It is now time for the Chair’s Report.
On October 25th, in a retreat format, the Board of Trustees spent an entire day reviewing the status of the commitments made by the system in “Access to Excellence,” the CSU strategic plan adopted by the Board in May 2008.
After extensive discussions among board members and presentations of staff, it was agreed that progress was being made on the implementation of most of the eight commitments contained in the strategic plan. The board, however, expressed its deep disappointment, primarily because of declining state resources, over its ability to make progress on commitment #2 (planning for faculty turnover and investing in faculty excellence) and #3 (planning for staff and administration succession and professional growth).
Given the probability that State General Fund support for higher education is not likely to change much for the better in the next several years, the Board then turned its attention to how the system might behave differently in seeking the resources needed to accomplish all elements of its strategic plan. This discussion produced a list of 14 areas that might be appropriate in pursuing a revenue enhancement strategy and 10 ideas for possible systemwide cost reductions.
In the not-too-distant future, appropriate committees of the board will be asked to further discuss these ideas and to consult with faculty, students, staff, and campus administrators with regard to the possible implementation of any of these ideas.
Congratulations are in order for President Ortiz, who was selected to receive the selected to receive the Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).
I also want to say a few words about CSU Summer Arts Director Jim Spalding, who will retire next month after nearly 25 years with the Summer Arts program. Jim started with CSU Summer Arts at Humboldt State back in 1988. Under Jim’s tenure, Summer Arts reached record enrollment numbers, and also record audience attendance numbers. At Fresno State, Jim became so well-known by audience members that every night, as he would step onto the stage to introduce that evening’s performance, he would begin by saying, “My name is Jim Spalding, and I have…” and the entire audience would shout, “The best job in the world!” Over 500 people attended Jim’s official retirement party in Fresno last July. That night, Jim auctioned off a photograph he took, promising that he would provide matching scholarship funds. The sale of Jim’s photograph ended up generating $2000 in scholarship funds for Summer Arts, making it the single most valuable auction item Summer Arts has ever had. Congratulations, Jim, and thank you for your many years of service to the CSU.
And finally, a few words about civility even during times of strong disagreements.
Recently, I was made aware of the fact that during a national meeting in Washington D.C. that Chancellor Reed was chairing, several members of the CFA found it necessary to travel to Washington and interrupt the meeting and display their disdain for the chancellor of the CSU. While I am a firm supporter of the principle of free speech, I cannot help but believe that a demonstration, such as was described to me, is a poor reflection on our university family, which has, for years, been respected for its high professional and ethical standards. As persons charged with the responsibility for educating the more than 400,000 students enrolled in the CSU, we would do well to demonstrate that respect for each other is the coin of the realm of a democratic society and that it is earned through thoughtful dialogue and discussion.
I share with our faculty, students, staff, and my colleagues on the board that these are incredibly trying times. But even in trying times, we must not lose sight of the fact that the more we are willing to work together to achieve shared goals and do so giving each other respect, the more likely we will emerge from these difficult times as a force for civic, social, ethical, and cultural enlightenment.
That concludes my report. It is now time for the Chancellor’s Report.