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Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Criminal Justice Forum
Los Angeles, CA
November 3, 2006

Thank you, President Rosser.

We are currently in an amazing period of rapid growth and development for the field of criminal justice. Just as criminals are growing more sophisticated in their methods, the technology that we use to protect our citizens is becoming more complex and advanced every day. We can learn more information from a single strand of hair than we ever could have imagined 20 years ago.

At the same time, television shows like “CSI” have sparked unprecedented public interest in the ingenuity and problem-solving skills that criminal justice professionals use every day.  More and more young people are considering careers in a field that they consider challenging and exciting.

At this pivotal time for the criminal justice industry, the California State University system is head and shoulders above other universities when it comes to preparing students in the field. Almost 8,000 students are enrolled in criminal justice programs on CSU campuses.

The CSU graduates more than 1,800 criminal justice professionals into the workforce each year. That represents 89 percent of the California’s total graduates in this field, from all universities, public and private.

Our campuses are known for their outstanding programs and opportunities. You will be hearing lots more today about Cal State L.A.’s crime lab and all of the big plans and partnerships we have for this lab.

We have plenty of other outstanding programs on our campuses. For example:

  • The criminal justice program at Sacramento State is the largest program west of the Mississippi. Sac State graduates have filled some of the state’s top law enforcement leadership positions, including the head of the California Highway Patrol.
  • Fresno State’s criminology department created the first major in victimology in the United States, and has been a pioneer in developing academic courses for the National Victim Assistance Academy. Fresno State Professor John Dussich, who is internationally known in the field, was asked by the Indonesian government to assist in their work with victims of the December 2004 tsunami.
  • Cal State Stanislaus’ forensic concentration is unique within California in that it is aimed at students who want to do field investigations.
  • Other outstanding programs at Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal State San Bernardino prepare top criminal justice leaders across the state and nation.

We convened today’s meeting to create a forum for discussing the importance of preparing students for this critical field. We saw the need for a meeting like this after a study on the impact of the California State University showed that the CSU dramatically affects the economic, intellectual and cultural life of our state.

CSU-related expenditures create over $13 billion in economic impact each year and support over 207,000 jobs in California. The CSU also educates more students in the knowledge-based industries that drive California’s economy than any other California university.

With this information in hand, we decided to hold meetings with leaders from each of California’s critical industries. We wanted to share more about what we are doing with our students, and we wanted to hear more about what we could do to better serve those who employ our graduates.

One thing in particular about the CSU that I want to highlight is the fact that we are the most diverse university system in the country. Our minority student enrollment is more than 54 percent. As California’s minority population continues to grow, we are committed to increasing the preparedness of traditionally under-represented groups – and helping them on the path to a degree and a successful career.

To help us reach more traditionally underserved students, we have created a number of collaborative projects with our K-12 and community college counterparts.

Some of these projects include:

  • The “Steps to College” poster, a poster that spells out what middle and high school students need to do to prepare for college and apply for financial aid. We offer versions in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese.
  • The Early Assessment Program, a voluntary test that lets 11th graders assess their college proficiency. The early results tell the students if they need to do more work in English and mathematics so that they will be ready for college by the time they are ready to apply.
  • A partnership with the Parent Institute for Quality Education, or PIQE, which teaches parents how to help their children prepare for admission to college.
  • A leadership role in the Troops to College program, which has developed an academic outreach and admission plan to help the 60,000 veterans who come home to California each year – especially in the field of law enforcement.

Today we hope to hear more from you about what we can do to get more students on the right track and help prepare them for jobs in criminal justice fields.

We are especially hoping to hear:

  • How can we communicate better with parents and students about the opportunities that are available?
  • Do our programs offer the background and experience students need to succeed in your workplace?
  • What kind of partnerships and internships can we create with your organizations that will help us accomplish these goals?

Thank you all for your interest in this topic and your attendance here today. I hope that today’s discussion will be just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue.

Introduction of Elizabeth Devine

It is now my pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, Elizabeth Devine.

Elizabeth earned her master’s degree in criminalistics from Cal State L.A. Immediately after graduating, she joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

As a crime scene investigator, she worked on some of L.A.’s most high-profile murder investigations. She retired in 2000 after 15 years as the department’s most experienced crime scene investigator and their leading crime scene reconstruction expert.

She joined the production of the television show CSI as a technical consultant and is now co-executive producer of the hit television show “CSI: Miami.”

We are very pleased to have her with us today. Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Devine.

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