Chancellor's Recent Speeches
Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Thank you so much for inviting me here today. It’s a good opportunity to look at the big picture, and at the issues that we’re facing most immediately in California.
In 1960, California’s Master Plan for Higher Education formed three major segments: the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges. Each segment was given a unique mission.
The CSU has built a collaborative system of campuses while maintaining the unique strengths of the individual campuses.
In some ways, the history of the CSU parallels the history of post-World War II America: The CSU welcomed returning veterans with the G.I. Bill. It expanded in size, scope, and geography with the needs of its students. It helped build the middle class, provided for older, commuting, and working students, and it educated the baby boomer generation. It truly has been the people’s university.
But 50 years ago, higher education looked a lot different than it does now.
These days higher education looks much different. And 50 years from now, it will change even more. For instance, I predict it will take a lot less time to get a bachelor’s degree, and it will be a lot less expensive to get a degree. That’s because the current financial and structural model is not sustainable.
What we do know is that our predecessors who drew up the Master Plan were incredibly forward-thinking. They understood the long-term importance of higher education for a growing economy, no matter what the demographics or the technology looks like.
Today, and looking forward, the central elements of that Master Plan pledge remain true.
If California wants to reclaim its educational and economic prominence, we are going to need to renew and refresh that commitment to higher education.
Today I want to touch on two main topics – 1) the future of higher education in this country; and 2) the future of higher education in California and specifically the CSU.
Part 1: Future of Higher Education
Higher education is more important than ever
Universities moving away from bricks and mortar
Fastest-growing student population is among traditionally under-served
Part II: CSU and the California Budget Situation
One of the higher education values that the CSU is most committed to is providing access to a large and diverse community.
In fact, this value has made us a standout among universities and university systems across the country. And given the changes ahead in higher education, those values – access and excellence – will become even more important.
Many of our programs to reach traditionally under-served students have become national models:
Because of these and other efforts, we have more national influence today than ever before:
Unfortunately, what dominates our priorities right now is the budget. The budget situation is the worst the CSU has ever faced. It is shaping up to be a catastrophe.
Bottom line: The CSU is facing a budget gap of about $550 million – which is bad enough itself – but it could become a gap of $1 billion if the state cannot generate more revenues to fund critical programs like higher education.
Here’s how it breaks down:
But as of last month the governor’s plan to put tax extensions on a June ballot did not pan out.
Unless he can get the votes and get more revenue, the budget cuts to the CSU could approach $1 billion.
A reduction of that size would force the CSU to take potentially drastic measures including reduced course sections, much larger enrollment cuts, tuition hikes, workforce reductions and other measures.
It would drop state support for the CSU to below 1996-97 levels – even though the CSU now serves approximately 100,000 more students now.
We are currently working in Sacramento and around the state to make sure that our voices are heard, and that people understand the critical importance of higher education to our citizens and to our economy – for now and for the next 50 years.
The state’s public universities are one of the only institutions that can actually help grow the state's economy.
California will not recover without an educated workforce, and each year the CSU graduates approximately 95,000 students who bring their talents and fresh ideas into the workforce.
Dramatic cuts in higher education will cause the state to fall further behind in delivering the one million more graduates we need to compete economically with other states and countries.
We have joined the UC and the community colleges in calling for a new long-term plan in California to stabilize funding to institutions of higher education.
At the moment, one of the biggest challenges we face is a disgruntled minority that chooses to say bad things about the CSU.
They don’t understand that unless we present a unified front, we are likely going to suffer even more cuts.
In the meantime, we will persevere. We will all keep doing what we do every day – bringing high-quality education to our students.
And as we get through these tough times, we will remember the long-term vision of the master plan, and I’ll be calling to mind some of my favorite words of wisdom from Winston Churchill:
Thank you for all that you do for our students, and thank you again for asking me to join you today
I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.