With a “sense of place, inclusion, transformation and future,” Stanislaus State University has set a vision for 2025 with a new strategic plan to guide them there.
The new strategic plan is designed as a “living document,” which means that the strategies can be adapted and adjusted. According to Stuart Sims, co-chair of the University Strategic Planning Council, there are elements to the plan that haven’t been thought of and won’t be thought of until the plan has been put into action.
Key themes overarching the plan involve being a student-ready university, facilitating transformational learning experiences, pursuing innovation and creativity, honing administrative efficacy through stewardship of resources and strengthening bonds within the community. These goals are broken down into objectives and strategies to craft a plan that, according to Stanislaus State Provost Kimberly Greer, allows people to find inspiration for themselves and their departments.
As Stanislaus State attempts to become a student-ready campus, it’s looking to capitalize on first generation student success and improvement to graduation rates, however, topics like food insecurity and housing, which have coincidentally made topical appearances due to student inquiry in congressional candidate debates for California’s 10th Congressional District and a town hall with a gubernatorial candidate, are also addressed.
Addressing food insecurity and housing for students have become objectives for Stanislaus State in the coming years due to its effect on student success. In January 2016, the California State University system released a survey showing that 24 percent of students identified as being food insecure.
Other goals involve building a culture of support for learning and pursuing innovation, which have also become key themes of the plan.
Some endeavors for these themes are capable of going hand in hand as one strategy toward a goal complements another. According to Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Media Relations Rosalee Rush, strategies such as maintaining small student to teacher ratios in classrooms and increasing class space to remove schedule barriers are complementary to one another. With the campus seeing the student population grow over the years, it has also seen challenges to fit courses into the classroom space that is available, according to Rush.
Sophomore student Robert Senior echoed the sentiment saying, “I know, especially with the classes I’m in, they’re pretty hard to get into. They get filled up quickly by upper classmen… I have a later registration day, so it’s harder to get into.”
Situations such as Senior’s pose a critical issue toward ensuring that students are able to graduate on time. By way of the strategic plan, the college would seek to provide enough sessions of these high demand courses.
Strategies are also proposed to explore integration of campus technology with student devices, upgrade the technology in classrooms and laboratories, and have faculty leverage new tools for teaching and learning.
Student estimation of the technology at Stanislaus State is generally positive, however, accessibility issues still linger for some.
Freshman student Gerardo Delgado reasoned that more accessibility to computers on campus would be an improvement, due to the heavy use computers see at the library. The moment one computer is available someone else is immediately there to occupy it, according to Delgado.
Expanding beyond just computers, students are also invested in the Wi-Fi at the campus and ensuring that it remains strong for their course work. While this aspect of campus technology has apparently improved over the years, its reliability can still be a cause for concern.
“I feel like there’s so many people using it [that] it gets bogged down and it causes problems,” said graduate student Jessica Curtis, “especially with online courses where you have to take tests and, if you get knocked off, you lose that quiz. If anything, they need to improve the Wi-Fi connections.”
Additional strategies for modernizations include improvements to classrooms, laboratories, the Student Union, Child Development Center and the return of the Career Development Center as the college aims to fulfill the overarching theme of “thoughtful stewardship of resources.” Projects like these are expected to improve the campus aesthetic, accessibility and functionality of campus facilities.
For its final goal of strengthening the bonds within the community, the university is seeking to get exposure for alumni, create opportunities for students with local agencies and become a cultural center for the Central Valley. This goal serves as an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to extend themselves into the community.
Stanislaus State’s last strategic plan facilitated growth and development at the college; the new plan sustains its momentum but also takes the university into a new reimagined future with the strategies to reach their goals.