by Dr. Diane Cordero de Noriega, Interim President
August 18, 2005
Welcome everyone to the 2005-2006 State of the University Address, including our special guests from the community. Thanks for taking the time to be here.
This is a change from previous years when the State of the University Address was delivered in January. Since this is my interim year it seemed appropriate to set the stage at the BEGINNING of the academic year rather than half way through.
There is significant work that needs to begin now and continue as we move forward into the next 10 years at CSUMB. This is a critical time in the maturing of our institution, a time when our character must shine through.
We begin this new academic year with some new faces in the family and-speaking of character shining through-some seasoned veterans in fresh roles. So, I would like to start by introducing some of these individuals who have joined the Campus Leadership Team:
- Interim Provost-Marsha Moroh
- Vice President for Student Affairs-Sue Borrego from University of Arkansas
- Administrator in Charge for University Advancement-Steve Reed
- Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness-Lynne Stamoulis from University of Hawaii, Hilo
- Associate Vice President for Academic Planning, Research, and Graduate Studies-Wynetta Lee from Dillard University in New Orleans
- Interim Dean of the College of Science, Media Arts and Technology-Rikk Kvitek
- Interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies-Sandy Hale
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't introduce the three ongoing members of the President's Cabinet:
- Vice President for Administration and Finance-Dan Johnson
- Chief Information Officer-Gil Gonzales
- Executive Director of the Foundation-Kevin Saunders
Deep thanks to the leaders who have stepped up from their current administrative and faculty roles to support their colleges and divisions during this transition and to those in ongoing roles, and welcome to all of our new people. What they and we all share is a commitment to the CSUMB Vision, and a commitment to continuing the hard work of making that Vision a reality.
The Vision Statement
Some have suggested that, as Interim President, it is my role to hold the campus together during this time of transition. That is simply not the case. You see, CSUMB has never reflected a single person, nor even a small group of people. What shapes this campus and holds it together is the Vision Statement. Our Vision is about serving the historically underserved, the first generation college students, the children of the working class, the children of farmworkers. Our vision is about a university education designed around learning-learning in a setting dedicated to our diverse communities, our technological generation, and our global community, and around service to our community, social responsibility, and social justice. It is the foundation of who we are. It is what draws us here. It held us together through some tumultuous years. And it is what binds us together today during this time of transition. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges team recognized our Vision during our accreditation review, when they wrote:
Since its founding, the university has defined and articulated a Vision Statement that has been carefully crafted to become the core of the institution's functioning and the organizing basis for participation in the university community.
The Vision Statement is real and has deep personal meaning to members of the campus community.
The institution is as much vision-driven as it is outcomes-based.
You see, as WASC noted, the Vision has always been what drives us individually so that we, in turn, collectively drive the university closer to that Vision. This transition year should be no different.
A time of transition can be unsettling, but it can also be exciting, bringing renewed vision for the future. My hope for this year is to use my interim presidency to move the campus forward in several critical areas that touch on every division and every member of the campus community. Some of you have already heard me mention these as my mantra, but I will repeat them here and then further describe how they are strategically integral to CSUMB's plans.
- First, renew the strategic plan.
- Second, raise funds for the library.
- Third, gain all necessary approvals to begin our staff/faculty housing project.
- Fourth, improve graduation rates.
- And fifth, improve our business practices on campus.
Because all plans and priorities should tie to the strategic plan, today I will talk about the latter four goals in the context of the first and foremost priority-renewal of the strategic plan.
Strategic Plan Renewal
When I came here six years ago, one of the most important tasks given to me was to lead the campus in drafting our first strategic plan. We recognized at that time that it was critical to have this first strategic plan represent the CSUMB Vision Statement. It was a way to hold ourselves accountable to actualizing our lofty vision in tangible ways by identifying specific target outcomes and indicators of their achievement.
What I am going to share with you this morning is the first comprehensive progress report on our strategic plan. We have evaluated the indicators to determine where we have excelled and where we still have challenges.
Why is this important?
- First of all, to challenge ourselves-to reflect and examine how well we are living the Vision
- Also-God forbid-for reaffirmation of our WASC accreditation
- And, perhaps most importantly, to share with presidential candidates who we are, what we're striving to achieve, and how we're doing
First, a little history for those who are relatively new to CSUMB and didn't experience the strategic planning process firsthand.
A team of faculty, staff, students, and community members came together and, using the Vision Statement as a starting point, further refined seven previously articulated academic core values as guideposts:
- Applied, active, and project-based learning activities
- Multicultural and global perspectives
- Technological sophistication
- Service learning
- Ethical reflection and practice
We then crafted our mission statement based on the Vision and core academic values:
To build a multicultural learning community founded on academic excellence from which all partners in the educational process emerge prepared to contribute productively, responsibly, and ethically to California and the global community.
Then, ultimately, we finalized a strategic plan built around four themes:
- CSUMB is a Pluralistic Academic Community.
- CSUMB is committed to Student Learning.
- CSUMB provides Support for Learning.
- CSUMB is an Engaged Campus.
Each of the past three years and continuing with this year, the Provost-that's me in my former life-and the Administrative Council have selected a theme for the year to guide priority setting and budget development for the entire campus, and to make the strategic themes evident in all planning efforts-enrollment, academic, financial, and capital. Even our campus master plan reflects our strategic themes.
We also began to gather evidence to support and reflect our progress. Today we have preliminary data on all of our strategic themes. This progress report provides a baseline of data for the renewal process.
This year, we will convene a strategic plan renewal committee comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community members, using the Institutional Effectiveness Subcommittee of the Administrative Council as the base of operations. Our new Academic Affairs AVPs, the Provost, and Institutional Assessment and Research will lead this effort.
So, what do we know thus far? I am going to provide some highlights-by no means the entire report-of what we have discovered based on the evidence gathered.
As data sources we used WASC accreditation documentation; our National Survey of Student Engagement data; student satisfaction surveys; alumni surveys; Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment information; Human Resources data; Admissions & Records data; and focus group information gathered by Institutional Assessment and Research. You can find all of this evidence on the CSUMB.EDU/data webpages.
The student learning theme reads:
Effective and meaningful student learning is the primary focus at CSUMB. As a comprehensive public institution of higher learning in 21st century California, CSUMB commits to helping California's students develop and expand the range of knowledge and skills they will need to support themselves, their families, and their communities in a rapidly evolving world. In particular, graduates of CSUMB will have the interdisciplinary perspective and lifelong learning skills needed to adapt to the unpredictable opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. They will have a global perspective and a combination of collaborative skills, language abilities, cross-cultural competencies, and technological capabilities that will enable them to contribute positively to an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. They will understand the value of community service and ethical reflection in both their personal and professional lives.
These are the areas where we are making good progress:
We know that our students have consistent access to outstanding teachers and outstanding teaching practices as resources to help them learn outcomes effectively and efficiently.
We know that students actually achieve stated outcomes.
Teaching approaches develop problem-solving awareness and skills for contemporary and real-world application, whether it is mapping the sea floor, creating a business plan for Dorothy's Kitchen, or participating in a real archeological dig in a California mission.
We know that the core values and elements of the Vision Statement are reflected in our learning outcomes.
And, most importantly, current students and alumni recognize and appreciate the value of their CSUMB education.
The areas where we are making slow progress and still face challenges include:
Some of our course outcomes are not adequately aligned with Major Learning Outcomes or University Learning requirements, and therefore not necessarily aligned with the knowledge and skills valued by our graduates and society.
It also does not appear in the evidence that CSUMB solicits, welcomes, and responds to feedback from stakeholders to the extent that we would want. Our teaching methods still do not address all the different learning needs and styles of our diverse student body and, furthermore, faculty do not feel that they are empowered to improve the state of the art in teaching. We need to look into this more carefully. The question remains: Is it a need for more professional support for faculty, or are there other issues that need to be addressed?
Another area we need to explore is whether students connect new ideas and skills to prior knowledge and experiences, and feel that others recognize and value their prior knowledge and experiences. This speaks directly to our valuing the assets that students bring with them to the learning environment.
One of the priorities that I have listed for this year-improving graduation rates-aligns with this theme. This is a CSU systemwide effort that has been identified by the trustees as the highest of priorities. It is understood that we serve diverse students many of whom have multiple challenges and responsibilities such as work and family obligations. We can do better by illuminating and smoothing the pathways to graduation for them. Only in this way can the CSU continue to offer California's burgeoning college-eligible population the opportunity for higher education.
We need to reflect on our Major Learning Outcomes, course outcomes, and University Learning Requirements to ensure that our students are able to effectively navigate through to the degree. Toward that end, Dan Fernandez, our Academic Senate chair, led faculty work on this during the summer. Their efforts reflect our clear commitment to student learning.
Support for Learning
The Support for Learning theme reads:
The CSUMB Vision includes 'an academic community where all teach and learn from one another in an atmosphere of mutual respect.' As such, faculty and staff members join students in a broader category of 'learners.' CSUMB commits to supporting learners from diverse backgrounds in every aspect of their education. For students, this support manifests through an effective student-centered educational experience which leverages the assets that students possess. The primary goal is to help students obtain their desired degrees or credentials. Thus, the collaborative design of academic, administrative, and student support services promotes retention.
The highlights for this theme include:
We have learned that we support the development of each faculty member's endeavor in the scholarship of teaching as a foundation to CSUMB's innovative pedagogy. This is most clearly evident in our retention, tenure, and promotion guidelines.
A plan for growing the university's non-state funding to supplement resources from traditional state funding sources has been articulated. In fact, for our size and faculty numbers, we far exceed expectations in the amount of grant dollars generated by our faculty.
The area of slow progress where we need to focus more energy is working harder at successfully delivering academic and personal success services to all CSUMB learners. This reflects what we have called the run-around factor. We have been working on this and saw considerable improvement with the advent of the Campus Service Center, but it is an area that still needs a lot of work. We are also committed to serving the historically underserved, and this requires us to focus efforts and resources to ensure that all students are successful.
The priority for this year on the theme of support for learning is specifically focused on the new Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library. I will be working with University Advancement and the President's Council in a fundraising campaign to build the kind of library that will be cultivating learning and discovery long into the future. If you haven't seen the plans, visit the CSUMB.EDU/library website to read more, and to watch the 3D flythrough created by three of our TMAC students and faculty member Pat Watson. It is an amazing example of the work that our students and faculty do together.
What I need to share with you this morning, and I know many of you have heard, the bids came back for the library $10 million over budget. Because we are committed to going forward with this important facility with minimum delay, Niraj Dangoria and his team are working with the architects to right size the building to bring it back to the budget figure while still ensuring that it will serve campus needs for next 25-30 years. Niraj will be talking more about the library in his presentation later this morning.
This important building project and related fundraising campaign is a continuing priority that truly represents support for learning.
The next theme, an engaged campus, is one of the hallmarks of the CSUMB experience.
The CSUMB Vision Statement declares a commitment to service learning and a focus on the preparation of students for active citizenship in a diverse society. Our University Learning Requirements, Graduation Learning Outcomes, and outcomes-based model reflect values of service, social justice, responsibility, compassion, and ethics. Faculty pedagogy furthers the civic-engagement agenda with an emphasis on reflection, constructivist approaches, and field-based learning that will engage the learner personally with the curriculum.
In the community, CSUMB has developed and sustains partnerships with K-12 schools and community colleges in our region. Nationally, the Panetta Institute offers opportunities for civic engagement. Internationally, Extended Education and our Office of International Programs are developing new opportunities for students and faculty, building on efforts already underway in Mexico and Japan.
One internal aspect of engagement is CSUMB's commitment to institutional renewal and improvement through a process of assessment within a culture of evidence, which is exactly what the Strategic Plan progress report is all about.
The outcomes where we can point to significant progress are:
The campus appropriately and relevantly links to conditions of the community.
Our students do significant applied-learning projects in our surrounding communities-in business, in science, in the arts, and in literacy development to name only a few.
The university engages with local communities in the development of a seamless multicultural university village. Our World Theater Performing Arts program is but one example of this.
Curriculum, pedagogy, and scholarly activities further civic engagement and the service learning agenda. And commitment to service learning is sustained as the campus grows.
The area where the campus is still slow in making recognizable progress is related to governance. We are striving to have a model of representational decision making and governance-diverse in approaches and efforts, and supported financially-resulting from faculty, staff, and student engagement. We have come a long way in becoming more transparent in our decision making and shared governance in the past five years, with faculty, staff, students, administrators, and community members participating in all major planning activities on campus. But we still have a way to go to achieve our aspirations for a model of shared governance that is explicit and transparent.
For this interim year, as stated earlier, one of my priorities directly related to this theme is to work with the Cabinet on improving how we do business with each other on campus. There are business practices that worked very well for us when we were a small startup operation, but, now that we are a growing and maturing institution, some of these practices are not serving us as well. For example the blending of Foundation and university stateside operations has caused concern among faculty who have grants. The issue of chargebacks has also raised its head and needs to be resolved in an explicit and transparent manner. These issues will be addressed starting at the Cabinet level and through the administrative council. Plans and recommendations will be communicated broadly so that we will all be working from the same page, moving forward as an engaged campus.
Pluralistic Academic Community
The final theme, a Pluralistic Academic Community, is the highlighted theme for 2005-2006. It reads:
In CSUMB's model pluralistic academic community, diversity enriches the learning and life experience of all. Learners grow and teach one another in an atmosphere of mutual respect, share a strong sense of personal and community identity, and make an honest commitment to being responsible for creating and maintaining a safe environment. Ours is an inclusive community that values and maximizes the contributions of its members and reflects this assets-based approach in administrative practices, outreach to historically underserved students, and development of learning experiences that expose its members to the knowledge, understandings, and realities of other cultures and perspectives. The development of mutual respect for different ways of knowing is the bedrock of our celebration of diversity as we develop the pluralistic academic community of California State University, Monterey Bay.
The areas where CSUMB can point to significant progress are the following:
The student body includes significant Tri-County and state representation, and an increasing international presence, and campus trends indicate improvement in cross-cultural attitude, sensitivity to issues, and increased awareness and participation in campus initiatives to enhance a pluralistic community.
Areas where we're making slow progress are:
We are still working on the exploration and research of appropriate characteristics and thresholds to be reflected within our student body, staff, faculty, and administration. These have yet to be determined.
Curriculum and pedagogy have been improved by maximizing our community talents. However, our evidence does not indicate this as a strength yet.
As noted under the student learning theme, our curriculum and pedagogy do not yet embody an assets-based framework to the extent that we would want.
And finally, with regard to staff, faculty, and administration, retention and success trends indicate that we are still challenged by the high cost of living in relation to our salaries. We also need to continue to monitor our diversity thresholds and to assure ourselves that we maintain a supportive campus environment that reflects our Vision.
Overall, for the goals and outcomes on the theme of Pluralistic Academic Community our progress has been moderate. Our population is moving toward reflecting the demographics of our region. Our curriculum and pedagogy generally reflect the realities of the diverse cultures of our communities. And, our overall climate, as reflected in our student retention rates, is okay. But we need to work diligently to make it better, and we need to pay particular attention to our staff, faculty, and administration retention rates. We lost a significant number of faculty and staff this past year to jobs that paid more and were in areas where the cost of living is much lower.
This is where my priority of gaining all necessary approvals to begin our housing project comes in. We accomplished one major step in July when the trustees gave schematic approval. We still need to achieve approval for the financing in January before we can break ground. This rates as a high priority for me because we need to provide more staff and faculty housing with options that make it affordable for good people to come here to work, and to stay here until the work is done. After all, our pluralistic academic community has a Vision to achieve!
Six years ago when I joined this campus community, the university was at a critical point in its development, a time when there was fear and concern that the purpose that this campus had set out for itself was slipping away. The one thing that was unwavering through those tumultuous times was the Vision. It was the rallying cry; it was the unifying force; it was the glue that kept this place together.
Following my arrival, we spent 18 months planning the work needed to really operationalize the Vision, and we have spent nearly five more years working the plan. As the Strategic Plan progress report indicates, all of the planning and working is slowly paying off.
This is a campus that has been maturing around its commitment to its Vision, and it is that maturity that ensures a smooth transition from its founding president, through my interim term, to the next president. Today, in a different context and in a different time, the Vision will carry us through this transition as it carried the campus through its early development. While the strategic plan represents the hands and feet of action, the Vision is the heart and soul of CSUMB. It is the Vision that draws us. It is the Vision that DRIVES us. Thus, as another priority added to my short list, I will work to renew our commitment to and honoring of the Vision. Toward that end, I hereby exercise my interim presidential powers to declare that, starting today, we will refer to this place that we love and serve with two powerful words noted in the WASC report-VISION DRIVEN. Yes, CSUMB has always been and will forever remain-VISION DRIVEN.