California State University Chancellor Timothy White has been on the job for six weeks and now he is getting to know the 23 campuses that he oversees, stretching from Humboldt to San Diego.
“I have a lot to learn across the system," White said. "Bakersfield is the first campus that I’ve had a formal visit with, but I’m also trying to communicate to our faculty and our staff, to our students and to the community at large, that we just have to think about the role of public higher education in a different way. “
For White, looking at higher education in a different way means looking at each campus separately.
“We talked about his philosophy about looking at the campuses and one of the changes that we see that he has talked about making is about moving away from a one-size fits all kind of notion, which has been much of our history,” California State University Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell said.
White began his visit to Bakersfield by talking to the congregation at St John Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday. Church visits will be a signature part of his California State University campus tours.
“There are going to be a hundred different churches that we visit – African American churches," White said. "Telling the story to the congregation, to the students and to the parents and the grandparents that it matters to stay in school, to get through high school and to be qualified for a two-year degree at a community college or a four-year degree at Cal State University.”
Today he was on the campus of CSUB – getting to know the needs of students, faculty and the community – in an attempt to breakaway from the one-size-fits-all university approach.
“How do we recognize the regional variation if you will and needs of our campuses, and at the same time have a robust system that brings value to each of our communities that we serve,” White said.
White began working as CSU chancellor at the beginning of the year. In his current role he oversees 44,000 faculty, 427,000 students and an annual budget of more than $5 billion.
Economically, White said today that tuition shouldn't budge this year or next year within the CSU system.
He added that he welcomes Governor Jerry Brown's budget, which calls for investing in higher education.