Another recurring theme revolves around the university’s outward facing reputation and deep connections with our external partners. There is a great sense of shared community and pride among everyone in the Matador community, including our alumni, donors, and community neighbors.
You told me how CSUN serves as a steward of place and anchor for our surrounding communities in the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles area and the aspiration to extend our reach even wider across the state, nation, and even the globe. Our alumni expressed immense appreciation for the transformative impact of their CSUN education and how they are using it to strengthen the communities in which they are a part. Industry leaders and our PK-14 educational partners told me about how eager they are to hire CSUN graduates because they know our graduates are prepared to lead in their organizations.
You also affirmed our campus’ role in serving as an intellectual and social resource to the community and our long-standing commitment to help solve the challenges we collectively face. I heard pride in our activist history and a strong desire to affect change around us for the betterment of our society, which advances racial and social justice and disrupts intergenerational inequity.
Internal and external members of our campus community expressed a sense that we are too humble and would be well-served to brag more about the exceptional quality of our programs. Alumni and students told me about the transformational impact that our campus has had on their lives and expressed a desire to amplify the recognition of the good that is happening on our campus by broadening our channels of communication and letting the world know that we have the knowledge, expertise, and academic programs to rival any institution in this country. I also heard that we needed to more robustly tap into our alumni to carry the message and expand opportunities with alumni, many of whom want to contribute their time and talents.
Several of you expressed a desire to more fully engage the richness of diversity of our communities and an eagerness to expand our civic and educational partnerships and create more seamless PK-14 educational pathways that advance equity and educational attainment.
WHAT I’M THINKING:
We serve as an anchor for our region and play an essential role in the health and vitality of our local community and economy. As such, we must continue to be faithful partners in responding to and addressing the social and economic challenges that we face and provide our students with opportunities to lead meaningful and impactful change around us.
It did not take long for me to see the extraordinary pride our community has in our students and the transformational education that we provide. CSUN is known far and wide as one of the most significant facilitators of social mobility in the country with a well-earned reputation for equitable and inclusive education nestled in the largest county in the nation, a region that is a magnet for innovation across a vast array of disciplines and is home to all of you — an exceptional faculty and staff who lead robust academic, research, and student development programs with more than 375,000 alumni and counting.
There is little doubt that we can and should lead the future of higher education in California and beyond, and I am committed to ensuring that we are no longer one of “the best kept secrets” in higher education. Our work is transformative, and it is critically important that we share our work with the greater world of higher education in order to realize the greatest amount of change possible. Our work doesn’t just impact individual lives, it changes family trees and elevates entire communities. Further, our work serves as the great equalizer in our shared pursuit of racial and social justice for all.