October 26, 1998 Vol. III, No. 5

President Launches Exchanges with Faculty Senate

Planned Regular Sessions to Include Campus Updates and Question and Answer Time

Cal State Northridge President Blenda J. Wilson launched the first in a series of exchanges with faculty leaders during the Faculty Senate's Oct. 15 meeting. The informal "conversations" will include updates on campus activities and free-ranging question-and-answer sessions.

The president plans to participate in similar sessions at future senate meetings as her schedule permits. Faculty President Al Kinderman told the senate to expect the president to be returning on a regular basis.

"Greater trust and understanding is developed by having regular communication between the faculty and the administration," said Kinderman, explaining why he suggested the sessions several months ago. "It's meant to be a discussion, a sharing."

During the initial half-hour session, the president talked about more than a half-dozen different campus issues and fielded questions about several others. The topics included the campus' 40th Anniversary year, bargaining on a new faculty labor contract, and a campus financial management review.

In the category of things she's excited about, the president said the campus' 40th Anniversary year had begun with a strong start, including a gathering of about three dozen of the campus' original faculty. The plan is to make the recent Founders' Day celebration an annual event.

The president reported on the resolution of building design issues for the College of Arts, Media and Communication, with the plan to develop a new AMC building near the former Fine Arts building site and to expand the Arts Annex south of Halsted Street as a separate facility for the art department.

The university's strategic planning process is continuing, now being coordinated by a strategic planning governing group that includes the campus executive officers, faculty president, Faculty Senate committee chairs and the chair of the faculty Council of Chairs. The group will work on proposing "smart goals" for the campus to pursue.

In the category of concerns, the president called it "regrettable" that months of bargaining have yet to produce a new faculty labor contract, especially in a good economic year for the state. "I just sense an emotion in this negotiation I've never seen before," Wilson said.

Regarding communication, the president said providing information about the university's multitude of activities-occurring both on and off-campus-will be a priority, citing a recent campus communications audit report. "This is a fabulous institution, but people don't know what we do," she said.

And, the president reported on a now-underway management review of campus financial management and fiscal controls that is being conducted by a consulting firm, K. Scott Hughes Associates, as recommended recently by the Cal State system's auditor. That report is due for completion by year-end.

-John Chandler


October 26, 1998

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