Academic Senate

Report from the Faculty Trustee

article image
This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair

Reports from Standing Committees

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

Report on SB 1440 (The STAR Act)
Report from the Faculty Trustee
Resolution Summaries

Bernadette Cheyne (Humboldt)

A Transition of Leadership
On October 4, it was announced that the current Chancellor of UC Riverside, Dr. Timothy White, had been selected unanimously to succeed Dr. Charles Reed as Chancellor of the CSU system and will assume the position in late December.  The final interview process included the addition of a group of individuals representing current faculty (ASCSU Chair Guerin and immediate past Chair Postma), emeritus faculty and trustees, campus presidents, staff and students.  Although not the open and transparent process that many individuals desired, the members of the expanded committee provided valuable insights and contributed to what proved to be a very successful outcome.  Immediately prior to its November meeting, the Board of Trustees (BOT) hosted a dinner honoring Chancellor Reed’s almost fifteen years of service and the important contributions he has made to the CSU.   The November meeting was his last as Chancellor:  he noted that it was his 101st BOT meeting and that he had never missed one during his many years of service.  Incoming Chancellor White attended the first day of the BOT meeting and offered some brief comments.  Of particular interest was the letter from Dr. White read by Chair Linscheid on the second day of the plenary in which Dr. White accepts the Chancellorship, and requests a 10% reduction in the state-funded portion of the salary that was offered (which was the same as that paid to Chancellor Reed).  He further notes that this is “a transformative – and precarious – moment for the University and the state.  By joining together with our faculty, staff and students as we face the challenges and opportunities that lay before us, we will succeed.”  I believe we all share Dr. White’s commitment to success, and will offer our best energies to ensure a positive transition.

November Board Meeting
The CSU Board of Trustees met on November 13-14, 2012.  A detailed report of that meeting has been prepared and will be posted to the ASCSU website.  The Board’s agenda and attachments are available here.

Of special significance was the presence at this meeting of Governor Jerry Brown who, by virtue of his office, also serves as President of the CSU Board.  It is the only time in even distant memory that the Governor has attended a Board meeting.  Also, as noted above, incoming Chancellor White attended the first day of the meeting and there was action relative to his salary.

Very early in the meeting, Chair Linscheid announced that the agenda item regarding “Modifications to the Schedule of Fees” had been withdrawn.  This proposal included a Graduation Incentive Fee (for students who have earned 150 semester/225 quarter units or more), a Course Repeat Fee, and a Third-tier Tuition Fee (imposed for enrollment in excess of 17 units per semester).  The Chair’s announcement seemed to suggest that although the proposal will be discussed by the Board in the future that there may be ways to address this issue other than fee assessments.

Perhaps the most controversial item from a faculty perspective is ongoing discussion of Baccalaureate Unit Limits.  The proposal is relatively unchanged from my previous report, retaining the 120/180 unit cap, but extends the time frame for campuses to submit their initial report on concentrations requiring 121-129 units from January to April 2013.  Now scheduled for action at the January meeting, I am engaged in a close dialogue with ASCSU leadership to frame a strategy that we hope will be successful in mitigating the potential damage that this proposal could cause to academic programs and to the primacy of the faculty in determining curricular content.

The Board also passed the 2013-14 Support Budget Request which includes additional funding for a number of items totaling a $441.8 million increase, $371.9 million from the state general fund and $69.9 million from enrollment growth.  The plan would bring annual CSU spending to approximately $4.5 billion.  Some optimism was expressed that the passage of Prop 30 might assist in gaining some of the critically needed re-investment in higher education.

AAUP Shared Governance Conference
On October 26-28, ASCSU Chair Guerin, CFA President Lillian Taiz and I collaborated on a presentation at the 2012 AAUP Shared Governance Conference and Workshops held in Washington, D.C.  Entitled “What’s Going on in California:  An Update on the California State University from Three Faculty Leaders,” our session offered an overview of the CSU system that included synopses of the duties and responsibilities of the BOT, ASCSU and CFA; a review of the budget, tuition, employee, salary and bargaining trends; and a roundtable discussion covering perspectives on Props 30 and 32, administrative and executive searches, curriculum and legislation.  The presentation appeared to generate considerable interest among those who attended, and included a lively discussion on a number of topics.  The experience clearly reinforced the extent to which those challenges that confront higher education in California are, in fact, occurring nationwide, and that we are in the midst of significant change that will require focusing our most creative and positive energies to ensure successful outcomes.