Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – July 23, 2013

Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting: Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
July 23, 2013

Thank you, Chair Linscheid.

I want to join you in welcoming Talar Alexanian. Talar, we are very pleased to have you as our newest member.

Also since this board last met we have one new member among our presidential group: Donald J. Para is the new interim president of Cal State Long Beach. Welcome, Don - we are very glad to have you with us.

Leadership Retreat

Thank you to all of the presidents, vice chancellors, general counsel, and audit who participated in our leadership retreat in Palm Desert, most with their spouse or partner. Substantive engagement of the “leadership pod” proved fruitful.

We heard some very thoughtful and insightful presentations, and engaged meaningful dialogue with former Defense Secretary and longtime CSU supporter Leon Panetta, Hans Johnson from the Public Policy Institute of California, and Peter MacPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.


As we discussed earlier, Governor Brown has signed California’s 2013/14 state budget. This budget officially begins the state’s reinvestment in higher education and the California State University.

While this is an important step in the right direction that we are grateful for, we will still need to do more to help meet the unprecedented demand to attend a California State University campus.

We will continue to work with our elected officials and all stakeholders on restoring access and increasing student success.

Quillian Award
Congratulations are due to Executive Vice Chancellor Ben Quillian, who was honored earlier this month by the National Association of College and University Business Officers with the NACUBO Distinguished Business Officer Award.

This national award is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of business and financial management in higher education. Thank you for making us proud, Ben.

Bond Rating

Also relating to budget and financial management, the CSU’s bond rating was upgraded to AA- by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, as the agency raised its long term rating and underlying rating on the university’s systemwide revenue bonds.

According to the Standard & Poor’s report published on July 2, “the upgrade reflects the historical improvement in operating performance, primarily due to CSU’s strong management team, which has good fiscal planning and policies in place.”

Bottlenecks and Student Success

Next I want to take this opportunity to update the board on two major issues that we have been focusing on: bottleneck courses and student success.

Chairs Bottleneck Survey

We are conducting a Bottleneck Survey on all CSU campuses to identify specific courses that are “required” for students to earn a degree in 4 to 6 years and were not offered in the 2012-13 academic year.

All 1,028 department chairs/coordinators in the CSU have been contacted to identify these courses and explain why they were not offered. All the identified courses are cross checked with the Student Information System (SIS) to determine the number of unduplicated registration attempts, fill rates, and number of sections offered.

As of today 418 chairs have responded and data collection will continue.

A full report will be given at the September Board meeting.

I also want to report on where we are with the special funding dedicated to addressing both bottleneck courses and student success, in which we are investing over $17 million.

Regarding bottleneck courses, we are applying $10 million to address this problem using technology-rich solutions. The steps we have taken include:

  1. We are hosting 7 summer e-Academy institutes (at Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Northridge, Pomona, and San Jose, East Bay) in which faculty members teach other faculty about the proven practices implemented in their redesigned courses.

  2. We will be offering at least 36 fully online courses this fall. By August there will be concurrent enrollment registration for students across the CSU to sign up for the online courses.

  3. In terms of promising practices, 20 campuses submitted 88 courses for redesign. At this point, seventy-seven were selected. Faculty will redesign the courses beginning in fall 2013, and the classes will be taught starting in winter, spring or fall 2014.

  4. E-Advising: We are building the infrastructure. In year one, a central pool of resources will be shared across all 23 campuses to support consulting services and software procurement so that we can streamline advising and degree audit for students and advisors.


Additionally, we are applying $7.2 million to address student success.

Our campuses submitted 50 programs that are designed to raise graduation rates and reduce achievement gaps; 30 were selected to be funded.

These include high-impact practices such as service learning, undergraduate research, peer mentoring, and intensive writing seminars.

In general terms, when students return to campuses in the fall, they will find more online classes, flipped classrooms and hybrid courses, all using technology in ways to enhance the student experience in a rapidly changing environment. We expect to try out many new ideas during this process. Some will succeed. Others won’t. That is the nature of innovation.

Again, we will report more fully to the board in September on our progress.

Chair Linscheid, that concludes my report.