Our View – Pres. Alexander’s job in 2006 reviewed

As students embark on a new year at school, Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander will also be embarking on a new year, but this year is different for him. Jan. 8 marked the anniversary of his first full year as a very active president.

Many of the campus changes that Alexander is responsible for will be visible to students immediately when they set foot on campus, or even before then. The new and more accessible Web site is better organized and much more conducive for creating a campus community, which is one of Alexander’s most daunting tasks as president. The Web site is more accessible not only for students, but also for faculty, parents and visitors, too. This kind of organization is something that surely can only improve CSULB’s relationship with the members of the community and encourage people to be more active.

Also, instead of the links on the Web site students most often use (BeachBoard and MyCSULB) being buried in the middle part of the site, they are now found easily at the upper right corner of the page, sadly without the noticeable icons that made them easy to identify.

Another campus improvement that will be ready for students this week is the lower and first levels of the University Library. However, when visiting the library, there may not be as much coveted silence as one may hope, with the recent addition of a Starbucks coffeehouse in the lower level of the library. The addition of the new Starbucks will undoubtedly create a strange atmosphere in the usually quiet library with an increase in foot traffic and undesirable noises from the coffee machines.

Additionally, the dorms too will be seeing the nearly completed Seattle’s Best coffee shops in Parkside Commons and the Los Alamitos Residential Hall, according to the president’s most recent e-mail address to students. These new improvements to the dorms will certainly only help Alexander in his goal of creating a more close-knit campus community. But his efforts to create a closer campus not only extend to those living in the already cozy dorms, but to the most common kind of CSULB students – commuters.

According to an article in the Jan. 8 issue of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Alexander has had the dining facilities on campus remain open longer, allowing students to extend their time on campus later and not restrict their time here because of food options.

Another one of the president’s pet projects was to get more students to graduate. We’ve all seen the signs saying “Graduation Begins Today,” but among the steps Alexander has taken toward putting this idea in motion was to move the Academic Advising Center to the Steve and Nini Horn Center, a spot he felt was more accessible to students and, according to the article, is responsible for the 1.5 percent increase in student graduation.

But not all of Alexander’s suggested changes have been as rosy or widely accepted as these. Among his few blunders this past year was his support of moving the University Art Museum off campus, something that would only move people away from campus and discourage students from visiting the museum by making it inconvenient.

He also wanted a different firm to manage KKJZ, the independent jazz station radio station at CSULB, citing a lack of connection between the campus and the station. The campus certainly does have ties to the station with the Long Beach Blues Festival, which is enjoyed by students and community members and is held on CSULB grounds each year.

Other major changes that occurred in Alexander’s first year may not be felt for a while, including the change in administrative personnel. Alexander has been responsible for hiring a new provost, two vice presidents, two deans and a new athletic director, according to the article in the Press-Telegram. Despite their important role, the changes these people are responsible for may not be felt immediately.

Overall, Alexander has successfully made tremendous gains in improving our university by creating a more open and inviting campus. Let’s just hope his enthusiasm for CSULB continues on the path it has taken so far.

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