Humboldt State University

August 22, 2016

Welcome to Fall Semester

Dear University Community,

Welcome to a new academic year at Humboldt State University! The campus is re-energized after the summer break, with orientation events for new students and faculty and with the start of classes today. I wish you great success in teaching and learning, as well as with your research, scholarship, creative endeavors, and community service activities.

The upcoming year brings some important University-wide efforts you should know about and in which you may want to get involved. These activities include the continued implementation of our Strategic Plan, our WASC self-study for reaffirmation of accreditation, and our participation in the new CSU Graduation Initiative to improve student success. Each of these efforts will engage faculty, staff, and students from across campus.

I also want to share with you the three big, long-term goals for our University that I talked about during my Fall Welcome to faculty and staff last week. You will hear more about them in the coming year and beyond. Each of these initiatives is challenging, and each is grounded in our vision for what HSU can become.

These goals are:

  • We will eliminate the achievement gap within the next decade. We will remove barriers so that all HSU students have access to the same quality education. There will be no difference between traditionally underrepresented and other students in retention or in graduation rates, no gap for low-income students, and no gap for first-in-family students.
  • We will provide all our students a distinctive educational experience that has social justice and environmental sustainability at its core. All of our graduates will have the knowledge and skills to create a better world, including a focus on our fundamental values of social and environmental responsibility.
  • We will become a carbon negative campus. The campus will be at or near carbon neutral by 2030, and then we will continue to reduce our carbon footprint so that we become carbon negative.

More about these goals is in the text of my Fall Welcome talk, which is posted here.

These big goals are all built on the strategic planning process that we engaged in together, as a University community, two years ago. I think of these initiatives as “Living Our Pledge.” They are a personal and institutional commitment inspired by the student-created Graduation Pledge of Environmental and Social Responsibility, as well as the newly created HSU Pledge designed for current students, faculty, and staff. These goals represent HSU acting on our core values.

Finally, I want to note here, as I also did during my Fall Welcome talk, that the land where Humboldt State is located is part of the ancestral homeland of the Wiyot people. The Wiyot were here more than a thousand years before this University was founded. Because so much of an HSU education is characterized by a sense of place, acknowledging the history of this land and our indebtedness to the Wiyot people is important.

Thank you for all you do as a part of this wonderful HSU community. I look forward to working with you, learning with and from you, and being inspired by you during the upcoming year.

With best wishes,

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

Humboldt State University