2002

Fall Welcome Address
Robert L. Caret, President
San José State University
August 22, 2002


Framing a Vision for 2007


The slides that have been projected as you entered the room today are but a few examples of the excellence and quality we have achieved as an institution. We have worked hard, accomplished a great deal and have much to be proud of. It is therefore appropriate that I once again begin my annual address by thanking the faculty, staff and students who made this progress possible. Your efforts have provided the foundation from which this institution will continue to evolve and develop. Again, thank you all for your efforts and your commitment to San José State University.

I will begin, as has been my norm, with a general overview of the state of the university.

As is too often the case, I have good news coupled with bad news. I will try to emphasize the good news today. First, the state budget is in trouble again. And, when the state has trouble with its budget, so does our university. The good news, though it presents a challenge, is that we have become an institution of choice for many students who view us as a gateway to Silicon Valley and a gateway to their future. Our enrollments are growing at unprecedented rates.

The slide, from last Spring, projects a growth of approximately 2,700 headcount, academic year (00-01) to academic year (02-03). More recent projections suggest that we will have grown by approximately 4,000 headcount (2,500 FTE) from Fall 2000 to Fall 2002 and that we will break the 30,000 headcount barrier. We are clearly on the move. And, part of the good news is that we are receiving new revenue from the state as a result of this growth.

Unfortunately, because of the state budget, over the last two years, we are only receiving approximately 50% of the funding that this growth calls for. That reality may result in problems with course availability and class size, two variables that we will continue to monitor closely. The limited new funding will be felt in many other ways, for there are many needs and obligations that we are attempting to address.

We will balance our budget, as we always do. But, this goal has been achieved at an expense--the elimination, delay or curtailment of many important initiatives for the campus.

As promised last year, we have added approximately 78 new faculty offices, have continued our program of refurbishing the older faculty offices, have accelerated our CMS implementation, have hired many new tenure track faculty (approximately 60-70/year), staff and lecturers, initiated AIM and MUSE and continue with several ongoing obligations, including CMS there is much progress being made. And, as we come out of this statewide budget slump, we will continue to accelerate that progress in many important venues.

As I said earlier, in order to keep our challenges in perspective, I felt it important to focus a significant portion of this year s address on the progress that has been made and will be made and the plans we have for the immediate future. Too often we focus on the challenges before us and do not take the time to recognize some of the hurdles that have been successfully overcome. So, let s take a moment to look at the progress we have made since 1995. First, recall the Points of Pride exhibited at the beginning of this address. Others follow.

Highlights of Recent Construction:
á Paseo de San Carlos
á Heritage Gateways
á Simpkins Athletic Administration Building
á Infrastructure Upgrades I and II
á Moss Landing Marine Labs
á Boccardo Business Education Center
á New Child Care Center
á Student Services Center
á New University Police Department Facility
á Painting of the Central Classroom Building
á Sweeney Hall Refurbishment
á Tower Hall and Morris Dailey Auditorium
á Koret Athletic Training Center
á University House
á New faculty/staff housing (renovated Victorians and former ATO house) [1]

Construction that is soon to come:

á Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
á Campus Village
á Clark Hall
á New Alumni House/Center
á South Campus Planning 2]
If we look at all system-wide capital projects currently in progress, we find that SJSU represents 23+% of that total.

Academic Initiatives:

á 68 New tenure track faculty hired
á 94 faculty offices refurbished
á AIM (Academic Innovation Model) initiated
á Curricular Priorities largely complete
á MUSE (Metropolitan University Scholars Experience) being initiated [3]
á International program expansion (Taiwan, El Salvador, Japan and others)
á Community Service Learning continues to grow
á Program Assessment efforts continue to mature
á Our efforts to eliminate the need for remediation are showing progress
á All university effort to meet new standards for teacher preparation
á Showcase for Learning initiated and being expanded

Looking ahead:

á Honors courses and program expansion
á Joint doctorates in education and engineering in development with UCSC and UCB
á Ten-year WASC Self-Study Visit in 2004-2005
á Five-year NCAA Certification Visit in 2003-2004
á Strategic plan for Athletics

Major Partnerships that have been initiated:
á Cisco
á Cadence
á NASA-Ames Satellite Campus with the University of California and the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District

Much has been accomplished and much more is in progress. We should keep that in mind as we address the new challenges before us. There will always be new challenges.

Before we leave this section, let me digress to athletics for a moment. New NCAA rules require that we meet several new conditions to remain in the 1A category of athletic competition. We intend to meet those challenges and have begun a planning and implementation effort to ensure that we do. We need to recognize that we are a charter member of the 1A club, having been a member for over 50 years. We want to remain in the club because it is right for us to do so and because of who is in the club. This institution needs to be the best it can be, in engineering, business, health sciences, teacher education, all of our programs and majors in the academic arena. And we need to be the best we can be in the athletic arena. It is the academic-athletic linkage that is driving our planning and decision-making, not the athletic component alone.

Five, 10, 20 years or more down the road, the institution we have built will have certain characteristics associated with it. We need to plan with those characteristics in mind. What is our peer group? What characteristics do they exhibit? These are all questions we must address as a campus and we have begun that process in earnest over the last few months.

Let me digress for a moment to mention another important initiative before us this year that is a key component to maintaining our momentum. A California Bond initiative will be on both the November 2002 (Proposition 47) and March 2003 ballots. These two ballot measures will provide much needed construction dollars to all of education in California, both near term and long term. They are vital to the future of California and its students and they are vital to San José State University. I ask that you all take the time to learn about these initiatives, to formulate opinions and to vote when the time comes.

I also feel it important to take a moment to summarize some of what we gleaned from the most recent (2nd) employee satisfaction survey. Detailed summaries of these outcomes have been provided to all divisions and to the university Campus Climate Committee and will be incorporated into the planning that occurs at those levels. The survey tells us that our employees today are more likely to recommend SJSU to a friend then they were 4 years earlier.

They are also more pleased with the increased training opportunities they are provided,

feel better about how they are being treated (though it is not at a level that is needed,

and feel better informed than in the past (though more improvement is needed).

However, though three-quarters are happy, they do not feel we are making progress in serving our customers in ways we need to.

From a campus-wide perspective, we will be concentrating our efforts in four critical areas: communication across campus, recognition of employees, improvements in work environment, including the assimilation of technology, and continued improvements in our HR processes. Each division will work in these four common areas and will select other areas, unique to them, for focused improvement. Our goal is to continue to see improvement in all areas in the survey as we ask for periodic feedback from you.

Communication is one of the areas we need to improve on. Many of you have embraced the Metropolitan University (MU) Mission for our campus. Regrettably, others are still unclear as to what that label means. That dichotomy presents a communication problem. As one small step in helping with that broader understanding, let me mention that the Metropolitan Universities do have a web site on which we share information with each other. I would encourage you to visit the site on a regular basis and to share it with colleagues. You should also know that there is a quarterly journal for the organization and we receive ten copies of that journal and distribute it widely, across the campus. The majority of the copies are then routed to the library where they may be used by the entire campus. Please do take a look at this important publication. It helps us all frame what we do, as a family of institutions, for our respective regions. There are many good ideas, from across the globe, and you might find one or more you would like to see implemented here in Silicon Valley.

I will end, today, with an introduction to what I consider the most important task before us. As we begin the year, we are just five years away from our 150th anniversary as the oldest public university in the west. This is an important milestone and it is not one we should take lightly. I believe the campus must use this opportunity for a complete review of what we are and what we want to be. We need to frame a vision for what 2007 is. 2007 is not the end of our first 150 years. It is the beginning of our second 150 years. Where do we want that next century and one-half to take us? What vision do we want to frame for ourselves? I have asked the Provost, working with the university s Planning Council, to lead that dialogue and to now broaden it by involving the entire campus community.

Let me outline our initial thoughts and ideas. The overarching goal is to provide direction and focus to the campus, to improve quality, to position the institution and to continue to improve our image, and to garner the resources we will need to make the vision a reality.

The planning must begin with our heritage and our fundamental commitments and beliefs, and it must be guided by our institutional vision, a vision that has served us well for many years.

We will focus on education that is transformative and we will nurture an environment in which learning will flourish.

We must continue to attract a world-class faculty and staff and a student body that is well-prepared and hungry for knowledge. We see the main campus growing to 25,000 FTE students and we see the need to develop one or two smaller satellite campuses, one in the north (NASA-Ames) and one in the south (Morgan Hill).

We will continue to be research-directed and will expand our research funding to move into the top 150 institutions nationally. We will develop joint-doctorates, research centers and incubators as part of that research thrust. And, we will continue to develop strong partnerships across all the communities we work with.

The planning also includes our first comprehensive capital campaign for the university. We are in the early stages of discussion for that inaugural and important effort.

What will San José State University look like in 2007, 2017, 2027 and beyond? We must paint an exciting and dynamic vision for ourselves. I have no doubt that together we can do just that. Please join with us in that dialogue and help us frame our plans for the future of our university, the Metropolitan University of Silicon Valley.

Today we begin a new academic year. Today, as they say, is the first step in the rest of our lives. As we take that step, we all need to reflect on the tragedy of September 11th, whose first-year anniversary is approaching. We need to recognize that we all must do everything in our power to ensure that September 11th never occurs again. One of our most important tools in that battle is education--education that provides a broader perspective, education that provides us with the ability to empathize with others, to put ideas and concepts into historical perspective and to find solutions to complex issues. I pledge that SJSU will do its part in helping our students obtain the education they deserve and the education that is core to the society we want for the future. I also pledge to expend whatever energy is needed to achieve the dream we paint in SJSU 2007.

Thank you and have a great year.


[1] The 6 housing units on 8th and Reed are now available and our first tenants have moved in. The old historic houses that the city donated to the university (Thank you Cindy Chavez!) will provide 7 more units, are being re-modeled, and will be available to faculty and staff in October-November.

[2] It is more than the old track. We are looking at the needs for intramural space for students, space for club sports, the needs of athletics, parking needs and the needs of the community. We have established a campus and university advisory group to help with the planning effort.

[3] Our first cohort of MUSE students joins us this Fall with over 100 MUSE faculty and 2 dozen Peer Mentors joining in the effort. A new Spartan Scholars Handbook, focusing on SJSU history, tradition/heritage, and resources has been produced as part of this important new initiative.