Welcome to the beginning of the new academic year. I hope everyone enjoyed a productive and restful summer. This past week, as I met the new freshmen class and welcomed new and returning faculty and students, I was reminded once again of what a wonderful place Cal State Northridge is. The energy and excitement is infectious despite the new fences and holes in the ground that mark the beginning of the final phase of campus rebuilding.
The summer has been a chance for me to settle into my new position and work with the new administrators who make up the leadership team for this year. I am impressed and grateful for all their help as we worked through the summer's events. I look forward to working with each of you during the coming year as well.
Highlights for the Coming Year
In my first From the President's Deskthis summer, I spoke about some of the issues that would need the university community's attention in this academic year. I see Cal State Northridge focusing on two main commitments: improving services to our students and increasing university services to our external community. By working together to make sure our activities and programs are focused on serving these constituencies, I know we can continue to be an effective and successful institution.
The allocation of the budget is a primary way the university demonstrates its priorities. We are fortunate to be in a good budget year, which has been helped by the growing economy and the state's renewed commitment to education. While not yet finalized, we expect the campus general fund budget to total $185.5 million, with $8 million available for discretionary spending through the budget process.
This budget has allowed us to hire 47 new tenure track faculty this year, who will be joined by as many as 80 additional faculty in 2000-2001. We will also add additional staff, and all of these new positions will help to strengthen the university and its academic programs.
We are also able to provide new funding for the creation of the CSUN Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, as recommended by the all-university Marketing the Arts Implementation Committee. This center will build on the recognized strength of the university's arts programs, which are some of the finest in the area. We will present an affordable and accessible program of guest artists at the Performing Arts Center and will support these programs as well as student performances and exhibitions with a coordinated marketing effort. This center will provide even greater opportunities for the community and campus to experience world-class artists and solidify CSUN as the cultural center of the San Fernando Valley.
The budget allows for continued funding of priority programs like the Entertainment Industry Institute (EII). Founded two years ago, the EII is a partnership between the entertainment industry and the colleges of Arts, Media, and Communication, Engineering and Computer Science, Business Administration and Economics, and Extended Learning. Given our proximity to the entertainment industry - an engine for economic growth and well-paying jobs in California - the EII allows students and the university to benefit from the expertise and guidance of entertainment industry professionals. In turn, professionals in the field gain opportunities to mentor and develop the talents and interests of our students and their future employees.
The budget also includes funding for advancing the five priority goals identified by the Strategic Planning Governance Group and funding to advance the internal strategic plans of two colleges, Science and Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Sciences. In addition, a significant portion of this year's discretionary budget has been allocated to each of the divisions of the university as an offset to inflation and in support of normal growth and development.
We expect the 1999-2000 budget will be finalized within the next few weeks. A summary will then be shared with the University Budget Advisory Board and published in the next Budget Update.
The final phase of the university's earthquake reconstruction projects is underway.
The new Student Services Center has just opened in the former Administration building. The center symbolizes our commitment to students by providing "one-stop" service for a range of support functions that previously were spread across the campus. These include Admissions and Records, Outreach and Recruitment, University Financial Services, Financial Aid, Students with Disabilities Resources, Academic Advisement, the Counseling Center, the Learning Resource Center, and Developmental Math.
Following a $3.7 million earthquake repair and conversion, we have just re-opened Monterey Hall, which includes a new Community Services Center. The building provides a home for CSUN's Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences, including its Language, Speech and Hearing Center, which handles more than 12,000 patient visits annually, and a range of multidisciplinary services. The Community Services Center provides a centralized referral source for services from around campus to the community.
New buildings for Arts, Media, and Communication, Health and Human Development, Information Technology Resources, and Administration are also expected to be completed during fall 2000.
Grand stairs will be added to the front of the Oviatt Library to connect the terrace level to the Oviatt Lawn. We expect to complete this project in time for the May 2000 commencement.
Finally, the entire campus will be landscaped, which will provide identification of the campus' outer boundaries and define internal areas. We will provide more details about landscaping projects in the near future.
The university's reaccreditation visit from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is scheduled for April 2000. This is the university's 10-year accreditation review and our academic programs and student services will be evaluated for their strength and effectiveness. A draft of the self-study that is required by WASC is now available and we need everyone's participation in the process by reading and commenting on the self-study before the final draft is submitted to WASC in October.
In the wake of last month's murder of postal employee Joseph Ileto and the shocking shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center, we saw the community come together in mutual support, good will and solidarity. The message conveyed was that an assault on any group or individual is an attack on all of us as a community.
One of the events that I attended was the "Unity Rally" hosted by our campus on Sunday, August 15. The day provided an opportunity for the community to show solidarity and to begin the healing process. Distinguished speakers at the event included U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Gov. Gray Davis and Mayor Richard Riordan. I would like to express my thanks to everyone who participated and whose hard work made it possible for our campus to satisfy an important community need.
Immediately after the incident, I also announced that the university would hold events in the fall designed to continue the process of promoting greater understanding in the community in the hope that they might help to prevent such tragedies in the future. I'm pleased to announce those events now:
- Address by Mr. Arun Gandhi: On Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 12:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, Mr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of peace activist and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi, will deliver a talk titled "Understand Race, Overcome Prejudice." That same evening at 7:30 p.m., Arun Gandhi will lead the community in a dialogue on "Nonviolence or Nonexistence: Options for the 21st Century."
As a person of Indian heritage growing up in apartheid South Africa, Mr. Gandhi has witnessed first hand the destructive power of intolerance and hate. His experiences in South Africa led to an extended stay at the side of his grandfather at the height of Mohandas Gandhi's work to lead the people of India in their nonviolent struggle for independence. After leading successful projects for economic and social reform in India, Arun Gandhi came to the U.S. in 1988 to complete research for a comparative study on racism in America. In 1991, he and his wife, Sunanda, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, headquartered at Christian Brothers University in Memphis.
We are proud to host Mr. Gandhi, who is respected internationally for his work to foster multiculturalism and tolerance, and invite all members of the university community to attend. We hope that faculty will use his visit as an opportunity to incorporate issues of race and nonviolence into their classes and to encourage attendance at his presentations.
- Building Community for the New Millennium: On Thursday, Oct. 21, in the USU Grand Salon, the university will host a community summit titled "Building Community for the New Millennium." Dr. Matthew Cahn, Director of the Center for Southern California Studies, has organized the summit to gather leaders of community organizations, businesses, non-profit and governmental agencies, and elected officials to discuss and plan effective ways to bring together the diverse communities of Los Angeles, including the San Fernando Valley, to improve our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.
Although the event is open to the general public, space is limited. If you wish to attend or need additional information, please contact Mr. Shervin Boloorian, Project Coordinator for the Center for Southern California Studies, at x6518. Priority will be given to participants who RSVP by Oct. 8.
I should note that these events were originally planned as part of the "One America" program proposed by President Clinton's Initiative on Race. The White House asked college campuses to hold activities in early October to promote dialogue about issues of race facing the nation. The murder of Mr. Ileto and the Jewish Community Center shootings underscore the need for these events.
Gear Up Awards
In mid-August, the U.S. Department of Education announced it was awarding nearly $30 million in "Gear Up" Awards to Los Angeles schools. The majority of these funds will benefit the San Fernando Valley and I'm proud to report that three of the awarded proposals involve Cal State Northridge, which has partnered with local schools. These three partnerships have been funded for a total of almost $18 million during a period of three to five years. The purpose of the grants is to help children from low-income families prepare for college, primarily targeting them in their middle school years.
All three of the partnerships will work with seventh graders and their families so that the children and their families become more aware of the importance of higher education and the possibilities for attending colleges and universities. We hope, of course, that many of them will choose to attend Cal State Northridge. Through a system that includes mentoring, tutoring and workshops, these programs aim to increase the academic performance and preparation of students, and provide services and financial incentives in the form of college scholarships. The university will work in partnership not only with the schools but also with other local agencies and community organizations.
The university will work with the North Hollywood High School cluster of schools, the San Fernando cluster and the Sylmar High School cluster. Dr. Warren Furumoto, Director of Academic Preparedness, is the project director for the work with Sylmar. Ms. Ludim Seja de Manzano, Director of Outreach and Recruitment, is our campus liaison to the North Hollywood project in partnership with LAAMP. The San Fernando proposal was written in partnership with Project Grad.
My congratulations to Dr. Furumoto, Ms. de Manzano, and the faculty and staff who contributed to the success of these proposals. As you know, a priority of the university is strengthening its partnership with K-12 schools and ensuring that students are better prepared for college-level academics; the Gear Up Awards will play a major role in realizing this goal.
CSUN Ventura Campus Moves
After 25 years in Ventura, Cal State Northridge's Ventura County satellite campus relocated to the new Cal State University Channel Islands site in Camarillo on Aug. 9. Marking that transformation, we have changed the center's name to Cal State Northridge at Channel Islands.
At its new site, the program will triple its available space to about 100,000 square feet in four buildings that are being extensively remodeled. The program serves about 1,650 students and employs 17 staff members and about 120 faculty members. It will continue to offer nine undergraduate majors, five master's degrees and four teacher credential options. A public welcoming celebration for the Cal State Northridge program's new location has been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26, at the CSU Channel Islands campus.
Northridge Business Improvement District
After three years of planning, the Northridge Business Improvement District is poised to become a reality. The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved the project in mid-June, and has scheduled a final vote for the near future.
Under the district, property owners along Reseda Boulevard from Lassen Street to Roscoe Boulevard agree to an annual assessment that a local governing board will use to improve the general business climate. Local business owners also want to create stronger ties to the university. Dr. Judith Hennessey, Chair of the Department of Marketing, led a university effort involving students from the departments of Art and Marketing to create a five-year marketing and public relations plan for the district, including the selection of "Northridge Oasis" as its theme.
This project will help bring the university and local businesses and homeowners together to create an atmosphere that is pleasant and enjoyable for local residents, students, faculty, and staff who frequent the area.
Support for Athletics
With the appointment of Mr. Richard Dull as the new Athletic Director and a new football season upon us, I want to encourage everyone - students, faculty, staff, and alumni - to support our student athletes and the teams on which they play. For alumni, members of the community, and sports fans around the country, athletics are a source of school pride and provide a gateway into the campus, with student athletes and coaches serving as our ambassadors on the field.
The Associated Students has just approved a student referendum to be voted on this fall that is designed to support an A.S. Recreation Center Project and major upgrades for our present athletic facilities. Just as the quality of academic programs depends on state-of-the-art buildings and equipment, the success of athletic programs can be greatly aided by excellent facilities that attract sports fans and encourage highly regarded recruits to attend school here. I am pleased that A.S. - under the leadership of President Robert Hanff and Vice President David Phelps - has taken the lead on this. The program's stability and success in the coming years depends on the foundation of strong student support. This is an opportunity for students to show that they support athletics and to jump start much needed additional support from the community.
Organizational Change and New Appointments
Ms. Dorena Knepper, Director of Governmental Relations, will now report directly to the President. Increasingly, the interests of the university are shaped in major respects by the quality of our relationships with local, state and federal legislators and their staffs, and by our ability to respond in a timely and knowledgeable way to complex issues arising in the public arena. I have concluded that the university can best be served through a direct relationship between Governmental Relations and the Office of the President. Ms. Knepper brings to her position more than 30 years of experience and tireless dedication to Cal State Northridge, and I personally welcome her invaluable assistance during the period of my interim presidency.
Mr. Murray Wood has been named Associate Vice President of Development. Mr. Wood joins the university after spending more than three years as the southwest regional director of American Associates of Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Prior to these appointments, he was Vice President for Fund Development for the Jewish Home for the Aging and Southern Pacific Regional Director and National Educational Director for the Washington, DC-based American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He has a master's degree in social service from Bryn Mawr College and a bachelor's degree in English Education from LaSalle University in Philadelphia.
Ms. Suzanne F. Hackett has been named Acting Director of Campaigns, the first appointee to this new position. The Director of Campaigns will manage the upcoming CSUN Rising Campaign to raise funds for furnishing and equipping the new facilities for the College of Health and Human Development and the College of Arts, Media, and Communication. We need approximately $10 million to fund the capital goals we have identified for the two programs. Ms. Hackett comes to the campus from the San Fernando Valley Cultural Center, where she served as Executive Director. Prior to that she was Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Los Angeles' California Science Center and California Museum Foundation. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in studio art here, and has a bachelor's degree in English from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
Welcome Our New Administrators
On Friday, Sept. 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the University Club, I will host a reception to welcome Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Handler, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Fred Strache, Athletic Director Richard Dull, and President's Chief of Staff Delia Rudiger to their new positions.
This event is open to the entire university community. I hope you can all join me at this special event to congratulate our newest senior administrators at the university.
Other Campus Achievements
- Earlier this month, Ms. Alison Hunsaker, a teacher at Castaic Middle School and a Cal State Northridge alumna, was selected by Chancellor Charles B. Reed as CSUN's Outstanding Teacher. Congratulations to Ms. Hunsaker on this well deserved honor.
The Chancellor initiated this program as part of the CSU Celebrating Teachers program to recognize the commitment and contributions of the teachers who graduated from CSU campuses. Ms. Hunsaker was selected based on the recommendations of her principal and the work of an on-campus selection committee. Given the many outstanding teachers who have come from our program, we are proud of the selection of Ms. Hunsaker as our Outstanding Teacher.
- The National Center on Deafness (NCOD) recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for its proposal "Preparing Postsecondary Professionals" or "P3."
P3 focuses on improving access to education for students with communication disabilities, particularly those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Because most students with these disabilities attend mainstream institutions of higher learning, there is a need for systemic change in institutions to provide equal access and opportunity to these students.
The program underscores NCOD's continued leadership in its field. My congratulations to new director, Dr. Merri Pearson, and her faculty and staff for this success.
- This fall, we launch two Project for Adult College Education (PACE) programs - one in business and the other in liberal studies - that will enable working adults to complete bachelor's degrees while keeping full-time jobs or other commitments.
The two separate programs share the common feature of permitting upper division students to complete their degrees at CSUN in about two years by attending accelerated eight-week classes that meet only one night each week and every other Saturday. The new programs mirror popular ones already offered at local community colleges and, for the first time, they give PACE students an easy transition to Cal State Northridge for completing their degrees.
Both programs are already popular. The CSUN business program has about 80 students enrolled for the fall, double the number anticipated. And the liberal studies program - aimed at those planning to become elementary school teachers - is nearly at its initial 30-student capacity.
- Cal State Northridge's Art Department, and the campus' other arts programs, will participate this fall in a joint effort to revive the quantity and quality of arts education in San Fernando Valley public middle and high schools. The first year of the initiative has been funded with grants awarded by the state Department of Education and the California Arts Council to CSUN and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The initiative responds to a LAUSD plan adopted 1998 to restore visual and performing arts education in its schools. An initial component of the joint initiative will involve conducting an arts education needs assessment for San Fernando Valley schools to determine what is being taught and what resources are available. Subsequent elements will include training workshops for public school arts teachers and connecting arts teachers and their students with local community artists. The Valley Cultural Center also is a partner in the venture.
My thanks to Professor Joe S. Lewis, Chair of the Department of Art, and the faculty and students who are participating in this program. Given the decline during the past decade in support of arts programs in the schools, we are pleased to be part of this effort.
- Dr. Miriam Cotler, Professor of Health Sciences, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer's Association;
- Dr. Ann E. Watkins, Professor of Mathematics, has been named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an organization made up of peers and colleagues in the statistical field;
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Cotler and Dr. Watkins for their achievements. The outside work and achievements of faculty not only distinguish the university, but they enrich the faculty and benefit their students. They should be proud of this recognition by their peers in their fields and in the community.