Castro tells faculty and staff: ‘Let’s be bold!’

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said a new period of stability, renewal and growth is upon Fresno State and he exhorted faculty and staff to “be bold” as they begin a new semester.

He spoke Monday, Jan.13, at the annual Spring Assembly. Classes begin Thursday.

“As I considered my thoughts for this new semester and new year, I pondered how to best share my goals for our university and gain and sustain your engagement as faculty, staff and administrators at Fresno State,” Castro said.

“The conclusion I reached can be summarized in three words – Let’s Be Bold!”

Castro said he’s looking for boldness in creativity: “Let’s generate new ideas, try new things, push ourselves into new realms;” in having honest communication and the courage to say and do what individuals believe is right; and in long-term investment.

“We have come through a period – The Great Recession – when many difficult decisions were made and investments we delayed or cancelled. We are now successfully through this period and we are in a period of stability, renewal and growth,” he said.

One of the investments he elaborated on is the new Fresno State Tablet Program, which will be up and running in the fall with 40 faculty members and more than 1,000 students.

Castro said his keen interest in the program is tied to student success; in making sure current and future students have the tools they need to succeed and that they are well prepared for careers that are becoming increasingly dependent upon technology.

Fresno State has selected Apple for its initial tablet purchase, primarily because of accessibility, he said, but added, “We are building our program to be nimble and agnostic, that is, not platform specific. That way, we will remain open to technology as it emerges.”

Castro also reported on several accomplishments of campus divisions in the fall semester, and looked ahead to initiatives that are underway or will begin this spring. Among them are:

  • A $31 million project funded by the California State University system to upgrade the campus’ aged electrical infrastructure.
  • Groundbreaking for the Jordan Research Center, a 30,000 square foot, multidisciplinary research facility that is being made possible through a private gift of $29 million from the Jordan family. It will provide research laboratories and project spaces that will enhance interdisciplinary research capabilities for faculty from the Jordan College, the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.
  • Construction of a new Faculty Office Lab Building.
  • A preliminary report to the president in May from his Commission on the Future of Agriculture.
  • Enhancing the personal and professional development of faculty and staff.
  • Completion of the soccer/lacrosse venue.
  • A public Investiture ceremony to formally welcome Castro on May 10.

Castro praised the campuswide commitment to diversity and said there have been many noteworthy achievements, including an increase of diversity hires.

Throughout the speech, Castro touched on his optimism for future, telling the faculty and staff, “Our best days lie ahead.”

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Shirley Armbruster

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Associate Vice President, University Communications