Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed – January 25, 2011

​Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
January 25-26, 2011

Thank you Chair Linscheid.

I, too, wish to welcome our new trustee, Hsing Kung, who has joined our board, and look forward to working with you as we move forward.

I'd also like to welcome several new ex-officio members of the board. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson – we look forward to having you on the board and working with us as we face the challenges ahead.

Also, I'd like to welcome Jeff Armstrong, who will start as president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on February 1. Jeff has been the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and a professor of animal science at Michigan State University. He and his wife, Sharon, are in the process of moving their household to San Luis Obispo. Welcome Jeff, and I can guarantee you something: the weather in San Luis Obispo is a whole lot warmer than in Lansing.

As you heard from Robert, we are going to face an even bigger budget challenge for 2011-2012 than we did last year. The $500 million cut will put us about where we were in 1999 in terms of state support – but we have about 70,000 more students. Before the board meeting yesterday, the presidents and I met to talk about how we are going to manage these reductions on our campuses. I expect over the next month or so we will continue to talk through the best way to address such a massive reduction so that we can come up with a comprehensive plan to get through the year. We have done a good job implementing a number of operational efficiencies over the past year. For example, we've reduced travel costs by $10 million across the system. We are continuing our efforts to seek out ways to be more operationally efficient from consolidating computer servers to increasing recyclable materials. However, as we have said before, there will not be a single solution to this problem, and 85 percent of our costs are tied to personnel.

Chair Carter and I, as well as Jim Postma, chair of the Academic Senate and Chris Chavez, president of CSSA, all appeared at the Assembly Higher Education Committee a week or so ago. Jack Scott, chancellor of the Community Colleges, as well as representatives from the UC system also testified. We talked about how efficient we are – 10 of the 20 most efficient university campuses in the nation are CSU institutions – that is measured in terms of campus spending per student among those with more than 15,000 students. And, although we've had to continually raise tuition – we are still the lowest priced public university system in the country. I don't know how much more efficient you can get without completing sacrificing quality. We also talked to the committee about some of the things that we are doing to help students be more successful. We talked about the Early Start program and the importance of providing remediation for students earlier in their academic experience so they do not fall behind or have to waste time and money taking non-credit classes during their freshmen year of college. We will continue talking to everybody in Sacramento so that they understand that investing in higher education is one of the best returns the state can make toward its economic future.

Next month, we will start the sixth year of Super Sunday, which began with 24 churches, and has expanded to include about 100 churches throughout the state and has led to the development of a companion college fair event held in August called Super Saturday. The event is part of the CSU African American initiative, which started in 2005 when I asked Bishop Charles Blake of the West Angeles Cathedral to partner with us and we convened community, civic, business and education leaders to develop new ways to educate K-12th students, parents and families about the value of a college degree – and how to get there. Since then, the event has just taken off, and this year we will be speaking in churches throughout the month of February.

I'd like to congratulate Cal State East Bay President Mo Qayoumi who was recently awarded the annual East Bay Vision Award by the East Bay Development Alliance. The alliance, which is an organization dedicated to establishing the East Bay's economy, gives the award to individuals or groups who promote the economic vitality of the Bay area. So, Mo, congratulations to you.

Chair Linscheid, that concludes my remarks.