Calling for the Preeminent Role and Support of Academics and Faculty
in the New CSU Strategic Plan

RESOLVED: That the SSU Academic Senate sees minimal value in the CSU Access to Excellence process until academic programs receive an appropriately significant emphasis and until faculty system-wide receive an appropriately central role in this long term strategic planning; and

RESOLVED: That the SSU Academic Senate exhorts the CSU Board of Trustees and the Chancellor to take immediate steps to substantially increase and/or appropriately re-direct budget allocations for the support of high-quality academic programs and for the accelerated hiring of more tenure-track faculty and to increase the diversity of faculty, so as to better fulfill key priorities of the Cornerstones plan and greatly enhance the realistic success potential for the Access to Excellence plan; and

RESOLVED: That the SSU Academic Senate forward copies of this resolution to our faculty, the SSU Provost and President, all CSU Academic Senates, the CSU Chancellor, the CSU Executive Vice Chancellors, and the CSU Board of Trustees.

Rationale:

While the CSU Cornerstones Strategic Plan adopted by the Trustees in 1999 emphasized the preeminence of teaching, learning, research, and student success in the CSU, significant principles from Cornerstones have yet to be achieved.

Principle 3 in Cornerstones states that “Students will be expected to be active partners with faculty in the learning process, and the University will provide opportunities for active learning throughout the curriculum”; it continues by making it a campus priority to “expand student involvement in scholarship, research, and creative activity under faculty guidance, because these activities are central to the teaching and learning mission of a comprehensive university.”

In addition, Principle 4 states that “The CSU will reinvest in its faculty to maintain its primary mission as a teaching-centered comprehensive university. Faculty scholarship, research, and creative activity are essential components of that mission.”

Unfortunately, the CSU Access to Excellence draft domains currently in formation thus far significantly dilute the central priority of academics and instead accent the process as a corporate marketing exercise. Although we have been assured by the administration that the order of the domains is meaningless, it seems odd that the first mention of “Ensuring Success in Student Learning” only comes in Domain 4, behind “Fulfilling Commitments to Multiple Stakeholders”. The language throughout the document emphasizes and promotes the push for quantitative outcomes assessment for accountability, without a corresponding focus on the “intellectual development” of our students as stated in the CSU mission. In fact, the first bullet points in the CSU mission state the goals of the CSU to “advance and extend knowledge, learning, and culture…To provide opportunities for individuals to develop intellectually, personally, and professionally…[and] To encourage and provide access to an excellent education to all who are prepared for and wish to participate in collegiate study.”

Whereas the CSU Cornerstones plan insisted upon a fundamental role for faculty in the design and evolution of high-quality and accessible academic programs in the CSU, the CSU Access to Excellence process thus far substantially reduces the prime authority of faculty in assuring and enhancing scholastic excellence and success.

The first item in Domain 4, outcomes-based competencies among students, has no mention of faculty, and could conceivably be accomplished with absolutely no input from faculty at all. The first item in Domain 5 actually has to state what should be obvious, that an important priority of the CSU is “demonstrating and valuing faculty quality as an important input to student success”.

CSU budgetary support for academic programs has dangerously deteriorated since the Board of Trustees adopted Cornerstones during the same period as class sizes and faculty workloads have perilously increased and individual student-faculty interaction time has suffered damaging reductions. In addition, overall the CSU has made harmfully insufficient progress towards the ACR-73 goal of a 75/25 ratio of tenure-track to part-time faculty; even here at SSU, our ratio has been slipping.

Original resolution from CSU San Bernardino received February 13, 2007 in the SSU Academic Senate office. Format changed, but language substantially adopted for SSU Academic Senate meeting on March 8, 2007. Approved by the SSU Academic Senate on April 5, 2007.