Capitol Alert: CSU chancellor tackles California's expected degree shortage

akoseff@sacbee.comJanuary 29, 2014 

California State University Chancellor Timothy White speaks during the University of California, Riverside commencement ceremony on June 12, 2011.

STAN LIM — Riverside Press-Enterprise

Delivering his first "State of the CSU" address Wednesday morning, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White said the system would focus on closing the state's expected degree shortage over the next decade.

Speaking at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, White said that California's economy will need 1 million more college graduates by 2025, a rate of degree production about 40 percent higher than current levels.

"That outcome weighs heavily on our shoulders," White said, noting that CSU grants nearly half of the bachelor's degrees handed out each year in California.

White announced a $50 million project designed to boost graduation rates over the next ten years by 10 percent among undergraduates who started at CSU and 5 percent among community college transfers. (The current six-year graduation rates for those groups are 51.4 percent and 71.6 percent, respectively, according the chancellor's office.)

Though light on specifics, he said the plan would invest in seven key areas to "advance student achievement and high-quality degree completion," including increasing the number of tenure-track faculty rather than relying on adjunct professors, offering more cross-campus online courses to deal with bottleneck scheduling and bolstering the Associate Degree for Transfer program at the community colleges.

"We care about the public good of the university through the success of our alumni and our overall economic and social impact," White said. "For us to meet our state's projected workforce need and grow the state's economy, it requires all of us to work together."

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