Faculty/Staff Address

"SJSU Today and at 150"
August 23, 2001
Robert L. Caret, President

Welcome back. We have an exciting year before us. Today I will take a few minutes to update you on the state of our University and will follow that with brief comments on how I view our immediate future. But, before I begin those remarks, I want to thank the faculty and staff who made the progress of the past year possible. Your efforts have provided a solid foundation for the coming year.

We are facing a challenging budget year, largely as a result of the state's energy crisis. After three very good budget years, it will be difficult to tighten our belts this year, but that is what we must do. The overall budget for the California State University System (CSU) increased more than that of any other segment of higher education, an 8.2% or a $221M increase.

Unfortunately, significant portions of those funds are allocated to specific and necessary items, including enrollment growth, our new Common Management System (CMS), and energy.

On the negative side, we experienced some loss in the state budget. Most unfortunately, the state provided only a 2% compensation pool for state employees. Funds aimed at workforce growth were eliminated (we received approximately $1.2M of those funds last year), improved base budget funding for Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML) was cut from $1M to $500,000, and resources for deferred maintenance, libraries, and much of our technology needs were also curtailed significantly or completely cut. As I said, there is good news and bad news, and we are forced to live with both.

The energy crisis, in many ways is on the wane, but its effects remain with us. Our bill for energy last year was $7,232,355 compared to $4,156,684 for the prior year. For 2001-2002 we are expecting the bill to be in excess of $8,800,000. The Governor and the Legislature have helped us through the crisis by enhancing the funds available for energy (over $34M in the new budget; $5.5M for SJSU), and the campus has done a great deal to help itself both by better conservation and by planning for more efficient energy use.

CMS is up and running. Both the Financial and Human Resources Systems have officially "gone live," and we are looking and behaving more and more like a Silicon Valley-based institution. The much-needed Student Administration System is also moving forward. We expect to have the software available for on-campus review and testing next February, and plan to use it for the admission of students to the fall 2003 term. Several key elements of these systems should already be apparent across the campus, including: the Web Purchasing System with requisitions, direct payment vouchers, and fast track purchasing all done online.

Things are definitely looking up where enrollments are concerned. After a solid summer -- our first ever under YRO -- we are anticipating a very strong fall. Compared to fall 2000, we are conservatively estimating over 1,000 additional students, which translates to an increase of about 800 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. This puts us on a course to finish the college year ahead of our budgeted target by about 400 FTE students (2% above the budgeted target). Clearly our programs, location, and reputation are serving us well as is better use of new technology. Web-based applications are increasing dramatically; electronic communications is helping to accelerate our processing; and our ability to both market ourselves (CD-based recruitment) and to receive applications and transcripts electronically is improving our service to our students. A lot of credit is also due to the dedicated staff of Enrollment Services, particularly the Student Outreach and Recruitment and Admissions units, who contacted thousands of admitted but not-yet-enrolled students to encourage them to register for classes. All these new students will put pressure on campus resources, raising challenges, such as: class availability, class size, the continued shift of our majors more and more towards programs with a technology thrust, and, of course, the perennial issue of parking.

We also are continuing to experience shifts both in the student population itself and the majors they are selecting-more challenges to deal with.

Now, let me move beyond the budget and take a moment to give several brief updates:

From a personal perspective, I am pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees completed my six-year review (it has actually been more than 6.5 years since I joined you), and they were very happy with what we have accomplished over that time period. They did reinforce several areas they expect to see remain high on our agenda: our growth as the Metropolitan University (MU) of the region; the growing need for additional fundraising and self-support; the development of housing assistance opportunities for faculty and staff; continued improvements in enrollment services (day-to-day operation and outcomes); and continued articulation, cooperation and collaboration with our community college partners and the University of California. The summary of their review can be found on our Web page. I am pleased with the outcome as I hope you are because it looks like you have me for at least another three years.

In May of 1997, a little over four years ago, we finalized a set of recommendations titled "Academic Priorities: Final Decisions." Those recommendations were the result of two years of study and were approved by the Senate, the Provost and the President. Programs changes were approved in several categories: enhance, maintain, maintain with conditions, maintain on probation, reduce, consolidate and terminate. Many of the recommendations have been implemented and it is time to bring closure to this initiative. I have been working with the Provost's Office since last spring to provide a final report and final recommendations to the Senate. The Provost and I will present this report to the Senate in the next few weeks for their review and action. Once we have finalized this broad-based review, we will rely on our strengthened Program Review Process to ensure a strong and balanced portfolio of programs for the future.

-- Our plans for capital construction projects remain high on the agenda. The new library is coming out of the ground and the fall 2003 opening date no longer feels far off.

--The first of three phases for our new residential village will begin in July 2002 and open in July 2004 with the addition of 2,000 plus beds in a modern, apartment-style, urban village. If all goes well, that number will increase to about 5,600 beds by 2008. A portion of these new facilities will be targeted for faculty and staff. Through a Request for Proposals (RFP) project with the city, we were also able to acquire four historical houses, including two duplexes for a total of 6 units, that we will renovate, through Spartan Shops, and lease to faculty and staff beginning in the 2002-2003 academic year. (An interesting note: Morris Dailey once owned one of the houses.) We are working with the Academic Senate to develop a procedure for determining how these various units will be offered. We are also working with local builders on additional faculty and staff housing ideas, housing which, if we are successful in developing it, will be made available for purchase. These projects alone will result in a minimum of $800M in new construction on the campus.

-- We also continue to look at other opportunities including the mixed use office-classroom buildings on San Fernando Street, a new theatre and art gallery, more retail space, and perhaps a combination facility for business incubators and other related ventures. With Board of Trustees approval and a bit of luck, we could be involved in $2B in construction projects over the next decade.

There is also much happening in the way of our academic offerings.

-- Under the leadership of the Provost, we are moving quickly to address the shifting instructional needs of the campus. We are working with the Senate on "workload enrichment," focusing more on seminars, mentoring, distributed learning, and research, and less on teaching four courses each semester as the only measure of faculty work. We are also working to improve faculty office space availability, both in the short-term as well as the long-term. We are in the third year of office renovations/refurbishments and are taking steps to add a minimum of 100 new faculty offices to the campus by Fall 2002. As we grow, this need will increase. Our mixed use facilities will address this problem in the long term, but far too many faculty are in unacceptable office configurations, often involving 3-4 faculty in a single faculty office. We need to do something now!

-- Planning for the "MUSE," freshman seminar program will begin this fall, with implementation scheduled for fall 2002. This innovative, seminar-based approach will introduce our freshmen to the university and to all of what an education can be.

-- Our first "Showcase for Learning" will be held Saturday, November 10. This event will highlight all of our programs and majors to prospective students and their families, opening their minds to the many and varied opportunities SJSU has to offer.

-- Also, Facilities, Development and Operations is kicking off a campaign this fall to remind students, staff, faculty, and visitors to help keep the campus clean and beautiful, as well as to protect our natural environment. Called "Think Clean and Green, for Today and Tomorrow," the campaign will stress recycling, reducing litter, and protecting grassy areas by urging everyone to use the walkways. Watch for more information on how you can participate. You may have seen the signs (designed by 6th graders from Peter Burnett Middle School in San José) along the Paseo de San Carlos and near Tower Hall, or on our Web page, reminding us to walk on campus sidewalks and not on the grass. I urge you to heed the signs. And, to help you "Think Clean and Green" FD&O Staff will distribute new pins (like the one I am wearing) as you leave the auditorium today.

-- The campus continues to grow in diversity, providing an exciting venue for learning and a challenge to the teaching/learning process. We embrace this change and have created a wonderful environment in which to grow intellectually. Every once in a while someone forces us to take a step backwards through some inappropriate action. But every time we step back, we move forward again with an even stronger commitment to create an environment where all people are treated with respect, and all are valued.

-- On the athletics front, you may have heard that if we do not take steps to realign our athletics budget, we could anticipate a budget deficit this year. I want to make it clear that this possible deficit is a result of restructuring in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) that led to increased travel costs and to the economic slowdown that led to a decrease in revenues; it is not due to anything our athletics program can control. I also want to make it clear that we will work to ensure that there is no deficit this year or in the future. We have had a balanced athletics budget for three years running, and we will continue that trend. We will also remain in the WAC, which is the right conference for us. The WAC provides the appropriate peer group for us both athletically and academically. It is important to recognize that conferences stress academics as well as athletics. Having a peer group that includes such schools as Rice, SMU, and Hawaii can only help us to achieve the stature we have earned, need and deserve.

Let me now shift from the present to the future. In 2007, just a few short years away, SJSU will mark its 150th birthday. Few institutions in this country have achieved this milestone. In my inaugural address in 1995, titled, "Dream No Small Dream," I talked about the institution, as I saw it, from the perspectives of our various communities: faculty, staff, students, the institution itself, and the external community. I talked about us as a Metropolitan University, and stressed the need for us to embrace our changing diversity, expand our role in providing access to quality higher education, provide improved services to all of our students, clients and customers, use technology more effectively in all that we do, and become stronger partners with our local community. As you know, we have made much progress. Today we are recognized as the MU for Silicon Valley. We will continue to improve as we move forward. But today, it is time to take another look at our future, always keeping in mind our past.

Let me describe a picture of how the campus might look in 2007. You might arrive on the campus by car, bus, light rail or BART. You might even come in by foot, bike, skate, skateboard or other like device. If you were to enter through one of the gateways or by exiting the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on to Tower Hall Lawn, you would see a green campus with students studying, talking ( in many languages), and walking to their classes. As you move about the campus you might stroll through a vibrant housing village by way of the shaded Paseo de San Carlos pedestrian mall. Reports indicate that lower division students are moving confidently through their general education requirements and into their majors because they are coming in better prepared. They got a good start in their orientation programs (both university and college) as well as their freshman seminars, and were connected early in their academic careers, through our staff and faculty advisors, to the many on-campus resources and support available to help them. Students at all levels have greater flexibility to take their classes now that state-supported summer school gives them more opportunities, and, as a result, time to degree has edged downward. More Web-based courses and programs also help with this goal. Everyone still complains that it is hard to keep up with technology, but they are using smaller, faster, more powerful devices that can do more than we can imagine today. Faculty and staff have more housing options due to more availability, more support and better salaries from the State of California, and to a variety of entrepreneurial projects that helped them get into the housing market in the first place. And, we have become used to the media trucks pulling up to report on the latest survey or report from the Institute for Survey and Public Policy Research.

In short, SJSU in 2007 will be an even better place in which to study, work and live. It will be considered one of the institutions of choice for people of this region and from throughout the state and beyond. But, attractive as this view is, it is just a sketch. You have heard me refer to some of the milestones during my remarks. We know the library will open in fall of 2003. The rest of this picture is being and will continue to be filled in by our current and future faculty and staff as they join in an effort to make the year 2007 an anniversary to be proud of, not just because the institution has a long history, but because they have helped assure that it has a bright future as well. I invite all of you to engage in at least one of the projects that will make San José State the "go to" campus in the CSU system.

I have tried to describe a picture of what this campus can look like in the years ahead. I find it exciting and I hope that you do too.

As I said in 1995, let's continue to "dream a big dream" for our students and the people of California. That is what they need and that is what we need to provide.