i>clickers take stage at University Day

Staff and faculty try out the i>clickers at University Day on Sept. 6, 2011.CSUB President, Dr. Horace Mitchell, gives his annual University Day address in the Doré Theatre on Sept. 6, 2011.
CSUB President, Dr. Horace Mitchell, gives his annual University Day address in the Doré Theatre on Sept. 6, 2011.

“Here’s your i>clicker,” each faculty and staff member was told as they entered Doré Theatre on Sept. 6 at the start of University Day – the official welcome back to the new academic year.

It looked like a long garage door opener with six buttons: one to turn it on and off, and the other five to choose letters A, B, C, D or E. The device is a classroom tool that allows students to instantly answer questions posed in class.

This would be the most interactive University Day yet. After a fun tutorial and practice quiz session by chemistry professors David Saiki and Danielle Solano, the audience was clicking away. (Good news – 92 percent of us knew that the San Joaquin Kit Fox is the endangered species that makes its home on the CSUB campus. Bad news – we all know now that management and marketing professor John Tarjan was on the FBI’s list of Unabomber suspects.)

President Horace Mitchell got into the game as well, and peppered his address with questions for the audience to answer. Interestingly, on whether staff and faculty thought CSUB should switch from a quarter system to a semester system, 45 percent said definitely or probably yes, 37 percent said definitely or probably no, and 15 percent said either way is fine by them.

Other key points of Mitchell’s address, which you can view online here, included:

• CSUB will have 13 new academic programs in the catalog this academic year. In the face of budget cuts from the state, our faculty and administrators have worked hard to create new programs that fit the needs of our students and community by utilizing existing courses, and seeking funding from grants, private donations and other sources. One example is the new computer engineering degree, funded by a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

• The WASC Educational Effectiveness Review (EER) team will visit CSUB Nov. 16-18 as part of the accreditation process which takes place every 10 years. CSUB sent in its WASC report in August, which was a long process involving many people across the university. Read the complete report here: http://www.csub.edu/wasc/documents/EER/CSUB – WASC EER 2011.pdf

• If the state of California does not bring in expected revenues by December 2011, a “trigger” cut of another $100 million will be made to the CSU system, in addition to the $650 million already cut from this year’s budget. However, because of CSUB is making student access to education a priority and continuing to grow our enrollment, we received a $2 million addition to our budget from the CSU, which would offset a mid-year cut. Bottom line is, CSUB’s budget is safe for 2011-12.

• Three projects are on the approved list from the Chancellor’s Office, the question is how much will the state provide for these project. They are: A new Art Center (first phase of a new Humanities Complex), seismic work on the Doré Theatre, and a replacement building including large classroom space for Faculty Towers (which is seismically and ADA deficient).

• New student housing is still on the to-do list, but is on hold due to funding issues.

— Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator