Conference at CSUN will discuss factors affecting education

Reanna Delgadillo

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CSUN will host the “CSU: The Next 50 Years” conference April 22 in the Valley Performing Arts Center lecture hall.  It will address how the university will adapt to changes in the coming years while trying to serve the state.

The conference will feature keynote speakers such as CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, California Senator Alex Padilla, President Jolene Koester and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand.

Throughout the event, four discussion panels will be hosted by various moderators and will consist of topics such as instruction and technology, Pre K through 12 and the CSU and funding models for the CSUs, according to the CSUN website.

A.S. President Conor Lansdale, who will be in attendance, said he hopes the conference gives attendees some new information.

“One of the things (the conference) will help do is communicate what the campus is thinking about doing in the future,” Lansdale said.

He said there are always rumors around campus about what people can or cannot be doing in the future.

“I think conferences or meetings like this are great for dispelling rumors,” Lansdale said.

Lansdale said he believes this is a time for campus leadership to come forward and speak their thoughts.

“(We’re) not saying we’re necessarily going to set the agenda for the next years, but we’re definitely going to get some ideas about what to look out for,” Lansdale said.

Hellenbrand said this event will be important for students, staff and faculty to attend.

“It’s a crucial moment in higher education and the state given the context of funding,” he said.

Hellenbrand said he believes the chancellor will speak about the current state budget issues.

“I think he’s going to give his vision of what he sees. It might not be what you like, but what he foresees given the context of the legislature,” Hellenbrand said.

Hellenbrand said the chancellor will give an  “interesting contrast” to what the public wants and what is actually possible.

Hellenbrand added that the role of technology will be covered by a number of people at the conference.

“The effect of high school preparation will be a topic that will arise and then the important topic will be the career pathways that people will follow after they leave higher education,” he said.

Michael Hoggan, chairperson of the planning committee and CTVA film production professor, said the idea for this event originated when he began seeing many conversations happening at all the levels of higher education and brought this to the attention of the provost.

“What concerned me was there was a lot of dialogue and research about the state of California and the current situation it’s in, with its budget and the ripple effect.  I said,  ‘Nobody is leading the discussion. Why could we not invite ourselves to be the host to the discussion,’” Hoggan said.

Hoggan said the first event, which was held at the faculty retreat in January, centered on issues campus wide. He said this conference, which now exceeds attendee capacity, will focus on issues statewide.

“We accept that no one really is the bad guy,” Hoggan said. “We feel it’s valuable to hear all points of view because everyone has an interest in how things work out.”

Hoggan said the event has gained much support and the chancellor readily accepted the invitation to speak.

“He felt it would be worth his time for his voice to be heard,” Hoggan said. Usually he’s been yelled at.”

Hoggan said a big part of the conference is to look again at the California Master Plan for Higher Education created in 1960.

“The problem with the plan is it’s pretty smart, but it wasn’t funded correctly. So with the economy going up and down, we have to come up with a way to fund that plan,” Hoggan said.

Hoggan said Friday’s event will not bring a decision about the plan, just a conversation.

“Nothing will be decided. It brings opposing voices together and having discussions. Its not a debate, but it’s a matter of saying ‘Here are the issues,’” Hoggan said.