Throughout the past year, there has been a lot of time and energy spent on two major campus issues — making the budget work and making enrollment work, said Harold Hellenbrand, CSUN provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who will celebrate his first year at CSUN on Aug. 1.
Hellenbrand’s position at CSUN has put him in charge of directing more than 1,700 faculty and staff members in Academic Affairs, the largest component within the university.
In terms of future goals, Hellenbrand said he hopes to concentrate on hiring more good young people, since there have been so many retirements recently.
Another goal for the future is to improve the overall experience of students and do a better job in assessing whether or not students are learning what they are supposed to be learning.
Before coming to CSUN, Hellenbrand was a professor and dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for six years.
Hellenbrand was also a professor and dean in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, Duluth for four years, and served as chair and professor of the English Department at California State University, San Bernardino for 12 years.
Hellenbrand said his decision to join CSUN was influenced by both professional and personal factors.
Professionally, Hellebrand said he was glad to return to Los Angeles because he has found that urban universities come with the most interesting challenges. Personally, he said he is happy to be closer to his father and his wife’s mother, whom he and his wife see more often now.
Living less than a mile from campus, he is able to walk to school with his wife and dog every morning, one of the most enjoyable parts of his day, he said.
Two of the best things about CSUN, Hellenbrand said, are the shared diversity and the variety of students, faculty and staff.
“I really do like coming to work every day,” he said. “(My colleagues) are interesting, funny people.”
Penelope Jennings, associate vice president of Faculty Affairs, works closely with Hellenbrand.
“I consider him in many ways an adviser and mentor,” Jennings said.
In addition to being an intelligent leader, Hellenbrand is a terrific person who is both funny and witty, Jennings said.
Jerry Luedders, interim executive assistant provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said he works with Hellenbrand every day and has gotten to know him as someone who has great common sense, great insights, a steal-trap memory and an extraordinary dry sense of humor that makes him an overall joy to work with.
“He is a remarkable man with great leadership and great understanding,” Luedders said.