Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- January 14, 2004

Search for New Bakersfield President Begins

The California State University Board of Trustees officially began its search today for a new president of California State University, Bakersfield to replace current President Tomás Arciniega, who is retiring in June.

Under the CSU Board of Trustees’ presidential selection policy, adopted in 1997, the chair of the board establishes a five-person Trustees' Committee for the Selection of the President, which is composed of the chair of the board, the chancellor and three trustees, one of whom is designated as committee chair by the board chair. Board policy also requires the chair to appoint an advisory group to the trustees’ committee. The Advisory Committee to the Trustees’ Committee for the Selection of the President is composed of representatives of the faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as a member of the campus advisory board, all of whom are selected by the campus. Also on the advisory committee are a vice president or academic dean from the campus, and a president of another CSU campus, both selected by the chancellor.

Tuesday’s joint meeting of the selection committee and the advisory committee in the Albertson Room at CSUB was the only public meeting during the selection process. The purpose of the initial meeting was to discuss the role of the committee, set the schedule of meetings, review the descriptions of the campus and the presidential position, and discuss any other business related to the search process.

Trustee Roberta Achtenberg of San Francisco, who is chairing the selection committee, welcomed a large gathering of campus and community members to the meeting. She remarked that the crowd was the largest of any she had seen at previous presidential selection committee meetings at other campuses. “It’s good to see the amount of interest in the process,” she said.

She and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed outlined the process that would unfold in the next few months, emphasizing that the committee’s goal was to select the best possible person for the job. Achtenberg said that over the next three months they expected to identify qualified candidates, narrow the list down to between three and five finalists, have those finalists visit the campus, and select a new president “sometime in the middle of May.”

Reed emphasized the need for confidentiality during the search process. “The hardest part of the job is building a pool of candidates,” he said. He said the advisory committee’s role in this phase was critical, as the trustees gave considerable weight “to what you all think Bakersfield is looking for in a president for the next 10 to 15 years.

“We are not looking for someone who’s looking for a job,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who already has a good job.”

Advisory committee members provided search committee members with some of the characteristics and qualities they wanted to see in CSUB’s next president:

  • Someone who is very visible, both in Bakersfield and the Antelope Valley, and a good fundraiser. Several advisory committee members emphasized the need for fundraising. “We’re seeing a decrease in financial aid, and we need help from outside resources,” said Frank Ramirez, CSUB staff representative on the advisory committee. Added advisory committee member Henry Lowenstein, dean of CSUB’s School of Business and Public Administration, “With the current condition of the state’s budget, we need someone who can find resources outside the state budget.”
  • A commitment to the community from someone who is sensitive to the needs of the community.
  • Someone who will continue the tradition of an open and working relationship with student government.
  • A person interested in shared governance principles of consultation and delegation. “We’re moving from a small campus to a large campus, and there are a lot of issues connected with that,” said B.J. Moore, public administration professor and chair of the CSUB Academic Senate.
  • Someone with a vision for the future and the ability to enact that vision.
  • Someone who will continue the effort to have CSUB’s enrollment reflect the diverse population of the community.
  • Someone who can help the campus grow as it moves toward the enrollment envisioned when the campus first opened nearly 34 years ago.
  • “A person with the stature and self confidence to represent you well in an organization with 22 other presidents,” said advisory committee member James Rosser, president of CSU Los Angeles.
  • Someone sophisticated enough to deal with state politics.
  • And lastly, Moore added, “Someone with a high tolerance for frustration,” a comment that drew chuckles from around the room.

Growth, setting the university’s agenda for the next several years, and leadership not only on the campus but also in the community were listed as golden opportunities for the incoming president.

“The single most important thing the Board of Trustees does is the selection of a campus president,” Reed said.

In addition to Achtenberg and Reed, other selection committee members are Murray Galinson of San Diego, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos of Sacramento, and Trustees Chair Debra S. Farar of Los Angeles.

Members of the Advisory Committee for the Selection of the President are faculty members Kaye Bragg, associate professor of political science; Jess Deegan, associate professor of psychology; and Moore. The student representative is Roger Eagleton, president, Associated Students; Ramirez, Division of Student Affairs; the alumni representative is Nancy Chaffin, president, CSUB Alumni Association; the President’s Advisory Board member is Jose Benavides; and the CSUB Foundation Board member is President Melvin Atkinson. Also on the committee are Lowenstein and Rosser, president. Milton Younger represents the community-at-large on the committee.

For information about the CSU presidential search process, see the Executive Search page at

Media Contact: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456,

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