Cal Poly Humboldt is a comprehensive, residential campus of the California State University welcoming students from California and the world to campus. Cal Poly Humboldt offers access to affordable, high-quality education responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world. 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 and is a newly designated polytechnic institution. As the first polytechnic in northern California, there is a significant investment to fuel the institution’s growth. Recognized as one of the West’s best college towns, Cal Poly Humboldt enrolls approximately 6,000 students and offers over eighty-five campus clubs and a state-of-the-art recreational facility, ensuring a robust student experience. Cal Poly Humboldt is in the town of Arcata, 275 miles north of San Francisco.

The Position

HISTORY OF THE POSITION

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 appointed Fernando M. Solorzano, who retired after serving as Chief at Cal State Long Beach, to lead the department while conducting a national search.

ROLE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE FOR CAL POLY HUMBOLDT

Reporting to the Vice President of Administration and Finance, the Chief of Police is responsible for the leadership, direction, and management of sixteen full and part-time employees and seven student employees. The Chief is responsible for creating and implementing a vision that integrates the principles of community policing into a comprehensive university law enforcement program. The Chief leads three primary units within the University Police Department (UPD), Police & Dispatch/Records, Parking, and Live Scan, including 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 must lead with an equity lens in working with all constituencies and ensure departmental training for staff to support individuals from all backgrounds.

The Chief ensures that UPD 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. The Chief 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 discretion and dual roles as sworn peace officers and Cal Poly Humboldt staff in the independent and objective enforcement of applicable state and university laws, 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.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE

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 and the new Chief of Police. The state has committed $500M to transform the University by growing the number of majors offered, doubling enrollment, and expanding the institution’s footprint, including a recently announced acquisition of sixteen acres in Arcata, CA. Accomplished law enforcement professionals excited by the prospect of building and having a tangible impact on the institution are ideal candidates for this role. The new Chief must:

  • Be a visionary and strategist, able to grow healthy infrastructure quickly, support and leverage creative partnerships to serve the institution as it expands.
  • Create buy-in and build bridges within the department, the University, and the community; have an open mind and engage with partners to help the department to succeed and sustain a flourishing community.
  • Take advantage of ample opportunities to strengthen an experienced staff and patrol already in place who are excited for a progressive Chief and expand the department, including leveraging the College of the Redwoods, which offers a police academy to source talent locally.
  • 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 prepared to work with housing partners and mental health professionals and 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 for the University Police Department. Cal Poly Humboldt is in a remote and rural part of California and draws students from all over the state; and it is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. Fifty percent of enrolled students come from low-income families or 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.
  • Facilitating the creation of a student-focused, community-oriented, welcoming, and safe environment as the institution grows.
  • 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.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

  • 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 within UPD and 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 connected to the vision of modern policing.

Qualifications

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

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.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

  • A broad and deep understanding of public safety and 21st-century policing issues, challenges, and opportunities at higher education institutions in rural areas
  • 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 who will 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 and 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

Institution & Location

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.

Administration and Finance Organizational Chart

LEADERSHIP FOR ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

Sherie Cornish Gordon – Vice President for Administration and Finance / Chief Financial Officer

Sherie Cornish Gordon currently serves as the Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Cal Poly Humboldt. Prior to her current role, she served as the Chief of Staff at Cal Poly Humboldt from July 2019 until May 2022. Sherie has had a remarkable career prior to Cal Poly Humboldt in athletics administration at the DI and DII levels.

OVERVIEW OF THE UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

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. University-focused policing 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.

INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW

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 offers a wide array of academic choices and is growing. 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 Humboldt State University until 2022, when it was officially designated as California’s third polytechnic university and became California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt or Cal Poly Humboldt.

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

https://www.humboldt.edu/about

University Organizational Chart

PURPOSE, VISION, AND VALUES

Purpose

To provide the highest quality and adorable college education built on the contributions of diverse students, staff, and faculty who are committed to a just and sustainable world.

Vision

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, climate crisis and resilience to climate change, and the conservation of ecological systems and natural resources. Our focus will continue to be on sustainability through environmental, economic, and socially responsible action.
  • We will be a center for the interdisciplinary study of just global societies. We will approach our work with an equity mindset and continue to emphasize inclusion across multiple dimensions of our university, modeling what we want to see in the world.
  • We will serve as a regional center for the arts inclusive of diverse arts traditions and contributions, and will fully engage with community arts partners and employers on behalf of our students.
  • As a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and as a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), we will be an institution in which Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) students thrive.
  • We will partner with Indigenous communities to address the legacy of colonialism, and create space nurturing of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), pedagogies, and curricula responsive to their identified needs.
  • We will be exemplary partners across our region and state by integrating community engagement and contributing to workforce development in our academic enterprise and beyond.

Core Values & Beliefs

The following values and beliefs serve as out guiding “north stars” for accomplishing our collective purpose and goals.

  • Connection to Place We value place-based teaching, learning, and scholarship, taking our educational enterprise outside and into our communities.
  • Creativity We believe creativity is central to human and organizational growth and responsible collective action.
  • Decolonized Knowledge We value diverse systems of knowledge and ways of knowing. We believe in centering stories and knowledge that have been marginalized in oppressive social arrangements.
  • Human Dignity We believe in the dignity of all and in equitable treatment, opportunities, and outcomes.
  • Free and Critical Inquiry We value academic freedom, reflexivity, and serving as a repository of accumulated knowledge that is accessible to the broader community.
  • Shared Governance and Participatory Planning We believe that our collective processes and outcomes will be strongest when they emerge from shared governance and collaboration.
  • Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement We value contributions in the public interest and environmental, economic, and social responsibility in our work toward viable and sustainable communities.

https://brand.humboldt.edu/foundation

STRATEGIC PLANNING

Themes

  • Academic Roadmap
  • Community Collaboration & Shared Success
  • Employee Engagement and Success
  • Future Proofing Humboldt
  • Resource Stewardship and Sustainability
  • Student Experience and Success

To read more about the strategic plan click here.

INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP

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.

Benefits Overview

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

For more information on the benefits offered click here.

Application & Nomination

APPLICATION AND 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 and details about the status of this search may be emailed to Kara Kravetz Cupoli at kkc@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email info@spelmanjohnson.com.

 Visit the Cal Poly Humboldt website at https://www.humboldt.edu/.

 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.