CSU Chancellor Timothy White met with faculty, staff and students yesterday (Feb. 16), during a campus visit to learn more about some of the accomplishments and programs offered at Cal State Fullerton. It was White’s fifth visit to campus during his more than three years as chancellor of the 23-campus system.
During his daylong visit, he met with members of the student success team at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, attended meetings with the Academic Senate Executive Committee and Associated Students Inc. Board of Directors, and spent time with Sora Tanjasiri, professor of health science and recipient of both the CSU’s Wang Family Excellence Award and CSUF Outstanding Professor Award. White also visited the Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy Center before concluding his day at CSUF’s Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana.
He also engaged in an open forum with faculty, staff and students, and met later in the afternoon with reporters.
“I am a product of the master plan,” he said. “My family emigrated from Argentina in the 1950s, arriving in New York and then moving to Calgary. When I was nine, we came to California where I grew up. After high school, I attended community college and then two CSU campuses [Fresno and East Bay] and then UC Berkeley. As chancellor, I want to give back to the place that launched me. Our students may experience different circumstances, but often our stories are the same.”
White also discussed the strategic vision that the CSU, as a system, is developing.
“The six touchstones for us are: diversity, quality, student success, public good, sustainability and innovation,” he said. “We’ll achieve these goals only if we’re inclusive — open to different people and ideas, as well as different perspectives. This will contribute to the robust learning environment of the CSU.
“Our No. 1 goal is empowering our students to succeed. We do that by enrolling more students and helping them graduate sooner,” he continued. “By focusing on a learning environment, we acknowledge not only faculty but also staff who create a welcoming, inviting and safe environment for students. They are the ones who make the learning environment exist.”
As an example of creating inclusive excellence, White pointed to two recent points of pride on campus. The first was the Wang Family Excellence Award recently presented to Nancy Segal, professor of psychology, for her research on twins.
“Keep in mind that these faculty members are nominated by their peers,” he said. “In the past two years, Cal State Fullerton has had a winner each year … and that’s out of 23 campuses.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the group of faculty members, along with their graduate students, who were part of the larger group that discovered gravitational waves,” he said. “Now we know that Einstein’s theory was true.”
Following a brief presentation, White fielded questions during the open forum from the more than 300 students, faculty and staff members who attended. The topics ranged from revenue disbursement and how budget money is managed in the CSU, to a possible faculty strike and its impact on students. A human services major asked for his endorsement of a campus food bank, “Tuffy’s Pantry,” and White replied: “Yeah, you bet!”
White pointed out that one in 10 college graduates in California is a CSU grad and that CSU graduates represent five percent of all college graduates in America.
“The economic impact of the CSU is vast, and our goal is to support and challenge our students to prepare them to live and compete in a global society.”