May 21, 1996

WASC Four Year Report

I am delighted to report that the University recently received enthusiastic acceptance of our Four Year Report to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Typical of the comments made throughout the letter was the following quote: The university was given high praise for our creative programs for student retention and advising, including use of technology and the World Wide Web; our work on strategic planning and the General Education review; and our ongoing work on assessment, including the Faculty Senate policy requiring each department and program to complete an assessment plan by the spring of 1997.

For those unfamiliar with the process, the university is reaccredited every eight years. The accreditation process starts with a comprehensive self-study of programs and services which support the mission of the university, followed by a site visit by an accreditation team which assesses the strengths of the university and completes a written report of its findings and recommendations for improvement. The last site visit to Cal State Northridge was conducted in 1991. The four year report is the University's opportunity to report on its progress in those areas recommended by the accreditation team. Because of the Northridge Earthquake, WASC agreed to delay our four year report by a year.

I would like to express my appreciation to Provost Louanne Kennedy, Associate Vice President Margaret Fieweger and all of the Academic Affairs staff who contributed to the extensive report and to all of the faculty and staff within the University whose achievements made this positive review possible. Since the report is quite large, we have not duplicated it for general distribution. Copies will be made available within the next week in the University Library, the Faculty President's office, the Deans' offices, and the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies office. Please feel free to contact one of these offices if you would like to review it.

ED EXCEL Project

The Chancellor recently approved our request to reallocate a small percentage of our 1995-96 State University Grant Funds (SUG) to enable us to initiate a pilot project in 1996-97, entitled ED EXCEL.

As you may know, Cal State Northridge has a very high applicant rate among students who fit the profile of candidates for the Educational Opportunity Program because they come from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Space limitations in the EOP program, however, preclude the admission of all who apply. Candidates for the ED EXCEL project will be students who meet regular admissions requirements but have exceptional financial need. The ED EXCEL project will provide a total grant award equal to the combined EOP and SUG grants to these students.

The ED EXCEL Project is an innovative method of providing a financial incentive for regularly admissible high need students to attend the University and supporting our enrollment recovery strategy.

The project was created by Diane Ryan, Jose Luis Vargas and Ludim de Manzano who, with the Enrollment Management Committee, have worked diligently to increase our recruitment of academically qualified students and provide incentives to encourage their enrollment. I am grateful for their creative approach to achieving this goal.

1996 CASE Circle of Excellence

I am happy to announce that Cal State Northridge received a Bronze Medal in the 1996 CASE Circle of Excellence competition for our publication Northridge. The quality of the articles and the graphic presentation were cited as reasons for the honor. This award is a fine recognition of the greatly improved quality of our communications and publications. Congratulations to Bruce Erickson, John Kroll, Randy Thomson, and Carmen Chandler. Speaking about communications, we will be launching a new publication called @CSUN.edu in the fall. Replacing the UIB, @CSUN.edu will provide timely news and information for the university community in a newspaper format published every two weeks. Announcements and the events calendar previously published in the UIB will be provided in the new format but the newspaper will provide more detailed information about the ongoing activities of the campus and significant information that should be available to all members of the University. As with Northridge, editorial control of @CSUN.edu will be retained by the editors and writers.

A special inaugural issue of @CSUN.edu will be released to coincide with commencement. Let us know what you think of it!

Affirmative Action Debate

As California continues it's debate about affirmative action, the California Business Roundtable recently adopted a position statement which acknowledges the complexity of the issue and calls for businesses to support equal opportunity in the workplace by providing access, training and promotion based upon performance and potential for growth. Their position on affirmative action is based upon two fundamental beliefs: As I read the statement of the California Business Roundtable, I was struck by the similarity of their statement to conversations on the campus within the context of our strategic planning process. The concepts of inclusion, competitive challenge and striving for excellence are themes we will continue to discuss in the fall. We will, in addition, continue to provide an environment in which everyone is free to express his/her views on affirmative action and related public issues which may effect the campus.

Reconstruction Kick-off Ceremony

Exciting news! On Thursday, May 23, 1996 at 10:30 a.m., we will formally announce the kick-off of Phase II of our reconstruction, which will include earthquake repairs to Jerome Richfield Hall and the Sierra Tower buildings. These repairs are scheduled for completion over a 10 to 12 month period. During the summer, the Engineering Building will move into a construction mode with a 14 month completion schedule. Along with Science I, already undergoing repair work, this summer will represent the most active reconstruction period we have experienced since the immediate construction response following the earthquake. The final design documents for the Delmar T. Oviatt Library (Wing sections) and the Administration Building are also approaching completion.

We recently received $7.4 million from FEMA and are extremely optimistic that we will soon be notified of approval of an additional $35 to $45 million dollars. This will bring closure on all outstanding advances and re-establish the necessary cash flow for all future reconstruction projects.

Please plan to attend the press conference and kick-off on May 23rd on the knoll just north of Sierra Tower and Jerome Richfield Hall.

Commencements

Between May 24th and May 31st, we will honor over 6,300 students in ten ceremonies; commencements for each of our eight schools and the Ventura campus and the annual Honor's Convocation. These ceremonies provide us the opportunity to honor and recognize the scholarship and excellence of our graduates - truly our greatest achievement as a university.

I hope you will join me in participating in these wonderful events, and in offering congratulations to our graduates and to their families who have supported and encouraged their successful journey at Cal State Northridge.

Summer Vacations

For many of you, May is a culminating month in the academic calendar and you will soon turn your attention to a well-earned vacation or special project . Albeit for shorter times, the next few months will also enable many staff and administrators to join their families and friends for some time away from the campus. We have had a challenging and ever busy academic year and I wish you a summer filled with rest, relaxation and fun.

I look forward to seeing you in the fall, rejuvenated and excited about continuing the progress we have achieved together at Cal State Northridge.

Blenda J. Wilson
President