Academic Senate

Report from the Faculty Trustee


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Bernadette Cheyne (Humboldt)

March CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
As noted in my previous report, the Board meetings now are being live-streamed via the internet and can be accessed for up to 12 months after the meeting.  The March meeting is available at the following link: http://www.calstate.edu/bot/agendas/mar13/ The Board met on March 19-20, 2013.  A detailed report of that meeting has been prepared and is available on the ASCSU website.  In addition, the Board’s agenda and attachments also are available at the website link above, which also includes additional links to some of the PowerPoints and other presentations that were made during the various committee meetings.   

This was Chancellor White’s second meeting since assuming his new position.  Governor Brown was present for his third consecutive Board meeting, as was Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.  The ongoing presence of the Governor is unprecedented in CSU history and his contributions to the discussions indicate a genuine engagement with the CSU system and the challenges that we face. 

Of the many agenda items discussed, there are two in particular that I will highlight here:

  • Budget:  My last report included information regarding the Governor’s 2013-14 budget, which specified a $125.1 million increase in funding for the CSU, considerably less than the $441.8 million that had been requested.  At this meeting, the Board reviewed a proposal that would allocate the  $125.1 million as follows:
  • Using technology to address curricular “bottlenecks:”  $10 million
  • Mandatory costs, including employee health benefits, maintenance of newly constructed space, and energy:  $48.2 million
  • Enrollment growth of approximately 6,000 additional students including first-time freshmen, transfer and graduate students:  $21.7 million
  • Student access and success initiatives, including reducing time to degree, closing the achievement gap, improving graduation rates, and providing enhanced advising:  $7.2 million

After considerable discussion as to how the $10 million allocated for technology-related courses would be spent, EVCs Quillian and Smith were asked to create a specific plan(s) for distribution of these funds to be presented to the Board.  This provides an excellent segue into the following.

  • Online Instruction:  I believe it fair to say that this was the most discussed topic at the meeting.  Twelve bills have been introduced in the legislature related to online instruction, some of which are quite specific regarding curricular adjustments.  Trustee Faigin spoke to the issue of bottleneck courses and the need for more specific information and strategies on how to address them.  There was considerable discussion of successful long-term and on-going technology-enhanced curricular efforts in the CSU and the need to increase public awareness of our significant contributions in this regard.  Chancellor White commented on the diversity of our student population and the importance of designing a course structure that would not further disadvantage students who already are at risk.  Both Governor Brown and Lieutenant Governor Newsom offered perspectives on the topic which, although somewhat different in focus, drew further attention to the need for the CSU to present a better defined and articulated approach.  Clearly this will be an ongoing discussion—one in which faculty must be fully engaged—that will lead to a specific vision and action plan.

Shared Leadership and the Future of the Academy
At my request, on Tuesday, March 19, I met with Chancellor White and Board Chair Linscheid in order to discuss the definition of shared leadership, as well as to advocate for an inclusive process to re-vision the CSU and create strategies to address our current, ongoing and future needs and challenges.   Also present at the meeting were ASCSU Chair Guerin, EVCs Quillian and Smith, and AVC Ron Vogel.  The main topic of this meeting centered around communication, and the need to create a more inclusive, positive and consultative process that would allow the CSU to bring a strong and unified voice to outside constituencies regarding the critical challenges we face.  It was a very positive meeting, one in which the Chancellor expressed his belief in the importance of this endeavor and his willingness to engage in a process to address it.  I will continue to work on this and provide updates we progress.

Quarter to Semester Conversation/Common Calendar
There is considerable concern among many colleagues at quarter campuses regarding the issue of a quarter to semester conversion.  In discussions with Chancellor White, he indicated that he still is consulting with the individual quarter campuses and has not yet made a decision.  He also advised that the matter would come to the Board for discussion.  I think it fair to say that the system is moving in the direction of having all campuses on the semester system, but that a definitive decision has not yet been made.  There also has been discussion of a common calendar for all 23 CSU campuses.  It is my understanding that considerable consultation will occur before any decision is made in this regard.

Presidential Searches and Current Interim Presidents
On Monday, May 20, immediately prior to our May Board meeting, the entire Board will interview final candidates for the president positions at CSULA and Fresno State (currently held by Presidents Rosser and Welty respectively).  You probably are aware that CSULB President F. King Alexander has accepted a Chancellor position as LSU; the method for hisreplacement has not yet been determined.  Regarding interim presidents at Monterey Bay, Dominguez Hills and Stanislaus, I have learned from unofficial sources that the disposition of these positions currently is being investigated, but I have no formal information to offer.

Campus Visits

  • On February 3-5 I visited the Monterey Bay campus and was impressed by the exceptional work they have done in making the transition from a military base to a university.  I also was intrigued with the opportunities inherent in building a campus from scratch over a relatively brief 20 year period and the degree to which it has resulted in many strong and unique programs, including significant interdisciplinary and service learning opportunities.
  • On February 12-13 I visited the Cal Poly Pomona campus.  I found the scope of the campus quite impressive, found a number of its very unique programs, and was given a wonderful series of presentations by faculty and students that highlighted some of the excellent work being done there.  It also was clear that the quarter to semester initiative is of considerable concern to members of the campus community.

My heartfelt thanks to students, faculty, staff and administrators on both campuses for their exceptional hospitality; and congratulations for the excellent programs they have built and sustained, as well as the positive and nurturing environments they have created.