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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo names new president

Jeffrey D. Armstrong, an educator at Michigan State University, has been named president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, officials announced Wednesday.

Armstrong, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of animal science at Michigan State, will assume his new post Feb. 1. He succeeds interim President Robert Glidden, who joined the campus in August after the retirement of Warren J. Baker, who had been president since 1979.

Armstrong was one of three finalists for the position at the institution  on California's Central coast. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is one of 23 campuses in the California State University system.

“Dr. Armstrong’s outstanding academic credentials, leadership abilities and strong grounding in agriculture and science will be tremendous assets to the university and community as it moves forward,” Roberta Achtenberg, chairwoman of the Cal State Board of Trustees' presidential search committee, said in a statement.

Armstrong has been in his current position at Michigan State since 2001 and previously served as head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University and in various positions at North Carolina State University. His recent research has focused on social responsibility in the food chain, and he has been an advisor to McDonalds Corp. on the issue of animal welfare.

“Cal Poly has an excellent reputation for preparing the knowledge leaders that help drive California’s economy,” Armstrong, 51, said in a statement. “I am honored to join such an outstanding university and excited about engaging students, faculty and alumni to build on its strong foundation and create opportunities for the future.”

Armstrong’s salary and benefits are still being negotiated and will be approved at the January board meeting of the Cal State trustees, officials said.

-- Carla Rivera

Comments () | Archives (6)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo? Who cares?

Cal Poly is in Pomona.

"Cal Poly is in Pomona."

No, CSU Pomona is in Pomona.

Go 'stangs! Pomona is the little sister.

Of course it is!

Cal Poly Pomona never hides the fact that it is part of the CSU. Only stupid universities obfuscate what university system they belong to (or which city are they located), by trying to convey a faux sense of academic grandeur.

That's why you have CSU San Luis Obispo pushing the "Cal Poly only" agenda everybody's throat.

What a funny "academic" institution.

My last name isn't Smith, but can I add to the discussion?

Cal Poly SLO was founded in 1901, while Cal Poly Pomona wasn't officially established until 1938 and then as "California Polytechnic - Voorhis Unit". The Pomona campus was originally treated as a satellite of the SLO location, even being run by the same school President, Julian McPhee (whose son Ian is still in the SLO county area, running a restaurant called McPhee's Grill in Templeton).

The two colleges split up in 1966 when McPhee retired and in 1972 they were elevated to University status. Cal Poly Pomona has a great food service program but Cal Poly SLO has a better football team (and band).

Cal. Poly San Luis Obispo President do not follow in the footsteps of the former 2nd best university in the world. The signs of UC Berkeley’s relative decline are clear: Cal tumbles from 2nd best in the world. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.
When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.
The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.


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