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The Orion

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Zingg’s convocation focuses on achievements, upcoming accreditation

Chico State President Paul Zingg delivers his 2015 spring convocation on Thursday. Zingg highlighted the university’s accomplishments and stressed the theme of “an extraordinary Chico State.” Photo credit: Trevor Ryan

Chico State students, faculty and staff gathered at the Harlen Adams Theatre Thursday afternoon to hear President Paul Zingg’s spring 2015 convocation speech.

Zingg’s address centered on Chico State’s accomplishments. He pressed an ongoing theme of “an extraordinary Chico State,” highlighting the university’s readiness to be reviewed by a regional accrediting agency in spring 2019.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges is one of the six associations responsible for accrediting private and public schools, universities and colleges in the U.S. Chico State’s next review is planned for 2019.

Zingg reviewed observations and recommendations from the agency’s prior visits in 2007 and 2009 and stressed how we can learn from them.

“In order to go forward, we need to look backward,” Zingg said.

In its review, the accrediting group was impressed by the university’s commitment to student success and challenged Chico State to higher its expectations, strengthen diversity and better define the Chico experience, Zingg said.

“So we will bring forward this spring proposals to add to our current strategic plan a seventh priority in diversity and an eighth in civic engagement,” he said.

Further steps in preparation include an analysis of the school’s budget structure and development, the continuation of softening borders between the campus and downtown, and a new academic plan.

Since the previous visits, Chico State has gained recognition and rankings on lists that Zingg proudly presented.

“We are on the lists we want to be on,” Zingg said. “Lists that reflect our values and decisions about what kind of institution we want to be.”

Zingg acknowledged Chico State’s 1987 Playboy ranking as the No. 1 party school and pointed out that the university hasn’t been on that list since 2002.

He then shared 10 notable honors and awards the university has received in the last 13 years: the Carnegie Foundation award for civic engagement, ranking on the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll for sustainability and receiving recognition on the Jed and Clinton Health Matters Program for the support of student mental health.

Extraordinary leadership from students, faculty and staff were among other acknowledgements.

A student group responsible for the divestment campaign, which initiated Chico State’s move to divest from fossil fuel companies, and outstanding faculty were all applauded. The Student Health Center was also recognized for receiving a perfect reaccreditation score, which is a rare occurrence, Zingg said.

“I’m very proud of my school,” said Sofia Rodriguez, a peer educator from the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center. “This really brought to light how much our faculty and staff and students work hard to improve how our school functions.”

Assistant to the vice president for university advancement, Megan Rawie she is proud of the school both as an employee and alumna.

“WASC accreditation will be a huge process, but we’ve done so well before that I’m confident we’re just gonna show them what we’ve got again,” she said.

According to Zingg, the accreditation agency’s challenge to do more will not go unheard. He invited the association to come back to Chico to witness a university that is intentional in its decisions, confident in its strengths and united overall.

Jenice Tupolo can be reached at [email protected] or @JayTupolo on Twitter.

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Jenice Tupolo
Jenice Tupolo, Content Managing Editor

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