Chancellor White Gets A Good Vibe From Visit To The BeachPublished: November 1, 2013
CSU Chancellor Timothy White’s visit to CSULB on Oct. 14 actually began two weeks prior when he was handed an iPad mini downloaded with information to help him learn about the many facets of the campus. It was clearly a different approach from the binders full of paperwork he had received from his previous visits to CSU campuses.
White’s excursion to CSULB was stop No. 19 on his tour of the CSU’s 23 campuses since becoming chancellor in December.
“This is a good place,” he said. “It’s got a positive feel.” It was clearly The Beach vibe he was getting.
His day on campus got off on the right note when he found himself surrounded by a quartet of early-morning trumpeters at the Bob Cole Conservatory. Greeted by the sounds of a brass ensemble from Director of Brass Studies Robert Frear’s program at 7:15 a.m., White was met by CSULB Interim President Donald Para and Interim Provost David Dowell.
After a quick breakfast, he was off to The Pyramid where he was introduced to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, then to the University Art Museum (UAM), where he came face-to-face with horror—specifically the exhibited works of horror genre special make-up effects artist Gabe Bartalos. It was clear White was impressed.
“The art museum is worthy of your time,” he told a large gathering later in the day, clearly remembering the current exhibit at the UAM, “particularly before Halloween. It really is quite something and well done.”
Throughout the day, White found himself participating in a wide variety of activities—practicing his resuscitation skills in the School of Nursing’s simulation lab, juggling with students on the grassy quad near the bookstore and discussing skateboard policy on campus, though there aren’t any photos of the chancellor partaking in the sport.
This is a chancellor who is engaged. This is a chancellor who likes to participate.
“During his visit, Chancellor White had the opportunity to interact with many people and programs,” said Para. “He was especially impressed by our students.”
Gathering in the Emergency Operations Center at the Horn Center, White met first with the campus’ top administrators, followed by a session with the nine college deans. From both groups he fielded questions and concerns on topics such as student success, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), achievement gaps and K-12 teacher education as well as how current and future technologies can and should be incorporated into the curriculum.
“We were very pleased to have Chancellor White visit our campus. Our goal for the visit was to share the evidence that this campus is a leader in student success, which has been our top priority for many years, and the impact that we have beyond our borders,” said Para. “Among the areas highlighted were the impact of technology, faculty research and creative activities, community service and the Long Beach College Promise.”
Key players of the Long Beach College Promise met with White and discussed the merits of the lauded program, which creates a seamless path for Long Beach K-12 students to pursue higher education. The program, which began in March 2008 as a partnership between the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College (LBCC) and CSULB, is designed to improve college preparation, access and completion. It was recently singled out as a model for education by the Little Hoover Commission, a California oversight agency.
“The Long Beach College Promise is probably the most innovating, the most exciting thing that has happened in education,” CSULB alumna, former LBCC president and a three-term mayor of Long Beach Beverly O’Neill told White. At one point during the discussion she added, “This isn’t rocket science.”
White quickly responded by saying, “No, it’s harder.” It drew a laugh, as intended, but it seemed quite clear he wasn’t kidding.
Afterwards, he spoke at an open forum attended by individuals from throughout the campus, where he immediately addressed a point of interest to all—CSULB’s presidential search, which got under way in late September.
“I know you are looking for a new president,” White told the overflow audience in the Karl Anatol Center. “I want you to be confident of those individuals who are representing you on the search committees. This is a very attractive university for people with a lot of skills, so you have to be confident we will end up identifying a rich and diverse pool of individuals.”
He also expressed his personal appreciation for all the efforts by faculty and staff during the last five or six years of financial hardship.
“I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve sensed today in my conversations with faculty and staff about what you are doing here, especially over the past couple of years,” he said, noting how facilities and the grounds have been well maintained. “I want to acknowledge and thank you for what you have done because as we all know it’s been a pretty difficult time in California for just about everybody.”
“We appreciate Chancellor White taking time to get to know Long Beach,” said Dowell. “He seemed pleased with his visit and referred to CSULB as a ‘jewel’.”
“Overall, we wanted Chancellor White to understand what we know—that CSULB is a very special institution because of our people and programs. What we do here matters and the impact is felt well beyond our borders,” added Para. “At the end of the day, it was clear that he was very impressed. Thanks to the many people on campus and in the community who made the visit a huge success.”