With every new academic year comes increased expectations, renewed educational goals and plans for the future, namely the year 2030. These and others are topics President Jane Close Conoley addressed in her 2019 Convocation speech Friday at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.
Conoley spoke of why universities, such as Cal State Long Beach, need to embrace and encourage, such as critical analyses, scientific insights and civil informed dialogue. She believes compassion, understanding and tolerance need to be among the ideals that schools should promote both on campus and in the community.
She said the university needs to empower students with meaningful educational experiences, not only now but years from now. Action needs to happen now to ensure “our future viability and exceptional success in 2030.”
Like last year, Conoley stressed the importance of Beach 2030, the wide-ranging strategic-planning process that asked participants to suggest broad-based ways Cal State Long Beach evolve in the future. When completed, Beach 2030 will help prepare the “large, highly diverse student population for the world and economies of today and tomorrow.”
“Even with these strategic priorities identified, our work is far from done,” she said. “My call to you today is to again step up and help us complete the process.
“You will be asked to determine what bold, visionary, concrete steps must be taken to achieve our bold, visionary priorities.”
Another of Conoley’s focal points was the Graduation Initiative 2025 and the progress the university has made in increasing the graduation rate to 32 percent from 28 percent. The six-year rate up has gone up four points to 73 percent, and transfer graduation rates also have improved.
“We have made remarkable progress by working together, recognizing the power and creativity of this community and recognizing that we must continue to grow evolved,” she said.
Conoley said she hopes, with the help of the campus and community, to make a transformational difference to the students by empowering them through research, teaching and mentoring.
Included in her vision for Cal State Long Beach is to create a strong reputation as a place where students can develop into qualified experts across a comprehensive array of disciplines and civic engagement. It’s a simple, yet compelling, vision for the future, according Conoley.
“How we respond to these new conditions, opportunities and challenges is very much up to us,” Conoley said. “This is our chance to break down barriers and rebuild with new ideas. I am counting on your partnership to be sure we’re ready for the inevitable dynamics that either will promote us or deplete us.”