Chancellor's Recent Speeches

"State of the CSU" Address - CSU Legislative Day
Sacramento, CA
2/20/02

Thank you, Fred (Pierce).

And many thanks to all of you for coming here today. We are very grateful to you for your support of the CSU.

All of you – our alumni, our supporters, our faculty and staff – help us show that the CSU is strong not just in numbers, but in its depth of commitment and unity of spirit. And you help us demonstrate the message that Louis Caldera just talked about: "I care about the CSU."

As I prepared to deliver this, my fifth "State of the CSU" address, I went back and reviewed some of the themes we had discussed in previous years.

Four years ago, I had just arrived at the CSU and I set out what I thought should be our top priorities: access, compensation, facilities, and teacher preparation.

Three years ago, I talked about quality and accountability at the CSU.

Two years ago, I talked about how the CSU has a unique mission, and doesn't need to compare itself to the UC or other institutions.

Last year, I talked about our accomplishments and how much we have to be proud of.

Looking at those past addresses, and looking at where we are now, helped crystallize for me what this year's message is for the CSU.

I truly believe that this is a time of great hope and opportunity for the California State University.

This is a time of great hope for us because we have spent several years building up our quality and we are now stronger and better able to face our challenges than ever before. Plus, we know that we have the right priorities in place to carry out our mission:

  • Ensuring access
  • Reaching out to K-12 schools
  • Preparing California's workforce
  • Strengthening our resource base to do all of the above
Also, this is a time of great opportunity for us because California needs the CSU now more than ever – especially given the current economic climate and the ongoing aftermath of Sept. 11.

California needs the CSU because we offer the educational opportunities that provide knowledge, understanding, and security for the future.

The CSU is working for California.

I hope all of you will be able to help us carry that message in Sacramento and beyond.

This morning I want to talk briefly about some of the major developments that have shaped the course for the CSU over the past year, and about some of our major accomplishments.

Then I will say just a few words about what all of this means for you, our supporters, and how you can continue to help us.

Trends --

1.) Budget

The first and most significant development this year has been the near-180-degree turnaround of the state's budget situation.

A year ago, the state had a budget surplus and the CSU was working with the largest general fund increase in its history.

But over the past year, our state's budget went down a slippery slope. Our state was dealing with an energy crisis and a number of other difficulties. Then, after Sept. 11, California's economy went into a tailspin.

Now it looks like California's budget outlook will continue to be grim for the next 18 to 24 months.

We received some good news last month when Gov. Davis proposed a modest budget increase for the CSU. But in the next five months of the budget process, our legislators will be going through every line with a fine-tooth comb. By May, when the state revenues are calculated, our budget could look a whole lot different.

Plus, this year we are going to see a lot of political activity:

  • March primary
  • November general election
  • A gubernatorial election
We're also going to be looking for an education bond on the November ballot. We are looking for a multi-year K-12/higher education bond measure that provides each higher education segment with at least $345 million annually. To achieve this goal, the CSU, UC and community college systems have collectively asked legislators to increase the amount of the proposed Nov. 2002 bond act to assure a total of $2.3 billion allocated to higher education.

This bond will be a critical part of our ability to fulfill our capital outlay needs. Without this bond, we are looking at an unmet capital outlay need of about $3.6 billion in the next five years.

This means that the CSU is going to have to be out there – more so than ever – helping California's voters and elected officials understand the real importance of higher education to the state of California and its economy.

2.) Enrollment

The second major trend is the enrollment growth at the CSU. Tidal Wave II has clearly arrived.

Most of this has to do with what they call the "baby boom echo," which is a demographic trend that we had expected and have been preparing for. But some of this also has to do with the slowdown in the economy. When people are between jobs, they often turn to higher education to help them along in their career.

In our case, more and more students turned to the CSU.

This fall, enrollment rose by 5.5 percent, or about 8,400 full-time-equivalent students over our budgeted enrollment. In fact, 12 of our campuses had their highest enrollment ever.

The latest official projections show that we will reach nearly a half-million students by 2010. At this rate, I think we might get there even sooner.

But we have resolved that we will continue to uphold our primary mission and keep our doors open for all eligible students. That's why we have been ramping up our efforts to increase access across the board:

  • Offering state-supported summer sessions on more than two-thirds of our campuses
  • Operating more weekend and evening classes and non-traditional schedules
  • Using more technology-assisted forms of instruction
The good news is that Gov. Davis' budget proposal would fully fund the CSU's projected enrollment increase for next year. This shows that even in tough budget times, he places a high priority on investing in the CSU and its mission to serve California students.

Still, this enrollment pressure will continue to be one of our major challenges in the months and years ahead.

Accomplishments --

In spite of these challenges and the overall turbulent environment of the past year, the CSU has reached many important milestones:

Louis Caldera: First, we made an important addition to our leadership team: Louis Caldera, the former U.S. Secretary of the Army, joined the CSU as our Vice Chancellor for Advancement. We are extremely proud to have him as a part of our team. He has already made a significant impact, and we know that he will continue to serve the CSU well.

Jorge Haynes: We also have a new senior director of external relations, Jorge Haynes. Jorge is a CSU alumnus who has had a long career in public service in California, Florida, Texas, and Washington D.C. He comes to us from the International Bank of Commerce in Texas. Welcome, Jorge.

External Support: We received a record level of external support for 2000/01 -- $916.4 million. I am very pleased that we were able to make such progress, especially during a time when the economy was slowing down. It says a lot about our talented advancement teams and the faculty, deans, presidents, and supporters who work with them. Thank you to everyone who was involved with this effort.

Educational Doctorate: We had a very positive conclusion to one of our biggest policy/advocacy issues last year, the educational doctorate. The CSU reached a historic agreement with the University of California to work together to create more joint Ed.D. programs. I am very pleased that we were able to resolve this together. The real winners will be the schools and community colleges that need more leaders with advanced training.

Diversity: The CSU continues to earn national recognition for serving students from underrepresented groups. Black Issues in Higher Education named 14 CSU campuses in the top 100 institutions conferring the most bachelor's degrees to minority students. And Hispanic Outlook named 19 CSU campuses among the institutions offering the best opportunities to Hispanic students.

K-12 Outreach: Last year, through our K-12 outreach efforts, we reached 460,000 K-12 students. Our outreach teams included 800 CSU faculty members and over 6,200 CSU student tutors. This kind of outreach is a top priority for the CSU and we are widely cited as a national leader this area.

Posters: We continue to have runaway success with our Steps-to-College posters, which help middle and high school students understand what it takes to get to college. We have now sent out more than 300,000 of these posters, and we have learned that universities from Nevada to Pennsylvania are using our poster as a model to send out to their future students.

Community Service: We continue to be a national leader in community service learning. Overall, more than 135,000 CSU students perform a total of 33.6 million hours of community service each year. This represents an equivalent minimum wage value of approximately $193.2 million.

Outstanding Faculty Members: Our faculty members regularly receive national recognition for their outstanding teaching and scholarship. In the last two months:

  • Robert Blackey, a Cal State San Bernardino history professor, was awarded the Eugene Asher Award for Distinguished Teaching by the 15,000-member American Historical Association.
  • Pamela Vaughn, a San Francisco State University associate professor of classics and literature, won the 2001 Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Philological Association.
  • Richard Birkemeier, a music professor at Cal State Long Beach, won the Louis Armstrong Fellowship Award from the International Association for Jazz Education for starting a youth music program in Compton.
  • Feimeng Zhou, an associate professor of chemistry at Cal State L.A., received a $60,000 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The award honors outstanding research and teaching by young faculty members.
Again, this is just a sampling of the many awards that our outstanding faculty members have received for their teaching and scholarship.

I hope that when you hear about all of these accomplishments you share with me a tremendous sense of pride in everything that the CSU does. And I hope you share my sense that this is a great time of hope and opportunity for the CSU.

We will face many challenges in the coming months and years, including:

  • Continuing enrollment pressures
  • Budgetary uncertainties
  • The need to provide greater increases in employee compensation
  • The campaign for a bond on the November ballot
  • The ongoing need to reach out and assist more of our future students.
But no matter what challenges we may face, we are in a position of strength to meet those challenges because we have the right priorities and because we have the greatest possible asset on our side - you, our alumni and supporters.

I want to thank you again for all of your service to the CSU. You are our real source of hope and opportunity.

Today and in the months and years to come, you can continue to help us demonstrate how the CSU is a source of educational and economic strength for the state of California.

You can help us show our policymakers how an investment in the CSU is a powerful investment for the future.

You can let them know how the CSU is truly working for California.

Thank you very much.


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