Prepared Remarks by
Kathleen Enz Finken
California Polytechnic State University
2012 FALL CONFERENCE GENERAL SESSION
Monsday, September 10, 2011
Recreation Center Gym
Good morning and welcome to Fall Conference.
I'm Provost Kathleen Enz Finken, and it's my privilege to be with you today and serve as master of ceremonies.
I wish that our entire proceedings today could be 100 percent upbeat, but as we all know, life doesn't work that way. And so, before we begin our proceedings, we must take time to acknowledge the very recent loss of two of our promising Cal Poly students.
To everyone's deep regret, separate incidents have taken the lives of two students in the past two weeks. I'm sure we all wish we could have somehow kept them safe. We wish there were some way to ease the sorrow of their parents, families, and friends.
President Armstrong has spoken to both families to express his condolences on behalf of the university community, and now I ask that you please join in a moment of silence in memory of physics major Jacob Van Staaveren and theatre arts major Brett Olson.
This is my first Cal Poly Fall Conference, which is to say, I hope you will be kind to the new kid on the block.
For me, this will be a personal 90 minutes of Learn by Doing.
I have a few brief remarks to share with you this morning, but first, I would like to introduce a portion of the platform party, and would each of you please stand when I call your name?
I will ask the audience to please hold your applause until all have been introduced
- Joan Kennedy, CSU EU Chapter President, representing the Cal Poly Labor Council
- Tom Lebens, President of the Cal Poly Alumni Association
- Katie Morrow, ASI President
- Steve Rein, Chair of the Cal Poly Academic Senate
- Preston Allen, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
- Larry Kelley, Vice President for Administration and Finance
- Deborah Read, Vice President for University Advancement
- Phil Bailey, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics
- Dave Christy, Dean of the Orfalea College of Business
- Doug Epperson, the new Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
- Debra Larson, Dean of the College of Engineering, who started August 22
- Michael Miller, Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer
- Susan Opava, Dean of Sponsored Research
- Christine Theodoropoulos, Dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design
- Brian Tietje, Vice Provost International, Graduate and Extended Education
- Dave Wehner, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
As you can see, I am joined here by some other distinguished guests, our Faculty and Staff Honorees, whom I will introduce shortly.
But first, let me introduce several special guests whom we invited to join us today and who are in the audience today. We want to recognize them and extend our grateful thanks for their public service. Again, I ask that you hold applause until after I've asked each to stand and be recognized.
State Senator Sam Blakeslee
State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian
San Luis Obispo City Mayor Jan Marx
San Luis Obispo City Councilmember Dan Carpenter
And Cuesta College President Gil Stork.
* * * * * *
Welcome one and all.
I am told that our session this year has a number of changes from past years. Think of it as an effort in continuous improvement. Many of these changes are dictated by the fact that we are holding the event in a new venue. As you may know, the Performing Arts Center is being outfitted with new seats and a new sound system, and is therefore unavailable at this time.
So, our basic circumstances have changed, and therefore we have had to make some changes in the program – all for the better, we hope. Adapting to new realities, that will be part of President Armstrong's theme later this morning.
And, after nearly 20 years serving in two great state university systems in the Midwest, I'm adapting to the new realities of my life:
I'm learning the ins-and-outs of the California State University System,
Dealing with the great challenges of the California State budget,
And trying to get used to getting up every morning to the impossibly beautiful weather of the San Luis Obispo area.
I think I'll be just fine!
I was told to expect San Luis Obispo to be a very welcoming community, and it indeed it has been all of that. My husband and I have been very grateful to the many people who have welcomed us.
I was also told that Cal Poly was a special place, that it's Learn by Doing approach was unusual, and that the Cal Poly faculty and staff great pride in their work.
Now, every campus believes it is special, that their curriculum is really special, and that the faculty and staff are really really special.
Happily, as it turns out, Cal Poly really is special. While many universities say they do some sort of Learn by Doing, it's evident to me that Cal Poly does it far more rigorously and thoroughly.
But my most important for me is the confirmation of just how deep and genuine your commitment to our students actually is. President Armstrong and I spent quite a bit of time in listening sessions last spring with countless groups of faculty, staff and others. Time and time again, we both came away deeply impressed by your genuine concern for what's best for our students. I think it's fair to conclude that Cal Poly's sterling reputation is due in large part to your individual and collective creativity, expertise and commitment – and you obviously have served Cal Poly very well for many years.
I consider it a great privilege to be associated with you, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support you and your efforts in Cal Poly's continued success. Working together, in true collaboration, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
And now, in the spirit of shared governance, I am pleased to introduce representatives of several campus constituency groups to share greetings.
[Speakers, in order]
Steve Rein, Chair of the Academic Senate.
Joan Kennedy, CSU EU Chapter President, who will be sharing a message on behalf of the Cal Poly Labor Council.
Tom Lebens, president of the Cal Poly Alumni Association.
Finally, it is appropriate at the beginning of a new school year to hear about our most important constituents—our students. I now invite ASI President Katie Morrow to share some welcoming thoughts on behalf of students.
Also onstage with me are some very distinguished members of our faculty and staff. Each year at Fall Conference, we take a few minutes to recognize outstanding faculty and staff in a number of categories.
This year, in an effort to record for posterity the wonderful accomplishments of our honorees, we have produced the brochure that you received when you entered the gym. In the brochure, as you likely have already discovered, are tributes to each of our distinguished colleagues whom we are recognizing today.
I encourage you to read about their noteworthy accomplishments. I especially enjoyed reading what their colleagues had to say about their work. Very impressive, indeed.
It's my pleasure to acknowledge each of the awardees. And in this instance, I will not ask you to hold your applause. Instead, as I introduce each person and ask them to stand, please give them a warm round of applause for their good work.
If you would like to follow along in your brochure, we will start with the 9th annual award for Distinguished Scholarship, this year awarded to two outstanding faculty scholars:
The first is Professor Bill Hendricks, Head of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
The second recipient for Distinguished Scholarship could not be here today because he is … conducting research! In absentia, let's have a round of applause for Professor Chris Kitts, chair of the department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics.
This is the 49th year that the campus has named Distinguished Teachers, and we are pleased to recognize three distinguished faculty members for teaching excellence.
Matthew Ritter, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics
Emily Taylor, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics
And Umut Toker, Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning, College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
And now, our Outstanding Staff honorees. This is the 40th year that Cal Poly will recognize Outstanding Staff members, and we are pleased to present three awards for 2011-2012.
It's my pleasure to introduce Helen Bailey, Assistant Registrar.
And Marcy Maloney, Director of ASI Programs
And Shannon Stephens, Assistant Athletics Director and adviser to student-athletes.
This year's recipient of the 11th Annual Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, which was established to recognize outstanding achievement by a faculty member in the area of student advising, is Professor Drew Davol, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering.
Finally, we present the Provost's Leadership Award for Partnership in Philanthropy, established in 2006 to recognize members of our faculty who have been instrumental in philanthropic efforts on our campus. For 2011-12, the honoree is Professor Al Estes, head of Architectural Engineering.
Congratulations to all of our outstanding awardees.
Without further ado, it's my pleasure of asking President Jeff Armstrong to the podium to deliver his Fall Conference General Session remarks.