A Summary of the March 16-17, 2004 Board of Trustees Meeting
CSU Supports O’Connell’s Plan to Improve Public Schools
(March 19, 2004) -- Chancellor Charles B. Reed gave full support to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell’s initiative to improve high school student achievement, which he announced at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting at Fresno State.
“We want to be your partner,” said Reed after O’Connell called for a new higher education, K-12 partnership to improve high schools. The initiative includes making more high school students take rigorous courses and complete all the necessary academic requirements.
“Many of the 1.7 million high school students that California produces each year are not well prepared,” O’Connell said during his presentation. “The problem has been documented in the annual remedial education report by CSU, which shows high rates of remediation for freshmen students entering the university system.”
To implement his High School Improvement Initiative, O’Connell is sponsoring a legislative package that will give high schools flexibility in the use of $450 million if they agree to focus on five goals:
O’Connell commended the CSU for its efforts to improve high schools through the Early Assessment Program, which test students’ math and English skills in the 11th grade, and provides students with the opportunity to take remedial classes in the senior year of high school if they do not do well in the test.
“This is one of the best examples of an effort to help smooth the transition from high school to college,” O’Connell said.
CSU has worked closely with the superintendent’s office to modify the mandatory 11th grade test with the goal of helping high school students become college-ready and reducing the need for remediation. One of CSU’s top priorities is helping to improve California’s public schools.
CSU Teacher Preparation Program Earns High Marks
The CSU is the only university system in the nation to evaluate the knowledge and skills of its first-year teachers. The trustees discussed the most recent evaluation, the 2003 CSU Teacher Preparation Report.
“For the past three years, 95 percent of CSU graduates have worked as teachers for one year or more after completing their teacher preparation program at the CSU,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer David Spence. “That debunks the belief that our graduates do not teach after completing their degree. That rate of participation is far superior to the national average, which is at 66 percent.”
“CSU is sending a number of teachers to public schools at a rate much higher than the national average,” said Peter Smith, president of CSU Monterey Bay. “As a former dean of education, I can tell you this is a superb result. It shows that CSU is the top teacher education institution in the nation.”
Overall, survey results showed CSU graduates have improved their effectiveness in meeting K-12 standards. In several key areas, such as mathematics and serving culturally diverse students, CSU showed a high level of effectiveness in the first evaluation in 2001, and it has increased that effectiveness during each year following.
A total of 9,728 teachers (85 percent) met all training standards, earned state credentials, went on to teach in public schools, and earned high marks for curriculum knowledge from their principals. This level of productivity exceeded the prior year when 8,850 teachers met the university’s challenging standards.
"A university achieves excellence and national prominence in the preparation of teachers when 80 percent or more of its first-year teaching graduates are determined by school principals to be well-prepared or adequately-prepared for the job of a first-year teacher," said David Wright, a CSU researcher in Teacher Preparation and Evaluation.
Since 2001, the CSU has evaluated its teacher preparation programs through surveys of school leaders and first-year teachers. The purpose is to see how well CSU programs are fulfilling the needs of K-12 public schools, and to identify areas of strength and needed improvement. Evaluation participants are the graduates of CSU credential programs who have completed a full year of K-12 teaching and their school principals and supervisors.
“This kind of accountability exists nowhere else,” said Norma S. Rees, president of CSU Hayward. “These data show how well prepared CSU graduates are for the workforce.”
CSU Task Force on Facilitating Graduation Moves Forward
The systemwide Task Force on Facilitating Graduation has identified several actions CSU campuses should take to encourage degree completion. Campuses will be asked to present a biannual accountability report on graduation, said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer David Spence. This report will allow the university to monitor the number of units attempted per degree per student and to establish measures to accelerate students’ path to graduation.
“Students follow a cultural norm that says that any course or educational experience is good,” said Spence. “While I agree with this principle, we also have to keep in mind that the state cannot afford it anymore. Given the enrollment growth limits imposed this year, the only way we can provide access to new students is by graduating enrolled students faster.”
Measures to improve student’s graduation rates include the following:
Because each CSU campus is unique in location, mission and composition of student body, each institution has developed additional strategies appropriate to its own circumstances. The collective and individual measures developed by CSU campuses are expected to help students become more focused, self-directed, and committed to achieving a degree. Likewise, campuses are improving in providing guidance, mentorship, a pathway free of obstacles, and curriculum and pedagogy that are up-to-date and accessible.
Trustees to vote on a CSU student fee policy in May
The California State Student Association and the Statewide Academic Senate
have worked with CSU officials for several months to develop an undergraduate
student fee policy for the CSU. General agreement has been reached that
undergraduate student fees should be adjusted on an annual basis over
a period of years until they reach a certain percentage of the average
cost of education per full-time student.
“The policy and principles are going in the right direction, but we still need to make sure they address affordability and student access,” said student Trustee Alex Lopez.
In 2003 the Board requested Chancellor Reed to develop a long-term student fee policy for consideration by the Board of Trustees. A few months later, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also proposed in his 2004-05 budget a long-term student fee policy that would link future increases in undergraduate student fees to an increase in per-capita income, and would cap annual increases at 10 percent.
The matter will be discussed again at the next Systemwide Budget Advisory Committee, and the formal student fee policy proposal is expected to be presented for the trustees’ consideration in May 2004.
CSU Sets Budget Strategy
Given the state’s continued budget crisis, CSU officials said that a realistic strategy for budget discussions with the Department of Finance and the Legislature should advocate for maintaining the Governor’s proposed 2004-05 budget and request freedom for CSU presidents to apply cuts where they believe it is most appropriate, and as far away from the classroom as possible.
The Governor’s January 2004 proposed budget would cut CSU by 9 percent from the prior year budget. If the proposal is implemented, the state’s funding gap per full-time-equivalent student will be nearly $2,000 and the state’s General Fund investment per full-time student will continue to decrease from $8,798 in 2001 to $7,268 in 2004, said Patrick Lenz, assistant vice chancellor for budget development.
The Governor’s proposal also assumes student fee increases to offset a $100 million General Fund reduction. Under this proposal, undergraduate fees would increase another 10 percent, graduate fees would increase 40 percent, and nonresident fees would increase 20 percent.
The Governor’s budget proposes 1) the establishment of a long-term student fee policy, 2) redirection of 10% of first-time freshmen to community colleges, and 3) elimination of state support for students taking in excess of 10 percent of the number of units required for graduation.
Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante questioned CSU’s budget strategy and said he would prefer stronger advocacy to avoid more cuts to the CSU. Bustamante favors a tobacco tax that he believes could be used to fund higher education.
CSU Academic Programs Reviewed
The Trustees heard the annual report on academic planning and program review. Fourteen new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs were approved for inclusion in campus master plans, including San Diego’s master’s in Transborder Studies, Dominguez Hills’ program in Criminal Justice, and a unique Doctor of Physical Therapy program being developed by San Francisco State University and the University of California, San Francisco. Seven programs have been discontinued or incorporated into another degree program.
A 2000 Trustees’ policy directive sets the minimum number of units required for a bachelor’s degree program at no more than 120 units unless required by higher demands of the major. Currently, two-thirds of CSU programs are at that minimum, and more than three-quarters have lowered their total unit requirements. Most programs requiring more units are in professionally oriented fields such as engineering, computing, and fine arts programs.
The Trustees Also Approved:
The Trustees Also Heard:
Last Updated: March 22, 2004