Chancellor's Recent Speeches
Remarks by Charles B. Reed
Thank you, Claire (Van Ummersen, ACE vice president).
I know this is a new format for ACE and you want it to be perfect, but nothing or no one is perfect – just ask the New England Patriots…But we will all do our best to make it an interesting discussion.
I start off with football, first because I love the college game, and second because we can all learn about teamwork from football.
And teamwork is important because we are at a conference put on by an organization that helps pull all of us together as a team on issues important to higher education.
Let me give you my thoughts on what is important today, and what we should be concerned about in the future.
And let’s have a dialogue about them because I am sure there are issues out there that are of major concern that I may be leaving out.
Number one: Serving the underserved student.
I wrote a long piece about this for the November issue of Change magazine, and it is still true.
What I have learned in nearly 10 years as California State University Chancellor is that we must reach students from traditionally underserved populations, get them eligible and into college and then get them graduated.
If we don’t serve those students:
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education estimates that the personal income of Americans will drop in the next 15 years unless states do a better job of raising the educational level of all racial and ethnic groups. It is already down $15,000 in California.
Universities must be more aggressive with outreach:
Number two: Re-investing in higher education in the USA.
California is facing a $14.5 billion state deficit – which is probably higher than the budgets of many other states.
That means that the CSU could be hit with a 10 percent budget cut -- $312 million. We are going to the Legislature to advocate for that $312 million, plus another $73 million to buy out a 10 percent fee increase –for a total of $386 million.
This cut means:
I know there are other states out there that are suffering similar proportional cuts. We cannot keep letting this happen.
Higher education is too low a priority. We are an investment, not an expense, and we need to explain this better.
We need to rise up – especially in this political year – and make our voices heard about what we do for our states and nation. We need to build coalitions with business, labor and others and go to editorial boards and write opinion pieces.
If we don’t tell people – and tell them over and over again, they will not hear us about all the other “noise” that is going on.
Number three – Accountability and Proving Higher Education’s impact.
This involves what colleges and universities do for their communities and states.
But we are more than economic – colleges and universities are the intellectual, cultural athletic and social hubs of their communities.
If universities were to “disappear” from these communities, they would lose their vibrancy. We cannot let universities decay.
We need to continually remind people that higher education is an investment, not an expenditure.
We used to be thought of as an investment:
To quote an editorial in the February 6, 2008, Fresno Bee: "We’ve let every part of our state decay – including higher education – and the price for that neglect is coming due"
People need to realize:
We also need to be more accountable to the public. What NASULGC (National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges) and AASCU (American Association of State Colleges and Universities) have done by developing the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) is a good start.
It will help us all show the public that we are part of the “public good.”
For us to go to the public for more support, they must know that we are accountable to them for their tax dollars.
The CSU has added to the VSA by having each of our 23 campuses develop a web-based template called the “College Portrait” that is designed to specifically communicate accountability data to the public.
It will be in plain English, and we think it will help explain what we do.
Number four – workforce development.
Universities provide not only the economic backbone of a state, but they provide the workforce needed for continuing that economic growth.
The CSU is California’s economic engine –we graduate 96,000 students into the state’s workforce every year.
We play a major role in the state’s workforce in the areas of:
I am certain that your universities do the same for your communities
But how many people really know what you do? Do they know that:
We need to continually point out to elected officials and others what we do for their states:
Number five: Access and Affordability.
The Public Policy Institute of California did its first-ever survey of just higher education in October 2007.
Higher education received high marks:
However, asked to name the most challenging issues, respondents said:
The relationship between state support and our fees and tuition is the key.
Number six: Technology, Sustainability and the World.
From technology we have already seen an:
We can expect to see much more rapidly – things move fast in the tech world. Look what has been developed in emergency communications since the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
We need to keep up not only with our students, but all those young people in our K-12 schools – they probably already know more than any of us in this room.
As far as sustainability, we need to start thinking “green” and also think about the major issues of global warming that affects all of us. Our students, and I am sure yours too, are already so active in these areas.
We also need to think about the bigger world out there, and what other countries are doing those so impacts us, such as China and the Asian world.
Let me stop here so we can hear from you about some of the issues I have mentioned, or you can add new items to the list.
Thank you for listening.
Let me turn it back to Claire.