News @ the Beach

DECLARE Campaign for Cal State Long Beach Creates Cultural Shift

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) launched the public and final phase of its first major philanthropic campaign, DECLARE: The Campaign for CSULB, and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the university’s Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center on Oct. 11. About 350 students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and community leaders attended the invitation-only event, which concluded with a performance by Brian Wilson, iconic songwriter and co-founder of The Beach Boys.

Campaigns, long a tradition at private universities, are now an important source of revenue at public universities, as well. DECLARE: The Campaign for CSULB is the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the university and one of the largest in the California State University system. By attracting new investments to the areas identified as campaign “pillars” (or priorities)— Unequaled Access, Transformation and A Greater Community—the campaign will make it possible for CSULB to provide more scholarships and services, support additional research and creative endeavors, update facilities and equipment and forge new community partnerships.

“This is a historic occasion for the university and another step in the continued path of excellence that has been our tradition here at The Beach,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB. “This collective effort by our friends, alumni, supporters, the university community and the surrounding community will provide resources and additional scholarships that will help our students succeed and graduate to become meaningful contributors in their professions and in their communities, while also having a positive impact on the economy.”

More than $200 million has already been committed to the campaign, and the university is in a final push to raise another $25 million so it can reach its goal of raising a total of $225 million by the time the campaign concludes in December 2015.

The campaign represents a cultural shift for CSULB, which marks its milestone 65th anniversary this year. The launch of DECLARE signals CSULB’s maturation as a major public university and provides a platform for building “Beach Pride” by encouraging all of those on campus and in the larger community to reflect on the positive impact of the university in their lives and to participate in the campaign by “declaring” their support and appreciation for The Beach.

“The DECLARE campaign is exciting not only from a fundraising perspective but also because it gives us an opportunity to share our remarkable story with a wider audience and to draw greater attention to CSULB’s role as a major academic, cultural, and community resource,” said Andrea Taylor, vice president of University Relations and Development.

Community leaders, including former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill, have enthusiastically endorsed the campaign. “Cal State Long Beach has had such a tremendously positive effect on so many thousands of young people over the years,” said O’Neill, a CSULB alumna and the chair of the CSULB 49er Foundation. “The university is a great asset to this region. Forty-niners receive excellent life-long preparation from faculty and support from staff and then graduate, begin successful careers and contribute to the economy and social well-being of their communities.”

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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

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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.


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.


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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.

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