Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Legislative Day – State of the CSU Address
Sacramento, CA
April 28, 2008

Good morning and thank you. It is great to be here and to see all of you.

Earlier this year I celebrated ten years as chancellor of the California State University. I am grateful to everyone in this room for all of the support you have given to me – and to the CSU and our students – during those ten years. Thank you all very much.

We have a strong university system and we have outstanding trustees, presidents, faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community supporters. Together we have been a great team.

This year we are even stronger than ever: We are working with our labor unions and with the other California higher education systems – the University of California and the California Community Colleges - on our budget in Sacramento.

That tells me we are headed in the right direction.

I want to spend my time today by taking a moment to celebrate some of our accomplishments, and then looking ahead at where we need to go.

First I want to look at what I call the “Top 10” things that we have done together in the past ten years. These are ten major categories in which we have made incredible strides to become national models and national leaders and to better serve the people of California.

1. Strategic Planning: Together we implemented most of our strategic plan known as Cornerstones. I continue to keep it in my briefcase and take it out occasionally to see where we are with its objectives and milestones. Now we are working on the next strategic plan with Access to Excellence, and I will carry that in my briefcase also. I think it’s important to have a good strategic plan, because it serves as a road map for where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. We know where we are all the time.

We’ve also taken on a national leadership role with our commitment to a voluntary system of accountability. Each of our 23 campuses is developing a Web-based template called the College Portrait that is designed to specifically communicate accountability data to the public. That data will include student demographics, retention and graduation rates, financial aid, student perceptions, and learning outcomes.

We’re also going beyond the national standards by adding a “public good” contributions page to each campus template.

This page will give information on total degrees awarded, the contribution of CSU students to the workforce, number of Pell Grant recipients, average net tuition and fees paid per student, and the average loan debt for CSU bachelor’s degree recipients.

We are proud of what we are doing in the name of accountability and we are proud to be trailblazers in this area.

2. Compact Agreement / Efficient and Productive Management: We were able to reach a strong compact agreement with Governor Schwarzenegger for regular, predictable increases to our budget. That agreement was criticized in the beginning, but it has saved us during some of the tightest budget years. Once we had that structure in place, we knew what we needed to do. In addition we have saved and made tens of millions of dollars with our debt management and investment management of our own funds. We have the equivalent of a CSU bank. With the CMS finance system we have saved $35 million by managing our own funds. The CMS student system has allowed us to improve the lower division transfer program. We have best practices and a strong Quality Improvement program.

3. Commitment to and Partnership with the Public Schools: We have become a national model for our work in outreach, alignment, and assistance to K-12 schools.

* We said we would increase the numbers of teachers we prepare by 25 percent, and we have increased by 37 percent. We now prepare about 15,000 teachers a year. We also use technology to prepare 1,100 teachers a year through Cal State Teach.

* We created a "How to Get to College" poster and have distributed over 2 million of them so that students and their families know how to prepare for college. They are in five languages – English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese. Many other universities have already modeled their own poster after ours.

*We created the Early Assessment Program to give high school juniors an “early signal” about their college readiness. Now students know before their senior year whether they have to take Algebra II again. We also created two free online courses in math and English to help these students. The EAP was named one of the best ideas in the U.S. from the National governor’s Association. Some 400,000 juniors were tested this month.

Again, I am very proud of the fact that the CSU has become a national leader in terms of how it helps K-12 students and schools. We have aligned our standards for all high school student and teachers to see and understand.

4. Reaching Under-Served Students: We knew that unless we reached a rapidly growing part of California’s population, those students and ultimately California would suffer. So we worked with community members to create effective outreach programs, and we made ourselves a national model in the process.

We just hosted our third annual Super Sunday event at 52 African-American churches in Northern and Southern California, reaching approximately 80,000 families. These partnerships have helped contribute to a 12 percent increase in African American freshman enrollment systemwide.

We are also continuing our partnership with PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education). Last year 8,000 Latina mothers graduated from the program to learn how to help their children get to college. We had a 15 percent increase this year in Latino student admissions. And of course we have worked with other groups including Asian-American and Native American groups.

5. Service Learning: The CSU serves some of the neediest students in the state, but through our service learning and volunteer programs, those same students give back more than anyone else in California. Since 1999, CSU student volunteers have contributed more than 30 million hours of service. In minimum wage value, that translates to $1.3 billion. We have earned national awards and attention for our service-learning opportunities.

6. The Ed.D: The CSU made a historic move in 2005 by securing the ability to award doctorates in education. Seven campuses have programs underway and three more will start next fall. California used to have the lowest numbers of K-12 and community college leaders with doctorates because those leaders did not have access to programs. Now the CSU is filling that need.

7. Support for Veterans: Through our Troops to College program, we have developed a comprehensive academic outreach and admission program to assist the 60,000 veterans who come home to California each year. Our goal is to be the most welcoming and helpful university in the country to veterans. We need to help those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are about to sign a transfer agreement with the University of Maryland online extension program for veterans who take their classes. There are about 100,000 who do this, and 20,000 are from California.

8. Federal Relations: We continue to have outstanding relations with our federal policymakers in Washington. Many of you joined us for a very successful three-day visit we had there last month.

We are leaders in the Higher Education Act reauthorization effort. We have made many good friends in Congress these last 10 years. They know what the CSU does for California.

9. CSU Channel Islands: We opened the doors of our newest campus in August 2002. It is already known around California and around the country for its beauty and for its outstanding academics. Channel Islands now has twice as many students as they thought they would at this time.

10. Last but not least – New Presidents: Since my arrival at the CSU we have appointed 15 new presidents. We probably have the best team in the country right now for doing the important work that we do on our campuses. I am proud of all of our presidents.

Looked at together, all of these are incredible accomplishments. There’s no way I could have done this all on my own.

I am especially grateful for support of our outstanding Board of Trustees. We have such a good board that the Association of Governing Boards uses our board as a model for others. Plus I have the strongest team of vice chancellors and senior staff to work with.

We also have great administrative teams, incredible faculty members, and strong student and alumni organizations.

As we look ahead, it’s a good thing that we have these strong teams in place, because we are going to need all of the strength we can pull together.

CSU Budget

We all have spent the last few weeks hearing about how California’s budget is in deep trouble.

At the moment, the California State University is facing a 10 percent cut – or $312 million – from our 2008/09 budget. That’s on top of $522 million in cuts we took between 2002 and 2004.

But that’s not all. The $73.2 million in General Fund revenue needed to buy out a student fee increase is not included in the proposed budget. That would create a combined loss of $386.1 million in state funding for the CSU next year.

With that kind of loss, we will have to increase student fees and turn away 10,000 qualified students.

Executive Vice Chancellor Richard West will be giving more detail on the budget in a moment.

But the big-picture question for us to address is: how is California going to continue to invest in its future?

At the moment, California is on the road to building world-class prisons and second-class universities. That is a false investment. It is estimated that California will be short 3 million workers in 2025.

I believe that the California State University needs to stay focused on our message of the importance of access and success.

Right now, more students want to come to the CSU than ever before. And we are an essential pipeline to California’s economy. We graduate more than 90,000 students each year into California’s workforce.

If our universities are threatened, that also means a threat to the major industries that our universities support.

We need to get people to realize that the CSU is an investment that pays long-term dividends in terms of personal achievement, workforce development, and economic growth for the state of California. For every $1 invested, the return to the state is $4.41.

Also, two-thirds of the students who are in the K-12 pipeline right now are students from traditionally under-served communities. It is critical to the state’s future that more students from these groups get to college. That’s the only way to close the achievement gap.

Put all of these things together and you understand why our message is so important. And that’s why we all have such a big job to do here today and into the future.

I ask you to help us spread the word that it is critical to preserve the CSU’s budget and invest in all of higher education – CSU, UC and the community colleges – for California’s future.

We have to make sure our policymakers know that the CSU makes a difference in California, and we need their full commitment to continue to make an impact.

We need to be unified with one voice saying, “Yes, we value higher education, yes, we understand the future importance of making it accessible to all students, and yes, we want to fund it at a level that makes that possible.”

I am so proud of all of the work that we have done together over the past ten years. We have been an incredible team. And I know that we can take all of the momentum we have built up and make a very strong case for a renewed investment in the CSU.

I thank you again for your support of the CSU, and I wish you very successful visits here in Sacramento today.

And when you head home, I hope that you continue to spread our message about the importance of access with your friends, neighbors and colleagues. The future of our students – and California’s future – lies in the balance. Yes we can.

Thank you very much.