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President Gayle E. Hutchinson’s progress report

President Hutchinson speaks at a press conference before her investiture ceremony on March 2. Photo credit: Ben Hacker

President Hutchinson took office at Chico State in June of 2016. During her first fall semester, she outlined five transitional goals at her convocation speech:

1. Improving campus climate

2. Restoring shared governance

3. Fostering student achievements

4. Building diverse and inclusive communities

5. Exploring opportunities and support innovation

President Gayle E. Hutchinson was inaugurated Friday, eight months after assuming office. On Dec. 2, she completed her first 100-day listening tour and released a report detailing the results of the tour, and where Chico State is on the five transitional goals.

Campus Climate

The newly invested President made “Improving campus climate” her first goal at her fall convocation.

In the previous semester from Aug. 10 to Dec. 2, President Hutchinson called for participation in a “Listening tour Survey.”

The Survey was completed by 223 staff members, 150 faculty members, 19 friends of the university and 15 students.

Some of the largest challenges reported in the listening tour survey, included Salaries of Faculty and Staff, Morale and Trust, Workload and Staffing levels, and quality of academic programs.

“Most recent climate survey reveals renewed optimism and improvement in moral,” as stated in the President’s listening tour report.

Progress has been made in the past semester to improve salary challenges. “A review of salary compression has been completed,” and “hiring managers will have the authority to offer new employees a salary 3% up from the base,” as stated in the listening tour report.

“Faculty affairs facilitated 33 requests for hiring of new faculty for 2017, and the hiring of 50 new faculty in 2016,” per the President’s report.

Progress has been seen in the quality of academic programs. “CSU Chico climbed to eighth place in the most recent ranking of master’s level universities in the western United States,” stated in the president’s report.

Restoring Shared Governance

“It is time to renew our commitment to shared governance,” stated President Hutchinson in her fall address. President Hutchinson outlined this her second goal on Aug. 18.

She has now completed her 100-day listening tour. Now midway through her second semester, the shared governance statement has not moved past the drafting stages.

This goal was stated to be in reaction to the results of the last campus climate survey. “Evident in your responses to the climate survey…is the strong belief that campus has endured a significant erosion of shared governance,” stated President Hutchinson at her convocation.

Progress has been made in other areas of shared governance President Hutchinson “broadened campus representation on vice president search committees,” as stated in her listening tour report.

In the 100-day listening tour report, President Hutchinson promised, “A Final Draft of a statement of shared governance is to be signed by the Academic Senate chair, Associated Student Government chair, Staff Council chair and the President.”

“We will continue to strengthen collaboration between Cabinet and Academic Senate Executive Committee,” promised the president in her listening tour report, but as of her investiture, this goal remains incomplete.

The Academic Senate Chair was unavailable for a comment.

Fostering Student Achievements

Several milestones have been reached as reported in the 100-day listening tour report about Hutchinson’s third goal.

· “The divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are investing over $100,000 in one-time Graduation Initiative 2025 funds to expand Supplemental Instruction in bottleneck courses.”

· “Assessment data regarding the positive impacts of U-Courses on first-generation students continues to be generally positive.”

· “CSU, Chico was rated eighth in the nation in Money Magazine’s 2016 ‘50 Colleges That Add the Most Value.”

“Together we will continue to improve our four- and six-year graduation rates and decrease the achievement gaps between groups of students,” encouraged president Hutchinson in her fall address.

“We do a lot with hybrid platforms in terms of how we deliver instruction, I would like to continue to enhance the way that we offer instruction,” said president Hutchinson at an inauguration press conference.

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Community of Excellence

President Hutchinson’s fourth goal was to “Build a diverse and inclusive community of excellence,” as mentioned in her fall convocation speech.

C.C. Carter, Director of the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, said, “She is truly an advocate for diversity.”

In the fall semester, “Faculty and Student representation was increased on the University Diversity council,” as reported in her 100-day listening tour report.

In her first semester, she also oversaw the implementation of “Our Democracy” which aimed to assist students and faculty in the political discussion.

“Cross-Cultural Leadership Center and the First-Year Experience combine efforts to create Activism 411, which included workshops on agenda building and becoming an ally,” as stated in the 100-day listening tour report.

President Hutchinson in her first semester worked towards the goal of building a Diverse and Inclusive community. “I think she will far surpass the work of the previous presidents … I would give her an A,” says C.C. Carter, Director of the CCLC.

Exploring Opportunities and Support Innovation

In the short 8 months that president Hutchinson has been in office, several large-scale projects have been taken on.

A feasibility study for the new physical science building was completed at the end of February. Funding for the new building is promised to be secured in the first quarter of 2017, as reported in the listening tour report.

Innovation is also being explored inside the classroom, “We are investing Graduation Initiative 2025 funds in developing two new U-Courses aimed at supporting the success of incoming freshmen,” reported the 100-day listening report.

Several other construction projects are underway on campus and are estimated to be completed during 2017.

While these projects represent great progress in exploring new opportunities, per a 2015 and 2016 assessment, of Chico State facilities, found an overall below average condition. The University Budget Committee reported that 290 million dollars will be needed in facility renewal over the next ten years.

Daniel Wright can be reached at [email protected] or @Danny_W_Chico on Twitter.

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