President Mildred García updated and welcomed members of the Academic Senate during today’s senate meeting, the first for the fall semester.
“I want to begin by thanking each of you for the incredible year we had,” she said, then reviewed a number of achievements noted in last week’s Convocation address, including the hiring of a diverse group of tenure-track faculty members, an increase in faculty development funding and more than $21 million awarded in grants and contracts.
Through their many activities, including research and teaching, “the excellence of our faculty is evident and demonstrated through our students. We granted over 10,000 degrees last May. These are individuals who leave us supremely academically qualified to contribute to society and live in a multicultural, diverse world.
“Further, everyone at Cal State Fullerton worked to ensure that our graduation rates continue to improve,” she added, noting the increase in the six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen to 63 percent, as well as the four-year graduation rate for transfer students up from 67 to 75 percent.
While these gains have exceeded campus goals, García noted, “We now need to reach higher and work toward improving the four-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time students and improve the two-year graduation rates for transfer students and eliminate the opportunity gap for all students.”
She reported that state Assembly Bill 1602 has “appropriated $35 million to the CSU upon the trustees taking specific actions by Sept. 30, to improve the four-year graduation rate and the two-year transfer graduation rate at the university, including actions to improve those graduation rates for low-income students, underrepresented students and first-generation college students.”
The bill, she explained, requires the trustees to submit reports, at least annually, on the system’s progress in improving these two graduation rates. In response, the chancellor has created a student success committee that includes Berenecea Johnson Eanes, CSUF vice president for student affairs.
“The Graduation Initiative 2025 goals have been adjusted, and we were provided our new goals,” she said. At CSUF, by 2025:
- 44 percent of first-time freshman are to graduate in four years, and 75 percent in six years.
- 44 percent of transfer students are to graduate in two years, and 85 percent in four years.
Currently, 22 percent of freshman are graduating in four years, and 32 percent of transfer students graduate in two years.
“While I will agree with many of you that our students have many responsibilities on their plates and have to work in order to get through the University, the governor and legislature who control our budgets are insisting that we focus on these goals,” said García.
She suggested the pursuit of “multiple options” to achieve these goals, including studying the characteristics of those who have graduated in four years.
García updated the senate on the Academic Master Plan — being developed by a committee chaired by Emily Bonney, senate chair, and Anil Puri, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. She noted that the campus is entering the fifth year of the strategic plan and will be forming a new steering committee for the development of the 2018-22 plan.
She also discussed the current CSU budget, noting that it is still below the 2007-08 budget and $101 million short of what was requested.
“It will be an exhilarating and, yes, a hard-working year. We have proven that we are well on our path to become the model comprehensive university of the nation, and I have no doubt we will accomplish our goals. Thank you for serving on the Academic Senate. This is an important body that together with ASI and our incredible staff will ensure our successful attainment of our goals.”