State of State

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

The report discusses the advancement of strategic goals at State and the progress of campus.

“We’re definitely making progress on most of the goals,” said Chicoine. “This is the first President’s Report, which was distributed in October.”

The goals are broad in scope, but individual projects already are advancing those plans.

Goals for the University

Goal 1: Enhance academic excellence and strengthen scholarship and artistic activities.

Goal 2: Foster economic growth, vibrant communities, and a sustainable environment.

Goal 3: Expand the reach of the university through engagement, technology and globalization.

Goal 4: Establish a sustainable financial resource base.

Comfort Enrollment

Last year, the college deans calculated how many students their programs could support if they were filled to maximum capacity, based on faculty and teaching space. The combined figure from each college is the university’s comfort enrollment.

“We are also doing a relook at the comfort enrollment,” Chicoine said. “We rolled out an initial comfort enrolment in the spring of ’08. It was 13,600, including on-campus and distance-education students. The number of on-campus students was about 12,000. Now we are more able to perhaps understand what our distance-education numbers are.”

There are two basic constraints in comfort enrollment: faculty numbers and the space in which they work.

“The reason we need to do this now is the additional space that’s come up in the Avera Health and Science chemistry labs and then biology and microbiology space and the Biostress Lab. We now know what the capacity of those teaching spaces are,” Chicoine said.

He expects a smaller increase in the base student population than in previous years.

Graduate student numbers are another area of interest for SDSU, Chicoine said. The university is up about 8 percent on graduate student numbers. Because SDSU is such a research-based university, it needs to provide faculty with enough graduate students to complete their work, he said.

The new comfort enrollment numbers should come out early next semester, Chicoine said.

“We’ll be better informed about what went into the number than we were a year ago,” Chicoine said. “We will use this to find out what we need to do to accommodate students.”

The Board of Regents is also doing a space utilization and productivity analysis.

Sometime this spring, the Regents will release information on how frequently each classroom is used, Chicoine said. They will look at how SDSU uses its education space and the quality of those buildings.

“It will give us a more comprehensive look, leaving us much more informed,” Chicoine said.

In addition, the Regents are conducting a productivity assessment that will look at each major and specialization to determine how many students graduated from each one in the last five years.

“The whole notion there is to have people look at where student demand is,” Chicoine said. “If you have a major and specialization that graduates with only two students in it every five years, is that a good use of those faculty sources?”


Pending budget cuts will force SDSU administrators to take a hard look at current programs and course offerings.

“Now with the really tough budget times, we need to find ways to best utilize what we have,” said Chicoine. “(The state) budget this year is up to $200 million in structural deficits. They budgeted an $88 million structural deficit. Which means they have $88 million in ongoing spending that they don’t have in ongoing revenues.”

The state plans to cover that with one-time federal stimulus money, Chicoine said.

The state government will have fewer stimulus dollars in the 2011 fiscal year than they did this year.

“The budget cuts will be the biggest issue at Legislature, but we will do everything we can to minimize the impact of it by utilizing what we have,” Chicoine said. “We are in a much better position, though, than some of our neighboring states.”

Chicoine said administrators will talk to the Students’ Association and the Academic Senate once SDSU knows the actual number they will be receiving from the state.

Everyone is going to work hard to minimize the impact, but there just is not the money in the state budget, he said.

“We don’t know what is going to happen to tuition and fees until we see what the State Legislature does, and that’s the normal process,” said Chicoine.


Even with looming budget cuts, Chicoine highlighted several positive developments.

Construction sites are popping up all over campus as the university continues to grow. Chicoine believes it is a sign of SDSU’s success.

“The construction will be disruptive in the short term, but we are trying to provide services to our students, particularly with the new residence hall, that they need and want,” Chicoine said.

Donors, alumni and friends made it possible for SDSU to construct better teaching and programming spaces.

“When the new classrooms and laboratories come online, it will be an entirely different experience for biology students,” he said. “Something like 70 percent of students go through the biology program.”

The completion of the Avera Health and Science Building will then move pharmacy out of the Intramural Building, making space for HPER to move into pharmacy’s vacant spot.

“That then opens up space in the HPER for reprogramming. That’s an example of a set of dominoes that will occur once Avera Health and Science opens,” Chicoine said.

SDSU is also taking a look at where they can put the new College of Education and Human Sciences, which is currently split up in multiple locations, Chicoine said.

In addition to the biology and microbiology department, there are also plans for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We’re making progress on a social sciences building, which will also house the Daschle Center for Public Policy,” Chicoine said. “Performing Arts Center Phase II is also a work in progress. We continue to work to get private funding to help the campus grow, making these buildings a possibility.”

In the upcoming Legislative session, SDSU will ask for approval of Phase II of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, as well as the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center.

At the next Board of Regents meeting, the university will also ask for approval of the new Education and Visitor Center in McCrory Gardens. At least 80 percent of the funding for the building is already raised, so the university now needs BOR approval to start construction.


SDSU’s new parking plan is successful in Chicoine’s eyes and more changes are soon to come.

“I think the new parking is going well. The process worked smoothly, and we will continue to work on it,” Chicoine said. “The parking committee and planning and designing committee are now trying to develop a master site plan for parking for the entire campus.”

Chicoine said SDSU will ask for feedback from both the community and campus on whatever plans the committees develop.

A major planned parking change is the relocation of the Motor Pool Complex to northwest of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium to increase its capacity to serve not only SDSU but also the state.

The second change is the recent purchase of land that will be used for parking.

“We have also completed the purchase of the entire block near the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building,” said Chicoine. “By the time we get to summer, the block will be essentially cleared, and we will have to plan what that space will look like.

“Because that is the first time the university has gone south of Eighth Street and into the community, it’s important to show everyone what good neighbors we are going to be,” he said. “We have the opportunity to present a site design plan for all of parking.”


The North Central Higher Learning Commission recently recommended SDSU for a 10-year accreditation.

“The work done in the steering committee for accreditation was excellent,” Chicoine said. “The accreditation team that visited SDSU had really positive things to say.”

The accreditation team recognized SDSU’s “very dedicated” faculty and staff, as well as its “remarkable and sophisticated” student leadership.

The team also complimented SDSU on its “exceptional” fundraising and “extraordinary facilities development.”

“They also thought our transition into Division I was excellent,” Chicoine said.

SDSU’s Troubles and Triumphs

Chicoine mentioned two topics that will challenge SDSU in coming years.

“The budget is going to be our biggest challenge for the next couple of years, but there are always going to be hiccups like that in a soft economy,” said Chicoine. “In addition to that, change is sometimes difficult to accommodate, and we are definitely a changing campus.”

The SDSU Foundation’s exceptional fundraising is something Chicoine views as a positive.

“Private support is huge at SDSU. With scholarships and the Jackrabbit Guarantee, we have great support from alumni and friends,” Chicoine said.

The President also mentioned technology improvements like the launch of the new Web sites and the Active Learning Cloud as beneficial to SDSU.

“The Cloud process is in motion now, and we will continue to expand this summer,” said Chicoine. “The technology enables us to make changes that benefit students. Three years from now, this place will be quite different.”

Another success this year is the increase in graduate student and research assistantships. Chicoine said that SDSU now has 12 doctoral programs.

Something else that the president deemed as success are the plans being made to develop campus green space.

“We currently have quite a few construction sites on campus but plan for green space,” Chicoine said. “We hope to see landscape improvements.”