In every corner of the campus and in celebration of colleagues, in pedagogical approaches, in our research and scholarly activities, and in the pandemic pivot to virtual learning, I heard of the leading edge and creative practices being implemented across the campus. I heard of the interdisciplinary and cross-division collaborations, like those facilitated by the Institute for Sustainability, that serve to amplify the work of colleagues across campus and in the community. I heard that these opportunities sparked new lines of thinking and elicited expressions of joy from solving challenges in novel and compelling ways.
I heard pride in our nationally renowned areas of strength as we forge new paths for our students, for each other, and for society. From pioneering a focus on Ethnic Studies and cultural competencies in our general education curriculum (Area F), to weathering multiple budget storms better than most and our extensive history of transforming ourselves in the face of challenges, CSUN has been a vanguard for disrupting antiquated models.
I also heard that we have sometimes missed opportunities to advance compelling new projects and initiatives that would have advanced our mission as the result of an overly risk-averse orientation and burdensome bureaucracy that resulted in inefficiencies and duplication of effort. Several individuals recounted processes so formidable and time-consuming that they stymied creative thought and cross-divisional partnerships that need to be supported and rewarded.
WHAT I’M THINKING:
We are an incredibly large and complex institution that sits in the largest system of higher education in the nation. There are many policies over which we do not have constitutional authority that fall to the Board of Trustees or systemwide Collective Bargaining agreements, but we can use our voice to help influence their content and, moreover, the implementation of those policies can sometimes be shaped to meet the unique needs of a campus. We can and should regularly review our ways of work to ensure that we are supporting each other, facilitating innovative practices, and not slowing ourselves down or creating unnecessary barriers. I am committed to fostering innovation in the classroom, in our work, and in our problem-solving. I look forward to continuing the conversations on this topic so we can leverage disruptive strategies to advance inquiry and discovery and accelerate our equity impact.