Spring 2010 Convocation Speech

Eduardo Ochoa
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Spring 2010
January 28, 2010

Spring 2010 Speakers

Ruben Armiñana
President

Eduardo Ochoa
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Susan Moulton
Chair of the Faculty

Heather Hanson
Associated Students President

Dolores Bainter
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate

Convocation Remarks (bullets)

WASC accreditation

  • Educational Effectiveness visit in October; report from visiting team on SSU Web site provides a balanced view of our institution
  • Positive comments; recommendations for further improvement only
  • All indications are that we will receive a positive action by the Commission
  • Thanks all who contributed

Budget implications

  • Target reduced from 7500 resident FTES in 2008-09 to 7122 in 2009-10
  • Scenario planning for 2010-11: target is 7050 resident FTES (further reduction of 72 FTES) (Non-resident FTES is about 105)
  • Budget assumptions: no furloughs, no new growth, base cuts distributed by share of budget, cuts due to enrollment reductions distributed according to marginal cost formula
  • Scenario planning currently under way to assess our capacity to generate enrollment under budget assumptions

Strategic Prioritization

Ffor sustainable configuration, AA and the entire University will need to prioritize programs, functions, and activities consistent with the University Strategic Plan. That means transitioning away from across-the-board cuts

Academic Transformation for Sustainability

  • We must acknowledge that the CSU funding base is settling on a new, lower, “normal”
  • The traditional tactic of using salary savings and one-time moneys to avoid making the difficult choices and changes will no longer work
  • In addition to prioritization, qualitative changes in pedagogy (sometimes leveraging technology) that are less faculty intensive will need to be created through faculty innovation
  • One approach is to differentiate/disaggregate/unbundle learning outcomes and activities in programs and courses and singling out those requiring student-faculty face-to-face, highly interactive sessions and those achievable through student teamwork, online self-paced tutorials, and/or other self-directed resources
  • Whether called higher productivity or not, the reality will be that we will be responsible larger numbers of students with a given number of faculty than before; the challenge will be to maintain quality in the process

CSU Initiative to Close the Achievement Gap – SSU Delivery Plan

  • The CSU has committed itself to raising the overall graduation rate for the system by 8% and reducing the gap between the graduation rates of minority and non-minority students by 50%
  • The individual campus targets were based on individualized peer-group analysis using national graduation data to achieve either top-quartile peer-group rates or a 6% improvement (whichever is higher)
  • For SSU, the 6% overall improvement applies
  • Given our low disparities between URM and non-URM graduation rates, the URM graduation rate improvement target for SSU is 7%
  • Each campus was required to submit a “ delivery plan” for these targets by 12/25/09
  • Given the short timeline, little consultation was possible; however, it is understood that the plans will undergo revision based on broader campus involvement in the coming months
  • Version 1 of SSU’s Closing the Achievement Gap Plan is available on the Academic Affairs Web site now

Diversity Mapping

  • Rona Halualani & Associates will help the University complete a mapping of all the current activities, programs, and courses advancing the cause of diversity on campus.
  • This will be used to identify areas of strength and areas where gaps and weaknesses exist so they can be prioritized in the implementation of the Campus Diversity Master Plan’s objectives
  • Expect your area to be contacted by them with requests for information

Transition from WebCT to Moodle

  • Overview of the competitive environment for learning management systems
  • Absorption and phase-out of WebCT by Blackboard
  • Inevitability of transition away from WebCT to something else
  • Piloting of use of Moodle by six SSU faculty
  • Results of pilot project and feedback from ATAC leading to decision to transition to Moodle to be completed by Fall 2011
  • Spring 2010 to be devoted to bringing up Moodle, disseminating information to and training of faculty, and preparing to transition
  • 2010-11 will see both WebCT and Moodle fully operational; dedicated to contrinued faculty training and gradual transition to Moodle
  • Transition will be greatly facilitated by Chancellor’s Office support and collaboration with San Marcos and other CSU campuses undergoing the same process

Google mail and Exchange mail

  • Effective July 2010, SSU student e-mail will be outsourced to Google. This will result in significant savings to IT that will allow them to eliminate currently unfilled positions and transfer personnel from e-mail support to other critical functions.
  • Also effective July 2010, faculty and staff e-mail and MeetingMaker calendaring will transition to Microsoft Exchange server in combination with Outlook as the client application. This will also result in very significant savings that will allow IT to maintain services while absorbing their share of cuts.

This will be a difficult year. Nevertheless, it will still be possible for us to continue to look for ways to advance our academic mission. The faculty retreat generated many ideas that can be implemented without new resources, or that can generate resources. These ideas will be shared with our budget and planning committees, as well as with departments and schools, to look for ways to incorporate in our activities.

Education is too important to our society to allow it to wither away. It will not happen. The Governor’s acceptance of the prisons vs. education framework of choices is encouraging. I am confident that better days—and better support—are ahead, but as President Obama stated yesterday in his State of the Union address, universities will be expected to reduce their costs and become more efficient as well