Written by The Business Journal Staff
Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Education: BS in mathematics, MBA, and DBA in accounting, all from Florida State.
Family: I’m happily married to Geri and have a son Robin, daughter Kelly, and stepdaughter Jeriann. We have three fun grandchildren: Cameron, Madeline and Walker.
WHAT WE DO: We boldly educate and empower students for success and serve as a resource for the community.
What do you hope to accomplish for Fresno State in your time as interim provost?
I hope to continue advancing student success with a particular focus on improvement of retention and graduation rates for our students. I also hope to continue to promote faculty development so that our extremely talented faculty can even better educate our students as well as advance their scholarly pursuits.
Along with the expansion of class space at Craig School, what are some other developments going on at Fresno State?
There are so many great stories related to Fresno State that it’s hard to choose. Within the last few years, Fresno State has been very successful at recruiting a diverse and talented set of new faculty. Approximately 28 percent of our total tenured/tenure track faculty has been hired within the last three years, infusing a refreshing dynamic to our academic environment. The university has also received several accolades of late, including ranking in the top 25 of all universities in the country for three years straight by Washington Monthly and ranking third among all public national universities for graduation-rate performance by US News & World Report.
How has Fresno State been making inroads with community colleges and high schools in the Central Valley?
Fresno State is supporting the Central Valley Promise, a program for high school and community college students to provide a pathway to assist students to succeed in obtaining their college degrees. Our university outreach coordinators work closely with both high school and community college counselors to assist with a smooth transition to Fresno State.
What are some of the growing industries in the region, and how is Fresno State educating students to work in these industries?
STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has an ever-increasing focus both regionally and nationally. Preparing students with relevant STEM skills stimulates demand not only in specific STEM industries but also multiple other industries, including agriculture, business, education, health care and the arts.
What departments do you anticipate will be making the most growth at the university?
Some specific growth areas with strong demand for current programs at Fresno State include teacher education, agriculture, criminology, psychology, business and various health and social science fields. I’m sure I’ve left out some important areas, and I apologize to any of my colleagues whose area I omitted.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Fresno State in the near future, and how do you plan to meet them?
Serving an ever-increasing demand for attendance at Fresno State is a huge challenge we face. Enrollment now exceeds 25,000 students. Just this past year, the university received more than 29,000 applications for admissions while the university could only accept approximately 5,400 incoming students. Resource constraints on all fronts, including (1) the level of funding provided from the state and student fees, (2) limited space capacity for more classes, and (3) a limited cadre of faculty despite recent hiring successes, all restrict the university’s ability to grow fast enough to meet demand.
To address this challenge, the university desperately needs a growing revenue stream from multiple areas, especially from our state Legislature for increased support of all areas of education, including higher education.
How are graduates from Craig School making an impact in the area?
Approximately 80 percent of both Craig School of Business and all other graduates at Fresno State remain in the area. Many others who leave the area “boomerang” back in later years. So, both Craig School and other graduates are holding professional positions in a wide spectrum of industries, boosting our regional economy. They represent our next generation of leaders.
What are your roots in the Central Valley?
I’m married to a farmer’s daughter with family here in the Valley, and I’ve lived here for 28 years, longer than anywhere else in my life.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time and traveling with family. My wife and I both love watching all kinds of sports, and we enjoy sailing. I’ve participated in the High Sierra Regatta each summer at Huntington Lake for many years.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
After high school hours and during the summer, I first worked with my Dad in a concrete finishing business he developed as a supplementary business to his regular air traffic control job. I learned the value and reward that can come from physical labor, not to mention how to use a shovel, rake, hammer and wheelbarrow. And, I learned to appreciate fellow workers from all walks of life.