of the President
welcoming WASC for April ‘capacity’ visit
Cal State L.A. will welcome some very important guests April 1-3 when a
team representing the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
visits the campus for a “capacity and preparatory review,” a major step
in the ongoing reaccreditation of the University. Our guiding theme
during the process is “Becoming a teaching and learning community by
supporting student success and student outcomes."
To those who have
already contributed much preparation, analysis, information and guidance
to this important process, I extend my sincere thanks and encourage your
continued commitment. I also urge the entire campus community to review
the assembled materials, become familiar with the WASC process, and be
prepared to participate in it.
As the next step,
the team’s April visit will assess fiscal resources, physical facilities,
and our goals for student outcomes. These assessments can influence our
standing with regard to access to federal funds, specialized
accreditation processes, and potential students trying to decide whether
Cal State L.A. has what they need.
A WASC team will
visit Cal State L.A. again in the fall of 2010; then, the focus will be
“educational effectiveness.” See more details at /wasc/.
stalemate ends; challenges loom
With a tentative state budget in place, every public university in
California faces the challenge of limited funding against the backdrop of
an increased demand for higher education. This year, for the first time,
the CSU restricted access to approximately 10,000 students qualified to
enroll at a CSU campus.
The budget reduces
state general fund support to the CSU for the current fiscal year,
2008-09, by $97.6 million, and calls for an additional $66.3 million cut
for 2009-10. Overall, the reduction places the CSU almost $288 million
below its operational needs, or approximately 10 percent. Also, the
2009-10 budget includes an additional $50
million cut to the CSU, depending on the timing, size and scope of the
in the federal stimulus package.
While recent talk of
possible furloughs and layoffs for state employees does not apply to CSU
employees, we must remain mindful of our need to economize. To that end,
the CSU took several steps to reduce expenditures, including a salary
freeze for vice president and above positions, a hiring freeze on all but
critical positions, and minimizing all except the most essential
purchases and travel. It is still unclear what economic stimulus funding
may be allocated to the CSU.
budget-related halting of state-support for construction projects, donor
support allowed us to continue infrastructure construction on Wing B of
the Wallis Annenberg Integrated Sciences Complex, albeit at a slower
The other major
construction underway on campus is the Public Safety/Corporation Yard
project. While the Corporation Yard portion was put on hold, the Public
Safety portion was able to proceed because it is partially funded by
non-state funds (parking permit fees). For information on
higher education budget, go to http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/StateAgencyBudgets/6013/agency.html or visit the CSU’s Budget Central at http://www.calstate.edu/BudgetCentral/.
stimulate recovery through infrastructure grants
Before a February 24 joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama
cited “the urgent need to expand the promise of education in
Moments later, he said, “By 2020,
will once again have
the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” Clearly, he
has coupled the nation’s prosperity to a strong and accessible
In that regard, the
University is seeking federal funding to support campus construction and
infrastructure projects through the Higher Education Infrastructure Block
Grants. This program was included in the newly signed American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act (the “economic stimulus” bill) to provide jobs now
and strengthen the academic capacity of colleges and universities.
The grants would be
available for projects capable of starting within 180 days. Our proposal
request includes repairs, replacements and upgrades to aged electrical,
heating, air, plumbing and other operational needs; and also LED
lighting, solar panel installations and the balance of funding necessary
to complete a hydrogen fueling station on campus.
The new law also
extends a hand to our students with increased funding for Pell Grants,
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), an expansion of the
program and larger limits for
unsubsidized loans. For more information, go to http://www.recovery.gov or http://blogs.calstate.edu/federalrelations/?p=63.
on target; need for focus, determination remains
Through insightful planning, the University has consistently zeroed in on
its enrollment targets, for example, for fall 2008, we were within a half
a percentage point of our goal.
Given today’s fiscal
climate, the lack of supplemental funding for overenrolled campuses, and
the potential need to return general funds if we fail to reach our
enrollment goals, we must remain focused and determined as we recruit,
enroll and retain students. For the latest enrollment data, see http://ir.calstatela.edu/ir.
Nursing Practice—new degree addresses
faces a severe nursing shortage, due in great part to the scarcity of
qualified faculty. Representing this University as one of the state’s
leading nurse educators, Cal State L.A. alumni advocates are working to
foster campus, community and legislative support as the CSU seeks
authority to award the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This
doctorate would provide much-needed faculty for a high demand, impacted
program that will also serve to address the nursing shortage. Currently,
not enough doctorate-level nurses are available to meet the low
student-to-faculty ratios required by accreditors and licensing boards.
For more information, and to find out how you might be involved in this
CSU-wide advocacy effort, please contact Alumni Relations, at ext.
converging regarding semester conversion prospect
We have heard many voices—both pro and con—regarding the prospect of
converting to a semester-based academic calendar. At this juncture, the
University is assessing the cost, timeline and overall feasibility of
such a conversion. Many questions remain to be addressed as we examine
what such a conversion would entail for Cal State L.A. For ongoing
information on the evaluation process, please see https://nss-nemo.calstatela.edu/semester.
Super Sunday outreach
On Sunday, February 22, 2009, I had the privilege to speak at the
to encourage young people to plan for college and to engage the community
there to help prepare its students to be ready and eligible for college. Meanwhile,
Vice President for Student Affairs Tony Ross delivered a similar message.
Our visits were part of the CSU’s fourth annual Super Sunday, an outreach
that sends CSU officials to predominately African American churches
This year, the Chancellor, presidents and others visited 68 churches,
about 25 in
goal for next year is 100 churches.
services, outreach staff and church education counselors introduced
prospective students and their families to the information and
application process available through CSU Mentor. The numbers
are encouraging: between 2004 and 2007, CSU undergraduate enrollment by
African American students increased from roughly 18,400 to just over
22,000—nearly 20 percent. Over the same three years at Cal State L.A.,
the number of African American first-time freshmen increased by more than
55 percent. Also, each year, on average, about 200 African American
students are entering Cal State L.A. as undergraduate transfers. For more
about Super Sunday, including a list of churches, visit this website: http://www.calstate.edu/supersunday.
In preparation for the launch of the
Cal State L.A. Honors College
2010, the University is developing plans to recruit its first cohort of
25 high-achieving first-time freshmen. Boosting these efforts is private
scholarship support that has been provided, or pledged, by John B. Willis
’59; the estate of Elliott Barton ’64; and the Merkin Foundation, thanks
to the efforts of Trustee Professor Barry Munitz. For more information on
privately-funded scholarships, contact the Office of
, at ext. 3-3075.
For all of higher education—as for the entire nation—these are extremely
challenging times. Cal State L.A., fortunately, is in a better position
than many, thanks to strong resource management, staying within our
enrollment targets, and attracting non-state resources and private
donations. Together, these are factors that have positioned this campus
well in weathering a climate of decreasing general revenue support. More
than ever, the entire campus community must play a part in being vigilant
with regard to spending, hiring and increasing efficiency. Thank you for
everything you do to help us maintain access, strength, and excellence.