1997

"A Template for Progress"

San José State University
President's Faculty/Staff Address
August 25, 1997

Welcome, back! Often, when a new president arrives on a campus, he or she initiates a broad based, on and off campus, strategic planning process. When such a process is undertaken, there are several goals in mind: One goal is, obviously, to develop a plan for the campus. Another is to use the process to create a broad, educated network of individuals who have both participated in the development of the plan and understand where it will lead. For a number of reasons, I did not feel such an approach was desirable when I arrived.

First, I felt the campus had gone through a significant internal review in the years just prior to my arrival. Second, it was clear from those reviews that the issues we faced were well defined and that the campus community had a broad understanding of what those issues were. Finally, I felt that the arrival of a new president would in itself provide an opportunity for dialogue with both internal and external communities on the issues before us.

I believe that that approach was correct and has been successful. Today we will take yet another step down that path, a path towards developing a shared vision for the campus, by codifying what we have accomplished and what we have said we will do, in the form of a strategic planning template for the campus. The template is a guide -- a guide for each of us. My senior staff has been using this guide in its deliberations and prioritizations. It is a good touchstone. The template will also allow us to tell our story more easily and to provide that story to a much broader cross-section of the region. We all need to continue to work to evolve the plan each semester to help make the vision a reality. The new template will be sent to each member of the faculty and staff within the next week.

A template is just that - an architectural rendering, not a detailed blueprint. The blueprint is the work each of you do. The template allows each of us to look at the whole. Please provide feedback. We are especially interested in comments that can help strengthen and clarify the template and the message it carries for all of us.

I will begin by providing updates in our four "theme" areas. You may recall that in my first Fall address in 1995 I discussed our enrollment decline. I also outlined the strategy we would use in addressing that problem . As a result of the efforts of many, and perhaps some luck, we are two years ahead of our original projections. Enrollments are moving up again and we will be approaching 2 percent above our enrollment target this academic year. That is great news for all of us. For, as you recall, we had been losing money in our base budgets because of the lower number of students.

The future is even brighter. As a result of a combination of a campus that is doing the right things, a city that is also doing the right things, a system that has supported us, and an economy that is exploding, our enrollment growth for the next decade and beyond should remain solid. In fact, if the state is unable, with us, to find ways to finance our enterprise, we will not be able to handle all of the students that will be knocking on our doors. We all need to work to avoid that outcome. Do keep in mind, however, that enrollment growth does not mean better funding. In all likelihood, our funding will, at best, remain constant on a per student basis.

Our theme of "student success" has led to several major changes on the campus and the outcomes are beginning to reflect those changes in a positive way. First, the Student Resource Center we announced last year is now open and operational. This one stop center for students, a place to find help and guidance, a place to solve problems, is proving to be the valuable resource we envisioned.

Plans are also under way for a Student Learning Center, a place or places where tutorial and developmental resources will be available and easily obtained. These efforts, combined with many others on the campus, are already showing results.

For example, following the recommendation of the Student Retention Task Force we established to look at student retention and graduation, we have set a seven-year goal of improving five-year graduation rates by 30-35 percent to achieve an overall rate of approximately 50 percent, up from about 32-38 percent when I arrived. In the last two years that rate has moved from 37 percent to 39 percent--a small step, but we are on the right track.

We are also seeing success on several other fronts, including increased enrollments in several key areas. We will be adding more tools to help increase these successes. For example, I have asked that we look at ways to expand our honors programs offerings to provide a broader array of opportunities for students who want to push themselves a little harder. And, we recently announced the President's Scholars Program which will provide 4-year scholarships (fees, room, and board) to high ability students. Our first scholars will be admitted in the Fall of 1998.

The area of information technology, resources and competency is one that will experience exponential change this year. Our first Chief Information Officer joined us last fall and over the past two semesters has been working to pull the threads of our needs and plans together. A broad-based planning process was initiated and a focused set of priorities and resource needs were developed. We will be addressing needs in the areas of campus infrastructure, academic and administrative support, and campus information services and resources. Over $28 million in capital money has been committed and will be expended over the next 18 to 24 months on infrastructure needs; over $8 million of that money goes into our fiber optic backbone between buildings.

We have also committed to this effort over $1.5M in the enhancement money I requested and received from the system as a new campus president.

In addition, grants from the San José Mercury News and the Knight Foundation of almost $0.5M have been awarded to us this past June to provide between 50-60 faculty a year (for three years) blocks of assigned time to investigate how the "new technologies" can be used pedagogically across our disciplines. Those funds will be used to augment resources within the Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL). Both the CIO and Provost's Offices will be involved in the initiative, known as "Champions." Finally, through our fundraising efforts, we estimate that over $3M in in-kind contributions from local companies will enhance our own efforts and purchases.

All of this takes money. The Foundation edged past its previous high water mark with $28,875,217 for 353 grants and contracts thanks to the outstanding research of our principal investigators and the hard work of the Foundation staff. Private support was up as well, ending the year with $11,800,000, up from $7,600,000 in 95-96. In 1996-97 we added two college-based development officers as joint reports with the deans of business and humanities and the arts and the development office with good results. This program has been expanded in 1997-98 with the addition of development officers in the colleges of science and education. We have reached the initial threshold set by the Chancellor's Office and are poised to expand these efforts. We are on our way to more truly reflecting - and benefiting from - the fact that we are Silicon Valley's Metropolitan University.

The fourth, and in many ways the most important of our original themes, was and still is the area of campus climate. Over the past year, the Executive Committee on Campus Climate has been working, with the help of the faculty, staff and student subcommittees, to draft and plan the implementation of a series of recommendations aimed at developing the kind of campus we all need and want.

Today we are formally announcing those recommendations, many of which we have already begun to implement in the last few semesters, and others we will begin to implement this year. Coordinators have been selected and are charged with helping to make these recommendations a reality. Resources, where appropriate and where highest priority exists, have been committed. More resources will be provided as the implementation process continues to unfold. A set of the recommendations will be sent to each of you. Extra copies are also available from my office. Remember, we define campus climate as a climate that maximizes the potential for success for everyone. Aspects of the recommendations will affect all of us, in many ways, as we work, teach, study and learn on the campus.

Today, US News & World Report, with its annual ranking of universities, will be on the news stands. For the first time, SJSU will be ranked in the top western regional universities in a new category, the category of Campus Diversity.

Let me take a moment to give you a brief update on several other initiatives that are part of our agenda:

Curricular priorities: It has taken us almost two years to finalize our curricular plans. We are now ready for the next steps. We need to go through the final review of those programs recommended for elimination, and we need to develop a timetable and fiscal plan for the implementation of the recommendations themselves. The Academic Senate and the Provost, with the Council of Deans, will be spearheading those efforts during the fall semester.

City-University Library: The primary advantage in our development of a library with the City, given our current financial situation vis-a-vis libraries and what we see on the horizon, is one of survival, growth, and growth with quality. It is my feeling that without such partnerships libraries are doomed to disappear or wallow in mediocrity, due to insufficient funding combined with exponentially rising costs. I believe that together we can build a library, maintain a library, and, most importantly, develop a library we can look to with pride. I believe we can leverage our resources, share our expertise, and provide benefits to our communities that would not be possible without such a shared partnership. There may be some advantages and disadvantages in the form of changes in services that may be necessary to effect the partnership. However, I believe that the positives associated with such a sharing will far outweigh the negative. Nevertheless, we would not begin the project unless we were thoroughly convinced of that outcome.

Having the rebirth of San José continue to move west towards the campus, linking with the campus through a pedestrian mall, the new City Hall and Civic Center, can only benefit the campus as a whole. Together, we can make a city and a university that are second to none within the CSU. Bridging the city and the university together--through the City Hall and Civic Center, through a partnership with a parking garage, and through the potential partnership of a library can only help us accelerate that growth in a positive direction. Auxiliaries: We have a wide range of auxiliaries that link our entrepreneurial spirit, our needs for self-management and fiscal flexibility, and the needs of the campus. Parking and housing run as auxiliaries; so do the Student Union, the Health Center, and the Event Center. We also have Spartan Shops, the Associated Students, and the University Foundation. It is time to review the operation of these units, from a campus needs perspective. It is also time to take advantage of new business models and maximize benefits to the university. I announced the beginning of that review last year. We will continue the process this year and hope to have the recommendations that come forward from the various operating units approved and implemented during the current academic year.

Athletics: Athletics had a very successful first year in the WAC. Our women golfers won their first WAC championship for SJSU and came in second nationally, and Eric Arnold was named Coach of the Year. The baseball team won the Western Division title and San Piraro was named WAC Coach of the Year. Philippe Blin was also named as the WAC Coach of the Year for leading our women's soccer team to an amazing season. We are competing successfully in the WAC, and we will continue to improve our competitiveness. You can be sure we will do so in a manner that strengthens the institution as a whole, academically and athletically. I believe in the "birds of a feather" view of intercollegiate athletics; that is, the institutions within a conference should reflect each other, both athletically and academically. Our conference is a great conference for our institution.

K-18: Last year the Provost expanded our earlier efforts, as described above, to include a major thrust with the K-12 sector, as we evolved a K-18 construct. That initiative is well on its way. A variety of K-18 councils (e.g. presidents, chancellors, superintendents, principals, etc.) have been meeting and working with SJSU academic leaders. For example, we coordinated our first joint mini-conference of the individuals just mentioned and invited Lee Schulman, new President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, to address us on the topic of "managing change".

We also expanded our focus on students last year, which I mentioned earlier, and much is happening there. This year, however, I plan to concentrate on our faculty. We often say that faculty are at the heart of the university. I want to reaffirm that while all of us are important to the university, faculty are the heart. It is a difficult time in higher education and, in many ways, it has been most difficult for the faculty.

Today I want to reiterate some perspectives I have shared with you and to make some promises and commitments. First, we need to continue to look at faculty work and refine our definition of what is expected, in a realistic sense. We also need to continue to evolve the faculty role and reward structure within the institution to be sure it reflects what we say we want and will do and, more importantly, as it is effected does what we say we want and will do. As we look at faculty work, for example, we need to recognize and applaud the fact that we are an institution whose primary focus is to teach and to provide an environment in which students learn.

We also need to continue to recognize and embrace the three-dimensionality of faculty work, focusing on teaching, service and scholarship. We all need to be involved in all three dimensions, but clearly each of us will have unique approaches and "mixes" associated with our individual efforts. We need to work to assure this flexibility and diversity, defined in part by both the individual faculty member and the institution, through academic shared governance and in the context of collective bargaining. Faculty work has certain similarities from faculty member to faculty member, but it also has characteristics that are unique to the individual. Many profiles, often changing from season to season in the faculty member's life, are acceptable and desirable. We must all work to assure that philosophy is reflected in the institutional decisions that we make.

I can assure you , for example, I have done all that I can to implement the broadest possible definition of scholarship appropriate to the ARTP process. I have written and spoken widely on my views of faculty roles and appropriate reward processes. In that context, I embrace the Boyer philosophy of scholarship and have promulgated its assimilation locally, system-wide and nationally. To help in that effort, beginning with the Spring 97 decisions, we will begin publishing profiles of faculty who are promoted and/or tenured. These profiles will provide the faculty members with appropriate recognition for what they have achieved; they will also provide guidance to other faculty on the variety of paths to success faculty have employed. Let's all continue to work to improve our system of collegial self-governance.

Within the area of faculty development, several initiatives have been mentioned already: the "Champions" grant and the enhancement of technology, in particular.

I also want to go on record today to commit to providing additional sabbatical opportunities for faculty. With the endorsement of the Senate Budget Advisory Committee, I plan to add a minimum of two sabbaticals per year to our base budget over each of the next 5 years. Sabbaticals, I believe, are a critical element in faculty development and growth, which is crucial in a world of rapid change. I also will continue to stress our commitment to help recruit a broadly diverse faculty. As the world changes, so must the composition of our faculty, in time, change. We need to hire qualified faculty who also reflect the society we are serving. That goal is obvious and necessary.

Through Curricular Priorities we have focused our educational offerings, including those in graduate education. We now need to find a way to assure that we are providing faculty with appropriate resources to offer and guide those programs. Though it can't happen overnight, I am committed to finding a way to be sure that teaching load, for those heavily involved in graduate education, is appropriate for the effort being expended.

Though less spiritual and more secular, I am also announcing today a commitment to upgrade the faculty offices on the campus. More detail on this initiative will be provided by the Provost and the Vice President for Administration in the weeks ahead.

And finally, on both the spiritual and secular side, I am committed to working with the system to eliminate the salary gap that exists when comparing CSU faculty with our peer institutions.

Thank you, everyone, for working hard on the Senate, on Task Forces, on selection and recruitment committees and a myriad of working groups. We are working together as a team and it is paying off. We have much to do, but we have already come far. The template summarizing all of these initiatives, and more, will be sent to all of you this week. Take pride in your amazing efforts and what we have accomplished.

Let's have another great semester!

Robert Caret