California State University
MARCH 2012
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Academic Affairs VOL II ISSUE 1


Student success is the reason for the CSU's Graduation Initiative. Since the initiative began in 2009, encouraging results are evident.

Second-year retention rates for first-time, full-time freshmen increased for underrepresented students (URMs) from 67 percent to 71 percent from 2008 to 2009. For non-underrepresented students, the rates increased from 73 to 75 percent during the same period.

The aim is to improve graduation rates and close the achievement gap among students of all ethnicities. By 2015, the CSU seeks to raise its six-year graduation rate from 46 to 54 percent, and cut in half the degree attainment gap for underrepresented students from 11 to 5.5 percent.

Working with the campuses, the Chancellor's Office team is creating a "data dashboard" that will track leading indicators of student success, such as the number of students enrolling in a full load of classes first term and the percentage of first-generation students participating in a learning community. Read More



The CSU has unveiled a new searchable degree webpage that makes it easier for students to find the undergraduate and graduate degree programs they are interested in at all 23 CSU campuses.

What makes the degree site even more convenient for students is that it is linked to the CSUMentor website which helps students and families plan for college and graduate school. On CSUMentor prospective students can select an appropriate campus, learn how to finance their education and apply for admission.

Since the degrees site became operational, each successive month has seen a greater number of visitors who explore the site to investigate degree offerings at CSU campuses. January 2012 saw an increase of 33 percent from the previous month, with 15,670 visits from 150 countries and territories.

Analysis has shown that more users are coming from than from CSUMentor (when applications re-open, heavier traffic may come from Mentor), and that usage is highest during the week. Read More



The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440) enables the CSU and the California Community Colleges (CCC) to collaborate and create Associate of Arts (AA) or Science (AS) degrees for transfer to the CSU.

The program has a new logo and tagline: “A degree with a guarantee.” CSU Mentor has received thousands of applications in five programs: communication, psychology, sociology, math and criminal justice. However, fewer than 1,000 may be valid.

The CSU has emailed these students about “petitioning” for the transfer degree at their CCC campus. While the deadline is mid-February, the CSU believes that the CCCs will be flexible and assist students. Each CCC has promised to respond to students by mid-March. The students will forward those responses to CSU campuses for verification to complete their admission determination.

CCC students who have earned the transfer degree will be granted priority admission to the CSU into a similar BA degree program with a guarantee of junior standing as long as the student meets all prescribed admission requirements.
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Ephraim SmithWelcome to the second edition of News and Reflections, the online Academic Affairs newsletter highlighting initiatives, programs, events and people at the Chancellor's Office and the 23 campuses. Much has occurred since the last newsletter, and you will find updates on many issues in this edition.

The state's continuing budget crisis has impacted the CSU in a manner not experienced since the system was created in 1960. Cuts in staffing, programs, classes, maintenance, travel and supplies, and higher tuition fees have been unprecedented. Through it all the CSU has focused on preserving a high-quality education for our 427,000 students. It has not been easy, but our 44,000 faculty and staff have worked incredibly hard to help students succeed. We have received a record number of applications for fall 2012 but with the $750 million budget reduction we have already endured, and the reality of a potential $200 million "trigger cut," the consequences could be dire. Latest budget news »

Meanwhile, let us not lose sight of the good we are doing - SB 1440, Early Start and the Graduation Initiative - are major programs that will lead to student success. I want to thank you for everything you continue to do in these tough times to put students first.

I also want to congratulate Beth Ambos, CSU assistant vice chancellor for research initiatives and partnerships, on her new position: Executive Director for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). She has been a valuable member of the Academic Affairs team, and we will miss her counsel, strength of character and absolute passion for bringing students and faculty together for research opportunities.



CSU Summer Arts is on the move! After 13 years at Fresno State, the extraordinary six-week arts program has moved to CSU Monterey Bay. First created in 1985 during an arts faculty institute in the woods of Kirkwood, CA, the CSU faculty and administrators sought a way to meet the needs of CSU arts students as well as supplement the CSU campuses' existing diverse arts programming. Originally a summer dance program housed at CSU Long Beach, it expanded to include various arts genres, and in 1990, the Media Arts Festival. Throughout the years, it has been housed at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Humboldt State, Fresno State and now Monterey Bay. Summer Arts offers two-and three-week long workshops in theatre, dance, music, visual arts, creative writing, new media, and arts education all taught by well-known guest artists. Most guest artists present some kind of a public event, and each workshop stages a public culminating event featuring student work. Sign up now for classes. Read more

CSU Nisei Diploma Project is wrapping up after more than a year of video interviews with the Japanese Americans who had to leave their CSU campuses in 1942 after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 forcing Japanese Americans from the west coast to be incarcerated in camps or moved to inland states. These Nisei received honorary bachelor's degrees from the CSU in spring 2010 ceremonies. The Chancellor's Office received a grant from the California State Library to record the stories of these former students. DVDs have now been created from those interviews and sent to 120 libraries in the state, and many schools surrounding the CSU campuses where the Nisei once attended: Fresno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and San Luis Obispo. Screenings have been held at campuses, museums and community centers. The videos are on YouTube. Read more

Affordable Learning Solutions (ALS) is a CSU systemwide initiative to provide tools and resources for making students' educational experiences better by enabling faculty to choose and provide quality educational content that is more affordable for students. CSU students typically pay about $1,000 per year for their books. By reducing their expenses, students can have better access to a quality CSU learning experience. For example, the CSU has teamed with the Nature Publishing Group to produce an interactive digital textbook for a special CSU price of $35. The interactive textbook is being used in Intro to Biology courses at the Chico, Los Angeles and Northridge campuses this year. Read more


Cal State Fullerton's $19.6 million STEM Initiative is a vital part of the dilemma of fewer students majoring in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "Reclaiming our Future," the cover story in the spring edition of Titan Magazine, highlights CSUF faculty, students, staff and alumni in these disciplines, and puts a spotlight on why the state and country need to overcome the inadequate supply of scientists and engineers. Read more

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