Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
Committee on Education and Labor
Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and
Cal Poly Pomona, Kellogg West Conference Center
9:30 a.m., September 21, 2007

Thank you, Chairman Hinojosa and members of the subcommittee for inviting us to talk about the critical and daunting issues facing California and the entire country.

Number one is having students prepared for this country’s workforce.

And number two is alleviating the shortage of qualified teachers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas (which we refer to as STEM), so that students get that needed preparation, especially our underserved students.

In an article that I authored for the November issue of Change magazine, I was asked to talk about the greatest challenge facing me as Chancellor of the California State University, which has 450,000 students this year.

I believe it is the urgent need to reach students from traditionally underserved populations - to prepare them for college, get them into college, and then make sure they graduate into meaningful jobs in the workforce.

They constitute the majority of students in the 23 CSU campuses, and soon other states will experience this rise in the number of students of color.

That ties in with what we are talking about today. We must educate our students better, and to do that, we need teachers who are trained in the subjects they teach.

I have said for many, many years that the key to students learning is having a high performing teacher. There is no higher priority in my mind.

Teacher Preparation:

The California State University prepares about 60 percent, which is about 13,000, of California’s teachers each year. Producing high-quality math and science teachers is a Board of Trustees priority.

We requested and received in this year’s state budget an augmentation of $2 million to support our commitment to doubling the teachers we prepare in these fields.

Our commitment to producing these teachers consists of an action plan that is detailed in the written testimony we have provided you.

Through this plan, we have increased math and science teachers by 37.6 percent in the past two and a half years.

We have increased our preparation of mathematics teachers by 64 percent, responding to the crisis in California in which 69,000 middle school students—most from minority and low-income homes—have been enrolled in Algebra 1 classes where the teacher is under-prepared.

Production of chemistry and physics teachers—fields with severe shortages—has expanded by 42 percent.

This, too, is essential. Currently, nearly one-third of physical science teachers are under-prepared.

Key elements of our plan that have led to these increases include: (1) Recruitment initiatives; (2) New teacher credential pathways; (3) Web-supported instructional materials; (4) Better collaboration with community colleges; (5) Financial support for teacher candidates, especially those from underserved populations; and (6) Partnering with federal labs and business and industry.

President Warren Baker from our Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus can provide you with more details on this last component, when he talks about an initiative he has begun with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

And please also see the addendum on Cal State Fullerton’s innovative STEM program through which it has quadrupled the number of math teachers it prepares—one reason it was chosen as a national case study.

CSU Access and Outreach Efforts:

In addition to what we are doing in teacher preparation, the CSU is absolutely committed to reaching out to the state’s diverse communities and providing access to college that will translate into a successful entry into the state’s workforce.

I will mention just a few programs. Please refer to the written testimony for expanded information.

The CSU works closely with HACU, the Hispanic Association of College and Universities to recruit and retain Latino students. Currently, 26 percent of our students are Latino.

We also work with PIQE, the Parent Institute for Quality Education, to get Latino parents involved in their children’s education and navigate the college admission process. We graduated 7,700 mothers this year from the program.

Last school year we gave out 1.3 million “How to Get to College” posters to schools, youth groups, parents, college counselors and many more places. We partnered with the Boeing Corporation on these posters, and I have brought some with me to give to you and the audience members.

More recently we have expanded our partnership with HENAAC, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation.

The HENAAC office is right outside the portal of Cal State Los Angeles, and Cal State Los Angeles is across the freeway from East Los Angeles.

HENAAC has been approved by the Department of Defense for a five-year, $10 million program titled “Value Chain Project.” The “Value Chain Project” uses Latino engineers as mentors and role models in the classroom.

This program adopts 13 elementary schools that feed into three middle schools, which feed into one high school. The project starts with 4th graders and uses specialized instruction to create STEM-ready students so that by the 8th grade, these students take algebra and are on track to graduate with calculus.

We also support GEAR-UP, TRIO and Upward Bound programs, as well as MESA pre-college programs.

This past year, the CSU instituted a systemwide Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program that offers innovative master’s degrees which prepare students to develop the science, technology and management skills needed for today’s workforce.

Many of these students are underrepresented minority students.

We instituted an Early Assessment Program (EAP) in the state’s high schools for 11th graders to get an “early signal” of their readiness for college-level English and mathematics. Our intention is to align high school and college curricula.

We are seeing more students each year take these tests, which means if they are not ready, they can use their senior year to get better prepared. This past spring, 345,000 of the state’s 450,000 high school juniors took the tests.

Once students enter one of our 23 campuses, they can get involved in many programs to excel in STEM fields.

For example, there is MARC, the Minority Access to Research Careers, and MBRS, the Minority Biomedical Research Support program.

One measure of our success is that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has identified the CSU as a top baccalaureate institution of origin for STEM doctorate recipients.

And five CSU campuses are among the Top 50 undergraduate institutions in the country for origin of Hispanic doctoral recipients.


I have given you many numbers and programs – and there are more in the written comments.

What I want to leave you with is that the California State University is about more than numbers and programs.

It is about student success. It is about paying attention – we must pay attention all the time.

Everything we do is tied to what is best for students to succeed in college and then in the workforce.

We know that we must do even more to produce math and science teachers for our K-12 schools, then get those students interested in those fields so that they come to college ready to major in a STEM field.

Then, we want them to go out into the workforce, maybe to teach others, maybe be in a research lab, and maybe be at an engineering company.

Whatever they do, the fundamental components of the CSU and the state’s success reside in (a) developing the foundations for STEM careers through teacher preparation; (b) increasing access and participation of underrepresented groups; and (c) monitoring the effectiveness of our efforts.

These are approaches where the CSU has done more than almost any other institution in the nation.

We are committed to continuing this leadership.

The California State University is truly the university that is “Working for California.”

I will be glad to respond to any questions you may have, and look forward to working with you in the future.

Thank you.