by Dr. Peter Smith, CSUMB President

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Good morning, friends and colleagues. And, welcome to our special guests from the community. Thanks for taking the time to be here.

As I sat where you are sitting a couple months ago at the Tenth-Anniversary Distinguished Lecture by Victor Villaseñor-listening to the rage and the hope, the story and the wisdom that emerged from it-I was powerfully reminded of our purpose at CSUMB, the importance of never taking that purpose for granted, and the need to extend our impact to future generations of learners.

In 2001, as part of our Strategic Plan, we collectively articulated this purpose in our mission statement:

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.

As I stand before you for the tenth time to report on the state of our university, I can confidently report that we do indeed deliver on this mission. Each May, the graduates who parade across the stadium platform serve as testament. They matriculate uniquely and powerfully prepared to contribute to society thanks to our learning community and processes.

This May I will join them in moving on. This will be my final State of the University address. In a few months, I will embark on a new journey as Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO-the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. As I go, I feel extraordinarily well prepared by what we do here and by all of you to contribute productively, responsibly, and ethically to the global community in my new role. But before I continue with my prepared remarks, let me tell you how I really feel: I love this university; I love you my colleagues, within and beyond the university's boundaries; and I believe we have achieved in ten short years something golden-far beyond what we or others dared hope for.

Today, given that we are in the midst of recognizing our tenth anniversary, I'd like to start by taking a tour through our first decade, recalling the people and forces that have contributed to the establishment of this great university. Next, I will give you a snapshot of the university we have become and what is happening today to position us to successfully continue on our mission. Finally, I will share some thinking about the focus for the next few years as CSUMB continues to thrive and grow as a model of community and learning in today's California and today's world.

Looking Back
1994-1995-The Year of the Vision

Though much prior work had been done by community members, government officials, and our first employees, 1994-95 marks the first year in our official history. At our Founders Day celebration this past September, on an evening as chilling to our bones as it was warming to our hearts, Dr. Marsha Moroh, one of our pioneer faculty members and now Dean of the College of Science, Media Arts and Technology, listed a series of the challenges faced that year. You can read her insightful and humorous remarks on the anniversary website. Rather than sharing them with you again today, I'd like to look back to the singular force of 1994-95 that motivated people to persevere when things seemed impossible-the CSUMB Vision Statement. In all of my years in government and higher education, I have never seen another vision possessing such power. Since it was signed in 1994, the Vision Statement has shaped who we are and how we operate with such influence that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges team mentioned it repeatedly during our accreditation process; several books have referenced it as a model; and our faculty, staff, students, and alumni have used it as a rallying cry and standard for performance. Because we were committed to the CSUMB Vision in 1994-95, we believed in the power of education to transform people's lives and we were united in our commitment to create new opportunities for students in the Tri-County and all of California. I will always remember '94-'95 as the Year of the Vision.

1995-1996-The Year of the Faculty

But we moved from vision to reality when we opened our doors to students in 1995-96. And it was a tough reality. As Marsha recalled, some students were opening the boxes and networking the computers that they would use in their own classrooms. Everyone was dodging fresh paint to find classes in buildings with no signage. Amid the clutter and confusion that year, a group of heroes arose: the faculty. Regardless of the chaos and lack of planning time, they could, and they did, flat out teach. The magic that the faculty worked then has continued within our faculty ranks ever since. It has been the lifeblood of the learning that defines California State University, Monterey Bay.

1996-1997-The Year of the Student

Our students quickly became actively involved in our development. They made an impact early and often. From the start, we involved them in committees to hire, make decisions, and shape their university. Many of the pioneer students came here for that very purpose. By the second year, their creativity and initiative really began to shine. In fact, that year, a group of students led by Sara McClellan got together to recommend structure and content that ultimately became our current University Learning Requirements. When the first of our pioneer students received their degrees at our inaugural Commencement Ceremony in May 1997, their caps, gowns, smiles, tears, and words became permanently imprinted in my mind. 1996-97 was truly the students' year just as 1997-98 was the Year of the Staff.

1997-1998-The Year of the Staff

The staff worked diligently to make this place run throughout the early years, but in 1997-98 the fruits of their continuous effort behind the scenes really began to rise to prominence.

  • Our student recruitment staff put together an extremely successful On-Campus Admissions Day.
  • The Student Activities staff helped students organize an impressive list of clubs and slate of campus activities.
  • Conference and Event Services hosted nearly fifteen hundred people at 23 events held on our campus.
  • And, the Development staff organized the first Celebration of Community to raise funds for student scholarships.

The examples could go on and on, just as our staff has gone on and on serving students.

1998-1999-The Year of the Community

The community drove the creation of CSUMB, and we've been expanding our community connections ever since. But it was 1998-99 when the community weighed in at CSUMB.

  • Together with our regional community colleges, we formed the Higher Education Learning Partners to improve transfers to CSUMB.
  • We dedicated the Panetta Institute for Public Policy on our campus, formalizing a partnership that has brought informative lectures, America Reads outreach, and expanded academic offerings to CSUMB.
  • We launched our annual fund with a gift of $40,000 from the First National Bank of Central California for scholarships.
  • Forty community members and campus leaders formed the President's Task Force-precursor to our current President's Council.
  • Faculty members and students joined me to talk about CSUMB at 21 town hall meetings, connecting us with community leaders.
  • The Fort Ord Alumni Association awarded its first five $1,000 scholarships.
  • And our service learning program continued to expand to become a national model, partnering with over 250 agencies and schools to deliver more than 22 thousand hours of service to our communities.

The list creates an impressive picture of the community providing for CSUMB, and CSUMB providing for the community in a wonderful, dynamic partnership.

1999-2000-The Year of Technology

Technology has been a big part of CSUMB from the start. We've always been networked for the 21st century-whether wired or wireless-and equipped to use and teach a range of proven technology tools. Academically, technology has allowed us to defy the traditional limits of time and space through online instruction, electronic exchange of assignments, and email communication between professors and students. Your overloaded in-boxes may serve as the best testament to the way that technology has changed the way we teach, learn, and do business. During 1999-2000:

  • We helped launch CalStateTEACH as a break-the-mold online credential program.
  • Students began to stream live radio via the internet.
  • And we made an intentional push to leverage email and our website to improve communication from the campus leadership to make our planning, processes, and decisions more transparent and responsive to all of you.
2000-2001-The Year of Campus Activities

During the early years, residential students told us that there was not enough to do on campus. By 2000-2001, that had clearly begun to change. The list of campus events that year was long, addressing diverse interests. Here's just a snippet: Kelp Kraze; Día De Los Muertos; visiting artists like Gustavo Leclerc and Daniel Glover; the Monterey Bay Film Fest 2000; the digital divide panel discussion; astronaut Sally Ride; International Women's Day with keynote speaker Dr. June Jordan; a full slate of home events in nine intercollegiate sports; and an amazing list of outdoor recreation offerings. These almost-daily events coupled with the finalization of plans for a performing arts program, make 2000-2001 the Year of Campus Activity

2001-2002-The Year of Planning

After 18 months of hard work under the direction of Provost Diane Cordero de Noriega, the Strategic Plan was finalized and put into action in January 2002. It has served us extremely well, particularly in our preparations for accreditation. And it has helped us to maintain our focus on our Vision and mission, to prioritize through tough budget times, and to align all of our other planning efforts. Most importantly, it has provided focus for our accountability.

2002-2003-The Year of Accreditation

If 2001-2002 was the year of planning, accreditation was the story the following year. The Strategic Plan and a bevy of other documents ultimately served as the evidence that helped us earn accreditation at the end of the 2002-2003 academic year. I will never forget the standing ovation that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges team gave us as they shared their findings, including these words in their report:

It is our view that CSUMB is a product of scholarship at its best-rigorous, ethical, socially responsible, and respectful of the values and strengths of a diverse group of people who have adopted a common vision and sense of purpose.

2003-2004-The Year of the Donor

Though we have benefited throughout our short history from the generosity of many, it will be tough to top the gifts that we received in 2003-2004. First, Patricia and Robert Chapman donated $2.5 million to the Science Academic Center. Shortly after, the Tanimura and Antle families committed $4 million to our new library. The generosity of these community members, symbolizing the generosity, the insight, and the leadership of so many members of our surrounding communities, will forever mark '03-'04 in my mind as the Year of the Donor.

2004-2005-The Year of the Building

And this year, the Year of the Building, we brought the new North Quad Housing online in record time. This spring, we will also cut the ribbon on the new Alumni & Visitor Center and break ground for the Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library.

Meanwhile, the Master Plan Update, recently approved by the Board of Trustees at their November meeting, gives strong direction to the continued physical growth of the campus. It embraces environmentally sound planning practices, focuses on completing the physical transformation of the former army base, and provides easy and inviting campus access to members of our local communities. I'm sure they'll believe it when they see it!

The plan revolves around the creation of a heart-of-green, a large open space that will be built as part of the infrastructure project and the Tanimura & Antle Library project. And it incorporates the development of the new faculty/staff housing project to the west of the new North Quad student housing.

All of the building and master planning activity will make me remember '04-'05 as the Year of the Building.


Over 10 years, these powerful forces-Vision, faculty, students, staff, community, technology, campus activities, planning, accreditation, donors, and building-have fused to produce the CSUMB of today-a Vision-focused, mission-driven model of learning access and excellence for California and America.

Every one of us should be proud of the ten-year process that has created this university, our individual roles in it, and the amazing products of that process-our graduates who now positively influence virtually every walk of community life.

We should be particularly proud of our persistence through the recent recession. We have endured a series of cuts, funding shifts, student fee increases, reallocations, salary freezes, and more, while cutting approximately $6.7 million from our budget, almost 15 percent.

We have reorganized and we have worked smarter with one people-oriented goal in mind: to keep serving our students, sustaining the mission of the university without laying anybody off. And we have succeeded!

Ten years ago, we started in the same boat, we have stayed in the same boat to weather all the storms, and we have made it to the other side in the same boat.

The Compact & Revitalization

So where are we right now? With the Compact reached last spring between the Board of Trustees and the governor to stabilize funding for the CSU over the next six years, it looks as though we will be able to slowly grow again. To ensure thoughtfulness-with input from the Academic Senate, the four administrative divisions, and the Foundation-the Cabinet and I are developing a revitalization plan. My instructions to the Cabinet members have been to imagine how they would like their divisions to be positioned six years from now to provide effective and efficient service. I've asked them to not think in terms of recapturing what they have lost and reinstating what they had as an organizational structure in 2001 when the decline began. Instead, I have asked them to use this process to reposition people and services for higher effectiveness and higher quality based on what we have learned since 2001.

If we communicate well and work together, this revitalization effort will restore our growth and momentum, not only as a university community committed to providing improved educational opportunities to its students and surrounding communities, but also as a beacon for badly needed innovation and change in American higher education.

The compact represents a baseline of stability for the CSU and for CSU Monterey Bay. Given still-limited state resources, you could say, and I would agree, that it includes something for everyone to hate. On the other hand, it is very positive in that it allows us to plan for the future instead of reacting month by month to an ever-changing set of circumstances. Because of its central importance to our politics, our budgets, and our future stability, I will take a few minutes to describe the Compact's provisions to you.

  1. The first Compact category-enrollment increases-identifies a 2.5 percent climb in CSU systemwide enrollment each year until the end of the Compact in 2011. CSUMB joined other CSUs with smaller enrollments to propose that the Chancellor's Office establish a tiered approach to enrollment growth, through which the smaller CSUs would receive higher targets to offset the negative impact of smaller scale and smaller base budgets. I am pleased to tell you today that the Chancellor's Office has approved this tiered approach, so the estimates on the projected Enrollment Growth chart reflect 5 percent annual growth starting in 2006-07. This next chart graphically presents the translation of this enrollment growth into annual budget increases. It also shows the budget increases associated with the other Compact categories.
  2. The second Compact category is tuition and fee increases. This is a tough one, and many of us will work to change this. It allows resident undergraduate fees to rise no more than 10 percent per year. The rate of increase in nonresident and graduate/credential fees and out-of-state tuition rates are somewhat higher.
  3. The third Compact category-basic budget support-identifies a three-percent increase per year in state General Fund support. As with enrollment growth, we are presenting a case, along with several other smaller CSUs, that we need a more sensitive distribution of the fiscal impact of programs such as Year-Round Operations and the Common Management System that have a systemwide impact and standard fixed costs. They hit disproportionately heavily on smaller campuses. With a significantly smaller budget base, fixed-cost programs take money away from badly needed student services. Not knowing what relief might be provided, the total for this category includes only the confirmed systemwide baseline growth.
  4. The fourth and final Compact category-Core Academic Support Needs-provides an additional one-percent growth in state General Fund support in the last three years of the Compact for basic infrastructure, equipment, and library improvements.

As you can see, for CSUMB, the total increase in funding from these four categories over the six years of the Compact is currently estimated at being slightly over $26 million. That's a lot of money.

As we look at the accumulated amounts, we are already estimating the obligations that we will have to expense against them. Importantly, long-awaited salary increases have been built into the Compact as an immediate priority, with the current compensation pool increase for fiscal year 2005-2006 somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 percent. You can see from the charts that, after these expenses are deducted, there will be money for growth, but not as much as any of us would like. There's nowhere near enough in any single year for everyone to get everything they need. So, the value of our revitalization effort is that we will think about our future together and set our priorities over time so that each division and department will know when their priorities are coming up for consideration.

Other Tools for Revitalization

Budget improvement is not, however, the only tool we have for revitalization. We have much more to build from.

Academic Program Growth

CSUMB's academic model is the boldest in American higher education, putting learning and the learner first and holding quality assurance through learning outcomes high for all to see.

Coinciding with the budget rebound, new academic programs have been forwarded to the Chancellor's Office for review and approval. These programs represent the continuing hard work of the faculty to be responsive to the needs of our community. Two of these programs-an Executive Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Instructional Science and Technology-will be launched through Extended Education on a self-support basis. Another proposed graduate program-the Master of Science in Coastal and Watershed Policy-will build a community of professionals who can employ sound science, technology, and economics to inform public policy.

Other programs granted authorization to plan include:

  • A bachelor of science in computer science and information technology with concentrations in software engineering, networking, and security and game development
  • Nursing
  • A bachelor of arts in kinesiology
  • A major in human development
  • Biological sciences
  • And a master of arts in teaching through CalStateTEACH

Strategic Plan

Beyond our academic model, we have the Strategic Plan and its related assessments to build on. We are one of a handful of institutions that collect data regularly-from the National Survey of Student Engagement, the Collegiate Learning Assessment program, our own evaluations, and other national data sources-to assess our ability to serve students effectively. Just as we hold students accountable for learning outcomes, through strategic planning we hold ourselves accountable for increasing our effectiveness in serving learners successfully.

So, friends and colleagues, CSUMB has weathered the challenges of the last few years because we are a strong community and an amazing place of learning. We are intact and we have preserved our essence. I'm very proud of our success. Each of you should be, too.

The Future

Now, with the budget improving, academic programs expanding, and our strategic planning succeeding, the next few years should be a time for optimism and steady growth.

When I initially drafted this speech, I expected to be here, a member of the CSUMB community for several years to come. The UNESCO opportunity has changed all of that. Nevertheless, I have created, with the Cabinet, some ideas for our second decade of development, and I can't close today without at least putting them on the table for you to think about.

We believe that it will not be enough to just grow again. As its second decade starts, CSUMB must strive to further realize the opportunity we have given ourselves to be a great university, to become a model of higher education access and excellence. Here then are some final wishes-a vision of what might take place here before I return to be just a face in the crowd at the Panetta Institute in 2010.

  • Our operating structure and organizational habits must deepen support of the Vision and the operations that we value so much. Caring and believing passionately are only the preconditions to lasting organizational change and innovation. Discipline and commitment to improve, every day and every year, lie at the heart of greatness.
  • We need to build deeper intentionality and accountability into everything we do. We ask students to tell us what they know and can do as a result of their learning, to be accountable for outcomes. We need to continue to hold ourselves to the same standard.
  • We need to develop programs intentionally with an eye to community needs, driven by data and drawn toward quality.
  • We need to strengthen our enrollment management with a specific emphasis on retention and persistence to the degree, including initiatives to improve the articulation of community college coursework with our degree requirements and to conduct degree audits guaranteeing that students can graduate with 120 credits.
  • We need to increase the quality of the faculty experience at CSUMB by securing more faculty grants to extend our work, by developing on-campus faculty recognition to parallel the CSU Wang awards, and by fairly managing our workloads.
  • We need to improve the quality of life for students, creating a diverse set of opportunities that give every student a home on this campus. We can do this by securing gifts that support our Vision and mission; by expanding clubs and the Greek system; by offering more in the visual and performing arts; and by expanding all aspects of our recreation programs including NCAA Division II athletics, intramurals, outdoor recreation, and club sports. We should support these very differing initiatives, understanding that the mark of a truly comprehensive university is not the projection of one worldview. Rather, it is the fostering and support of all of the diverse worldviews, allowing them to rub up against each other and, yes, sometimes create a little controversy, that creates the rich climate of a multicultural, multidimensional learning community.
  • We need to develop our outcomes-based educational model by financially supporting the differential costs that make it unique, keeping our class sizes reasonable so faculty can teach and students can learn, developing technology as an embedded feature, and solidifying the Capstone expe