Board of Trustees meeting will provide statistics on student success initiatives

Jonathan Ayestas

The California State University Board of Trustees will meet this week to discuss budget proposals and provide updates on student success initiative programs intended to help students graduate on time.

Last year’s meetings introduced various programs to relieve burdens like bottleneck courses that delay student graduation. The March 25 and 26 meeting will provide statistics on how those programs are doing.

“A year ago we would have said this is what we’re going to do,” CSU Director of Public Affairs Mike Uhlenkamp said. “Now we’ll say this is what we’ve done, and these are the areas we’re looking to enhance.”

Updates will be given on various education policy items such as Early Start, a summer program intended to have students begin remediation process prior to starting the semester.

CSU Student Trustee Cipriano Vargas said there is a big push for electronic advising, which can be done through email or chat and replacing the need for having to wait weeks to see an academic adviser.

“They can use technology to lay out their roadmap so they can determine which courses they need to graduate,” Uhlenkamp said.

Vargas said the CSU is offering online courses to meet the needs of students looking for classes that are filled up.

“I’m a student at CSU San Marcos, and I can take classes at San Francisco State through the Online Concurrent Enrollment program,” Vargas said. “We’re trying to increase awareness about this option.”

Uhlenkamp said there will be a joint presentation by Chancellor Timothy White and his counterparts at the University of California and California Community Colleges to discuss collaboration among the three school systems.

“This is essential for the success of California and higher education,” Vargas said. “We can’t be doing things on our own. We need to be more interconnected.”

Uhlenkamp said the budget proposal will come out for 2015-2016 will come out next January after the current budget proposal is revised in May and finalized in July.

“It’s based on the current economic climate,” Uhlenkamp said. “In November, we’ll discuss what the Governor’s budget proposal means versus our own budget request.”

Vargas said last November, the Board of Trustees requested a $237 million increase from Gov. Jerry Brown. Only $142 million was given, leaving the CSU $95 million short of the requested budget.

“What the $95 million would do is increase accessibility and add 20,000 students to the CSU,” Vargas said. “We want to hire 500 tenure faculty, 70 staff members and add additional courses.”

Sacramento State Associated Students Inc. Legislative Affairs Coordinator Mike Sharif said tens of thousands of eligible students were rejected because, there was not enough room to bring them in.

Sharif said the requested funding will provide a 10 percent bump for the budget, creating funds for financial and academic advisers that provide services to students with finances and recommended courses for next semester.

Sharif said buildings on campus like Douglas Hall would receive repairs with the $95 million, while other campuses like San Francisco State would receive money for buildings like its science building that was found to have asbestos and mercury in it.

Sharif said students need to call legislators to show the need for the money.Brown did not provide to the CSU.

“It’s going to take a lot of students to get that $95 million,” Sharif said. “The Board of Trustees is doing their part, but students have to do their part as well.”