INSIDE Chico State
0 August 30, 2001
Volume 32 Number 1
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Inside

STORIES

From the President's Desk

From the Chair Persons

Calendar of Events

Achievements

Exhibitions

Credits

Archives

 

From the President's Desk

Manuel Esteban, president
Manuel A. Esteban, president.

(Photo by Jeff Teeter)

CSU, Chico’s Strategic Plan: A Valuable Blueprint

In my convocation speech on August 23, I talked about the university’s Strategic Plan and the progress we’ve made since it was collectively created. The full text of my convocation address can be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/prs/. I encourage those of you who were unable to attend the convocation to go to the site and read the speech. Although many of you are very familiar with the plan, written in 1995 and updated in 1999, there are many newer people on campus who are not. It is important that everyone be aware of our plan for the future, know what our mission and our vision statements say, know what our five strategic priorities are, and be knowledgeable about what we have accomplished since the adoption of this plan.

It is important because the Strategic Plan unifies our purpose, establishes our priorities, and allows us to make important resource decisions based on those priorities. I know that we would not have solved the challenges facing us at the time we created the plan if we had not worked together from a collective vision and purpose. The plan has allowed us to make huge strides in improving relations between the university and the community, creating a vision of what the university is and should become, increasing enrollment, emphasizing the need for faculty and staff development, creating a technology plan consistent with our resources and the mission of the university, and acknowledging problems with workload.

Since there is not space to present the whole speech, I will give you excerpts from the last section in which I address remaining challenges and where we go from here.

Continuing Challenges.

Despite our progress and many successes, we still face interesting challenges, as we always will. Let me mention a few:
Common Management Systems: The implementation of the Common Management System, or CMS, is well known to everyone by now. CMS Project Director Phyllis Weddington and her team will be working hard on this project. We are in the best possible position. Here is an excerpt from the CMS Readiness Report conducted by PeopleSoft Consulting: It is not common for PeopleSoft Consulting to find an institution as well prepared as it finds CSU, Chico
Enrollment and the Master Plan: Historically, our enrollment ceiling has been 14,000 FTE. This year, we are funded at 14,250 FTE but will surpass this figure by a good margin. This strong unanticipated growth will tax our facilities. According to the Office of the Chancellor, we have the capacity to grow to about 15,000 FTE. For us to have any chance to receive funding for a new Student Services Building, for renovation and expansion of Taylor Hall, expansion of Modoc facility, and removal of many temporary buildings, we must accept growth of about 1,500 FTE over the next 10 to 15 years. If approved by the Trustees, this will permit us to revise our physical master plan and receive funding for capital projects.
WASC Accreditation Visit. We need to prepare for the next Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) reaccreditation visit. We need a preliminary report in 2002-2003 and assessment plans in place for all units and for General Education. Each department and program needs to be able to respond to key questions WASC will pose about student learning, expectations, outcomes, and program improvement.
Recruitment. Despite our recent success in this area, we do not want to leave to chance the recruitment of the kind of students we want. We must also continue our efforts to recruit international students and to recruit affirmatively in order to diversify our student body, our faculty, and our staff.
Diversity of resOURces We must continue to diversify resources through fund-raising and grant and contract activities.
Faculty and staff development In order to keep our reputation for excellence, we must continue to provide opportunities for faculty and staff development. Alignment of expenditures and priorities. We must continue performance-based budgeting and decision making based on our mission and strategic priorities.
Alleviating high-risk drinking The tragic deaths of students due to high-risk drinking has forced me to pay special attention to the problem. I hope you will all join me in dealing with this serious problem. A campus study showed that most CSU, Chico students who drink do so responsibly most of the time. Last year I was on the Chancellor’s Committee on Alcohol Policies and Programs and it underscored the fact that our alcohol abuse prevention efforts have been well ahead of most campuses. Our Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC) has done a truly outstanding job for many years. Yet, we must and will do more.

Through new state and federal grants and in cooperation with the wider community, we will intensify both our educational and enforcement efforts this year. We are thoroughly examining our existing policies and programs in light of recommendations from the Chancellor’s Alcohol Committee. We will continue to work closely with CADEC and other student organizations to ensure they do a better job of self-regulation.

Faculty can play a key part in this multi-faceted effort by helping in some of the following ways:

  • Engage students academically, especially first-year freshmen during the first weeks of school.
  • Maintain high academic expectations throughout the semester, including on Fridays and around holidays like Halloween.
  • Become more sensitive to the early warning signs of alcohol abuse among students and about appropriate actions you can take.
  • When the issue of alcohol does come up, tell your students that most students over-estimate the amount of drinking among their peers, a fact that is supported by random-sample surveys each of the last two years.
  • We should all stop referring, even in humor, to Chico State as a “party school.” Such references simply perpetuate an outdated image, normalize alcohol abuse, and demean the high academic quality of this institution.

In the words of Ernest Boyer, “We are looking for a university in which all of its component parts are connected.” In a connected university there are three priorities:

  • Clarifying the curriculum, which means that we answer and act on the question of what it means to be liberally educated.
  • Connecting to the world beyond the classroom, recognizing the problems of our communities, and working to solve them.
  • Creating a campus community, which means that from freshman orientation to commencement day, we need to consciously strive to increase connection by stressing the importance of shared values.

By being connected with one another, we can achieve as much in the next five years as we have in the past five. My goal, which I hope is a goal we all share, is to be highly ranked nationally and be known as a university that

  • strives to create high-quality learning environments
  • makes wise use of educational technologies to enhance the learning process
  • capitalizes on its residential experience, building strong co-curricular programs and
  • encourages students to engage in service learning activities
  • has distinctive freshman-year programs has
  • strong applied programs
  • prepares students equally well for further formal education as well as for the world of work, service, and life-long learning
  • celebrates and rewards the teacher-scholar model
  • cares about the environment and works to protect it.

To achieve this goal, we simply need to continue to build on our already well-deserved reputation for academic quality and continue to work on

  • enhancing the quality and rigor of our existing academic programs
  • improving the campus infrastructure, providing new and revitalized spaces for teaching and learning.
  • increasing our fund-raising efforts. To be an excellent university, we need to secure extramural funds.
  • becoming more aggressive in telling our story. Let’s all try to find appropriate venues to highlight our successes and best practices. Let us not be excessively humble.

We have made tremendous progress since the crisis years. If we continue to work together to create a connected university, this will always be a wonderful place for students to learn, for faculty to teach, and for our staff to support the creation of quality learning environments.

Manuel A. Esteban (signature)

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