Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – November 13, 2014

​Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
November 13, 2014

Thank you Chair Monville.

It is a privilege, as always, to join you in celebrating the successes of our faculty, staff and students.

I also join you in thanking all involved in the collective bargaining process. By solving such issues together, we’ve set the stage to advance the opportunities available to our students.

Sustainable Financial Model

As I mentioned yesterday, it is essential that the California State University evaluate the sources and distribution of resources that sustain access, affordability, quality and completion

These four core principles of the California State University are mutually dependent and reinforcing:

  • There is no completion without access.
  • There is no completion of value — value to our students, their families, communities and employers — without a quality learning environment and a quality student experience.
  • And affordability is also important — for the state and the student — is a component of access… though affordable does not have the same meaning as free. It requires resources for us to run this institution.

In previous decades—when the state supported a higher percent of operations than it does today—the California State University was able to sustain its four-part charge of access, affordability, quality and completion… while fulfilling its great role as a public good by driving social mobility and economic prosperity.

I understand—I really do, given this historically and ideologically valid context—the deeply held conviction that it is the state’s role to provide these critical resources.

Yet, the university must consider the reality of where we are today. Whether this is California state policymakers intent, their actions over successive terms and decades have fundamentally re-set the overall resource base — decreasing the proportion from state appropriations and increasing the proportion from students and their families.

The recent recession exacerbated this switch, it did not cause it.

Make no mistake… we at the California State University continue to make remarkable progress on so many fronts.

But, part of our leadership responsibility goes beyond the “here and now,” and extends to establishing forward-leaning policies for the years and decades ahead.

This is why I constituted the Task Force on a Sustainable Financial Model for the California State University, which met for the first time last week.

The task force is charged to consider the interrelated issues of revenue acquisition and distribution, along with enrollment management and financial aid. The group will bring forward innovative ideas and recommendations for all of us to discuss and ultimately consider.

My thanks to Executive Vice Chancellor Relyea, and to presidents Morishita and Hirshman, for agreeing to co-chair this group. Thanks also to Professor Filling, Trustee Stepanek and Trustee Alexanian for agreeing to serve on the task force… along with several others from campuses and the community.

This task force is part of a broader discussion taking place on campuses, here at the system level, and in the capital halls of Sacramento and Washington D.C.

You heard a part of that conversation in the report of the CSU Trustee Workgroup on Category II Student Success Fees, in which we discussed the subsidiary—or local—discretion of campuses to act and invest where there is opportunity.

In my view, this campus action is not as a surrogate to tuition, rather as a chance to make locally important decisions and investments with locally controlled funding.

This proximity of funding decisions—given appropriate direction from the trustees and system office—will actually provide for greater participation, transparency and accountability.

I trust campuses to make these funding decisions, because these communities bring together a confluence of ideas from students, faculty and staff to create opportunity.

Leadership of HACU

The California State University’s strength in creating opportunity is well-recognized by our higher education peers.

Last month, we witnessed a changing of the guard at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Two stalwart supporters of the group were honored with awards. Cal Poly Pomona President Mike Ortiz received the HACU President’s Award of Excellence, and Sacramento State President Alex Gonzalez was inducted into the HACU Hall of Champions.

Two emerging leaders were also recognized. Please join me in congratulating Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás Morales on his selection as chair of the association’s Governing Board. Congratulations are also due to Fresno State President Joe Castro on his appointment to the board.

Ephraim Smith and Michael Ortiz

We have celebrated, officially, Ephraim Smith and Michael Ortiz’s retirement.

Mike, I will particularly miss your wisdom that comes from decades of experience at the helm of Cal Poly Pomona, and previously in the senior leadership of one of my alma maters, Fresno State.

And Ephraim, you are a champion for hundreds of thousands of students—and your leadership will continue to benefit many generations to come. There is no more profound legacy.

Thank you both.

The Academic Conference

As we end today’s meeting, many of us will join the Academic Conference here at the Chancellor’s Office.

I would like to commend the work of our Academic Senate colleagues, particularly professors Filling, Guerin, Miller, Gubernat and Chisholm. Along with my Executive Office staff who all worked to organize it at one place, move it to another place and then delay it by three or four hours.

They have put together a great program that will discuss and explore many critical issues related to the California State University’s future as a leader in serving students with a quality education. It is indeed all about our students.

Chair Monville, that concludes my report.