President's Office

From the President's Desk July 12 1999

July 12, 1999

From the President's Deskis now a tradition at Cal State Northridge. It offers an opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and the extended university family to hear directly from the president about myriad issues that affect the entire campus and the ongoing achievements of our campus. I'm pleased to continue this tradition with this special summer issue.

Plans for the Coming Year

Under President Wilson's leadership, the university has significantly advanced its commitment to student achievement and the institution's ability to focus its collective efforts towards the achievement of our mission and goals. I feel fortunate to have served under Dr. Wilson and look forward to continuing the work she has begun and to contributing to the sense of community, dedication and pride she developed at Cal State Northridge through her leadership and example. I want to assure the campus community that the university will continue to build on and expand the strong foundation for growth and strength that President Wilson put in place during her distinguished tenure, even as we recruit for a new president.

This fall, when everyone has returned from the summer break, I intend to provide more information about how I envision our campus priorities for the coming academic year. Below is a highlight of some of those issues that I believe will require much of our attention and commitment in the coming year.

Budget: On June 29, the Governor signed the State Budget for 1999/2000, marking the first time in six years that it has been enacted before the July 1 deadline. The budget includes $2.25 billion in General Fund support for the California State University. This represents an increase in the CSU's General Fund support of $225.2 million, of which $24.2 million is provided to reduce state university fee rates by 5 percent for the academic year.

The budget supports many of the requests of the CSU Board of Trustees, allowing for 3 percent enrollment growth. It funds a 3.8 percent compensation pool ($69.8 million) for all employees and an additional 2 percent compensation supplement ($19.5 million) to address a faculty salary lag with CSU comparable institutions. One-time funds also will be provided to permit a 4 percent compensation pool for all employees. Other items supported by the budget include ongoing support for plant maintenance, CSU's technology infrastructure initiative, applied agricultural and biotechnology research, CSU Channel Islands campus support, and special legislative requests for campus-based programs. The final budget also includes General Fund support for outreach programs to improve student access to higher education ($14.4 million). This appropriation will fund student learning assistance, faculty alliances between university professors and high school teachers, and expanded support for CSU equal opportunity grants, precollegiate academic assistance, and the California Academic Partnership Program. The budget also provides a framework for developing a new higher education budget partnership with the state.

Details about our institution's budget and budget priorities will be discussed in more detail in an upcoming Budget Update. But the expanded budget that has been approved demonstrates the high priority that the state legislature and the governor place on education, and it provides us with the resources we need to fulfill our goals in the coming year.

Strategic Goals: Part of the focus of the coming year has been, for the most part, already defined for us in the strategic goals we set for ourselves earlier this year. You will recall that these five "SMART" goals, as developed by the Strategic Planning Governing Group (SPGG) and the president, include 1) improving upper division readiness of our native students; 2) reducing remediation; 3) increasing external grants and contracts; 4) increasing the percentage of students who participate in internships and service-learning activities; and 5) improving the campus climate and ensuring that students possess the skills and values necessary to work in diverse communities (SMART is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic, and Time-and cost-bound.) These goals are the implementation portion of our strategic plan and I'm pleased to report that funds from the Strategic Advancement Fund recently were allocated to the SMART goal teams to initiate the activities defined by the goal teams. I am grateful to the team leaders and members for their commitment to these projects, and I look forward to reporting on their progress in the coming year.

WASC Reaccreditation: Another important ongoing project is the university's upcoming accreditation review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). As we've reported in past issues, WASC reaccreditation occurs every 10 years, and the process involves the entire campus community. Given the changes in campus leadership and the delay in putting into place a new faculty contract within the CSU, WASC graciously has given the university additional time to consult more fully on the WASC self-study with the entire campus community. The accreditation visit is now scheduled to occur during the spring 2000 semester; the proposed dates are April 4-7, 2000. I'm grateful to WASC for giving us an opportunity to ensure that our self-study can benefit from comprehensive campus review. I appreciate, too, the work of the steering committee which has been charged with developing the draft self-study and, its chair, Dr. Cynthia Rawitch, for her leadership.

Construction and Development Projects: A variety of construction projects also will proceed over the next year, including the opening of the new Student Services Center in the former Administration Building and groundbreaking on new buildings for the College of Arts, Media, and Communication, the College of Health and Human Development, Information Technology Resources, and the new Administration Building. These projects are an opportunity for us to bring our physical environment in alignment with our goal to make the campus more student and service centered.

Other projects on campus also include the new biotechnology park being developed in partnership with MiniMed, Inc., on our North Campus. On one of her last days on campus, Dr. Wilson participated in a special ceremony that signaled the start of construction on the first phase of the project at the site. During the ceremony, Dr. Alfred E. Mann, the Chairman and Founder of MiniMed, presented Dr. Wilson with a first lease payment of $361,650. As many of you know, the project is designed to provide additional long-range revenues for the university, as well as employment and internship opportunities for students. The development of the North Campus was a longstanding goal of both Dr. Wilson and the campus, and I'm pleased that Dr. Wilson was here to see work begin on what I know will be one of the lasting legacies of her presidency.

New Appointments

Dr. William Toutant has been appointed Acting Dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Communication, and will serve during the time that Dean Philip Handler serves as Interim Provost. I am sure this is no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Dr. Toutant and his record of leadership and service on campus and to the college. He is a Professor of Music who has served 12 years as Associate Dean, first in the old School of the Arts and presently in the College of Arts, Media, and Communication. From 1994 to 1995, he served as Administrator-in-Charge of the Department of Art and from 1995-1996 he served as Administrator-in-Charge of the Department of Theatre. He has served as Acting General Manager of KCSN-FM and helped to establish the Entertainment Industry Institute. He remains active as a composer and his music has been performed in concert halls in far-ranging locations as Mexico City, Naples and Romania.

Dr. Mary Ann Cummins Prager has been appointed Acting Director for the Student Health Center. Given Dr. Cummins Prager's extensive experience in student services and her years of service in the Division of Student Affairs, I am confident she will excel in this position while Dr. Fred Strache, who is the Director of the Center, serves as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Cummins Prager will retain her responsibilities as Assistant Vice President for Operations and Personnel in this position.

I'm also pleased to announce that Ms. Delia Rudiger, who served as my Executive Assistant in the Provost's Office, has agreed to come with me to the Office of the President and serve as Chief of Staff. I'm grateful for the welcome that the President's staff has given Ms. Rudiger and me, and look forward to enhancing the service that the President's Office provides to students and the rest of the campus community.

Los Angeles Training Academy

I am proud to announce that Cal State Northridge will lead a public-public partnership to establish the Los Angeles County Training Academy, an innovative approach for the ongoing training and development of the county workforce to improve organizational performance and to provide quality customer service. This is a long-term initiative that was developed by Dr. Alan Glassman (Center for Management & Organization Development/College of Business Administration and Economics) and the County Department of Human Resources, based on the emergent corporate university model. Critical to the adoption of this initiative was the collaboration of Dean Joyce Feucht-Haviar and the College of Extended Learning, who formed a working partnership with the other CSU Colleges of Extended Learning in L.A. County and the community colleges to develop the program. Together, they will develop new programs using alternative delivery modes to increase access, custom design programs, and manage all aspects of programs from web page information to registration and record keeping to marketing and on-site support.

There are two major concepts that define this project and distinguish it from more traditional programs both within the county and the CSU. The first involves establishing a network partnership between the county, the CSU, the Community Colleges, and, at times, UCLA and the public school districts. The large-scale, cooperative project among public agencies represents an unprecedented effort to meet the projected job needs of public sector employees for the next century and an unparalleled partnership among public sector educational institutions. Secondly, the program curricula for all levels of the county workforce are being developed using a competency-based model that links job-related certificate programs to specific business goals and strategies. The Center for Management and Organization Development currently is piloting a structured need assessment process which includes focus group analysis using subject matter experts and survey research.

On July 21, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors included $1,000,000 in the adopted county budget to fund first-year activities. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Productivity Commission added $400,000. Approximately half of these funds will be administered by Cal State Northridge for the partnership. Additionally, the College of Extended Learning received a Chancellor's grant of $90,000 for creating the cross-institutional working relationships, program development strategies, and administrative systems during the first year. This multi-year project and the public-public partnership has the potential to be a national model. Congratulations to Dr. Glassman and Dean Feucht-Haviar, and good luck to all involved in the initial implementation.

Campus Achievements

  • Continuing Cal State Northridge's tradition of providing outstanding opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in valuable hands-on research work, the university in July begins a new outreach program that will recruit community college students who plan to pursue doctoral degrees in science, math and engineering.

"Raising Interest in Science and Engineering" (RISE) is a collaboration between the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The program's goal is to help students who clearly have potential in these fields to excel in them by providing financial assistance, summer research experience, research fellowship, etc. It is funded by the Office of Naval Research and will accept more than 60 students over a seven-year program

The award is clearly a recognition of Cal State Northridge's success in having a high percentage of students in these programs continue on to graduate school. My appreciation to the colleges' deans and especially RISE's co-directors, Ms. Karla Johnson-Majedi and Ms. Belinda Acuna, for their work in obtaining and leading the grant.

I would like to thank the entire campus community for its support and encouragement since the announcement of my appointment. While the university is in a time of transition, we should see this moment as an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the university and to continue the mutual goal of serving students and improving the quality of this institution. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with all of you and I am confident that this will be a productive and enjoyable year for all of us.

I hope we can all find time this summer to spend quality time with family and loved ones. In view of the goals we have set for ourselves, we can expect that this fall will be a challenging and exciting time. Please have a wonderful summer.

Louanne Kennedy
Interim President

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