May 23, 2001
As the campus community prepares for the end of this academic year and the summer break, I want to thank each of you for making my first year as president memorable and gratifying. I have enjoyed learning about the university and, particularly, about the many remarkable and distinguished programs that advance the academic and professional goals of our students. I also have appreciated meeting the dedicated faculty, staff, and alumni who contribute to the high quality of Cal State Northridge. Your commitment and good work throughout the year have made my job very rewarding and enjoyable. I share with you great pride in the excellence of the university, and the upcoming commencement is the traditional time we celebrate the fruits of our work as a community.
This past year has been busy and eventful. Highlights include the formal reaccreditation of CSUN in July 2000 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; the completion of earthquake reconstruction and of several major new buildings and facilities, which allowed us to remove most of the temporary structures on campus; the continuing success of CSUN Rising, the university's first major capital initiative, which has resulted in major gifts to the university and a record-setting year for fund raising; the Big Sky Conference championship victories of the men's basketball and women's tennis teams; and the announcement that one of our faculty, Dr. Maria Elena Zavala, had been given the California State University Wang Family Excellence Award.
As I began my appointment here, I established campus priorities for the future. These priorities and other university goals were part of campus discussions that have resulted in a list of strategic goals and initiatives for the university. These include our commitment to 1) student achievement; 2) the campus environment; 3) research, scholarship, and creative achievement; 4) resources/institutional effectiveness; and 5) serving the external community. With its recent formation, the University Planning and Budget Group will assist in developing and prioritizing campus goals, and advising on the allocation of resources. We have made progress this year on these priorities, and I look forward to advancing them further in collaboration with you next year.
I am grateful for everyone's contributions to the university and for their efforts in welcoming me to this remarkable university and community. I hope all of you have a joyful and relaxing summer that will give you an opportunity to reinvigorate your minds and spirits, and to spend quality time with friends and family. Have a great summer.
Summer Construction Projects
This school year, we have made it widely known that this spring formally marked the end of earthquake recovery for the campus, and the completion of Manzanita Hall represents the university's last major building reconstruction project. Campus construction will continue because much remains to be completed in long-term, overall enhancements to the campus. Many of the projects are related to the university's commitment to make the campus more user-friendly.
I am pleased to provide a brief overview of what is planned. There are about 40 projects, including additional parking lots, roads, walkways, signage, and landscaping ‹ all to be completed during the next 18 months. Much of this work will be done in the summers of 2001 and 2002.
This summer we will concentrate on restoring the parking lots on the west side of campus (Lots A, B, L, M, and O) and the landscaping in Sierra Quad, the fields west of Manzanita and Nordhoff Halls, the field north of Science 3, and the Music Lawn. We will restore the Science Court and Computer Plaza trailer sites. We will install cornerstone university signage at the intersections of Nordhoff Street and Zelzah, Lindley, Etiwanda, and Darby avenues. Finally, this summer, we will install new campus signage to make navigating the campus easier.
We expect to have the Halsted Houses trailers removed from Lot K by the end of summer or early fall. We will continue to restore fields and smaller landscaping areas during the fall and winter. Next summer, we will restore the remaining campus parking lots and repair Lindley and Etiwanda avenues, Plummer Street, and Campus Roads B and C.
Together with the restoration of parking lots, we will be installing parking controls and improving traffic patterns, particularly on Etiwanda Avenue. Where possible, when we repair Plummer Street and Etiwanda and Lindley avenues, we will be installing a median strip and landscaping similar to that along Etiwanda Avenue between Prairie and Vincennes streets.
I ask for everyone's patience during these improvements and am confident the work will cause minimal disruption. The long-term goal of these projects is to make the university more appealing and welcoming for everyone.
Two New Academic Institutes
Two new academic institutes have been established at the university this year. Passage of state Senate Bill 1721 in September 2000 authorized the establishment of a California African American Political Institute and a Central American Studies Research Institute.
The mission of the California African American Political Institute is to identify and understand the dynamics of the important role African American political officials play and have played in the history of California. Its purpose is to provide for the continuing study of the dynamics of African American politics in California in the 20th and 21st centuries. The institute will ultimately become a clearinghouse of public information on the subject of African American political leadership in California. The institute will function as a research entity that will sponsor and coordinate conferences, seminars, symposia, and co-curricular activities associated with African American Californians engaged in politics and leadership development. The institute will be housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
The Central American Studies Research Institute will complement the Central American Studies minor in the College of Humanities. The research sponsored by the institute will be community oriented, hands-on, and applied. The institute will bring together faculty, students, and the community as partners and participants in creating and disseminating knowledge about the Central American community. Areas of research will include the history and changing identity of the community, science and technology as they impact the community, and the transnationalization of work and culture. The institute also will develop student leadership and sponsor student delegations to Central America.
Retirement of Dr. Diane Ryan
Please join me in wishing CSUN Financial Aid Director Diane Ryan all the best on her retirement at the end of this academic year.
Dr. Ryan began her career with the California State University in 1971 at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she also completed her bachelor of arts degree in Speech Communication and her master of arts in Education/Counseling and Guidance. Dr. Ryan had a distinguished career at Cal Poly that culminated in her appointment as director of Financial Aid in 1990. After earning a Ph.D. in Higher Education from UCLA in 1993, Dr. Ryan was appointed director of Financial Aid at CSUN the following year. Dr. Ryan has served the university and the financial needs of students with distinction. Through her leadership and planning, the Financial Aid Office has enhanced procedures and policies to meet the growing number of students who request and need financial aid each year. She is well respected in her field and active in financial aid issues locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Ryan expects to remain active in financial aid as a consultant and through her involvement with Chela Financial, a nonprofit corporation that provides education financing resources for students, families, and schools. Dr. Ryan currently serves on the organization's board of directors.
My thanks to Dr. Ryan for her many years of service to CSUN, the CSU, and the many students who have found the opportunities and resources to complete their studies because of her dedication and hard work.
- Cal State Northridge has been chosen as the top film school in Southern California by the Association of Independent Feature Film Producers. In recognition, the university has been honored with the association's prestigious IndiGo Award for Educational Excellence. The award recognizes the many CSUN graduates who receive excellent preparation for professional success in the film industry at all levels of production. The award was presented during the grand opening ceremony for Manzanita Hall on May 17, an especially appropriate honor, given Manzanita Hall's state-of-the-art film studio and screening facilities. My congratulations to the Department of Radio/Television/Film and the College of Arts, Media, and Communication for this award.
- Ten CSUN students participated in the 15th Annual California State University Student Research Competition held at San Jose State University on May 9. Student Abhijit Chadhari, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, earned first place honors in the category of Engineering and Computer Science, and Ms. Francien Rohrbacher, Department of English, was runner-up in Humanities and Letters. Congratulations to these students for their accomplishments.
I also would like to congratulate the other students who competed and gave outstanding presentations, including: Ms. Barbara Kane, Psychology; Ms. Sarah Kimball, Biology; Mr. Jesus Luviano, Art; Ms. Sarina Grant, Radio/Television/Film; Ms. Lisa Reiner, Civil and Manufacturing Engineering; Ms. William Hess, History; Mr. Jose Ceja, Physics; and Ms. Ann Davis, Mathematics.
KCSN on the Telephone
Members of the campus community should note that the university is working to ensure that KCSN is broadcast over campus telephone lines whenever callers are placed on hold. This work is being performed as a courtesy by Information Technology Resources as they upgrade the campus infrastructure and prepare new facilities and offices for occupancy. Some people are not aware of this feature, and KCSN and ITR wish to ensure that everyone is aware of this project. This work is part of the goal by KCSN and the College of Arts, Media, and Communication to ensure that the university and the campus radio station support each other's missions and aims.
New Receptionist in the Office of the President
I am pleased to welcome Ms. Bonnie Giles as the new receptionist in the Office of the President. Ms. Giles has worked on campus as a temporary employee since April 1997. Prior to her appointment to my office, she worked in the dean's office in the College of Extended Learning and in the dean's office in the College of Health and Human Development. In the latter position, her responsibilities included assisting in the launch of the CSUN Rising Campaign.
My staff and I are pleased with the addition of Ms. Giles, who completes the permanent team for the President's Office.
Date of Annual Convocation Address
At the start of the fall 2000 semester, I delivered a convocation address to introduce myself to the university community, to talk about the strengths and needs of the campus, and to speak about the university's priorities for the first years of my presidency. In that address, I indicated the convocation would become an annual tradition through which I would provide an assessment of the state of the university.
I am pleased to announce that the Second Annual Convocation Address has been scheduled for Friday, August 24, 2001 in the Performing Arts Center. Further announcements about the address will be made as the event approaches, but feel free to save the date on your calendar.