President Thomas A. Parham did not sugarcoat the opening of his virtual 2020 Fall Convocation address. He reminded the more than 300 attendees who logged in to the Sept. 15 virtual meeting of the many unprecedented challenges the nation is currently facing and “the most extraordinary of circumstances” in which the semester began, but also reflected on the resilience the campus community has shown since COVID-19 reshaped the academic world.
“Despite all of the chaos and turmoil of our times, I am pleased to report that CSUDH enrollment remains strong,” he said. “Toro Nation continues to grow and prosper, and while the pandemic may have slowed our momentum, the university’s future has never looked brighter.”
Parham offered a number or reasons for his optimism:
- Record enrollment, with nearly 18,000 students enrolled at the start of fall semester
- The physical transformation of the campus with completion of the Science and Innovation Building, final touches to the University Housing complex, and significant progress on the Innovation and Instruction Building.
- The elevation of two programs to major-level status this fall, Women’s Studies and Asian-Pacific Studies.
- Approval to launch a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DOT), the first of its kind to be offered at a public university in Southern California.
- The recent accreditation of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy to major donations to the university.
- Major donations to the university, including the announcement of a close to $1.6 million gift from the Georgia and Nolan Payton Foundation.
This video brought new construction at CSUDH to life during the 2020 Fall Convocation.
Parham also credited the caliber of faculty, staff, senior executives and students for CSUDH’s momentum, saying “I am convinced that we have everything in place to continue to deliver a first-in-class educational experience for our students,” and encouraged everyone to continuing owning student success.
“Challenge yourselves as faculty to interrogate your own system of pedagogy and instructional methods that yield higher proportions of successful students,” he said. “Dare yourselves as staff to be more intrusive into the lives of our students, so that no one goes untouched by your care and concern for their welfare. And students, you must discipline your time and behaviors to take full advantage of all this university has to offer you.”
A time capsule was buried in 1974 at what was then California State College at Dominguez Hills. The ceremony was part of a dedication and plaque installation to commemorate the 1910 Dominguez Air Meet that took place there. The capsule was opened during the 2020 Fall Convocation.
Convocation also provide opportunities for the campus to hear from student and faculty leadership. Following the president’s address, Parham, Laura Talamante, chair of the Academic Senate, and Associated Student, Inc. (ASI) President Rihab Shuaib participated in panel discussion, moderated by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Spagna, who also emceed convocation
Talamante fielded the question “What are you most excited about in this academic year?”
“I’m really excited about the way that faculty have taken this challenge and turned it into opportunity. During the summer, folks participated in workshops, bootcamps, and lunch ‘n’ learns. They came back to the classroom with this new modality, and a new appreciation for their craft,” she said. “I think that is exciting.”
Shuaib was asked, “What things shouldn’t be missed at CSUDH, and what are some of the best aspects of the campus?”
“One thing that shouldn’t be missed is the campus community that we have. There are so many great people on campus when it comes to the financial aid and admissions offices, and the classes and different co-curricular activities that you do,” said Shuaib, who shared that the student clubs and organizations have remained active during the pandemic. “There are just so many people who give you their best, and a big smile every time that you see them. That makes you feel energized and empowered to go to that class, or go to that office and speak to someone.”
Parham responded to the same question. “For me, one of the biggest assets we have is our personnel and illustrious faculty. There is so much good and excellence that happens there that I am delighted that when I go places – whether that’s in person or virtually – I find that Dominguez Hills is no longer considered a ‘best-kept secret,’” he said.
“There’s also this new spirit where people are really embracing the notion of transformation as we are transforming the physical infrastructure,” he added. “We are transforming the curriculum and methods of student advisement. I think people are really embracing this mindset.”
View the entire 2020 Fall Convocation.