Convocation is an annual celebration for faculty and staff held on the Friday prior to the start of instruction to mark the beginning of the new academic school year. Hundreds of people gather from across campus at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center to welcome new colleagues, highlight recent achievements and share ideas as we look to the future.
President Jane Close Conoley
Welcome to the 2015-2016 Academic Year. I’m so glad to be starting it with all of you.
Let me add my warm welcome to our newest class of President’s Scholars and welcome to our off campus visitors, and of course, most importantly, all members of the Beach community.
The provost has outlined with great skill our accomplishments during 2014-15. Thank you Dave for your excellent leadership for many of those distinctions. We simply would not be in the position of national eminence for student success without you. I am very grateful for how you’ve kept students first and earned us substantial national attention for doing this right thing.
Thank you all so much for making my first year at The Beach such a success. Our 2014-2015 success is based on the work done by all of you…actually the year before I got here!
It’s fun to bask in your well-deserved recognitions…I’m basking so you should bask. Okay. Enough with the basking…
So while the colleagues just pictured have been working hard and doing great work, the question I think about…often while watching squirrels and eating…is what are we going to do now to ensure our university’s viability over the next 66 years? I raise this question because we’re in a struggle for the survival of U.S. public higher education, as it exists today.
Obviously, nothing lasts forever in a frozen form, but there are significant threats to the best parts of our existence as an urban land grant university. More on this later as I ask you to plan with me to excel in what’s now called a VUCA environment, i.e., Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.
There are some higher education paradoxes that I think about:
- We have the greatest system of higher education in the world and Long Beach State is a world’s best-in-class university as illustrated by your success with our highly diverse student body and many other markers of excellence. But… The rest of the developed world is investing more in higher education and even with the small improvement in our state budget (leaving us still $65M behind our 2007 funding levels) our nation appears unwilling to do the same level of investment.
- Long Beach State is a university of choice with all that implies about your skills and our unique location—thank you again. But… Information is ubiquitous; it is the connections to other areas of scholarship, careers, translations into novel settings, innovation, and entrepreneurship that are the rare commodities of our era. Are we the home of all of these in addition to our deep, specialized scholarship? Have we also internalized and institutionalized our commitment to the success of our students—the same demographic that most universities are failing to educate deeply or even to graduate.
- Students and national organizations laud our teaching, athletics, graduation rates, innovative programs, and student services. But… Poverty among young people in America is rising and the need for personalized teaching and student services to ensure academic and social success threatens our reserves of person-power and money. You have been exceptional in raising graduation rates among the portion of our students who, though top students in their high schools, arrive with the need to even up with other students who have come from more affluent zip codes.
- Our faculty members are terrific scholars and teachers—combining research, service and teaching in distinctive ways. But… Our funding model and workloads do not reward or enable research and service in ways I think are sustainable. Student success depends on our faculty and staff having the time to support students and create the pipelines we need to promote diversity on our campus.
- We are generally collegial and egalitarian. But… We exist, at times, in a context of suspicion and unnecessary hierarchy. I anticipate some tensions associated with negotiations with our valued colleagues in CFA and assure you that my goal is for a fair compensation package to be available to all. Faculty compensation issues exist not only in California but also across the nation, of course, as public universities face the need to re-think funding models. This is a giant threat to our quality!
These are just a few of the Higher Education dichotomies that give me pause as I fall asleep at night.
Through the Declare Campaign for Long Beach State University, we have raised over $225M on the foundations of Unequalled Access, Transformation, and Greater Community. Until recently, I have thought of these pillars as associated mainly with our students’ opportunity, education, and futures. I’ve started wondering how we might ensure everyone in The Beach family is included in these goals. That is, what does faculty and staff unequalled access, greater community, and transformation look like? What kinds of greater communities can be built across campus and in the region for the benefit of our students and our professional well-being and innovation?
I’ll need your help to figure this out and also to choose the best ways to introduce and sustain change so that we all benefit from a strong focus in these three areas. So, I’ll be asking for members of our community, from every sector, to work with me to develop an intentional plan to make The Beach the best place in the galaxy to work and learn. We need clarity of purpose—a purpose that grows from the aspirations of all of our community members.
A few questions I need answers to:
What kinds of support do our faculty, staff, and students need to connect their innovative ideas to cutting edge pedagogies, community engagement, publications, grants, and to markets?
Are we offering the best opportunities for professional travel and cross-campus and cross-institutional connections to enhance faculty and student scholarship?
What kinds of faculty and staff development should be offered to keep everyone’s skills at the cutting edge to meet their professional and our students’ needs?
Can we find ways to continually upgrade our organizational climate to ensure appropriate autonomy, development opportunities, useful feedback, recognition for meritorious achievement, challenging but attainable goals, and appropriate resources to get the job done?
So what lies ahead? What are we, and every other thinking/ learning university, facing?
What is everyone talking about?
- Focus on data
- Learning as creating
- The hybrid experience
- Meeting diverse learning needs
- Promoting flexibility and innovation
- Responding to expectations from systems, states, nation, students and funders
- Universal design—especially to enable our students who arrive with physical and cognitive challenges
- Rethinking physical spaces
- Skills-based learning
- Multidisciplinary learning and research
- Celebrating and ensuring the excellence of diversity
- Creating sustainable campus environments
We have been developing efforts in most of the challenges mentioned above—we are responding to what the rest of the nation is struggling with. Despite the wise advice to not fix things that are not broken, I think, number one, we live in changing times that demand responsiveness on our side, that is the VUCA environment I mentioned earlier—volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. And number two, that built into our university realities may be processes and norms that do not enable success in the 21st century, for example, disciplinary silos that limit our ability to focus on the grand challenges of the day, which include health care, water, climate change, terrorism, immigration, poverty/racism, energy, globalization, sustainable economic development, political corruption/gridlock, and other matters of national and international concern. Land grant universities were created to work on societal challenges as they emerged—and we certainly have some in this century.
With your help and advice we need to eliminate barriers to our success and impediments to the ways we share and create knowledge critical to addressing these grand challenges of the day.
We must also be aggressive in reaching our carbon neutral goal for our health, the health of our region and world, and as a model for others. On this note, do investigate a recent report from our Sustainability Task Force on all of our campus efforts in sustainability—you will be impressed.
I think we should ask ourselves if we are organized and/or hire new faculty and staff in ways to reach new levels of achievement for our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Do our traditional departmental structures make the most sense? Should we begin to organize ourselves in ways that bring the power of the sciences and humanities together; connect the research in social sciences and health to the realities of diverse populations; better leverage the expertise of both our student affairs and academic affairs professionals for student development; pair the ingenuity of the engineer with the creativity of the artist, the performance and communication skills from our Cole Conservatory with the planning and business acumen from our business school—all supported by our vast library and electronic resources? Your proposals around this idea are most welcome. Or you might tell me “it’s not going to happen.”
I know there is substantial wisdom throughout our organization. I also know that student and organizational success depends on everyone being involved so my requests for input are sent out to all.
In addition, I think we should work to translate the excitement and commitment generated by our exceptional athletic programs, including club and intramural sports, into the everyday experience of most of our students.
In the 21st century (with thanks to Michael Crowe and his ASU colleagues), we must prepare to be increasingly privately supported while remaining publically accountable, and, be willing to take major responsibility for the well being of our region—we have so much to contribute from each of our colleges and divisions! This means finding the time and creativity to build new teaching/learning strategies to facilitate the success of all our students. This is a central challenge as our students’ diversity demands constantly evolving teaching and learning experiences.
Our success as a university depends on effectiveness with low-income students who are right now woefully underrepresented in careers and positions that support a middle class life—that is, an education that leads to social mobility or more poetically, The American Dream. We must be willing to recommit every year to our mission of accessible and excellent education for the sake of our students, to be sure, but also to improve our city, region, state, and nation—and by the way our own futures.
I’m asking a lot for relatively small material rewards. I have asked the provost to work with faculty leaders, deans and department chairs to develop strategies for addressing faculty compensation challenges such as compression and inversion while, of course, working hard to match the market in total compensation for every one of our employees, and meeting our collective bargaining obligations. This will take time and likely create some issues while we solve some others, but I think everyone one of us must welcome accountability and everyone deserves to be recognized for meritorious work.
I also think we must look deeply and with some complexity to what contributes to organizational excellence. It’s not everyone doing the same thing and being evaluated on the same outcomes. We can be an example of the new American urban land grant university by being clear that it takes a village to support student success. How do we reward exceptional teaching? Do we reward especially those who even up our students’ chances when they arrive as top students from inferior high schools? Do we recognize those who forge critical partnerships in our region that support research, teaching, internships, apprenticeships and professional goals for faculty, staff, and students?
We must also continue and expand our national leadership in the arts with the special excitement these exhibits and performances engender.
I will be especially attentive to efforts to improve graduate education this year. Our master’s and doctoral educational experiences are passports to many vital careers and are supports for our research distinctiveness.
We must also expand some of the innovative efforts from the humanities to establish firmly their places in the development of the truly educated citizen. I am especially impressed with several of the departments who have been partnering with other major fields to share their special insights to a broader audience of students and faculty colleagues.
I’d like us to begin a process of change without knowing where we’ll end up except in being a better place to live by our values of transformation, unequalled access/opportunity, and greater community.
During the marathon, that is commencement, I heard stories from students that inspired my hope and conviction that we are up to the task of constant renewal for our community’s success. Students spoke of finding hope, acceptance, new identities and pride because of working with you—and all this in addition to a great general and specialized education.
The challenge in any purposeful evolution process is identifying what to conserve and what to re-invent. Our willingness to make changes guided by the three pillars of unequalled access, transformation, and greater community guarantees a sterling national reputation for our campus, high impact educational experiences for our students, personal career achievements, optimization of our team accomplishments, and innovative service to our city, region and nation.
We already have a long list of signature accomplishments, events, and programs that engage faculty, staff, students, and the greater community in unparalleled learning experiences. Think service learning, wetlands conservation, fighting obesity, nurturing sea turtles, saving pets from coyotes, internships, mobile health service, sharks, apprenticeships, policy research to support compassionate responses to sexual assault survivors, summer bridge programs, research partnerships with industry, tax help for low income community members, the sixth consecutive Commissioners Cup for our athletic Department, AD of the year award for our AD Vic Cegles, international travel for students, Men’s Success Initiative, drought tolerant landscapes, artistic performances and exhibits, vast extended-learning resources, trauma recovery center, Math Collaborative, undergraduate research program, and other community service clinics to mention just a few.
A new signature accomplishment will be a smoke and tobacco free campus by August 2016. Breathe! Thank you task force members and co-chairs Claire Garrido-Ortega and Natalie Whitehouse-Capuano. This is another step toward building a campus dedicated to health, well-being, and success. Stay tuned to all the opportunities that will be offered for cessation help and for inserting positive behaviors to counter addictive behaviors.
Another opportunity, I think, is the greater investment we plan to make in our honors program to showcase participation in University Honors as yet another reason for high achieving student with particular evidence of GRIT to come to The Beach.
We have a charter and destiny to serve our community having been founded on an urban land grant. We have world-class faculty and staff whose work at The Beach can add to their reputations as well as our university’s prestige. We are innovative and entrepreneurial enough to develop compensation improvements for our hardest working and most accomplished community members. Most of us are in teams that are the basis of our success and whose viability and effectiveness we treasure. We can optimize them.
We should think about how to keep evolving to be the best. I think one thing that’s scary is the feeling that we’re in a zero sum game. I believe, however, we can all be winners. If we recall that our purposes are to provide opportunity, create transformational experiences, and promote greater community—not to simply conserve particular organizational structures.
We are poised to continue our evolution as an urban land grant university. One that parleys local action into global recognition, creates budget models that buffer against volatile state budgets and political swings, values student learning and creates and evaluates innovative pedagogies to ensure it, and takes responsibility for the economic development of its region. Tall order. So…
Remember to follow me on Twitter: I must surpass Coach Monson’s 3000 followers just because…
We’d better get started on our work as an urban land grant university, and…
Provost David Dowell
As I said at the beginning of this morning’s program this is ‘our shining hour;’ the best time in a long time to be at The Beach. That hasn’t gone unnoticed. We received state and national recognition this past year for our innovation, partnerships and commitment to students.
Last fall the American Association of State Colleges and Universities awarded CSULB the inaugural award for Excellence and Innovation in Student Success and Completion, for our Highly Valued Degree Initiative. This award recognizes our remarkable achievement in supporting students all the way to degree completion.
A decade ago, our 6-year graduation rate was below the CSU system average.
Since then, CSULB’s graduation rate has increased about 20%; that’s about twice the amount of improvement of the CSU system and about five times the improvement of comparable institutions nationally.
- Our current graduation rate is about 18% above the most recently published national average for large, public master’s institutions.
- For underrepresented students, we are nearly 20% higher.
- For African American students, we are nearly 19% higher.
- For Latino students, we are more than 15% higher.
Percentages are interesting, but what does this mean for students? It means that literally thousands of students who might have gone away empty handed in recent years, have instead graduated with degrees because of all the hard work of advisors, other staff, faculty and campus leaders to support them all the way to degree completion.
Another key national recognition this past year was provided by no less than the White House. We were one of a select few universities last December invited to attend the White House College Day of Opportunity.
In March, a key state recognition came from the Governor of California who honored CSULB, in partnership with Long Beach City College and Long Beach Unified School District, with a Governor’s Award for Educational Innovation. This $5 million award recognized the long-standing partnership among our three institutions and our focus on student success.
Academic Affairs Success Awards
Faculty and staff in some departments have made particularly notable contributions to our student success efforts. Awards for the highest graduation rates and the highest average improvement in retention rates were presented to 22 departments.
- Africana Studies
- Civil Engineering & Construction Engineering Management
- Communication Studies
- Computer Engineering & Computer Science
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Science & Policy
- Film & Electronic Arts
- Health Science
- Human Development
- International Studies
- Political Science
- Religious Studies
- Social Work
- Speech-Language Pathology; and
- Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Please join me in a round of applause for these departments.
We also honored the following faculty for excellence in teaching, advising, service and research, scholarly and creative activity: (Please hold your applause until the end.)
- Shadnaz Asgari from Computer Engineering and Computer Science
- Jen-Mei Chang from Mathematics and Statistics
- Joanne Conley from Recreation and Leisure Studies
- Judy Green from Social Work
- Ezra LeBank from Theatre Arts
- Betty McMicken from Speech-Language Pathology
- Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez from Health Science
- Leslie Reese from Teacher Education
- Praveen Shankar from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
- Henry Yeh from Electrical Engineering
Please join me in a round of applause for each of these outstanding faculty members.
Looking to the Future
2014-15 was an outstanding year, but we will not rest on our laurels. Under the leadership of President Conoley, and in collaboration with Vice President Carmen Taylor we will be working this year on laying the groundwork for the future:
- We have set ambitious new goals tied to a commitment for the White House College Day of Opportunity
- We are creating a new student success center
- This fall we expect to announce faculty, department and program awards worth up to $10,000 for innovative high-impact practices
- We will seek to reinvigorate our first-year experience based on collaboration between academic and student affairs
- We will expand electronic advising, but always with a human touch
- We will deepen our use of data to diagnose student success challenges and plan effective improvements
- We will expand digital learning
- We will bring new focus to our graduate programs with a new graduate center
- We will continue to expand tenure-track hiring
- We will continue our Leadership Fellows Program, one of the university’s “secret weapons” in fostering campus effectiveness. I am pleased to note that the Leadership Fellows Program has been selected to receive AASCU’s Excellence and Innovation Award for Leadership Development and Diversity this fall.
This year we will also continue placing an emphasis on digital learning, global engagement, service and research, scholarly and creative activity – all of which encourage active learning and student engagement.
In recent years, innovative faculty members have converted about 150 courses to online mode. About 30 more have converted to flipped or hybrid modes. Our new AVP, Shawna Dark brings new energy to our digital efforts. Last year our augmented Student Excellence Fee began in full and my office allocated nearly $6 million from that for technology that touches students, like the 23 active learning technology classrooms that came online in the spring semester.
Our approach to digital instruction is guided, like everything we do, by the principle of what works best for students. We are carefully using new digital tools to enhance the quality of instruction.
Led by innovative faculty, a total of 865 students studied abroad in 37 countries in 2014-15 – a 21 percent increase from two years ago. More than 545 studied abroad in summer, winter, and spring break in as many as 24 countries including Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Greece, the UK, France, Ghana, South Africa, Spain and a multi-country trip to Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Take a moment to think about all the global issues in front of us every single day: Ukraine, Palestine, Iran, Syria, trafficking of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, immigrant children and much more. Every college graduate needs a global perspective to be well educated and so we have set a goal of doubling the number of students who participate in study abroad by 2020. Our continuing efforts to infuse a global perspective into our curriculum have well-positioned us to prepare our students for an increasingly global future.
More than 3,000 students participated in some form of service last year, investing more than 32,000 hours in the community.
Our campus commitment to service earned us national recognition. We were named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll and received the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
In addition, the Peace Corps ranked us as one of the top Hispanic-Serving Institutions based on the number of Beach alumni currently serving in the program.
Service learning gives students a valuable opportunity to apply classroom learning to a real-world setting. We will be looking at ways of expanding student-community connections with more internships and service learning.
Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities
Faculty achievements in basic research push back the frontiers of knowledge; applied research helps solve human problems; creative endeavors inspire and probe our humanity. Involving students in working with faculty on research, scholarly, and creative activities is one of our most powerful, high impact pedagogies.
Even during the period of difficult budgets, CSULB, unlike many sister campuses, maintained a sizable investment in RSCA;
- Two years ago we invested about $1 million in campus resources in direct support of faculty RSCA.
- Last year, we invested about $2 million for RSCA support.
- This coming year, we will invest about $2.2 million.
In addition we have invested:
- Awards for faculty assigned time
- Support for research assistants this past summer and this academic year as well, and
- Incentives for faculty to prepare proposals for external funding including multidisciplinary grants.
Achievements in External Funding
Our faculty has had a remarkable year for external funding. In 2013-14, we secured about $25 million in external grants and contracts. This past year we nearly tripled that amount, securing more than $65 million. That is amazing. True, a portion of that increase, about $24 million, was due to a single grant, but we had a healthy increase even without the one grant included.
Please join me in a round of applause for accomplishments in external grants and contracts.
There is a lot in the media questioning higher education these days but there is something the media seems to miss: Universities are not all the same. At CSULB our combination of quality, affordability and student success adds up to value; we advertise a highly valued degree and we deliver.
We have a great story to tell. A story about passion, creativity, hard work, community and success. Let’s take a minute to see excellence at The Beach.
Long Beach truly is more than a university. It’s a very special place because of the people who have worked to make it the best it can be. It is special because we prize our diversity. We cultivate an atmosphere of respect and civility. It is special because we support our students who trust us to provide them with degrees that open doors to promising futures.
As many of you know, this will be my last year as provost. I have enjoyed serving for the past two years and consider myself fortunate to have been able to work with outstanding faculty and staff who are all committed to improving graduation and retention rates and ensuring we deliver excellence and value. I have been honored to serve as Provost because CSULB is a great and special public university. Thank you for all that you do to contribute to the special nature of The Beach.
Academic Senate Chair Praveen Soni
Good Morning Friends!!
Welcome to the 2015 CSULB Convocation!! Welcome especially to the new students and new faculty members who have joined the university.
I am a faculty member and the chair of the Academic Senate at CSULB. I am here to talk to you about ‘my’ university. Actually, for all of us gathered here, and for the new students who have been ‘SOARed out’ and the new faculty who have been methodically reoriented over two days, this is now your university as well. So, let me talk about ‘our university.’
Our university has garnered numerous accolades over the years; many of them related to student success and overall graduation rates. All of us have worked hard to gain the honors for our university. However, the chief architect of student success is none other than Provost Dowell. Would you please join me in giving Provost Dowell a round of applause?
The first time I was elected chair of the Academic Senate, the university had a new President and we were about to embark upon a search for a new Provost. Once again the faculty have entrusted me with this job and I thank them for their vote and confidence. Would you know it though, once again the university has a relatively new President and we are about to embark on a search for a new Provost. Well! As a famous person once said, “Its déjà vu all over again.”
So, now would seem to be an opportune time to look at a few challenges our university faces. By working together and meeting these challenges, we can make our ‘great’ university even greater.
Our university has the challenge of providing equal success to all students by focusing efforts and resources to eliminating the significant and persistent graduation rate gap that exists between the majority of our students who are low income underrepresented minority students and non-underrepresented minority students. Graduating these students quickly will be a boon to their families, our communities and our society, and will relieve capacity in the university for greater ‘access to excellence’ for even more low income students.
Faculty are the raison d’ etre of the university, and why students clamor in large numbers to the university to be educated and become productive global citizens. I know some of you would disagree and a few of you even vehemently. Well, ask yourself, “How many students would graduate if there were no faculty in the university?”
Thus, to meet the challenge of providing a high quality education, our university must invest in the renewal of faculty through the continual hiring of tenure track faculty, in current disciplines and in disciplines of the future; at a rate significantly higher than the replacement rate for retiring faculty, such that the tenure density will see a considerable increase from a precarious 55%. I had the pleasure of meeting with the 58 energetic and enthusiastic tenure track faculty who have joined us this year. It was a great experience, but we do need many more!! The CSU Statewide Senate believes that tenured and tenure track faculty are critical to the health of the university and has recommended a goal of 75% tenure density. Additionally, our university has the challenge of significantly improving the ethnic diversity of our faculty so it would mirror the composition of our diverse student body and our diverse state.
Also, our university has the challenge of mending the fractured faculty morale and rewarding the daily professionalism and dedication of the great faculty and staff to the institution, by providing respectable salary increases for all faculty and staff, as well as substantially reducing or eliminating the gross inequities that exist in the salaries for all ranks in all colleges. The state just declared a drought, which El Nino will take care of this winter. However, recent paltry salary increases have not made up for years of faculty and staff salary drought or for the loss of 10% of salary in one year for all employees due to furloughs.
Faculty morale and confidence can be further bolstered by providing equal opportunity to all faculty and staff for career advancement, especially to administrative positions based upon their qualifications, experience, and achievements. Ethnically diversifying upper administration and discontinuing programs and structures perceived to be favoring a few will certainly be a step in the right direction.
Our university also has the continual challenge of effectively and efficiently utilizing the lion’s share of our resources on the university’s core business of education and knowledge, to provide instruction and other services at the grass roots level to students, faculty and staff who interact daily to meet the mission of the university. Organizations have realized the value of flattened hierarchies to the success of their mission and successful organizations have abandoned top-heavy vertical bureaucracies.
To meet and overcome the stated and other challenges that might arise in the future, our university should utilize the collective wisdom of its employees by further strengthening shared governance. The Academic Senate, College Faculty Councils and other shared governance bodies are good examples of shared governance and should be respected as equal partners in decision-making. Their involvement should be sought at all levels from the highest levels for shared leadership to the grassroots level; from the inception of the problem or challenge facing our university, to enumeration and evaluation of a diversity of options, to a final solution.
To respect faculty representation, academic freedom and faculty independence, representative faculty members duly elected by a democratic process of their peers should be included in all groupings, regardless of nomenclature, that are set up to advance the mission of the university, including elected representation to all university auxiliary bodies.
Sitting up last night, I was wondering about how to put everything in perspective. Easy for me to explain, and easy for you to remember! The analogy I came up with was “playing pool.” To win, you have to pocket the ‘8 ball,’ which no doubt is student success. And, our university has done a marvelous job at it.
In pool though, you do not win if you pocket the ‘8 ball’ before pocketing your other balls, which in a university setting are labeled, staff success, faculty success, shared governance, diversity, equal opportunity, parking etc. You can certainly name some others.
Question is, “Who should our university emulate?” On the one hand we have Wal-Mart, the largest multinational in the world. It consistently pockets the ‘8 ball’ by making lots of profits, but one hears reports about their employees who are overworked, underpaid and some who are even on food stamps. On the other hand we have Google, which also pockets the ‘8 ball.’ In the last quarter, it made $4b in profits and has an ungodly amount of cash at hand — $60b or so. Our goal for our comprehensive campaign is $225 million – a large amount which we have met, but it is less than 4 tenths of 1% of Google’s cash at hand. Hmmm! But, I digress. However, people are swarming to Google for work. Their employees have high morale, are dedicated and innovative, and produce goods and services that customers are willing to pay good money for.
Thus, if our university pays attention and pockets all the other balls especially those of staff and faculty success, then our university would have improved the morale and won the hearts and minds of our valuable employees making the pocketing of the ‘8 ball’ of student success, a cinch. In my opinion, then we would all have achieved something even more valuable than student success. And that is organizational success. My dear friends, “Wouldn’t organizational success be a great vision for our university?”
Thank you for listening!
ASI President Jose Salazar
Thank you for that introduction and for this amazing opportunity to speak here today.
I can honestly say that when I walked on campus for the first time 5 years ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to speak to so many prestigious CSULB and Long Beach community leaders. I was raised in this wonderful city, going to school right down the street at Millikan High School. I was that student listening to famous LB artists such as Snoop Dogg, Sublime, and Warren G. back when MP3 players were still cool. After graduating from Millikan I attended Long Beach City College, and as you can see this great city continued to give to me.
As some of you may know, I am the first undocumented student body president here at CSULB and needless to say, life has had its hard moments. But back when I decided to run for president, with all the challenges I knew were ahead of me, I decided to go for it anyway, to send a message to my fellow students: that no matter where you begin, even the underdog can become an alpha. You welcoming me here today fills my heart. Thank you.
I wanted to take this opportunity today to briefly talk about how excited I am for the year ahead!
As I’m sure many of you would agree, the most important part of this university is the students, because we are not only the future leaders, we are your future entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, executives, scientists, artist, and politicians. From experience I know this university houses some of the smartest students in the nation. The help and support from our professors, administrators, staff, student government, and student organizations, helps our graduates prepare for the challenges facing the future of this world. And not just any challenges, major challenges like global warming, world hunger, unemployment, poverty, world peace, economic development, and racial and cultural tolerance. This is why it is crucial that student government represents and impacts the daily lives of our students.
I’ve seen what our students can do. We attend national, international conferences and competitions with powerful research, positively representing our university. We have students building aerial drones, rover drones, underwater drones, rockets, robots, digital applications; other students volunteer and help their community by reaching out to elementary schools, middle school, and high schools; to low income communities, all in an effort to positively impact our community. There is a daily breeze of success blown by our alumni that cools down the insecurity of a future that sometimes can seem scary. I’m looking forward to representing our over 37,000 students. And as a part of an underrepresented community myself, I vow to speak up for communities that sometimes get overlooked, and aren’t always reserved a seat at the table when major decisions are being made.
Moreover, I look forward to continuing our tradition of shared governance and working alongside the community, the vice presidents, the provost, and President Conoley to make this the best and most well represented year CSULB has ever seen!