President's Office

From the President's Desk December 18 1998

December 18, 1998

New CSU Assignment for Vice President Elbert

Dr. Arthur J. Elbert has announced his decision to accept a position as Senior Director of Facilities Projects in the CSU Chancellor's Office, effective January 1, 1999. In this new role, Dr. Elbert will report to Vice Chancellor Richard West. While his major responsibilities will be facilities projects related to land development, off-campus centers, disaster recovery and facilities acquisitions at other CSU campuses, he will continue a regular association with Cal State Northridge in support of our campus reconstruction activities. I know that Vice President Elbert will be missed by his friends and colleagues on our campus; please join me in wishing him well as he assumes this new opportunity to contribute to the entire Cal State system.

I want to express my appreciation for Dr. Elbert's unique service to the university. He has been the guiding force in the university's successful recovery from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. He built a stable and effective relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state agencies to obtain more than $327 million in recovery funds and played a central role in negotiating the public/private partnership with Mr. Al Mann for the development of the North Campus biotechnology park. For many years to come, the campus will have facilities that bear his mark and lasting legacy.

The management of North Campus issues will shift to Mr. Thomas McCarron, our newly hired executive director of the University Corporation and the North Campus/University Park Development Corporation, with support from our Facilities Planning staff. Immediately following the holiday break I will consult the senior managers in the Division of Administration and Finance to determine the best way to provide interim leadership of the division while the search for a new vice president is launched.

Noteworthy Achievements

  • A graduate student in the Department of Geography, Mr. Matthew T. Rosenberg, has just had an interesting book published. Entitled the Handy Geography Answer Book. and intended for a lay audience, the book conveys Mr. Rosenberg's passion for geography in an enjoyable format. Published by Visible Ink Press, it would make a wonderful holiday gift!


  • Cal State Northridge had one of its best showings at the annual student research competition sponsored by the South West Region of the American College of Sports Medicine. From among 19 students from the southwest who submitted research abstracts for consideration, two of our graduate students were selected to be among the six finalists, with one receiving grand prize honors.

    Mr. Marc A. Broberg, a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology, won the grand prize award for his paper on "The Effects of Fatigue on Subtalar Joint Kinematics and Muscle Activity in Running." His faculty sponsor was Dr. William C. Whiting, associate professor in Kinesiology.

    Ms. Lily Ansari, also in Kinesiology, was chosen as one of the six finalists for her paper on "Chronic Leptin Administration Improves Insulin-Stimulated Skeletal Muscle Glucose Uptake." Her faculty sponsor was Dr. Ben B. Yaspelkis III, assistant professor in Kinesiology.

    My congratulations to the students and their sponsors. Their achievements underscore the excellent research being conducted at the university by our faculty and students.


  • Dr. Gagik G. Melikyan, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, had a review on "Manganese-Based Organic and Bioinorganic Transformations" published in Aldrichimica Acta, a prestigious scientific journal devoted to chemistry. This is the first Cal State Northridge publication in this journal.


  • Mr. John Kroll, editorial director in Public Relations, was awarded a prestigious Council of Education and Support of Education (CASE) Award of Distinction in Magazine Writing for his article, "Sheneska Jackson's Blessings," which appeared in an issue of Northridge devoted to "growing writers." This is one of many CASE awards earned by our University Relations team.


  • Student members of the Recreation Majors Association were recognized at a recent social event for performing 85 hours of community service per member during this past year. Congratulations to the students for this remarkable commitment to community service and to Dr. Veda Ward and Dr. Jack Foley, who guided and mentored the students. This is one fine example of the university's commitment to the broader community.


    The e-Campus Re-engineering Project

     As I discussed in detail in the last From the President's Desk, we are moving forward to create an implementation plan for this initiative, guided by the review of campus financial management and fiscal controls that was conducted by K. Scott Hughes Associates. The draft report was the focus of a December 4 planning meeting with a work group of 15 administrators and staff selected from a cross-section of university and auxiliary units who established "tiger teams" that will analyze the recommendations and plan the best course of action for the implementation phase. The K. Scott Hughes Associates' final report, which will be submitted shortly, will include specific implementation recommendations.

    Our goal is to move quickly toward implementing the three major recommendations in the draft report. These are: strengthen controls over the processing of financial transactions; bring all university-related expenditures into the university's general ledger as a means of increasing control and improving the quality of financial management information; and improve the quality of financial management information throughout the organization.

    Questions have been raised about whether the recommendations in the draft report represent university policy. The answer is no. The first three months of the implementation phase will be devoted to planning: studying the recommendations, gathering additional information, consulting university faculty and staff who will be affected, and outlining an approach to implementation. These plans will be discussed with the University Budget Advisory Board (UBAB) and affected units before decisions are made about the specific course of action that will be implemented during the subsequent three months. The campus community, including the Executive Officers, UBAB and the "tiger teams," will determine the best course of action for achieving the major recommendations.

    We will keep you informed about this important initiative on a regular basis. The next step will be to identify the members of the "tiger teams" and the chairs so that the study process can begin soon after the beginning of the year.


    NCAA Self-Study

     I want to remind you that the university is conducting a year-long, campus-wide review of our intercollegiate athletics program as required by the NCAA Division I athletics certification process. A NCAA Self-Study Steering Committee, chaired by Dr. Ann Stutts, dean of the College of Health and Human Development, is preparing the required self-study of the campus' athletics program.

    The university will submit the self-study in April 1999 and undergo a campus visit by an NCAA peer review team in May 1999. After the site visit, the NCAA will decide whether to certify the athletic program.

    Similar to an academic accreditation process, the self-study gives us an opportunity to affirm our athletic program's goals and purposes and the ways in which athletics support the institution's overall mission. The certification requirement is a relatively new requirement for all 308 Division I members of the NCAA. Cal State Northridge is among the final group of universities scheduled to begin the process under what began as a five-year NCAA cycle.

    The accreditation requires Cal State Northridge and the NCAA to evaluate the campus's adherence to NCAA requirements in four broad areas: governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, fiscal integrity and commitment to equity. The university is required to evaluate its athletic program based on 17 NCAA operating principles among the four broad categories, considering issues such as admissions practices, graduation rates, financial aid, academic support, financial controls, and gender and minority issues.

    I encourage you to visit the committee's website at, which provides continuing information about the process. The next steering committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 1, 1999, at 4:00 p.m. in President's Conference Room A. Observers are welcome.

    Season's Greetings

    This year, three of the world's religions are celebrating major holy days at nearly the same time: the Jewish observance of Chanukah began on the evening of December 13, Muslims fast for Ramadan starting on the 20th, and Christians commemorate Christmastide beginning on the 25th. One of the blessings of religious freedom is the opportunity to be enriched by the festivities of many different religious traditions. Happy holidays and a joyous New Year.

    Blenda J. Wilson

    Other "From the President's Desks"

    CSUN home page

    President Blenda J. Wilson