By December 3, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Interview – Dr Ellen Junn


InterView
Stanislaus State Connects Students with the World
By Chris Murphy

Dr. Ellen Junn
President, California State University Stanislaus

There is change afoot at “Stanislaus State”. There is a new student centric focus at our local four-year university and the university is showing signs of blooming into a major educational force for people that are looking to get a great college experience that is a bang for your buck. This year they welcomed a new President. As a Stan State alumni, I find this to be exciting news.

Dr. Ellen Junn has a Ph.d from Princeton and she graduated cum laude from University of Michigan, so we have a intellectual rocketship on our hands here. Formerly in leadership positions at Dominguez Hills, San Jose, Fullerton, Fresno, and San Bernardino, Ellen Jung is bringing a lot of what she learned to take Stanislaus to the next level. As a Stanislaus Alumni, I know the value of an education at our local college, and if you look around any local meeting, it is loaded with local leaders that are Stanislaus Alumni. So how can we take this amazing local asset, and turn it into a magnet for new students, new jobs and an amazing new cultural asset. Let’s get to know Ellen:

ModestoView: What made you want to take on the Stanislaus job?
Ellen Junn: I happily have been in the CSU for more than 30 years, and I have always thought the Stanislaus State campus is one of the most beautiful I have ever visited. Furthermore, after serving as Associate Provost at Fresno State, my husband and I were excited about the prospect of coming back to the Central Valley, especially in light of the number of national rankings recently awarded to Stan State, and given the strong success of our vibrant students and the outstanding programs and faculty we have on campus.

MV: What do you think the community can do to even more embrace Stan State as our local four-year college?
EJ: First, it may help your readers to know that Stan State is not just a local four-year college, but we also offer excellent graduate degrees, including nearly two dozen master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in education. Second, our degree programs have earned national recognition for excellence. Third, I believe that Stanislaus State is on the cusp of no longer being a “hidden gem” within the CSU system. Recently, Stanislaus State has received a number of prestigious national rankings, and we need to spread the word about our excellent students, academic programs and services. Consequently, I and others on campus have been hard at work to meet with as many governmental, community, business and industry leaders; artistic and civic groups; and K-12 and community college partners in our region to spread the word about the quality of our students, programs and services.

MV: You made your first priority when you got to Stanislaus to connect with students. How did that feedback change the way you thought about how you were going to approach being president?
EJ: At the core of any institution of higher education is the central purpose of educating and preparing future generations of students for life after college. Success means providing students with vital knowledge and skills that will prepare and enhance their future professional careers or graduate studies, and ensuring that their time on campus will continue to enrich life-long learning and happy, healthy futures. As president, I want to be connected with all of the various student leadership groups and to offer ample opportunities to meet with and mingle with students. For example, this fall the campus hosted a newly invigorated Freshman Convocation, which brought together the largest entering freshmen class of more than 1,300 students in the history of the campus! Similarly, as the new president, I welcomed new freshmen and their parents and families on move-in day in the residential halls. I also host biweekly lunches with students at our dining facility, and I co-host “Pizza with the Presidents” along with the president of our Associated Students Inc. (ASI).

MV: Many people think that college is out of reach. For new applicants if you meet the GPA and the requirements are you guaranteed admission?
EJ: Currently, Stanislaus State remains a campus that maintains CSU eligible students as freshman. So as freshman, if students meet the regular CSU standards, they are eligible for admission, provided they also meet the campus’ normal deadlines and submission of documents. Transfer students also must be aware of transfer agreements and articulation in order to ensure timely admissions eligibility. The great news is that families should know that Stanislaus State’s tuition and fees are very affordable, and depending on the student’s family income, many families will qualify for full state and federal financial aid that will significantly offset or cover the costs of tuition, fees, room and board. Stan State’s Financial Aid Office hosts various workshops and would be happy to provide information on costs to prospective students and their families.

MV: We have been ranked as one of the highest value universities in the United States by variety of publications, what does that mean to you and your increase in applications or perception in the community?
EJ: It has been exciting and gratifying to see that a number of prominent organizations and publications have ranked Stanislaus State among the top performing universities in the nation on a number of measures. What this means is that increasingly larger numbers of students are applying to our campus each year and this has been raising the visibility and prestige of Stanislaus State, both within California and beyond. As this recognition spreads, we continue to attract the keen interests of business, education, civic and governmental entities, which benefits employment opportunities for our graduates and increases economic growth in our region. As you might guess, this makes everyone at Stanislaus State so proud and excited to be a shining campus in the Central Valley!

MV: There are so many great arts and music programs offered at the school; what can we do to get more community engagement?
EJ: We have many distinguished alumni from our arts and music programs, and we hope to highlight their accomplishments in the near future in order to help more students understand how instrumental their Stan State education was in their lives. Additionally, the campus hopes to expand community events and activities to bring more people to campus to learn about, enjoy and participate in a whole host of activities that will include important artistic, music, theatre and intellectual events and activities. The campus also looks forward to hosting many more family-friendly events, such as our annual Fourth of July fireworks, outdoor concerts and outdoor movie events in the coming year. Finally, the campus will expand the events and activities offered at our Art Space on Main, located in downtown Turlock.

MV: What is your favorite part about being a university president?
EJ: My favorite part of being a university president is the opportunity to meet with such a wide variety of people — students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, K-12 teachers and administrators, government and business leaders, other college and university leaders and many more — all of whom care about education and helping the next generation prosper and become life-long learners. The stories that people share about their own pivotal college experiences, their dreams and aspirations, and their struggles and achievements, help me as a president to consider how to create a campus that is mindful of the vast and diverse array of experiences that our students bring with them when they come to the university. In this day and age, there are so many challenges, but with each challenge comes greater opportunity to think outside the box, to innovate, to dream and to implement new ways to forge ahead making Stanislaus State an integral and deeply embedded part of our community’s success story. It is such a privilege and a joy to work on this collaborative vision.

MV: Describe your ideal day?
I think my ideal day is one where I get to meet with a variety of groups including students, faculty and others. I have loved meeting with community members because everyone has been so warm, welcoming and interested to learn more about Stanislaus State. In the more than four months I’ve been on campus, I’ve met well over 1,200 people and it has been a delight! The ideal day should also have some time to reflect and plan, and of course some personal time to spend with my husband and get some sleep and exercise, too!

MV: Beatles or Stones?
EJ: This was a fun question to contemplate. My generation certainly was very familiar with and I loved the Stones. I was only entering Kindergarten when the Beatles came to the U.S. But given the historic, powerful lyrics of some of the songs by the Beatles and individuals like John Lennon, on balance, I would have to say that I favor the Beatles!

To learn more about CSU Stanislaus President Ellen Junn, please read the full interview at www.modestoview.com
President Junn can be reached on Twitter at @PresJunn

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