"Dream No Small Dream"

San José State University Annual Faculty/Staff Address

Robert L. Caret, president

AUGUST 23, 1996

More often than not, I am still referred to as the "new" President of San José State University. And, though I enjoy hearing that adjective applied to my name, I realize that I am well into my second year as the President of this wonderful institution. To many of you I am already "a campus fixture." I believe we have come a long way together in a short time. And I thank you for that accomplishment: It is also a pleasure and a privilege to candidly say that Liz and I feel we are rapidly becoming a part of this institution. The months that have passed have provided Liz and me the opportunity to begin to understand the institution, to know and feel its history, and to begin to know and appreciate its communities, past and present. We want to thank all of you for being so warm and welcoming and for allowing us into your community and your lives.

From my perspective, the institution is healthy and well, and is making the changes it needs to make to continue to evolve as the premier institution in The California State University (CSU) in northern California. Our future is very bright.

When I arrived in late January of 1995, it was obvious to me from the visits I made, the reading accompanying those visits, and the dialogue that resulted, that the institution needed to confront a number of issues immediately. One of those issues was the need for an institutional identity in the region. To that end, I suggested the descriptor of the Metropolitan University (MU) to help in building that image. One's image often results from a relatively small number of key perceptions. I felt, and continue to feel, that the Metropolitan University philosophy provides us with an appropriate and desirable way to discuss our image in simpler terms, though we all recognize that it describes an extremely broad, diverse, and complex organization. There has been much dialogue and discussion focused on the "Metropolitan University" mission, especially within the academic division and the SJSU Higher Education Roundtable, and I believe we are all beginning to sense how it can best be applied to the culture and mission of this institution.

SJSU, the Metropolitan University of Silicon Valley,

  • Is committed to developing educated citizens
  • Is committed to its community
  • Works closely with local business and government
  • Is responsive to the society we serve
  • Is highly interactive with that society

Using the Metropolitan University construct as the umbrella theme for the campus, I suggested four sub-themes to focus our energies and resources:

  • Enrollment services
  • Student success
  • Campus climate
  • Information resources/literacy
  • With a much more specific focus, I also recognized the need to stabilize the athletics budget (which we have done) and to increase efforts at self-support through development and through increased entrepreneurial activity (ongoing goals). I am pleased to be able to report today that, due to the extraordinary efforts of many individuals, committees and organizations on and off campus, we have already made significant progress in each of these areas. Let me give some key examples:
  • Enrollment Services: An Enrollment Enhancement Task Force was established to help us better address the needs of our students and to make better use of the resources of the campus. Building on this first step, a complete reorganization of all enrollment service units was effected, a new Associate Vice President will soon be joining us, our enrollment has been stabilized and a 5 year plan for enrollment has been developed. For the Fall of 1996, for example, we have received over 1000 more applications than we did last fall and our plan for enrollment growth and stabilization is one year ahead of schedule.
  • Student Success: The Task Force on Retention and Graduation, chaired by Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Lee Dorosz, has completed its report . As a result of their excellent efforts, many policies are being reviewed so that we can update, simplify, and eliminate where appropriate, our current campus procedures. A "one-stop-shopping" , Student Resource Center is being established with the help and leadership of Lewis Bundy and a Student Learning Center is being planned. Staff development initiatives focused on improved "service" are also part of the "mix."

Campus Climate: Many of you have told me that the campus I envisioned as "cleaner, safer, prettier, and happier" is becoming a reality. We have the now infamous "clean windows" that allow views--views of our many new walkways and much of the landscaping that accompanied their construction. We have made "you can get there from here", the slogan accompanying the welcome signs on the first day of classes last year, much more of a reality. Similarly, we have made substantive progress on our interactive climate under the direction of Gabe Reyes, the Special Assistant to the President for Campus Climate. Gabe has helped develop an Executive Advisory Board and various Subcommittees to work with us and the Board. Many initiatives have been undertaken including panel discussions, seminars/speakers, and cultural events that help us better understand and respect each other. The Senate commitment to diversity has resulted in approximately one-quarter of a million dollars in faculty development funding for this initiative. Faculty and staff professional development and leadership efforts have been expanded across all of our divisions. [Mention Administrative Affairs Leadership Certificate, Internship in Provost's Office and Internships in the President's Office; CCRI ...later]

Information Resources/Information Literacy: A reorganization of all "information units" is being planned and our first Chief Information Officer (CIO) will be joining us on October 1. Almost $28M in funding for our campus utilities/telecommunications infrastructure has been provided (via Proposition 203) and enhancement funding ($500,000 per year for three years) for this initiative has been provided by the CSU as one of two special requests I made to the Chancellor's Office. We have also been invited to submit an application for additional funding to the Knight Foundation. That request, which was submitted as a prospectus and is now being finalized as a full grant request, is aimed at faculty development funding for the creation of department-based "champions" -- champions at infusing the "new technologies" and their applications into our learning and scholarship efforts. I have also established a small task force of external and internal "friends" to help bring a targeted $1 million dollars in in-kind equipment donations to the campus, over the next two years, as part of this initiative. In particular, I will be working with several of the new members of my Advisory Board, including David Lam of Expert Edge, Eric Benhamou of 3Com and Richard Previte of AMD. Don Kirk, the Dean of Engineering and Jay Pinson, the retired Dean of Engineering, have agreed to help coordinate this initiative.

We will continue to move the first year initiatives forward and to continue to improve the entire foundation on which this campus rests. So part of our theme going into this year will be "going the distance." We need to continue what we've begun and make sure we get to where we want to be. It is also time to coalesce the strength of the campus and to begin to address concerns that have heretofore been on the back burner. I recently held my annual Staff Retreat to discuss our year two initiatives. At that retreat, we questioned what remains to be done on our initial goals, and what new specific initiatives do we want to begin? Which initiatives will play the greatest role in providing a campus of quality, a campus of excellence, and a campus that meets the needs of its students and the state?

Several of the specific goals for each of the administrative units, which resulted from these discussions, follow:

  • Academic Affairs: The completion of our curricular prioritization process will be the primary focus within the division. This effort, coupled with our administrative reengineering and restructuring efforts, will provide the cornerstones to our future. We need to better balance our various offerings and efforts to fund what we do more appropriately. Part of this effort will also be aimed at nurturing key academic programs with an emphasis on developing regional, state-wide or even national prominence. Other efforts will include an increased emphasis on assessment of learning outcomes, a review of our faculty role and reward efforts and an expansion of extended education.
  • We also need to build on our long and historical role as an institution that has a prime responsibility to prepare and maintain the educational workforce (teachers and administrators) throughout the state, and couple that traditional role to the Metropolitan University goal of being a partner with our community and helping it to solve many of its social problems. Education generally has been under attack for well over a decade, since the publication of A Nation At Risk. Despite the dozens of studies, grants, and initiatives at all levels, including the Office of the President of the United States, little progress has been made. Locally, we have seen this issue surface in a number of ways, including the recent dialogue on Remediation within The California State University System, questions surrounding the efficacy of the Master Plan and the students we accept on our campuses, and anecdotal feedback from business, in particular, that the graduates we are graduating are not educated. It's felt that many of our graduates cannot communicate well, particularly in writing, and are missing many of the basic skills expected of the university-educated graduate. In order for us to address these complex societal issues, all of education needs to be notched up. And the only way we're going to do that is by helping each other.

Consequently, other goals within the Academic Affairs Division for 1996-1997 are to:

  • Expand and Coordinate our Leadership Role in the K-18 Arena (e.g., MESA, AMP, Unfinished Journey) and Community Partnerships (e.g., Equity 2000, San José Educational Network, Joint Venture Silicon Valley/Renaissance Schools, Schools for the 21st Century)
  • Establish Conversation with Colleagues, Regular Meetings with Community College Chancellors and School Superintendents and Principals
  • Coordinate a Region-wide Initiative Focused on the Preparation and Maintenance of a Timely Teaching Workforce
  • Teachers Who Teach Our Teachers (i.e., The CSU effort)

Focus on Professional Development Schools

  • Assess Existing Programs and Realignment Where Necessary

Administrative Affairs: A campus needs a capital infrastructure that meets the needs of its programs. A major role for the Administrative Division will be to shepherd our capital construction projects forward. The division will also continue to expand its staff and leadership development efforts and to work at the continuous implementation of the "vision" it has developed and the reengineering, restructuring, and refocusing that the achievement of that vision will require.

Student Affairs: A campus that maximizes the potential for student success needs a strong and supportive student affairs philosophy. During 1996-1997 we will "go the distance" by continuing our efforts aimed at "student life" activities: Earlier I mentioned the Student Resource and Student Learning Centers being developed by the Academic Affairs Division. We will also be developing a Multicultural Center, will be establishing an office to coordinate student volunteerism and community service, and will continue to develop efforts to address more effectively the needs of the non-residential student-making them more and more a vital component of campus life.

Advancement: I am pleased to report that we finished our 95-96 fund year at $7.5M--a half a million over the previous year. And, with significant pledges in hand for several of our current initiatives, we expect to do even better this year. I also want to take this opportunity to formally announce the public phase of the "Heritage Gateway Campaign." This campaign, with a goal of raising $1.5 Million dollars to build 8 new entrances to our campus is now over the half-way point. We expect to raise the remaining money in the next 5-6 months and construction will begin in the fall of 1997. The gateways should be completed by spring 1998. We are also well on our way to achieving the funding target that will allow for a total ($13 million) renovation of the Business Classroom Building, making it a state-of-the-art facility for the next century. Richard Previte, an alumnus of our campus, and the President of AMD, is chairing that campaign. The College of Education is also seeking funds for the renovation of a "one room school house" which they recently were able to get donated to the San José Historical Museum in Partnership with SJSU.

Climate: We are institutionalizing the office with the title of Assistant to the President for Campus Climate. Gabe Reyes will be remaining in the position for a minimum of two more years, at which point, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, we will begin a three-year rotation of the position soliciting nominees from on campus. We have decided to make the position a permanent part of the President's office and to rotate the Assistant to the President to continually bring in new ideas and perspectives. The primary emphasis for the office this year will be completion and operationalization of recommendations from last year's study. The initiatives are intended to help us develop : a climate which values diversity, improve our recruitment and retention of faculty and staff, increase our professional development activities, evolve pedagogical strategies, develop a "user-friendly" campus.

Foundation: Kent Gibson, working with the Vice Presidents, is coordinating a review of all of our campus auxiliaries. The Foundation will increase its emphasis on developing industrial partnerships: incubators, consulting, and technology transfer. For example, we recently joined both the Environmental and Software Incubators as Board members and are negotiating with the new International Business Incubator.

Athletics: Our entry into the new Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Athletic Divisions goals, as outlined in "Vision 2000" will provide us with a conference of institutional partners that complement our own academic and athletic goals. As I said earlier, the budget is stabilized. We are ready for our new conference. We have had several noteworthy achievements in athletics this year, including winning the Big West Men's Basketball Tournament, 2nd in the Nation in Woman's Golf, and a 35th National Championship for Judo. Several SJSU students were on Olympic teams in Atlanta. Our Homecoming Football game against San Diego this year will be broadcast regionally on ABC. We are looking forward to the new challenges before us and to additional examples of the synergy that results from a strong academic-athletic partnership.

Equal Opportunity: We have begun and will continue to focus increased energy in this important area and, where appropriate and beneficial, will continue to decentralize and institutionalize our efforts related to equal opportunity, affirmative action and employee practices. I will return to these issues shortly.

Beyond these specific initiatives, I want to use the resources of my office to focus the energies of the entire campus in a vital area--"student success". Student success has many components, some of which I have already mentioned briefly. The major components that comprise our ongoing efforts and planned efforts include:

  • Aggressive and Targeted Recruitment and Retention
  • Orientation for All New Students
  • Study Breaks with Caret
  • Dialogue with the President
  • Focus on Retention/Graduation
  • Student Resource Center
  • Student Learning Center
  • Emphasis on Broader Course Availability
  • Emphasis on Student Life
  • "The College Experience"
  • Increase all "Information Resources"
  • The Library
  • Information Technologies
  • State-Wide Access (i.e. the the Pac Bel Internet Access)
  • Increased Modem Availability
  • More "Power", "Tools," "Support," and "Training"

Many people and offices have worked together as a team to turn some of our and goals into accomplishments this past year--and I want to thank all of you for these contributions. Many of you have singularly been spectacular in your efforts and it is impossible to personally thank individually all who were and are involved in our many success. Let me begin by thanking all of our faculty and staff for pulling together, for helping and for making us successful. I also want to point out for special thanks, the Senate, Stacey Morgan Foster and Leon Washington and the Enrollment Enhancement Task Force, Lee Dorosz and the Retention Committee, the Campus Climate Advisory Committee, and the many individuals involved in our successful accreditation visits and our ADA Survey and Plans. A special thanks to our FD and O and Grounds people for their help with the campus "look and feel."

Let me also use this opportunity to introduce several new members of the administration and several individuals with significant new responsibilities:

  • Victor Castillo, Director of Facilities Management
  • Alan Freeman, Director, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction
  • Dan Johnson, Associate Vice President , Facilities Development and Operations
  • Peter Lee, Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs
  • Rose Lee, Associate Vice President for Financial and Administrative Program Planning
  • Fred Najjar, Acting Associate Vice president for Student Affairs
  • Lela Noble, Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences
  • Mark Novak, Dean of Continuing Studies
  • Veril Phillips, Executive Assistant to the Provost
  • Gabe Reyes, Assistant to the President for Campus Climate
  • Wiggsy Silvertsen, Director, counseling Services
  • Jo Sprague, Acting Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs
  • Leon Washington, Acting Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services
  • Donald Zitter, Chief Information Officer (CIO)

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jim Schmidt for serving both as the Director of the Library and the Interim Chief Information Officer over the past year. His help has been vital and is appreciated.

You may recall that last year, as a way to challenge all of us to demonstrate our university, SJSU team spirit, I put on an SJSU baseball cap and pin and offered inaugural pins to all on the campus. Since donning that cap and spirit for my role on the team, I have been busy. Aside from meeting and talking with literally hundreds of community people in formal and informal settings, I have taken the concept of Metropolitan University to the core of the Presidency:

  • in San José

I have been asked by the Mayor to Co-Chair of City-Wide Review of the Arts; I sit on the Repertory Theater Board, the Opera Board, the Chamber of Commerce Board;, the Joint Venture Silicon Valley/Economic Development Team Board, and Co-Chair its Subcommittee on Workforce ("Brainworks")

  • in the CSU
  • I represent the Presidents on the Cornerstones Initiative (i.e., System-wide PEW effort), the Extended Education Initiative the Students in the Year 2005 Committee (i.e., enrollment planning), and have been asked by the Chancellor to chair the CSU-UC Committee on Joint Graduate Programs.
  • National/State
  • I sit on the MESA Board, am involved in developing the ACE Initiative with Mexico, and the AASCU Initiatives in International Education and Technology. Two new editions of my chemistry texts have just come out, and I am proud of that accomplishment, but I have to admit that I have not touched a test tube this entire past year.
  • Liz and I are both out there representing SJSU and we know many of you are too. We need to all continue to help in strengthening our community linkages.
  • Let me conclude today by turning to one of the most critical issues in contemporary American society.

In last year's address I reinforced this institution's commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action. Quote:

On a more personal and controversial note, given the recent action by the University of California Board of Regents, I feel it important to make clear my personal view on affirmative action. As an institution, and as individuals, we may well be asked to go on record as to our stance regarding this important issue. I believe that affirmative action has been good for this country; it has been good for this institution, this region, this system and the state.

Our role is to provide the next generation of citizens-educated citizens who will continue to improve and build this society. We can only do that by continuing to provide the broadest access and empowerment of people we possibly can. Education is the bridge to the future for each individual as well as for our society. What we do works, and we will make the strongest case possible for the right to continue to do it. The way we have approached affirmative action is appropriate, morally defensible, and desirable.

I reaffirm that commitment this year, when affirmative action is under grave attack on a much larger scale. Robert Atwell, recently retired President of the American Council on Education, provided very thoughtful remarks in his last address to an ACE national meeting last January. Paraphrasing, he stated:

Higher education performs a powerful service to society in general--especially when we work to ensure the success of persons whose formal entering credentials may be seriously lacking, or whose preparation is inadequate to allow them to function in the marketplace...Remediation [as an example; and other support] often is [are] an essential component of affirmative action. It is justified--indeed required--by both a sense of responsibility to those whose potential exceeds their past performance and the enormous gains to society that come from reducing the potential of these individuals for dependency.

Today we have before us a new challenge-the "California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI). While the CCRI purports to be a step towards providing a more equitable playing field for society, its affects will most certainly be just the opposite. And it is up to us to explain why. CCRI will not allow us to "help" those in greatest need of help. CCRI will change our role in society. Let me quote a letter that I have collaborated in drafting, which will be signed by the majority-if not all-of the Presidents of the California State University System:

"...the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) is an unnecessary change that would hurt all Californians...It is imperative that quality education continue to be the centerpiece for a strong California economy and a vital and viable society. By voting no on CCRI, voters can help preserve the American ideals for all Californians."

We are evolving into and emerging as this valley's Metropolitan University. Reinforcing what I said last year, this institution has always been a major educational, economic, and social resource to this region. As we develop our Metropolitan University role and focus on this region and its needs, we will continue to serve as that resource and, if we do our job right, we will continue to play an expanded role in the development of the region in a way we can all applaud and be proud of.

My inaugural address was titled "Dream No Small Dream." I chose that title, as I stated, because I felt the institution needed a big dream..."a dream that could stir one's souls...". Many of you have confirmed that the institution is in need of a big dream. Working together we can make our dream a reality.

I appreciate the help and support I've received over the past eighteen months, and ask for your continued dedication and support in the months ahead, stand ready to help in any way that I can, and wish you a wonderful academic year .

Thank you.

Robert Caret