Chancellor's Recent Speeches

CCST - 5/25/99

Good evening, and welcome to Long Beach. I am very pleased that so many of you could join in this important dialogue -- and I'm especially glad to see so many of my CSU colleagues here tonight.

Thank you, Warren, for that introduction.

It's good that Warren is here, because the main idea I wanted to talk about tonight is partnerships. And Warren is going to be a good visual reminder for me, because when I look at him, I think, "effective partnerships."

You see, Warren and I first crossed paths back when I was in Florida, and we were both interested in the power of partnerships.

At the time, I had just gotten two of our public institutions, Florida State University and the University of Florida, to agree to partner. No one in the state of Florida could ever believe that I got those two huge, competitive institutions to work together. All they usually want to do is beat each other at football every Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Along with those two public institutions, we had a third partner, the Los Alamos National Laboratory. And with that three-way team, we went after something called the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, which is a national lab supported by the National Science Foundation that was located at MIT at the time.

The National Science Foundation Board's director, Eric Bloch, later told me, "I had two choices. One was to do the safe thing and leave the lab at MIT."

"After all, they had a track record of what they were doing. And we knew that they could keep doing it well."

Then he said, "On the other hand, you sold us on the importance of partnering and how your team could do more together than any one institution."

And Warren was one of the board members who voted with the director to award that national laboratory to the state of Florida and our partnership.

In the end, the partnership worked. The State of Florida put $120 million into a new laboratory, and it has worked now for the last eight or nine years, with $40 million in operational costs.

The CSU is lucky to have Warren as a president. And Warren continues his support for partnerships with the many collaborations he oversees at Cal Poly.

So thank you, Warren -- for your work and for being a real-life example of the power of partnerships.

I want to start off by sharing with you an observation from Bill Gates. He said recently,

"If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about re-engineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity -- about how quickly business itself will be transacted; and about how information access will alter the lifestyle of consumers and their expectations of business. When the increase in velocity is great enough, the very nature of business changes."

I agree with his idea that our lives will soon be transformed by velocity. And his words about the speed of change apply not just to business, but to all of society.

For instance, those of us in higher education are already seeing all sorts of changes speeding by us:

  • The rapid development of technology.
  • The rapid growth in student enrollment.
  • Employers' rapidly increasing demand for educated workers.

So the question is, how do we keep up? How do we get ourselves up to speed so we can continue to serve our students?

My answer to that question is what I call the "carpool lane" theory.

Any of you who are from this area know that if you need to get somewhere fast, you get on the freeway. But if you're trying to get somewhere, and everyone else is trying to get there at the same time, you'll probably wind up sitting in traffic.

So you need to partner with someone else who is trying to get to the same place. In other words, you need to ride in the carpool lane.

As educators, we basically face the same three choices:

  • We can stay where we're comfortable now -- you might say, on the surface streets -- and watch the changing world speed past us;
  • We can each build our own "vehicle," duplicate each other's work, and get stuck in traffic with everybody else who's trying to drive themselves too;
  • Or we can work together in partnerships, combine our collective assets, and ride together at top speed in the carpool lane.

As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of the carpool lane.

So -- Where do we need to go, and who should we ride with?

As to the first question, we have a long road ahead of us.

We know that the job growth in the 21st century will be in technology and science. That means our math and science education, from K to 16, must give students a solid foundation in the tools they need to survive and succeed.

However:

  • Our student's math and science scores are way behind where they should be.
  • We have an increasing shortage of quality math and science teachers.
  • Our country's middle and high school math and science curriculum is far below world standards.

In order to address these issues, we need to get serious about solving these problems through partnerships with:

  • Our colleagues in K-12 education
  • The business community, who will be our students' future employers
  • Our policymakers and the larger California community

The first, and most important collaboration we need to make is to work with our K-12 partners in education. We can start by improving our teacher training programs.

At the CSU, we have made some good progress on this front.

  • We just started CalStateTeach, which will allow emergency-credentialed teachers to earn full credentials through site-based learning in 18 months.
  • We are working on a project to keep our campuses fully operational all year round.
  • Our Long Beach campus now offers a warranty for its teacher education graduates.

    Bob Maxson, the president of Long Beach State, is here tonight, and I'm sure he will be glad to tell you more about this initiative.

Other ways to work with K-12 include:

  • Assisting with the professional development of K-12 teachers. 
  • Helping schools design effective math and science curricula.
  • Working with high school students to help them understand and meet our standards for admission.
  • Encouraging our students and faculty to work as mentors or tutors.
  • Urging K-12 schools to teach algebra and geometry as early as the 7th grade, and to teach reading through 12th grade.
  • Urging state officials and school boards to pay math & science teachers more.
  • Changing California's income tax to exempt teachers -- at a cost of $750 million -- or phase it in (better than the reduction of the car tag tax).

There's one more partnership plan I want to mention, which has yet to be officially announced. The National Science Foundation plans to set up 20 to 25 Teacher Education Institutes around the country to better prepare science and math teachers. The Institutes would work in cooperation with higher education and K-12 partners.

Bob Suzuki, the president of Cal Poly Pomona and an NSF board member, heads the education panel that will oversee the institutes.

Once again, the more collaborations we have like these, the better our entire educational system will be.

Next, we need to work more closely with the business community.

Louis Gerstner, the CEO of IBM, said recently, "We can teach new employees how to be marketing people. We can teach them how to manage balance sheets. What is killing us is having to teach them to read and to compute and to communicate."

He's right &emdash; we need to work more closely with them in order to prepare our students better. For example:

  • We need to give our students basic skills and critical thinking tools that they can use in the workforce.
  • We need to teach our students to work together in teams, like workers do in the real world.
  • We should learn from the business community's practices in accountability and quality improvement.
  • We should earn the business community's support and advocacy in the community.
  • We should create more opportunities for partnerships in applied research.

Incidentally, the CSU currently has $5 million in its budget for applied agricultural research, to be used for building partnerships with businesses. The agricultural industry said they would match that $5 million, dollar for dollar.

Some of our presidents who are here can also tell you about their public/private collaborations:

  • Warren can tell you about a partnership with Gallo wineries to create a 150-acre vineyard at Cal Poly -- which will benefit the entire industry.
  • Jim Rosser can tell you about a partnership to build a California Regional Forensic Science Facility at Cal State Los Angeles.
  • And Tomas Arciniega can tell you about one of our highest-profile ventures with business -- the Bakersfield Business Conference, hosted by Cal State Bakersfield.

Finally, we need to work closely with our policymakers and the larger California community.

For example:

  • We must show them how we enrich the community.
  • We must show them how we are accountable for everything we do.
  • And we must keep our doors open and our prices affordable so that any qualified student is able to earn a baccalaureate degree.

Actually that last part is the basic mission of the CSU: To offer an accessible, affordable, high-quality baccalaureate degree to the students of California.

At the CSU, we have pledged to stay true to that mission no matter what changes or rapid transformations occur in the next century.

And although educational institutions are often accused of being slow to change, we realize that we must keep up with the "velocity" of the 21st century in order to fulfill that promise to our students.

That's why we are determined to find ways to share our resources and collaborate in effective partnerships.

As long as we do this, we can stay on the fast track -- or as I like to say, in the carpool lane.

I look forward to working with all of you as we strive to provide a high-quality, relevant education that will help students succeed in the fast-changing world of the 21st century. I also encourage all of you to find new ways to work with your partners in the larger community.

And when the next generation of students enters the workforce armed with all the tools they need to succeed, we can all take credit for the victory. Because that victory will occur in the classrooms of America.

Thank you very much. I will be glad to take any questions now.


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