Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting - Chancellor's Report
May 16, 2007
Thank you, Chair Achtenberg.
First, I want to congratulate three people sitting around this table for receiving recent outstanding national honors and/or completing exemplary work for the CSU.
All three are a great credit to the California State University and all are working for California everyday. They are all colleagues of mine and I respect their work, advice and dedication.
Next, like Chair Achtenberg, I want to recognize our new trustee Pete Mehas. He and I have worked together in one of his many previous lives as superintendent of the Fresno County Schools. He has solid educational credentials. He will be a real asset to this board.
I also want to thank Student Trustee Andrew LaFlamme for his outstanding service on the board, and welcome Jennifer Reimer as the voting student trustee. These are two students who get what it means to represent the best interests of our 417,000 students.
I also want to again congratulate the winners of the Wang awards who we honored yesterday and last night at dinner. All five of them symbolize the CSU spirit of good teaching and good administrating – all to benefit our students.
We also recognized and said goodbye last night to Trustee Murray Galinson, CSU Dominguez Hills President Jim Lyons and Student Trustee Andrew LaFlamme. Thank you again for your service to the CSU.
I also want to welcome Millie Garcia, our new president at CSU Dominguez Hills. She is coming to us from Berkeley College in New York and New Jersey. She will begin this July. I want to thank the trustee committee and interim President Boice Bowman for their service.
For those who do not know it, San José State is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. It is the oldest public university in the state, and I attended one day of its weeklong celebration. President Kassing and I spent part of our time with U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and other dignitaries. And just yesterday this board honored Connie and Bob Lurie for their gift of 10.8 million dollars. That gift was announced during the anniversary celebration, so President Kassing had a lot to be happy about this past week.
Speaking of CSU presidents, I want to congratulate Fullerton President Gordon for being awarded the 2007 President’s Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). The award reflects Milt’s support of advancing the quality of student life on the campus.
I also want to reiterate the board’s and my strong support of Presidents Gonzalez of Sacramento State and Ruben Armiñana of Sonoma State. Some faculty at those campuses have instituted no confidence votes against them, but this board and I have full confidence in these presidents and all the others. We are proud that they are part of the CSU family.
As many of you know, former Northridge president Jim Cleary passed away earlier this month. He served as president from 1969 to 1992. His services are being held today in Boise, Idaho, and the Northridge campus will hold a memorial service on May 22.
Another terribly sad event occurred at our Fresno campus last week with the shooting of a former student by a current student. The campus followed proper protocol, and President Welty and I were in constant communication, beginning about 4 a.m.
These kinds of incidents happen more often that we would like. This is why our board item on emergency preparedness earlier this morning is so important. We need to be prepared and we need to reassess our plans continually. Our association with James Lee Witt, the former FEMA director, has proved invaluable as we go through this process.
The other board item on student loans is also critical. We have adopted additional administrative safeguards for our student loan programs so that we remain in compliance with all federal guidelines. In fact, many of our provisions are more stringent than federal regulations and proposed Congressional legislation. There must be more transparency in student loan programs to assure our students and their families that the advice and assistance they receive is free of any bias or conflict of interest.
When we released the CSU Impact Report in late 2004 we began a series of meetings with industries where we send many graduates.
One of those is the Ag industry, and we recently had another meeting with our advisory group. We continue to receive good recommendations from them to improve our Ag curriculum, such as sharing faculty systemwide. We are looking into ways to do just that.
I also wanted to second Chair Achtenberg’s remarks on the success of our “Access to Excellence” summit, and thank her and Executive Vice Chancellor Reichard for all their hard work. This strategic planning process is critical to the CSU as we look 10 years out. It was an excellent meeting, and our focus on accountability is what sets the CSU apart from other universities.
Our academic affairs offices and provosts are developing a CSU voluntary system of accountability, and when that is done, the CSU will be the first system in the country to have such a program in place. In July, we will host a meeting here of representatives from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) to talk about the establishment of a national Voluntary System of Accountability. We have to be more accountable to the public and show the value of higher education for our students.
Let me remind everyone that we still have much work to do in Sacramento on our budget. We are about $40 million short of what we need to operate this coming year. And with the state budget picture not looking so good, we need to work harder than ever.
While it was good that the governor added in $3.6 million for the CSU to produce 340 more nurses, we are still very short of our financial needs.
I want to echo what Richard and Patrick said in their presentations: we do not have an extra $1.2 billion sitting around that can be used. That is a myth put forth by the faculty union. Those funds are designated for such things as student housing, parking, student unions, and food services. None of these funds can be used for faculty salaries. Period.
That statement made to legislators has done more damage to us because legislators think they do not need to help us. That is just not true.
Second, the student fee increase is necessary, and student fees do help fund salaries, contrary to what the union has said. We have two main sources of money to support all of CSU’s operations, including faculty compensation. Those sources are state general funds student fees.
We need to get the truth out there as often as possible to counter all this misinformation and that myth.
Finally, this is the time for commencements, and I want to congratulate all our campuses for what you all have done for students and our state’s workforce. There is no happier time than graduation, and I know our trustees agree and will be at many of your ceremonies.
Chair Achtenberg, that concludes my report.