Below is the text of a letter to the Cal State Northridge community from Chancellor Charles B. Reed, summarizing the results of President Jolene Koester's recent three-year performance review. A copy of the actual letter, signed by the Chancellor, may be obtained by contacting the President's Office


May 27, 2003

Open Letter to the California State University, Northridge, Community:

During the spring 2003 term, the first three-year review of Dr. Jolene Koester, President of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), was conducted.

Criteria established by the Board of Trustees in 1984, and updated in 1994 and 2001, were used to assess the performance of President Koester and the progress of the University. These measures included the overall management of the University, relations on campus and within the system, educational leadership, community relations, major achievements of the campus and the president, and personal characteristics of the president. Faculty, staff, students, and community representatives were invited to submit written comments responding to the trustees' criteria. These submissions were summarized in a report for the Board of Trustees.

The review concluded on May 13, 2003, with discussion of the review by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees and I appreciate the contributions of those who worked with us on this review.

Major Accomplishments of the Campus and the President:

  • Creating an esprit de corps within the University and bringing new energy to the campus.
  • Obtaining a $7 million gift from The Eisner Foundation and a $5 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
  • Obtaining a $1 million gift from Wells Fargo Bank.
  • Introducing campus signage that creates a user-friendly environment.
  • Increasing the diversity of the faculty.
  • Enhancing the image and reputation of CSUN in the community.
  • Creating a stable organizational environment at CSUN and making outstanding hiring decisions for the senior management team.

The report demonstrates that Dr. Jolene Koester is organized, accessible, visible, and committed to California State University, Northridge. The current CSUN administrative team is effective and takes a cohesive approach to problem solving and planning. President Koester maintains informal contact with members of the campus community and this openness and friendly style is much appreciated.

Community relations in the San Fernando Valley are stronger than ever. Dr. Koester is very visible in the community through meetings and events. Community members describe Dr. Koester as a "whirlwind" of energy who constantly promotes CSUN. Fundraising is enjoying successes not attained or thought possible in the past. Media coverage is positive.

On the academic front, Dr. Koester and Provost Louanne Kennedy have advanced an agenda to improve time to graduation. Currently, President Koester and the Faculty President are facilitating discussion in the Academic Senate about the definition of shared governance.

President Koester and I have discussed the information collected in the review, and have agreed on the following goals for the next few years:

 1. Support the Graduation Rates Task Force in implementation of its action plan, resulting in the establishment of policies and practices that will improve graduation rates.
 2. Continue to focus on raising contributed funds for the University.
 3. Continue to strengthen the connections between the University and the community, as well as relationships within the campus community.
 4. Continue to strengthen the management and operational teams of the University, including auxiliaries.
 5. Continue the development of a model program in teacher preparation with the particular goal of linking teacher preparation to improved performance of pupils in the K-12 schools.

In conclusion, Dr. Jolene Koester is a very effective president for a very large urban university and accordingly the results of this periodic review are very positive. Dr. Koester has exhibited strong communication and leadership skills that benefit CSUN and the California State University system, and as such has much credibility with her presidential colleagues in the CSU system.

The next formal review of President Koester will be conducted in the 2005/06 academic year.

With kind regards,


Charles B. Reed

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Posted May 2003