Faculty/Staff Address

Robert L. Caret

August 24, 2000

Education, Innovation, and Pride

Welcome back to a new semester and academic year.

Today I want to talk about our future, a future that is full of optimism and excitement. And, I want to frame the discussion using three foci: education, innovation, and pride.

For the past six years we have been working to rebuild our foundation and our focus. After many years of budget reductions, the former was a bit shaky and the latter a bit diffuse. Today, thanks to the energy we have expended, thanks to the commitment that is within us, and thanks to the creativity and innovation that are a part of this institution, we are healthy and we are strong. We are growing and we are changing. We are ready to help California meet the challenges of the new century.

First some brief updates:

  • Enrollment Management: Six years ago our enrolments were declining. Today we are growing, despite a strong economy, which normally means more jobs and fewer students going to school. That is a good sign and I hope a reflection that people understand that today's knowledge workers need to be truly educated and not just trained in a specific skill; they need to be college graduates, graduates who will continue to grow and evolve in order to remain timely and support our information economy in the future.
  • Student Success: Six years go many of our student service functions were fragmented, and not user friendlyÐsome would say unfocused. Today they are much improved, much better coordinated and are continuing to work to become even better at what they do. We have come a long way but we also have much more to do.
  • Information Resources/Technology/Literacy: Six years ago we had a small number of isolated islands of technological innovation and many more islands looking for help to take the first steps towards such innovation. Today we provide a unified, state of the art network infrastructure, are in the process of implementing a campus- and system-wide Administrative Computer Management System, and have dramatically expanded our repertoire of course offerings using the new technologies. Many of you may have read about our phenomenally successful "E-Commerce Management Certificate Program" offered for the first time last year by our Division of Continuing Education. Enrollment in this program was 1,000 in 1999 and is expected to reach 2,000 this fall. The program has attracted students from throughout the state and the U.S. as well as from Turkey and the former Soviet Union. We also received a $1 million grant from the South Korean computer company, Naray and Co., Inc., to develop the Korean E-Business Commercialization Institute.

As I look around the auditorium, I am pretty sure I can see such acronyms as DARS and CMS engraved on some people's foreheads. Others of you, I am sure are reciting words like PeopleSoft and CalTeach or CalStateTeach as you sleep. These complex and multi-faceted programs, into which we have put tremendous effort and resources, will eventually reap significant improvements and rewards for us. On our good days, we all know that. My thanks to all of you involved in these major projects and my encouragement as we continue moving them forward in the year ahead.

  • Campus Climate: It is hard to admit we are not perfect and while we have made great strides in our campus climate initiatives we also know that there remains more to do. Six years ago we made a commitment to provide a campus that maximized the potential for success for all who were part of the campus. Our campus climate efforts serve as a model for many other institutions nationally, and our Multicultural Center (Mosaic) is impacting our day-to-day lives in so many ways. Today we are seeing the positive outcomes of all of our efforts in virtually everything that we do. For example, in this past year my "key lunches" with student groups have provided me with invaluable insight into specific student concerns such as the need for more help in language proficiency for students for whom English is their second language. I have also enjoyed the multitude of co-curricular activities that have been offered including, for example, our Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month and I look forward to participating in a variety of activities this coming year. As our campus is always changing, we will need to renew our commitment each year to improve campus climate.
    • Community Perceptions in 1994:
      • Good value for the money
      • Under appreciated
      • Struggling
      • Misunderstood
    • Community Perceptions in 1998:
      • Good value for the money
      • Under appreciated
      • Changing
      • Offers a real-world education
  • Six years ago our budgets were inadequate and declining. Today our budget is much more robust, and we just experienced the largest single annual increase in the history of the California State University System. However, not surprisingly, we also have many challenges for the use of these funds. As has often been alleged, "Universities raise as much money as possible from as many sources as possible and then spend it."

Some immediate outcomes include:

  • Faculty compensation pool increases of 17% over the last three years and staff compensation increases of 15% over the same time period
  • Deferred maintenance from less than $300,000/Yr. in FY 94 to more than $4,000,000/Yr. today
  • Overall budget of $7,520/FTE in FY94 to $9,290 /FTE in FY01.

And one of our biggest challenges:

    • A $15+ Million price tag for CMS over the next 5-8 years.
  • Six years ago the city was rapidly reinventing itself. Today that rebirth continues in full swing and is about to dramatically accelerate. Over one dozen new, major buildings will be constructed over the next 5-6 years. Those will include our new library, new apartments on Fourth Street, several new hotels, several new office buildings, a new city hall and civic center, and a new home or the opera and for the symphony. We also expect to see a light rail extension to our campus and perhaps one day BART will give students from he east bay a new way to commute to campus.

Other areas in which we have expended thought and energy and which are evolving to improve the campus include: an increased emphasis on service learning and community service experiences for our students, expanded assessment of our programs, greater emphasis on "designer programs" (programs with an industry specific focus such as our MBA/MEE for CISCO), and distance education. We have also developed full partnerships with many companies. We are an authorized "SUN Academic JAVA Campus" and offer the SUN UNIX Certificate Program and we have just signed a 5 year partnership with CISCO that provides us with approximately $1M in resources annually aimed at student internships and scholarships, faculty externships, and a CISCO Fellows Program among other shared arrangements. We are also providing a leadership role through our K-16 Partnership efforts and our efforts with Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group in closing the "digital divide" and the challenges of the "workforce gap" in the valley.

There are many more components to our university and they too are all moving in the right direction, a direction the ensures that we provide a quality of education to our students we can be proud of, a quality of work environment for our faculty and staff that they deserve and need, and quality services to all of our clienteles. Such and environment nurtures pride and pride nurtures quality and visa versa.

Together we have accomplished much and we have many reasons to be proud. Each year many, many of our faculty and staff bring distinction to the university by their research and professional achievements. It is especially gratifying when this work is recognized by outside independent sources.

  • The U.S. News and World Report edition of best graduate schools listed our MPH one of the top 10 nationally, our OT program as one of the top 19 nationally, and our School of Library Science as one of the best in the nation;
  • Black Issues inn Higher Education ranks us sixth in the nation for graduating minority students;
  • The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education lists us among the top 26 universities for graduating the most Hispanic students nationally.

While in many ways the heart of what we doÐproviding an accessible, affordable, quality education, with a solid arts and sciences base, for our studentsÐhas, in many ways, remained unchanged since we were founded, just about everything else about the educational process and how we create and support the environment in which that education happens has changed. And the pace of that change accelerates.

We are an innovative and entrepreneurial campus, reflecting the character of the valley we have helped create. And, we have used that innovation to manage the change we experience and to guide our efforts in ways that lead to continued progress. The following select examples are illustrative:

  • James F. Boccardo Business Education Center
  • A.S. Child Care Center and University House
  • Facilities: I have already mentioned the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and the 10 St Student Services Center. The former, a unique partnership with the city and the latter an architecturally creative use of existing space in a non-traditional way. Much of our existing space is underutilized and, working with our many partners, we need to leverage that space more effectively for the campus.

Other examples include:

  • NASA-Ames Partnership and Collaborative
  • Microprocessing Engineering Laboratory
  • University House
  • Athletics Weight Training Facility
  • Lundy Avenue Professional Development
  • University Police Addition to the 7th St. Garage

We appreciate your patience with the dust and noise as we move these many projects forward. And you should know that our facilities and development staff works in many ways to minimize the disruption to our work days. For instance, the demolition of the joint library was halted on commencement day so that families could fully enjoy the many diploma ceremonies held on campus. And as you can see, the major work of the Wahlquist demolition was done this summer when the campus population is at its smallest.

  • Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Retention and Support:

We continue to primarily concentrate our efforts on improving faculty and staff salaries and, as I mentioned earlier, we are making solid progress. But we have a new challenge on this front, the wildly escalating cost of housing in our Valley. Here too we are thinking outside the box. Thanks to the efforts of many, particularly Susan Hansen, Monica Rascoe and Don Kassing, we are already on our way to help improve the situation for faculty/staff and students.

    • Brochure of resources
    • RFI for student housing
    • Options for faculty/staff housing
    • Alternative transportation efforts
    • Partnerships: City/Fannie Mae, HUD/SVMG, VTA, and private developers.
  • Instruction and Learning:

Through our Institute for Teaching and Learning we continue to look at ways we can improve and develop new approaches to teaching, including those using new technologies. We continue to develop more distance education and online courses, providing our faculty with the tools and time they need for such undertakings, which, in turn, provide our students with new venues within which they can learn and use their time most effectively. This Fall we are offering 34 asynchronous online courses in topics from business to hospitality management to special education.

  • Student Services and Support:

Students in general are happier with the services they are getting, with the campus, and with their education, but there are still frustrating hurdles and roadblocks and, for many, it takes too long to graduate. For some this outcome is a choice, for others it is not. Class availability for many remains a problem. That problem has been exacerbated by our shift in majors over the last decade, concentrating approximately 70% of our majors in 14 or so programs. We need to continue to mitigate this problem. Students will live with many challenges, but if we provide good services and the majors they want and classes they need, we are much more likely to attract them, retain them, graduate them, and have them continue to support us as satisfied alums. We have taken many positive steps to help ensure those outcomes including our new Student Services Center in which are housed our Student Resources and Student Learning Centers.

  • Teacher Recruitment:

The need for teachers had never been greater. As a result of demographics and accelerated retirements, the State will need between 250,000 and 300,000 new teachers over the next decade. We are working hard to make sure that we are dong our part to fulfill this need, for example:

--"It Takes a Valley" Grant



--Professional Development Schools


Through these kinds of efforts we have had a 25 percent increase in the SJSU pipeline, which is comparable to the increase system wide.

However, it's a continued concern that we are, in essence, preparing many teachers for the rest of the state, because the cost of real estate in this valley makes it impossible for new teachers to buy homes and settle here.

What do we gain from our innovation and creative thinking, from our willingness to do things differently? We gain a great deal. We gain facilities that meet the needs of today's students, faculty and staff. We gain the equipment that is essential to quality and state-of-the-art instruction. We gain the tools that faculty need to teach and that students need to learn. We become a university better able to serve its region and the state. We gain recognition for what we are able to accomplish and pride for having done so.

We are working to keep that momentum going. Thanks to the research of University Advancement, I am meeting with San José state alumni who are CEO's and presidents of major firms all the time. These connections are vital to create partnerships and support many of the initiatives that come from you.

We are San José State University; we are the Metropolitan University for this valley, this unique part of the world. For 143 years we have empowered the people of this valley to be successful. We have helped create the valley and we have helped to sustain it. Though we are experiencing change in virtually everything we do and encounter, our mission is unwavering. We remain the primary higher education link to the future for the citizens of this region. We are their bridge to the future.

So welcome back to our faculty, thank you to everyone for your dedication and for all you have done, and best wishes for a great year.