New HSU prez making the rounds

GETTING TO KNOW YOU Left to right, Arcata Chamber of Commerce Director Joellen Clark-Peterson, Chamber Chair Bryan Willkomm, Wildflower Café co-owner Sue Charnes and Arcata Mayor Brett Watson during a recent meeting.

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA – In the month that newly installed Humboldt State President Tom Jackson has held the office, local folks may have seen as much of him out in the community than they did of his predecessor during her five years on the job.

That’s how it seems, anyway, as the highly visible Jackson makes the rounds of various events and gets to know who’s who in the greater Arcatasphere.

During a June 6 round of interviews with local media, Jackson said his goal is to “rededicate the university to the community.”

“This  community and this institution are already one, and have been for a long time,” he said, noting that the relationship had been tested “by certain things.” But, he said, “Part of my initial effort is to get to know the community in a very deliberate way and let them know that my intention is to rededicate ourselves to the community through service and engagement and involvement where we can.”

He said he was making himself as accessible as possible attending public events, though he jokingly ruled out “going door to door.” 

Issues needing his immediate attention include the community outreach, but also declining enrollment. In the largest sense, however, Jackson said his mission is “to provide our students the most positive meaningful undergraduate experience possible. Everything I do from the moment I wake up until I leave at the end of the day is to give them that positive experience.”

He’s confident that he can reverse the decline in the student population. “There’s no question this university has challenges with enrollment, but we’ll fix those.” Key will be adequate housing, food, curriculum, community and self-discovery opportunities. 

He said he’s “still looking at” issues related to radio station KHSU, and would do “the best thing for all involved.”

Key HSU strengths include its Natural Resources curriculum, but also education and teacher preparation, and reconnecting with local school districts. “That’s our roots, and we’re very good at it,” he said.

Jackson wants to push HSU to “look outward and upward, to be a college of innovation, to be a college of positivity and civility and to really model the global communities... and to take pride not only as a university but as a community with a university.”

He said he looks forward to partnering with local community, including its news media, to help “get back to the strengths and the things that we’re good at.”

 

 

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