Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – May 21, 2014

Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
May 21, 2014

Thank you, Chair Linscheid.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your service as chair. It was you who brought me here as chancellor, and you have led this institution through many dramatic changes and many exciting new chapters.

As the CSU nears the 3 million alumni mark, it is no coincidence that during your tenure the role of alumni has grown considerably. Bob, I want to give you special thanks for your role in building alumni relationships and strengthening the voice of CSU alumni across the system.

I also want to thank Cipriano Vargas, who should have graduated last weekend, but the fire meant it was moved to Sunday. Congratulations, and thank you for being an engaged, thoughtful, and insightful trustee. You were a terrific representative for our students.

Campus Tragedy
Since this board last met, the CSU community suffered an immeasurable tragedy with a bus crash in Northern California that killed 10 people, including five prospective students and 3 chaperones and CSU staff members – both full-time and volunteer.

This accident took the lives of students who aspired to be the first in their families to attend college…and it cut straight to the very heart of what we treasure about the CSU.

I want to give a very special thanks to President Richmond and his staff for the long days and nights they put in to provide logistical assistance, counseling, and communications support…and also to Chico State President Zingg, student affairs, law enforcement, the Red Cross, CHP, and others who were immediately responsive to Humboldt State because of their proximity to the I-5 accident site.

Thank you all for setting such a strong example of a community in action.

This seamless, competent, professional teamwork was replicated just last week at San Marcos. I want to commend President Haynes and her staff, faculty, and students who managed with skill, aplomb, and sensitivity to the swarm of fires in northern San Diego County. Thanks also to San Diego State President Hirshman, Cal Maritime President Cropper, and CSU Long Beach President Para, and to all of the good folks here in the Chancellor’s Office for their assistance. Several other campuses are also pitching in next weekend for the rescheduled commencement.

This happens to be the last meeting for Humboldt State President Rollin Richmond and also for Cal State Long Beach Interim President Donald Para and Vice Chancellor Gail Brooks.

Rollin has been at the helm of Humboldt State for 12 years and he has been an outstanding leader for the university – and he will continue to help us during his transition assignment as discussed yesterday. Congratulations on your retirement, and we will continue to keep you busy, Rollin.

Don has been with us for the past year and he has done an exceptional job of leadership during this interim assignment. Thank you for your service, Don, and for your lifetime of achievement in higher education, mostly at Cal State Long Beach. Best wishes in all that is next.

Also this is the last meeting for Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Gail Brooks, who is retiring at the end of June. Gail, who is eligible for an executive transition program, has elected not to participate in a transition program.

Gail has made a tremendous difference in the eight years she has been here and has moved the CSU forward in significant ways. Gail proposed and the board supported the first CSU Systemwide Human Resources Strategic Vision and Goals, setting aspirational goals for the kind of environment where employees can thrive. Her leadership brought people together to support our employees to improve outcomes in the negotiation and administration of labor agreements and to achieve operational efficiencies. And she picked a not-so-great economy to lead in.

Gail leaves behind a legacy of a stronger human resources division, a more collaborative and service-oriented culture, and a recognition of the importance of our employees’ contributions in creating a world-class university.

Gail has also been prominent on the national stage and has been recognized as a leader by several organizations.

Thank you, Gail, for helping me learn as I transitioned into the CSU. We are grateful for your service and wish you the best in the years ahead.

Also we had a change in academic leadership at the Academic Senate this week. I thank Diana Guerin of Fullerton for her role as chair and many years of service, as well as the executive committee members that have turned over or been re-elected.

New Leadership

I have had the honor of participating in three presidential investitures this month. Congratulations to our newly inaugurated presidents Willie Hagan of Dominguez Hills, Bill Covino of Cal State L.A., and Joe Castro of Fresno State. We are proud and grateful to have you as leaders.

I also want to give an official welcome to Steve Relyea, our new Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer. Steve is a longtime veteran of higher education business and finance in California and we are very glad to have him on board.

And I want to note that we held our first meeting for our Cal Poly Pomona presidential search last week with strong campus participation in the open town hall 2-hour listening session.

TIME rankings
Recently TIME magazine came up with an innovative and common sense metric for assessing universities on value-based standards proposed by the Obama administration. These standards are not based on past reputation and legacies, but rather data.
This system ranks colleges and universities on how well they serve their students, based on metrics like graduation rate, tuition, and the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants.
On those terms, eight of our campuses were ranked among the top 100 in the nation, out of approximately 3,000 evaluated of 4,200 accredited colleges and universities in America.
Think about this: In a society obsessed with being #1 or Top 10 or Final 4, being the Top 100 is the top 2.5 % of colleges and universities in America.
When I see these rankings, I am once again convinced that the CSU is truly providing meaningful value to our students. For all our warts and wrinkles, we are the nation’s best undergraduate and master’s comprehensive university.

And when people start looking at colleges and universities through this new lens of accountability and transparency, perhaps it will enhance their perception of what it is we do and how it benefits our communities across the board.

I want to echo Chair Linscheid’s comments and express my support for the CSSA and their Student Involvement and Representation Fee, known as SIRF. We support their efforts to enhance institutional effectiveness and better meet the needs of the CSU students.

I also want to commend Sarah Couch, the outstanding and outgoing CSSA president, who on this issue and many others stood up for the students of the CSU. She correctly sees CSSA as a leadership and leadership training organization, as well as a vehicle for the student voice to always be at this Board of Trustees table, among others.

Sarah graduates this week from Sacramento State with a Master’s in English Literature, and all six years of her student time she was a leader in student government, student organizations, and academic tutoring.

Intersegmental work
I want to let the board know that we have been making good progress in our intersegmental work with our partners at the University of California and the California Community Colleges. Our group met in Sacramento for a joint advocacy day last month. We are continuing to explore ways to pool our resources and work together on outreach, business services, and student support.

On August 21st and 22nd of this year, CSU East Bay will host the first California Public Higher Education Collaborative Financial and Administrative Services Conference along with our UC and community college partners.

Admissions Impaction
Finally, it is my duty under California Education Code to report to you approved changes in admission practices before those changes can be enacted.

CSU Monterey Bay has demonstrated that it is receiving more applications from first-time freshmen applicants than it has capacity to serve. The campus is currently undertaking required public hearings and disclosure to formally request impaction. These steps will conclude in June 2014. CSU Monterey Bay has provided justification and formally requested permission to utilize impaction measures in the admission of first time freshmen, beginning with the fall 2015 term.

Separately, the Fresno and Sacramento campuses demonstrated that they are receiving more applications from applicants in specific academic programs during the initial filing period than there is capacity to support. Both campuses have complied with the provisions of the law that require a series of public hearings and public disclosure in advance of submitting their final program impaction requests.

The following academic programs at these two campuses provided justification and received permission to impact additional academic programs, beginning with the fall 2015 term:

Fresno: Nursing (RN to BSN)
Sacramento: Biological Sciences (all options)

Chair Linscheid, that concludes my report.