CSU Chancellor wants more accessible education

Michelle Reuter

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New Chancellor Timothy P. White talks to student journalists at his Wed. press conference in Long Beach. Photo credit: Ken Scarboro / Senior Photographer

New CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White stressed the importance of creativity and collaboration to improve conditions for students, faculty and Californians Wednesday.

At a press conference held at the CSU offices in Long Beach, he also addressed concerns about the state budget and ways to improve access for current and future students.

“It’s one thing to be admitted to one of our campuses,” White said. “But it’s kind of a false access if once you’re admitted (but) you can’t find the classes or the advice that you need.”

He also addressed how the $125 million being provided in the state budget will impact students today, saying they won’t have to write bigger tuition checks.

White stressed that simply using the allocated $10 million from Brown’s proposed investment budget to add more online classes will not cure the situation students find themselves in when trying to enroll in high-demand courses.

He described a “bottleneck” situation in which students have to delay their education while trying to get into required courses. While on-line classes can help increase the number of sections available, classes must still serve students’ educational needs.

Provost Harry Hellenbrand has expressed similar concerns about the addition of more on-line classes. They can work for more advanced students but are not ideal for beginning students. Simply adding more on-line classes is not the answer, he said.

White said he plans to look at classes that have been shown to have high failure rates and determine how technology can best be used to help students pass the first time. If fewer students have to re-take a course, then there will be more room for new students to enroll, preventing the “bottle-neck” effect.

Students and their families will be able to plan for their educational expenses more effectively because there are no new tuition increases planned for the near future.

White, a CSU alumnus, said one of his biggest concerns will be how to make the CSU serve the needs of not only students, but Californians.

“When I started thinking about California’s future and the role that California State University plays, I’ve become more and more concerned,” he said.

He hopes to give back to the system he attended by making a college education more accessible to all Californians.

“There is no reason why your background should get in the way of you getting a degree,” White said.

White also stressed the importance of using existing programs to save money. One example is the CSU Rent Digital program. Students can save up to 60 percent off the cost of new textbooks by renting digital copies for the semester.

Among other goals for the 23 university system, White talked about getting all of the schools on a semester, rather than a quarterly, calendar.

Moving to a semester system will provide a better learning environment and help campuses align their calendars with other CSU schools and community colleges, he said.