After starting its past two fall semesters virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanislaus State officially kicked off its 62nd year this week with President Ellen Junn delivering her traditional Fall Welcome Address on campus in front of a live audience on Thursday.
With campus and community members gathered inside Snider Recital Hall and virtually via livestream, Junn heralded the start of the 2022-23 academic year with a message of optimism and by sharing an overview of the University’s recent accomplishments and plans for the coming year.
“It is such a joy to see so many of you back on campus,” Junn said. “We are officially back in significant numbers since the pandemic forced the CSU — and most of the entire world — to shut down in March 2020. We are finally coming out of the darkest shadows of COVID. Our students — especially new students — will have the chance to come together and encounter what it feels like to be on a vibrant and welcoming college campus.
“Given the events of the past two and a half years, this is not just another semester. We have all been through so much, and I am excited for our return to a new and transformative fall semester. We are back. We are here. We are celebrating, and we want you to have an outstanding and unforgettable journey where you are deeply connecting in real-time with real people.”
Although official enrollment numbers will not be available until the University conducts its census count in mid-September, as of Aug. 15, Stan State expects to welcome 9,608 students to campus this fall, which includes 1,059 first-year students and 1,285 transfer students. Of the 1,877 course sections offered during the fall semester, 1,449 of them, roughly 77%, are in-person or hybrid.
Junn also noted that the University retained 60% of its 2021-22 on-campus student housing residents for the upcoming academic year, which is the highest retention rate to date.
Other highlights shared:
· Students and faculty will see and experience a number of classroom technology upgrades as the Office of Information Technology successfully brought 30 classrooms to the new Zoom Room standard.
· Academic Affairs team will work to envision and craft an academic strategic master plan that will establish goals for the next three to five years.
· Stanislaus State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association (CFA) recently pledged an additional $20,000 to their endowment, the Stan State California Faculty Association Campus Cares Fund. The chapter started the fund in 2016 to help students stay in school in the face of financial adversity.
Junn also said plans to increase access, enhance facilities and energize the student experience at the Stanislaus State Stockton Campus continue to evolve. In addition to bringing aboard five new faculty members, new and returning Stockton students will see facilities upgrades to the student lounge, recreation room and library.
New signage, a soon-to-be-complete food pantry and the addition of food service offerings at the Stockton Campus library similar to what is currently available at the recently renovated Vaschè Library on the Turlock campus are also on tap. A Stockton Campus Master Plan will commence this fall that includes updates to Magnolia Mansion and enhancements to replace the Acacia Court facility.
The University will continue to ramp up its outreach and engagement efforts and announced two upcoming events. First, is the city of Stockton’s Family Day in the Park, happening on Sept. 17 at Weber Point. Stan State is a co-sponsor of the event, billed as a day of free family fun and literacy.
Then, on Oct. 22, the University will welcome prospective students, current students and their families to campus for Warrior Expo, a culmination of campus activities during Stan State’s eight Weeks of Welcome.
“We are thrilled to host this vibrant and fun event that will start an exciting new tradition on our campus to celebrate Warrior Pride,” Junn said and added that more details will be shared about the event in the coming weeks.
In her closing, Junn noted this academic year marks her seventh as Stan State president.
“Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons growing up and even now, because I always loved the idea of returning to school or to a campus to experience the joy and jangle of meeting new people and engaging in the love of learning,” Junn said. “Join me in celebrating this new academic year as we embrace our students and each other in nurturing our precious and exceptional environment devoted to learning and growth.
“Here at Stan State, whether you are a student, faculty, staff member or administrator, you belong, and we aim to support and encourage you.”