Cal Poly education professor Tanya Flushman says a new grant for the School of Education will help prepare the next generation of educators for teaching students with dyslexia. Cal Poly News | Courtesy Photo

This article first appeared in the Mustang News September print issue, available at newsstands around campus.

From a new interdisciplinary computing program to nearly $40 million granted to agriculture programs, Cal Poly was the recipient of several big funding awards that flowed in over the summer.

Cal Poly is set to establish The Noyce School of Applied Computing upon receiving a “transformational” gift from the trust of Intel-founder Robert N. Noyce, known as the “Mayor of Silicon Valley.” The donors intend to also make an eight-figure bequest to the College of Engineering for the Noyce School, which blends electrical engineering, computer science and computer engineering.

“We believe the establishment of The Noyce School of Applied Computing comes at a pivotal time, when there is a major deficit of new graduates in the fields of computing and computer sciences, and the need and demand for these skilled workers remains very high,” Michael Groom, a trustee, said in a Cal Poly news release.

The state has granted $39.5 million to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) to keep the university’s infrastructure and production units resilient against intensified climate change. This one-time grant helps address the predicted double-digit job growth in the agricultural and environmental science fields over the next 10 years, according to

CAFES Dean Andrew Thulin said there’s a predicted double-digit job growth in the agricultural and environmental science fields in the next decade amid environmental challenges, and this funding prepares students for that future.

The state budget for 2022-23 funds Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch and Cal State University farms in order to improve the university’s agricultural production units. The ranch was largely destroyed in the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire and Cal Poly is in the process of restoring the ranch and building an on-site education center, where students can participate in fire recover research.

More than 4,100 students are in ag-related programs at Cal Poly, working on the nearly 6,000 acres of on-site operations on campus, according to a university news release.

Cal Poly’s School of Education received $21,000 to update its curriculum to align with the state’s guidelines for teaching students with dyslexia. Cal Poly received the largest portion of the statewide grant program out of all colleges.

The Cal Poly programs for elementary teachers, middle and high school teachers and special education master’s will receive $7,000 each from the grant. In total, the CSU system produces the most teachers in the state of California, according to Cal Poly education professor Tanya Flushman, who is a director for the CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing.

“Studies have shown that skilled teaching makes the biggest difference in a dyslexic child’s educational experience,” Flushman said in a news release. “Teaching is an extremely challenging endeavor, and our intent is to prepare and support new teachers by providing them with research-based guidance for teaching.”

Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research also received $5.6 million in National Institute of Health grant funding to conduct a seven-year study on cardiovascular health among pregnant women and infants and address health disparities in low-income communities.

About five students per year, or 35 students over seven years, will be involved in the project. Cal Poly students and professors are working with Brown University and other centers to complete the study.

“It’s really trying to promote long-term heart health in families who have been historically minoritized, underrepresented and low-resourced in our region,” public health professor Suzanne Phelan, the center’s director, said in a news release.