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President Cheers Achievements, Lays Groundwork to Come

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In a Sept. 13 speech to the Academic Senate, CSUF President Fram Virjee congratulated the campus community for a job well done and laid out many of the university’s 2017-18 achievements, from graduation rates to collaborative efforts through every division.

The accomplishments include:

  • Academic Affairs’ expansion of the First-Year Experience in collaboration with Student Affairs;
  • Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion’s new Faculty Fellows program;
  • Information Technology’s creation of the Degree Progress Dashboard and the launching of Titanium Engagement;
  • Student Affairs’ co-curricular High Impact Practices’ data collection expansion and the first scholarship cohort in the Male Success Initiative;
  • Administration and Finance’s Titan Payment Plan, classroom refreshes and renovations on the first floor of the Pollak Library and the Student Health and Counseling Center; and
  • University Advancement’s banner year of fundraising gift commitments of nearly $24 million with record numbers of alumni, individual, parent, faculty/staff and senior gift donors.

“The achievements were equally widespread across all eight colleges, especially among our amazing faculty,” he stressed. He added other highlights including collaborative efforts in the renovation of the library, faculty/student research funding, athletics’ achievements, last year’s graduating class and this fall’s applications.

“We did all of these things with a singular focus upon student success,” he said.

Reflecting student success were the increases in graduation rates. The university’s four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen, Virjee said, increased from 22.6 percent to an estimated 25.4 percent; the six-year rate for first-time freshemen went from 66.2 percent to an estimated 67.6 percent; and the four-year graduation rate for transfer students reflected a six percent gain, from 74.8 to 79.4. “That puts us slightly over 5 percentage points shy of our Graduation Initiative 2025 goal with seven years to spare,” he noted.

“As we start this new year, let’s be open and clear: there will be challenges.

“Today, we are faced with what I perceive to be a much more challenging endeavor:

  • creating and implementing a strategic plan with audacious goals that, quite frankly, would have been considered impossible a year or two ago;
  • developing our new physical master plan in 15 years in today’s financially constrained environment;
  • launching the first comprehensive capital campaign in university history; and
    facilitating an environment of academic freedom, protecting free speech and generating robust learning by empowering all Titans to voice their opinions.

“It’s important to note that, despite the success of our now-completed first strategic plan, there is room for improvement,” he added. “The good news: We’re on it.”

Virjee announced that he was increasing faculty searches from last year’s 36 (28 faculty were hired, of which three will begin in 2019) to 60 this year.

This year will be a challenge, concluded Virjee, “But it’s also an opportunity — to widen our impact, to work collaboratively and leave this university, our community and our state better than we found it. It is an opportunity to truly reach higher.”