SATURDAY SHORTS: Sheley to become permanent par tof CSU, Stanislaus?

April 26, 2013 

During his 10 months as interim president of California State University, Stanislaus, Joseph Sheley has impressed us and many others as an effective, down-to-earth leader who is a good fit for the campus. Unlike his predecessor, he seems to work well with others.

The CSU Board of Trustees and the new chancellor of the system seem to like him as well, which is why they have started the process to make his appointment permanent without a full-scale search. Chancellor Timothy White and two members of the board will be at the Turlock campus May 6 to accept comments from students, faculty and others in the university and the community. The open forum is scheduled in the Mary Stuart Rogers Building from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Or people can email their input to PresidentReview@calstate.edu.

Sheley attended California State University, Sacramento, and subsequently worked there, which may be one reason why he seems to understand the valley so well. During his interim year, he has become visible and active in the community. Early in his time here, he went to city council meetings to introduce himself, and he participated in a fund-raiser for the Turlock Community Theater in February, dishing out dinner along with several elected officials.

Sheley is approachable, to the point where a confused parent once asked him for directions on campus.

Sheley is 65, so we wouldn't anticipate that he would be a long-term president for the university. But from what we've seen, he is a good choice to be president for the next several years.

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The San Joaquin Valley campus of the University of California has gotten some favorable attention from the big city folks. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a news feature this past week under the headline, "UC Merced goes from shunned to popular." It went on to cite figures, released earlier this month, showing that more than 17,000 students have applied for about 1,600 spots at UC Merced next fall.

Most students apply to more than one UC, but Merced is being checked on a lot of application forms because of its relatively small classes, its rural and generally safe atmosphere and because undergraduates are able to do research and work directly with faculty.

Remember all those folks who claimed there was no need for a 10th campus in the UC system, that the money for the valley campus should go to Berkeley, UCLA and other old campuses? We're not hearing much from them these days.

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Finally, UC Merced has another feather in its cap. It was recognized for being among the country's top green power users. Fourteen percent of the campus's electricity use is provided by its solar facility. The university also is working to reduce food waste and other materials that might end up in a landfill.

In many ways, the campus is just practicing what its professors are teaching. Energy, water and other science-related subjects are a focus at the campus.

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While we're on the subject of higher education, we turn to Modesto Junior College, which will hold its commencement ceremony Friday evening with about 400 graduates expected to participate. This school year, MJC will award about 1,160 associate degrees and 320 certificates of achievement. Congratulations to all for their hard work.

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We conclude our Saturday Shorts with a thank- you to all of the local residents who are spending today showing their love for Modesto or other communities by volunteering their time to clean, read, collect food and otherwise help their neighborhoods. Love Modesto has evolved into a great tradition and this year, it even earned recognition from the president.

Organizer Jeff Pishney received a thank-you letter from the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership. It read, in part, "Volunteerism is a hallmark of American society. Since the days of our nation's founding, ordinary citizens have achieved extraordinary things through voluntary efforts. Programs like 'Love Our Cities' touch thousands of lives and inspire Americans to serve and give back to their communities. Thank you for your dedication to the cities you reach."

Ah, this is the kind of attention we want for Modesto and the valley.

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