Monday, May 10, 2010

Viewpoints: Supporting CSU system will pay off big for state

Special to The Bee


They lead our state, grow our food, heal us when we're sick and keep our neighborhoods safe. They are the alumni of the nation's largest institution of higher education, the California State University, and they are the pillars of our community and our economy.

In the Sacramento Valley alone, CSU alumni earn $5 billion more per year than they would without their CSU degrees. Together with the contributions of the CSU campuses in Sacramento and Chico, their higher earnings generate enough economic activity each year to support 45,500 jobs and more than $573 million in tax revenues for local and state governments.

Statewide, the CSU's 23 campuses and 1.96 million graduates living in California produce $70 billion in annual economic activity. That is enough to support more than 485,000 jobs – or one in every 32 jobs in California today – and almost $5 billion in tax revenues every year.

These are the conclusions of a new study of CSU's impact on the state by ICF International. As CSU prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, this study, scheduled to be released Monday, proves that Cal State is indeed working for California. It is preparing the educated and diverse work force businesses need to succeed and grow, and its research and partnerships with business are generating the jobs and opportunities those workers need to prosper.

At Sacramento State, for instance, the Center for Small Business has helped nearly 3,000 small businesses with free advice on topics ranging from business plans to website design. Sacramento businesses and government also rely on the university's Institute for Business Research and Consulting for research and economic analysis of the Sacramento region.

At CSU Chico, the Cleantech Innovation Center is developing energy-efficient and sustainable businesses, and the university's agricultural research is helping producers create new markets for their products.

But California could lose these benefits – and more – if it doesn't reverse the downward spiral in higher education funding. Since 1984, the state has cut general fund support for higher education nearly in half. State prisons now get a bigger share of the state budget than colleges and universities.

In just the past two years, state funding to the CSU dropped by 21 percent, forcing the universities to cut enrollment, raise student fees and lay off employees.

To reverse this downward spiral, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is following through on his promise to restore the "one-time" cuts made in this year's higher education budgets. He's proposed $365.6 million more for the CSU in 2010-11 than it received in 2009-10, and he's vowed to veto any budget that doesn't include it.

As the governor unveils his May budget revision, the Legislature should join him in fulfilling the promise to restore CSU's funding. To do anything less would cause further damage to an economy just beginning to emerge from the worst recession since the Depression.

Already, the state's failure to fully fund the CSU threatens the underpinnings of the state's economic growth. The Public Policy Institute of California is projecting the state will have 1 million fewer college graduates than it needs by 2025, if it can't increase college enrollment and graduation rates.

With 92,000 graduates a year, CSU is helping to close that gap. Last year, it graduated more than half the state's new teachers. It leads California's other institutions of higher education in providing well-educated workers in the fields of health and medicine, business, engineering, agriculture, tourism and media – all critical industries accounting for more than 5 million jobs in California.

In the Sacramento Valley, CSU Chico is helping overcome the nursing shortage by training nearly 75 percent of the region's public health and registered nurses with master's and bachelor's degrees. CSU Sacramento is preparing the state's future leaders with its highly regarded Capital Fellows Program internships. And its criminal justice program is one of the largest in the nation, turning out the trained members of law enforcement who protect our community.

California's Master Plan for Higher Education made this work force development possible with its commitment to offer a high-quality, affordable college education to all. But 50 years after that pledge, the master plan is in danger of turning into a hollow promise.

We need to keep the promise alive by investing once again in the CSU. It is an investment that will pay off many times over by creating jobs, economic activity and the well-educated, diverse work force needed to ensure California will prosper and grow for the next 50 years.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Bob Linscheid is the alumni member of the CSU board of trustees and the board�s vice chair. He is a graduate of CSU Chico and president of The Linscheid Co.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Event and Visitation Schedule- April, May June 2010

* March 24-25- CSU Agriculture Advisory Board- Sacramento and Chico
* April 23- Distinguished Alumni Event-Chico State
* April 24-26- California Higher Education Student Summit (CHESS)
* April 27- UC, CSU and Community College at the Capitol
* May 5-7- San Diego State University- Alumni Event
* May 15- Commencement- CSUCI
* May 21-23- Commencement- Chico State
* May 29- Commencement- San Jose or Sonoma
* June 4- Commencement- Stanislaus
* June 12-13- Commencement- CSU East Bay

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Action Rally at Chico State

Chico State University students on Wednesday added their voices to a chorus to keep higher education a priority.
Chico police estimated 2,000 people participated in a rally that started on campus and continued to City Plaza.

Protesters heeded organizers' calls to speak out but refrain from violence. Last week, a handful of similar demonstrations across California and the country ended in violence or jeopardized safety.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Alumni Visit- New York City

I was able to accompany Vice Chancellor Garrett Ashley on a visit to New York City to meet with CSU Alumni in that region. Our host was Paul Dorr from Bernstein Wealth Management. Mr. Dorr is an alum from San Francisco State. Twenty-seven guests attended including CSU Alumni Council past President Dana (Bezzera) Pancrazi who works in New York City.

Daryl Clements,Senior Portfolio Manager for Municipal Investments provided an interesting program on the California economy including a view at the housing market, Export data, a view on the State Budget and a discussion on the safety of the municipal bond market.

President King Alexander from Long Beach State attended and provided specific information to the Alums present regarding the CSU system and answered their questions regarding what the system is doing to advocate for greater investment in Higher Education.

I am hoping that we continue this program and strongly encourage campuses to participate.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Capitol Hill Day- Washington DC

I accompanied several other Trustees and Chancellor's Office staff to Washington DC to visit our California Delegation in Congress. In the morning, our gathering of CSU leadership were provided a briefing from our DC staff headed by Jim Gelb. Our priority projects included the Agricultural Research Initiative, CSUPERB Biotech Partnerships, COAST, Strategic Language Initiative, Water Resources and Policy Initiative and Metro Academic Initiative.

I accompanied Sonoma State in visting with Congressman Lynn Woolsey and Congressman Mike Thompson's office as well as CSU East Bay to Congressman Jerry McNerney and Chico with Congressman Wally Herger.

Chancellor Reed was present in the Education Committee, Chaired by California Congressman George Miller. At that time Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the Committee on the importance of continuing to invest in education.

California State University has benefited greatly with the support of Congress for the Pell Grant program Students receiving Pell Grants receive approximately $5,700 per year. The CSU has 126,000 Pell Grant receipients and has received an increase of $84 million over the last several years.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CSU Advocacy Training Conference-Los Angeles

An absolutely outstanding program was provided by our Advocacy and Institutional Relations staff headed by Karen Zamarippa. The program began with a presentation by Dr. Peter Navarro from UC Irvine. Mr. Navarro provided an Economic Outlook and a vision for California's Recovery.

A very lively discussion was next when political consultants Dan Schnur(R) and Steve Maviglio (D) talked about California Election process and Political Reform. The back and forth format was quite entertaining.

Our lunch speaker was Chancellor Charlie Reed who provided a quick update on the current budget situation. His no nonsense approach was enjoyed by those in attendance.

In the afternoon, Ryan McPherson for the University of Buffalo Government Relations staff provided a session on what successful advocacy models in other states.

Former Senator Jim Brulte presented a very frank and entertaining program on effective Sacramento advocacy.

The day concluded with Karen Zamarippa and Robert Turnage discussing key legislative and budget issues for the year ahead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Campus Visit- CSU Monterey Bay

My visit to the campus started with a tour of the Seafloor Mapping Lab on campus. Dr. Rikk Kvitek, Director presented a very interesting tour showing their earth systems technology program. I was first introduced to Dr. Kvitek when presented his program at the Board of Trustees meeting in January. I continue to be amazed at the applied technology being on campuses involving undergraduate students. CSUMB's program maps the floor of the ocean and shows the movement of the land under the ocean. This program profile is available at

In addition, Pilar Gose provided a complete day and a half of visits including the Advancement team, Alumni Board members, and Student Leaders including Zoe Carter, ASI President and Chair of the CSSA Board.