In higher education, the rapid pace of change helps ensure there’s never a dull moment. Here at The Beach, we are no exception — change is truly an exciting “constant.”
Personally speaking, though, it’s one of my favorite aspects of being a university president. Some campus change is driven by the cycle of the academic year: new students, new professors, new research and findings, and new opportunities. The most important changes that occur here are, however, the result of innovative work by faculty, staff, and students. That’s because at Cal State Long Beach there’s an ongoing quest to discover — to find new and better ways to do things on campus and for our extended community. Our ongoing Beach 2030 strategic-planning initiative highlights the fact that, “The public good is our responsibility.”
A wonderful example of promoting public good is the Long Beach Accelerator. CSULB is partnering with the city of Long Beach and Sunstone Management to form a new business accelerator helping tech-minded entrepreneurs thrive in the city. The Accelerator not only contributes to the development of stronger ties between the campus and the city of Long Beach, but it also gets our faculty, students and other community members involved in innovating in key areas such as health care, finance, and supply chain logistics — all vital to the economic well-being of our surrounding communities.
That effort, led by our Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is just one example. At our Center for Criminal Justice Research and Training, the Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Certificate Program — the only such program at a four-year institution in California — provides the skills and knowledge of crime scene investigation, forensic analysis using a hands-on application of crime scene investigative techniques both in the classroom and in mock simulations. These types of investigators are in growing demand, and thanks to the innovative approaches to teaching and learning, CSULB is helping to meet that need.
Yes, we push innovation on our campus, whether it’s in the classroom, laboratory or playing field. The annual Cal State Long Beach Innovation Challenge inspires students across disciplines — for example, engineering, business, design students — to hone their disciplinary skills in creating new products and their strategy skills — requiring them to prove that their innovative projects are worthy of funding.
A winning example of this, Artemus Labs, was a student group dedicated to creating a more comfortable and a better-looking prosthetic sleeve for those who have lost their lower limbs. Their effort not only brought them praise and high marks in the competition, but it’s also drawn the interest of manufacturers. Our students, with help from mentors and judges, may be taking a great new product to market before they even graduate.
The list of accomplishments by our faculty, staff and students, who constantly look for a better way — and often find it — is remarkable. Their work is changing the ways we design airplanes and rockets, ensuring the health of the oceans, safeguarding and teaching children, and seeking cures for chronic diseases.
Check out our Quest Magazine that highlights some of the research and creative work done by our faculty and students at http://web.csulb.edu/sites/quest/. I’m sure you will be impressed by the helpful innovations developed at Long Beach State.
Dr. Jane Close Conoley became president of Cal State Long Beach in 2014.