TURLOCK — During his annual fall address, California State University, Stanislaus, President Joseph Sheley called for stronger advocates both on campus and in the wider community.
Kicking off the start of the school year, Sheley spoke to faculty, staff and students, as well as noted community members in attendance, Monday morning about the need to talk up the university to a wider audience.
"We cannot afford to wait around for others to discover what we do well," Sheley said. "We need to state with pride that our region matters and CSU Stanislaus, matters."
That includes little things, he said, from wearing a CSU Stanislaus, pin — like the one Sheley had on his lapel during his speech — to cheerleading the accomplishments of graduates in the community and creating stronger partnerships for regional development.
Sheley, who was appointed permanent CSU Stanislaus, president in May after serving about a year under interim status, said the financial outlook for the university has stabilized. Last year during his address, the campus faced the uncertainty of the passage of Proposition 30. Since it was approved by voters in November, Sheley said, the campus has been granted a four-year reprieve without the looming possibility of more deep cuts.
He said sharing the story of CSU Stanislaus, and the strength it brings to the valley helps to create advocates that will be key the next time tough financial times hit. "All of us at the university need to tell that story such that people understand why an education at CSU Stanislaus, matters to the region and beyond."
Sheley pointed to members of the "Golden Grads" Class of 1963 who attended the commencement ceremonies in May as some of the university's success stories. He also mentioned high-profile alumni, including Turlock Mayor John Lazar, Turlock Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Sharon Silva and Bistro 234 restaurant owner Jennifer Bethel as great advocates for the school in the community.
"These folks are notable, but they are not alone, and not by a long shot," Sheley said. "In every business I visit, including our own campus, employers tell me about our smart, practical, adaptable graduates. Regardless of major, our alumni possess foundational skills — critical thinking, comprehension, communication, and not just problem solving, but problem identification."
Even so, one of the skills Sheley wants the college community to focus on this year is effective writing. Sheley said that from talking with faculty and employers, writing is a universal area that can be improved and have the greatest impact.
"Let's pledge to move students' writing up a notch," he said. "Even if we only help students on the technical side of writing, their increased proficiency will naturally free them to improve their comprehension and communication as well. And I am not speaking only of students. Each one of us can do better — faculty, staff, administrators, employers and workers."