Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting: Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
September 25, 2013
Thank you, Vice Chair Linscheid.
New General Counsel
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed a new Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. As you are aware, Chris Helwick retired some months ago and Andy Jones has provided strong leadership in an interim appointment.
Fram Virjee comes to us after a long and successful career at one of the nation’s most prominent law firms, O’Melveny and Myers.
There, he developed a particular focus on education (particularly K-12 education) and labor/employment. His work focused on senior level counsel to school district superintendents, as well as CEOs of a wide range of organizations.
He managed a team of roughly 80 partners and many more associates and staff, as well as leading diversity and inclusion activities for the firm. He is a product of California public higher education, having studied at UCSB as an undergraduate and UC Hastings for his legal education.
We are very pleased that he will join us in January 2014. Thank you to all who helped on the search team.
I want to echo Chair Linscheid in once again congratulating our CSU Trustee Scholars. To say that this is an impressive group of students is an incredible understatement.
Each of these students has overcome challenges that would be debilitating for many people. But they have persevered and are now on the road to success at the CSU. It is a joy to be able to recognize them and reward them with this richly deserved honor.
Since we last met I have a new counterpart at the University of California system, Janet Napolitano, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. I am looking forward to working alongside her at the state and national levels.
She is a very experienced attorney with top-notch political and leadership skills and I believe that she will do an outstanding job for the UC system and help strengthen the relationship with the CSU.
Earlier we heard an update about the survey of bottleneck courses.
Although the problem varies from campus to campus and discipline to discipline, we are still facing the larger issue that needs to be solved.
A particular concern is that the bottleneck problem appears to be greatest in the STEM courses, which are an important component in our ability to meet California’s needs.
We will continue to look into this data to determine how we can best address the issue and collect more information. But it seems clear the solutions lie in many areas including: resources, people, capacity building through further integration of technology, and student preparation.
We also heard an update on the $10 million allocation to infuse technology into the learning environment and the $7.2 million to fund student success projects.
We are making progress in each of our targeted areas. I’m especially pleased that we have been able to seek out proposals from faculty and staff and campus leadership for the most promising high-impact practices.
In terms of course redesign to date, we’ve made 77 awards to 19 campuses to redesign bottleneck courses. We also recommended awards for 30 high-impact proposals for student success.
For each of these “best practices” designs, the campuses will record their processes and outcomes so that other campuses can learn from the experience.
One strategy you will be certain to hear more about is our concurrent enrollment plan within our system, which we will be using to address bottlenecks using fully online courses that articulate among campuses.
As of this week I have finished 15 out of 23 campus visits. It has been an exhilarating, eye-opening, exhausting effort - but it has been worth every minute.
Each of our campuses is unique - an important piece of the larger picture.
When we consider the tough times we’ve been through, no one can tell us we are not doing a great job.
The CSU handed out 100,000 degrees last year. One in ten California employees is a CSU graduate. The CSU is an absolute powerhouse in terms of what we do and how well we do it.
But are we resting on our laurels? Absolutely not.
Earlier this month the UCLA Anderson Forecast report showed that a large proportion of California workers have education and training that is obsolete for 20th century jobs. The tech sector is especially suffering. This tells me that we still have important work to do, and our state needs us - now more than ever.
I will continue to travel across the state, telling our story and listening to our faculty, staff, students, and communities - and working on ways to smooth the pathway to success for more of California’s students.
Chair Linscheid, that concludes my report.