With the fall semester ending and the university preparing for the holiday season, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your hard work and commitment throughout the year and to wish all of you a joyous and restful holiday season and a happy and productive 2000.
Given the special significance that the year 2000 has taken on, it is the perfect time for each of us to reflect on our blessings and good fortune, and to embody the spirit of humanity and tolerance that is at the heart of all of the world's religions, many of which observe major holidays around this time of year. While a significant milestone like the year 2000 can be a source of some anxiety, I hope we will all look forward to the coming new millennium as a time of hope and opportunity for all humankind.
In this spirit, I also hope that all of you find this well deserved time away from campus relaxing and invigorating, and that you have an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.
I look forward to seeing all of you next year!
Throughout 1999, From the President's Desk has kept the campus community informed about the university's progress in preparing for possible Year 2000 (Y2K) problems. I am pleased to provide what is likely to be the final report about this issue before the new year.
Key faculty and staff from many administrative areas and the colleges have participated in the university's Y2K effort for several years. These include Physical Plant Management, Student Affairs, Associated Students, Admissions and Records, Academic Resources, the President's Office, Public Safety, Information Technology Resources (ITR), Institutional Research, the colleges and academic departments. I am grateful for everyone's commitment to ensure that the campus is Y2K ready and, particularly, for the leadership of Dr. Spero Bowman, Associate Vice President for Academic Resources, who has led this effort.
The current level of Y2K readiness for all mission and business critical systems is 100 percent. For desktop computers in the various administrative and academic offices, the level of Y2K readiness ranges from 75 to 100 percent. As required by the Chancellor's Office and the State of California, Y2K readiness has been reported to the Chancellor's Office quarterly. The Chancellor's Office has also requested a Y2K report immediately following New Year's Day.
We are confident that the university meets the standards for Y2K compliance and expect no major disruptions at the turn of the year. Nevertheless, the university is prepared to respond to any unforeseen Y2K-related issues that may arise. ITR, Physical Plant Management and Public Safety have all scheduled staff to monitor systems and ensure security during the new year turnover and to assess the functionality of campus systems on the weekend before the campus reopens on Jan. 3. These staff members will advise the executive officers of any problems that may arise. My deep appreciation goes to those who will take time away from their holiday break to ensure that the systems and security of the campus are stable for everyone's return.
Faculty and staff may also wish to consider taking precautions by backing up important documents and files on desktop computers. Since such activities should be a normal part of office routine and protocol, this should require minimal additional effort.
Note that minor anomalies that faculty and staff may find on their return - such as an incorrect date or time on their desktops or in the phone system - may not necessarily be a Y2K problem. In such instances, users should check the settings on their systems or consult with their departmental technical support staff before calling ITR for assistance.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding Y2K readiness on our campus, ITR has just initiated a special Y2K "hotline" that will be active into the new year at ITR¹s Help Desk at ext. 2000.
University Club Replacement Project
There has been excitement on campus recently at the prospect of a new University Club. Faculty and staff provided the funds, time and volunteer personnel to build the present Club which opened in 1974. The Club's setting in our historic orange grove provides a respite from the increasingly rapid pace of modern university life and its hospitality functions are enjoyed by Valley residents with increasing frequency, creating an important gateway to the university.
Last year, the University Corporation approved a financing plan for a replacement facility and commissioned preliminary design work. At the same time, the Corporation completed the extensive review and analysis necessary to develop a new program and business plan for the proposed facility.
The Corporation's market research identified four target areas that would help to ensure the success of the facility: membership, meetings/conferences, catering/events, and a restaurant. The strong interest in meeting and conference space at the Club was a significant finding and a reflection of the insufficient supply of such space in the Valley. The restaurant component, the most speculative portion of the business plan, also registered strong acceptance. While these documents were well received by the campus community, the consensus was that the initial architectural design of the proposed replacement facility did not adequately meet the expectations of the program and business plans.
There is consensus that the new building and its public space should embrace its location and be one with the orange grove. The orange grove appears to be the Club's greatest asset, affording a rare, contemplative setting in an urban environment. We also want the new design be warm and inviting, reflective of the university and the Valley.
We are all eager to see the Club's groundbreaking. Mr. Tom McCarron, the University Corporation's Executive Director, is currently working to select a new architectural firm for the project. Once the architect is selected, Mr. McCarron will develop a project timetable. I have asked him to update the university community as the project progresses.
Audit of the Center for Sex Research
I am pleased to report that the state auditor has now completed the review of the World Pornography Conference sponsored by the Center for Sex Research. While recommendations were made - some of which address how centers are defined at the university and the CSU system as a whole - we are satisfied with the outcome of the audit report.
Most significantly, the auditor recognized the importance of academic freedom to higher education institutions. If our students are going to be free to learn, the auditors acknowledged that faculty members need to be free to conduct teaching and research as part of that process. As the auditor stated in the report, "In general, the tenet of academic freedom would seem to support the center's right to hold a conference on pornography as long as teaching or learning occurred." The auditor recognized that studying an issue is not the same as promoting it.
The auditor also found that the Center has received no state funding or improper support. The audit recognized that the university supported the event in the same way we support the 58 other centers on campus.
The auditor's report also acknowledged that the conference's sponsors did try to get speakers with opposing views to participate in an attempt to ensure that the program was balanced. Though the organizers were not successful in finding speakers with opposing views, there was an effort to do so.
In response to the major recommendation in the report, the university and the CSU system have agreed to develop guidelines for responding to allegations of research misconduct, although that term is generally understood to refer to issues such as plagiarism or falsification of research results or scholarship, which were not issues in this case. Before the state audit was launched, the university had begun an internal review of its own guidelines on centers. A group of academic administrators here has been drafting those guidelines and they are nearing completion. I expect the final guidelines will provide for greater university oversight of the activities of our centers. We hope that putting such guidelines in place for all centers will enable us to anticipate questions about the activities of our centers in the future.
- I am pleased to announce that the university was selected to receive a $1 million appropriation from the federal government to help support the construction of the Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy. The money comes from the U.S. Labor/Health and Human Services/Education portion of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2000 and was made possible through the efforts of Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon.
The center is the longtime dream of Dr. Sam Britten, Professor of Kinesiology and Director of the Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Britten for this achievement and to thank Congressman McKeon for his work on behalf of this project. Congressman McKeon has been a strong supporter of the pools and developed bipartisan support for this appropriation. Credit must also go to Mr. Art Donnelly, a member of the community, who was also instrumental in garnering these funds. I am pleased that Congressman McKeon and Mr. Donnelly were able to personally make the announcement about the award at a recent press conference held on our campus.
- Dr. Britten was also the recipient of a Lifesaver's Award from the Northridge Chamber of Commerce for his work on behalf of people with disabilities in the community and on campus. Mr. David Honda, president of D.S. Honda Construction, Inc., and a member of the university's Community Advisory Board, was also honored at the event.
- Governor Gray Davis recently appointed Ms. Roberta Achtenberg, senior vice president for public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Ms. Debra S. Farar, a member of the Board of Directors for the Funds for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and the Grant Advisory Committee of the California Student Aid Commission, to the Board of Trustees of the California State University. Our congratulations to both appointees.
The appointment of Ms. Farar is particularly noteworthy because Ms. Farar is an alumna of Cal State Northridge. Her past service includes senior advisor on education policy in the office of Lieutenant Governor Davis from 1995 to 1998. In this role, she represented then-Lieutenant Governor Davis at University of California Regents and CSU Board of Trustees¹ meetings.
- Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Berry, Professor of Communication Studies, and Dr. Edda Spielmann, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, for participating in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk from Santa Barbara to Malibu. The walk raised over $5 million for breast cancer education and research.
- Representatives from the university and the local school community will participate in the National Conference on Teacher Quality on Jan. 9 and 10, 2000, in Washington, DC. The purpose of the conference is to "convene teams of education leaders who will create action plans for improving teacher education in their communities." More than 130 locally-based teams of education leaders, representing college and K-12 levels, teachers, parents, and community leaders, were invited to attend.
Cal State Northridge is the only university within the CSU invited to take part in this conference. It is a fine acknowledgement of the strong partnerships with the community that have been developed by the College of Education. My congratulations to Dean Philip Rusche for this recognition.
- Cal State Northridge received six Awards for Distinction from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII, in the areas of publications and alumni relations. In the area of publications, these include an Award of Distinction for Northridge Magazine in the category of magazines; an award for the brochure "Practical Benefits" in the category of books, booklets, brochures, flyers, folders; and an award for "Achieve Your Personal Best" for student recruitment publications. My congratulations to Mr. Randal Thomson, Director of Publications in Public Relations, for this achievement.
Alumni Relations received Awards of Distinction for: the Distinguished Alumni Awards program in the category of alumni recognition programs; its dinner theatre series for "Harvey" for best low-budget project, program or event; and the special Van Gogh exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for special events. My congratulations to Mr. D.G. "Gray" Mounger, Director of Alumni Relations, for receiving these awards.
Among the CSUs, Cal State Northridge won the most CASE awards. We should take great pride in this achievement.
- The Nov. 11-17 issue of Back Stage West, an actors weekly trade magazine, recently identified Cal State Northridge's Department of Theatre as one of nine programs around the country that were the most effective and offered a unique approach to connecting their students to the profession. Cal State Northridge's program was listed first.
My congratulations to the Department of Theatre for this recognition.