By Christopher Galvan
Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley has officially served the CPP community for over 100 days, and has spread her roots during her first quarter on campus through listening tours, campus forums and other community engagement.
Coley most notably engaged the campus community en-masse throughout the formation of her “listening tours.” These tours have allowed her intimate dialogue with the various departments and student groups of CPP in an attempt to better understand the advantages and objectives facing the community at-large.
During Coley’s first Pizza with the Presidents event, she discussed parking availability, BroncoDirect improvements and class availability with James Cox, Associated Students, Inc. president, and other administrators, fielding questions with vigor and honesty in a relatively new campus environment and forum for her.
Coley said that much has stood out to her during her first 100 days on campus, but the universal drive for student success among faculty, staff and students is a lynchpin of the CPP community.
“What stands out the most [about CPP] is the unwavering commitment to student success and to supporting students,” said Coley. “Whether I talk to faculty, administrators or staff, there is a clear dedication to doing their best serving students and creating opportunities and programs that are geared toward student success.”
Coley says that she enjoys CPP’s atmosphere of academic rigor, and is grateful to be among Broncos that value higher education.
“There seems to be a healthy climate on campus,” said Coley. “I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories on my listening tour. There is a real sense of commitment and healthiness here to supporting the university ” that really stands out.”
Coley said that her listening tours are a significant part of her work on campus this first year, and the process is still ongoing.
“I am going to continue to do these tours into the summer and the fall; I’ve got a lot more listening to do,” said Coley. “But the themes that are emerging tell me that we have done great work on campus, but we need to communicate that in different venues and tell our story in more ways.”
Coley says that some of CPP’s greatest challenges are results of budget restraints in recent years.
“Even in spite of those reductions people have tried to do the best that they could,” she said. “But there are areas that certainly need to now be examined, and we need to create a multiyear plan on how to strengthen some of these areas, including faculty and staff hiring.”
President Coley is looking forward to the next Pizza with the Presidents event during the coming fall quarter and the continuation of her campus-wide listening tours. She says her time with CPP has been a success thus far.
“I have done so many engaging, wonderful activities during my time so far,” she said. “I’m using different mechanisms to communicate, but as I’ve engaged there is consistency in the message about the quality of the education students are receiving from us and how dedicated and important faculty have been to overall learning.”
ASI Attorney General and fourth-year political science student Andrea Candejas said that Coley’s support to student groups like ASI, clubs and other councils throughout CPP has been beneficial.
“President Coley has really tried to connect with student leaders on campus ” not just from the ASI side, but also councils and different clubs,” said Candejas. “She’s asked what we want to continue on campus, what we would like to see and what we want to change” she has done some really great Q and A’s with the students to see difficulties that we all face, which got many of us together and will let us get to know her more.”
Candejas said that Coley has made herself available to students and groups across campus and is not afraid to ask questions and search for solutions with students.
If she doesn’t understand one of the procedures that we do, she is always open to asking questions about it,” said Candejas. “She’s trying to learn how different groups operate.”
Her support of student programs has also allowed the university to break new ground. For example, Coley and the Provost’s Office directly supported TEDxCPP’s debut event in March.
Fourth-year international business student and TEDxCPP team member Gal Bechor said that he is grateful for the support offered by Coley and her office. He considers her direct involvement in developing the project and obtaining guests paramount to their success.
“President Coley was a fantastic resource to have available for this project, and she was very supportive of what we were doing,” said Bechor. “She helped us reach out to speakers and form contact with big names, especially with Tom Soderstrom, chief tech and innovation officer of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories. She really helped us with our strategy.”
Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post
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