Mar 22, 2019

Six faculty and staff members awarded for improvement ideas

The Fresno State community responded in numbers to President Joseph Castro’s call to action to “be bold,” as the “Be Bold Challenge” solicited ideas from the campus community that would “help improve services to students, teaching, learning or process improvements for the university.”

Six faculty and staff members won the inaugural challenge, which featured more than 150 submissions.

The winners were:

  •      Sharon Ramirez, a Henry Madden Library administrative assistant, Idea: Create a one-stop-shop to steer students in the direction of services to address their needs.
  •      Dr. Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College of Engineering, Idea: Establish an International Transfer Desk to aid incoming overseas students at Fresno State.
  •      Dmitri Rogulkin, a senior research analyst in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Idea: Create an online campuswide social network to better enable academic connections.
  •      Anthony Bailey, a Plant Operations custodian, Idea: Start a week-long conference to highlight community issues.
  •      Dr. William Rice, a marketing professor in the Craig School of Business, Idea: Host a President’s Community Solution Cup on campus.
  •      Charah Coleman, a Financial Aid student personnel technician, Idea: Create an app to aid students with checking on their academic career needs.

As an example, Rice’s idea is to create a yearly competition, the “President’s Community Solutions Cup,” centered on finding solutions to better help the community at-large through friendly competition among the schools within the university.

“If we reach out to those on campus, we can encourage competition while reaching out to the community in the process,” Rice said.  “I don’t think the school is involved with the community at all, and students are shielded from the bigger issues going on.”

Rice said the competition would encourage dialogue for students and public officials in the community and help students understand their capabilities to “be bold” themselves.

“It’s important for students and others to understand that, if we don’t go after the problem or issue at large, that problem could come to us, and we must be active in the community as a result,” Rice said.

In another example, Rogulkin, another “Be Bold Challenge” winner, suggested Fresno State should adopt an online social network organized by majors and programs.

“It’s such a popular platform, especially for students, and to focus that energy students have on social media and direct it to learning,” Rogulkin said.

“The use of social media for learning is limited. I think there is potential to be used in that way as well as provide information and resources that enhance student learning and provide an environment where students connect with similar interests.”

The winners were announced Monday at a breakfast reception hosted by Castro.  The six winners move on to the challenge’s third phase in which they will lay the groundwork for their projects. Winners will give presentations on their ideas at the President’s Showcase of Excellence in April.

“This is just the beginning,” Castro said.“We’re going to explore these ideas in greater depth and my hope is, where it makes sense, we’ll implement those together. This is just the first challenge. We’ll have other challenges in the future.”


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