President's Office

From the President's Desk October 29 1997

October 29, 1997


On Saturday, November 1, the American Lung Association and our Department of Kinesiology will host the Walk'n Run and 1997 Breath Games at the CSUN track. The day's events include a 5K run for the public and a series of track and field activities for children with asthma. All proceeds will go to the American Lung Association of LA County.

We are grateful to Professor Steven Loy for his role in coordinating this activity and want to acknowledge the generosity of the American Lung Association in providing $1,000 and $500 scholarships respectively to the student who registers the most participants and the student who brings in the highest total amount of pledges.

I urge all members of the community to come out for the Walk'n Run and the Breath Games and to let your friends, relatives and neighbors know about this very worthwhile cause. We are proud and pleased to join the American Lung Association in an effort to increase awareness and contribute to improved health in our community.


Technology resources have become a critical part of university life. In preparation for the next phase of growth and development for technology on our campus, I have approved two organizational changes:

First, I was pleased to accept the recommendation of Vice Provost Susan C. Curzon to create the position of Chief Information Officer (CIO), who will report to me and assume responsibility for strategic planning, policy and programs related to information technology. As you may know, the position of CIO is rapidly becoming the norm in universities as we've come to realize that technology will be a pervasive "utility," transforming every aspect of how our institutions carry out our mission. A CIO position within the current Information and Technology Resources (ITR) organization was previously advertised; this decision converts that position into a university-wide office. Additional organizational realignments within ITR will be planned and implemented after the position is filled.

I have also accepted Vice Provost Susan Curzon's recommendation to create a University Technology Council. While we have several committees and groups that deal with many aspects of technology, the University Technology Council will coordinate strategic directions, adopt and coordinate policy, adopt new technological standards, make budget recommendations and coordinate major acquisitions. This new Council will consist of the President, Provost, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Vice Provost, the Chief Information Officer, two College Deans (serving two year terms), two faculty members (serving two year terms) and the Chair of the Administrative Computing Advisory Committee. The University Technology Council will meet six times a year.

These decisions continue the pattern of strong strategic leadership that Dr. Susan Curzon and the staff of ITR have provided the university during these past four years of burgeoning growth and expectation in our utilization of information technologies. They have provided strategic direction, developed exemplary programs and plans for the campus, participated actively and in leadership roles at the system level, and served as committed advocates for the use of technology to serve the mission of the university, in an area that was embryonic just five years ago. We owe them our deepest gratitude and congratulations.

I have approved Dr. Curzon's request to return as the full time Dean of the University Library after the successful conclusion of the search for the CIO and a transition period that will assure the continuity of current ITR staff, and a planned and thoughtful reorganization.


Speaking of technology, the annual Campus Computing Survey (also called Green's Survey for the author, Kenneth Green), is a report based on data provided by 605 two- and four- year colleges and universities across the United States. The survey will not be available until December 1, but early reports provide a useful perspective for us:

  • Almost one-third (32.8%) of all college courses use e-mail, up from 8% in 1994;
  • 45% of public four-year institutions have some type of computer competency requirement for undergraduates;
  • CIO's identify "assisting faculty integrate IT into instruction" and "providing adequate user support" as their top IT (Information Technology) challenges;
  • Despite the increased use of IT in instruction, only 12.2% of the colleges and universities formally recognize or reward IT as part of regular faculty review and promotion policies;
  • The percentage of public four-year colleges with mandatory IT fees increased to 59.4%, compared to 44% in 1994;
  • IT fees in public four-year colleges average $131;
  • 70.1% of U.S. universities fund most of their equipment, network and software expenses with one-time budget allocations or special appropriations;
  • Author Kenneth Green notes, "Colleges and universities are clearly having a difficult time managing the financial dimensions of information technology...specifically developing and funding budget models that recognize the short 'useful life' of critical IT resources."

We will be sure to obtain copies of the full report when it is available.


For many years, Cal State Northridge has been a major provider of teachers for public and private schools in our region. The campus created the All University Teacher Education Committee (AUTEC) years ago, recognizing that the entire university contributes to the preparation of teachers. Under the chairmanship of Dean Carolyn Ellner and Dean Philip Handler, the Committee assumed leadership in teacher education-related curriculum matters across Colleges; it served as a vehicle for addressing the concerns of the schools in which our graduates teach and as an internal coordinating body for all university activities related to professional education programs.

So not surprisingly, when the CSU Board of Trustees designated improved teacher education as a core goal for all institutions, Cal State Northridge and Dean Ellner undertook leadership roles within the system and the state to help develop action plans for improving teacher education and partnering with the Pre-K-12 schools. We have had notable successes and continue to have strong partner relationships with the schools and school reform programs in our region. Yet we realize that there is much more to be understood and accomplished in making certain that all high school graduates are prepared for the rigors of the workplace and/or colleges in the next millennium.

Dean Ellner has announced her decision to retire from the Deanship of the College of Education at the end of this academic year. There will be other opportunities to chronicle Dean Ellner's remarkable career at Cal State Northridge, so I shall only indicate here that she has set a high standard of what the university is capable of and we are grateful that we will continue to have her guidance and leadership for the remainder of the year.

Similar to the reorganization of Information Technology, I believe this is a good time for the university to focus on achieving pervasive, ongoing links with the area public schools and enhancing the participation of every College in expanding partnerships to improve learning outcomes for students in public schools. The experience across the country is that successful partnerships with the public schools require deep involvements of the entire university.

To that end, I have appointed Dr. Crystal Gips, Associate Dean of the College of Education, to serve as Coordinator of Pre-K-16 Outreach on a half-time basis, reporting to Provost Kennedy. She will continue her responsibilities within the College of Education for the remaining time. Working with faculty and staff from throughout the university, Dr. Gips will seek to insure that our outreach efforts are linked across campus and to our strategic goals. As a partner with the public schools, we will strive to improve the quality of teaching, enhance the preparation of our entering students, engage university students in providing services to the schools, and position Cal State Northridge as a national leader in Pre-K-16 education.


Earlier this month I announced the CSU's technology partnership, known as the California Educational Technology Initiative (CETI). On October 14, at the SIP rollout meeting, many of us had the opportunity to hear from representatives of the CSU and GTE about the potential benefits of this partnership. The current negotiations leading to a final agreement have raised questions from several campuses about guidelines to be used over the next few months regarding technology-related gifts, grants and services. The Chancellor's Office has provided such guidance as follows:

  • Gifts: There is no prohibition against accepting gifts of technology equipment and software so long as they carry no future business obligation on the part of the university.
  • Grants: There is no prohibition against pursuing and accepting grants from state and federal agencies and private firms that involve the acquisition of technology equipment and software so long as they relate to academic applications that are being developed above and beyond the scope of the Technology Infrastructure Initiative.
  • Contracts for Service and Purchases of Technology Products: All existing partnerships are grandfathered. All new initiatives are suspended until January 15, 1998, when the scope of the CETI partnership will be better known.

Please refer your questions regarding these guidelines to Dr. Sue Curzon, who is the campus representative for the initiative. As more becomes known about the terms of the proposed partnership, we will keep you informed.


The Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics is doing extraordinary work to help the university fulfill the mandate to develop a longterm, financially viable plan for an intercollegiate athletics program that serves men and women equitably. The Task Force process is inclusive, open and public, and the chair, Dr. Keith Richman, has made himself accessible to anyone who wishes to speak with him about the issues being addressed.

All of these meetings are open to the public; agendas and minutes will be posted on the Task Force website, which is Comments and suggestions may also be communicated to the Task Force via campus mail: c/o Dr. Bill Whiting, Department of Kinesiology, mail code 8287 or through e-mail: . And of course, the meetings of the Task Force are being followed in the local newspapers.

This is a remarkable group of people who are investing many, many hours in an exemplary process. During the course of their deliberations, I will not entertain separate requests or discussions about these issues. Therefore, I ask anyone who wishes to express a point of view about intercollegiate athletics to attend the meetings or contact the Task Force.

Blenda J. Wilson

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