November 21, 2019
Dear CSUN Community,
As we enter the final weeks of the semester, there is great momentum across campus in our collaborative work toward the success of our students. This strong trajectory on our top priority has given me comfort in sharing with you that after 44 years in higher education, I have made the decision to step away from the presidency of CSUN effective June 30, 2020. Chancellor Timothy P. White will be informing our CSU colleagues with a statement later today.
My husband John and I have tremendous appreciation for the incredible support you have shown to us, and the opportunity to serve the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of CSUN since 2012, and the CSU since 2006. It has been an honor and privilege to lead our great institution for almost eight years.
Thanks to the efforts of our campus community, our graduation and retention rates are going in the right direction and much improved. Average unit load continues to climb for our freshman and transfer students, decreasing the time to degree for those who want to graduate sooner. Research funding has never been greater, a huge testament to the important work of our faculty and staff.
The position of Chief Diversity Officer and the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion have been established to support an inclusive learning environment. We have hired more tenure track faculty and been more intentional about inclusiveness in our search processes.
We have been setting new records in total giving and the number of donors nearly every year. More alumni are engaged with the campus as donors, volunteers, mentors and event participants than ever before.
The campus is a role model in sustainability, with external awards to support the efforts, as we do our part as stewards of place and prepare our students to be good global citizens.
The Association of Public and Land Grant Universities designated CSUN an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University for our efforts to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership in talent and workforce development, and establishing strong government-university-industry partnerships. The number and depth of our international partnerships are stronger than ever.
A hotel on campus has been approved and we are preparing to break ground. We advocated for and secured $180 million in funding for improved mass transit access for CSUN and the Northwest Valley.
Bolstered by CSUN’s first and also award-winning brand platform, which showcases the brilliant work of our faculty, staff and students, as well as the achievements of our alumni, our reputation and visibility have increased across Los Angeles and beyond, elevating the value of a CSUN degree.
The leadership on campus is strong. Our dynamic new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Mary Beth Walker, complements a highly effective and capable team in the Cabinet. Individually and collectively, we have made and are continuing to make progress on important issues.
Following my transition, and energized by our good work together, I plan to continue advocating nationally for social justice, educational accessibility, sustainability and improvements in mental health care, and perhaps enjoy a bit more time with my grandkids.
I take pride in what we have accomplished together and transition with great confidence that CSUN is poised to continue advancing student success, and all of our campus planning priorities, while remaining true to our core values.
Please be assured that this is just an early alert of my plans. I will continue to advance an ambitious agenda through this academic year to ensure that the momentum we have created together will continue into the future.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
California State University, Northridge