreciate all the input that has been shared in the community conversations and online surveys.Students, staff, faculty, alumni, elected officials, advisory board members and other campus stakeholders all noted our strengths—the excellence of our academic programs, our welcoming community, an immense school spirit, our diversity, and the university’s location in San Jose—as well as our potential. I agree with you that our greatest asset is our people.
As we start a new year and renew the university’s commitment to student success, I am pleased to share examples of how students thrive with our support. We have students who present their research at national conferences, who have engaged in innovative product development that wows industry leaders, and who are shedding light on social issues such as homelessness and illiteracy.
The students featured this month come from a variety of majors, colleges and they have diverse backgrounds, but they all have one factor in common—they have forged connections with faculty, staff or administrators who guide them along the way to their achievements.
In fact, we can all help students in big and small ways. As an example, last fall we asked faculty to be sure to submit their course material and textbook requests on time to the Spartan Bookstore so that students would be able to attain required materials by the first day of class. We increased on-time submissions from 46 percent for spring 2017 to 98 percent for this semester. Thank you for making this small change to benefit our students!
I encourage staff and faculty to attend the inaugural Student Success Symposium on March 15, where leaders from other institutions will share the ways they have been successful in supporting students. Look for a save-the-date soon.
I also would like to invite everyone to join the Strategic Planning Steering Committee on the next step of our journey on February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. The committee will share the draft goal areas that came out of the many fall sessions, followed by a community conversation with lunch. Visit the strategic Planning Website to RSVP for the event and to view a summary of the fall input.
I hope you will be able to join me at our Third Annual Interdivisional Competition on February 10 as well. Enjoy an afternoon of free food, pre-game activities, fun and a friendly competition with our colleagues across campus as the Spartan Women’s Basketball team takes on the Colorado State Rams. RSVP by Feb 2.
With such a busy semester ahead, I am pleased to announce the launch of a new Academic Affairs Activities page on the Office of the Provost website. The page features informational items from the units and colleges within our division such as grant application deadlines, changes to policy, upcoming events and more.
I look forward to working with all of you as we continue to develop a strategic plan and advance support of students. I know we all have an incredible semester ahead of us!
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs