Classes at Fresno State will resume on Wednesday, Aug. 21, with a projected enrollment of about 23,622 students for the University’s 109th academic year. The numbers (which are preliminary until the official census later in the semester) include 6,148 new students — 3,311 first-time freshmen, 1,976 undergraduate transfers and 861 post-baccalaureate/graduate students.

About 79% of the students are from Fresno State’s service area; the top four represented counties are Fresno (54.7%), Tulare (14.7%), Madera (5.1%) and Kings (4.7%). About 59% of the incoming students are first-generation college students.

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval assumed the position of provost and vice president for Academic Affairs over the summer. The provost is the University’s chief academic officer and serves as its leader when the president is away from campus.

“I’m excited and energized at the unique opportunity of serving our region in President Castro’s dedicated and experienced cabinet,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “I look forward to engaging our dynamic faculty and staff in advancing the academic success of our talented students.”

With Jiménez-Sandoval’s appointment, more than half of the leaders in the president’s cabinet are either Valley natives or have extensive Valley ties:

  • President Joseph I. Castro is a Hanford native.
  • Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Debbie Adishian-Astone of Fresno earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fresno State.
  • Vice President for University Advancement Paula Castadio is originally from Atwater and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.
  • Provost Jiménez-Sandoval immigrated to Fowler as a child.
  • Chief of Staff for the President’s Office Diana Ralls earned her master’s degree from Fresno State and her husband is from Chowchilla.
  • Executive Director of Governmental Relations Larry Salinas moved to Fresno in junior high and earned his bachelor’s degree at Fresno State.
  • Director of University Communications Patti Waid moved to Fresno while in grade school and earned her bachelor’s degree at Fresno State.

“Each member of my cabinet has unique intellectual gifts and extensive experience that they share through their passionate service to Fresno State,” said President Joseph I. Castro. “Their personal ties to and understanding of our regional community serve as a foundation to our daily work and commitment to the Valley.”

Several events in the next few days will precede students’ return to classes.

Dorm move-in day: Almost 1,000 student residents will begin moving into nine residence halls beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17. They will be greeted by University Courtyard staff and assisted with move-in by the University’s Baggage Buddies — members of student clubs who volunteer to provide a warm welcome and help incoming students unload suitcases, bed linens, TVs and other college-living essentials.

Several campus administrators will greet students and parents during the welcome barbecue from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldog Marching Band will make its 2019 debut at about 5:20 p.m. during the barbecue.

New Student Convocation: New and transfer students will be welcomed at the New Student Convocation. Doors to the Save Mart Center open at 2:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, with the convocation starting at 3 p.m.

Students enter the arena through an enthusiastic welcome of high-fives and cheers from faculty and staff. Keynote speaker Dr. Juliet Wahleithner, assistant professor of literacy, chair of the Department of Sociology, will discuss “Fresno State as Home: Finding Support and Building Connections.”

The Bulldog Marching Band and spirit squad will provide entertainment. The Bulldog Bash after-party follows New Student Convocation at 4 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center next to the arena.

Omar Hernandez, a fourth-year student majoring in animal science, is the incoming president of Associated Students Inc. for the 2019-20 academic year.

“This year, we at ASI are very excited to be a catalyst to a new era of Bulldog Pride!” Hernandez said. “We will be big on collaboration, not only with groups on campus, but also with our alumni and community. In addition, my team is dedicated to letting students know about the large number of services and programs provided throughout campus. Furthermore, we plan to promote civic engagement as well as a more sustainable campus. Go Dogs!”

Classes resume: Students return to classes on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Traffic and parking are often congested the first few days of instruction, so students and employees are reminded to arrive early.

Weeks of Welcome events will continue after the first day of instruction, with several activities planned, including Traditions Day (Aug. 28). For more information about welcome events, contact the Student Involvement Center at 559.278.2741.

For the fall 2019 semester, more than 25,000 freshmen and transfer applicants vied for 5,400 slots. Additional funding from the recently passed 2019-20 state budget will allow Fresno State to open up admissions to 600 or more additional students, but those students will be able to begin courses in the spring admissions period.

Other back-to-school news for the 2019-20 academic year includes:

Several new majors, options added

Fresno State students will have more options for areas of study this academic year. New majors and options are listed below by college:

Building/construction updates

Since 2013-14 Fresno State has invested about $134 million of both system-wide and campus funds in new and modernized facilities while also addressing deferred maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

In 2018-19, approximately $16 million was invested in the following projects:

  • A new cooling tower for the central plant.
  • Approximately $6 million of improvements to Bulldog Stadium including a complete upgrade of the electrical infrastructure, new LED field lighting, new field turf and modernization of both elevators.
  • A new equestrian team locker room.
  • Barstow Avenue and Campus Drive roadway improvements.
  • An improved ADA parking/drop off area north of the Satellite Student Union.
  • A new location for Veteran’s Services.

In 2019-20, another $116 million will go toward the following major projects:

  • The Request for Proposal for the Central Utility Plant project (a public-private partnership) will be issued to the four pre-qualified teams later this fall with the goal of seeking project agreement approval from the California State University Board of Trustees in spring 2020.
  • Construction of the New Student Union.
  • Construction of the Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms.
  • Modernization of two high-impact science laboratories.
  • Expansion of child care facilities.
  • Bulldog Stadium Modernization Phase II, which will address ADA restroom improvements.
  • In addition, available system-wide funds will allow Fresno State to make major strides in addressing its backlog of deferred maintenance and utility infrastructure challenges.

Fresno State receives grant to collaborate on study of prenatal care

The Central Valley Health Policy Institute will begin collaborative work with the University of California, San Francisco on a four-year, $5.6 million grant, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to research the effectiveness of group prenatal care for low-income women in Fresno County. The Institute will receive $3.2 million of that grant to conduct their study on 2,600 women currently receiving Medi-Cal, in an effort to identify which approaches are most effective in reducing preterm births and decreasing depression and anxiety.

Kremen to offer certificate in Chicana/o/x, Latina/o/x studies

The Kremen School of Education and Human Development and the College of Social Sciences launched a Certificate in Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies in Secondary Schooling. This certificate is for students interested in working with diverse children and young adults, and planning to pursue a career in education as a counselor, librarian, advocate or administrator. Students are trained in teaching and incorporating a Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x studies-based curriculum in K-12 classrooms and school settings

School of Nursing strengthens ties to South Valley

Students interested in pursuing the School of Nursing’s RN to BSN program can now take courses at the Fresno State Visalia Campus, effective in fall 2020. The Associate Degree Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is a three-semester program that allows those with a registered nursing license the option to complete upper-division coursework that fulfills the BSN degree without having to repeat any lower-division courses.

Offering the two on-site courses at the Fresno State Visalia Campus is an effort to not only grow the RN to BSN  program in the region, but give South Valley students an option to complete the two courses on-site rather than online, if preferred. The upper-division curriculum builds upon leadership skills, research methodologies and community-health exploration.

The application period for the competitive RN to BSN program begins March 1.