President Joseph F. Sheley gives his fall address to the campus community.
TURLOCK, Calif. — In his fall address at California State University, Stanislaus, President Joseph F. Sheley today stressed the importance of university pride, a collaborative spirit and regional partnerships as the university copes with budgetary challenges in the immediate future and over the next few years.
Sheley called on everyone in the audience — which included university trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as elected officials, community leaders and business owners — to recognize the strengths he sees in CSU Stanislaus and to become more vocal advocates for a university that benefits the region through education, economic activity and community service.
"We face challenges with our budget; we have work to do," Sheley said. "But we are still a community that is proud of this university, its history and its obvious potential to impact both individuals and the region."
To cope with difficult economic times, Sheley urged faculty and administrators to be creative, thoughtful and collaborative as they work to offer courses and advising in order to maximize students' progress toward graduation while minimizing costs. He also encouraged staff members to look for ways to deliver services more effectively and efficiently and called on students to be patient and to become advocates for higher education as the state awaits the results of Proposition 30 — the governor's tax initiative on the November ballot. Proposition 30's failure would result in a $250 million "trigger" cut to the CSU system.
Sheley also outlined some of the many strengths he's seen at CSU Stanislaus in his first few months at its helm — the beauty of the campus and the quality of its facilities; the strong array of degree offerings; the commitment of faculty and staff to student success; and the foundation of key skills all graduates leave the university with, regardless of their major.
But he said CSU Stanislaus is a "hidden gem" much in the same way that Stanislaus County and the San Joaquin Valley are hidden gems within California, meaning they may be forgotten about once the economy turns around and funding becomes available again. Avoiding that, Sheley said, begins with partnerships between the university and local businesses, community groups and governments — partnerships that are mutually beneficial and help move the region forward.
"If we do this, the region's leaders and citizens become our active, aggressive advocates," he said. "They celebrate our successes publicly. And they pick up the phone and personally let those who decide our fate know why we matter. No more hidden gem."