Nicole Hawkes is succeeding Anita Jessup as the new chief of staff and is familiarizing herself with the position and new surroundings. Melissa Lopez Gutierrez | The Poly Post)

New chief of staff welcomed

New Chief of Staff Nicole Hawkes was welcomed to office after her predecessor Anita Jessup retired on July 3.

Jessup worked as Cal Poly’s second chief of staff for the past year after succeeding Gary Hamilton.

Hawkes’ first day as the chief of staff for President Soraya M. Coley began on June 27. She worked alongside Jessup for about a week to train and transition.

Hawks is accredited with a bachelor’s of history degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s of arts in African studies from the University of Illinois and a master’s of science in arts administration from Boston University.

Prior to her employment at CPP, Hawkes worked as the associate provost for strategic initiatives and the chief of staff for the provost at Boston University.

Her role served many projects including strategic planning, academic program development and working with the provost to enhance the quality of university programs and academic reputation.

Nicole Hawkes is succeeding Anita Jessup as the new chief of staff and is familiarizing herself with the position and new surroundings. Melissa Lopez Gutierrez | The Poly Post)

After her employment at Boston University, Hawkes moved with her daughters from the East Coast to begin her job as the chief of staff at CPP.

In a statement, Jean Morrison, the provost and chief academic officer at Boston University, recognized Hawkes and wished her luck at CPP.

“She has been an influential member of my senior leadership team, providing important insight into complex situations, creative solutions for difficult problems, and strategic thinking for developing initiatives,” Morrison said.

In 2011, Hawkes worked as the associate provost for academic affairs at the University of Southern California.

Hawkes also worked as the senior program associate in the MacArthur Fellows Program of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

President Coley released a statement on Hawkes’ hiring.

“I am extremely pleased to have Ms. Hawkes join us as my chief of staff,” Coley said. “Not only does she bring a breadth and depth of experience in higher education, but she has an awareness of the importance of valuing institutional and academic culture.

Moreover, she has an engagement style that is welcoming and respectful of diverse experiences and perspectives. Equally important are her excellent communication, problem-solving and organizational skills. I am indeed delighted to welcome Ms. Hawkes and her family as they settle into the CPP community.”

As the fall 2018 semester begins, Hawkes is devoting her efforts to a few main goals: finishing the final pieces of semester conversion and beginning her work on the university’s strategic plan.

The strategic plan addresses a CPP vision for the future, a plan to achieve the vision, a way to monitor progress and success, listing resources needed to achieve that vision and ultimately what CPP is as a whole.

Progress on the strategic plan is still underway.

Hawkes’ third focus this semester is working with President Coley and a team of faculty on the pre-developmental plan for the former Lanterman Developmental Center space, now known as Campus South.

CPP obtained jurisdiction of the Lanterman Developmental Center from the Department of Developmental Services by the State of California in 2015.

With advancements still underway, the university plans on using the 300-acre site to support its academic mission.

Hawkes said she is eager to work at CPP alongside President Coley and looks forward to the new semester.

“I’m excited about being here,” Hawkes said. “I hope to fulfil the goals of my role and to continue the connected role with the president to help her fulfill and advance her goals, together working collaboratively to continue to strengthen and make the university more visible.”

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