Chancellor's Communication - September 12, 2007
September 12, 2007
Welcome to a new academic year at the California State University. I hope that you all had a great summer and are ready for a productive term ahead.
The California State University is a remarkable place. We now have more than 450,000 students attending our 23 universities. We proudly hold the honor of being the most diverse public university system in the country. In fact, 55 percent of CSU’s students are students of color. As these emerging populations continue to grow, we are working hard to find ways to reach students and parents through community-based partnerships and programs that will help them prepare early for college, enter our doors and earn a degree.
It took some time for the state to pass a budget, but the good news for the CSU is that we received full funding for the higher education Compact, which allows for a 2.5 percent growth in enrollment, and provides fiscal stability. The 2007-08 CSU budget will contain more than $4.3 billion in state General Funds and student fee revenue representing an increase of $301 million, or 7 percent, over the prior year’s budget.
The budget increase will allow the CSU to accommodate approximately 8,000 new students this year. In addition, 55 percent of the budget increase, or $157.5 million, will be allocated to salaries and health benefits for our employees.
While this budget moves us in a positive direction, it does not meet all of CSU’s fiscal needs. We will continue to advocate for additional funds throughout the year. All of us can help in this effort by working together and reminding our elected officials as well as our local business, community and civic leaders that CSU is the economic powerhouse that provides the highly skilled professionals to the industries that make California successful—industries like agriculture, engineering, entertainment, hospitality, nursing, teaching and many more. This year alone, CSU graduated 93,000 students who will enter the workforce.
Our students’ success is based on our employees—all of you who work hard to bring excellence to our university system through outstanding teaching, research and the management of our campuses. I am pleased to report, as I mentioned earlier, that the 2007-08 budget includes funding for compensation increases for all employees. We will process these increases as soon as possible and all increases will be retroactive to July 1, for all eligible employees.
Compensation is an important issue for the CSU. If we are to remain a leading university system, we must find ways to attract and retain professionals at all levels in California’s high-cost market. The Board of Trustees has a strategy over the next five years to make salaries more competitive with comparable markets for all employees using resources provided by the California Legislature and generated through student fees. The budget increase of $157.5 million this year will help us work towards this goal.
All represented faculty and staff members—some 80 percent of our personnel—have received or will soon receive their 2007-08 increases which were determined through collective bargaining. These increases allow us to recognize employees for their outstanding work and make us more competitive with the market. For those represented by the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), our hope is that you will receive your increases soon when the collective bargaining process for the 2007-08 compensation is completed. These increases will be retroactive to July 1.
Salaries for faculty will also be brought closer to competitive market rates with a compensation pool of 6.2 percent which will help reduce the faculty salary lag of 15.2 percent.
As part of our competitive compensation plan, employees in the Management Personnel Plan (MPPs) will be eligible for a compensation pool of 6.75 percent for 2007-08. Our presidents and executives will also be eligible for an increase. The salary lag between CSU presidents/executives and those at the 20 institutions historically used for comparison by the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) is 46 percent. To help close this gap, the trustees will consider salary increases for presidents/executives averaging 11.8 percent when they meet next week. Details can be found in the Board of Trustees’ agenda at http://www.calstate.edu/BOT/agendas/Sep07/UFP.pdf.
It is the talented and skilled employees of the CSU who deliver the quality programs and services students need to earn their degrees. The Trustees and I will continue to work hard on providing a competitive compensation plan for all employees. Part of that plan will include periodic market evaluations of compensation for all employee classifications.
New Education Doctorate
This fall we welcomed more than 150 students into CSU’s first independent education doctorate programs. This is an historic event for CSU and for higher education in California. As the largest provider of teachers to the state’s public schools, it is imperative that the CSU continue to find ways to develop educational leaders to improve public education in California. The new education doctorate will allow the CSU to prepare public school and community college professionals who will reflect the diversity of today’s classrooms. More information on the new education doctorate is available at http://www.calstate.edu/teachered/docs/090407-eddreport.pdf.
Access to Excellence
The CSU’s leaders are working on a draft strategic plan for the next decade. “Access to Excellence” is the successor of “Cornerstones” that will identify priorities to meet the challenges facing the CSU and the individual campuses. The planning process has included meetings throughout the state with a variety of stakeholders including faculty, staff, students, alumni, business, industry and community leaders. You can read about Access to Excellence at http://www.calstate.edu/acadaff/system_strategic_planning/.
To learn more about these issues and receive regular updates on CSU news and events, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, CSU Leader, at http://www.calstate.edu/CSULeader/.
Thank you for all that you do for the California State University. I wish you the best for a rewarding year ahead.
last updated September 12, 2007