Category Archives: College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Holidays Build SDSU Community Ready to Conquer Challenges

During the holiday season, the days are a little shorter, the light a little less brilliant and, even in San Diego, the temperatures are a little bit colder.  So, as people have done for thousands of years, we gather together to share our warmth, light and generosity.  The last several weeks have been a time for communal gatherings, large and small.  Our Department of Geography celebrated its 100th anniversary.  We came together for our “Get Together, Give Back” event in support of our military and the Monarch School community.Les Miserables production at SDSU in December 2014.Our School of Theatre, Television and Film and our School of Music and Dance collaborated on an extraordinary concert production of “Les Misérables,” and our athletic teams inspired us with a conference title in women’s soccer, a fifth consecutive bowl game in football and a national ranking in men’s basketball.  Add countless department and office celebrations across campus and you appreciate the flurry of activities that accompany the holiday season.

These gatherings illustrate the essential role of community at San Diego State. During the formulation of our strategic plan, “Building on Excellence,” the theme of community and its many meanings arose again and again.  People recognized the benefits of strengthening our campus community, the necessity of building relationships with our alumni community and the importance of supporting our regional community.  As we have moved forward with implementing “Building Get Together, Give Back event at SDSU in December 2014.on Excellence,” we have initiated the “Get Together, Give Back” program to support faculty and staff morale, the Aztec Mentor Program to bring alumni and current students together, and the Sage Project in National City, in which over a thousand students, faculty and staff work on community projects.

Each of these programs – and others like them – is an important effort in its own right, but each also serves a larger purpose in building our community. Through community, we bring a diversity of perspectivesAztec Mentor Program participants at SDSU. and talents to address our challenges. Equally important, each of our individual efforts takes on a deeper meaning and purpose when it is tied to the common efforts of friends and colleagues in our community. This shared purpose is essential to the Aztec spirit – resolute and indefatigable – with which we meet our challenges, large and small.

The three central themes of “Building on Excellence” are Student Success, Research and Creative Endeavors, and Community and Communication. While we have critical goals in all three areas, our ability to achieve all of our goals rests on our ability to work together as a community.  In fact, given the strength and scope of the Aztec family, no aspiration and no goal is beyond our reach when we concentrate our efforts and work together.  While life presents many challenges, both to individuals and to universities, this fundamental truth, the power of community, is always essential to addressing them.  I look forward to working with all members of our community to continue to make progress and move our university forward in the spring semester.

Best wishes to all for the holiday season and the New Year.

SDSU football team singing the fight song after a victory in 2014.                          SDSU women's soccer team celebrates their conference championship in 2014.

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Filed under Athletics, Building on Excellence, College of Arts and Letters, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, Community, Strategic Plan, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Studies

Darlene Shiley: A Friend and Supporter

I had the great pleasure of meeting Darlene Shiley yesterday. Dr. Shiley (we recently gave her an honorary degree) is bold, irreverent and, above all, dedicated to doing everything she possibly can to address our society’s pressing challenges.

Darlene shares our vision that advancing research and creative endeavors is critical to creating a better society. She has demonstrated this support across multiple areas at San Diego State, including the Donald P. Shiley Bioscience Center (focusing on the relation between infection and cardio-vascular health) and our award-winning Musical Theatre program (offering the only MFA in this area in the country). Her philanthropy has been broad, as well as deep, and she has also made important contributions to our sister institutions in the region and many local cultural institutions.

In a period when state support is not likely to increase substantially, the role of private philanthropy becomes increasingly important. We and all of San Diego’s institutions are very fortunate to have Darlene Shiley as a friend and supporter.

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Filed under College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, College of Sciences, Community

Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence

Last week I attended the summer meeting of the Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE) of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). Drs. Lorenzo Esters and Carla Gary (of APLU and the University of Oregon, respectively) worked with colleagues on CADE’s Executive Board to create an extraordinary program. The program featured symposia on diversifying our faculties, support programs for graduate students, and developing a national agenda for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, among other topics. As a member of the Executive Board, I was especially pleased to be able to share information about the success of our nationally-renowned doctoral program in Clinical Psychology in the symposium on graduate student support. (Kudos to Provost Marlin and our program faculty who helped me prepare for the presentation.)

In addition to the many helpful discussions of approaches for supporting our students and faculty, the meeting highlighted the national consensus on the centrality of a vision of inclusive excellence to the future of our research universities. Universities across the country—from Princeton to Ohio State to the University of Texas to many, many more—have embraced a vision in which all students, regardless of background or station, can achieve excellence. In this regard, San Diego State holds an enviable leadership position in supporting inclusive excellence and I look forward to working with our community to achieve even greater prominence.

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Filed under College of Arts and Letters, College of Business Adminsitration, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Services, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, College of Sciences, Community