Report on November Meeting of the Board of Trustees
Steven Stepanek - Faculty Trustee (Northridge)
“The Phone Call”
On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, I received a call from the Governor’s Office: the Governor himself wished to speak with me. At the conclusion of that conversation, I learned that I had been selected to fill the current term of Faculty Trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees, which runs to June 30, 2015. The first few weeks were fast-paced as I started arranging for the transition from my campus responsibilities to others so I can fully dedicate my time to the responsibilities of being the Faculty Trustee. From Oct 30 through Nov 1, I attended the ASCSU Plenary as Faculty Trustee and, from Nov 4 through 6, I attended my first Board meeting as a Trustee. I look forward to working with the ASCSU and the Board on ways to improve the educational experience of our students.
November Board Meeting
The CSU Board of Trustees met November 4-6, 2013. That Monday, the Board participated in a retreat workshop to discuss the role and responsibilities of public higher education system boards, the current challenges facing public higher education, and the roles of the Chancellor and the Board in governing the CSU. We also discussed the best use of Board time and meeting, agenda, and committee structures. During afternoon breakout sessions, a tentative action plan was developed that included the following: revising the plan for the evaluation of the Chancellor; reporting to the Board on campus accreditation issues; ensuring that campuses have processes in place regarding academic program reviews; developing a new trustee orientation process with assigned mentors; reviewing the Access to Excellence report with the goal of identifying outstanding and new priorities; and getting the Board involved earlier in the budget planning process.
On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown, Jr., ex-officio Board member, attended the open committee meetings of the Board of Trustees. The Board committees meet in series over the course of the day in the Dumke Auditorium at the Office of the Chancellor with all members of the Board present. Presentations and updates were presented on the Early Assessment Program (the success of the program in improving high school student preparation for university entry; the program has been adopted as mandatory by the State of Hawaii and been approved as a recommended practice in several other states), SB1440, legislative activities, and audits within the CSU.
Of particular note were the presentations on the model curriculum designed by the California State University Institute for Palliative Care at CSU San Marcos, the update on the need for nursing students by Assistant Vice Chancellor Christine Mallon, and the presentation by ASCSU Chair Diana Guerin on the Outstanding Faculty Website. The Governor commented that he would like to connect the State Department of Health with the Palliative Care initiative.
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, ex-officio Board member, attended the Wednesday Board meetings. A commendation was passed in recognition of Trustee Peter Mehas who had died shortly after the September meeting of the Board. The acceptance of 38 acres of property by Sonoma State to be annexed with their Fairfield Osborne Preserve was approved. The revised Campus Master Plan for Cal Poly, Pomona was approved so that their new administration building will not be positioned immediately above a known fault line.
During the “Public Comment” session, presentations were given by students from Sacramento State about their smoke-free initiative and their collaboration with CSUN Campus Organized & United for Good Health (COUGH). CSSA representatives expressed their concerns about online learning initiatives. Long Beach professors from Asian-American Studies spoke on the issue of maintaining ethnic studies programs that might have low major counts. A San José student spoke about the need to recruit students from underrepresented ethnic groups and the lack of available courses. (Shortly after the Board meeting, San José State issued a letter addressing the course availability issue). A student from Fullerton expressed concerns over campus funding formulas which, he stated, placed Fullerton with the lowest funding per student. Representatives from various collective bargaining groups spoke about pay equality and compression issues.
All (Well, Not All) About Steven Stepanek, New Faculty Trustee
Steven Stepanek is Professor of Computer Science at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Prior to accepting the position of Faculty Trustee, Professor Stepanek held, at CSUN, the positions of Faculty President and chair of the Department of Computer Science.
Stepanek has spent more than 40 years as a member of the CSU Northridge community. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northridge in 1974 and his master’s degree in Computer Science in 1980. He held positions with the campus Computer Center from 1972 to 1978. He starting teaching in 1976, initially as a lecturer and then as a full-time professor, earning tenure in 1984. He has spent the past 14 years as Chair of the Computer Science Department.
A member of the CSU Northridge Faculty Senate since 1994, Stepanek was elected to its executive committee for most of those years and served as the Faculty President from 2010 to 2013. He has spent the past eight years as a member of the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) and has served on numerous campus and statewide committees involved in technology, curriculum, admissions, and course transfer issues in higher education.