San Marcos,
12:16 PM

Chancellor White Gets Tour of Campus Innovation, Highlights California Degree Drought

By Margaret Chantung

California State University Chancellor White met with Cal State San Marcos faculty, staff and students on Monday, April 25, as part of his yearlong “Innovations in the Classroom” 23-campus tour. It was White’s fourth visit to CSUSM during his more than three years as Chancellor.

During his daylong visit, he met with alumni of CSUSM’s signature program Campus Connect; toured The Sports Center and lunched with student athletes; spent time with Arts and Technology Professor Kristine Diekman, recipient of the 2016 CSU Wang Family Excellence Award; visited the future site of the CSU Institute for Palliative Care; thanked Career Center and Advising staff; and attended an evening alumni reception.

As prime examples of innovative learning, White also paid a visit to the diabetes research laboratory of Assistant Professor of Biology Julie Jameson as well as the outdoor surf laboratory with kinesiology faculty Jeff Nessler, Sean Newcomer and Devin Jindrich. In both labs, undergraduate students receive hands-on experience working alongside faculty mentors.

White also engaged in an open forum with faculty, staff and students, and met later in the afternoon with reporters, highlighting the impending higher education crisis in California.

“The trouble is that when you walk around Cal State Universities across the state – and San Marcos is perhaps one of our best examples - you don’t get a sense that there is a crisis here,” he said. “The place is beautiful and well maintained, faculty are engaged with their students . . . enrollments are up, there’s no parking – all the things that are signs of a successful university. You could say the same about any of our campuses . . . so there isn’t a sense that there is a problem. But when you think out just 15 years from now, California is facing a drought of a little over one million bachelor’s degrees short of what California is going to require.”

According to White, the CSU graduates about half of the bachelor’s degree every year in California.

“The necessity of public higher education is going to drive California’s future or its future limitations,” he said, citing the need for public higher education advocacy to business, community and elected leaders. “When you think of us as an absolutely critical part of societal development, environmental development and economic development, then that changes the conversation.”

White noted that 29,700 fully qualified California residential students were turned away from the CSU last fall. "That’s the equivalent of two CSUSMs worth of students that could not get in. . . it’s going to be worse this fall. That's the crisis, it’s not visible but it’s so real.”

View an online photo album of Chancellor White's day at CSUSM online.