President's Monthly Campus Update

In thinking about our CSU systemwide strategic plan called "Access to Excellence," I was reminded of the fact that Monday marked the fiftieth anniversary of a major educational milestone. On September 24, 1957, nine African American high school students stepped across the threshold of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas into history. The date was three years after the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision found racial segregation in public schools to be a denial of equal protection guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Despite the ruling, the state of Arkansas was unyielding in its refusal to integrate its public schools. President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to Little Rock. Escorted by the National Guard and thronged by hostile crowds opposed to desegregation, the "Little Rock Nine" took a fateful walk from a "separate but equal" history of the American educational system to the integration of American public schools.

It is the legacy of the Little Rock Nine that affords students from preschool to graduate school the right to attend the school of their choice irrespective of race - a freedom with whose history many contemporary students are unacquainted. The 50th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine presents opportunities for the campus-wide intellectual exchange of ideas on a range of related subjects. Fostering such intellectual exchange is the hallmark of a university. A non-exhaustive list of subject areas might include, but certainly are not limited to: civil rights, politics, public policy, history, social movements, and education. Such discussions might include: the 14th Amendment and public education; Brown v. Board of Education; Plessy v. Ferguson; the impact of civil rights on the rights of women and other minorities; civil rights 50 years post LR9; and the role of students in political and social movements. I invite the campus community to engage in dialogue this week on issues relevant to the legacy of the Little Rock Nine and access to education, a fitting context for "Access to Excellence."

Trustees Approve Campus Master Plan
At its September 18-19, 2007 meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees approved our new campus master plan. As part of the approved resolution, the Trustees also: (1) certified the final environmental impact report as meeting the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the CEQA Guidelines, and CSU CEQA procedures; and (2) approved an enrollment ceiling increase from 12,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES) to 18,000 FTES. The new campus master plan is based on our vision for the University and outlines the physical development of the campus as we grow our academic programs, student support services, and other vital campus operations.

Fall Enrollment
This fall we welcome one of the largest freshman classes in the university's history with 906 freshmen, including 865 first-time freshmen (non-transfers). This class is an ethnically diverse group of students, representing at least five different ethnicities, various socio-economic levels, religions, backgrounds, and perspectives. Our multicultural and increasingly global student body is a critical component of student learning and student success. Understanding diversity and culture through personal interaction and experience adds to our students' personal development, expands their world view, enriches their university experience, and helps prepare them for professional success in global markets. We celebrate our incoming class and welcome all of our students to a rich, engaging university experience.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accreditation
For approximately eighteen months, our WASC Planning Committee worked diligently to prepare our Institutional Proposal for reaffirmation of accreditation. Entitled, "Walking the Talk: The Achievement of Student Learning and Community Engagement through University Alignment and Campus Culture," the 100-page report is a self- evaluation of our strengths, opportunities, and plans for realizing our vision. On June 27, 2007, the WASC Proposal Review Committee (PRC) accepted our institutional proposal. Their review includes accolades which merit repeating; thus, I will quote briefly from the committee's letter of approval:

"The panel found several aspects of the proposal worthy of special affirmation. The University's self-review under the Standards was careful and comprehensive. The work leading up to the proposal was done with broad involvement of the campus. The panel was impressed with the amount and quality of work that has already been done and the effectiveness of your work groups. The panel also found that the University's assessment of its capacity was thorough and candid. Work plans were laid out very well, and the data exhibits were useful in providing background to support the proposal."

The second and third phases of the reaccreditation process are the WASC Capacity and Preparatory Review in 2009 and the Educational Effectiveness Review in spring 2011. Over each of the next four years, in preparation for these reviews, the campus will engage in specific work plans to take strategic goal-linked actions to realize our vision. The yearly work plans and milestones are detailed in the Institutional Proposal, available by contacting Linda Mikita at 654-2544.

I extend special thanks and congratulations to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Soraya Coley who organized and chaired the WASC Steering Committee, and who organized the WASC Planning Committee. Special recognition and thanks also are extended to R. Steven Daniels, Public Policy and Administration professor, who chaired the Planning Committee, developed and conducted the Policy Delphi on-line surveys of campus and community members, as well as alumni. I also thank and congratulate the 27 members of the Planning Committee; the eight-member Steering Committee; the 100 faculty and staff who engaged in a half-day dialogue on "Defining Excellence and Promoting a Culture of Evidence at CSUB"; and the 70 faculty, staff, and administrators who comprised the five WASC Work Groups. These collaborative, cross-functional groups devoted a tremendous number of hours to the reaccreditation process over 18 months. The entire campus is to be congratulated for and should be proud of the success of our Institutional Proposal. For a list of members of the various committees, please contact Linda Mikita.

Climate Commitment
In response to significant support and urging from faculty and staff who are concerned about sustainability, on September 13, 2007 I became a charter signatory to the "American Colleges and University Presidents' Climate Commitment." It was an easy decision because it represents an expansion of our current efforts at CSUB and within the CSU. The signing commits CSUB to promote sustainability by taking actions to mitigate global warming. That commitment includes the development of a campus-wide plan to achieve climate neutrality. Within the next few weeks, I will appoint an advisory committee which will be charged with assisting the University as we formulate that plan. I applaud the more than 100 faculty, staff, and students who signed a petition showing their support of a collaborative campus effort to reduce global warming. For more information regarding the Climate Commitment, please access: www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org. To become involved in future campus-wide sustainability planning and activities, contact Douglas Dodd, Assistant Professor of History, at 654-6815 or via email at ddodd@csub.edu.

Faculty, Staff, and Student Accolades
William Randolph Hearst / CSU Trustees' Award
Senior psychology major Michael Butler is the CSUB recipient of the 2007-2008 William Randolph Hearst / CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. Michael, along with the outstanding students selected from each of the CSU campuses, was presented the award at the September 18, 2007 meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees. A $3,000 scholarship was awarded for "superior academic performance and exemplary personal accomplishments." After entering college as a first-time freshman at age 42, Michael will graduate magna cum laude this spring. He plans to pursue a master's degree in psychology and teach at the community college level. Congratulations, Michael.

Smithsonian Internship
Amanda Camp, an anthropology major, is enjoying a four-month internship at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. In addition to working on forensic cases, Amanda is studying human remains excavated from the Jamestown colony. Prior to her internship, Amanda recently returned from Pakistan. Under the direction of Brian Hemphill, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Amanda and classmate Chad Willis conducted dental analyses on certain Pakastani populations to determine whether they are descendents of the armies of Ghengis Khan and Alexander the Great.

Identity Theft Public Service Announcement
The National Cyber Security Alliance and the Research Channel have aired a national public service announcement created by CSUB student Nolan Portillo. Nolan's PSA about identity theft and "cyber security" won third place at the 2007 Educause competition. You may view Nolan's national PSA at http://www.realnormal.com/realclient/NCSA/PSA.html.

Reception for Student Leaders
First Lady Barbara Mitchell and I were pleased to host at our home on September 21st our annual reception for student leaders. More than ninety student clubs and organizations were represented. The reception facilitates interactions among student groups, fosters collaboration, and advances the development of a sense of community.

University Council
The next University Council meeting is scheduled for October 19, 2007 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the Albertson Room.

I look forward to seeing you around campus or at an upcoming University or community event.