Zingg promotes communication

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President Zingg explains the plans for the future of the campus and city of Chico. Photo credit: Thomas Martinez

Building a sense of community beyond the campus that can address evolving social and academic issues is a top priority for Chico State’s leading administrator.

At the President’s Spring Convocation held in Harlan Adams Theatre Thursday, President Paul Zingg addressed how the digital revolution, campus identity and community engagement will determine the university’s future.

While the digital revolution has lessened the hold that geographic barriers have on education and communication, it has also given people “unprecedented freedom to live alone,” Zingg said, likening the shift to people retreating from cities to suburbs and gated communities.

“There is something critically missing when flight and privacy take precedence over community and connection,” he said.

Chico’s relationship with the downtown area holds the solution to the social disconnect presented by technology, Zingg said, and is a focal point in the hunt to define the campus’s image.

A close physical proximity to the city, a shared devotion to promoting the arts exemplify Chico State’s qualities as a “unique” college town in California, he said.

New commitments to the arts both on and off campus involving the Veteran’s Memorial Hall, the Gateway Science Museum and the under-construction Arts and Humanities building connect the university with the surrounding community, Zingg said. Along with those efforts, civic engagement was also cited as being crucial to securing a symbiotic relationship.

Zingg used the recent debates over the homeless population and public safety as an example of where the university can influence positive change and discussion.

Despite claims that the university is not a productive force in addressing local safety issues, programs involving students such as Community Action Volunteers in Education, the Community Legal Information Center and the Blitz Build exemplify the university’s dedication, Zingg said.

Programs like the First Year Experience and the Town Hall Meetings geared at promoting informed public discourse can help bring balance to such discussions that have traditionally created controversy, he said.

Promoting positive conversations about the shared future between the city and the university, along with others including future academic planning and how Chico State can be a model of higher education in California, is the challenge facing the campus, Zingg said.

Also mentioned at the event:

  • The university has hired two new deans who will start working this semester. They are Judith Hennessey for the College of Business and Angela Trethewey for the College of Communication and Education..

  • The university’s College of Business has received full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Nicholas Carr can be reached at [email protected] or @nikecarr on Twitter.