Office of Undergraduate Research
Building on the success and growth of CSU Dominguez Hills’ Student Research Day and emerging evidence citing undergraduate research as a leading high-impact educational practice, both for its cost-effectiveness and long-lasting impact, a group of faculty led by Dr. Mark Carrier, Dr. Sue Needham, and Dr. Terry McGlynn recently developed an innovative plan to elevate student research on campus. I am pleased to report an Office of Undergraduate Research recommended by Professors Carrier, Needham, and McGlynn has been approved and funded and am confident this new office will further serve as a conduit for ground-breaking research resulting in valuable student mentoring, jointly published papers, and successful attainment of post-graduate aspirations.
Internationalization Task Force
International experiences and engagement and global learning also are proven contributors to student success and serve as high impact educational practices. With this in mind, last March I established a task force chaired by Professor Janine Gasco to encourage faculty and students to embrace international topics, themes, and experiences in their teaching, learning, and research. As part of the group’s work, CSU Dominguez Hills joined a cohort of twelve other institutions taking part in a 20-month American Council on Education (ACE) “International Laboratory,” gaining useful mentorship and guidance in building an international vision and setting goals to help our students compete in an increasingly global economy. Additional information regarding this important initiative will be provided as this effort progresses.
Advising Task Force
Advising is critical to all students’ success, especially those facing obstacles to graduation encountered by first-generation, low-income students and students from under-resourced school districts. As such, in an effort to enhance our advising practices and more fully support student success, I recently established an Advising Task Force chaired by Professor Clare Weber and comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators. Dr. Lori Varlotta, Senior Vice President for Planning, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at CSU Sacramento, recently assisted in facilitating a taskforce work session and the task force is in the process of gathering input from student focus groups and analyzing key data. A preliminary task force report will be provided in early December and I look forward to sharing their findings and implementing new and improved advising practices.
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
At the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference in Chicago in late October, CSU Dominguez Hills was well represented by our students, faculty, staff, and administrators in attendance. Dr. Sue Borrego, Dr. William Franklin, and Dr. Paz Oliverez presented a workshop, “Overcoming the Remediation Challenges: Building a Culture of Student Success,” and Ms. Jeannie Kim-Han was one of a panel of four presenters discussing “Undergraduate Research at HSIs: Diverse Approaches and Best Practices.” Additionally, campus student leaders participated in a variety of workshops and conference activities and the CSUDH Promoting Excellence in Graduate Studies (PEGS) program lead by Professor Leena Furtado and Grant Administrator Oscar Ochoa, was featured in the fall 2013 HACU newsletter.
CSU Alumni Reception
In conjunction with the HACU conference, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White hosted an Alumni Reception in the University Club of Chicago for Chicago-area CSU alumni. CSUDH was well represented at this reception, with more CSUDH alumni in attendance than any other CSU. CSUDH also had the oldest alumnus in attendance, 98-year-old Edward Campbell (Class of 1986, M.A. Humanities).
College Affordability Roundtable
Also in conjunction with the HACU conference, I was privileged to participate in a college affordability roundtable, which was a private session with U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and 14 other presidents and chancellors of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The discussion focused on President Barack Obama’s higher education agenda and how to achieve the President’s goal to make college more affordable. We also discussed concerns regarding the proposal to create a ratings system for colleges and universities and tie those ratings to federal aid, as well as the continuing cuts to federal programs for higher education. This small group meeting was a precursor to a series of meetings the U.S. Department of Education is holding to receive input for President Obama’s College Affordability Initiative.
College Affordability Public Hearing
On November 6, the first of a series of open forums regarding college affordability took place at CSUDH. During the session U.S. Undersecretary of Education, Dr. Martha Kanter, and other top U.S. Department of Education (DOE) officials solicited feedback through presentations and discussions. I was extremely honored CSU Chancellor White and the DOE selected CSU Dominguez Hillsas the only higher education institution in California andthe first of only four higher education institutions nationwide to host this important forum. The forum provided a unique opportunity for our campus community to be involved in shaping and developing critical higher education policy. There was a large turnout of individuals from across California and I was very impressed by the presentations and testimony provided by participating CSUDH faculty, students, staff, and administrators.
Refining our Strategic Plan
As we enter the fourth year of our current five-year university strategic plan, I believe it is important that we as a university revisit thesestrategic goals and initiatives. With this in mind, I have asked Dr. Jolene Koester, President Emerita of CSU Northridge and consultant specializing in strategic planning, to facilitate a consultative processthis spring involving the campus community to reaffirm and prioritize our strategic goals and link our strategic plan to our limited resources. Additional information regarding this process will be provided via future President’s Updates and other communication mechanisms.
I approved the University Budget Committee’s (UBC) recommendation made at the end of the spring semester for allocating close to $7 million in one-time funds for priority expenditures during the 2013-14 academic year. In reviewing the recommendations, it was apparent the committee maintained a broad university perspective with a focus on student success and strengthening our campus community. Details can be found here.
Baseline Budget Augmentations
The UBC is currently considering baseline budget requests submitted by each division and will make recommendations for allocating an additional $1.2 million in 2013-14. I have requested UBC consider allocating funds to begin to address compensation issues as a top priority.
Key Searches and Hires
As indicated in an email to campus earlier this week, Mr. Robert L. Lovitt, has been appointed Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance effective Monday, November 11, 2013. We are conducting a national search to fill the position on a permanent basis and I hope the search will be completed by February of 2014.
The search for a new Vice President for University Advancement is near completion and I anticipate making an announcement next week regarding the selected candidate.
A national search is also underway for the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and I am confident the position will be filled by the end of the fall semester. Three strong candidates have been identified by the search committee and on campus interviews are underway.
The arrival of 19 new tenure/tenure track faculty members this year marked a successful step towards achieving our goal to hire 50 new tenure/tenure track faculty members over a three-year period. A strong, well-supported faculty adds opportunities to build high quality, high-impact educational practices and other proven avenues for increased student success and is essential in order to keep pace with our strong enrollment growth.
Equally important to the success of our university and students is a full and well-balanced staff. As previously reported, our plan for filling 18 key staff positions is moving forward and I expect further progress once each division has a permanent Vice President in place.
Even with these new faculty and staff positions, I am keenly aware hiring additional faculty and staff are still necessary to support our students and respond to increased enrollment. I will continue to work with cabinet members, the academic senate, the university budget committee and others to aggressively pursue further funding mechanisms to support faculty and staff hiring.
Dr. Willie J. Hagan