California State University Chancellor Timothy White made a rare stop at CSU Stanislaus on Thursday, part of his ongoing tour of the 23-campus system.
While touring the campus in the morning, White got some tips from music students on how to conduct an orchestra, took a few swings against the baseball team’s new virtual pitching machine, and visited with the women’s soccer team, which recently won its second conference championship in three years. He also sat down for impromptu talks with students in the university’s Writing Center and other spots on campus.
White said he came away from those conversations with a sense that the university truly understands the needs of its students.
“This is a campus that recognizes that students come here with all the ability in the world, but perhaps not all the experiences,” White said. “So this place is trying to help them be successful. It was a very strong feeling I had.”
White noted that the unique aspects of CSU Stanislaus included the Science Observatory in the Naraghi Hall of Science and the university’s close relationship with agribusiness.
White also spoke about his top priorities for the CSU system: better aligning the CSU with K-12 and community college systems, improving students’ college readiness and improving the system’s capacity to meet demand, particularly in the Central Valley, which he says will be the next generation of growth in the state.
Also paramount to White is continued growth in the utilization of technology to reach more students.
He spoke about how only 40 percent of CSU graduates have debt when they graduate, and those with debt have 25 percent less than the national average. He says he wants to find new ways to tell the story of the CSU system, in particular regarding the economic impact generated by a system that in June added 100,000 graduates to a total alumni base that is nearing three million, the majority of whom are working in California.
“The power of this economic engine is an amazing story to be told,” White said. “When you glue it together in aggregate — this 1,000-mile-long campus from Arcata to San Diego and from the coast to (the Desert Studies Center in Baker) – it’s a big, important enterprise.”