Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
Entertainment Industry Advisory Council Meeting
HBO Headquarters
March 30, 2010
Santa Monica, CA

Thank you, Garrett (Ashley) and thank you all for coming here today.

We are grateful to you for your willingness to meet annually to discuss the state of higher education in California and to get your industry perspectives and advice so that we can continue to prepare students for jobs in the entertainment industry and keep the industry and our state moving forward.

California's Budget Challenge
In my 40 years in higher education, I have never seen a worse fiscal condition for a state and its colleges and universities.

This year the university received a $625 million cut, which amounts to 20 percent of our budget.

To meet this mammoth-size budget reduction, we had to put almost all of our 44,000 employees on furlough and cut their salaries by 10 percent.

We also had to increase student fees by 32 percent, which put the average CSU undergraduate fee close to $5,000 per year. In spite of this increase, the CSU fees continue to be among the lowest in the nation.

Absent any budgetary increases, enrollment cuts will continue at all CSU campuses until we downsize the system by 40,000 students.

While most state agencies will receive another cut this year, the governor proposed to restore $305 million to the CSU.

If the legislature were to approve the Governor's budget in a timely manner, we would be able to admit an additional 21,000 new students.

Initial Focus: Eligibility
CSU's focus to date has been helping students become eligible to attend college.

Very successful programs include:

  • EAP - voluntary early assessment testing to help 11th grade students determine if they are ready for college-level work.
  • Super Sunday - Statewide outreach to African-American students through appearances at African-American churches.
  • PIQE - Educational program for parents of Latino K-12 students to help them learn what it takes to get to college.
  • How to Get to College Poster - Poster that describes exactly what courses students need for college eligibility. CSU has distributed 3 million posters in 8 languages.

New Focus: Early Start and Graduation Initiative
The California State University Board of Trustees adopted an "early start" policy to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter the CSU as incoming freshmen.

Beginning in their senior year of high school, students will learn from their results on the Early Assessment Program about whether they are "CSU ready" in math and English.

This information will help them choose from a variety of options to help them to become proficient in these subjects, and allow them to start immediately toward getting ready to start as CSU freshmen.

The goal is that more of our students will be completely prepared for college coursework or they will at least have begun working toward full proficiency. In the meantime, the CSU has launched a new graduation initiative with two goals:

  • Improving graduation rates by 8 percent as a system by 2016; and
  • Cutting in half the achievement gap for underrepresented minority students.

CSU's plan lines up with the Obama administration's goal for the U.S. of having the most college degrees in the world by 2020.

Without California, we won't reach that goal.

CSU alone graduates about 92,000 students each year.

Helping students graduate means contributing to the economic recovery of the state and the nation.

Impact Report - New Data
It is no surprise to you that the CSU is indeed a powerful engine in moving California's economy towards recovery.

In a few weeks we will release the results of a recent economic impact study we have completed.

The new study will show CSU's impact on California's entertainment industry continues to grow.

The CSU is a critical supplier of graduates to the entertainment and media industries. More than 90 percent of the radio and television broadcasting graduates come from the CSU and 51 percent of the communications degrees.

We award 75 percent of the state's journalism degrees-significantly more than the other California public and private universities combined.

And, 45 percent of the state's computer engineering baccalaureate degrees.

Many of our campuses directly supply graduates to industry giants like Disney, HBO, Warner Brothers, and many of the companies you represent.

Preparing Students for the Industry
Last year we talked about the basic skills that make students competitive for jobs in the entertainment industry.

  • We discussed the need for curricula encompassing the latest technology to create highest quality products
  • Students' need for maintaining portfolios updated with their most current work, and
  • The value of being knowledgeable in the history and business of the entertainment industry.

You also offered your perspectives on the changes your industry is undergoing and the fact that new graduates must not exclusively rely on the studios and other industry employers to start a career.

You mentioned that recent graduates need to be more entrepreneurial and find grants to create and market their own work.

To ensure that our students acquire working knowledge in the industry, in the last three years we placed 650 students in internships with companies in the entertainment industry, through the CSU Media Internship Program.

Some of you may have participated in our Visiting Fellows Program, where professionals come as guests to our campuses.

This contact is essential to expanding students' perspectives on the industry and to set personal career goals.

Last year, more than 60 industry professionals visited CSU campuses. Among them-- Francis Ford Coppola and our own Luis Valdez-a proud alumnus of the CSU (SJSU).

Last summer a council of arts deans met to discuss the advice you provided to me last year and to facilitate implementation of your recommendations. The deans agreed to jointly implement two items:

  • Sharing visiting fellows on multiple campuses, and
  • Consulting industry practitioners about curricular innovation.

They also are considering possibilities for working with industry partners to develop media-based curricular units that could be integrated into existing courses to provide cutting edge instruction.

I know Dean Kurt Daw and Steve Ujlaki, who are close to these activities can answer questions you may have on these programs.

Today's Discussion
Today I'd like to continue our conversation about what's going on in the industry from your vantage point.

I would like to ask Michael Lombardo to help us lead the discussion on three questions:

  • One: What significant changes has the industry faced due to the recession?
  • Two: Have new demands in technology triggered changes in the workforce environment or skill set of the workforce?
  • Three: What are your messages of importance to students aspiring to enter the entertainment industry and to education leaders?

Later today the arts deans from campuses throughout the CSU will meet here to be briefed on this discussion and together devise ways to move forward their curricula and programs over the next year.

I understand that some of you will also participate in that meeting, and I thank you for doing that. Let me invite Michael (Lombardo) to help us lead the discussion.