California State University, Los Angeles: 1999 Year of Accomplishments

This year marked the twentieth anniversary of Dr. James M. RosserÂ’s presidency at Cal State L.A. During this time, the University has graduated nearly 1/4 of its 140,000-plus alumni. Over the last two decades, the University has prepared for the educational and technological demands of the new millennium. Under Dr. RosserÂ’s tenure, Cal State L.A. has kept a strong focus on serving the needs of a diverse student body with a wide range of ages, backgrounds, interests, and ideas.

The opportunities for student research have always been exceptional at Cal State L.A. In January, Cal State L.A.’s new Center for Environmental Studies/CEA-CREST program opened under a five-year $4.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The multidisciplinary CEA-CREST engages biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, geography and urban analysis faculty, and employs undergraduate and graduate students to tackle key environmental research issues. It is the only CREST (NSF’s Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology) site on the West Coast and one of only 10 in the nation. In July, a three-year $163,880 grant from the NSF helped to establish the state’s first REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) astronomy research center on the Cal State L.A. campus—one of only 14 in the nation, and one of a very few at a predominantly undergraduate institution. In the Fall, the renewal for an additional three years of a five-year $3.8 million NASA grant for the University’s "space telescope" program coincided with the completion of a new facility, dubbed the S.P.A.C.E. lab, in which research focuses on new technologies for space observation.

Two special programs benefiting students were initiated at Cal State L.A. in 1999. Free Summer Quarter Plus (FSQ+), a special CSU pilot program only available at Cal State L.A., began in June, allowing qualified students to save time to graduation and save on University fees while earning a bachelorÂ’s degree. In September, Cal State L.A. inaugurated its PresidentÂ’s Scholars program. Eight exceptional students from southern California high schools were the first beneficiaries of the UniversityÂ’s most prestigious scholarship: each student receives $5,000 per year during four years of full-time enrollment, in addition to other benefits.

On December 8, 1999, Cal State L.A. and Pasadena City College signed a special Memorandum of Understanding to expand access to the excellent teacher preparation programs at the University. The current PCC/Cal State L.A. Program Agreements For Seamless Transfer involve blended programs--a new approach to teacher preparation in California, through which students who want to be elementary school teachers can receive a bachelor’s degree and preliminary teaching credential at the same time (a preliminary Multiple Subject Matter Credential or eligibility for the Education Specialist Internship Credential). The innovative program integrates professional education courses—including classroom teaching experience—into the undergraduate multiple subject matter degree program. The program will be in effect Summer 2000. PCC has historically been one of Cal State L.A.’s primary sources for transfer students.

The year brought many honors to the University and its faculty, staff and students. In 1999, Cal State L.A. received the highest accreditation review ratings from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In March, the University was rated one of the top 25 U.S. colleges for Hispanics by Hispanic magazine. In November, the School of Business and Economics was one of only two Los Angeles region and six California schools to be ranked among the 100 best undergraduate business schools in the United States by US News and World Report. Raymond Landis, dean of Cal State L.A.'s School of Engineering and Technology was inducted into the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators Hall of Fame, received the inaugural CSU Wang Family Award for Excellence for his administrative leadership, and was presented the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring at a White House ceremony.

In June, Southern CaliforniaÂ’s acclaimed classical repertory company, A Noise Within, became company-in-residence at Cal State L.A.Â’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex.