New CSU President’s Council on Culture
November 1, 2018
Last fall, when we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity, it caused many of us to reflect on how long it can take an academic institution to make necessary and important changes related to culture, climate, and equity. We are justifiably proud of our progress in a lot of areas, but none of us should be satisfied with progress that takes, literally, decades to unfold.
More recently, in a conversation with Faculty Council, I was asked what the University had done in response to the previous campus climate survey – and I was reminded that, while a considerable amount of progress and hard work has been committed to addressing issues raised in that survey, that work and its impact are invisible to much of the campus community.
These parallel observations lead me to the purpose of this message. I have appointed a new President’s Council on Culture, a senior leadership group that will be responsible for guiding our ongoing efforts to evolve and advance the CSU culture to become more equitable, inclusive, and representative of the people we serve. The PCC will also play a formal role in ensuring the campus is engaged with and informed of the work being done to address these issues.
We have dealt with these same challenges around nearly every significant cultural initiative we’ve undertaken during my time as president, from sustainability to bullying and beyond. While none of us is eager to see or serve on another committee, we are at a point in the growth of our institution when the need for such a leadership group seems critical if we intend to further our progress on issues that are of fundamental importance to CSU as a major research university. The people I have invited to be part of this group are people who work in this arena, chair presidential commissions, or have key leadership roles related to this charge and some positional authority to act. My intent is to chair the council myself, with Drs. Sue James and Blanche Hughes serving as co-vice-chairs. Faculty, administrative professionals, classified staff, students, and deans will all be represented.
I realize in setting this council up that changing culture is a daunting task, and my remaining time as CSU president is limited. But these issues and challenges aren’t going away. It is important to continue to move forward, and in doing so we will lay critical groundwork for whomever steps into the presidential role in July.
You can find the official charge and a list of the membership on the PCC website. In addition to these founding members, many more of you will be involved with this group in some fashion as it gets up and running, and I want to welcome your input and your engagement as we move forward. More to come!
Dr. Tony Frank