Academic Senate

The State of the CSU in 2014: “Strong...but Frayed”

article image
This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from The CSU Chancellor: Timothy P. White
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Looking Back: A Perspective from the Past Faculty Trustee
Reports from Standing Committees

Academic Affairs
Academic Preparation &
   Education Programs
Faculty Affairs
Fiscal & Governmental

Op-Ed: Shared Governance
Letter to the Editor
Resolution Summaries

Message from the ASCSU Chair - Diana W. Guerin (Fullerton)

Chancellor White described the CSU as "strong" in his first "State of the CSU" address at the January 2014 Board of Trustees meeting. He described both the size and impact of the CSU, and the magnitude of its role in improving the lives of our students, their families, and the public good.

But, according to Chancellor White, the CSU is frayed in terms of its people, physical structures, and technology infrastructure.  He committed to increasing student achievement and degree completion by revitalizing the Graduation Initiative with $50 million, focusing on the following areas:

  1. Appointing more tenure-track faculty
  2. Appointing more professional staff advisors
  3. Expanding investment to reduce bottleneck courses (innovation, expand access to cross-campus concurrent enrollment in online courses)
  4. Expanding Early Start Program  
  5. Accelerating implementation of high-impact practices
  6. Expanding data-driven decision making
  7. Bolstering transfer degree completion rates through admissions preference and outreach/marketing of transfer degree pathways

Looking over Academic Senate CSU recommendations for the past several years, I can see a great deal of commonality with the Chancellor's plan, particularly with respect to appointing tenure-track faculty, implementing high-impact practices, and expanding data-driven decision making.

Building on the goal of expanding data-based decision making, I hope that we will see measurable progress in many of these areas next year in the “2015 State of the CSU” address next January. With respect to our “frayed” infrastructure, for example, we have readily-available data on the first item. Based on data from the Chancellor’s Office, there are 9,245 tenured/tenure-track faculty in the CSU this fall 2013 (following four years of decline: 10,057 in 2009; 9,518 in 2010; 9,462 in 2011, and 9,322 in 2012). Can this trajectory be reversed? What about staff advisors?

Some of the key indicators are more easily measured than others.  Some are already measured (student graduation, transfer, faculty, staff), some are not (high-impact practices?).  Similarly, key indicators of physical and technology infrastructure must be identified.  But we should be able to monitor the annual progress we make on these important strategies to improve academic quality and student success, as well as student outcomes.

Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty in the CSU

Building on the first State of the CSU address, this seems like the right time to establish a dashboard to so that we are laser-focused on restoring the critical “people, physical, and technology” infrastructure needed to provide the highest-quality academic programs in the CSU—the “People’s University.”

I encourage faculty to view the address, available in text and video at: