Message to the Campus Community on Address by Dr. William Plater on the Learning-Centered University

Jolene Koester

February 17, 2004

To the Campus Community:

During my 2003 annual convocation, I spoke about how several external, national trends in higher education were moving many universities to become more "learning-centered." I mentioned that we, as a campus community, would engage in more dialogue about this issue in the coming year so that we could come to consensus about what it means to be a learning-centered university. Developing and setting clear goals in this area will be essential to planning the future growth and direction of California State University, Northridge, particularly as we deal with challenges like increasing enrollments, more limited budgets, greater demands for "accountability," and our upcoming accreditation.

I have spoken in more detail about this initiative during my recent annual visits to the colleges this spring. At those meetings, I mentioned that the University had invited a nationally-known expert on the learning centered university -- Dr. William Plater, Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis -- to speak at CSUN and to formally help us launch our work in this area.

I am pleased to invite all members of the campus community, including faculty, students and staff, to Dr. Plater's address, which is scheduled for Friday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, in the Music Department's recital hall, which is room 158 of the Music Building (MU 158).

Since the convocation address, and at my spring visits to the colleges, I have received many questions about what it means to become a more learning-centered university. I am confident that Dr. Plater's presentation will answer many of these questions and help the campus community gain a deeper understanding about this issue as we prepare to move forward in this area. For additional background, I also encourage you to review the 2003 convocation, which is available online at

In addition, throughout the remainder of the spring semester, Provost Linda Bain, Vice President for Student Affairs Terry Piper, and I will hold informal dialogue sessions with faculty, staff and students about this issue. These sessions should help us to begin thinking about the process of becoming more learning centered and what it will mean for us as a campus community, in preparation for a more formal period of planning that will take place in 2004-05. Details regarding time and place of the dialogues sessions will be announced soon.

We are embarking on an exciting, new initiative that will help determine the future of the University. I hope you will join me in this endeavor and welcome Dr. Plater to CSUN on March 19.


Jolene Koester

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February 2004