Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
March 22, 2011
Thank you Chair Carter.
I have already talked about how we are going to deal with the $500 million budget cut, and what measures we will have to consider if the tax extensions either do not get on the ballot or voters do not approve them – and we're cut by potentially another $500 million. So, I'm not going to go into much more detail here in my remarks.
However, over the past couple of weeks, the ongoing events and tragedy in Japan forced me to make the difficult decision to recall our CSU students from their international studies in Japan. We had about 45 students were actually in Japan, with about the same number traveling elsewhere or were affected in some way. I make these judgments by asking myself if I would want my own kids to be there, as well as following the State Department guidance. We are working hard to make sure these students can continue their studies when they return, receive the proper credit for the work they've put in this semester, and as much as possible, have priority registration for the fall. These events came on the heels of the unrest in Egypt. While we didn't have any students studying there, we did have a group from Chico planning on participating in a computer programming competition that was cancelled by the hosts. We have also limited travel to parts of Mexico since the State Department issued a travel warning last September. These international programs enrich the learning experience for many students at the CSU, but I would like to reiterate that the safety of these students is the single most important factor in making these decisions. And that is why I've decided to limit the travel of our students to areas that pose a potential threat to their safety.
The campus presidents and I, as well as a number of trustees, recently completed another successful visit to Washington D.C. for the CSU's annual Hill Day. We met with Senator Tom Harkin, Kevin McCarthy and a host of other legislators to discuss our policy priorities including teacher preparation, access to college and the completion of a degree, workforce training and applied research. Probably the most critical thing we discussed was the importance of maintaining the current funding of the Federal Pell Grant program. These grants are critical to the success of so many CSU students because we are the biggest recipient of Pell Grants. We also made the point that for-profits and colleges with large endowments don’t necessarily need Pell grants for their students, and that legislators should give some consideration to that idea. It is also important that we be able to maintain year-round Pell awards for our students, particularly as we implement Early Start. We will continue to make our case to maintain Pell funding at current levels. And in California, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the CSU and public higher education in California.
On April 5, the CSU, the UC and the Community Colleges will go to Sacramento together to keep reinforcing with legislators the importance of reinvesting in higher education. The Fresno Bee ran a recent editorial that we submitted that detailed how important this reinvestment is to our state. Higher education is the key to reinvigorating the economy in California. Despite the challenges that we face, our campuses continue to do great work and should be commended.
Three of our campuses recently had their accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges reaffirmed. Long Beach State, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal Poly Pomona all recently completed the three stage accreditation process. This is important because it aids our campuses in improving the quality and effectiveness of their education programs. It also provides credibility to the institutions and assures the education community, the public and the government that these campuses continue to meet high standards of quality and effectiveness. Congratulations to King Alexander, Jim Rosser and Mike Ortiz and their campus teams.
As proof that technology is playing a larger role in education, our teacher preparation program - CalState TEACH –will be moving to an IPad2 delivery system this fall. For the entire program, students won't be purchasing any textbooks, but will access all their course materials on an iPad. The entire curriculum has been digitized and can be accessed through a custom portal. Students will pay less than what they did for textbooks and materials and will receive an iPad – which they will get to keep - pre-loaded with all of the textbooks and software. Mo Qayoumi is piloting something similar at East Bay for his students – students will all receive an IPad and will be able to receive all of their class notes and curriculum, and not have to buy any textbooks.
The CSU also wrapped up another successful year of our Super Sunday outreach program. Trustees, presidents, campus leaders and I spoke at over 100 African American churches throughout the state providing information about what it takes to go to college. Thank you, again, to all those who spoke and assisted in this great event. I know our message was well received.
Chair Carter, that concludes my remarks.