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Cal Poly’s Sustainable Environments Program Wins Statewide Best Practice Award for Sustainability in Academics

The Sustainable Environments minor in Cal Poly’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design (CAED) received a Best Practice Award for Sustainability in Academics from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC). CHESC is an annual conference that highlights cutting edge research and case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs and community partnerships. The event is jointly organized by independent and private colleges, California community colleges, the California State University, and the University of California, creating the opportunity for dialogue across institutions. The Sustainable Environments program offers a cross-section of Cal Poly students an opportunity to become informed about the principles and problems of sustainable environmental design with global, regional and local perspectives and concepts – and to implement sustainable practices locally. The program teaches students from across all majors to integrate concerns for ecology, social equity and economics in the context of human and natural resource systems and the built environment. Find out more.

Cal Poly Professor Recognized For Accounting Ethics Research

The CPA Journal honored Cal Poly accounting Professor Steven Mintz for his research in accounting ethics. He will receive the publication’s 2014 Max Block Award in the informed comment category for his article “Revised AICPA Code of Professional Conduct: Analyzing the Ethical Responsibilities for Members in Public Practice and Members in Business,” which appeared in the journal’s December 2014 edition. In the article, Mintz explains how the 2014 changes to the American Institute of CPAs’ ethical code of conduct affects its more than 400,000 members in the performance of their ethical and professional responsibilities. The article provides practical examples of ethical dilemmas CPAs face and how those challenges can be met within the confines of the Code of Ethics. Mintz will accept the award at the forthcoming CPA Journal Annual Editorial Board Meeting in New York. Find out more.

Former Amazon Employee to Lead Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Cal Poly

Tod Nelson, an entrepreneur and former Amazon employee, has been appointed the first executive director of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE). Nelson, who begins his post July 1, will be responsible for representing the CIE to its supporters and alumni while building relationships with the local entrepreneurial community to bolster the program’s growth. “Tod’s extensive industry experience and passion for student success puts him in the perfect position to lead the CIE,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “The CIE is Learn by Doing in action, and its programs energize the entire campus.” Nelson began his career at Amazon in 1995 as one of the company’s first 10 employees. During his tenure, he led the launch of Amazon Music and Video in Germany and worked on the launch teams of Amazon Music and Video in the U.S. As a business consultant, Nelson has spent many years helping new companies navigate through the start-up phase and develop e-commerce and social media marketing strategies. Recently, Nelson has been closely involved with the CIE as the entrepreneur in residence at the on-campus incubator, the Hatchery, and as a lead mentor for the CIE’s student programs. Nelson has also taught introductory entrepreneurship courses in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. Read more on Nelson and the CIE.

Cal Poly Removes Prime Ag Land from Development Consideration as Campus Master Plan Process Proceeds

Cal Poly has announced that it will no longer consider development of nearly 43 acres of prime agricultural land just west of its campus core, as the university proceeds with the two-year process of updating its campus master plan. The land in question, much of which is classified Class 1 farmland, had to this point been listed in master plan documents among many possible sites for future development of university housing and other campus infrastructure. The acreage is used now for lemons, grapevines, mandarin oranges, a deciduous orchard and silage for the university’s livestock. It is located along the western entrance to campus, west of Highway 1 and Mt. Bishop Road and just north and south of Highland Drive. “This is the right decision to maintain the high level of our Learn by Doing agriculture education,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We have heard from our students, our faculty members, and our alumni and industry friends on this issue in recent weeks, and their voices have been unanimous: This land must be maintained for our ag programs.” Find out more.

Cal Poly Students Help Develop Digital Platform for Government Watchdogs

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former state Sen. Sam Blakeslee launched Digital Democracy, a pioneering online and interactive platform that merges cutting-edge technologies to help close the knowledge gap between well-financed groups and small advocacy organizations, giving individuals the tools to transform the relationship between citizens and their government. Developed by students at the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly, Digital Democracy uses voice and facial recognition, data mining and natural language processing to offer Californians access to state legislative hearings with a Google-like search, and allows users to identify key Capitol players and their connections to campaigns, interest groups and other legislative actions. “Technology has radically changed the way society interacts, but government is on the cutting edge of 1973. All of this only increases the gap between people and government,” said Newsom. “Digital Democracy gives citizens the keys to unlock Capitol corridors and assess facts in a way that they can be part of the process of governing again.” Blakeslee said the online resource will open up government. “Right now it is a very closed place, and the public is largely not able to see what happens, unless they are attending legislative committee hearings in person,” said IATPP’s founding director and a former senator from San Luis Obispo County. “With this powerful new platform, Californians will be able to see exactly what people are saying as state laws are being written.” More on Digital Democracy.

Cal Poly Unveils Future Enrollment Proposals as Part of Master Plan Update

Cal Poly has released conceptual maps and enrollment growth possibilities for campus development as part of the master planning process the university began last fall. The master plan will set the locations, sizes and types of land use and facilities needed to support the university’s learn-by-doing mission. The information and maps under consideration are simply ideas and concepts. They do not represent specific proposals. The university will continue to engage the community and solicit input regarding the various concepts, including during two public open houses to be held in May. “We are sharing conceptual maps as part of our ongoing effort to engage the community in our master plan process,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong. “The maps show a number of options and potential concepts for development that we want to discuss with the campus and broader community.” Future enrollment demands are driving the master plan. The university encourages additional community engagement in this process and invites anyone who is interested to attend the open house forums on May 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Kennedy Library Atrium on campus and May 9, from 10 a.m. to noon, at San Luis Obispo City-County Library, 995 Palm St. More on Master Plan