Zach Maher/Mustang News

“Our Learn by Doing commitment could be denigrated in some way if we don’t have additional resources to get more classes to hire the faculty,” said Stan Nosek, interim vice president of academic affairs and co-chair of the Student Success Fee Allocation Advisory Committee.

Samantha Sullivan
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The final increase to the Student Success Fee will occur in Fall 2014, and the Student Success Fee Allocation Advisory Committee has decided how those funds will be spent.

The 2014-15 budget for the fee will be the last to see a significant increase, so a majority of the Student Success Fee money has already been allocated. Interim vice president of academic affairs and co-chair of the committee Stan Nosek said from now on, very little new money will be allocated each year.

“The committee now goes into an assessment stage,” Nosek said. “What are we going to do to look at these three years of allocations of student funds to see if they are meeting the goal?”

Nosek, who began his interim role this academic year, said he thinks the process has worked well for student success, particularly because students have given input about what they want and need.

“It seems to me it is an incredible support for student success on this campus,” Nosek said. “I’m very impressed that students would vote themselves this amount of money, seeing that as state funding is reducing that our Learn by Doing commitment could be denigrated in some way if we don’t have additional resources to get more classes to hire the faculty.”

Associated Students, Inc. President and agricultural business senior Jason Colombini is the other co-chair of the advisory committee. He helps organize and facilitate meetings and votes on the proposals.

Colombini said there are more items proposed than can be funded, so the committee goes through the proposal line-item by line-item to determine what should be fully funded, partially funded,or not funded at all, he said.

Two members of the academic senate, two faculty members and two staff members are also part of the committee. There are six student members in addition to Colombini that represent each of the academic colleges.

According to Colombini, the allocations align well with what students voted for three years ago in terms of where they wanted the money to go.

“Most of the money goes toward access to student classes,” Colombini said. “That was the No. 1 thing students said they wanted … money to go to, so I’m glad that’s the one being funded the most.”

Approximately $9.2 million out of the total $14.9 million that makes up the 2014-15 budget goes to helping students access classes.

Provost Kathleen Enz Finken said every college has new positions coming.

“I’d say that’s pretty good,” she said.

Enz Finken, who is in charge of academic affairs, and Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey presented proposals to the committee for things under their departments they’d like to see funded with the money. Enz Finken said she and Humphrey worked together in creating their proposals, so the requests are reasonable for the committee to work with.

Almost all the money in the ongoing column of the report is allocated for hiring faculty and staff, Enz Finken said. New money refers to Student Success Fee funds going to that program for the first time.

Access to additional classes, for example, received an ongoing  $7,199,583 and a new $2,000,000. Enz Finken said most of that money is being used to hire approximately 30 to 40 tenure faculty members.

The renewed column is not necessarily ongoing funds, however. Enz Finken said that column consists of programs the committee allocated funds to this past year that she or Humphrey decided are valuable and asked to be funded again this year. For example, the section entitled “technology and digital resources” is almost exclusive to the library and information technology, Enz Finken said. The digital resources include journals and other online resources available for research, which have licenses Cal Poly must pay for. These are required to be a part of the ongoing funds.

In every case, the funds have improved programs and services, Enz Finken said.

“I think in the overall picture, the funds have been allocated very well to address some very, very pertinent needs, and in many cases they are things that touch on a large segment of the student population,” Enz Finken said. “And I know on our side, from the academic affairs side, without that money we would not be able to serve students as well as we’d like.”

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