the President's Desk
the Chair Persons
From the President's Desk
Manuel A. Esteban, president.
(Photo by Jeff
Strategic Plan: A Valuable Blueprint
In my convocation speech on August 23, I talked about the universitys
Strategic Plan and the progress weve 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.
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 Chancellors 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 Chancellors 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
- strives to create high-quality learning environments
- makes wise use of educational technologies to enhance the learning
- capitalizes on its residential experience, building strong co-curricular
- 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. Lets 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.