The Provost's Message - September 27, 2017

The Provost's Message

September 27, 2017
Provost Lynn Mahoney

Every university has a story to tell, but few have a story as compelling as Cal State LA. For the past ten months or so, more than 30 faculty, staff and administrators have been compiling our story for our WASC self-study—the core of the reaffirmation of accreditation process. A draft of that report will soon be shared with the university community and all will have an opportunity to participate in a town hall to provide feedback on the draft. Having recently seen the draft, the wealth of accomplishments and the thoughtful attention we pay to student learning, research, and community building were tremendously impressive. Our story highlights our commitment to educational equity, inclusive excellence and engaged teaching and scholarship.

Highlights include our new General Education (GE) requirements that stress diversity, service learning and civic engagement, and our focus on improved graduation rates as an issue of educational equity.  We have also experienced increases in student research opportunities and dramatic increases in civic and service learning. Since the implementation of our new GE requirements in 2016, the number of students participating in service learning has increased 114% and the number of service hours has increased by 280%. This is an incredible testament to our commitment to our local communities.

Survey data affirms our commitment to inclusive excellence for undergraduates and alumni. When asked on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 57% of our seniors indicated that their courses regularly included diverse perspectives—this is four percentage points higher than the CSU average. These results predate our 2016 GE requirements that very intentionally stress diversity in terms of the intersections between race, ethnicity, class, gender, and other markers of social difference. We expect that future seniors will demonstrate even stronger results. In a 2015 survey of close to 3,000 alumni, respondents indicated that their Cal State LA degrees prepared them to “consider the complex causes and consequences regarding contemporary issues in society.”  And, again, we can only imagine the deep impact that our new GE requirements and revised disciplinary curricula will have on alumni of the future.

I encourage you to participate in a Town Hall to share your thoughts on the remarkable Cal State LA story.


Democraacy in Action Events

The Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Engaged Learning kicks off this year’sDemocracy in Action event series with an illuminating discussion titled “Words that Wound: Reconciling free speech with Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity” by Jody A. Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California on Thursday, September 28 from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. in the U-SU Theatre.

The Democracy in Action bi-weekly series of faculty-led educational forums began in spring 2017 to help the campus community interpret the implications of policies and practices that emerged out of the new political landscape. The forums were a great success, with each forum drawing faculty, students, and staff from across the campus. The forums scheduled for the fall will expand on the earlier themes and help the campus community respond to attacks on the most vulnerable of student populations.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 5 at 12:00 p.m. in the U-SU Theatre for a special screening of the documentary, Stolen Education, followed by a discussion with the executive producer and co-writer, Dr. Enrique Alemán, Jr.

Contact the Office of the Provost with your comments and submissions.