Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Academic Senate Retreat - Asilomar - 11/3/99

Thank you, and good evening. I am very pleased to be here tonight.

It has been great to be a part of the CSU these last two years. We can all be proud of what the CSU does for California and its students:

  • It offers access to high-quality education.
  • It gives first generation college students an opportunity, and it gives students a second and third chance at education.
  • It prepares students to be productive members of California's workforce.

As I see it, the CSU is truly a university for the 21st century. I hope all of you share my optimism about the future.

I want to divide my remarks into two parts: Where we are now, and where we need to go.

Part I: Where We Are Now

First, here's my take on where we are now. The good news is, the CSU is perfectly positioned to serve California's students:

  • We are benefiting from the strongest economy ever in California
  • We have strong support from the state. We got a 10.4 percent general fund increase this year and 15 percent last year.
  • We added nearly $115 million dollars in faculty salaries since 1998, a total increase of 11.7 percent over 2 years.
  • We have the right agenda.
  • We have the best group of presidents with whom I have ever worked.
  • We have the best and most dedicated trustees with whom I have ever been associated.
  • And we have the strongest group of faculty and staff in the country -- a group of individuals who are dedicated to high-quality research and teaching.

With all of these factors in place, we are in a strong position for the future. But we are going to need to be strong to handle all that is ahead.

In the next 10 years, we will face many external challenges, including:

  • Booming enrollment;
  • Rapidly changing technology;
  • Greater competition for state resources from other pressing needs in the state;
  • Greater demands for accountability from our policymakers and our public.

Just to look at one of these factors, consider our projected enrollment growth, also known as Tidal Wave II. The California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) recently projected that our undergraduate enrollment will increase by 42 percent in the next 10 years. That projection shows an additional 117,000 students at the CSU by Fall 2010.

Plus, this "wave" is already here.

In recent years, the CSU has been enrolling between 11,000 and 12,000 additional students each year. That is equivalent to adding a campus the size of Dominguez Hills each year. We will need to do that every year for the next ten years just to maintain this same level of access.

Obviously, these numbers will have a big impact on our institutions. We have pledged to maintain our commitment to provide access for all eligible students. But we will not let our quality slip.

So our challenge right now is to find new ways to address these challenges that will help us preserve and improve access as well as quality.

With the strong team we have in place, I am confident that we can handle these and other challenges ahead. And we are a team because we are all in this together.

That leads me to the second part: Where we need to go.

Part II -- Where We Need to Go

I want to talk about five strategies we are going to need to employ in the next few years to help us ensure access and quality at our institutions. Those strategies include:

Strategy #1 -- Expanding Capacity

Expanding capacity will be a key piece of our effort to serve our new students. In order to expand capacity, we must:

  • Build new facilities;
  • Maximize use of our current facilities;
  • Offer evening and weekend classes;
  • Make more use of off-campus facilities and shared usage with community colleges;
  • Develop the potential of distance learning to expand access.

I thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work to accommodate students with different schedules, locations, and learning techniques. And I welcome your suggestions for new ways to expand our capacity.

Strategy #2 -- Expanding Year-Round Operations

Year-round operations will be another key part of our effort to offer access to our growing student population. Year-round operations will require us to:

  • Hire more faculty;
  • Pay faculty more;
  • Adjust workloads and scheduling;
  • Work closely with the legislature to secure state support for system-wide year-round operations -- in other words, full funding for all of our students all the time.

We are already allocating $2.2 million to expand course offerings at 10 campuses in summer 2000.

Again, I thank you for your flexibility as we find new ways to serve our students.

Strategy #3 -- Updating/Making Better Use of Technology

The CSU is already ahead of the curve in exploring technology's potential for expanding access and improving the quality of education. Now we must continue to keep our technology up to date and integrate any new advances that will help us better serve students.

But as I have said before, it would be a serious mistake to increase access while quality declines. We must consider the following:

  • We can use technology-based instruction to overcome barriers of time or place only if teaching quality remains high or increases.
  • The faculty role is central.
    • Only the faculty can experiment with and integrate technology into their curriculum.
    • Only the faculty can assess the relative improvement in the quality of teaching and learning.
  • And finally, the system must create a supportive environment so that individual faculty can determine the appropriate use of technology in teaching.

Strategy #4 -- Working With K-12 Schools

The next strategy is to help our state's public schools.

When we improve them, we improve ourselves. In other words, our ability to get our job done depends on the quality of the students that enter from K-12. If new CSU students are better able to benefit from your instruction, they will start out at a higher level, end up at a higher level, and get there faster.

This year, we received $9 million dollars to help us eliminate the need for remedial education. That money will go directly to the faculty to work with K-12 schools. These and other partnerships are critically important for our universities.

I know that many of you are already involved with K-12 cooperative projects. I thank you for that work, and I encourage you to continue it. There is nothing more important than improving public school student achievement.

Strategy #5 -- Creative Thinking

Last but not least, we need to think creatively, or think "outside the box," about how we can meet the challenge of maintaining access and quality. That's a tall order.

I am a big supporter of creative thinking. I guess that is because I am willing to take risks and I am not afraid to fail. But I am sure all of you would say the same thing about yourselves because thinking "outside the box" is a big part of university life. Researchers have to take risks and be willing to fail in order to find what works.

Of course, when I talk about looking for new ways to do things, I am not talking about changing for the sake of change. I am talking about finding creative ways to meet our most pressing needs and to do things even better than before.

Also, I know that people like to say that faculty members resist change, but I know better. I have met and talked with many of you in the past 18 months. I know you are out there helping students, challenging accepted wisdom, and finding new and better ways to do things. I want to support you in that work.

I also want you to tell me how my office can better assist you and your campuses during this time of change. And if you have ideas about how we can better serve our students -- because we are after all, a teaching- and learning-centered institution -- I want to hear from you.

Once again, we are all here to provide the highest possible quality to our students. And we are all in this together.

Closing

I want to close by thanking you for inviting me here, and for all of the hard work you will do during the course of this conference and this year. And I want to say once again that we have a bright future ahead.

I hope that together, as a team, we can look forward to continued success for the CSU in the 21st century.

Thank you very much.


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