Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White - June 21, 2018

Remarks by Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Systemwide HR Conference
Long Beach, California
June 21, 2018

Thank you, Melissa

And thank you all for coming together today… to share, discuss and develop ways for Cal State’s human resources professionals to help turn our challenges into opportunities… and to ensure success for our students, employees and institutional mission.

I’d like to thank our platinum sponsor, Skill Survey, and its president and CEO, Ray Bixler, for joining us today.

Thank you, Ray – and indeed all of our sponsors – for your generosity and commitment to our shared values.

I must also echo Melissa in thanking this year’s conference organizers… Andy, Evelyn, Robin, Stephanie and Shawn.

Thank you all… and whoever’s idea it was to hold this year’s conference so close to the Chancellor’s Office gets some extra points in my book!

As many of you know, the Chancellor’s Office is just down the street… and on my drive over here this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the new Gerald Desmond Bridge being built over the port.

That new bridge project reminds me of our own massive project at Cal State… Graduation Initiative 2025.

You know, the original Gerald Desmond Bridge was built back in 1960… the same year that Cal State was established under the Master Plan.

Since then, the Gerald Desmond has served our state’s needs… allowing for lots of people, goods and ideas to move from one end to the other… playing a significant role in helping California’s economy grow and thrive.

At its peak, 15 percent of the nation’s imported waterborne cargo trucked over it… and even more passed under it.

Indeed… that bridge served the people of California well. However, with it nearing sixty years of heavy use, the bridge in its current form has reached the end of its useful life.

So, six decades later… a new bridge was carefully designed in order for California to compete in the highly-competitive world of global shipping and trade.

This new bridge will allow more Californians, more ideas and more goods to move from one end to the other… and for those new super-sized container ships to pass underneath it.

It will allow for additional modes of transit for people to get across in the way that best suits them… whether by car, bike or on their own two feet.

And most importantly, the new bridge will be the key to Long Beach and LA’s continued success as the largest combined port complex in the US… and a key to California’s future prosperity.

Now, most folks in education love a good bridge metaphor… I clearly count myself part of that group

But I think in this case it is a particularly apt description of where Cal State stands today… and what we need to do in the years and decades to come to continue to meet the needs of California.

Cal State’s success – and California’s future prosperity – is inherent in our ability as educators and HR professionals to build our own gleaming new bridge…

To expand pathways and pipelines for students from every community to attend, succeed and graduate…

To embrace new technologies and best practices to be more efficiently effective

To ensure that every employee is committed to the values of Inclusive Excellence…

Indeed, to provide leadership to help define and design California’s future… and the nation’s future…

To meet the evolving needs of our students, communities, workforce and California… and,

To reach our ambitious student success goals.

Indeed, Cal State has a design for our new bridge… we call it the Graduation Initiative… and when completed, we will ensure student success and shared prosperity.

Like the new bridge project down the street, Graduation Initiative requires a lot of detailed analysis, planning and implementation.

And it requires resources. Dollars and people.

That’s where you and your colleagues come in.

Together, you and your colleagues have improved your processes to better recruit and support the folks on campus that teach courses, advise students, process invoices, protect and serve, fix and maintain.

There is no doubt that Cal State’s HR professionals are at the forefront of our Graduation Initiative 2025 efforts to hire more top-tier faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Loren Blanchard will discuss more about the connection between our HR professionals and Graduation Initiative 2025, but I’d like to just offer a valuable lesson taught by the NBA champion Golden State Warriors this past year:

Get the right people into the right places… and the rest will fall into place.

Heck, I’ll bet that Cal State actually taught that lesson to the Warriors… perhaps the Bay Area campuses here can confirm that for me.

We’ve made a lot of progress on diversity and inclusion in the CSU over the past decade. Next week, the first university-wide meeting of campus diversity officers will take place.

A significant achievement.

Here’s another: Cal State is the sole national leader on gender equity for campus presidents, with more than half – 12 out of 23 – of those leadership posts held by women.

And when we look at all 23 presidents, many identify as people of color.

Compared to other institutions of our size… including Fortune 500 companies, governments, etcetera… We are the leaders.

That’s a testament to your commitment to inclusivity and equity… to expand opportunities for leadership to communities that better reflect California’s demographics.

Over the past year, we’ve made strides to ensure fair compensation for employees. I’m proud that even in the tougher budget cycles, we have – because of your work – been able to make meaningful progress.

Of course, talking about achievements and milestones, I must mention HR’s very own infrastructure project, the Common Human Resource System, which has achieved several milestones and remains on course for full deployment by 2022.

There’s no doubt about it… CHRS is a massive project that will transform how Cal State and its 23 campuses recruit, retain and support employees… and collect, analyze and process HR data and trends.

Simply put, CHRS will profoundly transform how Cal State operates.

Let’s give those working on CHRS a round of applause…

Well done, everyone!

Combined, the efforts, dedication and achievements of you and your colleagues today and in the years to come are key to Cal State’s efforts to be more efficiently effective… to better support students’ academic dreams and goals… to promote student wellness… and to meet our goals of Graduation Initiative 2025.

Because of the outstanding work and dedication of Cal State’s HR professionals, we are building that gleaming new bridge to California’s future.

You are a key part of something so big and consequential… I thank you!