Last candidate for Cal Poly president visits campus

The third of three finalists for Cal Poly president visited the campus Wednesday and discussed the possibility of implementing more online learning at the university and taking advantage of industry partnerships.

Steven R. Angle, a provost and professor of chemistry at Wright State University in Ohio, shared his ideas in the last of three forums hosted at Cal Poly for the presidential candidates.

Angle discussed building good relationships with industry leaders and groups in California that benefit from Cal Poly students, such as agriculture groups.

This would lend an additional voice in funding discussions statewide and with the California State University chancellor, he said.

He also said minority students need to have role models on the faculty and that a president should take a key role in fundraising. His answers to questions on other topics are as follows:

Major declaration

Angle said flexibility is important and that requiring students to declare their majors isn’t necessarily bad, but that “cementing” students into a major and making it hard for them to change can be a problem.

He said some kind of program that allows students to get a better sense of their interest in a major could be of value to the university.

Angle said chemistry was his worst subject in high school, but he ended up switching his major to it in college. He used his experience as an example of how flexibility can be important in a student’s life.

Industry partnerships

Angle said partnerships with companies that can directly benefit from the expertise of Cal Poly graduates and stimulate the economy are valuable.

He cited agriculture as an example, saying it’s a multimillion-dollar revenue generator for California.

New developments in an industry could be explored at the university through the help of donations from industry groups that would benefit from that research, as well as use faculty from outside the university.


Angle cited an example of how he developed a relationship with a cardiologist in Ohio and over the course of several months included the man in discussions with other university staff.

Angle said that the man had given significant donations elsewhere in the community and thought he might be willing to do the same for Wright State.

He said after about six months and several conversations, the man, who had an interest in performing arts, donated $1 million for a concert hall at the university.

Angle said fundraising should be driven by academic aspirations.

Budget shortfalls

Angle said shortfalls need to be addressed several ways, including through research grants, private donations and student fees.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed blocked a fee that Cal Poly students voted for in March 2009 that would have raised undergraduate fees in phases by more than $500 per quarter within two years.

That was because of several increases in student fees statewide in recent years, said Reed, who added that he wanted to keep the cost of education as affordable as possible.

But Angle said the message he heard on campus Wednesday is that the Poly community wants the increase to benefit the university, and he’d work to seek the implementation of the fees.