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Provost David Dowell

2013 Convocation Address

I am delighted to let you know that we have a stable budget outlook for the first time in several years.Prop. 30 was affirmed by the voters.The Governor back-filled last year’s fee reduction and he provided a much needed 5% boost.We won an additional $1.6 million in a competitive process conducted by our Chancellor’s Office.Our augmented Student Excellence Fee will bring much-needed support for student learning technology.

Although our losses have not been fully restored, our budget outlook is stable and modestly improving.I am delighted to report that we will be providing increased funding to colleges and departments this year and I will mention several augmentations as I continue.

Although we do not know for certain, it is likely that collective bargaining negotiations will bring a much needed modest rise in pay for faculty and staff this year, for the first time in several.

Despite three difficult budget years, we have much to be proud of, accomplishments of the whole University, our students and faculty.

Campus Distinctions

We can be proud that CSULB is increasingly being recognized for excellence:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks us 4th best in the western United States
  • The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance rate us as best values
  • Victory Media: top “Military Friendly School”
  • Security Magazine: 7th “most secure” campus in the nation
  • We had the 5th largest number of applications from first-time freshmen among all U.S. universities
  • Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranks us highly on degrees to minority students and master’s degrees to Hispanics
  • We graduate our students with nearly the least loan debt of any U.S. four-year institution


We are proud of our diverse, talented and determined students.

Some – like my daughters – chose us over more prestigious UCs and privates.For some, we are their only affordable, local opportunity.All arrive trusting us to provide a valuable education that can lead toward a better life, a career, increased appreciation of arts, sciences, and societies.

We are proud of our remarkable diversity. We are designated as both Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander Serving.We host an annual Native American Pow Wow.We host graduation celebrations for all of these groups as well as for African Americans, Filipinos and a Lavender celebration.We have 2,700 international students.Our diversity adds tremendous richness and helps make Long Beach special.


We saw very difficult budgets in the past three years.The percentage of our students receiving Pell grants increased due to the difficult economy.Our entering students became even more diverse, reflecting our region.Entering student SAT scores were level.

Yet, last year we awarded over 8,600 degrees.That’s about 2,300 degrees more – 38% – compared to a decade ago when our enrollment was only 3% smaller.Our freshman graduation rate has risen 10% in five years and nearly 20% in a decade.We can be justly proud of our most important result: graduates with highly valued degrees, our 280,000 alumni.

Alumni are our pride and joy.Many continue to support CSULB, for which we are truly grateful.

These accomplishments have resulted from faculty and staff working together to support students.We should be proud of these accomplishments.

Student Distinctions

Our students have brought us many distinctions this past year:

  • Graphic design students Amanda Madden, Anthony Martinez and Allie Wong won third place in Disney Imagineering’s 22nd ImagiNations Design Competition for their concept, “Disney’s Holmby Martin Railway,” where guests travel back in time through the early 1900s as they make their way from Chicago to California covering the same tracks as Walt Disney on his way to success
  • The CSULB Campus Couture Fashion Show – the largest West Coast fashion event planned and executed by students – marked its silver anniversary featuring 55 student designers
  • College of Business students brought home prizes from the 49th International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition
  • Model U.N. students Andrew Jackman and John Oney earned “Outstanding Delegate” awards at the Bonn International Conference
  • CSULB’s Minority Americans in Engineering and Science student chapter won first place in the highly competitive Academic Decathlon and was named "Chapter of the Year"
  • College of Education’s Kashima Samuels traveled to Ghana, West Africa where she participated in service learning that partnered with rural schools
  • Science Education Department students provided a science camp for homeless youth
  • Eighteen Marketing students brought home 13 awards from their International Collegiate Conference
  • The Chamber Choir sang with the Rolling Stones and performed for Eric Whitacre’s Technology, Education and Design Conference talk
  • Seven Fashion Merchandising students had designs included in the International Textile and Apparel Conference
  • Alumni Lauren Brooks and Curtis Maughan received German Consulate Awards to teach German at the University of New Mexico
  • Engineering doctoral student Jeremy Bonifacio was selected as METRANS Outstanding Student of the Year
  • Julia Meinen led our Society of Physics Students to be recognized as Outstanding Chapter by the American Institute of Physics 
  • Rocio Rodriguez presented her study on algebra thinking at the 4th International Classroom Teacher Research for All Students Conference in China
  • Students of Theatre Arts Professor Anne D’Zmura traveled to Tanzania in a service learning course in collaboration with Karimu International Help Foundation
  • Sabrina Rivera was selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a finalist for its New Faces of Civil Engineering – College Edition
  • Last year, an estimated 3,500 CSULB students in service learning courses provided nearly 80,000 hours of service at over 300 locations throughout our community.

Please join me in a round of applause for these student accomplishments and for the many others I have not had the time to mention.

Our Faculty

The faculty is the core of any university.Ours is a remarkable and dedicated faculty, committed to excellence and to graduating their students with highly valued degrees.

Each tenure-track hire is a very significant investment for the University.I am pleased to report that I have approved a significant increase in the number of tenure track faculty to be searched this year for hiring in Fall 2014.

Other Faculty Achievements

Our faculty have earned many honors and distinctions.At the beginning of the morning you saw in our slide show nine faculty members recognized last spring at our awards ceremony for outstanding achievement in scholarly and creative achievement, community service and leadership.

It would take all day to provide a listing of additional faculty honors and awards earned in the past year but I am pleased to mention just a few as illustrative:

  • Dance Professor Lorin Johnson served as Artistic Advisor to the Los Angeles Music Center festival, LA's Rite: Stravinsky, Innovation and Dance for the 10th Anniversary of Gloria Kaufman Presents Dance
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Kasha Slowinska received a four-year grant from the National Institute of Health to support research on collagen and cancer drugs 
  • Professor Gail Farmer and Barbara White and Theodora Papachristou, with support from the Archstone Foundation, launched a plan for a Long Beach active living village for older adults
  • Marketing Professor Hieu Nguyen published an article with the interesting title, “The Dark Side of Development in Vietnam: Lessons from the Killing of the Thi Vai River" in the prestigious Journal of Macromarketing
  • Asian and Asian American Studies Professor Masako Douglas received the American Association of Teachers of Japanese Award for excellence in innovative teaching, advocacy and leadership
  • Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling Professor Brandon Gamble served as President of the California Association of School Psychologists
  • The College of Engineering opened its High Performance Computer Laboratory with support from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base
  • Professors Tom Blomquist and Maria Viera co-authored Eye of the Storm: Directing for Film, Television, and Emerging Media
  • Finance Professor Cindy Chen published original research in the prestigious journal, International Review of Financial Analysis
  • Science Education's Department Chair Laura Henriques – who operates our Young Scientists' Camp – was featured on Southern California Public Radio
  • Anthropology Professor Carl Lipo was featured in a National Geographic special about the statues of Rapi Nui, Easter Island
  • The College of Engineering is a leader in encouraging women to study engineering with the “My Daughter is an Engineer” and “Engineering Girls – It Takes a Village” programs.
  • Faculty members Rob Frear, Bill Reichenbach, and Christopher Still performed on the soundtrack for the blockbuster movie White House Down
  • Information Systems Professor Hongyu Chen published original research in the prestigious, Information Systems Research
  • Marine Biology Professor Chris Lowe has appeared again on the Discovery Channel with his new robotic research vessel
  • Communicative Disorders Professor Betty McMicken was profiled in The Leader, a publication of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Italian Professor Clorinda Donato received the Education Award from the Western Foundation of the Sons of Italy
  • The College of Engineering earned "Supplier of the Year" for exceptional performance from Boeing Corporation
  • Teacher Education Professor Jyotsna Pattnaik's published Father involvement in young children's lives: A global analysis
  • Theatre Arts Professor David Jacques lighting for the Chicago Opera Theater production of Phillip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher was given glowing credit in the Chicago Tribune
  • Management Professor Dana McDaniel Sumpter published Mindfully Negotiating a Career with a Heart in the prestigious journal, Organizational Dynamics
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Professor Peter Kreysa led the new Emergency Medical Technician program through its first year in partnership The College of Continuing and Professional Education
  • Liberal Studies Professor Nat Hansuvadha published “Culturally competent school leaders” in the Educational Forum
  • Communication Studies Professor Ragan Fox was awarded the Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies by the National Communication Association.
  • Kinesiology Professor Barry Lavay successfully operated Camp Nugget, an outstanding adaptive physical education program for children ages 5 to 12 with disabilities
  • Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling Professor Angela Locks has been appointed to the Editorial Board of the prestigious Journal of College Student Development

Please join me in a round of applause for these faculty accomplishments and for the many others I have not had the time to mention.Our annual report, which will be available very soon, contains a much longer listing.

Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities

RSCA as we call it:Basic research pushes back the frontiers of knowledge; applied research helps solve human problems; creative endeavors inspire and probe our humanity.RSCA helps keep our curricula relevant.We involve students so that they learn cutting-edge skills.

Despite the bleak budget of the past three years, CSULB, unlike many sister campuses, maintained a sizable investment, about $600,000 per year, in RSCA.Although substantial, this was only about two thirds of the highest amount ever.

I am pleased to announce that we will return to the campus high water mark this year, bringing the campus annual investment in RSCA to $1 million.

We will also again provide incentives for faculty to prepare proposals for external funding including multidisciplinary grants.Incentives have proven very successful.

Achievements in External Funding

We can be proud of faculty achievements in external funding.

  • Social Work has received over $6.25 million for professional education in child welfare and mental health services with almost half going directly to students
  • The Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training received $3.75 million to create a culturally relevant intervention to improve community nutrition
  • The College of Education received over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare school psychologists.
  • The College of Engineering received a $1 million from The Beavers Charitable Trust to establish an endowed Professorship in Civil Construction. 
  • The National Institutes of Health provided $397,375 to develop and test an HIV intervention
  • The National Science Foundation and American Physical Society provided $287,441 to increase the number of physics teachers
  • The colleges of Education and Natural Sciences and Math received $650,000 to promote STEM teacher preparation from Bechtel Foundation

These are just a few examples of research and scholarly projects supported by the $20 million dollars awarded to our faculty last year.Our students tell us that participating in externally funded experiences add value to our degrees:

  • ...I ... learned more in this position than in my first four and a half years as a ... college student.  I would highly recommend any student ... to become a research assistant.  It will change your life.  
  • Research was ... by far the best academic experience [of my life]. I learned more doing field research than I have in a year and a half ... in the classroom...
  • ... I learned more in one month ... about theory and ... application, than in my entire undergraduate career to date.

Please join me in a round of applause for these accomplishments in external grants and contracts and for the many others I have not had the time to mention.Our annual report will contain a longer listing.

A few issues we will face in the coming year:

New Admissions

This year we successfully implemented a new admission plan linking academic preparation with majors. Like everything we do, this change was aimed at boosting student success and is being emulated by other CSUs.Thanks to AVP Tom Enders for hard work to make this successful.

Our new admissions plan increases our control over the future.With this comes added responsibility.For this reason, we will be giving added attention to our process for setting enrollment goals this coming year.

Performance Funding

AB 94, signed into law this year, requires the CSU to report on performance measures including transfer and low-income enrollments, four- and six-year graduation rates and degrees awarded.We expect the Governor to link next year’s CSU budget to performance measures.

Fortunately, CSULB has long been working on improving these metrics.Our efforts to support students – in addition to being the right thing to do – are very much in our institutional interest in the new performance funding environment.

Technology Infused Instruction

Last year we built a high technology classroom that has proven very popular.We will open three additional this fall and many more next year.This summer our faculty created and offered 24 online courses.Some have found blended instruction – with both face-to-face and online components – to be effective.This year, with resources from our augmented Student Excellence Fee, we will be investing more in high tech instructional environments that enhance student learning at CSULB.


Every college graduate needs a global perspective to be well educated.

This past year, 710 CSULB students studied abroad in Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Taiwan, Tanzania, Vietnam and more. Students are always broadened and often profoundly affected by these experiences.

Our continuing efforts to infuse a global perspective into our curriculum have well-positioned us to prepare our students for an increasingly global future.

Need for More College Graduates

Young people are now competing in a global market.President Obama has called for increased college graduates to keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

The U.S. cannot successfully increase college graduates without California; California cannot succeed without the CSU; the CSU cannot succeed without Long Beach.CSULB is at ground zero in the national strategy to increase U.S. competiveness in the global economy.

As you have heard, we have made strong gains.However, supporting students will remain at the top of our agenda.Our efforts will be bolstered by $1.6 million we won this summer in a competitive process.Funds will support redesign of challenging gateway classes and cutting edge electronic advising.We will launch a new program aimed at diversifying student involvement in research with faculty.

I have been deeply involved in our student success efforts.I learned some years ago while helping lead a national study that there is a simple litmus test for a campus: Walk around and ask everyone you meet: “Whose job is student success?”If the answer you get back is “Mine and everyone’s,” you have found a campus committed to supporting students.I am deeply grateful to the deans, department chairs, faculty and staff members who make student success a priority each day.


The higher education landscape is changing.Korea now has the highest college completion rates in the world.China is building new institutions seemingly overnight.The European Bologna process is standardizing degree qualifications across borders.Australian universities are reviewing academic programs based on graduate success in the job market.In the U.S., for-profit institutions are growing rapidly and online courses are proliferating.Students continue to diversify while tuition and loan debt skyrocket.Competition for state funding among higher education, pensions and health care will grow more acute as baby boomers retire. These are just a few of the powerful forces in our foreseeable future.We need a new generation of higher education leaders.

I am pleased to announce that President Para and I will partner this fall to launch a higher education leadership academy.Dr. Karen Nakai, Executive Assistant to the President, has led an enthusiastic group in planning this program.Dan O’Connor, our Senate Chair, will co-facilitate.A group of now-and-future-leaders will study the big issues of higher education as well as pragmatic skills of leadership, interning with senior campus leaders and then leading specific projects in support of our strategic goals.We are excited to cultivate a much-needed new generation of leaders.If you are an experienced faculty member, department chair, or associate dean with a strong interest in leadership, consider applying in response to the announcement that will be distributed very soon.


As we move into the coming year, we have welcome budget stability.We have resources to invest more in faculty, in students, and infrastructure.We can be proud that we continue to be a diverse, student-centered, globally-engaged public university offering high-value education.We can take pride in the fact that what we do matters. We really are changing lives for a changing world.

I told the new faculty earlier this week that Long Beach is a very special campus and I truly believe that.It is special because of thousands of people who have worked to make it the best it can be.It is special because we prize our diversity.We cultivate an atmosphere of respect and civility.It is special because we support our students who trust us to offer them a high value education.

I am honored to serve as Provost because CSULB is a great and special public university.

Thank you for all that you do to contribute to the special nature of The Beach.