Welcome Back

I would like to extend a warm welcome to each of you. I hope that you all had a relaxing, enjoyable, and recuperative holiday break.

I am pleased to report that we continue to have good news about the success of our recruitment efforts. Our enrollment for this spring is running at 3 percent higher than last spring semester, and Institutional Research informs me that applications for next fall are up by better than 10 percent over last year at this time. My thanks to all those who have been working diligently and effectively to attract more and academically stronger students. As further evidence of our growth—-and to serve this increase in the number of students—we are in the process of conducting searches for thirty-four tenure-track positions. This is the greatest number of searches we have had in a good number of years.

The governor has recommended that the CSU be funded for all the excess enrollment that it has over budget. Unless there are unforeseen events in Sacramento, this means an additional 3 percent on top of the 1 percent for excess enrollment called for in the four-year compact agreed upon by the governor and the CSU. If the governor's budget holds, this would mean that the 1998-99 FTE-funded target for CSU, Chico would be 12,845 or 245 more than our funded target for 1997-98. The implication of this is that for the first time in more than six years we would not be forced to either cut our budget or borrow money from the Chancellor's Office as we have had to do for the last two years to avoid lay-offs. Better still, it would be the first time in a long time that we have an infusion of new resources, albeit a modest one.

Let me draw your attention as well to a few new initiatives. By now you will have received or are about to receive a number of announcements relating to undergraduate research awards, awards for student-centered learning, the President's Visiting Scholars Program, and the Presidential Leadership Program. All these initiatives relate directly to the implementation of the University's Strategic Plan and follow from the commitment I made during my fall convocation speech to enhance the academic experience of our students and prepare new leaders to meet the many challenges facing higher education.

I wish all a great and productive semester.

Manuel A. Esteban

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