Academic Senate

A Message from Chancellor White to the Academic Senate

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This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Reports from Standing Committees

Academic Affairs
Faculty Affairs
Fiscal & Governmental

The Continuing Need to Hire More Faculty
An Early Assessment of the Early Start Program
Report from the Faculty Trustee
Resolution Summaries

The last five months as CSU chancellor have been an incredible learning experience. As I travel to campuses meeting with faculty, staff and students, the deep passion of the university community – one that I share – is evident and energizing.

This new role has me thinking about the broader concept of institutional change. Change not for change’s sake, but rather positioning ourselves to take on the ambitious mission of educating the next generation in our economic and social time. Just consider the changes during the Academic Senate's 50 years. Many of our students' parents were not even born 50 years ago, but those who are my age have some memory of that time. Tools have changed. Methodologies have changed. Pedagogies have changed. Throughout all that change, the Academic Senate of the California State University spoke as the voice of faculty and the conduit of shared governance. In so doing, the Academic Senate has both led innovation and adapted to emerging opportunities and challenges.

Shared governance is a core strength of great universities. One can put precise parameters around it. On the other hand, I like to conceptualize it as shared leadership: a dynamic collaborative and collegial relationship that respects the role of each participant while striving for solutions that transcend what can be achieved alone. Collaborative problem solving and opportunity seeking are at the center of shared leadership, as are responsibility, authority and accountability.

Shared leadership is bringing a variety of great minds and ideas together around opportunities and challenges for the CSU. You know these areas, but let me address three – emerging technology, resource constraint and public accountability.

Emerging Technology
I approach emerging web-based platforms with neither excess trepidation nor excess exuberance. Academia is a field heavily influenced by the scientific method – experimentation, data collection, analysis and retesting. New tools beg bold experimentation and deep evaluation. Faculty are the heart of this experimentation and evaluation process. Some tools will be broadly adopted as a result, others will be discarded and a far greater number refined. No tool fits every educational setting and pedagogical need, no tool ever has. We have to have the courage to take risks and have failures.

Resource Constraint
A quality faculty is synonymous with a quality education. I recognize that five years and $1 billion of state funding cuts have made it harder to do your job and appreciate your sacrifice and continuing dedication to the students. I will acknowledge your sacrifice when addressing the many valid claims to university resources. My hope is that a new day has brought a more stable base of state support that will interrupt the cycle where demands multiply as resources divide.

Public Accountability
We are the university that California wants; some just do not know it yet. I will be a champion and advocate in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. – embracing the role of chief storyteller. Yet, one voice alone cannot carry the CSU message. Politicians, business leaders, community organizers, fellow faculty, students, parents and alumni all need to hear the CSU story. As we tell this story, we must make sure that our current actions and objectives align with the mission we profess.

On top of all you already do, I ask that you join me as a messenger of our common mission and purpose. Faculty voices speak loudest to the students. Our students deserve to know that we care for their success and their future. Indeed their future is our future.

With deep appreciation,

Timothy P. White
California State University