by Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D., CSUMB President
September 25, 2007, 2 p.m.
World Theater on Sixth Avenue



I have a confession to make. Some of you who know me know that I tend to run at about 100 miles per hour most all of the time. There is always something to do, so slowing down is not an option. When I exercise I walk fast. So I get a lot of steps in for those of you who are in the challenge.I don't meditate, but maybe I should. I do, however, appreciate that reflection is good and necessary in our lives and work. Today is one of those times when it is important not only to look forward but also to look back. It is an opportunity to pause from our constant efforts to take CSUMB to the next level and look back over the past year to appreciate where we have been and what we have done, and then to look forward at the road ahead so that we all know where we our headed and what we need to do together along the way.

Year in Review Relative to Last Year's Priorities

Last year I asked that our efforts focus on seven priorities. The first was…


Part of that priority was my personal commitment to get out telling our community all about CSUMB-our achievements, our plans, and our desire to be fully engaged with the communities that surround us. So, over the course of my first 12 months, I spoke with over 3,000 people. And, no, I haven't learned all of their names yet, but I am a big fan of nametags.

In those meetings, I shared the stories of student, alumni, faculty, and staff successes that you now find chronicled on our website.

Professors like Hongde Hu, whose innovative "bridging the divide" instruction makes math success attainable for everyone; Johanna Poethig, who enriches public spaces across the nation with her murals; Ruben Mendoza, who leads our undergraduates doing field archaeology in the historic California missions; and the rest of our faculty and staff who set the gold standard for engaging students through leading-edge hands-on learning.

Alumni like Danica Kumara running a school in Kosovo for a non-governmental organization committed to social reconstruction; Juan Perez returning to his farming family to lead them from conventional methods to new organic, sustainable practices; Viana Torres earning teacher of the year honors at Southwest High, a school serving low-income communities just south of San Diego; and Christian Cazares winning an Emmy in the category of Investigative News Story as a digital correspondent for KGTV in San Diego,

Students like Marcela Vargas winning a CSU Hearst Scholarship, and Jessica Massey landing a summer internship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

I also share our bragging points as a university. Honors like service learning being listed as one of the top programs that lead to student success in the last four editions of America's Best Colleges published by U.S. News and World Report, and receiving one of just three President's Medals awarded as part of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

I talk about the positive impact of our 4,437 graduates and 1,861 credential earners on our local economy, explaining that many of them stay right here becoming the knowledge workforce that drives regional industries, nonprofits, and schools.

As I logged more than 2,500 miles driving around the Tri-County area to meet with community groups, city and county leaders, community college presidents, alumni, and other friends of our university, I didn't do all the talking. I also asked for and listened to their ideas and their perspectives. They have been immensely helpful, and our CSUMB plans now reflect some of these ideas.

I promised you last year that I would work diligently to connect us to our community in meaningful ways. One such commitment has been teaming with my fellow presidents and chancellor at Cabrillo College, Gavilan College, Hartnell College, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey Peninsula College, and UC Santa Cruz through the Monterey Bay Educational Consortium. Together we discuss common issues and challenges, and look for ways to improve post-secondary opportunities for the entire region and teacher workforce issues.

I have discovered that each of the communities that surround us has a unique personality, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the people and programs that make it that way. Most presidents have one mayor, one school superintendent, and one city council to connect with. We have many. I'm proud that our diverse campus has found meaningful ways to connect with each. For example, the broadband partnerships championed by Chief Information Officer Gil Gonzales have made connections at the government level, looking at how best to address the unique needs of local cities. Meanwhile, the Service Learning Institute has connected at street level through the Chinatown Revitalization Project.

Last year, as part of the communication priority, I talked about the need to be responsive to all constituencies. Nowhere are the examples of success better than our improved responsiveness to our own students.

For example, Associated Students environmental senator Tristan Mansson-Perrone brought forward a student idea to discuss and implement sustainability projects in the spirit of "think globally, act locally." Facilities Services and Operations, and University Development jumped on board to help the students form the Energy Innovations Fund. As its first project, the fund helped finance conversion of the Otter Sports Center lighting from high-pressure sodium lights to efficient linear fluorescent fixtures. This project earned a 2007 Best Practices award at the statewide CSU/UC Sustainability Conference. How good is that?... We tied with Berkeley. Go Otters! I warned you, I'm a little competitive.

Also in response to our environmentally conscious campus and in recognition of our responsibility to the amazing environment that we live in, I signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which obligates schools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and educate about sustainability.

We have also been responsive to parent and student concerns around safety. Following the Virginia Tech tragedy, we were able to report that we had already refined emergency preparedness measures using multiple communication strategies and implemented a wireless communication system that allows us to send emergency announcements to student, staff, and faculty cell phones. If you haven't opted in on your cell phone, please do!

Though we had strong existing measures in place, we listened again and acted further, with the University Police Department landing homeland security grant funding to purchase more equipment for our Emergency Operations Center so that we can communicate even quicker and more effectively in the case of natural disaster or other crisis.

In response to input from website users both on and off campus, the Web Planning and Advisory Team guided a major redesign of our CSUMB.EDU site to make it more visually attractive and easier to navigate.

Last year, I asked that we make a shared commitment to communicating openly and respectfully. As a starting point, I expanded the President's Cabinet to include the deans, the chair of the Academic Senate, chief officers in various areas, a staff representative, and our vice presidents. Thanks to the efforts of this group, we have seen an increasingly open and effective flow of thoughts to and from the leadership. This has helped inform and shape our decisions over the course of the year, and, I believe we have made better decisions as a result. Our communication systems are not perfect and I will continue to look for ways to improve them.

I told you that I would seek and respect your opinions.

During the 2006-2007 academic year, I hosted 22 breakfasts and lunches for faculty and staff at University House to get your input. Along with great Danish and too many desserts-and too many extra pounds-I had the chance to get to know many of you on a more personal level. These gatherings reaffirmed my belief that we have an amazing community of professionals who truly care about delivering great educational experiences to our students.

This commitment to listening and respecting the input of every employee ties directly to the next priority that I set for the past year…

Faculty and Staff Retention

Aside from good communications, one of the most important steps in this area has just recently been completed. We now have a full-fledged senior leadership team in place for the first time since my arrival in June 2006.

  • Dr. Kathy Cruz-Uribe, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Sue Borrego, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Jack Jewett, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Jim Main, Vice President for Administration and Finance
  • And, Kevin Saunders, Executive Director of the Foundation

This stability in the senior leadership is foundational to overall staff stability. The vice presidents set the tone for their divisions. They create the communication channels. They build the sense of team that will keep people engaged and keep them here.

To ensure the focus of our campus leadership on keeping you-our outstanding staff and faculty-here, I have asked University Human Resources and Academic Personnel to deliver Cabinet-level briefings on retention strategies. They have also reached out to all managers to address working environment, effective supervision, and successful communication.

To address monetary factors, we have made good use of campus-based compensation adjustments, ranking ninth in the CSU system in that regard. We have made a commitment to compensating those who take on additional duties during vacancies. I am also encouraging the vice presidents and other managers to use in-range progressions to recognize and to increase retention of outstanding staff with enhanced skills and performance.

As a result of our efforts, we have already started to see a marked improvement in overall separation rates for faculty and staff. With the new senior leadership team now in place and getting traction, we anticipate that the numbers will continue to get better.

Another place where the numbers needed to improve was in…


…our third priority for the year. So, last fall I asked each of you to be committed to the success of every student. We have done much to act on that commitment, and I thank you for that.

First, Student Affairs worked diligently to improve our student recruitment efforts by analyzing our practices and making changes.

For example, based on feedback from future students and their parents, we now start tours at the Alumni & Visitors Center to ensure a great first impression, we train our student guides to create consistency in telling our story, and we ensure immediate followup from admissions counselors to answer questions and help with applications.

We now turn those applications around much more quickly, making admissions decisions within two business days as opposed to the old practice of taking several weeks. As a result, we were the first CSU to admit students this past year, and one of the first three to send financial aid award letters.

The payoff came in August. We welcomed our largest freshman class ever to CSUMB-781 new freshmen, a 44 percent increase over last year-and more than 400 transfer students, the majority from the Tri-County area. Overall, we have 30 percent more new students than last year. I cannot thank the staff in these areas enough. Under the leadership of Vice President Sue Borrego, you have turned around our enrollment situation.

As a second measure to manage enrollment, we continued to expand the number of things for our students to do on campus. College is as much about the life as the classroom. We have worked very hard to make the two go hand-in-hand through our hands-on learning approach that gives students real-world experience out in the field and in the community, but there has to be some pure entertainment as well.

We pursued and secured full NCAA Division II membership one year early for that purpose. Division II brings all the best of collegiate competition, a true partnership between academics and athletics, and a real appreciation for the student-athlete. Under the leadership of Seth Pollack, I resurrected the Athletic Advisory Committee with the majority of members being faculty to oversee and advise on policy matters related to athletics.

Division II competition is fierce on the fields and the courts, making great entertainment for the rest of our student body and for the community. Our conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Association, is arguably the best Division II conference in the country.

We also added to the campus culture by launching the President's Speakers Series to create discussion around important topics. Following a successful spring slate, the fall 2007 series starts tonight with Dr. Philip Zimbardo speaking on The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, then continues with Mark Becker October 23 and Daniel Ellsberg November 28.

The fourth major priority set last year was…

Academic Planning

We have several outstanding interdisciplinary majors that allow our students to build broad knowledge, skills, and abilities, but we have lacked some of the most popular basic programs that students indicated they wanted. Thus, we started biology and psychology majors at the undergraduate level this fall. Extended Education and the School of Business have also put together an Executive MBA program specifically designed for business professionals working fulltime jobs.

Meanwhile, some of our existing programs have taken steps to change their names to better connect with students. Thus, Human Performance and Wellness is now Kinesiology, and name changes for our science and technology programs I understand may be in the works.

Over the past year, in our online and print catalogs, all of our undergraduate majors have published course pathways that students can follow to complete their General Education and degree requirements. These maps will help them get out the door with a degree in hand and excellent prospects to land a great job. Each major has published at least a freshman and transfer pathway, and some have a pair for each available concentration. While more work needs to be done with these, this is a great start.

The University Writing Program has also worked to develop successful pathways for remediation.

Finally, Extended Education has launched the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI for short) to offer university-level experiences to the over-50 crowd simply for the sheer joy of learning and intellectual stimulation. The best part of OLLI ,in addition to connecting us better with our community, is that it has been driven by a $100,000 grant, which has helped us achieve success in our fifth priority for the year…

Marshalling Resources

The Chancellor's Office has given us a goal of raising 10 percent of our base budget from private sources. Today, I'm pleased to announce that, after hitting only five percent the preceding year, we made that 10 percent goal this year, raising $6.8 million from philanthropic foundations and individuals in our community. Reaching this goal reflects the amazing generosity of our community and incredible collaborative work by University Advancement and our faculty and staff.

Take for example, the annual Have a Heart for Students Dinner and Auction, which netted a record $99,000 in scholarship support in 2007. Community volunteers work year-round on this event with our campus representatives. Then, on the big night, who shows up to wait on tables and volunteer? Our faculty and staff! Aside from helping us reach our fundraising goals, the auction makes a direct impact on student success through scholarships that help us support students with limited finances.

The private funding total does not include government grants and contracts, where our incredible faculty and staff PIs added $11.1 million in support for the university, research/scholarship, and community-a record $2.3 million more than the year before. Most importantly, our breakthrough researchers and educators involve our undergraduates-many of them the first in their families to graduate high school and attend college. They take them out to the Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough, Big Sur, the Carmel and Soledad missions, and Alaska and Antarctica. They engage them in schools, cyber-exchange, and the hands-on research work that the grants fund.

Here are just a couple of examples:

  • The Division of Humanities and Communication received a Reading Institute for Academic Preparation grant to further collaboration among high schools, community colleges, and the CSU for the purpose of integrating reading, writing, literature, and language arts while training high school teachers to provide academic literacy preparedness for high school students in the Tri-County Area.
  • The Seafloor Mapping Lab directed by Rikk Kvitek brought in $3.5 million to launch the first phase of the California State-Waters Mapping Program. CSUMB students have been working side-by-side with professionals from industry, academia, and state and federal resource management agencies on board CSUMB's research vessel to produce imagery of California's submerged landscapes at unprecedented detail. This work has garnered coverage on the KQED TV show Quest.

All of the community outreach efforts that I talked about earlier as communication measures also focus on resource development. I invite everyone I speak with to become surrogate alumni, attending our events and helping us build the campus. I explain that we are a state-assisted institution, that we get a basic operating budget and money to build what would amount to cinder-block boxes, and that to go beyond the basics to achieve excellence we turn to private support. I tell them that in a region that has the best of everything-the best golf courses, the best hotels, the best restaurants, the best produce, the best natural areas, and more, there is no reason we shouldn't have the best California State University. Private support provides the margin of excellence we need to achieve that goal.

I appeal to everyone for support. I even had success getting Chancellor Reed and Vice Chancellor West to campus to see the challenges that we face with our former base environment, asking for earmarked campus renewal dollars for building maintenance and demolition that we normally would not be in line to get. With the help of Campus Design & Operations, we got them up close and personal with abandoned barracks via golf cart, and it worked, resulting in some special funding for us. I will not let up.

Marshalling resources has been crucial to our progress on the sixth major priority set for last year…


Within months of my arrival, we broke ground on two major projects: the $64 million Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library and our Baseball/Softball Complex.

Since then we've seen steady and impressive progress on the new library, with completion expected in fall 2008 and occupancy in January 2009. This three-story building will cultivate learning and discovery for our students and the entire community.

The first phase of the other project-our Baseball/Softball Complex-is essentially done. They have rolled out the green carpet-the newest generation of artificial turf with shredded recycled rubber in-fill. It requires no water, no mowing, and little upkeep. Meanwhile, athletics is actively fundraising for the second phase of the project-bleachers and scoreboards. When completed, these new home fields for our NCAA Division II men's baseball and women's softball teams will allow us to host major collegiate and youth events.

The fields were actually snuck in as part of a larger infrastructure project that has included new piping for sewer, storm water, communications, and hot and cold water for heating and cooling. Good news! That project is scheduled to be completed by March 2008.

Meanwhile, our telecommunications infrastructure update centralized the campus phone switches and data servers in a new IT building while vastly improving Sixth Avenue by relocating power underground, removing old poles and overhead lines, adding new light fixtures, improving the landscaping in front of the University Center, and coloring and stamping the roadway to mark the pedestrian section of the road.

Also improving the face of the campus, we successfully removed 85 of the unusable buildings inherited from Fort Ord. We didn't just tear them down. We deconstructed them, recycling 90 percent of the materials, resulting in over 17,000 tons of potential waste not entering the landfill.

Last fall we completed installation of campus signage that included maps, directional signs, building identifiers, street name adjustments, and building addresses. Thank you, Mehul and your staff for getting that done. We are still working on creating printed campus maps that folks can actually read.

Speaking of reading, in March we opened our Center for Reading Diagnosis and Instruction in a fully refurbished Army building. Thanks to a generous $2.5 million anonymous gift, this center now serves the entire community by providing reading diagnosis and instruction for K-12 students; training teachers in language, reading, and literacy; and involving CSUMB students as tutors. Lou Denti has done a marvelous job with his staff, and has really made a mark in that field.

And, finally, this summer we addressed another concern of many, especially visitors. Parking! We installed a new 48-space lot in front of the Alumni & Visitors Center.

The final priority set for 2006-2007 was…

Refining Business Practices

Here, small steps of progress were made across the campus thanks to all of you in this room who heard the call for simpler and more convenient processes--no run arounds. For example, the library added searching of the Voyager Library Catalog on mobile devices such as cell phones and the University Police Department purchased computerized fingerprinting equipment to facilitate the clearance process for students placed in schools and other community agencies for service learning and other programs.

As already noted, Student Affairs enacted significant changes in admissions that allowed us to admit and notify students quickly.

And, the budget process became more inclusive and transparent with the establishment of a budget advisory group and quarterly reviews.

All told, looking back, 2006-2007 became a highly productive year! Now let's map where we're going in the year ahead.

Priorities for 2007-2008

My first priority is to continue our commitment to…

Student Success

This year I really want to hone in on service to our current students so that they all can make steady progress toward their degrees.

We know that if students persist, they get a great education here. We just make it too difficult for them at times. We need to correct this.

Some steps need to come in the area of academic planning. We need to develop curriculum plans that allow students to transfer in after two years in a community college and still graduate in a timely manner. Toward that end, we need to focus on direct articulation between our majors and traditional community college programs especially with our neighbors at Hartnell, MPC, Gavilan, and Cabrillo. We need direct faculty to faculty, discipline to discipline discussions between our campuses and those campuses to make progress.

We also need to continue to evaluate our external environment and our capabilities to develop and add more high-demand academic programs, especially programs that respond to state, regional, and local workforce needs.

Our commitment to the success of every student also needs to expand through improved and added support services.

We need to continue to reshape our advising and academic support based on the real needs of our students, and our faculty needs to be involved in both the discussion and the delivery of those services. Quite frankly, we need to develop clear and transparent degree pathways that can be easily understood by students, faculty, and staff. I don't think it should require a law degree or a thesaurus to follow a path.

We need to bolster our support of first-generation college students. We're off to a great start as Student Affairs recently secured a five-year $2.1 million grant to support the children of migrant workers through the College Assistance Migrant Program (or CAMP) which will provide mentoring, tutoring, and outreach services.

We need to address the needs of other student populations, too. Toward that end, the Academic Skills and Achievement Program is establishing a study hall for student-athletes.

Finally, our commitment to student success needs to show up in the actions and communications of every faculty and staff member, each committed to the success of every student and showing it in our every interaction.

This commitment to success lies at the heart of our enrollment management efforts. It is the greatest key to retention, where we need to make steady progress. This will be the topic of an upcoming Faculty Assembly on October 24.

We also need to focus on outreach to high school, middle school, and elementary students to improve their success especially in the African American and Latino communities. The achievement gap in the State of California and in our local region is real. For every one of the thousand students entering our university this fall, two others didn't make it to college. Yet, a college degree would make a huge difference in future fortunes for those individuals and our communities.

Our California economy suffers when we don't produce enough college graduates. The Public Policy Institute of California reports that in the next two decades the percentage of jobs requiring a college degree will likely rise to 39 percent, while only 33 percent of California workers are expected to earn a degree. This shortfall, if not addressed, will force the export of high wage jobs to other states or overseas.

The fact that our ability to compete with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world has been slowly eroded by our declining educational preparation should concern us all.

To stem this tide, we need to expand our programs that work to make a difference in young people's lives, helping them to see college as achievable and motivating them to get here.

We already have several highly successful outreach programs in place. For example, this past year Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, and the Early Assessment Program made over 400 visits to 31 high schools.

Meanwhile, the Division of Science and Environmental Policy does science-based outreach to schools, students, families, and the general public through Recruitment in Science Education, Return of the Natives, the Monterey County Farm to School Partnership, and Camp SEA Lab. Collectively these programs had over 15,000 contact hours with the public this past year. RISE's high school graduates are now going to college, Return of the Natives fieldtrips bring children closer to nature and nature closer to children through standards-based lessons, the Farm to School Partnership builds school gardens and delivers nutrition based lessons while combating childhood diabetes and obesity, and Camp SEA Lab participants build ROVs and interview marine scientists. Most importantly, all of these programs increase the engagement of area youth in their education and greatly improve their chances of making it to college. We need to continue and expand our aggressive outreach efforts.

Our second priority for 2007-2008 is…

Facilities Development

The first of the facilities, the Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library, will become an aid in our outreach efforts when it opens and becomes a major fieldtrip destination for area schools. Driving both the project and the fundraising campaign behind it to completion over the next 18 months will be a major focus for our entire senior leadership team.

We will also initiate or continue several other facilities projects.

To address the lack of common areas and student spaces, we are studying the feasibility of converting the old library building into a student center after we open the new Tanimura & Antle Library in early 2009. And we'll start planning our next new academic building next year, known for now as Academic Building II. But, trust me, it will not be numbered.

While I have celebrated the buildings that have come down-especially the one right outside my office window on our Central Quad-I have had a hard time looking past the 184 abandoned structures that remain. So we're starting the next wave of deconstruction to take down six additional buildings including another on the main quad, and I will continue to work with the CSU Chancellor's Office and anyone else who is interested to secure the funding necessary to keep making progress. If you know an anonymous donor, who really wants to be anonymous-there won't even be a building left to name -have them call me! I believe in today's dollars, about $30 million will do it.

Finally, despite the many challenges encountered, we will continue to investigate faculty/staff housing alternatives that will make it possible for us to attract and retain the best and brightest as employees. In spite of the court case, we are looking at other options off-campus. I am constantly hounding folks on our campus who I charged with helping find a solution for updates. I will not let it go. This is way to important for our faculty and staff.

In all of our facilities projects, we will look for ways to show our commitment to our third major priority for the year…

Environmental Responsibility

We will continue to deconstruct old buildings as we remove them to recycle the materials. And, as we have done with the new library, we will continue to design buildings to LEED silver, if not higher, standards with high energy efficiency and other sustainable qualities.

Beyond buildings, we need to create action plans around our climate commitment. The Climate Commitment Committee is working on assessing the campus carbon footprint in order to reduce our emissions and to integrate education and student learning into the plan as well. Two other actions already underway are a shift to 100 percent post-consumer waste paper for stationery and business cards and a proposed partnership with Monterey Salinas Transit to offer a free fare zone for all faculty, students, and staff using a grant from the Air Quality Control Board.

Overall our commitment to the environment and sustainability must be an integrated effort involving our entire campus community.

Our fourth and final priority for this year is involvement of all constituents on campus in the completion of several…

Major Tasks

One important task will be strategic planning. We already have a working steering committee, we will bring in an outside facilitator and conduct key stakeholder meetings-both internal and external-then forge ahead to map out where we will go as a university in the years ahead. We will also be able to make use of the CSU's Access to Excellence Statewide Strategic Plan in our process.

Another task-reaccreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges-will take a few years. The process is already under way with submission of our proposal in October. I want to thank everyone who has already worked so hard on that important effort.

We intend to create an integrated marketing plan that will ensure that we're all working on the same page in our communication and outreach efforts whether related to community relations, fundraising, recruitment, or otherwise. This task will focus on advancing our reputation through refinement of our image and core messages. Again we will have key stakeholder meetings, to develop core messages such as:

  • CSUMB is committed to the success of every student.
  • CSUMB provides life-changing liberal arts education for state fees, proving that first-generation and first-class can and should go hand-in-hand.
  • And, CSUMB sets the standard in giving undergraduates meaningful hands-on experience through service learning, internships, and grant-driven research and scholarship.

Finally, we will continue fundraising and friend raising, garnering financial support for facilities, for programs, for professorships, and for student sc