The new president of Sacramento State, Robert S. Nelsen, is getting an introduction to the region's triple-digit summer weather during his first day on the job.
"That hot weather was a surprise," says Nelsen. "But I'm bringing on the heat, baby."
Nelsen was president of University of Texas Pan American from 2010 to 2014. He comes to Sacramento with his wife Jody.
"I was a finalist at a bunch of places," says Nelsen. "And Jody and I kept saying to each other 'Sac State call, Sac State call,' because we want to be here. We want to be part of this community. We want to create jobs for our students."
Nelsen says his top goals are to improve graduation and retention rates and reduce the amount of time it takes students to get a degree.
"I met a young woman who served me coffee the other morning," says Nelsen. "She's been here six years trying to take two courses and she hasn't been able to get the two courses. We need to find out what those courses are."
He says that includes analyzing which courses are the most in-demand.
"We've got to get into the high schools and work with the high schools," says Nelsen. "We have a pathways project that we will be working on with the community colleges and high schools. We've got to be active."
Nelsen's experience in higher education spans nearly three decades, most of it spent in the University of Texas system.
The 63-year-old Nelsen takes over for Alexander Gonzalez who retired.
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