Today, we introduce the Cal State Channel Islands Current, a quarterly newsletter that I hope will keep you apprised of our progress toward opening a new university here in Ventura County. Yet our newsletter has another, equally important function. E ach quarter, we will include information on how you, the student, the instructor, the youth, the elder of our community, can help speed the university along its path to fruition. I have said before that it will be a long journey. It was begun more than three decades ago by the pioneers of public four-year education in Ventura County and continues today at the Cal State University Northridge, Ventura Campus. We see real progress toward our goal of a new university here in the continued enrollment growth at the Ventura Campus, in our ongoing efforts to secure a new campus and in the prospect that we may be able to begin offering some classes under the auspices of California State University, Channel Islands as early as fall, 1998.

But our journey will not be fulfilled until our four-year undergraduate institution, complete with masters and credential programs, is fully operational, offering a varied curriculum designed to suit our area's specific needs. The students of our diverse region demand knowledge in agriculture as well as defense, in marine biology, biotechnology and archaeology, in nursing and special education. Those specialty areas are in addition to a full complement of traditional studies that are an integral part of any undergraduate degree at a California public university.

In today's maiden issue of the Current, we outline the exciting possibilities at hand that may allow us to surround ourselves with the area's rich California mission history by transforming the 1930's-era Camarillo State Hospital into our campus for the future. We also present exciting news about continued growth in student population at CSUN's Ventura Campus, a population that will soon fold into the new university. We also offer what we have found to be some of the most frequently asked questions about the university, a feature we will repeat as needed. And, as always, we invite your participation. We ask that you send us any questions you may have. We will answer them in future publications.

With all the groundwork in place by our predecessors at CSUN-Ventura Campus, we now set out to achieve our majority, to mature into our own institution. As our fledgling university comes of age, it needs your feedback, your guidance, your help along the w ay. Please plan to be an active participant in the development of this institution for which Ventura County has waited so long, and with which you can help shape the future.

J. Handel Evans


Possible uses for extra space at Camarillo State Hospital include joint programs in special education between CSUCI and Ventura County Superintendent of Schools.

A task force of local and state officials is poised to recommend to Gov. Pete Wilson on or before Nov. 1 whether the soon-to-be closed Camarillo State Hospital should become the new campus for California State University, Channel Islands. If the acquisition proves to be financially feasible for CSU, the outlook could be very good for the university to assume the hospital and its 750-acre grounds just south of Camarillo. A panel of land use consultants, architects and planners hired by the governor's task force to evaluate the site concluded at a September meeting in Camarillo that the university is a near perfect match for the institution built in 1935- 1936.

"You have a great opportunity to do something extraordinary," said James Goodell, the consultant who coordinated the panel of experts. He called the hospital a "tremendous asset to be seized," but cautioned a successful conversion would be complex, requiring the university and others involved to "step outside their ordinary roles." "The Sanskrit word for problem is the same as for opportunity," he said.
Wilson ordered the existing Camarillo State Hospital to be closed next summer due to dwindling patient population. Any of the remaining developmentally disabled and severely emotionally disturbed patients will be transferred to other state and community facilities, as appropriate. The current population of 761 patients is down from a peak of 7,266 in 1954.

In the wake of the announced closure, several agencies including Cal State expressed interest in the property. But the serious proposals were whittled down to two: Cal State and the California Department of Corrections, which wanted to transform the hospital into a lock-up facility for young offenders.
After hours of testimony and deliberation, the panel of experts who were working as a type of staff to the task force, endorsed the university proposal. The 20 members of the task force, each selected by Gov. Wilson, must now decide whether to formally re commend to the governor as to whether the CSU plan for the future of the site is an appropriate one and thereby allow the CSU to undertake a prudent due diligence study of the project and its alternatives.

If the governor decides in favor of the university and includes funding with the package to renovate the buildings to make them suitable for student use, and CSU Trustees ratify the plan early next spring, it could considerably speed up efforts to begin operating the new university, said CSUCI President J. Handel Evans.

"If it goes forward, and we can make it all happen, we may be able to move the Ventura off-campus center there as early as the Fall of 1998," he said. Those students would then become the core population of the new university. Preliminary costs to convert the hospital would run an estimated $60 million to $80 million.

If, on the other hand, Cal State goes back to its original plan of building a campus from scratch on 260 university-owned acres of lemon orchards west of Camarillo, at an initial cost to taxpayers of $120 to $160 million, students would not be able to attend classes at the new site until some time after 2001.
But Evans, who presided over the conversion of the former Fort Ord Army base into what is now California State University Monterey Bay, cautioned that the new campus would probably not become Cal State Channel Islands right away.

"We would only be able to move the Ventura off-campus center," he said. "It is best for us from an overhead point of view to stay with Northridge as long as we can, at least until our student population reaches the equivalent of 2,000 full-time students. That way, we allow Northridge to carry most of the administrative burden."

Student enrollment at the CSUN-Ventura Campus has now reached the equivalent of 794 full-time students, or a total of about 1,600 students attending classes both full and part time.

The full 750 acres and 1.5 million square feet of space in 85 buildings at the hospital would be too large for the needs of California State University, Channel Islands itself, Evans said. That's why consultants said the university would have to take on more than its traditional role. In addition to educating students - its primary and top priority mission - CSUCI would also have to become a leader in operating an educational complex, leasing out the excess space to appropriate public and private agencies and institutes.

Consultant Goodell endorsed Cal State's previously stated proposals to work closely with the Ventura County Community College District and the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Office. Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Charles Weis, for example, has already discussed possibilities with Evans that include operating a laboratory school on the site, where teachers would use state-of-the-art techniques and where CSU teaching students could study and observe.

The University's educational complex could also house facilities operated by related programs, such as a business incubator to help new businesses get started, research firms, film institutes and other educational programs.

California State University Chancellor Barry Munitz won support for the idea among CSU Trustees in September. But many hurdles still remain before the hospital could become an educational park, Evans said. One of the largest potential stumbling blocks is funding. The property must come with conversion and operational funds for it to be feasible for Cal State, Evans said. "The California State University, like all of higher education, is financially stressed to the limit supporting its existing 22 campuses," Evans said. "Another new campus does not come without additional costs to the system."

Without conversion and operating funds from the state, Evans said, CSU trustees would probably "politely decline" the offer to convert the state hospital into the system's 23rd campus.

In addition, moving onto the hospital campus would require help and cooperation from local communities and government. "If we can all work together, we can make this happen," Evans said.


Enrollment at the CSUN Ventura Campus continued its steady ascent this fall, approaching the time when its students will become the core of Ventura County's own public four-year college: California State University, Channel Islands.

Three new degrees at the off-campus center in Ventura, including a prestigious Master of Business Administration, together with growing community awareness of the march toward opening Cal State Channel Islands, helped propel enrollment to 1,600 students, an all-time high. In the measurement universities use, that is the equivalent of 794 full-time students, making the Ventura Campus the largest off-campus center in the Cal State system. The growth represents an 18% increase over last fall's enrollment of 670 students. "The continued growth demonstrates that there is significant unmet demand in the area," said J. Handel Evans, president of Cal State Channel Islands. "The fact that enrollment is climbing at this rate shows that we can maintain a sustained growth. And that's what we have to have if we're going to build a university." The 20-year climb toward a population large enough to break off into a new and self-sufficient university has continued during times of economic prosperity and recession, budget cuts and endowments, staff shortages and new hirings. To maintain its growth, the Ventura Campus squeezed administration expenses wherever possible so that every available dollar could go to course offerings, said Ventura Campus Director Dr. Joyce M. Kennedy. "If enrollment had gone down a semester, I thought the nay sayers would use that as an example to say, 'See? You don't really need a university in Ventura,'" she said. "We made philosophical/political/management decisions to put our resources into the classroom."

Those decisions, coupled with fund-raising to supplement budgets, are paying off today, Evans said.
The impressive growth figures could come into play next month when Gov. Pete Wilson is expected to decide whether to transfer Camarillo State Hospital, complete with 85 buildings on 750 acres, to CSU for a permanent home for California State University, Channel Islands. "I think the growth reinforces our argument that a university is needed in this region," Evans said. "It certainly reinforces our argument with the CSU Trustees."


With its strong emphasis on new technology coupled with a need for creativity while the new campus is developing, California State University, Channel Islands is poised to take the leadership role in telecommunications as a distance learning center for the Cal State University system. In that role, the university could help shape academic standards for new teaching methods needed in the emerging technologies.

"CSUCI would be the center for creation of knowledge in the field," said J. Handel Evans, president of the new campus. "We would be at the nexus for synthesizing educational content with technology." In distance learning, students could tune into a class from home computers, home televisions or remote classrooms. Or they could all be clustered together in a single classroom, with their instructor at another Cal State campus, another university campus in the state, the nation or the world.

"It is difficult to set standards because teaching English 101 in person in the traditional classroom setting may be very different from teaching it from a remote location." Evans said. For instance, a classroom professor can sense when he or she is losing the class attention for whatever reason, and can shift gears. A teacher working from a remote location, even if the technology is interactive as it often will be, must find more interesting and interest-catching techniques to teach the same subject. And for that, there must not only be standards but an institution where those who plan to teach can learn the state of the art, Evans said.

As the leader in new educational technology, CSUCI would also be able to offer classes essentially on demand, at any hour and on any day. That could send electronic enrollment soaring, officials said.

"An interesting thought for the future is that as distance learning and other technologies take a hold in the educational marketplace, the enrollment at a specific University could become quite large as we bring into consideration the numbers of students from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds and needs who will become part of the electronic student body," Evans said. "While some may wish to come to University in the historic manner of freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, many will just drop in and out electronically as their educational needs change to match their personal goals. That may mean classes to update or even change careers, or simply classes to further their education."

A college education of the traditional sense has included an academic calendar with a five-day week and summers off, with a library open specific hours. "The calendar was almost a sacred document," Evans said. But a new student body, with many older, working adults, has different calendar needs, he said. "People will come on-line any time they please," Evans said. "Education is not going to be at the whim of the university; it will be at the demand of the people."


A tidal wave of freshmen is on its way to our California universities, as children of Baby Boomers come of age. But their presence will be balanced by the ever increasing numbers of older, working students seeking new careers, new directions or simply mor e education. While the average college student of a few decades ago was easy to profile as the traditional 18-24 year-old, single Caucasian, more often male than female, tomorrow's students at California State University, Channel Islands and across California will be more diverse in background and needs.

Students of tomorrow on the whole will be older, with an average age of 27, and more women than men. Many will already be working, looking to further a career or change it altogether. Some of the students will be married, some with children. And the different ethnicities will be well represented throughout the student body.

"The older student doesn't have the insecurities of the younger student," said J. Handel Evans, president of CSUCI. "They are very determined and have set their goals. They are very different from the young students still trying to find their way." That means that CSUCI must be on top of the newest developments in technology, career opportunities and changes in the market place, Evans said. "When I graduated from college, they said, 'You're an architect and you know what you need to know. Carry on.' It never occurred to anyone that I would have to go back to school to learn how to draw with a computer, for instance. Now, learning is continua l." The older working person will continue to drop in and out of university throughout adult life, he said.

But there will be plenty of young students just out of high school or junior college coming to university as well, thanks to Tidal Wave II. That's the name for the children of Baby Boomers in California who are beginning to enter college now. Statewide, that means about 100,000 young people are expected to be of college age over the next 10 to 15 years, said Frank Jewett, project director for planning and growth at Cal State University headquarters in Long Beach. "How many of those students enroll in Ventura County depends on several factors, most especially when the Ventura off-campus center converts to a full CSUCI campus," he said. That conversion is expected either late this decade or soon after the turn of the century, depending on where the campus is located and how much money becomes available to develop it.

When other Cal State institutions reach capacity will also affect growth at CSUCI, Jewett said. Cal State Northridge is expected to reach capacity of about 25,000 full-time students by 2011. Cal Poly San Luis should top out at 15,000 full-time students by about the turn of the century, Jewett said.

As for when California State University, Channel Islands might reach its projected capacity the equivalent of 15,500 full-time students Jewett said it's impossible to tell.


California State University, Channel Islands needs your help to advance our efforts to open Ventura County's first public four-year university. Please address any checks to: the CSU Channel Islands Foundation, 2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 290, Ventura, California 93001. Many thanks, CSUCI Staff

Top Ten Questions About the University

A: The name, California State University, Channel Islands, was the unanimous choice of a committee of Ventura County educators, students, community leaders and activists. CSU's Board of Trustees made it official in July. The name represents an entire region rather than a single city or county, and it reflects pride in the beauty of the coastline.

A: Cal State has purchased 260 acres of lemon orchards just west of Camarillo. If the university is built there, designers will draw on motifs from local architecture with a look to the needs of the contemporary campus. However, if Camarillo State Hospital, south of Camarillo near the coast, becomes available to the university, the campus would retain that property's Spanish architectural style, with stucco buildings and red tile roofs.

A: Ventura County is the largest county in California without a four-year public institution of higher education. The citizens of this county have in essence been subsidizing universities in other counties. The time has come for Ventura County. In addition, Santa Barbara is in the UC system, which is not accessible to many students because of its higher academic requirements as well as its increased costs. Cal State Northridge in the San Fernando Valley is too far for students in the county's west end or in Santa Barbara County. As for distance learning, CSUCI could become the leader in Cal State's entire system for this 21st century technique of delivering education. That expands student choices, but does not eliminate the need for an institution.

A: In a way, the University is already open. CSUN's off-campus center in Ventura represents the catalyst for the student body of the future and will eventually be absorbed into the new University. Meanwhile, CSUCI will work to offer courses and programs designed for specific businesses and industry, possibly at the business worksite and as early as 1998. By 1999, students could be able to take general classes at the new university through distance learning. If Camarillo State Hospital is transferred to the university, the CSUN off-campus center students could move to the new campus as early as the Fall of 1998. However, if we build the university on the orchard property, traditional classroom-style instruction would not be available there until after the turn of the century.

A: Only money. A university in the CSU tradition would cost about $700 million to build today at the orchard site. So far, less than $1 million in planning funds for that site is set aside. We are waiting to hear whether the university will be offered Camarillo State Hospital and whether money to convert the campus will come with the offer. We will continue to work to raise funds through private donations and solicit the business community to share in educational projects and costs.

A: Not necessarily, though that is certainly possible. The curriculum will grow out of the needs of the region, which we will determine through public survey. Other needs may be more obvious. For instance, in a region where farming is the top industry, a program in agriculture seems a natural. And it follows that an area with a long and diverse coastline may well need a program in marine biology. We certainly anticipate that another emphasis will be the new technology needed in today's education.

A: The university is being planned for the equivalent of 15,500 full-time students, which means about 22,000 students altogether, including full and part-time. Our university is intended to first serve the needs of our region. But the implications of the electronic university offer opportunities to export our courses on a global basis just as we will import educational services. In time, the university could serve thousands more through the new technology.

A: Eventually, probably yes. But through the use of distance learning that delivers education to people with diverse needs and hours of availability, we're not yet certain whether we will need dormitories.

A: Not yet. The University's students will decide what their mascot will be, probably in 1999. Next year, we'll pick our logo, colors and seal.

A: Support us in the public debate at every opportunity. Vote for bond issues that affect the university. Invite us to speak at your business or community organization. Use your own influence with your politicians to support the university. And lastly, make a donation, no matter the size. Donations may be made to the CSU Channel Islands Foundation Fund, 2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 290, Ventura, Calif., 93001. There is much to do and your support is crucial to our ultimate success.

Something You Would Like to Know? Just Ask Us!

Do you have unanswered questions about the new university? Please drop us a line and we will answer your question in a future publication. Write to: The Current, 2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 290, Ventura, Calif., 93001. You can also e-mail us.

Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

Winston Churchill to President Roosevelt, in a 1941 radio broadcast
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