From the President's Desk


The Presidentís complete convocation address can at be found on the web. What follows is an edited excerpt dealing with the Strategic Plan. Please go to the web site for the rest of the speech which includes an update on the budget and enrollment; a listing of faculty, staff, and student achievements; a review of cash/cash equivalent and planned gifts which have been given to the University this last year; and discussion of the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.

When I spoke to you last year I reported that the WASC Accreditation Visiting Team concluded that ďthe key to our future was the pursuit of our strategic plan,Ē a plan that the team saw as ďsimple, yet powerful, and contains the core of ideas and issues that have been identified as critical, not only for survival but for encouraging CSU, Chico to flourish.Ē

We have all done an incredible amount of work to implement the Strategic Plan in a short period of time. Because much of what weíve done is not apparent to everyone, I want to recap some of this progress.

You will recall that we have five priorities, the first of which was "to create and enhance innovative, high quality, and student-centered learning environments." Here are some of the actions taken to make this a reality.

A university-wide Assessment Program is now in place, led by Jim Morgan.

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, formed in late 1995, yearly allocates $250,000 ($150,000 of which comes from the Chancellorís Office for faculty productivity projects) to support faculty development relating to teaching and learning. The center also sponsors the annual conference on excellence in teaching and learning, also in its third year.

We have created a 24-hour-a- day Student Computing Laboratory in Meriam Library with funds we received from the Chancellorís Office.

Provost McNall has put together a Task Force on Student-Centered Learning, chaired by Shelley Young. This fall the task force will provide the campus with a statement of what constitutes student-centered learning and will provide examples of campus faculty engaged in student-centered learning and teaching.

Deans Donald Heinz and Roger Lederer will co-chair a group that will deal with the issue of academic rigor. It will be defined, identified, celebrated, and enhanced.

We created the Presidentís Scholars Program to attract high-achieving students. For this academic year we have awarded four $5,000 presidential scholarships to the top four students out of the 125 who participated in the day-long competition. We also awarded twenty $500 scholarships.

We have taken many positive steps to reform the General Education program.

Our second priority was "to invest in faculty and staff development." The following are some of the efforts to accomplish this goal.

Dean Jim Jacob and a group of staff devised a staff development plan. I adopted it and it is now being implemented out of Michael Biechlerís office. This program is now in its second year.

Using equipment generously donated by a major vendor, a staff computer training facility was opened this past academic year in the Meriam Library.

Business and Finance is creating an "individualized staff development program" for each employee.

Our campus hosted the 1997 CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning Conference. Those who participated said it was the best organized ITL conference ever.

CELT, in support of faculty and staff development, hosts annual conferences on excellence in learning and teaching. Approximately 400 faculty and staff attend the sessions each year.

The Technology Learning Program, created in 1995 to assist faculty and staff in the use of new educational technologies, also has the responsibility for working with those faculty designated as Master Teachers and those who are project directors for the Learning Productivity grants.

Our third priority is "to enhance academic programs by building a state-of-the-art technological learning environment."

With significant input from faculty and staff, Information Resources developed Target 2000, which details how we would accomplish this strategic priority. The Systemwide Internal Partnership (SIP) Team, which visited our campus last month, indicated that we are among the leaders, if not the leader, in the use of technology and in the development of a well-crafted business plan.

We secured a $500,000 competitive award from the Chancellorís Office to provide a 24-hour-a-day student computing laboratory in Meriam Library.

Instructional Resources introduced a 24-hour helpline for students.

This coming academic year we will phase in a new e-mail system.

On-course, implemented by Caroline Aldrich and her staff, will be on-line this fall. It will allow automatic degree audit and greatly simplify the task of departmental advisers and personnel in Advising and Orientation.

This summer the library significantly improved access to library information by implementing a new web-accessible, integrated library system from Ameritech.

We placed 300 new computers on faculty desks by last spring. Ninety-five percent of the original target group of tenured and tenure-track faculty now have computers, and 65 percent have adequate computers. This is a high priority of mine and supports the decision I made to use most of the ARD money for this purpose. By the end of the 1997-98 academic year, we will be at close to100 percent.

We continue to play a lead role in the development of CSUSAT, a systemwide satellite delivery mechanism providing credit courses and academic programs throughout the state.

Our fourth priority was "to reaffirm the role of CSU, Chico as the anchor institution of the region and develop positive links to our community and region."

We now have an Educational Services Center, and Dean Steve King and his colleagues will develop a Directory of Services to aid those in the K-12 community who want to connect with the institution.

We have become members of Campus Compact to deepen this institutionís long commitment to experiential, community-based education.

We have provided an electronic superhighway linking all but one of the North Stateís County Offices of Education and have provided Internet connections for 230 school sites.

Education Chair Mike Kotar and his colleagues developed the FLEX program to respond to Californiaís need to put more teachers in the classroom.

Our CORE program is another success story. This year the Liberal Studies Program and the Department of Education have 100 freshman, future California elementary teachers, participating in the Integrated Core.

The College of Business has responded to the needs of the Redding community for an MBA and partnered with sister campuses in the North State to offer the first electronically delivered, free-standing MBA.

America Reads has been implemented on this campus. All new Work-Study funds were committed to this nationwide tutorial program developed by the Clinton administration.

Dr. Bruce Grelle has created the Religion and Public Education Resource Center and provides professional development workshops for K-12 teachers.

Internship opportunities have become more accessible by Bill Lerchís development and implementation of an internship web site. Our students can now search over 1400 worldwide internship listings.

Our partnerships with the Chico Heat and the Rooks, the professional soccer team, are examples of our continuing efforts to be a positive and integral part of this community.

The University, and particularly the Department of Biological Sciences, has taken an active role in recruiting Atlantic Bio- Pharmaceuticals (ABI) to Chico from Montreal. For the first two years, the company will be doing basic research in facilities in Holt Hall, some of which will be done in collaboration with faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences.

In an effort to bring Chico, the region we serve, and the University closer together, I have re-activated the University Advisory Board. It is made up of twenty-five members from places such as Sacramento, Stockton, Fort Bragg, Redding, and Red Bluff as well as Chico.

Our fifth and last priority was "to diversify our sources of revenue and strategically manage the resources entrusted to us by the state and people of California."

We have instituted a focused international recruitment effort, which has already begun to pay big dividends.

Our efforts at enrollment management have contributed to a stable budget environment. The next goal is to shape our entering class and continue to expand our efforts to recruit high-achieving students.

We are experiencing a steady growth in graduate student enrollment, after several years of continued decline.

We have instructed the Graduate School to develop certificate programs which could be marketed abroad.

In 1995-96, we maintained our fundraising level at $7 million plus. We do not have final figures for this past academic year, but I predict that we will surpass the $7.5 million mark with great ease, as we are seeing increasing numbers of people willing to invest in the future of our University.

Written by Manuel A. Esteban


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