Office of the President
As we approach the milestone 65th Commencement of California State University, Los Angeles, to take place June 15 and 16, we can reflect on a year that produced many challenges for higher education in California and for the students it serves. We can also take pride in the ways in which Cal State L.A. has met these challenges. We were able to preserve access for students and we have exceeded our funded resident enrollment by 3% without compromising quality. It is our current expectation that enrollment will remain steady during 2012-2013 at 16,350 resident full-time equivalent students. Cal State L.A. also welcomed the largest freshman class ever in the past year, and if the current data is any indication, will again set a new record for freshman enrollment in the fall.
With a high level of teamwork, we have managed—in spite of reduced resources—to preserve staffing levels. Given the budget forecast covered in some detail later in this message, we will once again rely on a high degree of teamwork, cooperation and collaboration in the coming year.
While we face significant challenges, it is important to remember and celebrate the successes of our students—students such as Yalil Guerra, a young musician whose composition "Seducción," has been nominated for a 2012 Latin Grammy. We can take pride in the Cal State L.A. students who recently brought back first and second-place awards from the 26th Annual CSU Student Research Competition. We can find inspiration in Ms. Amy Wat, who was selected as one of only five undergraduates nationally, and the only CSU student, to attend the 2012 Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate International Workshop in Grenoble, France.
The Charter College of Education is also deserving of recognition for its successful reaccreditation from the Unit Accreditation Board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The congratulatory NCATE reaccreditation letter states: “…you have met demanding national professional standards for educator preparation.” Congratulations to Dean Mary Falvey and her entire team for this significant achievement.
The College of Business and Economics also received positive comments following its recent reaccreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Congratulations to Dean James Goodrich and all involved in this success. This accreditation is impressive when considering that out of the more than 13,000 universities and colleges offering business degrees in the world, only 649 are AACSB accredited.
May Revise Proposal
Faced with a larger budget deficit than predicted in January when the Governor’s Budget was first announced, on May 14, Governor Brown proposed a revised budget that relies heavily on the passage of his November tax ballot initiatives.
The Governor’s Budget includes an additional $50 million reduction to the California State University if the November ballot initiatives to temporarily increase tax revenues fail, which would bring the total trigger cut to $250 million at mid-year. Combined with last year’s $750 million cut, state support for the CSU could be cut by $1 billion in just two years. If the additional cut is triggered, it will represent an approximate 39% reduction in state funding in four years. Despite significant tuition increases, the projected CSU budget will fall back to 1996-97 levels of support, while enrollment since that time has grown by more than 90,000 students. CSU plans to waitlist all eligible students applying for fall 2013 until after the November 6 election, when the outcome of the tax measures is known. An amended Preliminary Budget Guidelines document for 2012-13 reflecting these additional “triggers” will be made available soon.
The Governor also proposes changes to the Cal Grant program, aligning eligibility with federal Pell Grant standards and restricting Cal Grant participation for colleges with a cohort loan default rate greater than 15% and/or a graduation rate lower than 30%.
Joint Higher Education Advocacy
Leadership of the California State University, University of California, and California Community College systems joined together for a Joint Higher Education Advocacy Day in Sacramento on May 1. The message delivered to legislators was that higher education contributes significantly to the state’s economic development and stability, and that predictable and consistent support for higher education is critical to sustaining those contributions. To stay in touch with campus advocacy outreach, go to http://capwiz.com/calstatela/home/.
Thanks to an outstanding level of collaboration among faculty, administration and staff, a number of initiatives have strengthened academic support services for students. Some of the mandates included in the initiatives require students to declare majors early, create degree completion programs, and to meet with academic advisors at regular and strategic intervals during their studies.
There is no doubt that our students have experienced the impact of reduced state funding. At this juncture, we are determined to focus on providing the best possible support for students matriculating so they may efficiently achieve their educational objectives. The Student Success Fee is dedicated toward expanding the academic advisement program, and providing additional support services that enable student degree attainment. Toward this end, additional staff advisers have been hired to support and complement faculty advising. As a result, all students will receive advisement that saves them time to degree, resulting in reduced overall cost of attendance.
The Student Success Fee will prove to be a critical initiative in improving the success of our students. Besides dramatically increasing academic advisement and increasing student retention, the fee will enable the Student Advisement Center, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Veterans Affairs, mentoring and other support programs to increase services for students’ personal development and improve career exploration and planning. The fee will also assist students in finding rewarding careers and opportunities for graduate school. In addition, new and enhanced vital technologies will be incorporated in ways to support both face-to-face and virtual teaching and learning experiences.
A key initiative to help achieve these goals has been to identify students who have become “Super Seniors”- individuals who have completed at least 36 units beyond what is required for the degree in their major. At the end of each quarter, students who exceed 180 total units and who have not yet applied for graduation will have a hold placed on their registration and are required to meet with an advisor to update their degree completion programs. Students will be allowed to register for those courses necessary to complete their degree requirements. Additionally, students who have completed in excess of 216 units will have holds placed on their registration, must see an advisor, and are permitted to enroll only in courses that contribute to completing their degrees. Helping these students achieve their educational goals is one way to expand meaningful access for incoming students.
CSU Executive Order 1048 (Early Start) requires that all students who have not demonstrated proficiency in English and/or mathematics begin remediation prior to the term for which they have been admitted. The University has made considerable progress in launching its Early Start program, and students will be able to enroll in classes in July - August 2012.
In order to provide students with additional opportunities to enroll in courses at current tuition and fee rates prior to the Fall 2012 fee increase, the University is returning to a more traditional, state-supported summer quarter. The summer quarter is available to all current students and is an excellent way for many freshmen who required some level of remediation during 2011-2012 to achieve sophomore status prior to the fall quarter. Students who have paid for more than 6 units will be allowed to register for up to 17 units during Phase 1 of registration, and financial aid is available.
At a recent system-wide meeting at the Office of the Chancellor, Cal State L.A. was singled out and recognized for significant improvement of its first-time freshman year retention rate. The campus first-year retention rate increased from 72.4% in 2008 to 81.3% in 2010. This improvement is an example of one way Cal State L.A. is achieving—and surpassing—the goals it has set for itself in the Graduation Initiative. While most CSU campuses showed some improvement, CSULA was among the most improved. All those who helped achieve this positive result have brought distinction to themselves and the University.
CSU and California Faculty Association
The California State University and the California Faculty Association (CFA) are still attempting to come to terms on a successor union contract to resolve a limited number of issues. Both parties have expressed a desire to reach a negotiated settlement to an agreement that expired in 2010. The CSU’s settlement proposal is largely based on the maintenance of status quo, with a limited number of changes that the CSU believes are necessary to maintain the quality of instruction, provide student access to courses, and promote procedural efficiency. More information.
Strategic Plan Finalized
Thank you to everyone involved in the development of the University’s Strategic Plan, which has been finalized and may be viewed at http://www.calstatela.edu/univ/ppa/publicat/stratplan/.