Student Health Center
The committee I appointed in March to review the organization and operation of the Student Health Center has completed its work and presented its recommendations. The review committee's key suggestions are important ones that we will be pursuing as a means of further improving the health center's service to the campus community. Providing such an external review is a common and valuable practice for universities and other organizations committed to high quality. I am particularly grateful to our review committee members for the professionalism and dedication to the health center that was so evident in their work.
The review committee was particularly strong in emphasizing that students' good health is a prerequisite to their academic success. We clearly need to increase the visibility and effectiveness of the Student Health Center in serving greater numbers of students. Thus the committee urged that we create significantly more campus-wide involvement in the health center and greater opportunities for collaboration among students, faculty and health center staff in health promotion and education, center services, research and clinical practice. We will explore additional measures to enhance student access to primary health care services, health insurance and relationships with voluntary community providers.
To help accomplish those goals, I will be implementing another of the review committee's recommendations by establishing an ongoing Advisory Committee to the Student Health Center. The advisory committee will include faculty, students, alumni, health care professionals from the community and members of the health center staff. Dr. Miriam Cotler, professor and chair of the Department of Health Sciences, who also led the review committee, will chair this advisory committee.
Another of the review committee's recommendations was that the university proceed with hiring a full-time medical director, or a professional administrator with related experience, to oversee the Student Health Center. On that issue, the search for a new, permanent director of the health center has begun and we are actively seeking candidates with a strong commitment to the center's core mission. In the meantime, I have appointed Dr. Louis Rubino as interim director effective July 19. Dr. Rubino is an assistant professor in the CSUN Department of Health Sciences who also has had a distinguished career as an administrator in the private health care sector. Dr. Rubino will serve as interim director until the permanent director is chosen. The health center director reports to Dr. Fred Strache, interim vice president for Student Affairs.
I am grateful to the members of the review committee for their thoughtful and careful work in conducting this review. In addition to Professors Cotler and Rubino, the members were Health Sciences Professor Michael Kline and Mr. Otis Spencer, medical group administrator at Kaiser Woodland Hills. I am also grateful to the staff of the Student Health Center for their willingness to participate constructively in this review and for the openness of their responses to the committee. The health center is an important provider of student services and I am certain that the appointment of the permanent director and implementation of these recommendations will result in an even stronger ability to provide services to our students.
As the campus community is aware, Dr. Mary Ann Cummins Prager has served as acting director of the Student Health Center since June 1999. During a year in which the university faced a number of administrative changes and vacancies, Dr. Cummins Prager's willingness to add this assignment to her other responsibilities in the Student Affairs Division was very much appreciated. Dr. Cummins Prager will return to her regular duties as assistant vice president for operations and personnel in Student Affairs.
- I am pleased to announce that Cal State Northridge is one of five California State University campuses that will participate in the first systemwide AmeriCorps grant awarded to the CSU system. The grant will support the new "Service Learning for Family Health" program that will be launched during the 2000-01 academic year. The program will support 62 AmeriCorps members from the CSU (16 from CSUN) who will provide community service to local health and human service agencies to meet the needs of children and families and enhance the quality of student learning. It is anticipated that the program will expand during the next two years to include additional CSU campuses and support the participation of more than 150 CSU students.
My congratulations to Ms. Nikki Maxwell, coordinator of the Volunteer Program in the Career Center, for her work as the grant administrator on our campus and for ensuring that Cal State Northridge was one of the five pilot campuses, along with Dominguez Hills, San Francisco, San Jose and San Luis Obispo. The program will be a collaborative effort involving departments and programs from the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs divisions. These areas will work with the AmeriCorps volunteers in providing quality service and ensuring that the experience is enriching and educational.
- The university also is a pilot campus for another systemwide project, titled "Linking Service Learning and the Visual Arts," funded by the Getty Grant Program. The main objective of the program is to foster a stronger commitment to the visual arts and provide meaningful service to local community agencies through the development of service-learning visual arts courses. The six campuses that are involved -- Northridge, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Pomona -- will have an opportunity to participate in a service-learning institute and nominate faculty to serve as one of 12 Getty service-learning scholars. All too often, cultural and enrichment programs are overlooked during the development of service-learning programs. I am proud that Cal State Northridge is participating in the Getty project.
Thank You and Welcome to Our New President
As we prepare to welcome Dr. Jolene Koester as president of Cal State Northridge on July 1, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire community for its support and dedicated work during this past year. It has been a privilege to serve the university as interim president. The experience has given me a fresh and unique perspective on the university and an even deeper respect for the talents, skills and intellectual abilities that exist at our institution. I have been particularly grateful for the deep commitment to our students and the larger community that has been embodied in the work and accomplishments of faculty, staff and alumni.
I look forward to returning to my role as provost and vice president for academic affairs, and to supporting President Koester and her leadership of the university. I am confident that she will be as strengthened as I have been by your energetic and generous support.
As a reminder, please note on your calendars that President Koester is scheduled to present an opening address on Friday, August 25, at 9 a.m., to introduce herself and to articulate her vision and goals for the university. She will speak in the Northridge Center of the University Student Union and her talk will be followed by an informal reception in the quad. I hope you all can be there to meet and welcome her.