We began the Cornerstones project with a sense of urgency, and with a commitment to honor our best traditions of imagination and creativity in determining our future. The urgency is rooted in two challenges to all of higher education. First, we face a crisis of funding and resources, especially in light of the projected demand for university education in California. This crisis may be masked because it is developing slowly. Both university and state leaders may imagine ways of "managing" it without changing much. We believe this view is wrong. The sheer magnitude of the gap between likely resources and projected need is cause for alarm.
Second, we are called to examine our ways of providing education in light of California's continuing social, demographic, and economic transformation. A new economy is emerging out of California's recovery from recession, and a new social order is crafted by the diverse communities of our people. This is a remarkable opportunity for a healthy and energetic university to ask: How best do we educate our students for this new world?
To meet these challenges, we are committed to continuous improvement. The California State University is a remarkable institution, with a proud tradition of meeting the dynamic and always-changing needs of the people of California. Many of the innovations required in the university are already in place at one or more of the campuses, and we can learn much about how to grapple with the problems of the future simply by looking to ourselves for answers. We can meet our goal of continuous improvement, through a process of on going debate and affirmation of purposes, self-renewal and reflection.
Cornerstones began with four fundamental commitments:
1. We must continue to provide educational excellence in a teaching-centered, collegiate institution.
2. We must provide access for the growing and ever more diverse population of Californians seeking higher education, in the face of limited public resources.
3. We must demonstrate our effectiveness to the people of California and to their elected leadership, in crafting a new compact with the public we serve.
4. We must design a more responsive postbaccaluareate system to meet the
demand in California for liberally educated professionals.
In light of these commitments, the Cornerstones discussion--involving our campuses as well as the broad-based Cornerstones' Task Forces--identified four policy goals for the California State University. In support of these goals we identified ten guiding principles and a variety of specific recommendations which we believe should shape the policies of the university and the programs and strategies of our campuses.
Cornerstones has not been a comprehensive institutional planning process, and was not designed to be one. The essential goals, mission, and policies that frame the university have been established by the California State Master Plan for Higher Education. The Master Plan remains a sound blueprint for the university and for the state. The issue is how best to reach our goals. In addition, Cornerstones has not attempted to integrate within its work all policy or program initiatives that are university priorities. As examples, the systemwide and campus K-12 and teacher education reform initiatives were well underway before the Cornerstones initiative began. Similarly, technology had not been a focus of Cornerstones because other initiatives in that arena are underway.
Finally, Cornerstones has been designed to complement and support campus strategic planning initiatives that are ongoing on the CSU campuses. It is an umbrella effort, that has been informed by and in many cases has grown out of campus-level initiatives that are already in place. But what has been missing, and what Cornerstones seeks to supply, is an overarching set of statewide goals and plans that will be a framework for both articulating the needs and accounting for the contributions of the university to a larger statewide public and policy audience.
This report moves immediately to elaborate the four policy goals, the ten guiding principles, and the derivative recommendations. The body of the report is then followed by an Appendix which spells out in some detail the challenges we face as a university.
The California State University seeks to ensure:
A. Educational Results B. Access to Higher Education C. Financial Stability D. University Accountability