president-updateDECEMBER 2013

New “High Impact” Educational Labs

[Get Adobe Acrobat Reader Free here]

Financial Market Trading and Business Simulation Lab

On Wednesday, November 20, the College of Business Administration and Public Policy opened its Financial Market Trading and Business Simulation Lab. Located in room F-117 of the Social and Behavioral Sciences building, the high-tech “Trading Lab” features the latest financial management software, 24 computers connected to a virtual cloud server, and scrolling real-time financial activity, giving students hands-on experiences with real market data. The Lab is the creation of finance Professor Tayyeb Shabbir and was spearheaded by CBAPP Dean Joseph Wen who received funding and support from the Associated Students Incorporated, the CBAPP Professional Advisory Board, alumni, and the Office of the President.

Neuropsychology Laboratory

The Department of Psychology held an opening for the Neuropsychology Laboratory, a new addition of the George Marsh Applied Cognition (GMAC) Laboratory, on Tuesday, November 19.  GMAC Lab founding faculty Dr. Mark Carrier, Dr. Larry Rosen, and Dr. Nancy Cheever and their students were on hand to showcase their newly acquired state-of-the art equipment, a Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIR). This device allows for real-time recording of brain activity and will be widely used in research by faculty and students not just in psychology, but across all disciplines, to study the impact of technology on behavior.

Both the Trading Lab and the Neuropsychology Lab are prime examples of CSU Dominguez Hills’ commitment to increasing our students’ academic success and broadening their career possibilities through exposure to tools, technology, and high impact educational practices.

STEM Advantage Scholars

STEM Advantage, a newly formed nonprofit founded to encourage young women and underserved students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), selected CSU Dominguez Hills as its inaugural partner and, with support and input from Dr. Mohsen Beheshti, Computer Science Professor and Department Chair, the organization hand-picked its first STEM Advantage Scholars from our campus. These 12 deserving students majoring in computer science/computer technology are now in the midst of one of the most transformative years of their lives, one that includes close to $8,000 for tuition, fees, and books along with “high-impact” mentoring from STEM professionals, and paid internships in STEM fields.

To view a STEM Advantage video, click here.

Professor for a Day

The Office of Alumni Programs organized and sponsored CSU Dominguez Hills’ inaugural Professor for a Day Program on Wednesday, November 20. A total of 17 alumni and friends of the university acted as guest lecturers in a total of 23 classes, giving students a glimpse of their potential futures, current perspectives in their field of expertise, and more. Among the “Visiting Professors” were Compton Mayor Aja Brown, NBC Universal Human Resources Coordinator Lisa Collins (’06, B.A. interdisciplinary studies), Wall Street Journal Page One Senior Editor Sam Enriquez (’85, BA., economics), Crenshaw High School Principal L. Remon Corley (’07, M.A., special education), and AEG Human Resources Vice President Joseph Herrera (’99, B.S., labor studies).  In addition to providing students with pragmatic advice from seasoned professionals, the program further enhanced the university’s relationship with the professional and business community, creating potential internship and career opportunities for our students.

Thanks to Dr. Gayle Ball-Parker and the Office of Alumni Programs for sponsoring, organizing, and ensuring the success of what will be an annual event, and to the Deans, faculty, and students for opening their classrooms to our distinguished guests.

Operational Reviews

In late August, a number of reviews of the university’s operations were planned to assist in assessing current practices and procedures and opportunities to enhance effectiveness. The reviews focus on our systems and processes.

Administration and Finance

Recently Mr. Larry Goldstein, founder and president of Campus Strategies, LLC, conducted a series of on-site campus interviews and reviewed background materials provided by the university as part of a review of the Division of Administration and Finance. A draft of Mr. Goldstein’s report, which offers specific recommendations to address areas of needed improvement, has been provided to the more than 130 faculty and staff who participated in on-campus or telephone interviews with Mr. Goldstein. Individuals who participated in interviews with Mr. Goldstein are now invited to provide input on potential errors or omissions, honoring our commitment to shared governance while assisting him in developing the best possible set of recommendations to enhance our financial and administrative operations.

Again, I am grateful to those who have already contributed to this process and look forward to implementation of many of the report’s recommendations.

Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning (IRAP)

I was pleased to welcome Dr. Linda Dalton, Vice President for Planning and Enrollment, CSU East Bay, and Mr. Matthew Ceppi, Associate Vice President for Institutional Planning & Analysis and Chief of Staff to the President, CSU San Marcos, to campus on November 19 and 20 to undertake the administrative review of IRAP.

Assembling a Strong Leadership Team

At Convocation, I announced a goal many on this campus have long coveted; a shift away from a history of interim appointments.

In addition to completing national searches and permanently filling several key positions over the past year (e.g., the Chief Information Technology Officer, the Vice President of University Advancement, the Dean of the College of Natural and Behavioral Science, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, the Associate Athletics Director and several others), the recent appointment of Dr. Ellen Junn as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs effective January 21, 2014, is a major step in serving this goal. Dr. Junn’s 27 years of service in the CSU, most recently as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at San Jose State University, allows us to bypass the CSU learning curve and hit the ground running. The mission of CSU Dominguez Hills is in alignment with Dr. Junn’s lifelong commitment to student success and I am confident her leadership allows us to accomplish our highest goals moving forward.

Searches for additional key leadership positions are currently underway, including national searches for the Vice President for Administration and Finance, and I anticipate filling these during the spring semester.

Thanks to Jeff Poltorak, Interim Vice President of University Advancement, Gary Reichard, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bob Lovitt, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance, for their assistance and support.

Women’s Resource Center

After a nearly five-year closure due to funding issues, the CSU Dominguez Hills’ Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is re-opening its doors in January in the Small College Complex. The WRC will provide research and educational programs for our female students, a demographic that makes up almost 70 percent of our student body; female staff, and others. Issues such as women’s history, violence prevention awareness, health and politics, and support for women in crisis represent some of the topics to be examined by the WRC.

The efforts to re-open the WRC were truly campus-wide with the division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs taking the lead in working with students, staff, faculty, and community members to create a center that best serves our campus and community. To that end, I am pleased to announce the hiring of Jennifer Whyte, who previously served as the WRC Director at Fresno State, asthe CSUDH WRC Director. The selection of two faculty fellows will be announced in the near future.  

Strategic Planning Process 

As you may be aware, CSU Dominguez Hills completed a strategic planning process in 2011 prior to my arrival. Due to the limitations in the state budget, many of the goals in the plan were difficult to realize. Given the stable outlook on California’s budget, the promise of the Governor to steadily increase funding for higher education, and increasing enrollment demand, CSU Dominguez Hills now has an opportunity to further enhance our institution in a manner aligned with a strategic plan that directly benefits current and future students and our surrounding community.

With this in mind, I am reconvening our University Planning Committee and have commissioned an external facilitator, Dr. Jolene Koester, President Emeritus, CSU Northridge, to revisit our strategic campus goals as we approach the mid-point of the five-year CSU Dominguez Hills strategic plan. Meetings with Dr. Koester will commence in early February and an open town hall is currently scheduled on February 20 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in support of this initiative. Additional information regarding the town hall and other aspects of our strategic plan will be provided in the near future.

Ambassador of Education Award

On December 6, I was honored to accept the Millennium Momentum Foundation (MMF) Ambassador of Education Award on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of CSU Dominguez Hills. This recognition stems from our campus community’s continued commitment to serve as a national model for both student academic success and civic engagement. It also signifies that our collective efforts to expand our outreach into middle and high schools, broaden educational access, and graduate students who have the desire to reinvest in their neighborhoods is not just making a difference in our communities, it is being noticed by its leaders. I am grateful for all those in our campus community who work to bring our goals to fruition and proud to share this award with them.

Donor Recognition, Partnerships, and “Our Story”

Donor Holiday Party

On December 5, I was pleased to attend our annual Donor Holiday Reception and recognize the many benefactors of our university who, along with our staff and faculty, put their shoulder to the wheel of Dominguez Hills to better provide our students with whatthey need to succeed academically and professionally. As we continue to grow our enrollment and aspirations, it is imperative that we not only maintain and strengthen the relationships we have with our current donors, but also cultivate new ones.

“Our Story” and Potential Donors

At convocation, I asked those in attendance to be informed ambassadors of CSU Dominguez Hills and advocates of our story on campus, in the community, and beyond. We have an outstanding story; it is our duty to know it well, and through the telling of it, help others realize their investments in our university are transcendent in impact. Over the past few months, I have personally shared our story with leaders from State Farm, Univision, AEG, Cisco, Boeing, the Port of Los Angeles, LA n Sync, which is a consortium of LA economic and political leaders, and others in an effort to build strategic partnerships that benefit our students. I know many of you are doing the same, and I am confident the end result of this continued effort will be increased student success and, in turn, an even greater story.

Alumnus John Tracy

I recently sat down with alumnus Dr. John Tracy (Class of ’76, B.S. physics), the Chief Technology Officer of The Boeing Company and Senior Vice President of Engineering, Operations & Technology, to discuss CSU Dominguez Hills’ role in contributing to the workforce needs of Boeing and other significant employers in the region and beyond. Dr. Tracy is a passionate alumnus, one who has returned to campus to share advice with students and thank faculty who supported him in his journey from CSU Dominguez Hills to one of the top jobs at the largest aerospace company in the world. I am confident our continued relationship with Dr. Tracy and Boeing will yield greater opportunities for our students.

Fostering a “College Experience”

Cheering and Supporting our Students

“High-impact” practices that promote our students’ successful journey to graduation and ensuing careers don’t just happen in our classrooms and laboratories; they happen on our fields and in the stands at our sporting events; on the stage and in the audience of our university theatre; in the booth and on the air of our campus radio station—really anywhere the “college experience” is being nurtured.

The onus to develop and maintain this sense of community falls not just on our students, but also on faculty and staff whose support of and appearance at these events is critical. Over the past couple of weeks, I attended “Noises Off,” a farce starring many of our talented theatre arts majors and directed by theatre arts lecturer and alumna Naomi Buckley. I also had the opportunity to samplesome gourmet food from our student “Iron ChefsCompetition.”

I am grateful not just for the students, faculty, and staff who organized, promoted, and participated in these and other events around campus, but also to those who attended them in the name of fostering a stronger sense of community and a life-long bond between our students and what we hope will one day be their alma mater.

I encourage you to attend our student performances and events. Our support means a lot to them.

Additional Student Housing

One of several fortuitous outcomes of our increasing enrollment is the need for more student housing to meet the demands of our growing student body, many of whom want to live on campus. As such, we are aggressively moving forward to build additional student housing for students.  I will communicate more details about our progress in this endeavor as it develops in the new year. 

Holiday Wishes

Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to the success of our students and university over the past year. We set high expectations for ourselves and often exceeded them. I hope each of you head home for the holidays with a great sense of pride in what you accomplished in 2013. I am proud of our university, proud of our students, and look forward to an outstanding 2014 and beyond.



 Dr. Willie J. Hagan                                                                                                                              President