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Guerin Re-Elected Statewide Academic Senate Chair

Second Term Marks Her 13th Year of Service in CSU Academic Governance

June 12, 2013

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Diana W. Guerin

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Diana W. Guerin, a veteran professor of child and adolescent studies and Cal State Fullerton alumna, has been re-elected chair of the California State University Academic Senate.

Guerin '80 (M.A. psychology) has served on the statewide CSU Academic Senate since 2004, including last year's term as chair and two terms as the organization's secretary. A member of the CSUF faculty since 1988, she has served on the campus Academic Senate since 2000 and served as its chair three times, as well as secretary and editor of the organization's publication, Senate Forum.

She is the fifth CSUF faculty member to serve as chair of the statewide group that advises the CSU Board of Trustees, chancellor and state Legislature. The CSU, with more than 44,000 faculty and staff members and approximately 427,000 students, is the nation's largest public university system.

Among her campus positions, Guerin has served as chair of CSUF's Child and Adolescent Studies Department and as a member of the University Steering Committee for Reaccreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She also is co-director of the Fullerton Longitudinal Study, a long-term and ongoing research effort charting the development of more than 100 children and their families from the child's first birthday. Guerin was a graduate student when she first became involved with the widely cited study.

In 2009, Guerin was honored with the University's Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award, presented annually to recognize faculty members who have made significant contributions to collegial governance and the mission of the CSU. Guerin earned her doctorate from UCLA.

What are your biggest concerns for the coming year?

"My first, second and third biggest concerns are about academic quality. The California State University system is losing more tenured and tenure-track faculty (T-TT) than it is replacing. For the last few years, the CSU has been losing 500 T-TT faculty but recruiting only 400 to replace them. The CSU's "tenure density" has been on a declining trajectory for decades and is now only 80 percent of the goal set by the Chancellor, Academic Senate CSU and CFA in 2001. The goal was 75 percent T-TT, but the system now has 60.1 percent.

"Because all faculty — lecturers and permanent faculty — are critical to our teaching mission, the CSU must continue to recruit, retain and provide ongoing professional development to outstanding teachers in both the lecturer and T-TT ranks to help students succeed. But to fulfill our full mission as a university, the CSU needs to rebuild our permanent faculty so that we have sufficient numbers to provide teaching, scholarly/creative activities and service to students, the university, our local to international communities and our professions/disciplines. This is critical to promoting academic quality, which is the primary focus of the ASCSU.

"Of course, I would be negligent if I did not mention as major concerns the state's disinvestment in this generation of young adults and our political leaders' fascination with online instruction as the primary strategy to provide access to higher education."

What are your goals for the year?

"At our January plenary, the Academic Senate identified four priorities to discuss with incoming Chancellor White:

  • recommitment to shared governance at the system level
  • reinvest in faculty to support academic excellence
  • CSU mission and strategic communications
  • academic quality

"These priorities frame the ASCSU agenda for the year. My major goal for the year is to work with Chancellor White, the Board of Trustees and the Council of Presidents to forge a renewed commitment to shared governance, or as Chancellor White calls it, 'shared leadership.' We need to operationalize these concepts, so that we can all agree when we are — or are not — implementing this fundamental principle of university governance. This is particularly critical with the dramatic turnover in leadership at the system and campus levels in both administration and faculty. However, all four priorities will guide our agenda this year."

What are the challenges facing the CSU?

"It is spring, so much attention is focused on the state budget and legislation. We are working in collaboration with many other stakeholder groups to advocate for additional funding for the system, including $54 million to allow us to admit more eligible students.

"For the past few years, we have had to deny admission to 20,000 or 30,000 qualified students. That is the bottleneck that concerns me the most. Although the Governor proposes increasing the CSU budget in the next four years by 4 - 5 percent per year, if we meet metrics that are yet to be determined, remember that half of our revenues come from student tuition. Therefore, these increases are in actuality 2 - 2.5 percent per year.

"There also is widespread interest in using online education to provide access, especially to lower-division students. Research on state systems shows that student success is significantly lower for lower-division students in online courses. At CSUF, we have focused our online courses (85 percent or more) on upper-division and graduate levels. In particular this spring, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have captured the interest of many elected leaders. We on the ASCSU have spent a great deal of time trying to explain the research findings and potential negative impact of MOOCs on lower-division students (compared to the freshman programs that we have incorporated).

"I encourage the campus community to find out more about the Academic Senate of the CSU by subscribing to our electronic newsletter."

The CSU Academic Senate is composed of elected academic senators representing the 23 campuses of the CSU. It was formed in 1963 and makes recommendations to the CSU Board of Trustees, chancellor and state Legislature on education issues and academic governance.

In addition to Guerin, Santa Ana resident Barry A. Pasternack, professor emeritus of information systems and decision sciences, and Yorba Linda resident Stephen J. Stambough, associate professor of political science and chair of the Politics, Administration and Justice Division, also represent Cal State Fullerton on the statewide board.

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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