California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) faculty, staff and students joined campus administrators on Sept. 22 for a town hall meeting to discuss the first draft of the university’s 2014-2020 Strategic Plan and provide feedback for the plan’s final development stages.
The approximately 200 attendees who gathered in the Loker Student Union Ballroom were encouraged to provide both verbal comments and weigh in through text messages and online polling that measured the priority of each goal’s objectives and strategies.
The feedback will be considered by the University Planning Council (UPC), which will be making recommendations to university President Willie J. Hagan and his cabinet as to a final draft Strategic Plan based on the results of the town hall. UPC will continue its advisory role during implementation, providing bi-annual status reports on the progress of the Strategic Plan.
Hagan described the Strategic Plan as a “living document” that “can’t be all things to all people.” Instead, the plan will be an “overarching” guide for the university to help it meet its strategic goals through a variety of comprehensive strategies.
“The Strategic Plan is an incredibly important document. It helps us make decisions, but most important, our resource allocation decisions. No university ever has all the resources that it needs,” he said. “The Strategic Plan is not a document that is created by the president, or by the University Planning Council. It’s created by the campus. It is a document that reflects all that we’re trying to do.”
The six goals on the CSUDH Strategic Plan are:
- While honoring CSUDH’s historic roots, continue to support, enhance and develop academic programs that culminate in globally relevant degrees, by becoming an innovative, high-touch, high quality comprehensive urban university serving the South Bay region and beyond.
- Promote student graduation and success through effective recruitment, transition, and retention of our diverse student population.
- Expand and support the use of effective, innovative teaching and learning environments and pedagogies for students both in and out of the classroom.
- Ensure, stabilize and grow the university’s fiscal resources by diversifying and increasing revenue sources.
- Achieve operational and administrative excellence, efficiency and effectiveness across all campus divisions.
- Effectively promote, publicize and celebrate the distinctiveness and many strengths of CSUDH through visible and engaging communications and marketing.
The Strategic Plan’s goals will be achieved through strategies that will guide its implementation over the next five years. During the town hall, after members of the UPC provided information and examples regarding each goal’s objectives, attendees discussed and voted on the objectives—from highest to lowest priority.
Questions and comments from the audience were fielded before moving on to the next objective.
CSUDH senior communications major Brittney Ford, who is Associate Students, Inc.’s representative for the College of Arts and Humanities and a screenwriter, passionately spoke about the strategies outlined in Goal I. She offered her opinion on the types of programs that would benefit the next generation of students, specifically in her field of study.
“I think it would be phenomenal to have had a production program or an advanced screen writing program,” she said. “…I wish I could be a freshman to experience what they’re going to experience coming in. We didn’t have that opportunity.”
Chair of the Academic Senate and Anthropology Professor Jerry Moore provided the rationale behind the first part of Goal II’s first objective: “Increase the federally defined freshmen graduation rate (6-year, full-time first year freshmen) for undergraduate students at CSUDH (2007 cohort=27.6%) to 60% in six years…”
“This statistic is not designed to be some kind of empty numerical measure. It’s supposed to be a robust and important measure of our commitment to academic excellence,” said Moore. “This does not represent an effort to either hit the number by diluting what we do, nor does it represent an effort to herd students through the process as fast as we can get those bodies moving. This is a goal we’re trying to achieve…It’s a positive objective and measure.”
Steve Mastro, associate vice president for Administration and Finance, who was filling in for UPC member and Vice President for Administration and Finance Robert Flenning, described CSUDH’s classrooms and other renovations addressed in Goal III of the Strategic Plan.
“It’s not just about instruction, but the spaces in which instruction is provided. At this campus, like every other campus in the CSU, there’s a huge backlog of deferred maintenance projects. Here on our campus some of this backlog involves our classrooms and labs,” said Mastro. “So this is our opportunity [the Strategic Plan] to try to determine what time, opportunities and money are necessary to renovate classrooms to make them better learning spaces. Renovations can be simple, like paint, flooring and ceilings, but we’re also improving acoustics and things you can’t see that go into these renovations—all which make teaching in these spaces more effective.”
Pointing out that the CSU has gone from state funded to state supported, to now just state assisted, Vice President for University Advancement Carrie Stewart laid out the importance of Goal IV and its only objective, “Increase revenue from public and private donations, grants, contracts, gifts, partnerships and sponsorships to the University by 15% and create 4 new and innovative self-support programs (credit, non-credit, certificate or other).”
“We are working with many individual donors who make commitments to the institution. We also have Emeriti faculty who make planned gifts and bequests to the university because they truly believe in the work we’re doing here,” said Stewart. “So it doesn’t have to be limited to specific areas. It [the Strategic Plan] gives us an opportunity to broaden our opportunities for the institution.”
For faculty, staff and students who could not attend the town hall, the draft Strategic Plan is online for review and comments. Visit http://www4.csudh.edu/president/strategic-planning.