Retiring CSU Chancellor Reed Leaves a Strong Legacy of Racial and Ethnic Inclusion in Education Policy
Retiring CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed leaves the California State University with an unparalleled legacy of inclusion and advocacy for underserved students.
Reed led the creation of a multifaceted set of programs known as the CSU Community Partnership Initiatives which engage students and parents from communities that traditionally have been overlooked and underserved by higher education.
His commitment to address the many education challenges faced by underserved populations has been widely acknowledged by CSU leaders.
James M. Rosser, president of Cal State Los Angeles, said:
"Chancellor Reed exceeded the standards that apply to great leadership by extending the CSU's influence and action deeply into our communities, reaching students and families in their schools, churches and at home -- in languages their parents comprehend -- to set them on the path to college readiness. In so doing, he has transformed the dream of college into a reality for so many, who, in turn, transform our communities, this state and the nation in ways that help us all meet the needs of our rapidly changing world."
In his speeches, Reed often talked about the disproportionate number of public school students from the African American, Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander communities who drop out of high school or are inadequately prepared to move from middle school to high school and into college.
"All of us must be accountable for improving the numbers of underserved students who enroll and graduate from college," he said in repeated occasions.
The programs developed under Reed's direction were designed to put all of the students no matter their background on track to fulfilling their personal and professional potential.
"Chancellor Reed's passionate and unwavering commitment to provide access to college for students from underserved populations is unparalleled,” said Leroy Morishita, president of CSU East Bay. "His recognition of the needs of underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has led to the Journey to Success events, which provide information and road maps in multiple languages for AAPI students and their parents to learn how to prepare and be admitted to college. The growing diversity of the CSU student population points to the success of these efforts in enrolling these students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees and graduates."
In an effort to boost college access for African American students, Reed created an unprecedented partnership with African American religious leaders, whose help he enlisted to develop effective channels to reach out to middle and high school students and their families.
His strategy was to personally visit churches to talk about college preparation from the 6th grade through the 12th grade and about college financial aid opportunities for low-income families. During Super Sunday events, he and CSU presidents and trustees spoke at hundreds of churches across the state about the value of higher education and the importance of preparing early for college.
He also created CSU-supported Latino parent education programs. Through the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), he engaged families in formal classes about best parental practices to earn collaboration from teachers and principals and to encourage children to stay in school and graduate from high school with the appropriate classes to become eligible for college. Approximately 10,000 parents from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, many of them immigrants, complete the program every year. The program is now in its sixth year.
To involve students from Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, the Journey to Success program was created. It invites parents and students to spend a day on a university campus to experience college life and learn about culturally sensitive programs that can help students enroll and complete college.
Reed also encouraged university presidents to engage local Native American populations by reaching out to several tribal communities across California and providing tribal liaison staffs. Most recently CSU Dominguez Hills hosted a pow wow that attracted 2,500 participants.
"He developed deep and consistent relationships with community and business leaders and kept everyone excited and focused on the university’s community and industry partnership initiatives," said J. Michael Ortíz, president of Cal Poly Pomona.
Reed, who has served as chancellor for 14 years, will remain in the position until a successor is chosen.