As a quiet, yet consistent theme, I heard of CSUN’s strengths and challenges around campus resources, spending priorities, and concerns about the long-term fiscal outlook for the campus and the state in a post-pandemic future. I heard about the advantages and disadvantages of a decentralized structure, balancing flexibility at the department level with the real and perceived siloes that emerge — and how that impacts our students and our employees.
I heard appreciation for the increased transparency in the budget process and budget communications, as well as a desire to better understand the complexities of our budget and our long-term fiscal outlook.
Many expressed a need to better fund our campus goals, yet the examples of goals referenced in these conversations varied widely across the Listening Tour. I heard a consistent “why” and “what” in search of greater understanding the university’s priorities, their alignment with our activities, and concern that we have more goals than can be adequately resourced.
I heard that faculty and staff have been encouraged to be innovative, yet some noted that the institutional structures and resources to do so, or to collaborate across divisions and departments, were lacking. Several members of our community expressed feeling overwhelmed in the virtual environment and a desire for greater connection with one another and the need for additional tools, training, and support to accomplish their work.
I also heard concerns about the impact of the budget cuts we have already sustained and the need to secure additional resources to hire faculty and staff, modernize our educational environment, and upgrade our technological and physical infrastructure in service of academic excellence.
WHAT I’M THINKING:
I am committed to ensuring that we write our next chapter together, rooted in a shared vision that is articulated with clear priorities that have the resources they need to be impactful. In the end, this will require that we make choices about which priorities are most central to the next phase of our journey and that we engage in extensive dialogue, grounded in equity, about our aspirations for the future.
Given the uncertainty of the post-pandemic economy, competing priorities over future state and federal dollars, ongoing shifts in college enrollment patterns, and a long-standing history of large and often unpredictable year-to-year budget swings, it is clear that we need to take the long-view for resource allocation and explore additional opportunities to secure the resources we need to advance academic and inclusive excellence into the future.