Chancellor's office in Long Beach
Press Release Policy

CSU Strengthens Employment Practices with Unanimous Approval of University-Wide Employment Policies


New policies will close loopholes and clarify best practices for administrators returning to faculty positions and the provision of employee references

Chancellor's office in Long Beach

As part of ongoing efforts to fortify practices across the California State University (CSU), the CSU Board of Trustees unanimously approved two new policies to bolster and clarify employment practices—a policy governing administrator employees' option to retreat and a policy governing the provision of employee references.

“In addition to being at the forefront of improving and expanding student achievement, we are committed to taking action to ensure that the CSU is a national leader in all areas of university operation and administration. The CSU acted immediately and decisively to take steps to address issues in these two areas by revising or implementing new practices, and these new policies will help to further clarify and provide consistency to these topics across the 23 universities and at the Chancellor's Office," said Wenda Fong, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.

The opportunity to “retreat" to a faculty position is frequently offered to faculty who are required to relinquish tenure in order to become a university administrator. The opportunity to retreat gives the new administrator the option to return to a faculty position when their administrative role at the university comes to an end. New or continuing administrators often negotiate the opportunity to retreat as a term of their employment as an administrator because university administrators, unlike tenured faculty, are at-will employees who have no assurance of permanent employment. 

The Employment Policy Governing Administrator Employees' Option to Retreat includes the following guidance:

  • An administrator will be ineligible to exercise the option if there is a finding of misconduct or the administrator is under investigation for misconduct.
  • Memorialization of terms of the retreat will be placed in the administrative appointment letter.
  • There must be consultation with the tenured faculty in the respective department to which the individual would potentially return to.

The policy applies to all administrator appointments made at a CSU campus or the Chancellor's Office which include the option to retreat to a faculty position. The policy is intended to be prospective and does not impact retreats granted prior to its effective dates except on a case-by-case basis in the event of a serious policy violation.

“These new policies are important steps that will allow us to better focus on our core mission of improving the lives of Californians through the transformative power of higher education," added Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester.

The Employment Policy Governing the Provision of Employee References—the other policy approved by trustees—outlines the principles and procedures guiding the provision of references. Under the policy, the CSU will not provide positive letters of reference — verbal or written — for any current or former employee who has engaged in significant misconduct that resulted in non-retention, is currently under investigation for misconduct or violation of university policy, or has had their retirement benefits rescinded under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act due to criminal misconduct associated with their official duties

The policy further provides guidance on references requested by third parties, employment verification for current or former employees, personal references and references within the CSU.

Both policies will soon be added to the CSU's policy library and all 23 universities and the Chancellor's Office will immediately begin work on implementation.​

About the California State University

The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 59,000 faculty and staff and 477,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards nearly 133,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.