Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro told faculty and staff Thursday that the University’s new Strategic Plan will be the catalyst that elevates passion, energy and support for Fresno State into concrete actions for student success.

Castro spoke at the Spring Assembly for Faculty and Staff at the Save Mart Center on campus.

He said he feels energy and excitement when he visits with students and employees, as well with friends and alumni throughout the Valley, state and nation.

“I look forward to another year of working together as we boldly take Fresno State to new heights of success that pave the way for an even stronger and more vibrant Central Valley,” Castro said.

Castro discussed the four strategic priorities in the five-year plan, which will be finalized this spring.

Enhancing student success is the first priority and is the underpinning for everything else in the new plan, he said.

The DISCOVERe tablet program and the Student Cupboard are two highly successful initiatives that will be expanded. DISCOVERe has grown in two years to 7,000 students and 130 faculty members who use tablets in the classroom for enhanced teaching and learning. The program allows for cost savings since textbooks are not needed.

The Student Cupboard, which celebrated its first-year anniversary in November, helped over 3,300 students with food and hygiene supplies.

Modernizing and expanding the campus is another priority, and Castro announced a two-year, $20 million investment in deferred maintenance projects. He said “long-overdue” modernization of classrooms and lecture spaces, roof replacements, heating/air conditioning replacements, ADA improvements and elevator upgrades will occur in more than a dozen buildings.

The improvements overlap the $31 million upgrade to the campus’ aging electrical infrastructure that is moving to completion this fall.

Looking further in the future, Castro said plans are moving forward for a new student union and faculty center, a new central plant and modernization of Bulldog Stadium. Updates to Bulldog Stadium will be privately funded and the other two projects will be a mix of public and private funds.

A third Strategic Plan priority is investing in the work environment to attract, develop and retain faculty and staff. Castro noted that over the past two years, increased support from the California State University system and from Fresno State have increased salary and benefits for Fresno State employees by more than $9 million.

Castro praised the University’s 2,300 faculty and staff and recognized four individuals for their work:

  • Professor Barlow Der Mughrdechian, who has taught for 31 years in the Armenian Studies program.
  • Mara Brady, who teaches in the Earth and Environment Studies Department.
  • Francine Oputa, director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.
  • Mai Kou Vang, coordinator of the supplemental instruction program.

The fourth Strategic Plan priority is to grow and develop community partnerships to increase support for students and the University. Examples of collaborations that will continue and grow are a water task force, the School of Nursing’s Community Mobile Health Project and the Central Valley Promise, which involves partnerships across educational sectors to plan an improved K-16 college pipeline.

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