California State University, Northridge

Engaging the Future of California State University, Northridge: Report of the Special Task Force on Engagement

Executive Summary

California State University, Northridge is a flagship institution within one of the nation's premier public systems of higher education. The University, historically funded by the state of California, has embraced the economic and social challenges of the region for more than 50 years. Because the state's ability to strongly underwrite public higher education is no longer guaranteed, the University's mission of teaching and scholarly excellence, unparalleled student access and opportunity, and community service is threatened.

Fortunately, Cal State Northridge is well positioned to meet these historic challenges. Among its advantages are:

The overriding conclusion of the Task Force on Engagement is that the University must take action now to shape its destiny, but that its success will require all stakeholders—alumni, parents, friends and employers—to assume greater collective responsibility for the University's future progress and well-being.

Broader and more robust engagement of alumni and other key stakeholders is the necessary foundation for change. Increased stakeholder engagement will help to accelerate the growing reputation of the University, create a cadre of well-informed advocates, enhance access to private philanthropy and provide greater benefits to students and the community in general.

The Task Force recommends that the University undertake the following six strategies to increase and sustain stakeholder engagement:

  1. Establish a clear, consistent and compelling brand and case for support.
  2. Organize and energize the University's base of alumni, parents, and community and business leaders through a combination of approaches.
  3. Expand involvement of the University's most successful and influential alumni and friends.
  4. Build opportunities for increased synergy among volunteers at all levels.
  5. Use the new Valley Performing Arts Center to attract and retain stakeholder interest.
  6. Explore the feasibility of employing intercollegiate athletics as a major tool of engagement.

The keys to successful implementation of these core strategies and recommendations will be a combination of increased volunteer leadership, teamwork, investment, initiative and perseverance.