Cal Poly Report — June 10, 2020 

Note: Cal Poly Report will be published once more, on June 17, before moving to a monthly schedule for the summer. The newsletter will then be published July 15 and Aug. 12.


Employees Invited to Complete the COVID-19 Virtual Transition Survey 

Illustration of a woman with a computer and text reading How has COVID-19 impacted the way you live, teach and work? Tell us.The university is conducting the Cal Poly COVID-19 Transition Survey to understand how employees have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the university’s transition to virtual instruction and telework. This survey is a collaboration between Student Affairs, Academic Affairs and Human Resources that seeks to gather key insights, including how Cal Poly faculty and staff are responding to the crisis; provide the best resources available to support employee success; and gather employee perceptions on how the virtual transition has impacted course design, work productivity and more. All employees were invited to participate in the survey in an email from President Armstrong earlier this week. Check your inbox. The survey is anonymous, takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, and will be open through June 23. For more information about the Cal Poly COVID-19 Transition Survey, visit

Gather in Solidarity at the Virtual Vigil for Black Lives on June 11

Image of a candle with text reading Virtual Vigil for Black LivesThe campus community is invited to gather in solidarity at a virtual vigil for black lives on Thursday, June 11, from 10:10-11 a.m. All are welcome to attend. Space is limited to 300, so register in advance at vigil is also available via livestream on the Cal Poly VPSA Keith Humphrey Page at

Cal Poly Recognizes Six Outstanding Graduates from the Class of 2020

 Alexis Canas, Angel Carrillo, Felipe R. Garcia, Priscilla Holguin West, Ian Jennings and Kyra Schmidt. This spring, 4,899 students are eligible to graduate from Cal Poly’s six colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic has marked an unprecedented end to many students’ time at the university in 2020. Ongoing concerns for public safety are delaying graduates’ chances to take the stage in a traditional commencement ceremony. But this year’s graduating seniors are nonetheless prepared to embrace the next phases of their lives and careers. “Graduation looks different this year, but the stellar quality of our graduates remains the same,” President Armstrong said. “We look forward to the opportunity to invite all of our spring 2020 graduates back to campus later this year or in 2021 to celebrate their achievements. In the meantime, we know that we are sending the best and the brightest on to begin their careers or continue their educations — to meet the problems of today’s world head-on and make a tangible, positive impact in their industries and their communities.” Click here to meet six of Cal Poly’s Great Grads for spring 2020.

Honor and Recognize the Class of 2020

Zoom background for the Class of 2020Celebrate the Class of 2020 by downloading printable banners and lawn signs, Zoom backgrounds and social media images. Visit the new Spring Commencement 2020 celebration website to access commencement downloads, recognize graduates, and purchase gifts and other memorabilia. Save the date for a special prerecorded tribute to graduates featuring campus leaders and special guests. This virtual celebration will be emailed to graduates and supporters on Friday, June 12, and shared on the Spring Commencement 2020 websiteInstagram account and Facebook page. Sign up to receive the tribute video email here. In addition, the university is mailing special Grad Packs gifts to graduates the week of finals. For more information, please contact the Commencement Office at

Campus COVID-19 Updates: University Housing Move Out Continues Through June 14

Graphic with text reading COVID-19 updates and informationUniversity Housing continues to ask faculty and staff to help move students out of campus residence halls and apartments. Currently active employees, including student assistants who are currently working on campus, can sign up for two-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through June 14. Volunteers are especially needed on June 12-14. Employees must get approval from their supervisor first. Click here to sign up for a shift. Helpers must wear face coverings and gloves; University Housing will provide these items if needed. Visit the University Housing website for more information; contact Zach Zimmerman at with questions. For updates and information about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to visit

Dive into the Latest Issue of Cal Poly Magazine

A photo of the cover of Cal Poly Magazine.Students, faculty, staff and alumni share how they continue to Learn by Doing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in the latest issue of Cal Poly Magazine. Readers will tag along on virtual hikes, get to know remote research projects, and go behind the scenes of digital sales pitch competitions. They’ll also find stories about campus life and athletics from the days before COVID-19. Read articles and watch videos from this digital edition at

Cal Poly Joins Network of Leading Universities to Help Ensure Technology Creates Public Benefit

Cal Poly has joined the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a partnership that fosters collaboration between universities and colleges committed to building the nascent field of public interest technology and training a new generation of civic-minded technologists. As a part of this collaboration, Cal Poly has launched an internal competition for Public Interest Technology Grants, which provide up to $180,000 funded by PIT-UN to support research and training at the intersection of technology and public benefit. Proposals selected from Cal Poly will be submitted to the PIT-UN national competition. Faculty may apply through this link. The public interest technology field is dedicated to leveraging technology to support public interest organizations and the people they serve. At Cal Poly, research projects related to this field are being funded by the university’s Center for Expressive Technologies, including research into using image classification technology to formulate better public health messaging on social media. Another project works with a group of multidisciplinary undergraduate research assistants to develop virtual reality scenarios meant to increase bystander behavior to reduce sexual harassment among college students. Read more here.

Cal Poly Partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory Will Direct $2.5 Million to Aerospace Engineering Department

Brigitte Petersen, an aerospace engineering student, is the project manager for two Cal Poly CubeSat missions that will test drag sails as a means to safely deorbit miniature satellites. A partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory will help Cal Poly explore propulsion techniques for CubeSats.Cal Poly’s partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory will direct roughly $2.5 million to enhance the university’s Aerospace Engineering Department and boost its mini-satellite program, which was the catalyst for a substantial expansion of space research two decades ago. The Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Air Force provides a total of $5 million to be split evenly between Cal Poly and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. Funding for the partnership was secured by three U.S. representatives from California — Salud Carbajal, Norma J. Torres and Grace Napolitano — through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 1158). The EPA’s agreements between a defense laboratory and an educational institution allow the labs to provide laboratory equipment and personnel to the schools, plus career and academic advice to students while involving faculty and students in research. (Pictured is aerospace engineering student Brigitte Petersen, the project manager for two Cal Poly CubeSat missions that will test drag sails as a means to safely deorbit miniature satellites. A partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory will help Cal Poly explore propulsion techniques for CubeSats.) Read more here.

Student Success

Engineering Students and Faculty Recreate Campus on Minecraft for Virtual Graduation Ceremony

Cal Poly's Spanos Stadium created in Minecraft for a virtual graduation.Students and faculty are recreating the university’s campus on Minecraft so the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department can hold a virtual graduation ceremony at Spanos Stadium this month. “Because we can’t have an in-person graduation ceremony right now, we thought this could be a nice alternative,” said Kyle Vu, a CSSE senior who has worked on the project in his free time. This year’s on-campus graduation ceremonies have been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus, leading some departments to hold virtual ceremonies. Taking cues from other schools, including UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley, the CSSE Department launched a Cal Poly server on Minecraft and began creating a version of campus during spring break. To help create an accurate Minecraft Cal Poly, the students and faculty have used Google Earth (with measuring tools), Cal Poly building floor plans, images of campus and “fond memories and imaginations,” said Professor Zoë Wood. On June 13, close to 100 graduating CSSE students and faculty will join the server at 1 p.m. and gather at the recreated Spanos Stadium. Families of students will be able to view the event via live streaming. Simultaneously using Zoom, Department Chair Chris Lupo will present a brief welcome speech before faculty member John Clements reads the names of each graduate as they walk their avatars across the virtual stage. When all the students have “walked,” their avatars will fly around campus. Read more on Cal Poly News.

Cal Poly Students Participate in CFA Investment Research Challenge

Students are from left to right,  Jackson Yates, Elena Perry, Alex Lustig, Michael Lefkowitz, and Yousef EissaThe team of finance students that took first place at the CFA Institute's Investment Research Challenge in San Francisco advanced to the America's competition in New York City in April, where they competed against over 50 universities from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Unfortunately, the America's competition was conducted virtually due to the pandemic and the team was unable to travel to NYC. Finance and economics students (from left to right in photo) Jackson Yates, Elena Perry, Alex Lustig, Michael Lefkowitz, and Yousef Eissa represented Cal Poly at the semifinal round of the competition. They are seniors graduating this spring. The team was charged with analyzing and making buy/sell/hold recommendations for the Electronic Arts (Stock Symbol EA). The students were advised by finance Professor Cyrus Ramezani and finance alumnus Scott B. Kirk (CFA, 2005).

Students Present Research at CSU Competition

Graphic reading April 24, 2020 34th annual CSU Student Research Competition Twelve students participated virtually in the 34th Annual CSU Student Research Competition on April 24, joining approximately 230 students presenting the results of their research and creative efforts. The Cal Poly students were selected in a campuswide competition to represent the university, and they all did so with distinction, managing the shift to a virtual competition with a Learn by Doing ethos. Six projects received awards: Cami Christopher (undergraduate kinesiology major), first place in the Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences category; Kelly Condron (M.S. Nutrition, '19; B.S., in Kinesiology, '13), first place in the Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences category; Fionna Fahey (undergraduate interdisciplinary studies major), first place in the Humanities and Letters category; Kat Ivey (M.S., Biological Sciences, '20; B.S., Animal Science, '16), first place in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences category; Nicole Zeltser (Animal Sciences, '20), first place in the Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences category; Ryan Kohls (graduate student completing master's degree in engineering management) and Joshua Grassel (industrial engineering student), second place in the Engineering and Computer Science category. Visit Office of Student Research to read more about the participants and view their presentations. The accomplishments of these students attest to the excellence of our undergraduate and graduate programs and the commitment and quality of our faculty.

Need New Lab or Teaching Equipment? Mechanical Engineering Students May Be Able to Help

For their senior project, mechanical engineering students work in small teams to design, build and test a mechanical system to meet a sponsor’s needs. Project results include a final report and tested prototype. The department waives the course fee for on-campus sponsors, so the only expense is the cost to build/test the final prototype. Projects starting in the fall will finish in June 2021. Learn more at This fall, the department is looking for over 40 new design challenges for its teams. Anyone with an idea that they'd like to discuss can contact Peter Schuster at

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Faculty & Staff

Faculty Promotion and Tenure Awards Announced

President Armstrong and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Pedersen have announced the promotion of 53 faculty members and the award of tenure to 41 faculty members effective in the 2020-21 academic year. The promotions include 14 to the academic rank of professor or librarian, and 39 to the rank of associate professor. Armstrong and Pedersen extend their congratulations and appreciation to those faculty members receiving promotion and/or tenure.  Find the complete listing here.

Get Involved in New Book and Learning Circles for Summer

Cover of Emotional Intelligence Employee and Organization Development invites employees to participate in summer 2020 Book and Learning Circles. 
— Book Circles involve discussing a book over the course of three to five sessions. The first book is "Crucial Conversations" by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler, which has revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when the stakes are high. The second book is "Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything" by B.J. Fogg. The third book, "Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity," takes a look at the importance of leveraging differences in perspectives and ideas in order for an organization to reap the benefits of a variety of viewpoints. The fourth book is "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Skills related to emotional intelligence (EQ) are consistently identified as top indicators of success and the most imperative during times of crisis and change such as this COVID-19 pandemic.
— Learning Circles involve watching a video or reading an article, and participating in a discussion during a single session. The first learning circle is "The Happy Secret to Better Work" with psychologist Shawn Achor. In this fast-moving and funny talk, Achor argues that happiness actually inspires us to be more productive. The second learning circle comes from Julia Middleton who focuses on developing future leaders in working in a more interconnected world in "Cultural Intelligence: The Competitive Edge for Leaders." In the third learning circle, "How Science Can Fix Remote Work," Adam Grant takes participants inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to discover the keys to a better work life.
To view a full description and register to attend, visit the Book and Learning Circles webpage at

Emeritus Parking Permits Will Become Virtual July 1

Transportation and Parking Services successfully launched License Plate Recognition (LPR) software in fall 2019. Staff, faculty and student parking permits are now virtual. The roll out of virtual emeritus permits is part of the next phase of the program. Current emeritus physical permits will expire June 30. All emeritus are asked to reply to a survey addressing parking privileges that was sent to their Cal Poly email. These survey responses will activate a new virtual permit that will be valid starting July 1, 2020. For more information about LPR, visit the TAPS website at Each user's parking account should reflect accurate information at all times to stay compliant. Log into your parking account and ensure that the license plate number is correct and linked to an active parking permit.

Data Cookbook Coming to Cal Poly

Data cookbook logoThe Office of Data Management has recently implemented the Data Cookbook to provide a central, automated process for all data access requests. Starting June 1, all requests for data from the Cal Poly community must be made via the Data Cookbook. The Data Cookbook will automate the data access process and provide consistency, streamlining data requests for all members of the campus community. For more information on the Data Cookbook, detailed instructions and a link to login, visit

Changes to Academic Advising Coming Summer 2020

Graphic with two billboards showing changes for first and second year students in navigating academic advising.To streamline advising services for students, Cal Poly’s undergraduate academic advising structure will be reconfigured effective summer 2020. The Mustang Success Center will transition to a first year advising center, specifically serving freshman of all majors.  The College Advising Centers will advise students in their second year and beyond, including transfer students. The faculty advising model will remain the same. Anyone who would like to have an advisor attend a department meeting to discuss the changes can contact Shannon Stephens at The Mustang Success Center website will be updated on June 5 with additional information.


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Lorlie LeethamFollowing 24 years on campus, the last six at the helm of the Cal Poly Corporation as chief executive officer, Lorlie Leetham is retiring at the end of July. Leetham has guided the corporation through a number of important initiatives and projects, including a major capital program focused on building a better dining experience with construction of the LEED Gold Certified Vista Grande dining complex to be completed this July. She oversaw development of the Corporation’s three-year strategic plan, and several key partnerships, including collaboration on the University Union neighborhood project and the USA Pentathlon National qualifier event this past January. In addition, Leetham oversaw the Corporation’s largest fiscal donation to the university, a $5 million contribution to the construction of the William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation, in 2018. A Cal Poly alumna and licensed CPA, Leetham has served Cal Poly in a number of different capacities over the years, including assistant director of Accounts and Payment Management, director of Fiscal Services, and assistant vice president of Fiscal Services and Auxiliary Reporting. She is looking forward to more flexibility and free time — for family, friends, recreation, travel, self-care, and some business pursuits. “My time at Cal Poly has been transformational for me and my family. I am extremely fortunate and will continue to feel that way for a long time,” Leetham said.

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Campus Announcements

Cal Poly Corporation Board of Directors to Meet June 12

The board of directors of the Cal Poly Corporation will hold a regular meeting virtually via Zoom webinar at 8:30 a.m. Friday, June 12. This is a public meeting.  To join the meeting use the following Zoom webinar link and call-in information: Public comments for this meeting must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, June 11, via email to Request a copy of the agenda on June 5, by emailing or visit the Cal Poly Corporation website at

Campus Dining Venues to Close for the Summer

Photo of one of the entrances to The AvenueStarting June 15 all Campus Dining venues will close for summer quarter. With summer session being held virtually, most summer in-person groups canceled, few resident students on campus, and many members of the Cal Poly community continuing to telework, the demand for Campus Dining services has decreased substantially. The Avenue has closed for the summer and the remaining Campus Dining venues that are currently open will have limited hours through June 14. Visit to see currently open venues and hours.



Event Calendar

To find out what’s going on at Cal Poly, visit the Events Calendar. The site includes community events that are open to the public and Campus Life events open to students, faculty and staff. The calendar also includes events at the Performing Arts Center. A link from the calendar allows staff, faculty and students to check facility availability before requesting and reserving on-campus locations for activities and events. For more information about publishing an event on the calendar, contact

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For an overview of up-to-date sports information, photos and videos, visit Students always get in free. Faculty and staff discounts are available.

Upcoming Events @ Home

All athletic events through the spring have been canceled.

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Job Vacancies

Employment Opportunities

For all available job openings, visit All new positions opened this week are listed below. To apply, go online and complete the application form. Current employees can also find job postings at CSU Careers, an internal job site for CSU employees. For assistance, call Human Resources at ext. 6-2236. 

#496763 — Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (Administrator II), Student Affairs — Campus Health and Wellness. Salary commensurate with the background and experience of the individual selected. Open until filled.

#496905 — Dream Center Coordinator (Student Service Professional II), Student Affairs — Diversity and Inclusion. $51,648-$73,440 per year. Anticipated hiring range: $51,648-$52,200 per year. Open until filled.

For a full list of available jobs, go to

Faculty Employment Opportunities

Visit for all available job openings. The part-time lecturer pools are now open. Visit for current openings, further information and how to apply. For assistance, call Academic Personnel at ext. 6-2844. 

There are no new listings at this time.

Corporation Employment Opportunities

Cal Poly Corporation is a separate entity operating in concert with the university to provide a diverse range of services and resources to students, faculty and staff. To view all available job postings or apply, visit the Corporation website. For assistance, contact Human Resources at ext. 6-1121.

There are no new listings at this time.

ASI Employment Opportunities

Candidates are asked to visit the ASI website to complete an ASI application and apply for open positions. For more information, visit the ASI Business Office in UU 212 or call ext. 6-5800.

There are no new listings at this time.

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Submission Guidelines for Cal Poly Report

Cal Poly Report (CPR) is Cal Poly's official employee newsletter, designed to communicate information about officially sanctioned university news or events to faculty, staff and administrators. Submissions may run a maximum of three times and should be limited to 150 words. To help ensure CPR continues to contain only relevant and approved information, submissions are required to come from or be approved by the employee designated to approve submissions in the respective colleges, units and work areas. A list of designated approvers is available on the Cal Poly Report index website. Entries submitted by those other than the designated approver must be accompanied by an approval form signed by the unit's approver. The approval form is available online in fillable pdf format or a downloadable Microsoft Word format. CPR is published weekly during the school year, except during academic breaks, and monthly in the summer. The deadline for each issue is 12:30 p.m. the Friday prior to publication.

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