President's Office

From the President's Desk December 2 1997


The campus has been engaged in many probing and thoughtful discussions over the past several weeks in regard to the CETI partnership agreement. There is no doubt that a robust systemwide technology infrastructure is vitally important to our ability to offer a first rate education in this technological age, and the means for securing the essential infrastructure fully merits the benefit of our collective thinking.

The CETI partnership agreement is, as you know, the result of several years of planning in the CSU, made increasingly urgent by the exponential growth in use of the Internet and the Web by CSU faculty, students and staff. Various strategies for funding - among them requests for state funding, proposals for campus-based student technology fees, and a proposal for a systemwide technology fee - have been developed, pursued and found not to be feasible. At the two campuses that conducted student fee referenda to support information technology, Sonoma and San Luis Obispo, the referenda failed. In recent legislative sessions, state policy makers have clearly expressed their opposition to student fee increases, enacting a 5% student fee reduction which will be offset by additional state appropriations.

The idea of a public/private partnership, with corporate partners guaranteeing the necessary financing to build out the infrastructure, is admittedly a bold and innovative approach, but it is not one that has been entered into without the most scrupulous attention to preserving the autonomy and integrity of the academic enterprise. From the beginning of the inquiry, representatives of the CSU Board of Trustees, the systemwide Academic Senate, the CSSA and the Executive Council have considered CSU control of the partnership and the preservation of faculty intellectual property rights as non-negotiable.

Nevertheless, the CETI partnership differs from the kinds of agreements that we are familiar with in universities. This difference and the rapid decision-making in private industry confuses and frightens many university people. When it was announced that the partnership agreement was to be finalized this December, campus faculty senates across the system passed resolutions seeking to delay the agreement and requesting additional consultation.

Ms. Martha C. Fallgatter, Chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, and the SIP/CETI team are endeavoring to respond to the concerns that have been expressed. Ms. Fallgatter has requested that CETI information be made immediately available to as many people as possible via the CSU website at Several detailed Q&A documents have been prepared to answer questions that were raised during the campus rollout discussions of the partnership during the last month. In addition, our negotiating team has delayed the date for signing a partnership agreement until January 27-28, 1998, to coincide with the meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Because we are one of the leading campuses in the system in the utilization of information technology for instruction, California State University, Northridge has a major stake in the details and progress of the partnership agreement. We have been fortunate to have Dr. Susan Curzon's leadership in developing several major plans for technology, including a plan for 24-hour access and a baseline infrastructure plan, which has also provided the framework for our earthquake recovery infrastructure decisions. Dr. Curzon and her staff have been vigilant in making sure that our technology planning has been the subject of regular and ongoing consultation with the Academic Technology Committee of the Faculty Senate, and presentations have been made, throughout the years, to academic and staff groups.

With final exam and holiday break schedules immediately ahead of us, and with the advice and counsel of Faculty President James Goss, we have arranged two meetings on the campus to provide updated information about the proposed CETI agreement and to address faculty concerns. The first will take place before the holiday break. On Thursday, December 18, at 2 p.m. in the Oviatt Library, Room 314, we will hold a workshop to discuss any issues that you may have and then transmit them to the SIP/CETI team for consideration in finalizing the agreement.

On Tuesday, January 13, at 2 p.m., a special meeting of the Academic Technology Committee will be held to consider updated information again and to follow up on the issues that will have been raised by our faculty and staff. We are grateful that some members of the Academic Technology Committee have agreed to be available for this additional consultation prior to the scheduled signing of the partnership agreement.

I encourage you to read the communications that will be placed on the Web, to send your comments and questions to Dr. Goss, Dr. Curzon or any member of the Academic Technology Committee, and to attend the scheduled meetings. All Cal State Northridge faculty and staff have the opportunity to influence the principles that will guide CETI and to assure yourself that the academic integrity of the university will not be compromised in this agreement. Please take advantage of these opportunities and help our team craft an agreement that will move the campus and the system forward in securing this essential resource for our important work.


Responding forthrightly to public concern about the quality of new teachers and California's poor ranking in federal assessments of student's math and reading abilities, the CSU Board of Trustees endorsed a new report recommending a system overhaul of teacher training programs. The CSU is the state's primary source of teachers, graduating nearly 11,000, or 57%, of last year's newly credentialed elementary and secondary instructors. The Trustees' allocation of additional funds for teacher education, reported below, is clear evidence of their commitment to strengthening the CSU's ability to fulfill its historic mission with continued distinction. The Trustees' redesign of teacher preparation programs responds to Governor Pete Wilson's class reduction initiative, which required 20,000 new teachers just last year and projects the need for an estimated 300,000 new teachers for the new century to accommodate the anticipated increase in the school-age population.

Highlights of the report call for forming partnerships between schools of education and school districts for teacher training; setting stringent graduation requirements for prospective teachers; giving college students more hands-on training in the classroom along with support in their first years; and establishing a reward system for faculty and administrators that recognizes successful efforts to help prepare better teachers. Individual campuses will have the flexibility to design ways to carry out the Trustees' charge.

As I reported in my last From the President's Desk, the university has already begun to address the issues of strengthened teacher preparation through the work of AUTEC and the appointment of a new coordinator of Pre-K-16 Outreach, Dr. Crystal Gips. Our hope is to build strong relationships with the public schools in our region in order to improve the quality of our teacher education programs and attract high ability students to the teaching profession. Along with the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Barry Munitz and incoming Chancellor Charles Reed, we are committed to strengthening the state's teaching work force. And, I might add, Cal State Northridge is well positioned to take a state leadership role to improve student achievement.


The recent award of an additional $63 million from FEMA virtually guarantees that we will be able to complete our earthquake recovery program and make substantial progress in implementing major landscape improvements on the main campus. Cal State Northridge received the first settlement awarded under FEMA's new Grant Acceleration Program, a fast track program designed to reduce the bureaucracy and time delays related to damage survey reports and engineering studies previously required for earthquake relief funding.

The lump sum award is based on FEMA acceptance of our estimates of the costs to renovate the old Administration Building into a new Student Services Center, demolish the University Tower Apartments, build new permanent quarters for a Technology Center and the College of Health and Human Development, build a new facility for the College of Arts, Media, and Communication, and construct a new Administration Building.

The Grant Acceleration award is a tribute to Vice President Art Elbert, his facilities staff and our construction managers, Mr. Bill Quaid and Mr. Randy Duncan, who, under the rigorous scrutiny of FEMA and OES officials, have demonstrated superior financial and construction management controls. As we head toward the four year anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, I continue to be gratified by the dedication of so many of you who have maintained our commitment to rebuild our university in a way that will serve our students into the next millennium. As Vice President Al Gore said in his press announcement about the award, "This is good news for students, teachers and the surrounding community which depend on the university."


In reviewing the needs of the Office of the President and the many strategic issues we face in the coming years, I have decided to create a new position, to be called Executive Associate, in the Office of the President. This position of senior leadership will be involved in all university policy issues in an advisory and support role, will interact on my behalf with campus and external groups, and will help to supervise the ongoing operations of the President's Office. This action follows a decision by my Executive Assistant, Ms. Kris Crase, to obtain a position which more fully utilizes her legal training and student development experience.

I will seek to attract a senior level academic administrator to assist me in providing leadership for the thoughtful implementation of our strategic themes and goals and in responding, in particular, to my need to consult and communicate more widely and rapidly about major issues. These include academic reform, governance, economic development, our relationships with schools and our immediate community and our responsibilities to the CSU system.

I am grateful that Mr. Steve Montgomery, Director of Human Resource Services, has agreed to chair the screening committee. Other members of the search committee will include Dr. Robert Kemmerling, Dr. Crystal Gips and Dr. Nalsey Tinberg. A position description will be distributed during the first week of December, and I anticipate making an appointment by February 1, 1998.

While I and the many faculty and staff with whom she regularly interacts will miss Ms. Crase's willing assistance and unfailing congeniality, I share her excitement about moving her career forward and am pleased that she will be available to effect a smooth transition.


I am very pleased and excited about a new direction for development of the North Campus that has been approved in principle by the North Campus Development Corporation Board of Directors. The new concept builds upon the report of the North Campus Task Force and is consistent with the pledge I made to the CSU Board of Trustees in September that future plans would be related to the academic and strategic priorities of the University.

This concept anticipates three development uses for the entire 65 acres of the North Campus:

Entertainment-related facilities would be directly linked to the university's strategic initiative, the Entertainment Industry Institute, which includes the College of Arts, Media, and Communication, the College of Business Administration and Economics, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the College of Extended Learning.

Athletics facilities and the University Village Apartments will occupy the middle parcel. The University Village Apartments enable University faculty and staff to live close to the campus. Future facilities needs for athletics will be developed after campus decisions, which will follow the report of the Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics.

A biotech park is being considered for the Devonshire frontage of the North Campus. This would have a strong and direct link to many of our programs in science, health and human services, and extended learning. It also has the additional benefit of creating new jobs and helping to keep the high technology industry in the Valley.

The new concept for developing the North Campus is part of our long term strategy for securing a stable source of income without financial risk to the university. The proposed development also fulfills important academic and community relations goals by providing strong linkages to the university's academic programs and enhancing the physical and economic development of the surrounding community.

The initial response of the North Campus Task Force to the proposed new direction has been very positive. The outlines of the proposal have been shared with a number of internal and external groups, and the consultation process will continue as more detailed plans are developed. Everyone is encouraged to attend the Master EIR Scoping Meeting of December 4 at 7 p.m. in the Grand Salon to hear presentations on the plans for construction on both the main campus and the North Campus and to provide comments and advice.

We will be sure to keep you informed of our progress. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frank Wein, manager of the North Campus Development, at (818) 677-2561 should you wish further information.


You will recall that the major impetus for seeking public/private partnerships for developing the North Campus is the continuing and increasing need for the university to supplement its state revenues. The enrollment demand of Tidal Wave II is continuing to challenge us at the same time that CSU budget negotiations with the Governor and the CFA are taking place. Two priorities in these negotiations, which we support, are requests that the state fund actual enrollment on the campuses and that funds be provided to close the faculty salary gap. Our budget planning will require close attention to these developments and sufficient flexibility to accommodate the outcomes of these negotiations.

Recent developments in this year's budget underscore this point. The CSU has provided budget supplements to the campuses to recognize contributions to the preparation of teachers, increased enrollments and increased costs of technology. As a part of those distributions, Cal State Northridge received $412,000 to increase support for teacher preparation. Under the direction of Dr. Crystal Gips, the College of Education and AUTEC, these funds will be used to maintain and enhance our teacher credential programs by providing salary support for additional faculty. Cal State Northridge received the largest supplemental allocation for this purpose.

The CSU also distributed additional funds to campuses that have enrollments in excess of 2% of their budgeted target. Again, Cal State Northridge was one of the largest recipients, receiving $728,240. Sixty percent of the available funds are being provided this fall and additional funding will be received in the spring. Spring allocations will be based on the levels of overenrollment experienced by all of the campuses and on the proportion of fully-qualified new upper division students. Because Cal State Northridge has already implemented requirements that upper division students demonstrate completion of English Composition and Mathematics, we should fare well in the spring distribution of remaining dollars for overenrollment.

The CSU has directed Cal State Northridge to allocate $586,000 of our allocation for overenrollment to intercollegiate athletics to comply with the Budget Act requirement to fund men's athletic teams this year. Since we had anticipated that development, our budget planning utilized State University Fee Revenue to support the equivalent of 16 additional faculty positions, faculty salary benefits, additional classes, and instructional supplies to serve the expanded enrollment.

A supplemental allocation of $836,062 for the baseline technology initiative, added to our own funds from State University Fee Revenue, helped us meet the request for funding the ITR operating budget and most of the budget initiative requests for technology funding for this year. Two hundred thirty-three thousand dollars of the $1,295,000 requested for Technology and Communications Infrastructure have been deferred to next year.

In summary, while we are effectively and responsibly managing this year's budget, it remains tight and somewhat of a moving target. Our priority on student achievement is very evident in the additional classes that have been provided, in more rigorous advisement and assessment and in the continued faculty attention to the structure of the curriculum. All of this is the result of extraordinary faculty and staff effort, for which I commend you all.


At the CSU Board of Trustees Meeting on November 12, 1997, the Trustees approved an 8%, or $2.1 billion systemwide budget request, for 1998-99. Due to a continuing escalation of enrollments throughout the system, the budget request departs from the 1995 budget compact with Governor Pete Wilson. That compact, you will recall, provided an annual budget increase of 4% with a requirement that student enrollments increase 1% through 1998-99.

However, demonstrating the reality of Tidal Wave II, in fall 1997 the system had the equivalent of 10,000 more full-time students than were funded in the 1997-98 state budget. Next year, enrollment is expected to grow an additional 4%, bringing total enrollment to approximately 270,800 full time equivalent students. Because so many students study part time, the current actual student count is about 344,000 students.

Attached to this issue of From the President's Desk is a flyer recently published by the California Faculty Association, which gives an overview of the share of state resources going to higher education at the very time when so many new students are seeking access to the CSU. It calls upon the CSU, the governor and the state legislature to invest in our most important state resource and add funding to the higher education base. I encourage your active participation in supporting the trustee budget request and hope that you will add your voice to those who would hope to secure California's educational future.


I'm pleased to add my voice to that of Provost Louanne Kennedy in announcing the annual United California State Employees Campaign, currently underway throughout California. As she has in past, Provost Kennedy is leading the University's participation in this important drive on campus.

As state employees, your participation in the United California Campaign is an opportunity to express caring for our communities and neighbors and to assist the many volunteer agencies that represent our society's commitment to the less fortunate. In California, the inevitability of major disasters certainly underscores the important mission of relief organizations. All of the agencies served by the Campaign represent the very best of our national character.

The Campaign provides a quick and convenient opportunity to contribute to the charity of your choice. We have all benefitted individually and as a community from the work of these voluntary organizations, so as we approach the traditional season of giving, please give generously.


In a recent federal court decision, U. S. District Judge Marianna Pfaelzer ruled that most of Proposition 187, the voter-approved state ballot measure which banned public benefits to immigrants, is preempted by the new Welfare Reform Act. This ruling leaves the state measure without without any legal effect. Most of Proposition 187 never went into effect because of temporary injunctions issued after its 1994 passage. The parties had until November 28, 1997, to file motions on Pfaelzer's ruling and it is anticipated that the California Attorney General will appeal the judgment to the Ninth Circuit.

The impact of the ruling is to eliminate any requirement that public universities verify their students' residency or report students who are not legal residents. You will recall the strong campus sentiments against those provisions. Therefore, we are very pleased that, at this time, the CSU is not required to do anything in response to the passage of Proposition 187. We will continue to monitor the court proceedings and keep you informed on this matter.

Blenda J. Wilson

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