California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt) is a comprehensive, residential campus of the California State University welcoming students from California and the world to a campus of hands-on learning in Northern California. Cal Poly Humboldt offers access to affordable, high-quality education that is responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world anchored in sustainability, social justice and engaged learning. Serving students by providing a wide array of programs and activities that promote understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues, Cal Poly Humboldt is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), and is a newly designated polytechnic institution. As the first polytechnic in northern California, there is a significant investment in the institution, including the accelerated addition of 12 new programs by fall 2023 and a host of capital projects. U.S. News & World Report recognized Humboldt as “A Top Western University,” and Princeton Review named them “Best in the West” and a “Green College.” The University enrolls approximately 5,739 students and offers 57 majors and ten graduate programs in three Colleges. Eighty-five campus clubs and a state-of-the-art recreational facility ensure a robust student experience. CenterArts brings nationally recognized performers and speakers to campus each year, and Cal Poly Humboldt has eleven NCAA Division II athletic teams. Recognized as one of the West’s best college towns, Humboldt is located 275 miles north of San Francisco in the town of Arcata.

The Position


Reporting to the Vice President of Administration and Finance, the Chief of Police is responsible for the leadership, direction, and management of 16 full- and part-time employees and seven student employees. The Chief leads three primary units within the University Police Department (UPD): Police & Dispatch/Records, Parking, and Live Scan. The Chief is responsible for creating and implementing a vision that implements the principles of community policing for a comprehensive university law enforcement program that includes: 9-1-1 dispatch; preventative patrol; general law enforcement; crime prevention and reporting; criminal investigation; bicycle and pedestrian safety; parking and traffic enforcement; workplace violence risk reduction; lost and found services; and other programs. The Chief will lead with an equity lens in working with all constituencies and ensure departmental training for staff to support individuals from all backgrounds. The chief must be innovative, bold and be willing to lead a University Police Department in responsive engagement on a changing campus.
The Chief ensures that personnel are proactive, accessible, and accountable representatives of Cal Poly Humboldt and active partners with local agencies. The Chief maintains strong partnerships with nearby law, medical, emergency management, and fire/rescue entities and is responsible for UPD’s close working relationship with Cal Poly Humboldt’s administrators, faculty, staff, and students. The Chief mitigates risk and liability; and competently guides UPD officers in their dual roles as sworn peace officers and Cal Poly Humboldt staff in the independent and objective enforcement of applicable state laws and University regulations, with a mission that emphasizes student success. The Chief serves as a trusted resource and advisor to the Cal Poly Humboldt administration on campus safety, preservation of peace, laws and regulations, workplace violence, and other matters. The recent designation as California’s third polytechnic includes plans for significant expansion, and the new Chief will be a vital partner in housing and other infrastructure projects both in Arcata and in future areas of development.


The designation as California’s third polytechnic and the only one in the northern part of the state presents a significant opportunity for Cal Poly Humboldt. The state has committed $500M to the University and there is a plan to grow the number of majors offered, double enrollment, and expand the institution’s footprint. Successful candidates who will be excited by the prospect of building and having a real impact on an institution are ideal candidates for this role. The new Chief must:

  • Be a visionary and strategist, able to understand areas to grow healthy infrastructure quickly, optimize staffing, help plan and organize, and leverage creative partnerships to effectively serve the institution.
  • Be a thoughtful leader energized to ensure Cal Poly Humboldt creates a student-focused, community-oriented welcoming and safe environment as the institution expands.
  • Create buy-in and build bridges within the department, the University, and the community; have an open-mind and engage with individuals and entities who want the department to succeed.
  • Be willing and eager to partner with other public safety entities in Arcata and Eureka. The community is interdependent and integrated; organizations share resources and rely on one another for support.
  • Be ready to take advantage of ample opportunities to strengthen and build the department. The new Chief will find an experienced staff and patrol already in place who are excited for a progressive Chief, and the College of the Redwoods offers a police academy to source talent locally. The new chief must also be ready to supervise and support non-sworn officers as part of their team.
  • Offer leadership and collaboration to support on and off-campus partners to sustain a flourishing community. Candidates should be prepared to work with housing partners, mental health professionals, and be prepared to bridge students in crisis to services.
  • Be willing to learn, listen and provide support for Native tribes and sovereign nations in the community. Learn and understand mutual aid to a sovereign nation(s), some of the University’s most vital partners in the community.

Cal Poly Humboldt is fertile ground for 21st century policing and seeks a progressive leader of the University Police Department. Cal Poly Humboldt is in a remote and rural part of California and draws students from all over the state, it is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. Fifty percent of enrolled students come from low-income families or are first generation college students. Eighty percent come from outside the county, and sixty percent come from southern California. Mental health, sexual violence, food insecurity, and homelessness are significant student issues. Cal Poly Humboldt has a vision of UPD fostering a sense of physical and emotional safety on campus. New investments in cameras, radio systems, rebranding (wrapping cars), and non-military uniforms are in place. The new Chief will focus on:

  • Investing in training, education, and mentorship to sustain a UPD engaged with and connected to the community.
  • Providing positive reinforcement, ensuring accountability, and establishing clear procedures and guidance regarding rules of engagement and use of force.
  • Establishing trust amongst students, the University, and local community members, who are vocal and critical regarding concerns and issues with the police.
  • Engaging in, and responding to, social justice topics and issues with an increasingly diverse community, including a robust tribal community.


The previous Chief of Police at Cal Poly Humboldt held the leadership position for one year. In recent years, the role of Chief has experienced significant turnover, with several individuals filling the position on an interim basis. Cal Poly Humboldt has named an interim Chief while conducting a national search.



A bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least seven years of progressively responsible law enforcement or public safety administration experience, including five years in management and administrative responsibility at the command level (lieutenant or above) are required. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience and a genuine commitment to working with and for diverse communities, focusing on social justice, and fostering an inclusive environment based on trust and mutual respect. The candidate must also demonstrate strong communication and collaboration skills. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the development and implementation of a wide range of training and establish a culture of accountability.
Graduation from advanced law enforcement education, such as FBI National Academy or California POST Command College; experience in budget and personnel administration, including experience working in a collective bargaining environment; and experience at a university-based law enforcement agency or complex organization are preferred. The Chief must maintain a current POST management certification in California or obtain a certificate at the management level within six months of the hiring date.
In particular, Cal Poly Humboldt is seeking candidates with the following characteristics.

  • A broad and deep understanding of public safety and 21st-century policing issues, challenges, and opportunities at higher education institutions in rural areas, including providing mentorship and access to education and training opportunities to upskill current department staff in modern policing
  • Adept in partnering and sharing resources with multiple jurisdictions
  • Talented supervisor and manager who will learn and understand current issues and meet individuals “where they are,” nurture, rebuild, motivate, and empower the University Police Department to be caring, compassionate, and responsive to community needs
  • Approachable, visible, and highly collaborative community builder to develop a vision for the department’s future that aligns with the strategic plan of Cal Poly Humboldt. Skilled in advocacy and influence to unify stakeholders to endorse the strategic vision through collaboration, conveying transparency, inspiring trust, and understanding in navigating complex organizational dynamics
  • Leads with an equity lens, is attuned to and invested in the diverse and dynamic community; knowledgeable about diversity, equity, inclusion, and intersectionality on campus and in rural northern California and embraces social justice conversations
  • Responsible fiduciary experience, equipped to create a strategic and measured implementation plan for building needed budgetary, infrastructure, and staffing changes to appropriately meet the needs of the institution resulting from the impending growth of Cal Poly Humboldt
  • Demonstrated leadership in higher education; understanding of shared governance and the importance of engaging partners on- and off-campus; competency in policing students and the value and necessity of educational sanctions; ability to anticipate issues on the horizon and be proactive
  • Compassionate champion for modern and progressive interventions, grounded in humanizing policing related to prevalent social justice issues of sexualized violence, food insecurity, and homelessness
  • Exhibits humility and integrity, practices leading by example and compassion for others


  • A modern, stable, and thriving University Police Department that feels challenged, prepared, supported, and valued and is agile and responsive to the community’s dynamic needs.
  • The Chief enjoys a reputation for clear communication to peers, subordinates, the leadership team, and the community about critical incidents and initiatives.
  • UPD is known for being well-trained, educated, respected, engaged, relatable, and safe.
  • Robust partnerships, collaborations, and relationships exist with UPD across campus.
  • The Chief and UPD are regarded as vital partners in the expansion of Cal Poly Humboldt and as assets to the community.
  • Stakeholders feel bought into the vision of modern policing.

Institution & Location

Mission, Vision and Values

Mission Statement

Cal Poly Humboldt is a comprehensive, residential campus of the California State University. We welcome students from California and the world to our campus. We offer them access to affordable, high-quality education that is responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world. We serve them by providing a wide array of programs and activities that promote understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues. We help individuals prepare to be responsible members of diverse societies.

Vision Statement

Cal Poly Humboldt will be the campus of choice for individuals who seek above all else to improve the human condition and our environment.

  • We will be the premier center for the interdisciplinary study of the environment and its natural resources.
  • We will be a regional center for the arts.
  • We will be renowned for social and environmental responsibility and action.
  • We believe the key to our common future will be the individual citizen who acts in good conscience and engages in informed action.
  • We will commit to increasing our diversity of people and perspectives.
  • We will be exemplary partners with our communities, including tribal nations.
  • We will be stewards of learning to make a positive difference.


Cal Poly Humboldt values the following academic principles that represent attributes of an academically integrated university and provide a framework for accomplishing our collective vision and mission.

  • We believe our primary responsibility is to provide the best possible education for today’s world.
  • We believe that teaching excellence is of paramount importance as is learning excellence.
  • We believe in an environment of free inquiry where learning occurs both inside and outside the classroom. As a community of learning, the campus curricular and co-curricular environment encourages intellectual discourse, aesthetic creativity and appreciation, and significant opportunities for involvement and service. We prepare students to take on the commitments of critical inquiry, social responsibility, and civic engagement necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
  • We believe in intellectual growth through scholarship, creative activities, and research. We prepare individuals to be successful in advanced academic and professional degree programs; to be in positions of leadership; and to be proactive and productive members of society.
  • We believe in the dignity of all individuals, in fair and equitable treatment, and in equal opportunity. We value the richness and interplay of differences. We value the inclusiveness of diversity, and we respect alternative paradigms of thought.
  • We believe in collegial dialogue and debate that leads to participatory decision-making within our community of student, staff, administrator, and faculty learners.
  • We believe the University must assist in developing the abilities of individuals to take initiative, and to collaborate in matters resulting in responsible action.
  • We believe individuals must be environmentally, economically, and socially responsible in the quest for viable and sustainable communities.
  • We believe our location is an ecologically and spiritually rich asset that we embrace as an integral part of our learning community. Our curriculum is relevant, collaborative. and responsive to our geographical location.
  • We believe we have a special opportunity to learn from the Native American cultures, the unique ecosystem, and special communities of our region, and to apply that knowledge.
  • We believe the University is an integral part of our local and regional communities.
  • We believe the University is a repository for archiving accumulated knowledge with inclusive access for our academic and broader communities.

Strategic Priorities

  • Prepare students to be socially and environmentally responsible leaders in a diverse and globalized world
  • Foster meaningful relationships across differences, including diverse cultural communities, identities, and competencies
  • Strengthen partnerships with local communities
  • Serve as effective stewards of the natural and built environment and the University’s financial resources with a focus on sustainability

To read more about the current strategic planning process:

Academic Programs and Faculty

Total Enrollment: 5,739
Undergrads: 5,199
Majors: 57
Minors: 75
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Full-time Undergrad Tuition: $7,863
Graduate Programs: 10
Credential Programs: 14
Classes Smaller than 30: 72%
Faculty: 490
Average Entering GPA: 3.33 freshmen and 3.05 Transfers

Arts, Humanities & Social Science
Natural Resources & Sciences
Professional Studies

The Student Body
Male: 41%
Female: 59%
Average Age: 24

African American: 3%
American Indian: 1%
Asian American: 3%
Hispanic/Latino: 33%
Pacific Islander: 0%
Multi-racial: 6%
White: 45%
Other: 7%

Local area: 17%
Northern California: 11%
SF Bay Area: 12%
Sacramento: 4%
Coast: 5%
Central California: 7%
Los Angeles: 28%
San Diego: 7%
Other States: 8%
Other Countries: 1%


Institutional Background/History

Cal Poly Humboldt is a public institution and part of the 23-campus California State University system. With full-time undergraduate tuition of just $7,863 annually, Cal Poly Humboldt is one of the best higher education values in the nation.

Cal Poly Humboldt has about 5,739 students and 490 faculty members. The University offers a wide array of academic choices, with 57 majors and ten graduate programs in three Colleges. Faculty members are among the top teachers and researchers in their fields. Programs in natural resources and sciences are nationally known, while visual and performing arts are also popular areas of study. Throughout the curriculum, students find a long-standing commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Cal Poly Humboldt was founded as a teacher’s college in 1913. Over the last century, it has grown from an institution focused solely on teacher education to an accredited university with extensive research facilities. There have been plenty of name changes over the years: Humboldt State Normal School, Humboldt State Teachers College, Humboldt State College, CSU Humboldt and, since 1974, Humboldt State University.

Cal Poly Humboldt is surrounded by one of the most beautiful natural environments in the world—with ancient redwood forests, pristine coastline, and wild rivers.

Cal Poly Humboldt students have plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning with professors engaged in research and community service. The Coral Sea, for example, is an oceangoing vessel used primarily for undergraduate research. Students can study with the world’s foremost expert on redwood trees and with leading experts in sustainable energy systems. In the cutting-edge Fire Lab, students study the properties of forest fires, and in the Schatz Energy Research Center student engineers are working on real-world issues like bringing sustainable lighting to the developing world. Students create their own theatre productions, study the mechanics of walking in the Human Performance Lab, work with young children in the Child Development Lab, and more. Students are involved in more than 85 campus clubs and have access to a state-of-the-art recreational facility. Each year, CenterArts brings nationally recognized performers and speakers to campus, and the University has 11 NCAA Division II athletic teams.

Recent Rankings:

U.S. News & World Report—”A Top Western University”
Princeton Review—“Best in the West” college
Princeton Review—”Green College” President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
G.I. Jobs magazine—Military Friendly School
PETA—A Top Vegan-Friendly School
Campus Pride—A Top LGBT-Friendly School

About Arcata, California

Arcata, California, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California. At the 2020 census, Arcata’s population was 18,857. Arcata was first settled in 1850 as Union, was officially established in 1858, and was renamed Arcata in 1860. It is located 280 miles north of San Francisco. Arcata is the location of the Arcata Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands and mineral programs, including the Headwaters Forest, on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California.

The heart of Arcata is the Plaza. The Plaza is surrounded by bookstores, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and live music venues. The Plaza is also the center of Humboldt County’s largest farmers’ market (April through November) and serves as a major venue for local Fourth of July festivities, the Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival, the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and the North Country Fair. The North Country Fair Samba Parade has been a community favorite since 1986. The Plaza is also a popular rendezvous point for travelers who stop off in Arcata. The annual Explorations in Afro-Cuban Dance and Drum workshop is held every summer on the campus. The workshop hosts the largest assemblage of Afro-Cuban folkloric music and dance masters in the United States.,_California

Dr. Tom Jackson – President



Tom Jackson, Jr. was appointed Cal Poly Humboldt’s eighth president in May 2019. He previously served as president of Black Hills State University in South Dakota and has held other leadership roles within higher education, including Vice President for Student Affairs at both the University of Louisville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Jackson has also held administrative positions at McMurry University, University of Texas at El Paso, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the University of Southern California, and St. Mary’s University.

A first-generation student, Jackson is also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Texas State Guard, and Indiana Guard Reserve.

Dr. Jenn Capps – Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs



Jenn Capps oversees the academic affairs of Cal Poly Humboldt’s individual colleges, the faculty, and the curriculum, plus the Library; Information Technology Services; Office of Research, Economic and Community Development; College of Extended Education and Global Engagement; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Institutional Research, Analytics, and Reporting.

Sherie Gordon – President’s Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration



The current Chief of Staff, Sherie Cornish Gordon, has been appointed the interim Vice President for Administration and Finance. In this position, she will oversee the accounting, finance, risk management, police department, procurement, and auxiliary business for the entire district.


Gordon came to Cal Poly Humboldt from Albany State University in Georgia, where she served as Director of Athletics. Sherie has extensive experience and perspective that is valuable to the university, mainly related to project management, engagement of internal and external stakeholders, corporate relations, strategic planning, and student success. Before her time at Albany State University, Sherie served at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Senior Associate Commissioner for External & Business Administration. She has also held senior management positions at Norfolk State University in Virginia.


In all her roles, Sherie has demonstrated an evident passion for student success and ensuring students have a positive experience and achieve their goals. She has also had substantial success developing community partnerships, managing financial affairs, and creating new revenue streams.


The University Police Department, working under the Division of Finance and Administration, is focused on law enforcement working in conjunction with the campus community to produce public safety. For university-focused policing that means engaging students in the process of community safety, including their voice in testimony about the problems facing the community, as well as in joint problem solving.

The department oversees general crime prevention, law enforcement, security, criminal history background checks, and parking and commuter services.

Overview of the Division of Administration and Finance

Under the supervision of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the division oversees all administrative affairs including, Budget and Finance, Risk Management, Human Resources, Facilities Management, and University Police.

Organizational Chart for the Division of Administration and Finance

Click to access admin_affairs-org_chart_11-2-21.pdf

Organizational Chart for the University

Benefits Overview


The following benefits, among others, are available to employees of Cal Poly Humboldt:

Medical plans
Dental plans
Vison plans
Life and disability plans
Retirement programs
Employee assistance program
Travel assistance program
Flexibly spending account
Fee waiver program
Leave benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Kara Kravetz Cupoli at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

 Visit the Cal Poly Humboldt website at

 Cal Poly Humboldt is committed to achieving the goals of equal opportunity and endeavors to employ faculty and staff of the highest quality reflecting the ethnic and cultural diversity of the state.