President's Office

From the President's Desk August 25 1998

Welcome to the Fall Semester

In the natural world the beginning of spring is a welcome time of renewal and rebirth. In academia, however, the season of renewed energy, the return of old friends and the greeting of new students is the fall. I'm pleased to welcome faculty, staff and returning students back for the start of the new academic year, hoping that the summer break was refreshing and renewing. I especially want to greet the newest members of our community - new faculty, students and staff - and extend a warm welcome to the campus on behalf of the entire university community. This is an ideal time for all of us to reflect on our university's mission, which is to help students achieve their educational goals. Our remarkable faculty and committed administrators and staff look forward to working with all students to assure their academic success.

Several significant events took place during the summer. KCSN News won three first place, nationwide awards from the Society of Professional Journalists in the "Mark of Excellence" competition. The Society includes universities and colleges from 11 regions throughout the country. The awards will be presented at the upcoming national convention in Los Angeles from October 22 to 24. All of us take great pride in the quality of KCSN's broadcasts, and I am pleased that their distinctive contributions to the community have received national recognition.

Each year the Department of Mechanical Engineering organizes a team of senior engineering students to participate in the Society of Automotive Engineering's Formula Car Challenge. Under the guidance of Dr. Stewart Prince, the team of 16 students designed, manufactured, tested and raced a formula car. This year 110 universities competed in Pontiac, Michigan, including entries from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and England. This year's CSUN team had its most successful campaign ever, finishing second in methanol fuel efficiency and 22nd overall. Congratulations, engineers!

We broke ground on the biotech development on the North Campus with excellent support from the community and attendance by Mayor Richard Riordan, Councilman Hal Bernson and Al Mann, founder of MiniMed. We look forward to finding other private sector partners to build entertainment related facilities, as recommended by the North Campus Task Force, to support the work of the new Entertainment Industry Institute and the colleges that are collaborating in the institute.

The Athletic Facilities Siting Advisory Committee has been appointed and begun weekly meetings to advise us on locations for football, baseball and soccer facilities. Under the chairmanship of David Honda, a community member of the North Campus/University Park Development Corporation and the University Advisory Board, the committee is charged with recommending sites that will serve the university's commitment to maintain a broad-based intercollegiate athletics program with minimal negative impact on our neighbors.

We will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year! The 40th Anniversary Steering Committee of Donald Cameron (co-chair), Bill Outhouse (co-chair), Vicki Allen, John Clendenning, Albert Lapides, Gray Mounger, Barbara Perkins, William Schlosser and Fred Strache have engaged faculty and staff, emeriti faculty, community members, students and alumni in planning events and celebrations. We will highlight the history and accomplishments of Cal State Northridge throughout the year. You'll be receiving announcements of 40th Anniversary activities and will shortly see 40th Anniversary banners surrounding the campus. Please plan to participate in as many activities as you can.

To start the year off:

All faculty and staff are invited to the President's annual Welcome Back Coffee on Friday, August 28, beginning at 9 a.m. This year's coffee will be held at the Sierra Quad. Welcoming remarks will be made by Faculty President Al Kinderman, Associated Students President Joaquin Macias and me.

On Wednesday, September 2, all students are invited to the annual Welcome Back Picnic, where campus administrators, faculty, staff and I will serve free refreshments. Picnic hours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come out and enjoy plenty of food, soft drinks and music.

On Wednesday, September 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., faculty and staff are invited to join me in officially welcoming David Liu to Cal State University Northridge at a reception at the University Club. Dr. Liu joined the President's staff as Chief Information Officer in June and serves as an Executive Officer of the University. His leadership of our information technology resources will be essential to maintaining the quality of the university in this information age.

The new Chancellor of the California State University, Charles B. Reed will make his first visit to Cal State Northridge and the San Fernando Valley on Thursday, September 17. At 3:30 p.m., the Chancellor will speak at a campus Open Forum for members of the university community in the Performing Arts Center. The forum will provide an opportunity to welcome Chancellor Reed to the campus and learn about his priorities for the CSU. I urge all members of the university community to attend.

Budget Allocations Support Strategic Priorities

Our 1998-99 budget process was very successful in achieving the goal of supporting our strategic priorities. With the signing of the new state budget, we are able to fund searches for 71 full-time tenure track faculty positions during the coming year. That includes new positions as well as replacements for faculty who have retired or resigned. The allocation to Academic Affairs units will also include additional staff support and an increase in operating expenses. Budget allocations to Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, and University Relations similarly addressed priorities for staffing.

These allocations are consistent with the priorities that were established in our budget planning process. As discussed with the University Budget Advisory Board, our top priority was to fund the instructional program to serve projected enrollments. This enables Provost Louanne Kennedy and the deans to take into account the needs of the various departments to improve the ratio of full time to part-time faculty and fulfill accreditation requirements. If future state budgets continue to fully fund enrollment, we can look forward to implementing the five-year budget plan that was developed by Academic Affairs.

I want to thank the members of the University Budget Advisory Board for their thoughtful deliberations in the budget process, and everyone who participated in the divisional budget process, led by each of the vice presidents and the provost, for continuing our progress in addressing our strategic goals.

Fund Raising Increased by 137%

The Council for Aid to Education recently released a report for fiscal year 1996/97 in which Cal State Northridge was ranked 18th in the nation among masters I category institutions for fund raising results. We're proud to note that our sister institution, Cal State Long Beach, was #1.

I am pleased to announce that our fund raising results for the past year will most assuredly move us higher in the rankings. For fiscal year 1997/98 our fund raising activity increased 137%, from $7,379,600 to $17,482,400. This is a record breaking total for Cal State Northridge! I am also pleased to note that a major portion of this total is due to the direct involvement of faculty members in the development process.

In the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Ramin Roosta is responsible for an $11 million gift of specialized software to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Cal State Northridge is one of a small number of universities in the country to have received this software. Also, a retiring faculty member, who prefers to remain anonymous at this time, contributed a $1 million charitable remainder trust to the university.

While these two gifts swelled the year-end total significantly, it is important to note that fund raising results were higher or level for all 19 fund-raising units. Units with increases of 50% or more included Academic Affairs; Arts, Media and Communications; Athletics; Health and Human Development; Engineering and Computer Science; KCSN; Science and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Well done!

These results represent the continuing work of deans, department chairs and faculty supported by development staff in the Division of University Relations and in the colleges and units. Because every donation, large and small, helps maintain academic excellence at Cal State Northridge, every dollar raised is a gift to us all.

Appointment of Interim Dean of the College of Education

Please join me in welcoming Mary Katherine Tetreault as interim dean of the College of Education, Dr. Tetreault began August 17, 1998. We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Tetreault's experience and qualifications serve in this important position during this time of significant challenge in the preparation of teachers in the State of California. While with us through the 1998 99 academic year, Dr. Tetreault will be on leave from California State University, Fullerton, where she has served as both dean of the School of Human Development and Community Service, which includes teacher preparation, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Her accomplishments during her 11 years at Fullerton have been outstanding. She led a university-wide project to refine and articulate the institution's mission and goals, and in partnership with faculty governance she revised policies and procedures for the evaluation of faculty and the reform of General Education. She has been highly active in collaborative projects with the public schools and founded several professional development schools in local school districts. Her accomplishments in attracting grants to CSU, Fullerton and her commitment to diversity efforts have earned her high praise.

During the coming academic year, the search for a permanent dean of the College of Education will continue. The Search and Screen Committee that was formed last year has agreed to continue its work. Carolyn Ellner will complete her last year before her retirement as Special Assistant to the Provost in charge of several special projects. In addition, she will lend her expertise to the Search and Screen Committee and to the interim dean during the period of transition.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Tetreault to the campus and to her important role in the College's development.

The Technology Infrastructure Initiative -- After CETI

I've been asked to comment on the future of CSU's plans to build out the technology infrastructure, given the dissolution of the CETI partnership. The Technology Infrastructure Initiative (TII), you will recall, predates the CETI initiative and represents the CSU's continuing commitment to provide up-to-date technology support to enhance teaching, learning and administrative productivity. CETI was an effort to obtain alternative revenue sources for funding the expense of the infrastructure buildout at a time of increasingly constrained state resources.

The public/private partnership was not realized because the CSU and the prospective partners were unable to achieve their respective financial objectives. However, the commitment to TII remains. The Chancellor and the Board of Trustees continue to support the TII.

The positive outcomes of the CETI negotiation were a strengthened TII plan--we understand more about system needs, infrastructure standards, operations and support needs than we might have without the discipline of the CETI process. An improved financial environment and legislative support for utilizing technology to address the urgent need to improve teacher preparation, for example, provide a climate in which new funding strategies can be pursued.

SIP (the Systemwide Internal Partnership) will be focused on alternative funding and management strategies for building out the TII. Cal State Northridge faculty and staff have played key roles in these efforts and I have every confidence that we will continue to help shape policies in this field of endeavor that is so important to our mission.

Blenda J. Wilson

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President Blenda J. Wilson