News @ the Beach

Faculty Member Survey Providing Important Information for Long Beach Small Businesses

There’s a two-way communication going on between Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) and the local business community that finds its clearest expression in the Long Beach Small Business Monitor.

Overseen by marketing’s Scott Flexo, founder, owner and senior partner of Flexo and Partners, Inc. founded in 1995, the Small Business Monitor is a quarterly survey that provides an understanding of the expectations and challenges of Long Beach small businesses. The survey series is sponsored by the CSULB’s College of Business Administration and supported by community businesses and organizations.

Scott Flexo

Scott Flexo

The Monitor consists of surveys of small business owners, managers and supervisors with the goal of providing the community with an understanding of the expectations, attitudes and desires of Long Beach small businesses. The surveys are based on telephone and Internet surveys conducted by professional interviewers with the assistance of CSULB students among a randomly selected sample of small businesses in Long Beach.

“What we’re trying to do through the Monitor is to form a better connection between CSULB’s College of Business Administration and the local community,” said Flexo. “The Monitor, now in its third year, represents an attempt to understand the issues of small business and communicate those issues back to the community.”

The Monitor’s readership represents the majority of Long Beach’s working population. In the Long Beach region, more than half of those employed work for small businesses with 50 employees or less, and women and minorities are overrepresented in those small businesses, according to Flexo.

”I see this as a very important thing to do in terms of letting people know how small business is feeling and what its expectations are. What goes on with big businesses like Boeing is important but how do you give voice to thousands of small businesses? It’s a challenge met by the Small Business Monitor, he said. “I am a Long Beach resident who owns a small business here. I feel the same challenges faced by other small business owners. To be able to take my expertise and experience and use them to help small businesses gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

The data collected by the Monitor is represented by a random sample of Long Beach regional small businesses contacted by professional data collection interviewers, and a panel consisting of more than 1,000 small business owners in Long Beach who have participated in past surveys. These surveys have collected a bank of data which can be used to gauge expectations for the coming year. The Monitor reviews such topics as the impact on local business by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In its second quarter issue, the Monitor compared the results of his local survey of the Act’s impact with a national survey.

“This enables the Monitor to place in context what is happening in the Long Beach region,” he said. “I was surprised to discover local business owners were more open to the ACA than the national average. There was great discussion about why that is the case and there is pressure to re-visit the issue at a later date.”

The current third quarter 2014 issue of the Monitor addresses digital marketing and small business. Ninety percent of California consumers go online first to check out products and services offered by small business before heading in to stores, according to a recent study. To meet the needs of today’s consumers, small businesses must be online and have an integrated Internet, social media and mobile presence. However, many Long Beach small businesses lack the time and financial resources to manage a professional digital marketing presence. Of the total, 75 percent create and maintain their Internet presence by themselves, solicit an acquaintance or family member to do it, or assign an employee to manage it part-time. Just 25 percent hire professionals to develop and maintain a firm’s digital marketing.

In response to the survey data Flexo is able to connect CSULB students with local business and organizations. For instance, Flexo pointed to recent requests from local small businesses for support with their digital marketing spurred by the release of the latest survey data.

“In one case, I helped link up our students in the College of Business Administration with a local organization called `Feed the Kids,’” he recalled. “Now CBA Marketing students are conducting a digital marketing campaign for them and I think that’s wonderful. This is an opportunity that comes directly from a real connection with the small business community the survey results provide and the work that goes into the Small Business Monitor surveys.”

Surveying local business has changed the way Flexo sees Long Beach.

“Small business contributes a significant amount to the Long Beach community and without that contribution, the vibrancy of the community is not the same,” he said. “The more small businesses we have that thrive, the more vibrant the community is. The Small Business Monitor puts these issues in people’s minds and encourages discussion. Who would have thought about digital media 10 years ago? But today, 97 percent of people looking at small businesses use the Internet. If local business is not sophisticated enough to take advantage of that, that business will have a problem.”

The latest issue is available at http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cba/lbsbm/documents/2014_Q2LB%20Small%20Business%20Newsletter%20-%20Small%20Business%20and%20the%20ACA.pdf.)

Posted in University News | Leave a comment

Cal State Long Beach Given National Excellence and Innovation Award for Increasing Graduation Rate

Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) has been honored with a national Excellence and Innovation Award for increasing graduation rates. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) recently announced the inaugural winners in the new awards program honoring member institutions in several major areas of campus life and leadership.

14-102_grad_ba-djn_46

Specifically cited was CSULB’s Highly Valued Degree initiative, which combines a wide variety of proven strategies for enhancing student success into a comprehensive approach to institutional transformation, rather than focusing on just one or two strategies for increasing graduation rates. The results of this initiative have been dramatic. In just over a decade, first-time freshman overall graduation rates have risen by more than 20 percentage points from below 40 to 60 percent. These gains have reached all ethnic and gender subgroups. Graduation rates for transfers has also reached an all-time high. The 60 percent figure was based on 2012-13, and the 2013-14 rate continued to rise to 64 percent.

“The Student Success and College Completion Award from AASCU is a welcome affirmation of faculty and staff efforts over the past decade,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB.  “Our campus is singular in its purpose to offer student degrees with high value in the 21st Century. All of our faculty and staff are partners in encouraging our students, the majority of whom are first in their families to attend a university, to fully engage in the world class offerings of our university, achieve timely graduation and assume leadership positions in our society.  Recognition from the AASCU is most meaningful to us and to our pre-K-12 and community college partners. It allows us to pause and celebrate our progress today and energizes us to double down our efforts to do more and improve even more in this area.”

Other awards went for issues like regional and economic development, leadership development and diversity, and international education, which were given to seven ASSCU member campuses. In addition, the winner of the annual Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award also was announced as a component of this new program. The award was established in 1987 to honor the first teacher in space, who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster. It recognizes exemplary models of teacher preparation that link professional training to students’ learning outcomes.

“State colleges and universities have dealt with enormous challenges during the past decade, yet they have remained committed to their missions of student access and success, and regional and economic progress, as well as a dedication to advancing the quality and distinction of their institutions,” said AASCU President Muriel A. Howard.  “The innovative and collaborative approaches our members have engaged to successfully address their missions inspired us to create this awards program to foster recognition of their work.”

Selection panels for each award weighed entries that fit both general criteria and specific additional criteria for each category of achievement. Two awards were given in some categories because of the closeness of finalists’ scores. The awards will be presented Oct. 19 at the opening session of AASCU’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Other winners were Governors State University; University of Massachusetts (Boston), Northern Kentucky University; California State University, Fresno, Hunter College, City University of New York, Kennesaw State University and St. Cloud University.

Criteria for the winning entries in the awards competition required evidence of top-level administrative support, connection with an institution’s mission and strategic agenda, evidence the initiative contributed to significant institutional improvements or programming, and evidence the initiative was grounded in research and incorporated best practices.

AASCU is a Washington, D.C., based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a culture centered on learning and teaching, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

 

Posted in University News | Leave a comment

Cal State Long Beach Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School for Sixth Straight Year

For the sixth year in a row Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) has been designated a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs, a publication of Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2015 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.MILITARY

“We are honored to again receive this national recognition for our dedication to serving our nation’s veterans and military students at Cal State Long Beach. Veterans bring another level of exceptionalism to our university and their service is greatly respected on campus,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB. “….Our student veterans benefit from the fact that our Veteran’s Services Office is directed by an outstanding U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Marshall Thomas. As a veteran, Marshall knows first-hand the unique needs of veterans and he does an exemplary job matching these students with specific programs and services that are most likely to help them achieve their education goals.”

Veteran’s Services at CSULB serves as the student veterans benefit certification and advocacy office and assists veteran students in earning a degree. It helps veterans and their dependents access the educational benefits they earned by serving in the armed forces of the United States. It also certifies their eligibility for the G.I. Bill and the CalVet fee waiver and provides veterans with information about applying for admissions to CSULB.

According to the magazine, “These employers, schools, franchises and cities represent the top tier of institutions with leading opportunities for military service members and spouses.”

The Military Friendly Schools website features the list of schools, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. The colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

The common bond for schools on the list is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

Now in its sixth year, the list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 Veterans Affairs-approved schools nationwide. The survey tabulation process, methodology and weightings that comprise the list were independently verified.

Each year schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an academic advisory board consisting of educators from schools across the country.

Posted in University News | Comments Off

Cal State Long Beach Faculty Member Studying Area Port Noise Pollution

Because area ports are essential to the regional economy, I-Hung Khoo, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB), feels it was very important to map the area ports for noise pollution.

Noise from various transportation modes including sea ports has become a major concern for environmental and government agencies in recent years, especially since the LA-Long Beach port complex is the gateway to the Pacific Rim which makes them the nation’s largest ocean freight hub and its busiest container port complex.

12-211b_harbor_cruise-djn_39

“All kinds of places are measured for noise such as airports and freeways but no one measured noise levels at the Port of Long Beach extensively, let alone map them, until we did,” said Khoo. “Our goal is to understand the impact of noise on the Port of Long Beach. Up to now, pollution concerns at the port have focused on exhaust but noise is as much a pollutant as truck emissions. Since the campus is so close to the Port of Long Beach, it seemed urgent to begin.”

Khoo received funding to work with Tang-Hung Nguyen, a member of the civil engineering and construction engineering department at CSULB, to create an automated port noise and activity monitoring system. This is an extension of the research Khoo and Nguyen have been working on to create noise maps for the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. They have received a total of $180,000 in funding from METRANS for the research.

“As the container sector of the Port of Long Beach has the highest potential for growth, the levels of noise generated by cargo transportation and handling activities are especially of interest,” explained Khoo. “The objective of our research, therefore, is to determine, using noise mapping, the level of noise generated by the cargo handling and transport activities at the container terminals of the Port of Long Beach. The benefits of noise mapping include the evaluation of noise impacts, the identification of noise hot spots, the development of noise reduction measures and the prediction of what noise impact there will be on new and future development.”

The key to noise mapping is its visual display of noise levels. To generate the noise map a computer noise model of the port was created that included the terrain and all pertinent sources of noise.

“In this way, it is possible to see the exact location of noise pollution,” said Khoo. “We wanted data about trucks, trains and cargo handling equipment activity. The result was not only a noise map of the Port of Long Beach but a map of specific sources of noise and an analysis of noise variations.”

The study concludes that the highest contributions of noise comes from trucks followed by cargo-handling activities. The contribution of railroads is not considered to be significant. The noise of container trucks traffic on the roads was deemed to be within the Caltrans/FHWA limit for developed land 500 feet from the roads and not counting the freeways. Noise from cargo-handling activities was well below the accepted level at a distance of 50 feet as stipulated by the L.A. Municipal Code for industrial equipment.

Sensitive areas include the non-industrial area east of the L.A. River and the Queen Mary, both of which were found to be within the Community Noise Exposure guidelines of the L.A. Municipal Code. The noise variation was at its highest at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. but lowest at noon. The noise was higher on the weekdays than on the weekends. As far as monthly noise, it peaked in January and dropped to a minimum in March before rising steadily again.

“One look and the user sees the major noise contribution comes from the trucks. They have so many going in and out. The trains may be noisy but they don’t operate all the time. If they want to reduce noise, they should focus on the trucks.” said Khoo. “It can be used to predict changes in the future. Say you want to pave a new road or build a new container terminal. They can be drawn into the noise model with a description of the amount of traffic to see the effect it would have. How will these changes affect the overall noise? Say noise screening is planned. A noise wall can be drawn on the map and the effect is seen. That is the most powerful part of noise modeling. You can see noise distribution clearly on a noise map. It is both prediction and prevention.”

Posted in University News | Comments Off