Provost Edward Inch: Fall 2020 Convocation speech

Welcome back. And welcome to a new year albeit different than any other year we've experienced, the biggest difference being that we're not together. I always enjoy this time of year because we get to celebrate the opening of a new year. But in any case, I hope you had a great summer. I hope you were able to find some time for yourself, for your family, for your friends and for your community. It's important to recharge. 

Usually during the summer our campus seems empty. But this summer was even moreso. The campus was truly empty and that's a lonely feeling. This coming term will also feel different than any other. And I hope that we find ways to strengthen our community and one another even in a largely virtual environment. I want to commend each of you for how hard you have worked to prepare for this fall, preparing for our students and staying focused on helping our students achieve their educational dreams.

This year, probably more than ever, they will need our support, they will need our guidance and they will need our reassurance. It will be difficult. We all have great inspiring stories to tell. I'm always excited to share with other people about what makes this campus remarkable. Individual student accounts of achievement and success are compelling, especially when one realizes Cal State East Bay is consistently ranked as one of the top campuses for social mobility. Our collective work makes a difference for families, for our students, for our communities. Recently, CNBC released a report recognizing us as one of the top 25 public universities in the nation that pays off the most for 2020 and that's all because of the work we do. 

But there's more to do. We have more students that we need to be able to serve and those that are not successful in graduating, we need to help them find pathways. Despite the stresses and challenges and uncertainty we have experienced together, I have been more than impressed with the resilience, the cooperation, and the caring that all of us have expressed so that all of our people can feel together and feel that somehow we are bonded toward achieving our mission, even when confronted with the challenges of virtual instruction, rethinking the policies on grading and financial aid and probably mostly importantly is how this campus has bonded against injustice and racism. I believe leadership has been expressed at many levels and enacted by so many people across campus in all of their roles. I feel confident that each of you understands the impact the pandemic disruption has had on our students, our ability to provide an equitable education and our ability to help all students achieve. 

Through our work and our outreach we will bridge the gap and we will make life better for our students, one another, and our community. We all know, though, that there's a lot of work to do. This year we must commit to and focus on the elimination of opportunity gaps for all of our students. This has been an ongoing project of ours, this year in particular, it will be important because of our virtual environment.

I want to commend the work of a number of people this summer that helped us prepare for the coming fall, especially the leadership of the Academic Senate for continuing their work through the summer to ensure continuity. To all of the academic advisors who have reached out to our students and worked to retain them and get them registered. Our online campus staff who worked diligently to help prepare our faculty for online instruction and they will continue to support our faculty through the fall. And all of our faculty who offered instruction in the summer to fulfill our graduation promise to every student. All of this work should help students achieve their goals. I'm grateful for these efforts. I'm appreciative of all the work you have put in to get us where we are. 

Now, more than ever, we have to remember that we provide a community for each other, too. We share values that can weather the extraordinary challenges that we are facing and that working together we will be able to help create a better community and country for this generation and the next. That's our mission. I feel privileged to work amongst so many good people and make sure I get to recognize members of the faculty who earned awards last year for doing outstanding work in each of their different areas, starting with our Outstanding Professor award that went to Scott Fung in Accounting and Finance. The Sue Schaefer Faculty Service award was given to Kevin Brown in Computer Science. The Outstanding Researcher's Award went to Kathryn Hays in Educational Leadership, Ryan Heryford, English, Amy Furniss in Physics and Matthew Atencio in Kinesiology. The Outstanding Lecturer award was earned by Ben Klein in History. 

These people, like so many in our community, truly make a difference and this year and this year we are fortunate to introduce 28 new faculty members who will join us and will add to our community and add to the strengths we have. Thank you to all who served on search committees, who participated in interviews and who participated in the hiring and selection process of these 28 tremendous individuals. Being a new faculty member on any campus is hard as some of you may remember your first days on campus. Being a faculty member on a new campus where you probably won't meet your colleagues face to face for awhile is doubly hard.  I invite all of you, regardless of your unit and regardless of what you do to reach out to these faculty members and help them feel a part of the community that I feel is so important to what we do here and so important with who we are. 

I want to take a moment to introduce each of them. Normally I would say 'please give a round of applause to each' I hope you do but it won't be in community here. First off, 

In sociology, Wallis Adams. 

In Earth and Environmental Science, Abinash Bhattachan. 

In Management, Lynn Bowles-Sperry. 

In Management, Grant Brady. 

In Public Administration, Vivian Cueto. 

In English, Trinee Dalton.

In History, Jason Daniels.

In Computer Science, Moayed Daneshyari.

In Philosophy, Susi Ferrarello.

In Nursing, Susan Forsyth.

Lindsey Grubbs will be in Health Sciences.

John Paul Horn will be in Social Work. 

Elizabeth Kyonka will be in Psychology.    

Maria Livaudais will be in Health Sciences. 

Sara McDaniel will be in Educational Psychology. 

Tony Marks-Block will be in Anthropology, Geography and Environmental Studies. 

Ryan Moruzzi will be in Mathematics.

In University Libraries we welcome Daisy Muralles.

Jiyoun Myung will be in Statistics.

Criminal Justice, welcomes Seung Paek.

Physics will have Arran Phipps.

Christopher Palmore will be in Criminal Justice.

Arun Rasiah will be in Ethnic Studies/Liberal Studies. 

Jocyl Sacramento in Ethnic Studies.

Simone Sisneros-Thiry in Mathematics.

Jennifer Tran in Ethnic Studies.

Nadya Vasilyeva will be in Psychology.

Stephanie ZaleskiI will be Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

So please give a virtual applause to all of our new people. And welcome back. Welcome back to our community. Thank you for continuing to make a difference and for your dedication to teaching and to our students.