Recent campus actions will add to the margin of excellence as we collectively work to build a great university.
During the two-year period since the arrival of President King Alexander, CSULB, through its Foundation, has completed two major transactions that will benefit the university community for years to come.
The first action, which initially proved to be a bit controversial, saw the Foundation selecting Global Jazz, Inc. to oversee KKJZ, the university’s FM radio station. For many years, the university has enjoyed the station’s reputation as the number one ranked jazz station in the world. However, the station, which operates out of university facilities on the southern end of the campus near the library, was unable to generate sustainable revenue. Over the past several years, the station required a significant amount of assistance from the university to meet its financial obligations. In addition, campus officials were dissatisfied with the station’s reluctance to closely identify itself with the university through regular on-air announcements. Another concern was the general lack of affiliation between the radio station and university departments and programs.
When the contract to manage the station expired in 2007, President Alexander directed the CSULB Foundation to open a bidding process to provide interested and experienced broadcast management companies an opportunity to bid for the right to manage the station. As a result, several companies submitted bids for the honor of managing KKJZ. Key stipulations included in the bid offering called for KKJZ to operate more effectively and efficiently, maintain its commitment to a classical jazz format and develop internships and scholarships for CSULB students. The new contract also required the station’s management to acknowledge its affiliation with the university at designated times throughout each broadcast hour.
During fall 2007, a second major transaction saw the university take bold action to acquire Brooks College, a proprietary institution offering associate degrees, primarily in the areas of fashion design and merchandising. Located approximately one mile from CSULB, the attractive 5.5 acre site includes four buildings and a gated outdoor swimming pool. After extensive renovations are completed, approximately 700 CSULB students and faculty will reside in the residential life component at the Brooks site, with an additional 50,000 sq. ft. of much needed space for classrooms, faculty offices and computer labs.
The university will take formal possession of Brooks College in January 2009. Plans are underway for a fall 2009 opening, when the site will officially become California State University, Long Beach, Residential Learning College. Current plans call for transitioning the facilities into a set of smaller learning communities that will afford opportunities for students to take classes in a true living/learning environment. In addition, dedicated shuttles will operate on a regular schedule to transport students and faculty between the CSULB Residential Learning College and the main campus.
While already acknowledged by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review as one of the top comprehensive universities in the western region of the country, the recent actions—acquiring the Brooks College campus and contracting with Global Jazz, Inc. to operate KKJZ—provide additional opportunities for CSULB to enhance its service capacity while adding to the margin of excellence as we collectively work toward building a great university.