The great public universities of our country sustain their stature because they are both durable and adaptable. They work continuously to achieve the public good, by looking to the future while also preserving the best historic values of the academy. Committed to service to individuals and to the society at large, their mission and their primary financial support derive from a social compact with the people they serve, and to the purposes of education and free inquiry in our society.
Access to Excellence focuses on the intersection of the California State University (the CSU) with the economic, political, and social environment of the State of California, anticipating what the people of the state will need from the CSU in the next decade, and how best to position the institution to meet those needs. It is a public statement of the principles and core values of the institution, and sets forth broad strategic goals that will be the basis for setting priorities and measuring success over the next several years.
As a strategic system-level plan for the 23 universities that constitute the California State University, this plan refreshes the current CSU system plan, Cornerstones, builds on its successes, attends to continuing goals that have yet to be met, and reorients priorities to meet current circumstances. Adopted in 1998, Cornerstones articulated the principles that have anchored the CSU’s system-level work over the last decade. At base, these are five continuing commitments: to access; to learning-centered and outcomes-based education; to funding stability; and to accountability.1 Cornerstones has been a useful and durable plan, and much has been accomplished as a result of its vision. But a good deal has changed in the last decade, and the next 10 years promise even greater opportunities and challenges.
1 See Appendix