2008 State of the University
by Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
President of California State University, Monterey Bay
September 23, 2008
Thank you, and good afternoon, everyone!
One of my favorite days in our academic calendar is when I have the privilege to report to you on our progress during the previous year and look ahead to our hopes and goals for the future. I honestly love this time of renewal, fresh starts, and academic vitality. It's really great to see students, faculty and lots of activity back on campus.
For those of you who I didn't get to see this summer, I welcome you back. I hope that your summer was as productive and invigorating as you planned - you got all of those tasks you needed to do completed and I hope you also had an enjoyable a time with your family and your friends as well.
I want to especially welcome our new faculty and staff who are just starting out with us. If you are new, would you please rise and let us acknowledge you. Thank you.
I am delighted to stand before you as president and share - oh - a few thousand words more or less about our progress and our prospects. As California State University, Monterey Bay enters its 14th academic year, there is much to tell - and I thank you all for being here today to listen. I know we all feel intense pride in, affection for and responsibility to this university and our students.
Our work is never easy, but it is always rewarding. Each of you has invested yourself in the future of CSU Monterey Bay. For that, I will always be grateful to you. And never far from my mind, and I suspect not far from yours, either, is just what a rare opportunity history has given us: the chance to transform this former Army base into a 21st-century university.
Fort Ord closed in 1994 in a time of great optimism surrounding the idea of what they called a Peace Dividend. That promise has yet to be realized. In fact, the world is further from peace than when this university was founded. But we nonetheless remain inspired by the Vision for a new kind of higher education that emerged from the moment of historic opportunity that gave rise to CSU Monterey Bay.
We continue to set our sights beyond this campus. We seek to ensure that what we do here benefits the region, the state, the nation and the world. Now more than ever, I don't think it's a stretch to say that a single individual's action can have global significance. That includes all of you - and it certainly includes each one of our students.
As I call on you and urge you to engage in efforts that are both challenging and meaningful to our students, much work remains to be done. On any college campus, there is always much to be done, so we're not unique there. But at CSU Monterey Bay, we continue to need to prove to the region - this year, next year and into the future - that the decision to establish this university was a good one, was a wise decision to do this.
This afternoon we reflect on our journey toward becoming an outstanding and accessible center of learning, highly relevant research, service and opportunity.
The people of this region and our state are seeking 21st-century solutions to old and new problems. Our society needs skilled individuals who are prepared to apply their learning - not just to pay the bills but to build communities.
Our students arrive on campus with hope and expectations. As you've heard me say before and you will hear me say time and again: We are committed to the success of every student. It is up to each one of us to ensure they achieve their aspirations for the future. I repeat: It is up to us to ensure they achieve their aspirations. They and their families are counting on it.
Let me tell you about a parent who came up to me during one of this our New Student Orientations this summer - and I want to thank Student Affairs, Academic Affairs - and every other Affair - that had something to do with our great student orientations. They were really outstanding and marvelous, so thank you all who participated with those. This mother told me her second daughter was starting at CSUMB this fall, that her first daughter was one of our graduates, and that she fully expects her third daughter to attend here in a couple of years.
This mother - perhaps I should call her a "poster mom" - she said she is more impressed by our university every time she visits. I listened, I smiled and I asked her if she wanted to come to work in our recruitment office. She made my day, and that's the kind of experience we want to repeat.
I want to thank every one of you for your efforts to build the strongest academic programs, the most supportive learning environment and the most stimulating campus you possibly can. We are definitely on a journey to excellence.
What that mom sees is the big picture emerging here at CSU Monterey Bay. More and more pieces of our jigsaw puzzle are in place. As I said last month's during a faculty reception (right after I was talking about our new traffic roundabout at Fifth and Divarty), this university is on the move - and we are not going in circles, even though we have a new roundabout.
Just wait until you step inside the new library ... .
If we can keep working together, with the best interests and needs of our students and our communities in mind, we will become one of the very best CSUs and be widely respected all across this country. That is the road we are on right now.
Our path will be clearer thanks to the intelligent, creative and diligent work of all who contributed to our university's new plan for the future. We are making history today, because here and now I am formally, officially approving CSU Monterey Bay's Strategic Plan for 2008 to 2018.
This has been a monumental task, involving all of our constituencies, to create overarching goals that will guide our progress over the next decade. You did it, the Academic Senate and Associated Students have endorsed it, I have approved it and I thank you all for your work!
During our time together this afternoon, I will discuss our shared achievements and challenges within the plan's four major goals. In fact, everything we do from here on should foster the goals' accomplishment and also determine where we set our sights next time.
We have such a proud past, not only because of the sacrifice of those who served at Fort Ord but also thanks to those who founded this university.
They believed in innovation, in access, in diversity, in multiculturalism, in service, and in the deep wellspring of talent that is our students. We are the stewards now, and together, we are building for the future.
Our 10-year strategic plan will be enacted in increments by implementing tactical goals with firm timetables and definite accountability. We must also be nimble and flexible enough to respond to unforeseen challenges and an unpredictable future. Can you say, "state budget"? Can you say, "Web 3.0?" So we don't know what's out there for us.
The current planning effort began formally in May 2007, when I convened a University Strategic Planning Committee - including students, staff, faculty, administrators and community representatives. Their charge was to build on their predecessors and determine how to advance our commitment to academic excellence, comprehensive development and sustainable growth. This work continued while the California State University system completed its own 10-year plan, called Access to Excellence.
The system-wide approach informed our own plan because it underscored the CSU's priorities of increasing student access and success; meeting the state need for economic and civic development; and sustaining institutional excellence through investment, innovation and increased involvement of undergraduates in research and in their communities. That is clearly what CSU Monterey Bay is all about.
Another big milestone toward completion of our plan came in November 2007 with a campus-wide conversation about major goals and priorities. The process continued to accelerate over the next several months as a separate Academic Planning Group met jointly with the strategic planning committee to examine what we called "Vision and Values." Their ideas merged, and by last spring we had identified four major goals and the first set of five-year initiatives.
Dialogue continued with another campus-wide conversation in May, followed by community input throughout the summer from three public meetings - in Salinas, Watsonville and Monterey - and completed with a last stakeholder meeting on our campus.
Another very important step came on Sept. 10th, when the Academic Senate unanimously endorsed the strategic plan's goals as a framework for our university's ongoing development. I very much appreciate the Senate's support. This past week, we also received endorsement from Associated Students, another group whose participation in this process means a lot to me personally.
As you can see, the process took required a lot of work by a whole lot of people who have focused on our students, on our communities and on achieving this university's great promise.
Please join me in thanking our provost, Dr. Kathy Cruz-Uribe, for her incredible work efforts in spearheading our strategic plan and also Dr. Mary Boyce, who has been up to her neck in details of our plan. They never wavered and it was a challenge to get not only the various groups together but to get the heads together, the minds together, about where our priorities are over the next 10 years. I also want to thank want to acknowledge the work of Scott Faust, who came into the process very late but played a very important role in helping us with our community stakeholders meetings.
The 10-year plan is built on four major goals, and I hope that you will soon know these like the back of your hand:
The first goal is, appropriately, to Increase Student Success. It is success in the fullest academic sense. It means our students will master the curricular outcomes, participate in active learning and graduate in four years with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.
In last year's commencement address, Leon Panetta challenged the class of 2008 to go forth and make the world a better place, and it is our job to make sure our students are both prepared and inspired to do that.
Mr. Panetta, as you know a former congressman and White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and his wife, Sylvia, contribute mightily to our students' success through their work in the Panetta Institute on our campus and in partnership with the Masters of Public Policy program. We are so proud of their association with CSU Monterey Bay.
The second major goal of the new strategic plan is to Continue to Develop as a Comprehensive University. Again, in the academic sense, this means that we will continue to evolve as a center of both higher education and research, offering academic degrees in an increasing variety of subjects, both undergraduate and graduate. But we will not try to be all things to all people.
This goal echoes our Vision Statement in its focus on our university being relevant to our region. Quoting from the plan, we will "serve students, the region and the state with programs that address societal needs and are committed to success, student support and cultural competence."
We must strengthen our curriculum, tell the world our story, and ensure that the grants we seek and research we undertake are responsive to specific state and regional needs and are nationally competitive.
The third major goal is to Increase Institutional Capacity. Here, we are committing ourselves to carefully align both our public and our private resources with institutional priorities. We also will continue to add more students and develop our campus while staying green and maintaining a sustainable academic model.
We will do everything we can to enhance our safety and security for our students and for every employee - faculty, staff - anybody on our campus. We will develop and maintain efficient business practices, and we will constantly work to provide a place where questions are welcome, where creativity is valued and where students can discover their place in the wider world.
The fourth and final major goal is to Attract, Retain and Develop our Faculty, Staff and Administrators. This is about making the very best hires from a qualified, highly qualified, and very diverse pool of individuals.
But it is also about supporting the development of all of you, encouraging you to involve yourselves in regional and national and international higher education issues and making sure people outside our campus are aware of your tremendous research, scholarship and creative endeavors.
One of our ongoing frustrations, at least it's mine, is all of those old empty barracks and other buildings and other unidentifiable things - I honestly don't know what they are. If only we could afford to take them all down today I would be a very happy person.
But our students' struggles can be equally dispiriting. We rightfully seek to attract and propel the most talented young people. And we have lots of them.
But we also take pride in helping all of our students leverage their intellectual assets and pursue their biggest dreams. That is why we are determined to develop advising as a signature strength and press ahead with plans to streamline our learning pathways while growing and refining our outreach and remediation programs.
We are fortunate, very fortunate, to have a new director of academic advising, Lisa Thomas. She brings a wealth expertise in helping at-risk or underprepared students.
Most of you know this but it bears repeating: Most California high school graduates are not ready for college. At many schools in our region, a majority have not enrolled in either a community college or a state university by the fall following their graduation. In 2007, for example, only 26 percent of that year's graduates at North Monterey County High School in Castroville were attending college.
About 50 percent of our entering freshmen this year needed math remediation. Now compared to 60 percent who needed remediation last year, that's progress - but it's still far too many students.
But we at CSU Monterey Bay do not merely shake our heads over statistics. We are reaching out long before students leave high school and providing academic support until hopefully they get their diplomas here.
This past March in the University Center, joined by representatives of the University of California, Santa Cruz, we hosted about 350 middle school students and their parents from local districts to learn about college attainment. During two weeks in June, more than 125 students from Monterey and Seaside high schools took part in the Imagine College Summer Scholar Institute, which encourages students to see college as a realistic possibility and it also helps them pay for it.
This summer we learned that our university had received a $2.8 million Title V federal grant to establish a Center for Student Success. The center will serve all of our undergraduate students but target 600 at-risk students each year with academic coaching, tutoring and remedial work in math and writing skills to help them stay in school and graduate.
Our current math remediation program has shown tremendous results thanks to the amazing efforts of our very own Dr. Hongde Hu and the math department faculty, who completed a rigorous redesign of the remediation classes.
Just a brief factoid: Last year the freshman pass rate for Math 99 was 92 percent, compared to close to 70 percent the previous year, so the math faculty have really gone above and beyond.
These are neither all of our remediation efforts under way nor all of the successes. Every one of you who do this work for our students, present and future, is making a critical contribution to the well-being not only of the students but also of the state and also the future of CSU Monterey Bay.
Fortunately, we have a great many outstanding students as well, and I would be remiss if I did not mention a few of those today:
I am so very proud of Mary Berube. She received a 2008 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. An Environmental Science, Technology and Policy major, Mary plans next to spend next year in South Africa. She was our environmental senator last year. She and three siblings were raised by a single mom. Mary never expected to attend college, and now she is one of just 23 CSU students to receive a Hearst award. And I had the privilege last week at the awards ceremony of meeting Mary's mother, her grandmother, her aunt and a close family friend, and they were all beaming - beaming - and rightly they should. It was a great ceremony, and Mary - we all would have been very proud of our student.
Grad student Miles Daniels won a first place for his original research in a Biological and Agricultural Science category at CSU's annual student research competition this May. That's a very competitive competition, and to win first place in that category was amazing and we're all very proud of Miles for doing that.
Teledramatic Arts and Technology students Rodrigo Ojeda Beck and Robert Machoian had their film "Ella and the Astronaut" chosen for exhibition in next month's Mill Valley Film Festival. Of course, hang on there's more:
Films by Teledramatic Arts and Technology professor Enid Baxter-Blader and five recent alumni were also in the top 10 percent of films chosen for presentation out of 1,500 submitted to this prestigious event. I think the quote in the Herald was great: If we have more students winning awards and being selected for show in this competition, we'll have to start our own film festival.
I have to say that among the alumni was Estee Blanchard, whose documentary and advocacy efforts related to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans have touched me personally, time and time again. Estee was in New Orleans recently as the city was being evacuated for, at that time it was, Hurricane Gustav. She emailed me the night before the evacuation, and I have a feeling Estee is continuing her very difficult work on behalf of New Orleans. I got another email from her yesterday; she had just left but she stayed through Ike, so she's really a remarkable individual, and I think we'll hear amazing things from her in the future.
Retaining more of the students who start with us, such as these, as freshmen all the way to graduation - that remains one of our greatest challenges as a university. We made small but significant gains his past year, and we must continue to graduate more students in a timely manner and with a target of 120 credit hours.
One initiative in the strategic plan is enhancing opportunities for active learning, including undergraduate research. The McNair Scholars Program, funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, allows us to send 26 underrepresented students off to summer research experiences backed by strong faculty mentors.
These high-achieving undergraduates, from a variety of majors in both the sciences and humanities, are a precious resource that we must nurture.
Thank you, Dr. Bill Head and Dean Renee Curry, for your leadership and all of the many faculty members around campus who participated as mentors and who are working with our McNair Scholars. Thank you very much.
Our plan also commits us to increasing student activities and engagement. During this year's Otter Days event our campus was launched off to a very successful, positive start, I think, and it was gratifying to see so many students, faculty and staff attend the President's Welcome Barbecue. We had over 2,200 people who came to the barbecue. It was a lot of fun, and I appreciated it. We also know our students want and need accessible transportation, not only around campus but also to surrounding communities. During MST's Free Fare Zone pilot project that we worked with them in a partnership, ridership on Line 16 to Monterey jumped by almost 30 percent during the first five months of that program, which was great. Our own "Go" shuttle, which is our free shuttle on the weekends to Monterey, has also been a hit, with nearly 100 students using the shuttle to get downtown.
The newly remodeled Otter Sports Center - if you haven't been by there you need to go by and poke your head in and check her out. It's a magnet for students, and it's also home to some of our athletics teams, which had such a promising first year in 2007-2008. With new basketball coaches, continued pride and spirit from the "Blue Crue" student fan group and a new focus on sportsmanship and game-day environments for fans and athletes alike within the California Collegiate Athletic Association and NCAA Division II, we have a formula for success and I'm very excited by our future.
Yet, despite these things, we can never rest in our efforts to meet what seem to be the increasingly rising expectations of students and their families.
I had an email last spring from a young woman, one of our students, who complained about the pile of dirt on the sidewalk near the science building. OK, we got that out of the way. "Get the dirt, Jim." But it's that kind of expectation: that you have sidewalks that you want to walk on. We certainly want to have sidewalks that are accessible; there does need to be attention to small details as well as large details. Another student sent me an email, a scathing email, this month about what he called "arbitrary systems" at CSU Monterey Bay that present seemingly illogical obstacles to the simplest tasks. The email concluded, "Someone out there help me."
In the face of these criticisms, we need to move forward and we need to fix the problems that become obstacles to our students.
The one-stop portal that we call MyCSUMB has been an important step forward, and all of the divisions are working on other improvements to our business practices, including better collection and analysis of student-satisfaction survey data.
But you can also ask me about it. One of my children is a current student here at CSU Monterey Bay, so I now have a parent's perspective to share - and I'm glad to do it. And I know you read a lot about the helicopter parents, and in fact they're now calling us "Blackhawk parents" - and I have to admit I am one.
As you know, we have our largest freshmen class ever this fall and record total enrollment of 4,342 students if you were counting. There is no question that every division on our campus can take credit for this growth. And every division on campus must help cope also help us cope with it as well.
Our long-term goal is to reach 10,000 students over the next 15 to 20 years. We must act quickly or we will no longer be able to provide the services needed to attract and retain a growing population of students. We are reaching out to tri-county students, but we also seek to gain enrollment from students elsewhere in California, from other states, from doing outreach to veterans and we're now going to be doing greater outreach to international students.
Earlier, I touched on the goal of streamlining our academic pathways, but I want to expand on that theme for just a minute as an aspect of our development as a comprehensive university. While we grow, we simply must maintain a sustainable academic model. I know much work will continue to be done by our faculty to examine the curriculum - the makeup of our non-major and lower-division requirements, how we can best align them to serve both freshmen and transfer students, and how we can use our space and time blocks to maximize advantage.
I urge you to stay with these efforts, while recognizing it won't be easy. But it comes down to what's best for our students. We must always keep them in the forefront of our thoughts.
Not only are we growing in our enrollment, but we also continue to develop additional undergraduate and graduate degree programs that serve the Monterey Bay region. This fall, the School of Information Technology and Communication Design launched its new bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, which blends theories of computer science and the practice of information technology. Congratulations to that department and its faculty.
With support from the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, we are conducting - we've almost completed - a feasibility study for a nursing BSN program. We're looking for other health organizations for additional support for that program. We also partnered with the Behavioral Health Division of the Monterey County Health Department to fund and complete an extensive feasibility study that showed strong demand for a Masters of Social Work program at CSUMB. Once there is campus approval, a formal MSW proposal would then go to the Chancellor's Office hopefully in the future.
And our School of Business is making an extra effort to enhance our agribusiness and hospitality programs, two areas that our surrounding communities are constantly asking me about, including an exciting new proposal that they're working on for a Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on our campus.
In the future, in collaboration with other CSUs, we may even add programs that we are only dreaming about right now - such as engineering and ag sciences, again in collaboration with other campuses.
The key to these initiatives is economic and social relevance to our region. It's a key element in how we target research arenas and pursue grant opportunities. For example, the CSU has recently formed what they call the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology - COAST - and our own Dr. Rikk Kvitek has taken a leadership role in that initiative as a member of the executive committee.
The Visual and Public Art department and the Music and Performing Arts department at CSUMB are teaming up with the National Steinbeck Center on a two-year endeavor called the African American Legacy on the Central Coast Project. It will include a conference and special events to begin this December, focusing on artistic and historical contributions from the historic African American community. Dr. Mesa-Bains and Dr. Richard Bains and other faculty are to be congratulated for this work on this project. It's really very exciting.
There are so many other great examples of how our university is increasingly positioned as a leading convener and source of expertise on major policy issues.
I won't name them all; I can't name them all, I'm afraid, or we'd be here till next week. But let me at least mention the California Homeland Security Consortium, in which CSUMB is partnering with the Naval Postgraduate School, the Monterey Institute for International Studies, the Defense Language Institute and the Monterey Peninsula College - as well as businesses and state and federal government -- to conduct research on critical homeland security issues, including strengthening the abilities of local first-responder agencies. This was of particular significance this past summer with the fires that surrounded our community. Our contribution will be to help prepare undergraduates with BA and BS degrees who meet the multicultural requirements and also fulfill the science and technology requirements.
I also want to highlight the fact that the Department of Information Technology at CSUMB will host the New Media Consortium's 2009 summer conference in Monterey, which will attract an audience of highly skilled professionals interested in the integration of emerging technologies in teaching, learning and creative expression.
Through the Foundation for CSUMB, and under the leadership of Mr. Jim Bracher - who I see is here; thank you, Jim for coming - our Executives-in-Residence program has brought together 140 community leaders to help open doors for students through a scholarship program and fund called Pay It Forward, which enlists first-generation students as mentors for other young people. And we're indeed fortunate that this fall, this semester, eight of these Pay It Forward students are new freshmen on our campus this fall, so thank you.
In just a few days, actually, on Oct. 3, our School of Business will convene a forum on the future of sustainable agricultural stewardship, bringing industry professionals, educators and elected officials to discuss such topics as the preservation of rangelands and the changing Salinas Valley.
In order to maintain the community support we will increasingly need to sustain our efforts as a university, doing these great things is not enough. We also have to make sure people know about them. University Advancement, working with me and with all of our divisions, have undertaken an integrated marketing program aimed at establishing more widespread awareness throughout the region and beyond of CSUMB's Vision, its strengths and its many direct and diverse contributions to the greater good.
The strategic communications plan is built around the very themes I've cited today - our innovative progress over the 14 years; our rapid development as a comprehensive university; and our resources of outstanding graduates, academic and policy expertise, high-quality educational programs, including service learning and applied research. You should be on the lookout for a new university magazine, making its debut next month, and I think you will be very proud when you see it. We'll also be starting a campus-wide branding cleanup, including new streetlight banners; we're going to reactivate our speaker's bureau of faculty and others; we're going to be carefully leveraging of KAZU 90.3, which is now located on our campus. We're also going to undertake a complete redesign of our university website to make it as compelling and relevant - and actually user-friendly - for all possible audiences. Try to pay tuition ...
I would also encourage each of you on our campus, whenever possible and appropriate to the occasion, to wear your hats, wear sweatshirts, display your license tag plates, your lapel pins and anything that you that I think will show our CSU and Otter regalia that shows pride and identity with our campus. Wear them in Marina and Seaside, in Salinas and Soledad and in Monterey and Carmel - in Pacific Grove, in Carmel Valley, in Greenfield, King City, Santa Cruz - wherever you go.
If these many collaborative initiatives aren't enough to give you a mind's-eye view of what CSU Monterey Bay is all about, then consider them in the context of our blossoming physical campus. The emerging blend of old and new on this former Army base is tracking with a draft revised Master Plan, for which we have completed a draft environmental impact report. The Master Plan and the EIR, which I hope will be on the CSU Board of Trustees agenda in their November meeting, will enable full implementation - as finances allow - of a plan to transform - continue to transform - the former Fort Ord into a vibrant campus over the next 15 years.
Certainly aspects of the plan can already be seen in the traffic roundabout - I love that thing, the Chapman science center, the Alumni & Visitors Center, the pedestrian mall on Sixth Street, and of course the Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library, a historic achievement that will be presented to our students, faculty and staff and community - ahead of schedule - in early December. And I want to thank Dr. Bill Robnett for his amazing leadership with the library and staff and faculty and all that this new building and move entails. We're very excited and thank you, Bill, for everything that you have done.
At the same time, we are currently rehabbing the former library space as a new Student Center and that is scheduled to open in December, so the students are very excited by that, and it will be a new place for student groups and other activities.
Other projects under way include refreshing the Main Quad landscaping with native and other drought-tolerant plants; extensive paving of core roadways; a much-needed and well-lit and accessible pathway connecting the library to the University Center - I saw somebody walking on that today; I didn't think it was open. My husband occasionally ride our bikes at the state park at the beach, and I think we did that once or twice before it was open, so that's all right. All of these projects that we're doing reflect our determination to create a physical space that befits this university's ambition.
The Board of Trustees of the CSU, pending funding from the state - and we do have a budget, but I'm still waiting to hear what happened with the lease bond bill. But the Board of Trustees has approved $40.6 million for what we're still calling Academic Building No. 2, the future home of the schools of Business and ITCD, which will join the new library on the crescent.
We'll certainly seek significant private funding to build and equip this new academic space in a way that meets the standard of excellence we've set to serve our students and faculty and staff. And we will proudly name it for a benefactor who provides the pivotal support we need to make it a reality. So if you have someone out there, perhaps you know or are related to, and want to see their name in perpetuity, let me know.
We've also begun work on a feasibility study for more student housing, most likely apartment-style rather than traditional residence halls and those would be on our main campus.
And as you know, at CSU Monterey Bay, deconstruction is almost as important as construction. And I'm happy to report that during 2006-2007, we took about 80 structures and they were demolished on our campus.
This past year, we did five more, and this year we'll do five unsafe and unsightly structures along Divarty and Second Avenue.
The reason we can't just take a wrecking ball or have a big bonfire one night is of course concern about safe disposal of hazardous building materials and our commitment to recycle materials wherever possible. That's why the pending price tag for the remaining 180-plus abandoned structures is $30 million.
But as someone who signed the University Presidents Climate Commitment Initiative, let me say that CSU Monterey Bay remains absolutely committed to reducing our carbon footprint and embracing environmental sustainability in all of our practices. Global warming remains one of the defining challenges of our time, and we must continually find new ways to reduce our impact on the planet and to promote awareness among our students and in surrounding communities. Higher education is actually proving to be a leader in green initiatives around the country, and I expect us to be part of that movement.
We are about to undertake another significant project in this cause by the way, and that is to install solar photovoltaic panels on five acres of a former Army parking lot.
One of 14 solar projects at CSU campuses, these solar panels will convert sunlight directly into electricity and are expected to generate up to 2 million kilowatts per year of electrical energy. So just these projects represent a full 15 percent of our annual utility consumption. Thank you to Mike Lerch and others who worked on these.
FACULTY, STAFF AND ADMINISTRATORS
Each of our four major goals supports all of the others, directly or indirectly. And for example, I would suspect that virtually every one of you believes in the priority we've placed on being a responsible custodian of our planet.
And likewise, we are all proud and appreciate when our faculty and staff members achieve professional recognition, honor and distinction for their work:
For example, Dr. Seth Pollack, who leads our celebrated Service Learning Institute, is away in South Africa this year on a Fulbright scholarship, helping educators there establish a service learning model. He and his family have put up blogs, and if you haven't looked at them you might want to. They're very interesting to read.
Another, Dr. James Lindholm, professor of environmental science, technology and policy, was appointed in June to the James Rote Distinguished Professorship. This year he also distinguished himself by speaking to congressional staff members in Washington, D.C., about preservation of marine ecosystems and by his selection to lead an eight-day undersea study of coral reef fish, which rumor has it is going to be on the "Today" show when they're undersea.
Dr. Amalia Mesa-Bains, professor of visual and public art, received the 2007 Visionary Woman award from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. Congratulations to Amalia.
As with so many aspects of our university's rapid progress, the lengthy roll of our faculty honors outstrips my time today I'm afraid. But let me say from the bottom of my heart how fortunate our students are to have you here, sharing both your deep knowledge of subject and your passion for teaching. Our students appreciate this, our parents appreciate it, and I appreciate it very much.
This year, five of our faculty members gained tenure, and we hired seven new tenure-track faculty. Mr. James Main joined us as vice president for administration and finance, and we hired two experienced executive directors in University Advancement. As stated in our fourth major goal, CSUMB is serious about developing and retaining its existing faculty and staff and recruiting the best and most diverse talent available.
Part of our strategy involves preserving the characteristics that earned our university recognition in April as one of the 2008 Best Places to Work in Monterey County named by the Monterey County Business Council. We're very proud of that.
Compensation is obviously a key aspect of hiring and retention. In fiscal year 2007 and 2008, more than $101,000 was allocated in in-range progression increases. That is a 306 percent increase in dollars over the previous year - and the number of in-range progressions that were granted increased by 245 percent. Part of that was because we got a little bit of money from the Chancellor's Office to do this, but much of that was because we elected to set aside money on our own. We will continue to set aside money for in-range progressions.
Likewise, development of endowed academic chairs and professorships is prominently placed on our list of gift opportunities for prospective donors.
We know housing costs are one of the first things prospective hires ask about when considering work at CSU Monterey Bay. We continue to pursue several avenues in an attempt to provide new faculty and staff opportunities to purchase affordable housing. But volatile market conditions have presented a challenge. And as many of you remember, we had hoped to begin development of the North Campus, but both skyrocketing construction costs and a delay in getting our Master plan and EIR approval blocked that progress.
It is imperative that whatever faculty and staff housing we do develop, we make sure it will be affordable now and remain affordable into the future. The current market does offer some excellent opportunities to potential homebuyers, and we are in the process of developing a housing resource center to assist faculty and staff as they consider home ownership opportunities, and you will be hearing more about the resource center in the future.
Now, do you understand why I say CSU Monterey Bay is a university on the move?
We have a new strategic plan, which gives attention to our students, to our development, to our capacity and to our faculty and staff.
We're also preparing for our re-accreditation review from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, with several projects under way that dovetail with those priorities in the strategic plan.
And in every area of that plan, we already are moving rapidly forward with major accomplishments that should help convince all of us we are on the right path.
Almost every evening, I spend a couple of hours reading and responding to scores of emails. Most of them are from you, but some are from people in our communities who also see how quickly we're becoming the university they envisioned when they first heard that part of Fort Ord would be turned over for use as a California State University campus.
Our early progress was hard for many in the community to appreciate, but our founders never lost faith in what they started. We are on the road - and excellence is our destination.
May we all be proud to work for this institution and remain committed to the success of every student. May we boldly face and overcome our challenges, continue in this progress and be known in this region and in the nation as one of California's greatest universities.
Thank you, my colleagues, my fellow stewards of this great university. Let us continue our journey together.
I have to end on this note:
This summer, Lewis Hall, who is our Associated Students president, introduced me and all the new students and their families to a great saying. It was, "There is nothing hotter than an Otter!"
I love it. Go, Otters!
Thank you all, very much.