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California State University Addresses Progress and the Future of ‘Cornerstones’ Initiative

Nov. 16, 2006 -- California State University presented yesterday at the Board of Trustees meeting its fourth biennial accountability report. The report is mandated by Cornerstones, an implementation plan adopted by the Board in 1999 to help CSU and its campuses address future academic challenges. The report detailed the CSU’s progress in nine performance indicator categories that relate to student retention, progress toward earning a degree, and graduation rates.

The Board also received an update on current planning to develop the successor to Cornerstones called Access to Excellence.

To complete the report, each of the CSU’s 23 campuses submitted information on the progress they made in the nine performance categories in 2004-05, and set new goals through 2008-09. The CSU, through the Chancellor’s Office, also reviewed systemwide progress in these performance areas, as well as its multi-year performance regarding budget agreements between the CSU and the state administration.

The reports that were distributed to the Board of Trustees are posted online at

“The report establishes that while most of the commitments made in Cornerstones have become firmly embedded within the culture of CSU campuses, our performance can still improve,” said Dr. Gary Reichard, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at CSU. “This accountability reporting has clearly helped to advance Cornerstones principles. When the new strategic planning exercise is completed, the CSU will undoubtedly consider continuing, deleting, revising, or adding accountability items under the new plan.”

In 1999, CSU’s Cornerstones program became the first national example of a public, multi-campus university system actively involving trustees and faculty in forward planning regarding the future of higher education.

Cornerstones’ Successor

Access to Excellence will establish specific program objectives, set priorities, and guide resources over the next several years. This new systemwide planning effort, drawing upon the insights of Cornerstones, will provide more than simply an update or modest revision of the existing plan.

To ensure a more comprehensive initiative, Access to Excellence will begin with conversations on each of the CSU campuses around a common set of themes and questions, which will be addressed by students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners (including K-12 and industry partners), and administrators. Already bold new ideas about the future of the CSU have emerged in discussions among presidents, provosts, and academic senators about the focus and process for developing the plan.

About California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 405,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 84,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

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Last Updated: November 16, 2006

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