Timothy White, CSU Chancellor, visited Sac State campus

Timothy White, CSU Chancellor, visited Sac State campus

Imran Majid

When Chancellor Timothy White visited campus Monday, he said Sacramento State’s open spaces throughout campus allow students to reflect on their experiences.

White said Sac State was an “unusually beautiful” campus during his visit.

“You may not realize it because you’re here all the time,” White said. “But compared to other places I get to visit, there’s something special here.”

White, who officially became the CSU chancellor in December, will visit all 23 state universities in order to gain a better sense of the needs at each individual campus. He visited Sac State on Sunday and Monday to meet with campus leadership, the Faculty Senate and students, and discussed several issues, including tuition, funding and graduation rates.

“If we don’t have the resources necessary to provide enough classes and high-quality learning for our students, then we’re not doing our job,” White said. 

With the passage of Proposition 30, it is unlikely tuition will increase in the next two years, as long as Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal does not significantly change during the May revision and becomes official in June.  While the proposal includes an additional $125.1 million in funding for state universities, White said more work needs to be done to make up for the $1 billion in total cuts that occurred within the past five years.

 “I tip a bon-hat to each of you to have continued to do excellent work even though it’s been a pretty tough economy,” White said. “(It) tells me a bit about your heart. A bit about your passion. A bit about our students and our future.”

White met with Associated Students Inc. on Monday morning and encouraged student leaders to stay active and represent the student body. He also discussed the proposed investment in online education and an amendment to California’s Education Code that will set 120 units as the maximum required for most bachelor’s degrees.

 “He seems to be very upfront,” said ASI president Monica Cortez. “But more importantly, he seems to be very student-friendly, and student-oriented and very passionate about students and the system. I’m really glad that we have him as chancellor and I’m really looking forward to what he has in store in the future for us.”

The CSU system offers 84 degree programs online, with more than 13,000 classes offered. White said online courses need to account for the various backgrounds of students, from first-generation college students to students who have other commitments, such as family and work.

“When we start using technology, we (have to) think of how this will enhance the range of students that we teach in various disciplines,” White said.

Students and faculty were also invited to an open forum in the University Union Ballroom on Monday afternoon, where White answered questions relating to university accessibility, faculty research and student diversity.

 “I think (White) was very personable,” said sophomore ethnic studies major Aja Johnson. “I thought his answer to my question was very thoughtful. I thought he seemed very aware of the complexities and the different types of students that are on campus.”

White was a first-generation college student who attended all branches of California higher education, beginning with Diablo Valley Community College. He also earned his bachelor’s from Fresno State University, his master’s at CSU East Bay and his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley.

He said he hopes to ensure education quality remains high, while helping students get in and to degrees sooner. He called on the CSU to invest strategically and wisely in student success by examining three keys: people, program and place.

“We invite you to be a student here,” White said. “And you have the opportunity if you’re willing to do the work. And it’s on us to try and make you successful.”