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Cal Poly Set to Update Master Plan for Future Campus Development

Cal Poly announced it is preparing to update its plan for developing the campus over the next 20 years to meet student educational needs and the local, state and regional demand for its graduates. The university is beginning a two-year process to update the campus master plan, which will determine physical needs and guide future development of the lands, circulation systems and facilities necessary to support the university’s Learn by Doing mission.   The master plan update process will include extensive engagement of the campus and San Luis Obispo communities and numerous opportunities for public input and involvement. In addition to scheduling several events to encourage public involvement, the university has established community and campus advisory committees. The six committees include a cross section of campus and community representatives and will provide thoughts, ideas and input related to policy direction.The public is invited to attend two initial public workshops to discuss and learn more about the master plan process on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kennedy Library atrium on campus and on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ludwick Community Assembly Room, 864 Santa Rosa St., in San Luis Obispo.  More on the Master Plan

Cal Poly Students Awarded $5,500 at CIE Elevator Pitch Finals

Seven Cal Poly students won prize money for their entrepreneurial ideas for apps, ear buds, showerheads and more during the final round of the fifth annual Ray Scherr Elevator Pitch Competition held recently on campus. The event was part of an Entrepreneurship Forum hosted by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE). Overall winner Chad Kihm, an industrial engineering student whose Game of War Real Tips pitch introduced a suite of mobile game education tools, took home $1,000 and will advance to compete against hundreds of other college students at the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization National Elevator Pitch Competition in Orlando, Fla. The 2013 winner of the Ray Scherr Elevator Pitch Competition, Quincy Freeman, went on to take first place in the national event by pitching her unique line of Western wear. This year, Cal Poly’s elevator pitch contest drew 282 video entries — its largest pool of applicants —from all six colleges. The top 10 finalists, from freshmen to graduate students, received coaching from CIE’s staff and mentors before presenting their ideas at the forum. More on the competition

Cal Poly Shares $1 Million Grant to Fund Citizen Science Astronomy Research

Cal Poly and the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., have received a $1 million collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation to continue a citizen-scientist astronomy project in rural communities in the Western U.S. stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. More than 40 towns along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges and down the Colorado River will receive telescopes and training through the grant. The towns in this second phase of the project will join 13 pilot communities to form the Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network (RECON). Scientists John Keller, a Cal Poly physics professor, and planetary scientist Marc Buie will lead the network of teachers, students and amateur astronomers in measuring the sizes of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) — large, frozen bodies that orbit the sun in the outer region of the solar system. “This project is an innovative and exciting opportunity for students and community members from across the Western U.S. to directly contribute to our understanding of the Kuiper Belt,” said Keller. More on the grant

Landscape Architecture Students Get National Award for Orphanage Project

A team of Cal Poly landscape architecture students has received a national award of excellence for a playground they designed and built at a South African orphanage. The 5,000-square-foot project was honored in the community service category of the 2014 American Society of Landscape Architects Student Awards competition. It was one of only three awards of excellence given out in the annual competition that attracted more than 500 entries from 77 universities across the nation. The awards will be presented at ASLA’s annual meeting in Denver on Nov. 24. “In a year where the jury loved everything that was awarded in this category, this undergraduate team’s project stood out,” says an article in this month’s edition of Landscape Architecture Magazine. “The play space, designed and built for the 350 children in the Ratang Bana orphanage in Alexandria Township, South Africa, is also an open space resource for the whole community.” The team included students Michael Aguas, Alex Clark, Andrew Elias, Alex Henige, Ryan Higginbotham, Alix Kidwell, Joanne Mark, Amanda McCaulley, Erica Monson, Rachel SantaOlalla, Nick Tuttle, Tony Webster, Ryan Higginbotham and Julianna Wild. Professor David J. Watts, interim chair of the Cal Poly’s Landscape Architecture Department, organized the project and traveled to South Africa with the students.
More on the award

Cal Poly Releases Executive Summary Outlining Results of Campus Climate Survey

The vast majority of the Cal Poly students, faculty and staff reports being comfortable in the university’s campus climate, and 85 percent of students are pleased with their academic experience. But more than 20 percent of the Cal Poly community has experienced some form of exclusionary treatment on campus, according to the executive summary on Cal Poly’s Campus Climate Survey, performed in winter 2013. The university released the summary Oct. 9 in advance of a full survey report being released Oct. 16, following two open-forum discussions on campus. The survey garnered responses from more than 6,000 students and faculty and staff members — nearly 30 percent of the campus community. The purpose was to gather baseline data about the demographics and daily experiences of campus constituents and learn about their perceptions of the degree to which Cal Poly’s policies, practices, and professional relationships foster a culture of inclusivity, equity, and mutual respect. The university also will hold a series of focus group discussions and workshops in November to develop possible courses of action to enhance areas of campus climate success and address areas of concern. For more on the Campus Climate Survey

Cal Poly Issues Voluntary Recall of Several Cal Poly Chocolates Varieties

The Cal Poly Food Science & Nutrition Department in conjunction with the Cal Poly Corporation are voluntarily recalling multiple varieties of Cal Poly Chocolates candy bars because they have the potential to be contaminated with the following undeclared allergens: peanut, milk or soy. Products may also have been exposed to microbial contamination. The products are sold at retail outlets and farmers markets around the central coast of California, at on-campus locations, and online through the Cal Poly Bookstore. No illnesses have been reported. The voluntary recall is being initiated out of an abundance of caution. While there is no confirmation of the existence of a contaminant in the recalled products, an equipment operations failure was detected on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. The issue was immediately resolved. More on the recall


10 Faculty and Staff Members Honored for Excellence

Cal Poly recently honored 10 faculty and staff members for service excellence in the classroom and for their support roles at the university. “These awards recognize and celebrate Cal Poly’s dedicated faculty and staff who play a pivotal role in the success of our students and our Learn by Doing experience,” said President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Our faculty and staff are the reason Cal Poly remains a top choice for our students who go on to become leaders and innovators in their respective fields.” The awardees were nominated by peers and in some cases by their very own students. Stephen Klisch, a mechanical engineering professor, and David Marshall, who teaches aerospace engineering, received the university’s Distinguished Scholarship Award for 2013-14.
Three professors received the Distinguished Teaching Award for work in the classroom: Camille P. O’Bryant of the Kinesiology Department; Pat Fidopiastis in Biological Sciences; and Matt Moore in the Political Science Department. John Oliver, an associate professor of electrical engineering, received the Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year Award. Jesse Maddren, a mechanical engineering professor, received the 2014 Provost’s Leadership Award for Partnership in Philanthropy. Dean of Students Jean DeCosta, Tammy S. Martin, an engineering career counselor, and Craig Stubler, an instructional support technician, were honored for their dedication, expertise and contributions to Cal Poly with the annual Outstanding Staff Award. More on the awards