September 25, 1998 Vol. III, No. 3

Chancellor Issues Six-Year Evaluation of President Wilson

Editor's Note: The following is the verbatim text of CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed's open letter to the campus on CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson's six-year evaluation. The letter is being published here upon request for the information of the campus community.

September 18, 1998

Open Letter to the California State University, Northridge community from Cal State Chancellor Charles B Reed:

During the spring 1998 term, the six-year evaluation of President Blenda Wilson was conducted, and our Board is grateful to all who contributed to the evaluation. This is to inform you that the review process concluded with the acceptance by the Board of Trustees of the review report at its September 15-16, 1998 meeting. The Board discussion included an opportunity for Dr. Wilson to update the Trustees on activities at the Northridge campus.

Criteria established by the Board of Trustees in 1984 and revised in 1994 were used to assess the overall effectiveness of Dr. Wilson. These measures included overall management of the university, working relations on campus and within the CSU system, educational leadership, community relations, major achievements, and personal characteristics.

The assessment was conducted in two stages. First, a selection of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) faculty, staff, students, and community representatives were invited to submit written material and a general notice to the campus provided a means for anyone to submit information. Next, a four-person team visited the campus to gather information from a selection of faculty, administrators, students and community on May 5-6, 1998. The team consisted of Dr. Clara Lovett, president, Northern Arizona University; Dr. June Cooper, senior vice chancellor, CSU; Dr. Donald Moore, professor emeritus, CSU Los Angeles; and Mr. Anthony Vitti, member, Board of Trustees CSU.

What was learned from the review?

The president is a charismatic leader with an eloquent speaking style. Community and media relations did not exist materially before Dr. Wilson arrived. With Dr. Wilson's resolve, CSUN placed a great deal of campus attention and energy into earthquake recovery and in keeping CSUN open following the earthquake. In last several years, the post-earthquake enrollment decline was reversed and enrollment is back to pre-earthquake levels.

Among the accomplishments of the university and President Wilson are:

Dr. Wilson serves on the CSU's Technology Steering Committee and CLRIT [Commission on Learning Resource and Instruction Technology] and has demonstrated leadership in those arenas. She also was a valued contributor in the Cornerstone's project. Sources noted that the president's recent reorganization of her office is having positive effects in providing staff support and advice to the president.

Among the concerns voiced during the review is that the executive management team does not have the confidence of the campus community. It has been suggested that the president reduce external speaking and board commitments in order to address this concern.

President Wilson, the Board of Trustees and I have established the following goals for the next several years:

  1. Devise strategies and action plans to reduce the number of students who require remedial work in English and mathematics.
  2. Build a more effective executive management team that has the confidence of the university community.
  3. Continue the strategic planning process by aligning Cornerstones principles, university strategic goals, and unit level goals and action plans.
  4. Continue support for the university advancement function; increase efforts to raise external funds; communicate the benefits of university advancement to the campus community.
  5. Continue raising and promoting the academic reputation of CSUN by selecting board memberships and speaking opportunities that also serve the interests of CSUN.
In summary, Blenda Wilson is an energetic, dedicated president for California State University, Northridge who strives to offer high quality academic programs for CSUN students. Dr. Wilson's commitment to the university does not waiver.

The next scheduled review of Blenda Wilson will be conducted in 2000-01.

September 25, 1998

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