CSUB administration gives updates on first year objectives


Amy Pachla

Brian Street discusses upcoming renovations to campus buildings as part of his presentation at the Spring 2020 Strategic Planning Forum. The forum was held virtually via Zoom on April 9, 2020.

Amy Pachla, Copy Chief

The CSU Bakersfield Spring 2020 Strategic Planning Forum was held virtually via Zoom on Thursday, April 9. President Lynnette Zelezny hosted the meeting for campus leaders, administrators, and department heads to give progress updates on how they are meeting their first-year objectives of the university’s current five-year-plan.  

  CSUB’s five-year strategic plan has five main goals: to strengthen and inspire student success and lifelong learning, to advance faculty and staff success, to develop and sustain high quality innovative academic programs and support services, to recognize and address regional needs in collaboration with our community, and to diversify, enhance, and responsibly steward campus resources. 

  For the first goal, the discussion was highlighted by mention of a new campus app that will allow faculty to coordinate with other campus services to provide added resources for students at risk of losing academic ground. The app is called Runner Connect, and Debra Jackson, the associate dean of graduate and undergraduate studies, said it would replace the current app, GradesFirst, which is already being used by faculty for this purpose. Jackson said the university is hoping to do a soft launch of the Runner Connect app over the summer and a full rollout in the fall. 

  The second goal, advancing faculty and staff success, was research-heavy in its first year, finding faculty to take on academic leadership positions and finding ways to provide the kind of opportunities CSUB faculty need in order to remain competitive, both in their own fields, and for the university. Interim Provost Vernon Harper highlighted the faculty and staff orientation programs and said his strategic task group has achieved 100% participation in those programs. 

  Goal three of the strategic plan involves developing academic programs and support services for both students and faculty. While some of this is accomplished with the recruitment and orientation objectives in goal two, much of the more practical aspects of research and training have had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, Harper said the task group’s efforts to establish and maintain ties with other academic institutions in the area, local public school districts, and regional employers for the benefit of the university and its graduates continues to move forward. 

  “I feel like it’s been a considerable amount of progress this year, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” Harper said. 

  The first-year objectives of the fourth goal, addressing regional needs in coordination with the larger community, were also centered around data-gathering. Part of the need for extensive information is based on CSUB operating two campuses at distance from one another, making the university’s sphere of community influence especially broad. Still, the research is already paying off, as the university’s community relationships have resulted in more academic opportunities and more local internships. The push for community collaboration has also increased community donations to the university across the board. 

  “There’s really increases across all schools in the number of gifts and the size of gifts,” Vice President for University Advancement Victor Martin said. 

  Progress on the fifth goal, assuring the responsible stewardship of university resources, is in what kinesiology professor and Academic Senate member Brian Street called “the quiet phase” following the completion of various feasibility studies about how university resources can be best and most sustainably developed. Recently, the university received approval for the construction of a new building for the engineering program and are looking forward to breaking ground as soon as the situation permits. 

  Street wrapped up the meeting with a reminder of the importance of strategic planning, recalling that one of the strategic planning goals from the 2017-2018 school year was about finding ways to preserve academic continuity and essential university operations in the event of a campus closure. Indeed, it seems that planning and success are highly correlated.