Public Affairs

Chancellor Charles B. Reed Milestones

In more than a quarter-century of leadership of two of the country’s largest higher educational systems, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed has earned national and international recognition as an innovator, problem-solver, and strategic thinker. He has steadfastly defended the mission of public higher education, and his efforts to strengthen public universities have resulted in affordable, accessible education for an entire generation of students. He has earned a reputation as one of the country’s premier experts on P-16 collaboration, institutional aid, and outreach to under-served student populations. Including his time in Florida and California, more than 1.5 million students have earned diplomas bearing his signature.


  • Managing Cuts: Reed has managed budget cuts totaling more than $1 billion, or 35 percent of the CSU’s budget, in the past four years, while still focusing on access and affordability for students.

  • Securing Funding: In previous years, Reed secured a “partnership agreement” with Governor Davis, later termed a “compact” with Governor Schwarzenegger, as a guarantee for higher education funding with the promise of accountability.


  • Enrollment Growth:  The CSU has grown by 100,000 students since Chancellor Reed arrived. The CSU currently serves 427,000 students. He presided over the opening of the Channel Islands campus, which began accepting students as a full university in fall 2002.

  • Managing Enrollment: To serve more students, especially those who work full-time or have family responsibilities, Reed has led the CSU in pursuing strategies such as year-round operations, off-campus centers, non-tradition instructional hours, and innovative instructional technology.  By employing these strategies, the CSU is at the forefront of change in the national model for higher e-learning.


  • EAP: In 2004, Reed led the CSU in creating the pioneering Early Assessment Program (EAP), in collaboration with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education, to assess 11th grade student readiness for college-level English and mathematics. Through this voluntary test, students can receive an “early signal” on readiness. They can then improve their skills in the 12th grade through enrichment and study programs created by the CSU – and thus minimize the need for remedial education.

    The Spellings Commission report (September 2006), A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education, identified the EAP as one of the best national models of how collaboration between higher education and K-12 can help students prepare academically for the rigors of college. Additionally, USA Today wrote in an editorial, “California State University offers the most innovative solution. By using the state’s 11th-grade standards test to determine whether a student can take a college course for credit, students get a heads-up as to whether they’re learning what the university expects.”

    Today, more than more than 385,000 students participate in the EAP – representing 81 percent of all juniors enrolled in public high schools in the state.

  • Workforce Alliances: Reed has been a national leader in working and creating partnerships with business and industry to improve workforce preparation for college graduates. Following the results of the CSU’s first systemwide impact report in 2004, Reed convened a series of advisory councils with leaders in key industries (including agriculture, tourism and hospitality, entertainment, and criminal justice), with whom he meets regularly to discuss preparation of graduates and to increase industry involvement in program development.

  • Super Sundays: Reed led the creation of partnerships with African-American churches in both Northern and Southern California in an effort to increase the pool of African-American students, particularly male, to become eligible to attend a four-year university. The resulting “Super Sunday” events now take place in more than 100 churches each February and this year reached more than 100,000 parishioners.

  • PIQE: In spring 2006, Reed led the CSU into a partnership with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) with the goal of increasing the number of students eligible to enter the CSU from underserved communities.  Under this partnership program, parents, particularly Latina mothers, receive training and resources to support the education of their children on the road to college. Approximately 8,000 parents now complete the program each year.

  • Troops to College: At Reed’s behest, the CSU has been working with California’s military base commanders to reach out to military men and women who are either active duty or exiting the service to facilitate transition to college. In 2008, the CSU signed a joint memorandum of understanding with the University of Maryland University College to accept transfer credits earned by military personnel at UMUC (which enrolls 90,000 students worldwide, including more active-duty U.S. military personnel than any other senior higher education institution) and to provide curricular “roadmaps” to help service members complete their degrees. All 23 CSU campuses participate in a program that invites base commanders to recommend military personnel for admission to campuses.


  • Ed.D.: In 2005, Reed helped the CSU secure one the most significant changes since the formation of the system in 1960: the statutory authority to grant the independent doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree in educational leadership. Thirteen CSU campuses currently offer the Ed.D., with three more campuses in the planning process or in joint programs. These doctoral programs are directly responsive to regional needs and are characterized by strong partnerships with P-12 and community college practitioners. Currently 702 educational leaders are enrolled in these programs.

  • Graduation Initiative/Early Start: In 2010, Reed and the trustees launched the CSU’s Graduation Initiative, which set a goal of raising six-year graduation rates by eight percent by 2016, and cutting in half the existing gap in degree attainment by CSU’s underrepresented students. In 2012, the CSU began its Early Start program, a summer program that aims to strengthen college skills for incoming freshmen.

  • CalStateTEACH:  Reed spearheaded the establishment of the CSU’s innovative non-classroom-based teacher education program, CalStateTEACH, which has now earned full accreditation. Approximately 6,800 participants have completed the CalStateTEACH program since it was founded in 1999, with candidates participating from each of California's 58 counties.

  • Teacher Education Evaluation: In 2001, the CSU launched the country’s first systemwide teacher education evaluation, aimed at receiving feedback from school districts on the quality of its teacher education graduates. The annual survey has created a yardstick by which to measure the quality and progress of its teacher education programs, and has helped to identify areas of improvement.

  • “How To Get To College” Poster:  This popular poster created during Reed’s tenure describes the exact steps that middle and high school students (grades 6-12) and their families need to take to prepare and apply for college and financial aid.  Over the past ten years, the CSU has distributed more than three million “How to Get to College” posters in eight different languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hmong, Russian, and Tagalog) to public middle and high schools throughout California, as well as local libraries, youth organizations, and churches.

  • Bus Tour: Inspired by Reed’s commitment to reach more high school students, the CSU and AT&T created a Road to College Tour featuring a customized 40-foot biodiesel bus that travels to high schools, college fairs, and the CSU’s counselor conferences throughout the state.  The bus is loaded with laptop computers and, at each stop, students, teachers and counselors explore the CSU’s 23 campuses, learn about the admissions process, get information about financial aid and talk to CSU experts. In 2010, with a $500,000 grant from AT&T, the bus tour reached nearly 9,000 students over 25 days.

  • Math and Science Teacher Initiative: Reed’s ongoing emphasis on improving teacher education led to the implementation of a systemwide Math and Science Teacher Initiative, through which the CSU has achieved its goal of doubling the production of math and science teachers. CSU campuses have increased the annual number of math and science teachers produced from 750 per year in 2003 to 1,507 in 2011.

  • Community College Transfers: Reed served as a driving force behind a new California law (passed in October 2010) that establishes a transfer Associate of Arts Degree (AA) for those students who have completed 60 transferrable units. Community college students who obtain the transfer AA degree will be admitted to the CSU with junior standing. By simplifying the transfer process, the new law saves millions of dollars and also frees up seats for other students, allowing the CSU and the community colleges to serve up to 54,000 additional students.

  • Community Service: Community service learning and community engagement has been a dominant theme since Reed arrived at the CSU.  Led by the CSU’s Center For Community Engagement, service-learning plays a prominent role in the CSU’s community efforts and is integral to the expansion of other community engagement activities. The CSU offers more than more than 2,500 service learning courses and approximately 70,000 CSU students participate in community service through service learning.

  • Strategic Languages Initiative: Inspired by the events of 9/11, the CSU’s Strategic Languages Initiative helps meet the need for strategic and diplomatic expertise in major world languages, global business, and trade and transportation. Languages being taught on individual CSU campuses or through a consortium of campuses include Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Russian.

  • Emergency Management: Early in his tenure, Reed directed all 23 campuses to develop an emergency management plan, working with former Federal Emergency Management Agency head James Lee Witt. Campuses have developed management plans relating to situations including fire, flood, earthquake, active shooters, and terrorist attacks; and have developed instant notification plans for the campus community.

Accountability/National Leadership

  • Accountability:  Under Reed’s leadership, the CSU has been a visible leader in the effort to promote accountability on the part of higher education institutions, and has made many contributions to the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) initiative. The CSU was the first system to join the VSA, and CSU presidents advocated widespread adoption of the VSA at national meetings of AASCU and NASULGC.

    Following the adoption of the VSA, the CSU, at Reed’s behest, then went beyond the requirements of the VSA College Portrait and developed a Contributions to the Public Good page for each campus. Each campus provides information on average undergraduate student debt, degrees granted, economic diversity in access and completion (in terms of Pell Grant recipients), and actual net tuition and fees paid per average student in comparison with the advertised “sticker price.”

  • Federal aid: Reed has served as a lead spokesman on the federal effort to fund a Title I program for higher education that would give additional support to higher education institutions that serve economically disadvantaged students. The CSU serves more Pell Grant recipients than any other institution, and in fact seven CSU campuses serve more Pell Grant recipients individually than all of the Ivy League schools combined.

  • National/international leadership: Reed is a member of the national advisory group for the National Governors Association; an education advisory board to the Central Intelligence Agency; the President’s Roundtable for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; the board of directors for the National Center for Educational Accountability; and numerous other national education groups.

  • Awards: TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2012); Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education (2008); Lamar R. Plunkett Award, Southern Regional Education Board (2001); Academic Building II named the “Charles B. Reed Hall” at Florida Gulf Coast University (2001).