Responses to Your Feedback
I want to thank all of you who submitted your thoughts on this feedback page. I read every comment submitted!
I am encouraged by many positive remarks about what Fresno State does best. I am especially pleased to see multiple comments that we are a campus that genuinely cares about student success and takes steps to make that happen.
Comments on what we can do better are very helpful to me and Cabinet members as we continually look for ways to improve our University. I appreciate your honesty, your desire to see our University improve and your genuine affection for Fresno State.
Members of my Cabinet and I have prepared Responses to the most commonly submitted Concerns. I hope these will help explain and clarify some issues and inform you about background and procedures on others.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D. M.P.P.
Posted on: 11/09/15
Concern: I would like to see staff volunteers driving carts around the campus to answer questions from students/faculty/general public. Volunteers who are knowledgeable about the campus would be extremely beneficial to the campus community.
Response: Yes, we should always be thinking about how we can improve the level of service and responsiveness to our campus and the community. This suggestion is similar to an idea that came out of our Bold Ideas campaign last year. A “Solution Finder” team has been working on a plan to better serve our students and campus visitors with information to help navigate the campus and how to get help with specific services. Another consideration is that given current staffing levels, it may be difficult in some cases to allow staff to volunteer to be “ambassadors” during their regular work day. However, with expanded use and development of campus mobile apps and technology resources (iBeacons) — in addition to having key areas that offer personal, one-stop services where questions can be answered — we can improve the experience
Concern: I really would like to see a sculpture like the one at University of Houston to be part of new student building. Here is a link to info on it: http://www.uh.edu/uhtoday/2004/06jun/062804sanborn.html.
Response: Thank you for the suggestion. We will consider it.
Concern: Why did we have the first football game of the season on a Thursday when our students have class? I don't think it's appropriate to have all the streets jammed up, barbeques going on with music, etc., when the rest of us are trying to work. The notice said Barstow would be open one way (westbound to Cedar) and yet they had us blocked in and unable to get out. The people they had out there directing traffic didn't know what they were doing. I believe if there is a game during the work week, it should be mandatory that the campus be let out no later than 3 p.m. – or have the games on Saturday only.
Response: I appreciate hearing your concern. Football game times are generally determined by the television network that covers it. Our football games usually take place after 7 p.m. or on a Saturday to minimize disruption to educational programs taking place on campus. We will continue to be sensitive to your and others' concerns in this area in the future.
Concern: I've heard that President Castro is planning community talks. These should include sessions that reach out to the diverse population within the Valley, including Latino/a, Hmong and African American ethnicities. They should also include reaching out to various churches. Supporting the inter-faith community shows a commitment to diversity that is one of Fresno State's goals. Mrs. Castro should also participate in community talks directed to women, particularly Latina women, demonstrating the power that women from all backgrounds have to make a difference. Are you planning on having President and Mrs. Castro make community visits to local schools? They should visit schools in the area. They are such great examples for young people because they grew up in the Valley.
Response: Thank you for your suggestion. Your perspective aligns well with how Mrs. Castro and I view our roles on the campus and in the community. Together, and sometimes separately, we visit schools, community colleges, community centers, churches, and cultural centers throughout the Valley. We enjoy doing this because it enables us to share what is happening at Fresno State and to hear diverse perspectives about how Fresno State can be even stronger in the future. We have also initiated the Community Conversations Program to meet with alumni and friends in Visalia, Madera, Reedley and Lemoore during the next several months. Several Cabinet members will join me at these sessions, as they do at campus forums, so that they too can hear the important perspectives of the community we serve.
Concern: I’m very excited for all the changes around our University. I would like to propose another change that could bring a breath of fresh air (pun intended) to our beautiful campus. Let's make Fresno State a smoke-free campus. It is somewhat unacceptable that in this day and age smoking is still allowed on our campus, albeit in restricted areas. Schools in the CSU system (e.g. Fullerton, San Diego), as well as the entire UC system have gone smoke-free.
Response: Thank you for taking the time to share your view with me. I too enjoy fresh air and I am not a smoker. This shapes my perspective of the issue. However, I also respect those valuable members of our campus community who smoke and who follow the current rules in doing so on our campus. Our highest priority in the short term is to ensure that smoking only takes place in designated areas. In the medium term, I would like for our campus community to discuss openly the idea of a smoke-free campus. There are many issues that we would need to address in order for such a policy to be adopted and effectively implemented.
Concern: The surrounding area of Fresno State needs to be more "college friendly," more like Cal Poly or Chico State. I believe in order for a college to really develop school spirit and pride, the students need to take pride and live by campus. I'd love it if more students lived by campus, but as the surrounding area continues to get worse, who'd realistically want to live in a dangerous neighborhood? East Sierra Madre Avenue just south of Shaw Avenue and “Sin City” are prime examples. It would be really nice if the University bought some of the land in the areas mentioned above and turned them into something else other than Section 8 housing. Just imagine if all that area was a public park with big lush trees. Crime in the area would be dramatically reduced and it would make the area more desirable, especially for football games. The Bucket on campus is a prime example of poor marketing. That place can really be a huge revenue generator if managed correctly.
Response: Thank you for your suggestions. I too want our campus and surrounding community to be friendly and welcoming to all. The addition of Campus Pointe has made an important positive difference in our area. We are actively engaged in initiatives that support and strengthen the community surrounding the campus. While the economy has improved and funding to the CSU has increased, we must dedicate these limited funds to the many high priority academic and infrastructure needs on the campus. We would certainly be open to acquiring additional land in the area if it was gifted to the University by an outside entity. A new park would be beautiful!
Concern: Soliciting input from all campus sectors for the new Strategic Plan is a great idea. Will there be updates of the Progress Reports for each of the last Strategic Plan's seven themes? Before we envision new themes, we need reports that list the Performance Indicators outlined under each theme and the data showing whether they were met … so that we can then decide whether a theme is still necessary for our new plan.
Response: Thank you. Yes, we will provide an update in the near future on the current Strategic Plan's themes.
Concern: Attitude toward the future students (future customers): We waste a lot. Our buildings are cold in the summer, waste of energy. We print a lot. Since it is not transparent, we don't put an effort to reduce waste within our campus.
Response:Thank you. It is true that our older campus buildings are less energy efficient than our new ones. The good news is that our campus is more energy efficient than ever before because of investments we have already made. One of our highest priorities is to make the entire campus infrastructure even more energy efficient. Our efforts will include new roofs, HVAC systems, electrical systems, lighting upgrades, and eventually a new central plant.
Your point about printing is a good one. Our campus community has embraced the use of technology in many ways. I believe that there will be substantial decreases in the use of paper in the coming years as electronic documents become the dominant form of communication.
Concern: I would like to see more lectures given on campus by politicians and possibly diplomats or those involved with foreign affairs. Since many of us come from such diverse backgrounds, it would be nice to meet and have discussions with people who hold these offices.
Response: I agree that having guest speakers, including politicians and diplomats, lecture on campus is a great learning experience for our community. We have had many such lectures and will continue to do so. Please stay in touch with the campus website to learn about future lectures.
Concern: As part of our new strategic plan initiatives, give serious consideration to building a classroom building. We have faculty from common departments spread out over campus. Scheduling classes to meet student and faculty needs has become so complicated it is almost surreal, and while budget models promote large classes, we do not have the space for them. What are plans for future classroom space?
Response: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. In our new strategic plan, one of the highest priorities will likely be the strengthening of our campus physical infrastructure. Our efforts will include a focus on improving the teaching and learning infrastructure at Fresno State, including modernizing existing spaces (as needed) and creating new spaces when we can. While more space is needed, I want us to be more efficient in using the current space we have available. This will require all of us to be open to classes throughout the day and evening hours. More online classes taught by faculty who embrace the use of technology in teaching and students who learn well in such an environment will also help to alleviate space challenges. I hope that you will be active in the discussions that take place in this important area.
Concern: When is Fresno State planning to provide Active Shooter training and info as many other colleges and universities have? Unfortunately, this is very important information to have as there is no time to "think" if an event should suddenly occur.
Response: Thank you for acknowledging how important it is to educate our entire campus community on emergency preparedness. Unfortunately, recent events continue to remind us that there are acts of random violence happening on college campuses across the nation. Our Fresno State Police Department has provided active shooter training to the campus community for the past several years. Our officers continue to offer this training and have increased the number of sessions planned for this fall and next spring. These training sessions are available to the entire campus or can be customized for a specific school/college or department. We are also reviewing being able to offer an online active shooting training that can be accessed online via Skillport. To schedule training for your department or to learn more about the programs and trainings available, please contact Amy Luna, emergency preparedness coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concern: Parking is always an item of contention, yet most of the reserved spots on Matoian under the solar panels (near the electric charging stations) remain empty on a daily basis. Are there plans to revamp that area?
Response: Yes, we agree. We recently converted 96 premium reserved spaces under the solar panels in lot P2 to increase the number of parking stalls for student permits.
Concern: Why is sod being installed around the new Physical Therapy and Intercollegiate Athletics Building near the North Gym? The University missed an opportunity to set an example for xeriscaping a highly visible portion of campus.
Response: We recognize that water is a precious resource and together our campus community has taken this responsibility to reduce water/irrigation usage very seriously. We are proud of the fact that we are on track to meet (or exceed) the Governor’s mandated percentage reduction. However, there are always more opportunities to reduce the amount of irrigated grass areas especially with new landscape projects. We try to have some limited green areas around our buildings in addition to drought tolerant plant material in the planter areas. The campus has aggressive plans to evaluate replacing large grass/play field areas with artificial lawn (turf).
Concern: Please fly the American Flag from the flagpole in front of the Save Mart Center. The flag flies on the backside of campus in front of the North Gym and that is great.
Response: We proudly fly an American Flag at the Save Mart Center. The pole is located along Shaw Avenue between the Save Mart Center and the Student Recreation Center.
Concern: There are two microwaves in the Student Union and both have long lines. Can we get more microwaves there or in some of the buildings closer to classrooms?
Response: Yes, Administrative Services is working with Student Involvement to identify additional locations, but we also need to increase the electrical capacity in the current to accommodate the usage.
Concern: I request that you look into the unpleasantly cold temperature that is the norm in the Peters Education Center Auditorium. I was there for the Sept. 4 CineCulture film at 5:30 p.m. and I was chilled to the bone by the time I left, even though I was wearing long pants and a hooded sweatshirt. (Some experienced moviegoers bring blankets!) Over and beyond the discomfort factor, isn't it awfully expensive to maintain abnormally low temperatures in a building like that?
Response: Last year we added an additional thermostat in this PEC in order to better manage/control the room temperature. However, sometimes the need for cooler temperatures for the main fitness equipment area may cause this room to get cooler than desired. We will determine what other measures can be taken to provide a more consistent and comfortable temperature.
Concern: There needs to be more left-handed desks. We also need larger desks. It is very hard to maneuver a book, a computer, notebook, etc. on a tiny desk.
Response: We provide approximately 5-8% of the desks in each classroom with ones that are for left-handed persons. However, on occasion, desks are moved from classroom to classroom based upon that semester’s need for more or fewer left-handed desks. If there is a classroom that needs additional left-handed desks, please contact the University Warehouse so we have additional ones brought in to your classroom.
The capacity or occupancy of each classroom is based upon a standard CSU formula of for 20 square feet per person. If we were to purchase larger desks, this could impact (reduce) the capacity of the classroom. We recognize that with laptops and tablet the space on the desk may not be adequate. We will evaluate and determine if there is an alternative style that would not impact the capacity of the classroom.
Concern: Sept. 22 was the last day to drop a course, but the bookstore stopped accepting book returns on Sept. 8. When I went to return $100 books for a class dropped, I was told that I have to wait until December for buy back. The problem with that is the bookstore likes to sell books for $60 and buy them back for $3. So I am losing out on $100 that I desperately need as a student because the bookstore has terrible policies about book returns.
Response: We understand the frustration and the impact financially; however, the Kennel Bookstore’s return policy has been in place for many years and the policy is well communicated at time of purchase and at multiple signage locations inside the store. We will take additional steps to communicate more broadly the last day to return textbooks each semester (i.e. Library, USU, SRC, social media, etc.).
Concern: I want to lodge a complaint/request a change regarding the smoking area by the parking lot outside the Conley Art Building. Currently it is located right on the only paved pathway between the parking lot and the building. Unless you walk across the sometimes wet and soggy lawn, you have to pass right through this smoking area. Recognizing that smokers have their rights too, I would suggest moving the area even just 20 feet away toward the Joyal Building to the west. That way it is still convenient, but people entering from the parking lot do not have to be subjected to second-hand smoke and odor. Unfortunately, that space could create issues for people walking on the sidewalk there, but maybe a wall or green barrier (shrub) could be installed to minimize the problem.
Response: Thank you. We will have our staff in Environmental Health and Safety evaluate the current designated smoking location and determine if there is another suitable location nearby that would be less disruptive to pedestrians.
Concern: Catering is now charging for each plate, fork, spoon, knife, glass, napkin and server. This is on top of a recently enacted policy that charges for drop-off or pick-up service "after hours," which includes times in the middle of the work day. Is there any other restaurant in the country that includes charges like this? These are just two examples of why so many faculty, staff and administrators are so frustrated with catering charges and service. They do many things well, and I have experienced some exceptional service from Catering. However, charges like this are simply ridiculous.
Response: University Catering strives to keep our pricing affordable and competitive while at the same time faces a requirement to be self-supporting. Our pricing is based on confirmed number (head count) for the event and there is no charge for plates or utensils. There is a service charge for after hour drop-offs and pick-ups in order to offset additional labor costs.
Concern: The drop off/pick up area for the University High area is becoming more and more dangerous. Cars in this area are double- if not triple-parked. Illegal U-turns are being made as well as other unsafe maneuvers. This makes it extremely unsafe for pedestrians and cars in the area during the morning and afternoon times.
Response: We are evaluating what possible improvements can be made to the drop-off area to mitigate this situation especially at drop off and pick-up times. We are also working with the administration at the University High School to address this issue with their students and parents.
Concern: I'd like to know why, with the construction of a new Physical Therapy and Intercollegiate Athletics Building that someone did not think to address the impact this would have on parking for faculty and staff on the west side of campus (specifically lots P23 and P24). There are no longer any available spots for faculty and staff who arrive after 8:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. And when will the "port-a-potties" be removed? Are these going to be removed in the near future, or are we stuck with them until the end of football season?
Response: We are currently evaluating modifications to parking lots P23 & P24 that would add future additional yellow or faculty/staff parking stall inventory to this area of campus while not impacting the number of student “green” parking stalls.
Concern: We should have dedicated paths across campus for bikes/skateboards/scooters, similar to the ones at places like UC Santa Barbara. This could easily be done by converting current sidewalks to "wheels only" paths, or building a few additional sidewalks where they would be required. It is very dangerous for those of us walking around campus trying to avoid the much faster riders and also for them as well.
Response: Yes, our goal is to encourage more alternative transportation options. As such, the University’s draft of an active transportation plan addresses many of these needs. The plan calls for areas where bicycle traffic should be separate as well as shared pathways that need to be widened to accommodate pedestrians and those on bikes and skateboards.
Concern: Let’s plan something different with all of the grass at Fresno State. A different landscaping plan needs to be put into action with some drought-tolerant local flora and fauna. Watering all those lawns at Fresno State doesn't make sense in this day and age. Plant gardens, fruit trees, rock gardens, serenity natural earth gardens.
Response: We concur. Please refer to Response: above in Response: to concern about Physical Therapy and Intercollegiate Athletics Building landscape.
Concern: Please consider utilizing the campus Police Department, or other volunteers, to direct traffic onto campus in the morning on Woodrow. It often takes 30 minutes to get from the roundabout at Barstow to the staff and faculty parking lots. I thought the problem would dissipate as the semester settled down, but it has not.
Response: We currently have a traffic engineer evaluating the pedestrian and vehicle traffic flows traffic flows along Chestnut and Barstow avenues to identify opportunities that would help to mitigate the wait time. However, our campus population is growing each year, so there will continue to be additional traffic at peak times. The University is also in the process of initiating a campus shuttle service for the spring 2016 semester, which will also help to alleviate some of the traffic/parking challenges.
Concern: I suggest we have food available that caters to health-conscious people. We are definitely willing to pay for it because we are so busy at school. It would be nice to see paleo, vegan and/or gluten-free options.
Response: We have increased the number of healthy menu items that are vegan and/or gluten-free and which are primarily offered in our various campus retail dining options. Please visit the USU Snack Bar and the Paws-N-Go location at the North Gym. If you have specific recommendations for menu items you would like to see offered, please contact Debbie Guill, dining services manager, at email@example.com
Concern: It would be helpful to have a fueling station within campus grounds. The closest gas station is at Shaw and Willow.
Response: At this time there are no accommodations in our campus master plan for a gas station. The location would need to be off of a major street and would have to also allow access to the general public. The only location potentially suitable to accommodate a gas station would be Campus Pointe, but the Environmental Impact Report did not analyze that potential land use as an alternative. There are gas stations in close proximity to the campus at Shaw and Willow, Shaw and Sixth, and Cedar and Gettysburg Avenues.
Concern: I would like to point out the inflation of our food service prices here on campus. There should be a price cap in correlation to our incomes and resistance to ridiculous price gouging.
Response: University Dining Services strives to offer a variety of food/menu items of which many are very cost effective (i.e. $5 Fridays at the Dining Halls; $5 value meals at The Bucket). We keep our margins low, but are also required to cover all operating costs to be financially self-supporting as part of an auxiliary organization.
Concern: I have great concern that students are not aware of the Fresno State Programs for Children. Specifically, my concern is that other students are not aware of the parking sites that are meant for parents to drop off or pick up a child. I believe all of our centers at Fresno State have this issue because students take the parking spaces assigned for the centers, forcing parenting students to park in another area and cross unsafe streets with their children. We have contacted campus police so many times to help us with this issue with no success. The roundabout in Campus Drive next to the Family Science Building has a very tiny sign stating the space is for Campus Children's Center, but no one sees it because it's so tiny. Students park in these areas to go to class and we are forced to park in the "drop-off only" area to later find that we have a ticket because we left our cars to drop our children off. There needs to be improvement in this area for our children. Campus police is tired of hearing from us, and still they do nothing for us.
Response: These areas are marked with signs as 30-minute zones for child care centers only. We will follow up with our parking staff regarding need for additional communication and enforcement. The addition of this roundabout and drop off area at Campus Drive near the Family Food Sciences Building has been a positive improvement and more convenient. It was specifically designed to serve our child care centers only.
Concern: I think that during midterms/finals week, the library hours should be extended past midnight.
Response:We have received the request to extend library hours previously and spent some time evaluating it. As a result, and with additional funding, we have extended library hours until midnight Monday through Thursday during the fall 2015 term. With the number of library services available online, we find that most library services are not widely used during these extended hours. For example, on a recent night only one item was checked out after 11 p.m. We recognize that considerable research shows that students who get more sleep get better grades, and we are reluctant to ask our students who staff the library to put in even later hours. Some students may have few options to studying late and need a space to do so. We are exploring options that will provide study spaces for the relatively few students in this category in a more cost effective manner.
Concern: I would like to provide input regarding my concerns as a graduate student within the College of Science and Mathematics and improvement needed on the standards and policies for student success (undergrad, graduates, and Doctoral). In my department, when it comes to undergrads, the faculty, hands-down, does an excellent job teaching and providing assistance. Faculty are extremely enthusiastic. However, when it comes to the graduates, I do not get the same level of assistance when it comes to my own thesis. The subject of my thesis is not a research interest for any of the faculty in my department, but I am excited and passionate about it. My thesis is near completion except for a setback. In order to complete the graduate program, I need to find an adviser for my thesis, and that is currently what I’m having to deal with before I can graduate.
Also, I would like to comment on the faculty’s timely review of graduate students’ work toward their theses not associated with a course. As a graduate student, I have heard that some of my colleagues’ graduations were postponed for another semester or more because their review committee was not able to complete its review. I would suggest measures that require that theses are reviewed in a timely manner. Perhaps a designated deadline, like in the submission of grades, is necessary.
Response: from the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics: The College of Science and Mathematics is proud of the research it conducts with both undergraduate and graduate students. Each of the graduate programs in the college have policies in place to ensure proper supervision of the research project, and typically involve the development of a thesis proposal that is approved by a thesis adviser and thesis committee members prior to conducting the research. It would be highly unusual for a thesis project to near completion without the thesis proposal being first approved by an adviser working with the student. We suggest you work with the graduate coordinator of your program to provide some specifics of your situation so that we can determine how this situation developed. Review and feedback on thesis drafts is highly specific to the project, and deadlines for the submission of drafts to committee members — as well as for the timely return of feedback to the student — are established through consultation between the graduate student and the thesis committee members.
The Division of Graduate Studies has, historically, provided resources designed to help students complete the culminating experience portion (i.e., project, theses, dissertations) of their graduate degrees. The division has long employed a dedicated staff member tasked with resourcing graduate students nearing thesis completion. Additionally, in 2010, the Graduate Writing Studio opened to provide specialized support to students in the various phases of the thesis writing process. This supplemental writing instruction is a free service designed to help graduate students complete degree requirements, specifically the culminating experience portion of their degrees.
Concern: I would suggest that more online classes be added to the upper-division general education categories. Since the university basically requires students to take one course from each category of Upper Division General Education, the least you could do is offer more sections online. (FYI – here is rest of the submission, which I trimmed. SA). For example, This fall semester, the selection of online courses in the IC category are very sparse. Two Linguistics courses and two sections of Interdisciplinary Arts. Yes, out of the 73+ sections of courses offered in the IC category, only three 'online' options exist. That's what? 4% of the entire IC catalog? The problem with one of the options is that it is limited to Liberal Arts majors (IAS 108). The other option is two Linguistics courses. So, if you need to take an online course in the IC category, your only real option is if you're a Liberal Arts major because if you're a Linguistics major, you're out of luck. This is ridiculous that as students, we are forced to even take upper division classes in the first place, then to compound the problem by offering so few online options. The university made such a big stink about these Discover-e courses and students having an iPad, then let's put the iPads to use by offering more sections of online courses in the Upper Division catalogs.
Response: You are correct that area IC has relatively few online courses – only 10 percent of the sections and 9 percent of the enrollments this semester are in online courses. However, the other areas of upper division GE are relatively rich in online offerings: 23 percent of ID course enrollments are online, 42 percent of M/I and 48 percent of IB. University faculty are actively working to develop new online courses where appropriate. The University has a program to assist faculty in redesigning their courses and help ensure online courses are of high quality.
Concern: Either do away with the writing course requirement or outsource the grading to some group that doesn't have a financial motive to fail students who take the UDWE. Having someone at Fresno State grading the UDWEs is a gross conflict of interest as it motivates the grader to intentionally fail students so the University can make more money by forcing the students to take a writing course.
Response: The California State University requires all students meet a “graduation writing assessment requirement” to assure that they have acquired the necessary writing skills needed to succeed in the work place or graduate school. Ten campuses require an exam, two require a course, three require both and seven (including Fresno State) require a course or an exam.
Most students on our campus choose to take the course (in a few majors the course is required), but about 30 percent take the Upper-Division Writing Exam. Roughly two-thirds of these students pass the exam. The exam is scored by a series of readers, some of whom are faculty here, some of whom are faculty at other institutions, some of whom are former M.A. or M.F.A. candidates who have received their post-baccalaureate degrees and gone on to teach at community colleges around the state. There is no financial incentive for any of the readers to fail students in order to fill more courses. There is no financial incentive on the part of the University to fail students. Our goal is success for all students,
Concern: I do not pay my money to go to G.E. classes and hear the instructors’ opinions. I do not mind being challenged as all of our experiences are biased to some extent. However, I pay money to learn facts, not opinions. In two of my courses, it has been 85 percent professor one-sided opinion and 15 percent factual objective information.
Response: Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. General education courses provide the opportunity for students to develop a foundational, broad and integrative knowledge of critical components of the humanities, the arts, the sciences, and the social sciences, and begin to integrate those with their major field of study. Students explore concepts and questions that bridge the various areas of their learning. These courses help burnish student skills in oral and written communication, develop critical thinking skills, and hone one’s ability to distinguish truth, as well as learned accepted facts. Subjectivity is inherent in many disciplines (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and a faculty member’s goal is often to help the students understand the frameworks used by experts in the field to arrive at conclusions. In such fields, objectivity is difficult to come by, but you should certainly ask questions to understand the basis on which arguments are being made and by which opinions are being formed.
Concern: There are not enough areas of silence for those of us that like to work quietly. The only computer "quiet area" is located in the second floor of the Library and I find it rather loud every time I try to work on something. Students do not respect the tiny signs that read "quiet area." It would be great if Library Staff could do rounds every 15 minutes or so for an initial period to advise those students that those areas are reserved for those students who like and need a quiet space to work.
Response: from the dean of the library: Thank you for writing. We make every effort to keep Quiet Areas as quiet as possible, but with limited staff in an eight-acre building, monitoring 52,000 students a week who come to the library can be difficult. However, we do have trained student Public Service Assistants who walk the entire building every 30 minutes when the library is open. We will review with them our policy that they ask for silence from students in Quiet Areas, and how to deal with that properly. We are committed to every student's successful studying and learning in the library.
Concern: I want to commend the "Graduate Net Initiative" at Fresno State (www.fresnostate.edu/graduatenet), which was focused on the improvement and expansion of graduate student success services and the efforts of Dr. Maritere Lopez. One of the key barriers to students aspiring for graduate education at Fresno State and elsewhere is finances. I'm wondering whether University Advancement has a dedicated person charged with increasing fund development for graduate programs and graduate research fellowships. Please advise regarding our University-level efforts to address the funding barrier for graduate studies.
Response:While we do not have a dedicated person specifically for graduate studies, there are numerous scholarship and financial aid opportunities online for those interested in continuing their education. More information is available through the Division of Graduate Studies Office or the Financial Aid Office. http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/graduatenet/orientation.html.
Concern: In the past employee fee waivers covered full-time enrollment. Will this occur sometime in the near future?
Response: Currently if a student takes two courses that total more than 6.0 units, then all tuition fees are waived for all courses per the CSU Technical Letter below. It is not anticipated that this will change in the near future. CSU Technical Letter HR/Benefits 2011-14 states the following: Tuition Fee may be fully waived for a maximum of two (2) courses or six units, whichever is greater, per term. Please note: The full Tuition Fee is waived if an employee takes only two courses that exceed 6.0 units.
Concern: Is there any way to let students have easy access to medical supplies that can improve our physical well-being, such as Band-Aids or back supports?
Response: These supplies are available to them at the Health Center. Students can ask at the front desk or pharmacy for Band Aids, etc., while other supplies may require making an appointment and incur a possible fee.
Concern: A concern I have is the CSU hiring system. I know I would excel as an academic advisor for Fresno State and I know I can impact many lives if given the opportunity; however, the system of choosing candidates seems really complicated. From my experience as a counseling intern, I worked with many diverse individuals. However, when I met with students of my background, I felt like they opened up to me and I was able to help guide them in their educational path. In the Hmong culture, it is really hard for individuals to open up to strangers, but I believe I was able to gain many of my students’ trust. I believe if there were more advisors targeting a specific population there would be higher retention and graduation.
Response: The hiring process at Fresno State is designed to give each applicant an equal chance to compete for positions for which they qualify. You are correct; having a diverse staff of student services professionals is critical to establishing an effective working relationship with students and others. We are fortunate to have staff in many of our student services offices who reflect the diversity of our region, but we will strive to increase the number of diverse staff. Please continue to build a sound foundation of helping others through community service, internships and work experience. This will allow you to be competitive for student services positions at the college level. You are also encouraged to connect with a mentor who can guide and assist you with navigating a path to achieve your career goal. I wish you well in your future endeavors.
Concern: Please have our IT department make wise purchases if they are switching calendar programs again. Meeting Maker was a great tool, Zimbra was not as good, but was still good. Google, not so sure.
Response:I appreciate your feedback regarding our email, calendar and collaboration tools. The campus will be required to move from Zimbra to another collaboration tool for staff and faculty before Fall 2017. The selection process for the new tool will be a collaborative process, including students, faculty, and staff from around the campus.
Concern: Several articles on FresnoState News.com have grammar mistakes.
Response: Thank you for pointing these out. We work hard to produce good copy, but errors sometimes slip through. We’ll step up our efforts!
Concern: If Web Communications is going to teach classes, they need to provide an instructor who is easier to understand. If staff is expected to do the work and most of the maintenance of the webpages for departments, then we need to have all access rights and be able to seek outside University help if we need it. Most department assistants don't have the experience or time to learn yet another job.
Response: We’re sorry your training experience was not satisfactory.A temporary trainer stepped in a few months ago to cover for a terminally ill colleague. Regarding access rights, the University does not allow temporary accounts for guests (non-Fresno State) in our CMS (nor in Blackboard, email, nor PeopleSoft etc.) We don’t allow freelancers to work on our sites because we have a Web standard that does not allow customization of the brand and page structure. Public-facing websites are highly regulated in order to uphold the integrity of our brand.
We understand that departments sometimes rely on assistants to maintain their sites since they don’t have assigned Web maintenance staff. That is why Web Communications created a user-friendly centralized Web content management system to help non-technical people who maintain sites. WebComm provides website support (even basic content updates) for departments, via a work order request, for just this reason. The work order system allows WebComm to track and quantify the work performed and to provide accountability for each request that comes in.