Monthly Archives: January 2018

Trustee Emeritus Stepanek!

At the November Plenary of the Board of Trustees, our own Steven Stepanek (Professor of Computer Science) was awarded the title of Faculty Trustee Emeritus.

Congratulations, Steven!

He was also honored by the ASCSU at our last meeting, here’s the commendation (link):

Commendation for Faculty Trustee Steven Stepanek


WHEREAS: Faculty Trustee Steven Stepanek has served as Professor of Computer Science at CSU Northridge (CSUN) for 41 years, rising through the ranks from lecturer to full professor; and

WHEREAS: While at CSUN Trustee Stepanek has built an extensive record of service in campus shared governance, including long term service as Chair of the Computer Science Department and on the CSUN Academic Senate and Academic Senate Executive Committee, and two terms as Faculty President and Chair of the Faculty Senate; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has an equally distinguished record of service in CSU systemwide shared governance, including CSUN Statewide Academic Senator, member of the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) Academic Affairs and Academic Preparation and Educational Policies Committees, Chair of the Academic Preparation and Educational Policies Committee, Co-Chair of the Admissions Advisory Council and Chair of the CSU Computer Science/Information Systems Discipline Council; and

WHEREAS: In 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Trustee Stepanek to the position of Faculty Trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees, and reappointed him for a second term in 2015; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek graciously agreed to continue his service as Faculty Trustee past the end of his second term until Governor Brown appointed a new Faculty Trustee in September 2017; and

WHEREAS: While on the Board of Trustees, Trustee Stepanek served with distinction on several presidential search committees, the Sustainable Financial Model Taskforce and the General Education Task Force; and in recognition of the respect of his Board colleagues, as Chair of the Standing Committee on Institutional Advancement and Vice Chair of the Board Committee on Organization and Rules; and

WHEREAS: While on the Board, Trustee Stepanek also traveled throughout the state more than a few times to attend numerable graduation ceremonies and visit every campus to listen to feedback from students, faculty, staff, and administration; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has furthered the mission of the CSU by organizing well-attended and well-received conferences and symposia addressing major issues facing higher education, including CSU: The Next 50 Years Conference and Funding the Future of the CSU symposia; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek demonstrated his commitment to students by finishing out his teaching responsibilities through the end of the semester after being appointed to the Board in Fall 2013, and continuing to provide advice to students while serving on the Board; and

WHEREAS: Throughout his tenure in the CSU, Trustee Stepanek has become recognized for his expertise and contributions in the areas of academic technology, course transfer, curriculum and admissions; and

WHEREAS: Even before he was faculty, Trustee Stepanek was called upon by the Chancellor’s Office to use his expertise to solve some of their most perplexing technical problems; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek, as a student, student employee, a classified technical employee, faculty member, Faculty Chair, ASCSU representative for his campus and finally Faculty Trustee, is the embodiment of the phrase “made in the CSU;” and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek’s unique background of experience and education in the CSU provided him with the ability to see issues from a variety of perspectives, particularly that of staff employees who play a critical role in delivering the mission of the CSU, a perspective most others only see from the outside; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek is the epitome of what the CSU, as “The people’s University,” can accomplish when providing a high quality, accessible and affordable higher education that contributes to the rising economic and technological expertise of the citizenry of California; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek’s passions run the gamut from designing fast cars to Walt Disney to the history of trains; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek is a quiet, highly principled individual who many are proud to call friend and colleague; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has many interests; but nothing has had a greater impact on his life than his continuing commitment to the CSU; therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU express its deep appreciation and respect for Trustee Stepanek and his over four decades of outstanding service to the CSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU wish Trustee Stepanek all the best for the future as he drives his Porsche into the sunset to pursue special projects, plan his next road trip and reflect on his many contributions to the CSU.

Approved by Acclamation – November 2-3, 2017

Executive Orders 1100 (revised) and 1110: What’s happened and where things stand

I just noticed that I haven’t posted anything since the October Senate meeting. My apologies for the silence. Things were moving quickly and a lot was happening behind the scenes. Thus let me provide a brief recap of what’s happened concerning Executive Orders 1100 (revised) and 1110. I’ll start with where we are now. For those who are interested, I’ll then rewind back to the October Senate and November Board of Trustees meetings.

Where we are now

EO1100 The Chancellor relented on the elimination of CSUN’s Section F. Here is the letter from EVC Blanchard to President Harrison setting out the terms of the extension:  17-11-21 LJB to Harrison EO 1100 Response v3 . Basically, we have to make some administrative changes to how Section F courses are coded for transfers to other campuses and formalize what we were already doing to ensure we do not violate state law by requiring transfer students to take more units than students who enter as freshmen.

The Chancellor’s Office still expects CSUN to comply with the rest of the revisions to EO1100. The two major issues are requiring students to take 3 units of upper division B (natural sciences) and the loss of upper division section E (lifelong learning). Both sets of changes involve a lot of enrollment (IIRC, there are ~1,500 / year FTES in upper division E; many more will need classes which do not yet exist in upper division B). While the requirements are supposed to be in place by Fall 18, the changes in enrollment patterns will phase in over a few years since they only concern upper-division GE. The Senate decided not to reconsider the decision not to participate in the implementation of the Executive Orders. Thus any of these required changes to our GE program could not be carried out through the normal curricular review process. President Harrison has created a task force of faculty, staff, and students to make recommendations to her on the necessary policy changes.

EO1110 The Chancellor’s Office still expects CSUN to implement the changes mandated by EO1110 (to developmental math and writing) on the original timeline. While that recklessly hasty timeline is likely to cause significant problems on other campuses, CSUN’s faculty had already been undertaking improvements to these programs before the order was issued. The fact that they now coincide with mandated changes in the EO cannot be a reason for preventing these faculty-originated curricular improvements from proceeding through the regular curricular processes. Thus it is likely that we will be compliant with EO1110 on the requisite timeline without ever formally taking action to implement the executive order.

That’s where we are now. Here’s some of what’s happened since my last blog post.

October Senate meeting

The Faculty Senate meeting on 26th October was attended by several hundred students and faculty who passionately demonstrated in support of Section F and urged the Senate not to reconsider its decision not to participate in implementation. If you’re wondering how that many people fit in the usual library basement room, they didn’t: After conversations with the police chief the night before about the unprecedented size of the student protests in the week leading up to the meeting, I decided to move the meeting from the library to the Northridge Center —the largest available venue on campus. I don’t know of any official estimate of the attendance, but the main room was full and the balcony was ~50% occupied. We were also joined by Chris Miller, Chair of the ASCSU.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Harrison announced that Chancellor White had, at the last minute, agreed to allow CSUN to keep section F. After a long and impassioned session of public comment, the Senate voted not to reconsider its decision to not participate in implementation. The Senate then passed this resolution which sets out our grounds for this refusal.

Board of Trustees meeting

Several CSUN faculty members along with several dedicated students traveled to Long Beach for the November Board of Trustees meeting. While they were allowed only a few minutes during the public comment sessions, they were nonetheless forceful advocates for CSUN’s students and values. We should all be proud to have them as colleagues and students.

Here are some of the relevant portions of the meetings:

During the public comment section at the beginning of the Committee on Educational Policy, here are Rosa RiVera-Furumoto (Chicana/o Studies) and Gina Masequesmay (Asian American Studies), Kate Stevenson (Developmental math), and Jennifer Eagan (CFA President and CSUEB Philosophy Professor).

This video also includes a report on the Graduation Initiative which includes a small section on the Executive Orders (designed to technically fulfill the request for discussion of the EOs introduced by now Trustee Emeritus Stepanek at the last meeting) . The questions by the BOT begin at and include the Chancellor’s Office’s response to CSUN’s Senate actions.

At the plenary session on the second day of the BOT meeting, here are comments by former ASCSU Chair Steven Filing (Accounting at CSU Stanislaus) and our own Brian Burkhart (American Indian Studies) followed by several CSUN students interspersed among other speakers: .

Finally, here is ASCSU Chair Miller’s report: Without taking anything away from any of our faculty, administrators, and students’ efforts, I believe her report was crucial in getting the Trustees to take our concerns seriously and put pressure on the CO rather than reflexively defending its actions. (Rhetorical strategy connoisseur’s tasting note:  The smackdown she delivers is crisp, refined, and absolutely delicious.)