Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Castro digs in on provost search, wrestling

I got a chance to sit down for breakfast at a local Mexican diner with Fresno State President Joseph Castro this week to talk about his first 100 days on the job and some of the initiatives he’s pushing this year.

Over a cup of coffee and his favorite breakfast — eggs and napales, just like what his grandma used to make — he shared some of his goals including hiring a new provost next spring and adding 800 student seats next fall.

Check out Sunday’s edition for more details about increasing enrollment. But for now, here are some tidbits from our conversation that didn’t make it into print:

  • On the provost search: “I’m looking for someone who has strong academic experiences, who can work well with faculty, who understands that lifestyle, has done research themselves, who has participated in education and is someone who has been a department chair, or a dean or had leadership on the administrative side as well.”
  • On bringing back wrestling: “I’ve received a lot of emails, a few phone calls, a lot of Twitter messages … people around the nation saying it’s great Fresno State is thinking about this. I love the enthusiasm, that’s great … my hope is they will join me in supporting it. Fresno State will need to invest in this area because when you add a sport for one gender you’ll need to add a sport or two for women and that’s a great thing for everybody.”
  • On faculty salaries: “I think we have a ways to go in that area and my hope is over time that increases in future years … One of the things I’m trying to do is invest in them in different ways beyond salary increases. Invest in their professional development, whether that means supporting them to travel to present their work or go to a conference and learn more about their field, or for faculty who might eventually want to be department chairs or deans, (go to) leadership development programs.”

Fresno State study warns of climate effects on San Joaquin River

Two Fresno State professors say climate change will make the San Joaquin River’s annual runoff show up earlier — as much as six weeks earlier in the next century.

And one other thing:There will be a “significant decrease in annual stream flow,” said geology professor C. John Suen, who co-authored a study on the upper San Joaquin. Suen’s co-author was associate hydrology professor Zhi Wang.

The study, published in Hydrology Research, is more confirmation of findings in previous climate change studies, and it is not a pretty picture.

As water engineers and researchers have been saying for years, California’s reservoirs are built built to capture a gradual runoff from melting snow. More than half the state’s summer water supply is frozen in the snowpack each year.

If the state see more rainfall and earlier snow runoff, there could be big problems protecting communities and farms from floods.

In the San Joaquin Valley, the shift could be damaging for the multibillion-dollar economic base of agriculture.

This is about the place where the discussion turns to building larger reservoirs — such as Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin — or changing the way water and land are used. I’ll leave those issues to commenters here.

But Suen and Wang give us more reason to have the conversation.

Panel at Fresno State will discuss preparing for climate change

A forum called “Climate preparedness in the Valley” is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 15 at Fresno State to discuss how water availability will change in the future and affect farms as well as cities.

The forum will be in the Alice Peters Auditorium of the University Business Center, 5245 N. Backer Ave. on the Fresno State campus. To register for the forum, go to: www.ucsusa.org/fresno

The forum panel will feature local academics, such as UC Merced Professor Roger Bales, director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States director for Union of Concerned Scientists, will moderate.

Others on the panel include  Dan Keppen, executive director of Family Farm Alliance;  Joseph W. Oldham, sustainability manager for the city of Fresno, and Fresno State Assistant Professor Peter Van de Water of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The forum is presented by the Union of Concerned Scientists in partnership with Fresno State’s College of Science and Mathematics and the League of Women Voters of Fresno.