Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn delivered her final Welcome Address on Feb. 3, just weeks after announcing she will retire at the end of the current academic year. Every semester, the president’s Welcome Address highlights recent accomplishments and key issues facing the institution as classes and other campus operations get underway.
Junn announced her plans to retire on Jan. 18, and it was a topic she addressed immediately, promising to remain committed to the school through the final days of the academic year in June.
“As I said in my announcement, during the next six months, I will continue to lead Stan State with the same level of commitment, energy and enthusiasm, and maybe even more, because I know that my term is ending. I know that you will join with me and our campus leaders to enthusiastically continue our all-hands-on-deck work…,” she said.
One of the most pressing topics included the fact that nearly all CSU campuses, including Stan State, have suffered enrollment declines this academic year. In the 2022 college year, Stan State’s enrollment was down 2.8% from the pre-pandemic year of 2019. This year, that number is expected to drop even lower to 8.76% by the end of the year. Junn explained that campus community members have been involved in discussions to address the issue.
“This is a national trend, so Stan State is working hard to increase our enrollment and retention and decrease equity gaps among student groups,” Junn said. “In November and in January, I convened full day all-hands-on-deck retreats. These retreats engaged all cabinet members, divisional leaders, senate and student body leaders, faculty and key staff who discussed their area’s efforts and identified next action steps and implementation steps. I'm so pleased to report that the campus is now moving forward on these action steps and looking forward to tracking significant progress, so you'll hear more about that coming up.”
One of the ways Stan State expects to appeal to prospective students is through the findings of the Economic Impact Report that was released last week, which shows a significant return on investment.
“Believe it or not, our campus contributed a whopping annual impact of almost three quarters of a billion dollars, or $770.5 million, to our six-county service region in 2021-22, so for every dollar that students invest in their education, they will receive a return of $12.10 in higher future earnings. And for every dollar invested in Stan State, California as a whole will receive $14.50 in return. This is whopping return on investment data,” Junn said.
As the university continues to try to improve enrollment, they must do so with several top positions remaining vacant. Stan State remains in the process of hiring a new associate vice president of faculty affairs, a new dean for the College of Science, a dean for the Stockton campus and a number of full time and tenure track faculty hires. This all as Jolene Koester continues to serve as interim chancellor of the California State University system.
Aside from personnel, the campus is expected to host several events for both students and community members – some making their return from a pandemic-related hiatus. On March 18, the Stan State athletics department will once again be having their annual Crab Feed fundraiser. In April, another poplar fundraiser, Stan State Vines, makes its return. Vines is centered around wine and cheese tasting, benefits, alumni programs, campus projects and student scholarships.
Also in April, the university will unveil the J. Burton Vasche Library donor wall, which raised more than $1 million during fundraising campaign in the midst of the pandemic. As the semester winds down, Warrior Day and annual commencement ceremonies will mark the end of the semester.
“We have accomplished so many milestone achievements together in the past seven years, and there's still work to do. I know we will be successful in reaching our goals, because we have an exceptionally talented, cohesive and highly functioning cabinet and strong visionary leadership teams within each division. Your combined talent along with our outstanding faculty, student and staff leaders will continue to move our campus forward,” Junn said. “My heart is truly filled with pride at how hard everyone has worked to position Stan State for an even brighter future, even during the darkest days of COVID. I know that all of you will continue to harness your passions and lead the university to even more exciting new heights in the future… I will always cherish Stan State and everyone who cares about this remarkable campus.”