Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
“State of the CSU” Address
CSU Legislative Day
Sacramento, CA
March 19, 2007

Thank you, Bob (Linscheid).  And thank you everyone for being here today to help us demonstrate to the state’s decision-makers how the California State University is working for California, and how students are our first priority.

I would like to recognize the members of the CSU Board of Trustees who have joined us today.  Would you please stand? I would also like to recognize my colleagues, the CSU presidents and vice-chancellors.

If this is your first legislative day, a special welcome to you.  If you are a veteran of this event, be sure to assist our new colleagues as we do the work of the California State University.

It is hard to believe, but this is my 10th “State of the CSU” speech.  During the past decade, the California State University has experienced many of the ups and downs that you would expect to challenge the largest public university system in the country.  While many of these challenges remain, I believe that it is important to focus on what IS working.

One:  We have spent the last two years reaching out to the underserved communities.  We have gone to African American churches, joined with groups to create a college-going culture in the Latino community, and forged partnerships with Native American tribal leaders to help more young people know what it takes to go to college. 

We have also reached out to our veterans as part of the “Troops to College” effort to make veterans aware of educational opportunities available to them at CSU campuses.

Our efforts seem to be paying off.  Admissions applications for African American students have helped contribute to a 12.5 percent increase in admissions applications for African American students. And working with our Latino and Asian communities, we have seen a 7 percent increase in Asian applications, and a 15 percent increase in Latino applications.

Two:  The CSU continues to be the biggest contributor to the state’s workforce in many critical and growing fields, and that is something that we can all be particularly proud of.  Our graduates are what make this state’s economy strong.  We will graduate more than 90,000 students this spring.

Three:  We have weathered the storm of several very difficult budget years, and I appreciate that the CSU has not fully recovered yet.  But, our compact agreement with the Governor has provided us with the stability needed to move forward toward the future.  With a predicted state deficit of $2 billion, this is positive news – we need the compact’s stability.

CSU Budget

Our agreement with the Governor provides predictable increases to our operating budget and allows for enrollment growth.  This year, we’ll be able to admit about 11,000 additional students to our university system. 

Without the agreement, there would be no assurances of receiving adequate funds to maintain the quality education expected from the CSU.  We are pleased that the Governor recognizes the value of the CSU and its 23 campuses.

For this coming year, we are asking for a $292.5 million increase, which would bring our budget for 2007-08 to about $4.4 billion.  The largest percentage – 55 percent – would fund compensation increases for our 46,000 employees.

The budget includes a 10 percent fee increase for our students.  During the last budget cycle, the Governor “bought out” the fee increase by adding $54.4 million to our budget.  For this year, that total would be $65.2 million. 

The CSU Board of Trustees has said that if all or a portion of the fee increase is again “bought out,” they would rescind the increase.  While difficult for students, about 35 percent or 146,000 of our students will not have to pay any increase due to financial aid.  With any fee increase, the CSU sets aside one-third for needy students.  For those undergraduates who do have to pay more, the increase will be $252 a year, or $126 per semester.  California State University fees are still among the very lowest in the nation.

Our budget proposal begins to address some critical funding issues faced by the CSU as a result of three years of budget reductions that resulted in a loss of more than $500 million to the university.

There are two areas we would like you to stress when you talk to legislators and staff this afternoon:

One:  Approve the Governor’s January budget for the CSU with a restoration of the $7 million for academic preparation and outreach programs. 

Two:  Support additional funding for the Student Services Initiative, Cal Grant Financial Aid, and the one percent additional compensation for CSU employees.

We have serious concerns about the $7 million reduction in outreach programs.  We have made considerable progress reaching out to more students of color.  This is the pipeline of students who will be our students of the future.  If we do not help them to become eligible for college, the state will be in deep trouble.  It is that simple.

In addition, the $24 million we have proposed for the Student Services Initiative will allow all 23 campuses to restore and expand services necessary to ensure student success and accomplish our goals to raise graduation rates.  We know that it is not just important to help students enter our doors.  What REALLY counts is having those students exit our doors with a baccalaureate degree in their hands.

We are also asking for an additional one percent compensation increase - $27.6 million – to continue to bring CSU employees pay up to levels at comparable institutions.  We know that CSU salaries for most employee classifications are below market, and we must address this to maintain a competitive position and to retain and recruit faculty and staff.

Contract Negotiations

Of course, we need to talk about negotiations with our faculty union.  As many of you know, we have been negotiating with our faculty union for almost twenty-two months. We have come to an impasse with the California Faculty Association, and have received the final report from the fact finder in the collective bargaining process. 

We are deeply disappointed that it has come to this point and that issues remain unresolved.  We still hold out hope that an agreement can be negotiated between the CSU and the faculty union. 

We believe that we have put a very fair salary package on the table – 24.87 percent for the four-year contract – that will help to close the salary gap for faculty.  This is a critical week since the union is expected to announce the results of their strike vote on Wednesday. 

We would like to resolve these issues and not subject our students to any type of rolling strikes or other job actions.  Our biggest concern is that our students’ education experience is not disrupted. 

They need to be able to go to classes, get their grades on time and be able to graduate.  I know our campuses are working to keep students, parents and employees informed about what is going on at their campus. 

CSU Outreach     

On the national front, the CSU is setting the agenda and standards for higher education. USA Today and Time Magazine are just two media outlets that have cited the CSU for our work with K-12 schools to get young people ready for college while still in high school. 

Our Early Assessment Program (EAP) enables 11th grade students to gauge their college readiness in English and mathematics so that the 12th grade is not wasted, and so they can get extra help if they need it before applying to the CSU.

As I have said before, and continue to believe, as K-12 gets better, so does the CSU because the students coming to our campuses are better prepared to do college work.

Many universities often separate themselves from K-12, but we believe that working together, and also working with our community college colleagues, all of education in California will improve. That in turns means a better-educated workforce for this state.

In September 2006, the U.S. Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education in America (known as the Spellings Commission) cited the CSU's Early Assessment Program and academic outreach as two of the best national models of how higher education and K-12 can collaborate to help expand access to underserved students and help them prepare academically for the rigors of college.

CSU Super Sunday and Industry Events

The success of our outreach efforts can be seen in our “Super Sunday” events. I want to thank all of our presidents, trustees and other CSU employees for their hard work and for speaking at more than 30 African-American churches in the Los Angeles and Bay Areas. They took the message to the pulpits that college is possible and that it can make a significant difference in a young person’s life.

The results have been spectacular. Reaching an estimated 40,000 people in Northern and Southern California, the CSU’s “Super Sunday” activities are part of our initiative to reach students and parents in their communities with information about how to prepare for and succeed in college.

We gave youngsters and their parents information on our application and admissions process, the Early Assessment Program, and scholarships and financial aid. We gave out thousands of copies of our popular “How to Get to College” poster.

Along the same lines, we met with legislators from the Latino, Black, and Asian and Pacific Islander caucuses at a dinner in Sacramento to discuss current partnerships and future outreach efforts.

The more people we have in this effort, the better our families, our neighborhoods and our state will be.

Workforce Development

My wish is that those increasing numbers of students of color will be counted as CSU alumni in the near future. This past year we graduated nearly 88,000 students, 4.4 percent more than the previous year.

They are now out in the workforce contributing to California’s economic prosperity as engineers, teachers, computer scientists and agricultural specialists. They also are working in the fields of criminal justice, nursing, tourism, and entertainment – all areas cited in our 2005 Impact Study that showed the CSU as the state’s cultural, economic, intellectual and social powerhouse.

The CSU provides the workforce for the industries that matter to California.

Examples of Success

Let me highlight just a few of this year’s many successes.

  1. The Colleges of Education at our Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and Long Beach campuses have been awarded $5.1 million by the U.S. Department of Education under the Transition to Teaching program. The grants will enable them to recruit and train new teachers in the critical shortage areas of mathematics, science, and special education. We all know how much we need these teachers.

  2. In the same vein, the CSU will become the first statewide higher education system in the country to launch the prestigious Professional Science Master’s Degree program on multiple campuses. An $891,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will enable the CSU to initiate the program on 12 of our 23 campuses.

    The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Degree is an innovative two-year graduate program created to meet industry needs by providing math, science and engineering graduates with the skills essential to excel in today’s high-growth technical industries.

  3. Twelve CSU campuses recently received national awards from the Corporation for National and Community Service for their extraordinary service to their communities. Monterey Bay received one of the top six honors – the President’s Higher Education Community Service Award for General Community Service.

    And we recently completed a series of videos showing what our students and faculty do for their communities. Since 1999, more than 1.2 million CSU students have participated in a variety of service activities, which equates to a minimum wage value of more than $1.3 billion.

  4. CSU campuses raised more $285 million in new gifts, pledges and testamentary provisions in 2005/06. This external funding is used to enhance campus programs and assist students financially. We look forward to more success this year.

  5. The campuses received a record 465,742 online applications for fall 2007 admission. This is a six percent increase from last year, and is the ninth straight year of growth in online applications.  The CSU is a first-choice for many students because they know we have the programs that they want.

Access to Excellence

Finally, let me talk about a program that brings me back to something that was in its beginning implementation stages when I came here in 1998. The CSU had just created Cornerstones, its 10-year strategic plan.

Many of you in this room were here when we put Cornerstones into action. We created a series of accountability measures that showed us our successes, as well as areas for needed improvement. I am proud of what we have accomplished these past nine years.

But now it is time to move forward.  We have just begun “Access to Excellence,” our new 10-year strategic plan. 

To begin, we have been holding a series of “campus conversations” on all of campuses throughout February and March. Each focuses around a common set of themes and questions addressed by students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, including K-12 and industry partners, and campus administrators.

In April, we will hold a systemwide summit to review feedback from the campus conversations and to develop a draft plan. We will then hold a series of public conversations in fall 2007 that target key external groups, including our public policy audiences.

The final plan will be submitted to the Board of Trustees in May 2008. It will identify strategic priorities to meet the challenges facing the CSU system and the campuses in the 21st Century. It will provide the basis for initiatives needed to ensure access and excellence into the future.

So that is the “State of the CSU” today. There are challenges ahead, to be sure. But we are stronger than ever in our commitment to student success.
I am proud of what you do everyday to make our universities more accessible and our students more successful.

Together, we are making our communities and our state better.

Have a successful rest of the day as we honor our Legislators of the Year and visit more lawmakers this afternoon. Tell them what you know is true: There is no better university system in this country. California State University faculty, staff and students are working for California everyday.

Thank you.

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