The Provost's Message - November 1, 2017

The Provost's Message

November 1, 2017
Provost Lynn Mahoney

I am regularly reminded of the value of what we do as I meet our alumni during the course of everyday life—the college friend whose sisters-in-law all graduated from Cal State LA and became successful professionals in a variety of fields; the nurse I met recently at a lab; a colleague teaching at East Los Angeles College; and an accountant I met while waiting in line to make a purchase. Cal State LA alumni are everywhere!

On Saturday, October 27, hundreds of alumni gathered for an All Alumni Reunion. They took tours, enjoyed athletic events and art exhibitions, and at noon gathered to welcome the Class of 1967 into the Half-Century Club. At lunch, I enjoyed the company of an engineer-turned-lawyer, a retired aeronautical engineer, a 4th grade teacher, and the first Latina vice president at a major utility company, among others. Their accomplishments were rivaled only by their desire to remain connected to Cal State LA and help current students. A fourth-year engineering student was also at the table. He whispered early on how intimidated and impressed he was by the group—halfway through lunch he had received an incredible array of career advice, was working on his LinkedIn profile, and had half a dozen new mentors—likely the best hour of his weekend!

As we continue to talk about our efforts to improve our graduation rates, we need to keep in mind the human gain we will affect—we will create more successful alumni who in turn will only help us become better at serving current students and strengthening the region. I am as always reminded how much LA needs Cal State LA and grateful for current and former members of the Cal State LA family whose work enables this.

Academioc Senate Representation and Fall Retreat

The Academic Senate is currently reviewing the Academic Senate Representation Proposal (read the proposal). The sole aim of this proposal is to take a step towards being more inclusive thereby ensuring that the Cal State LA Academic Senate is representative of its campus community. With that in mind the proposal includes changes to the Constitution found in Appendix C of the Faculty Handbook.

We have organized town hall meetings to seek input about the proposal from all members of the campus community. Following are the details of the time/venue for the last meeting:  

  • Monday, November 6, 9:15 am - 10:30 am, Venue: Salazar Hall (SH C 265)


    Please consider attending the last town hall meeting and share your suggestions/recommendations or any related queries. If the above day/time window does not work for you please email your input to the Academic Senate by noon Monday, November 6, 2017.

    Also, please mark your calendar for the Fall 2017 University Retreat, organized by the Academic Senate on Friday, November 17 from 9 am-3 pm in the Golden Eagle Ballrooms 1-3. Please click here for the RSVP link.


    Mapathns to hep Puerto Rico


    With a true Cal State LA spirit of a campus that is committed to engagement, service, and the public good, a recent inquiry about helping the relief efforts in Puerto Rico quickly morphed into two Mapathon sessions held on October 14 and October 20. It started with Nicole Hernandez, from the Pat Brown Institute reaching out to Dr. Ericka Verba, Director of Latin American Studies, who asked about the possibility of having a Mapathon on campus. Dr. Verba contacted Dr. Kris Bezdecny in the Geosciences and Environment department and before too long students, faculty, and community members came together to crowdsource data to help determine building locations in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. Dr. Bezdecny identified students who had mapping experience to help with the training and coordinating efforts across multiple rooms. By using a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, volunteers didn't need to have any mapping background or mapping software. Following a quick training the volunteer mapmakers started outlining building after looking at satellite imagery. These maps will help everybody on the ground in Puerto Rico by feeding OpenStreetMap data into their work.

    The Cal State LA Mapathons were all about community building. Mapping is something anyone can do at home, but the idea was to get everybody together to experience they were part of something bigger alongside other people who were just as committed to make a difference as they were.

    Contact the Office of the Provost with your comments and submissions here.