FEEDBACK CONCERNS
May 22 - August 28, 2017

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CONCERN: Two suggestions for improvements to make Fresno State even better are (1) putting a system in place so students are able to receive graded assignments back in a timely manner and (2) making it to where final grades are shown as percentages and not as letter grades.

If professors had to abide by something in the syllabus, making it to where they would have to hand back graded assignments by a reasonable time frame, this would help students with subsequent assignments. It would subsequently help, because they now are able to see how the professor grades, and use their feedback to improve upon their writing.

Next, there is how final grades look, which are represented sometimes as just letter grades, and as far as I have seen, with pluses and minuses also. Instead, showing the actual percentage for final grades is a better option. After all, why should a student just have a B as a letter grade, if they actually received closer to an 88%, but it still just shows up as a B. Sure that is why the pluses and minuses are for, but some professors do not enter final grades like that. The solution needs to be uniform across campus, with either professors entering grades with pluses or minuses, or just with the actual percentages. "

RESPONSE: Recognizing that timely feedback is important to effective learning, faculty strive to turn around graded assignments as quickly as possible. The type of assignment determines the length of time it takes to effectively evaluate an assignment and provide feedback. Faculty can use the grading scale they find most appropriate for a given assignment. End of term grades must adhere to the university grading standard which requires letter grades (no pluses or minuses and no percentages).


CONCERN: I am concerned that Professor Thatcher is not facing disciplinary action for illegally harassing students and attempting to censor their free speech. Taking no steps to address this professor's behavior sends the message to students that they are not protected or supported by their campus administration, despite what the U.S. Constitution has to say. Anti-free speech attitudes and behaviors espoused on college campuses are a disturbing trend. What measures will Fresno State be taking in regards to Gregory Thatcher?

RESPONSE: This personnel matter is under review. Any steps taken after the review is complete will be consistent with campus and CSU system policies, the CSU Collective Bargaining Agreement with the California Faculty Association, and the First Amendment Rights of all who were involved.


CONCERN:  "I strongly urge you to move ahead with appointing one of the four professors your search team identified. Do not give in to pressure from right-wing and/or Pro-Israel extremists who consider all Palestinians as "terrorists."

On our campus, Professor Rabab Abudlhadi has been threatened and slandered with vicious posters and dishonest criticism by the same people who are attacking the Edward Said candidates.

Many of these critics are Jewish, but they do not speak for the Jewish community. My organization Jewish Voice for Peace, supports academic freedom and equal rights for Palestinian students and faculty. That is the way to peace, progress, and Justice in Israel/Palestine and in California. "

RESPONSE: Thank you for sharing your opinion with me. I assure you that no campus official was under pressure from any individual or group to cancel the search for this position which was conducted last year. That search was cancelled because it did not follow our campus' policies and procedures. We have learned lessons from this experience so this does not happen again during future faculty searches. A new search for this important faculty position will be conducted during the upcoming academic year. Those who applied for the position last year are encouraged to apply again.


CONCERN: The stairwells in the library are a fire hazard because they are not kept open during the library's public hours. Especially in a power outage, this is a serious safety issue that is being ignored.

RESPONSE: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The stairwell doors remain open during the Library’s operating hours. These doors are fire-rated, which means they will automatically close during a fire which can help contain a fire and keep it from spreading. The doors will automatically close if the building has a power outage, and must also be closed during fire-testing. Even if a door is closed, it will remain unlocked and can be pushed open. If you have a specific concern, please feel free to contact Richard Smith at 278.1100 .


CONCERN: The writing center's message says they are closed until the fall. Shouldn't it be open for summer session as well? If it is strictly an issue of cost, shouldn't Continuing & Global Education be funding student success (including writing center support) and not just space & personnel?

RESPONSE: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will assess the need for summer writing support and determine a course of action.


CONCERN: "The President should join the more than 80 Universities across the countries who have committed to making the Paris Climate agreement a reality, despite the foolish withdrawal from the agreement by the White House. Will President Castro commit Fresno State? http://secondnature.org/grand-coalition-statement-paris-agreement/"

RESPONSE: CSU Chancellor Tim White, on behalf of the 23 campuses, has endorsed the "We Are Still In" campaign. This campaign focuses on the importances of fighting climate change and supporting environmental sustainability. I support this effort.


CONCERN: In Parking Lot 17 (between the Agricultural Science and McLane Hall buildings), there are a number of carpool spaces that go unused every day. This lot always has the regular faculty/staff spaces filled, even in the summer. Is there a way that we can reduce the number of employee carpool spaces, to make room for more regular faculty/staff spaces that will actually be used?

RESPONSE: In an effort to encourage employee carpooling, these spaces were placed in parking lot P17 due to the proximity to the center of campus. These spaces have had a positive impact on the carpool program. As posted, these spaces are open to those with yellow permits after 5 p.m. each day.


CONCERNS: University Courtyard – (1) I was charged $75 for “moderate cleaning” after I checked out for summer, without clarifying what exactly that moderate cleaning was. I have lived in the dorms before and am familiar with the check out process; I left my room exactly how it was supposed to. They have been unresponsive and difficult when I’ve tried to inquire about these charges. (2) Recently, it was reported the Fresno State has the least expensive dorms in California. However, University Courtyard is STILL not worth the price. The food in the dining hall is subpar and the buildings and furniture are in dire need of upgrading. Even when we request things to be fixed, University Courtyard is slow to respond, if they even respond at all. Please look into how University Courtyard is being run.

RESPONSE: Thank you for sharing your concern. University Courtyard strives to provide exceptional customer service for all residents. Each year, they continue to update/replace room furnishings. The listing of fees/fines is included both online and in the University Courtyard handbook which is provided to every resident. However, if you have a specific request in regard to the cleaning charge, please contact the Director of Housing, Erin Boele, at 559.278.2345, option 5 or eboele@csufresno.edu.


CONCERN: As a campus, we need better assessment of incoming transfer students from our local community colleges. After first noticing deficiencies of transfers students, I am began to conduct surveys of my lecture courses and the background of the students enrolled. Students who took introductory science and math courses and then have transferred to Fresno State are missing foundational concepts. Time is having to be taken away from students who are prepared in order to remediate these transfer students in mid and upper division courses. We have continued to pass the problem up in our own departments. How can we filter out students from other schools before allowing them in our classrooms?

RESPONSE: Lynnette - Incoming transfer students are admitted on the basis of their performance in their community college courses and are not required to take an assessment test. The university articulation officer works with community colleges and other institutions to identify courses that students wish to transfer to Fresno State. The articulation officer then works with departments to identify equivalency of these courses with Fresno State courses. Thus, academic units control which courses can be used by transfer students. Departments can work with other institutions to help them change the incoming course so that it better meets campus expectations. Please let your department chair or department curriculum committee know of your concerns so that changes can be made.


COMMENTS RE: MAISCHACK TERMINATION 

RESPONSE: Thank you for expressing your concerns. Dr. Lars Maischak, Fresno State History lecturer, will not be teaching this fall. In accordance with California State University, Fresno’s contractual obligation, Dr. Maischak has been assigned to convert two courses to an online format which meets his unit requirement per the faculty collective bargaining unit agreement. These courses will adhere to California State University’s Quality of Online Learning and Teaching Standards. This assignment ends in December 2017, while his contract runs through May 2018.


IDEA: An opportunity for service to our campus community - purchase several inexpensive 'EZ Reacher' tools (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0057X8AKC/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and small trash bags for picking up trash and make them available for free checkout in the Student Union at the bowling alley or the information counter with an ID card. This could be promoted to clubs, sororities, fraternities, departments and offices as a quick and easy service opportunity. It could be given the name 'Bulldog Beautification' or some other catchy name. It could make it 'cool' to pick up trash and keep our campus clean."

RESPONSE: Thank you for the suggestion. Our grounds and custodial teams strive to keep our campus clean, however, if there is an issue that requires immediate attention, please notify the Work Control Center at 278.2373.


CONCERN: Your 6/15/17 feedback response to the question about ""diversity"" and changing racial demographics is incomplete. You stated ""the number of Latino students has increased, but that can be attributed to the growing number of Latino students graduating from high schools and community colleges who meet our campus' admissions requirements."

While the demographics in our local area continue to change, Fresno State also gives admission preference to students from predominantly Hispanic high schools in distant areas, including Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties. These high schools are all in ""local areas of admission"" for other CSU campuses yet Fresno State gives these students admission preference to our campus as well. This advantage is only granted to students from certain high schools in these far-flung areas, however. The only similarity among the favored schools is that they have a very high percentage of Hispanic students. Most of these outlying high schools are the least racially diverse (by a true definition of diversity) and poorest performing academically in their counties. I have not found another impacted CSU campus that grants admission preference to geographically distant high school students.

Why does Fresno State grant admission preference in these distant counties only to certain high schools that meet a certain racial profile? If Fresno State is trying to attract the best students why would it grant preference to students from the academically weakest schools? If Fresno State is really interested in "diversity" why not grant admission preference to high schools that are truly diverse?

The answer cannot be that Fresno State has historical ties to the favored schools; the university's self-designation as impacted should do away with ties based only on past practices. Lowering the percentage of all racial/ethnic groups except one in the student body does not make us more diverse.

RESPONSE: Fresno State's 25,000 student body is more diverse and more academically well prepared than at any time in its 107-year history. We have increased our admissions requirements in recent years because we do not have adequate resources from the State to accommodate all academically-eligible students from inside and outside of the Central Valley. In doing so, we continue to review agreements that have been in place for many years with high schools outside of the Valley. These agreements resulted from strong relationships between those high schools and Fresno State faculty and administration in our schools and colleges, including the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. This has helped to ensure that students from areas of the state that do not have access to uniquely strong programs (including agriculture) have an opportunity to enroll at Fresno State if they meet our admissions requirements. The significant enrollment of Latino students at those high schools is not the reason for us maintaining these agreement. In fact, most high schools in California now have significant enrollments of Latino students because of demographic trends. Similar agreements like ours exist between many other CSU campuses and high schools outside of their region. For example, many CSU campuses in Northern California have agreements of this kind with high schools in the Los Angeles area. The current state of admissions -- with so many talented and diverse students -- who want to come to Fresno State requires us to continue reviewing our policies and procedures to make sure they are fair to all academically-eligible students.


CONCERN: Fresno State is taken advantage of by part-time lecturers. Our department relies on a high number of part-time lecturers who split their time teaching between Reedley College, Clovis Community College and Fresno City College. Fresno State has more and easily accessible resources for these lecturers use in their classrooms than at other campuses. Often times, I find these colleagues using the resources of Fresno State to make copies, coordinate off-campus committee work and take office hours for our students to grade and consult non-Fresno State student work instead. These part-time faculty know they are needed and our department higher ups are afraid to act out of fear of losing this needed part time help. We need more full-time lecturers and tenure track faculty because they are committed to us and not a number of departments elsewhere.

RESPONSE: The campus is actively working to increase the percentage of tenure track faculty. At the same time, we are grateful for the work performed by our part-time faculty and full time lecturers. I would hope that the use of Fresno State resources by part-time faculty to support their other jobs is a rare occurrence. I would expect that any of our department chairs would act to end such practices when they become aware of them. Please let your department chair know of your concerns. You may also share your concerns with Rudy Sanchez in the Office of Faculty Affairs.


CONCERNS:  I am writing in regards to my concerns with the inaccuracies of the catalog. There have been changes submitted to the catalog (some from 3+ years ago) that have still yet to be implemented. I am concerned that students and faculty are receiving the wrong information. Links do not work, some courses are listed as repeatable up to 999 units, the course PDF buttons do not work, there are countless (and frankly, blatantly obvious) spelling errors, the 17-18 catalog was "uploaded" before it was final (it ended up still being the 16-17 catalog with the year as 17-18 shown), and there are inconsistencies across the board. The language is poor and unclear, and courses and programs are listed that have not been active for years. I've looked everywhere for your 2017-2018 PDF catalog, and I can't find it. Will you have it ready before the next semester? Most colleges have theirs ready before summer.

RESPONSE: The 2017-18 catalog was published in the first week of June. There was a short time lag between when the 2017-18 catalog title appeared and the 2017-18 catalog content uploaded (less than 24 hours). Because a large portion of the catalog is auto-fed from PeopleSoft (PS), the time lag represented time PS takes to feed data to the online catalog. We realized this may have created confusion for readers who happen to check the catalog during that narrow time window, and will make sure next year we eliminate this time lag.

The online catalog was initially copied from the print catalog. We correct errors whenever they are discovered and reported. Program requirement and courses in the catalog must go through curriculum review and approval. This content belongs to the academic unit that offers the courses and the unit is responsible for error correction. The catalog office sends out a proof request for such corrections to all departments/units annually. The proof request for the 2017-18 catalog was sent out in November of 2016 with reminders in January and February 2017. Besides this annual check-up, whenever an error is reported by an academic unit, the catalog office corrects it. However, if the mistake to be corrected requires curriculum review, the university curriculum committee must be involved. The catalog office welcomes reports of specific mistakes and errors and will work with all campus community constituents to improve our catalog.


CONCERN: I didn't receive the alumni magazine this month. Does Fresno State even put out an alumni magazine anymore?

RESPONSE: The Fresno State Magazine is mailed two times per academic year. The magazine is annually mailed in November and in the spring. This year we tested sending the magazine in June to capitalize on graduation and to celebrate student success. Thank you for noticing the delay. That must mean that you find the magazine of value. Unfortunately, the timeline between graduation and sending the magazine was tighter than expected so the opportunity to share in-depth student success stories was not fully realized. The University Communications team is revisiting the timing of these two mailings. If you are not consistently receiving the magazine, please call 278.2795.


CONCERN: Why can’t the Alumni House put out their Fresno State magazine on time? It’s really a testament to incompetence.

RESPONSE: The Fresno State Magazine has consistently been sent in November and April for years. In FY 16/17, University Communications tested sending the magazine in June instead of April to capitalize on graduation and to celebrate student success. Thank you for noticing the delay. That must mean that you find the magazine of value. Unfortunately, the timeline between graduation and sending the magazine was tighter than expected so the opportunity to share in-depth student success stories was not fully realized. The University Communications team is revisiting the timing of these two mailings for this academic year.