Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said a new unity is evident within the campus community as individuals and departments work together to help student succeed and accomplish the University’s Strategic Plan’s priorities.

At the annual Fall Assembly, Castro told faculty and staff that they and Fresno State students have been heard and are valued. For example:

  • Faculty and staff received a multi-year compensation plan that increased salaries, wages and benefits by $26 million since 2013; they are projected to increase by another $11 million in the coming year.
  • The LGBTQ community’s desire to allow students to select their name preference was put into action.
  • The call to better support African-American students in connecting with their peers and the University resulted in a first-ever retreat for new and returning African-American students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Castro’s desire for academics and athletics to rise together has been embraced with a new unified marketing campaign – “Just the Ticket to Build our Community” – launched by the Athletics Department in conjunction with University Advancement. The campaign is the first phase of a major University marketing mission aimed at improving connectivity and visibility within the community.

On the academic front, Castro said 69 new tenure-track faculty were hired this fall, the largest cohort in 20 years.

He said the campus community has embraced his call to “be bold.” Castro praised four faculty and staff members and a department as examples:

  • Antonio Avalos, chair of the Department of Economics, for his work on the Central Valley Export Plan.
  • Joy Goto, a chemistry professor, who along with colleagues around the world provided groundbreaking work in better understanding the role of environmental toxins in ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Debbie Young, interim director of the Career Development Center, who is transforming the delivery of career services to better equip students for their next step.
  • Jim Michael, executive director of Technology Services, who has helped transform the University’s technology organization.
  • Fresno State Police Department staff, who handle the expected and the unexpected at all hours of the day and night.

Looking ahead, Castro said he expects continued improvement in graduation rates. By 2020 a six-year rate at or near 70 percent and a four-year rate at or near 50 percent would place Fresno State in the upper 10-15 percent of public universities nationally.

Fall classes start Monday, Aug. 22.

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