We’re now Cal Poly Humboldt, what’s next?

It’s official, like a referee with a whistle. Humboldt State University is now California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. The institution launched the polytechnic prospectus, a multiyear phased plan, which includes $433 million one-time funding, and $25 million is ongoing funding for the institution starting Jan. 26. 

“That $25 million is really to support academic program buildout, recruiting students like yourselves and future students, retention, communicating about our programs, and supporting infrastructure,” said Jenn Capps, provost and vice president of academic affairs, in an Open Forum on Jan. 19. 

In that same meeting Capps was able to determine how the one-time funding is being implemented at Cal Poly Humboldt. 

“The one time, the $433 million is really about infrastructure: housing, academic buildings, technology, communications, land acquisition, things like that,” said Capps.

Clearing the air 

There were questions from others about the changes that will be made transitioning to a polytechnic, like the graduate student collective who believe there should be improvements to the prospectus.

Others fear what the update might bring to classes during the transition to a polytechnic. Capps was able to clear up some rumors surrounding the transition.

“There’s absolutely no intention or purpose behind eliminating something that isn’t, air quoted, polytechnic. All of our academic programs are very important, and we would never seek to eliminate programs based on becoming a polytechnic,” Capps said. 

Students fear the idea that the tuition will rise because the institution is now a polytechnic, but Capps said the two don’t correlate. 

“Polytechnic designation isn’t connected to how much tuition costs or how much fees cost at our institution. Those decisions are made independent of a designation. Tuition is determined at the system level, so I know there’s been a little worry that if we’re a polytechnic and polytechnic are expensive and that might cause students more money. Those two things are not associated with one another,” Capps said.

Students also wonder what their diploma will say when they graduate from Cal Poly Humboldt during the spring 2022 semester or in the future ahead. 

“So, for a couple of years during this transition if you started at the University under HSU you will have the opt in choice if you want to go the old school right, otherwise California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. The forthcoming class in fall 2022 won’t have that choice because they would have enrolled and started here under that new name,” said Capps. 

New hire from the prospectus  

“We are adding a second tribal counselor to expand state-wide focus as part of us being a polytechnic,” said Jason Meriwether, vice president of enrollment management, in a Jan. 10 joint interview with Capps.   

There being only one hire for a tribal counselor from the polytechnic prospectus is a start. There could be positions added throughout the multi year phased plan that surrounds expanding Traditional Ecological Knowledge at the institution. 

“Start in the spring and in fact you’ll probably see the job posted, probably, before your article goes up. We’ve already approved it and everything through the HR process we’re just waiting for it to get moved and get out there. It will be kind of like a higher level position and it will supervise the existing tribal recruiter position,” Meriwether said. 

What happens now that we’re a polytechnic?

The logo is being reworked to accommodate the new name change as we speak. All Humboldt State University merch is now deadstock or no longer being made. The mascot change is being evaluated by a branding agency called Simpsonscarborough who have met with groups of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders since December, according to Kristen Gould, director of marketing.

“A lot of people have started bringing up that question about the mascot and so you can expect some surveys to come into your inbox, hopefully at the beginning of February to mid-february that will kind of dig into that question a little bit,” Gould said. 

The Year Two Planning of the multi year plan was revealed in a Jan. 28 zoom meeting, which detailed the revised planning for one-time spending. 

The revision included an increased number of new faculty hires from 12 to 16 during years one and two of the transition. $800,000 from polytechnic funding will go to GI 2025/Inclusive Student Success. Also increased one-time investments in marketing, rebranding, student recruitment and outreach efforts will be made during years one and two. 

As of right now, plans will continue to be refined as the institution goes along and they’re asking for students’ help in the process. Year three plans will be honed in by the end of fall 2022 semester. 

“So, if you have ideas, interests, there’s things you’re interested in seeing come forward at HSU or hopefully Cal Poly Humboldt you want to share those with us. We’d love to hear what you’re interested in,” said Capps.

If students want to reach out, Capps asks for them to get in contact with the Office of Academic Affairs at Cal Poly Humboldt to share their ideas or interests.

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