President Harrison Outlines Vision at Annual Convocation Speech
President Dianne F. Harrison delivered her second annual convocation speech in CSUN's Valley Performing Arts Center. She was joined on stage by campus leadership. Photo by Lee Choo.
Expanding on priorities established last year, California State University, Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison said her “vision” for CSUN is for the campus to be known nationally, statewide, and regionally for being an outstanding educational institution.
Harrison spoke on Aug. 22 at her second convocation address to faculty, staff and students.
“I want CSUN to be known for providing an incredible education in the CSU and also in California, and to have evidence of that by our graduation rates, career and graduate school placement rates, and other external validations,” said Harrison to a packed audience in the Valley Performing Arts Center. “I want students to know that quality, and job or career placement, or graduate school placement, is our middle name.
“I want CSUN to be the envy of institutions who strive for access and diversity, because we do it better than anybody else. That is my vision of CSUN—a campus of inclusive excellence that produces leaders and innovators and the highest percentage of successful graduates.”
Harrison was introduced by Faculty Senate President Steven Stepanek ’73 (Math), M.S. ’80 (Computer Science) and joined on the stage by campus leadership. She started her presentation with a welcome to the 30 new tenure-track faculty members and 171 permanent full-time staff who have joined CSUN in the past year or have taken on new roles.
“I appreciate the enthusiasm with which the campus community has moved forward with new initiatives, while maintaining excellence and continuous improvement in fulfilling our mission,” said Harrison, who has met with hundreds of faculty and staff, external stakeholders and thousands of students since coming to CSUN more than 14 months ago. “It is a privilege to lead this campus and build on CSUN’s remarkable foundation of excellence. CSUN truly shines!”
President Harrison said she will continue to expand on the seven priorities established last year:
- To continue an unrelenting focus on student success through several initiatives that provide “access:” the creation of the Harrison Leadership Award to recognize and support an emerging student leader from the freshman class; the addition of three new GE Paths; the Matador Network mentoring program; the myCSUNtablet initiative; opening of the new Learning Commons in the Oviatt Library; construction of the second phase of student housing to support freshman success; and the creation of a new Wellness Center.
- To continue to focus on employees for success with the goal of making CSUN a “destination workplace.” Harrison said she has asked CSUN’s vice presidents to identify interested faculty and staff with leadership aspirations; the Office of Human Resources has planned a menu of professional development programs aligned with the university’s priorities; cross-divisional initiatives are underway to streamline work processes for the benefit of employees; and move CSUN forward as a sustainable work environment.
- To continue to grow the visibility and reputation of the university with the CSUN Shine positioning platform and unifying theme. The university will continue to improve its website by moving to the Web-One content management system; the CSUN Foundation Board’s Committee on University Engagement will help board members more fully engage; the Office of Government and Community Relations will launch the Matador Advocates program to strengthen awareness of CSUN’s role and contributions in the region; and the Office of Alumni Relations is establishing the CSUN Global Alumni Network.
- To continue to plan for a future less dependent on state funding by raising more money non-state resources. Last year, $14.79 million was raised, the most in five years.
- To continue to increase support for research activity and sponsored programs. Last year, an all-time high of $31 million in grant and sponsored programs was awarded. To help these efforts, the University Corporation’s ongoing PRO-PI initiative, the corporation’s account and human resources departments are being reorganized for a higher level of support and seamless services for principal investigators; the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will partner with the National Autonomous University of Mexico to establish a Center for Mexican and Latin American Studies; and the Principal Investigators Recognition Celebration at the University House will continue annually.
- To continue efforts to support sustainability, Helen Cox, director of the Institute for Sustainability, and the Institute’s advisory group, completed a campus sustainability plan. Plans for the coming year include an upgrade of the central plant energy system; more energy-efficient exterior lighting; and collaborative efforts between the divisions of Administration and Finance and Information Technology to improve business processes to reduce paper use.
- To continue to use athletics as a tool for engagement with internal and external communities. One of the exciting projects in this area is the establishment of the Matador Achievement Center in Bayramian Hall, which was established with a grant from the NCAA. The center will provide more space for equipment, academic support, mentoring and tutoring. CSUN is also moving forward with many of the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Athletics Engagement, including a feasibility study on the possible construction of a multi-purpose event center that could host athletic events as well as commencement ceremonies, conferences and campus and community events. This fall, Matador student athletes and fans will enjoy improvements, including the new soccer entrance plaza and renovations of the Matadome and the athletics conference room.
Visit the president’s website to view the convocation address or read the speech in full.