Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
November 18, 2015
Thank you, Chair Monville.
I want to first echo Chair Monville’s poignant remarks on the value of community… particularly in times of immense sadness.
That was evident Sunday evening, when the Long Beach State community came together to pay tribute to Nohemi Gonzalez… offer condolences and comfort to her parents and loved ones, and to celebrate Nohemi’s legacy.
And thank you to President Conoley and her staff for organizing such a moving tribute and vigil.
Moving to my regular report…
As Lou mentioned earlier, Cal State Stanislaus president Joe Sheley recently announced plans for his retirement at the end of this academic year.
Joe is a member of the Class of 3 Million, having graduated from Sacramento State… and has served the CSU well for nearly twenty years… including four as president of Stanislaus.
Joe, while I know that your work at Stan State is not yet finished, I want to be among the first to thank you for all that you have done for Stanislaus, the Central Valley and California.
I would like to also express my deepest congratulations to trustee secretariat Leticia Hernandez on her retirement at the end of this year…
Thank you, Leticia, for all that you have done for this board and the CSU.
When a faculty or staff member retires or transitions from the CSU, I find it a useful exercise to reflect on the incredible contributions that all of our employees have made – and continue to make – for the campus community.
And, of course, faculty and staff are making major contributions to their campuses… even in small environments that otherwise might have gone overlooked…
Such is the case at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where groundskeepers built what is now lovingly known as Tiny Village… a small, yet powerful contribution to the campus community…
On that steep and seemingly unredeemable slope, groundskeepers, led by Peter Chance, combined a real need for erosion control with art, ingenuity and whimsy… to create a miniature-size village built entirely with found materials.
It was a poignant moment viewing Tiny Village during my visit to Dominguez Hills a few months ago… and hearing of the contributions of Peter, who passed away last year.
The facilities and grounds staff that maintains Tiny Village spoke about the joy that tiny sliver of campus gives to students, employees and guests alike… and I thanked them, as I thank all of our staff and faculty today, for their contributions toward student success.
These stories remind me that the California State University is more than its buildings and grounds – more even than its programs… The university is the communal legacy of all of us striving together to create a better experience for our students.
We have hundreds of thousands of examples from San Diego to Humboldt. Take an exemplar Susan Wandling at Sonoma State.
Sonoma State’s Academic Talent Search program, led by Wandling, combines rigorous college readiness strategies while strengthening relationships between the university, students and their families. The goal, as stated by Wandling, is to not only increase the number of students to go to college, but to empower their graduation.
And as we continually strive to ensure quality and opportunity for our students, there will undoubtedly be times when we must come together to consider and discuss the greatest challenges facing our university and its future.
I know that these discussions are not easy; nor are they always popular. I also understand, as a former student, faculty and staff member… that the tough decisions I make as chancellor have a real and serious impact.
And, I agree with the concerns that our faculty and staff share.
I also agree with the Public Policy Institute of California’s assessment that California will require an additional 1.1 million baccalaureate-educated citizens by 2030… And that much of the responsibility of producing those graduates will fall to the CSU.
The challenge for this university – our challenge – is to ensure that we can continue to provide opportunities for California’s students to receive the highest quality education possible… by retaining and recruiting the highest quality faculty, staff and administrators possible… and by keeping the burden of costs for students and families as low and predictable as possible.
Nearly all of the conversations we’ve had over the past two days touched on these challenges… and while many are in the earliest of stages, these are challenges that we will have to overcome if we are to stand by the mission and values inherent in this university.
In the months and years to come, I look forward to having an open – and honest – dialogue about the future of the California State University… and as an unapologetic optimist, I know that future is bright.
Chair Monville, that concludes my report.