Dear Colleagues, 

I hope the start of the spring semester is going smoothly. I am writing to share some important updates on progress made toward the Outstanding Success Possibilities (OSPs) outlined in our Strategic Plan. 

Significantly increased grant activity – Federal and state funding earned for the 2024 fiscal year, as of the end of December, totaling more than $5.6 million, has surpassed the total of grant funding earned for the entirety of the 2023 fiscal year. These efforts, as part of the Market-Responsive Education OSP, have resulted in an increase in the number of grant submissions. Christopher Standish was hired as the new executive director for research administration to continue this momentum. 

Expanded use of Academic Alert Systems – During the fall semester, nearly two-thirds of faculty used the academic alert systems in place in Navigate. Increased use and application of the alert systems helps proactively identify students in need of support and in enhancing retention efforts. This work is part of the Transformative Student Experiences OSP.    

Developed new programming to engage graduate student community – Also as part of the Transformative Student Experiences OSP, the Center for Career Development launched the iKnow Series, which has included programs on resume preparation, the job market, interview preparation, and an alumni networking event. The Office of Graduate and International Student Life and the Graduate Student Council collaborated on 30 academic and cultural programs, including International Education Week, Diwali, and a Taste of Africa, as well as movie and trivia nights and the launch of the Chargers After Dark program. 

Launched Power On brand – More than 300 faculty and staff attended an event in November to celebrate the launch of our new Power On brand. Additional information about the brand and the process behind its development – and assets that can be used to help promote the brand – can be found at Branding efforts are part of the Market-Responsive Education OSP. 

Established process for programs geared toward non-traditional audiences – Guidelines for developing programs, such as micro-credentials, geared to non-traditional audiences have been created. A proposal form is in place and back-end infrastructure is being built to support this process. This work is part of the Customized Educational Models OSP. 

Introduced new TOPS Module for Staff Appraisal Process – As part of the People First OSP, the Office of Human Resources, through the Talent Onboarding & Performance System (TOPS) platform, transitioned the staff performance appraisal process to calendar year from fiscal year. The TOPS system, which provides valuable insights for both employees and managers to assist with aligning individual and department goals to institutional goals, is being used to complete the evaluation process for the period between July 1 and December 31, 2023, and goal setting for the 2024 calendar year. 

Expanding employer education program – Efforts continue to increase awareness and understanding for employers on how to hire international students on F-1 visas. This work is part of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Service OSP. Initiatives include developing an Employer Webinar Series, an online Resource Materials Library for employer partners, and on-site employer education and training programs.

In total, nearly two-thirds of the deliverables identified for completion for this academic year are moving forward on track. We are actively analyzing the deliverables determined to not be on track and are amending some deliverables that will be delayed to subsequent years. 

A great deal of important progress has been made toward achieving each of our OSPs. I thank everyone for their energy and dedication throughout this important work. 


Nancy Ortins Savage, Ph.D.  
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs