News Release| President Rosser, Diversity, Cal State L.A. - Mar. 25, 2008

Note to editors and news directors: A sidebar appended below provides Cal State L.A.’s award-winning recipe for diversitya set of eight key campus-based strategies for fostering inclusion and achieving diversity with excellence. Links to other helpful resources are also provided. Photos are available upon request.

Awards affirm Cal State L.A.’s recipe for diversity, legacy of access


Recent array of honors cites campus, President Rosser for decades of helping thousands of underserved students achieve  excellence in college   and beyond 

Los Angeles, CA – For creating, following and sharing a successful recipe for diversity within higher education, California State University, Los Angeles and its president, James M. Rosser, recently received a series of national awards that spotlight decades of bolstering educational access in underserved communities and of fostering diversity with excellence beyond the baccalaureate degree.

In San Diego last month, Rosser was presented the Frank W. Hale Jr. Diversity Leadership Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) at its national conference. The award cited Rosser’s “committed and sustained effort to increase diversity and improve American higher education.”

A week later in Baltimore, Rosser—president of Cal State L.A. since 1979—was similarly honored at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards, a recognition co-sponsored by the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Lockheed Martin Corporation, USBE and Information Technology magazine.

Also last fall, ABET, the national organization that accredits university engineering programs, presented its President’s Award for Diversity to Cal State L.A.’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

Speaking last November at a national meeting of the American Association of State Colleges and University, Rosser said, “Not only is inclusion a fundamentally righteous goal, it is, perhaps, the key to our national, even global, well-being…. Indeed, universities have particularly important roles in society.  To adapt a phrase from historian Barbara Tuchman, they are ‘carriers of civilization’ and ‘engines of change.’”

He said the alignment of fundamental American ideals with the powerful role of universities in the shaping of future societies brings with it a moral obligation to create opportunity.

“We must also make the necessary investments to sustain it.  And, we must ensure a return on that investment – and protect that investment – through accountability, excellence, the promotion of inclusion, and the dismantling of entrenched exclusionary mechanisms and institutions.”

Addressing hundreds of fellow university presidents at the American Council on Education annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2007, Rosser shared the University’s campus-based strategies for achieving diversity goals, beginning with “1. Recognize that the environment is complex and dynamic.” And “2. Build and sustain a diverse faculty and staff.”  (See the eight key strategies appended below.)

Cal State L.A.’s enrollment of 20,000 is roughly 50 percent Hispanic, 25 percent Asian American, 16 percent white and 9 percent African American—with many students of Armenian, Indian, Middle Eastern and other ethnicities; thus it is one of the most diverse campuses in the country. The recent honors highlight the cumulative impact of Cal State L.A.’s legacy to help thousands of students from underserved communities reach higher education, succeed there, and achieve excellence beyond the baccalaureate degree.

For example, from 1975 to 1999, 184 African Americans with baccalaureate degrees from Cal State L.A. earned Ph.D.s, making Cal State L.A. the top undergraduate origin of African Americans with doctorates west of the Mississippi River.

Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s

“Top 100” for 2007 ranks Cal State L.A. the top California public university in awarding the most master’s degrees to Hispanics. The University was ranked seventh nationally in this annual listing.

Teaming with dozens of area schools, a variety of Cal State L.A. outreach programs work to prepare K-12 students for the challenges and rewards of higher education.

The University has also been a leader in fostering diversity among its faculty and staff. Since 1979, 43.5 percent of its new tenure-track faculty hires have been individuals of underrepresented diversity; and 47 percent have been women.



Cal State L.A.’s campus-based strategies enhance access, diversity, with excellence

Los Angeles, CA – Viewing a fundamental goal of diversity with excellence as two complementary concepts fused into one bedrock value, Cal State L.A. seeks to understand the challenges and the opportunities amid those dynamics, and to champion diversity with excellence as an institutional value.

In short, the University sees an important opportunity to serve as a springboard to inclusiveness and excellence, especially by leveling the playing field for students who have been underserved or under-prepared, by adding significant academic value. To accomplish this, it adheres to eight key strategies.

Eight key strategies to champion inclusion

 1. Recognize that the environment is complex and dynamic.  It is an amalgam of preparation, demographics, economics, cultures, pedagogy, transportation, housing, technology, geography, and, of course, politics.

 2. Build and sustain a diverse faculty and staff.

3. As campus president, be a key player in creating and championing campus and system initiatives that strive to achieve diversity and excellence.

4. Leverage and integrate collective efforts.

5. Create partnerships.

6. Address the broad continuum of education, from pre-Kindergarten to graduate and professional study; and, in doing so seek to remove the need for remediation.

7. Evaluate and guide efforts with strong data, clearly analyzed.

8. Push the envelope – to unleash innovation, to infuse determination and resiliency in students, and to create excellence.

(The strategies outlined below were presented in detail by Dr. James M. Rosser, President, California State University, Los Angeles, to an assemblage of university presidents at the American Council on Education Annual Meeting / “The Access Imperative” Washington, D.C., Feb. 10-13, 2007.)

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Strengths in Diversity at Cal State L.A.




 President Rosser celebrates 25th anniversary at Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. Today

(Fall 2004), for profile, see page 10:



 “The Rosser Revolution”

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

(Feb. 9, 2006):


 ABET award (Nov. 1, 2007)

ABET honors Cal State L.A.’s legacy of success in engineering diversity; President's Award cites leadership in broadening workforce




Stern MASS high school (Sept. 6, 2007)

Alliance For College-Ready Public Schools to break ground on new facility for innovative math and science charter high school



Hispanic Outlook

“Top 100” (June 1, 2007)

Cal State L.A. among nation’s top in awarding degrees to Hispanics; Output particularly strong in master’s degrees, social services, education




“Top 100” (June 15, 2007)

Cal State L.A. among top-ranking institutions awarding bachelor’s degrees to minority students – No. 28 nationally according to federal data



Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Among programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.