Humboldt State Asked to Plan for Consideration to Be State’s Third Polytechnic
The California State University has asked Humboldt State University to undertake a self-study toward becoming designated a polytechnic.
The request offers the momentous possibility of HSU becoming one of just three polytechnic universities in the state, and the only one in Northern California. It would better position HSU to meet specific workforce needs on the North Coast and statewide, and it would significantly raise HSU’s profile among prospective students and grant-funding organizations.
HSU President Tom Jackson, Jr. shared his enthusiasm for the request in a message to campus today, calling it an “incredible, transformative opportunity.”
“This is our moment. First, let’s allow ourselves to imagine, dream, and consider Humboldt as a polytechnic,” Jackson wrote. “What are the possibilities for this region and future students? What are the possibilities for new grants and research?”
The CSU request came in a recent letter from Chancellor Timothy White. The Chancellor wrote, in part: “Humboldt State University is a vital institution on the North Coast and for California. The campus currently has many distinct strengths in the sciences, with a special capacity for matters pertaining to forestry, oceanography, energy, and agriculture. As we look to the needs of California in the decades ahead, programs dealing with the development and application of new knowledge in the fire sciences, aquaculture, sustainable energy, north coast crops, and environmental sustainability are among a few areas where HSU could provide world-class programs.”
Although it is Fall Break, HSU is sharing it as soon as possible with the campus and community.
Polytechnic institutions traditionally feature hands-on and career-focused programs, an emphasis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and applied science programs like health and agriculture, along with a strong liberal arts foundation.
In the requested self-study, HSU will have a chance to build upon the collective vision from its academic and strategic planning to reimagine the polytechnic for the 21st Century. It could incorporate Humboldt State’s broad expertise in sustainability, along with areas like traditional ecological knowledge, renewable technologies, equitable and ethical practices, tribal and rural community development, and more.
“I am excited for the possibilities that HSU becoming a polytechnic CSU represents for our region,” said Keith Flamer, President of College of the Redwoods. “This will allow CR and HSU to expand the transfer pathway in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, forestry and aquaculture fields. CR’s administration and faculty are committed to working with our Humboldt State University partners to build a pathway from our high quality STEM related programs to HSU. It is a ‘win-win’ collaboration.”
In many ways, HSU is the obvious candidate to become the state’s third polytechnic. HSU has the highest percentage of courses with a hands-on component in the CSU, and it has the third highest percentage of students in natural resources and STEM programs (behind Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona). HSU also has the CSU’s highest percentage of STEM graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees, ranking 8th nationally among 660 master’s level institutions.
The self-study on the polytechnic concept, to be completed by Spring 2021, will be led by HSU Provost Jenn Capps and Lisa Bond-Maupin, currently serving as Interim Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President. It will build upon numerous important planning efforts currently underway at HSU, including the Strategic Plan process, Academic Road Map planning process, preparation for upcoming WSCUC accreditation visits, and others.