President Search Leadership Profile

California State University, Fullerton   Fullerton, CA   Full-time     Education
Posted on June 5, 2024
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President Search Leadership Profile

Job no: 536829
Work type: Management (MPP)
Location: Fullerton
Categories: MPP, Administrative, At-Will, Full Time

California State University, Fullerton President Search Leadership Profile

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees invites nominations and applications for the position of President of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Appointed by the CSU Board of Trustees and reporting to the CSU Chancellor, the next President must be an energetic leader and passionate advocate for CSUF. They will build upon the University's existing strengths and relationships within Orange County, the region, and nationally to further its efforts in student success, teaching and scholarly excellence, and community engagement.

California State University, Fullerton

Founded in 1957 as the 12th campus of the now 23-campus California State University System, CSUF was first accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1961. An intellectual and cultural catalyst for Southern California and a driver of workforce and economic development, CSUF has become a comprehensive university that supports the success of a diverse student population through a wide range of transformational curricular and co-curricular programs. CSUF is a leader in its fundraising efforts and its most recent and first-ever comprehensive philanthropic campaign raised more than $270 million by its close in December 2022 - surpassing its initial goal of $175 million, making it the third largest completed campaign in the history of the CSU system.

CSUF is home to 2,283 faculty (804 tenured/tenure track, 1,399 lecturer, and 80 non- instructional faculty) and 1,875 staff. It is supported by an annual operating budget of $261 million. The University offers 119 degree programs, 55 undergraduate and 64 graduate programs (including doctorates in education and nursing practice), through its eight colleges: College of the Arts, College of Business and Economics, College of Communications, College of Education, College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Health and Human Development, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. CSUF is a leading institution in the CSU system, regularly having the largest enrollment among the 23 campuses. In fall 2022, 40,386 students enrolled at CSUF, including 5,147 graduate and postbaccalaureate students.

Designated as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and an Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), CSUF embraces a diverse student population with 50.2% Hispanic students and 52.7% underrepresented students. Within the last five years, CSUF has continued to develop and implement a wide range of student success strategies aimed at improving timely graduation and eliminating equity gaps. As a result, the 4-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen has increased from 29% to 39%, the 2-year graduation rate for undergraduate transfer students reached 37.7%, and the 3-year graduation rate for Master's students has remained stable around 75% despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022-23, CSUF awarded 9,065 Bachelor's degrees, 1,538 Master's degrees, and 83 Doctoral degrees, the last of which is the highest in the university's history.

In 2021, in recognition of its commitment to supporting students, CSUF received the Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education.

The recruitment and retention of highly qualified, diverse faculty and staff are critical goals for CSUF. With nearly 20% of faculty and over 40% of staff coming from underrepresented backgrounds, the University continues to pursue the goal of increasing faculty and staff diversity. In addition to their deep commitment to access and student success, faculty are engaged in highly impactful research, creative activity, and institutional projects that bolster CSUF's educational and service mission. As a result, 2022-23 proved to be an extremely successful year for CSUF faculty including record-high submissions of $146.1 million for external funding and funded awards of $46.1 million. In addition to the newly established Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center (UROC), which focuses on increasing faculty- led undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities, faculty participate in a wide variety of Campus Centers and Institutes which address many research, service, and community needs.

For more information about CSUF, please visit

Fullerton Forward - CSUF Strategic Plan 2024-2029

Fullerton Forward, CSUF's 2024-2029 Strategic Plan, aims to empower students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners to pursue creative and varied practices, approaches, and modalities that support the diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences of all in the Titan community. The University as a whole, including each of its divisions and colleges, will engage in consultation and collaboration, commit resources and support, and embrace innovation and change in pursuit of the strategic plan goals.

Fullerton Forward's goals and priorities were developed collaboratively by the broad Titan community to set forth a thoughtful and aspirational roadmap for the University. These include:
  • Goal 1: Enhance Support for Student Access, Learning, and Academic Success
  • Goal 2: Foster Student Engagement and Well-Being
  • Goal 3: Recruit, Develop, and Retain High-Quality and Diverse Faculty and Staff
  • Goal 4: Expand and Strengthen Physical and Financial Capacity and Community Relations
  • Goal 5: Innovate and Improve Campus Operations

    Mission Statement
    CSUF's mission statement announces that the core of the institution's mission and values is to support the success of the University's diverse undergraduate and graduate student populations and the communities CSUF serves:

    California State University, Fullerton enriches the lives of students and inspires them to thrive in a global environment. We cultivate lifelong habits of scholarly inquiry, critical and creative thinking, dynamic inclusivity, and social responsibility. Rooted in the strength of our diversity and immersive experiences, we embolden Titans to become intellectual, community, and economic leaders who shape the future.

    CSUF's institutional ideals include promoting student success; developing and supporting scholarly and creative activities; celebrating diversity, equity, and inclusion; and committing to civic engagement, collegial governance, integrity, and service to the region.

    Points of Pride
    CSUF is a university of significance, ranked as a top institution in the nation and recognized as a leader within the CSU and beyond. As an institution defined by immersive learning experiences amid a rich diversity of perspectives and backgrounds and committed to graduating students who are confident, well prepared, culturally competent, and uniquely positioned to excel in the global marketplace—the University is proud of its achievements including:

  • Ranked #3 in the nation for bachelor's degrees earned by students from underrepresented students.
  • Ranked #3 in the nation for bachelor's degrees earned by Hispanic students.
  • Ranked within the Top 1% of Best Colleges in America by Money (2022-23).
  • Ranked #8 public university in California by Forbes (2022).
  • Ranked #3 most innovative regional university in the West by U.S. News & World Report (2021-2022).
  • Ranked #7 top performer on social mobility in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  • Rated a First-Gen Forward Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success (2022-23).
  • Ranked #3 in California and #9 in the nation for enrolling transfer students by U.S. News & World Report (2023).
  • Ranked #2 highest enrollment of master's-level public institutions by Almanac of Higher Education (2023).

    To learn more about CSUF's rankings and recognitions, please visit

    Position Summary
    Appointed by the CSU Board of Trustees and reporting to the CSU Chancellor, the President serves as the University's chief executive officer responsible for setting the vision, strategy, and related institutional goals and objectives. The President oversees the University's administration and operations and implements the policies and procedures adopted by the CSU system. The President, with their strong leadership team, will focus on achieving the University's core mission to nurture and support students' unique talents, diverse life experiences, and intellect through engaged teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and public service that support their overall success, well-being, and the greater good.

    CSUF's next President will be a community-oriented leader who will foster collaborative and effective relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, business and community partners, legislative leaders, and other campus stakeholders. In doing so, the President will actively and authentically engage with campus colleagues and the community to support the educational mission of the University and spearhead its efforts in setting an ambitious trajectory for CSUF's future.

    Opportunities and Challenges
    Building upon its existing momentum as a dynamic and innovative institution, CSUF's future holds significant potential for continued success and the opportunity to accelerate the University's upward trajectory and increase the positive impact on its students and the communities it serves. The next President will provide bold leadership in a number of critical areas including, but not limited to:

  • Implementing the University's Strategic Plan - CSUF recently announced its new five-year strategic plan, Fullerton Forward, driven by a vision for the future in which the institution serves as a model public university that cultivates leaders who drive innovation, systematic change, and collective well-being in local and global communities. In supporting and implementing Fullerton Forward, the President will serve at the vanguard of the effort to inspire internal and external stakeholders to focus their collective energy on this shared vision for excellence and maximize their contributions in realizing the University's full potential.
  • Securing New Resources - As evidenced by Fullerton Forward, CSUF's campus community is driven by high aspirations for the future and the President will be responsible for leading efforts to secure additional financial support in a very competitive higher education environment. The President must be a strategic and entrepreneurial leader who will partner with the campus community and CSU System leaders to enhance existing and create new revenue streams relating to increased philanthropic activity, legislative engagement and advocacy, community partnerships, academic offerings, and research and creative activity to fund initiatives that will ensure the University's continued success and contributes fully to CSUF's upward trajectory.
  • Community Engagement - CSUF has a long-standing tradition of serving as a focal point for community partnerships with local industry, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and governmental stakeholders committed to enriching the region's social fabric. The President must be prepared to build upon the campus' foundation in this area and expand its efforts with a focus on strengthening existing and creating new pathways for access to higher education, workforce development, and social mobility for the Orange County's diverse communities.
  • Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Outreach - CSUF's faculty, staff, and students have historically demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion. With this in mind, the next President must also possess a strong passion and demonstrated commitment to these tenets and partner with the campus community to enhance existing and identify new opportunities for creating an environment that promotes these ideals. The President must also be prepared to lead the conversation in how CSUF can leverage its history of success in achieving HSI and AANPISI status to further extend itself to those communities within the region that have not previously engaged with the campus and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Responding to Current Trends in Higher Education - CSUF's next President must be a forward-thinking leader with a current understanding of the trends affecting higher education and an eye for future shifts on the horizon. The President must employ this knowledge to adapt the University's strategic responses and resource allocation to enrollment, academic programming, research and creative activity, and student success related initiatives.
  • Transitioning to a Post-COVID-19 Educational Environment - CSUF's next President must be an innovative and entrepreneurial leader capable of guiding the University in a shifting higher educational and economic environment while maintaining the University's commitment to student success. To do so, the President must bring an understanding of the various teaching modalities available in the post- COVID-19 world and how to leverage CSUF's existing Information Technology infrastructure to enhance students' educational experience. The President must be prepared to assess CSUF's existing IT resources and aggressively address the need for investment to build the quality of the University's instructional delivery methods, policies, and procedures to enhance the effectiveness of teaching.
  • Increasing Organizational Effectiveness - CSUF's next President will join an institution whose growth and continued evolution has created the opportunity to enhance communication and partnership between all academic and business units across campus. The President must be prepared to guide a deliberate and inclusive process with the intention of reducing redundancies and increasing efficiencies to better streamline university processes and increase organizational effectiveness. The President must be an active listener and engaged communicator throughout this process intended to harness the strengths and attributes of each campus unit while capitalizing on the University's collective strength.
  • Supporting Student Success - In leading an institution that is emerging as a national model for supporting student success through innovative high-impact educational and co-curricular experiences, CSUF's next President must be dedicated to advancing the University's activities in these areas. To further the campus' work toward these important goals, the President must serve as a visible and vocal leader on campus who demonstrates an enthusiasm for and personal commitment to partnering with faculty, staff, and students to maintain student success as a central pillar of the CSUF experience.
  • Leading CSUF into a New Social and Higher Education Landscape - Like many universities across the nation, CSUF has emerged from a period of great challenges encompassing a global pandemic, economic fluctuation, and civil and political change. CSUF's next President must lead the institution as it strives to meet the needs and expectations of an increasingly diverse student body while preparing students for success beyond graduation in a world that has undergone tremendous change in recent years. CSUF's next President must serve as a uniting force amongst its constituencies and foster an environment that builds and strengthens the institutional esprit-de-corps. To do so, the President must collaborate with the campus community to develop a thoughtful and comprehensive vision for ensuring CSUF's continued success as it leads its community into the future that recognizes and appreciates the diversity of viewpoints across its myriad stakeholder groups.

    Qualities and Characteristics
    In promoting CSUF's commitment to its mission of improving the lives of those in it serves in Orange County and its diverse communities, the President is expected to demonstrate the following attributes, experiences, abilities, and skills:
  • A passion and enthusiasm for CSUF's mission and goals as demonstrated through a visionary, compassionate, and genuine leadership style;
  • The willingness to work with faculty, staff, and students to collectively develop a path into the future in an environment of shared governance;
  • A vibrant, energetic, and visible leader with a proven track record of establishing and nurturing strong relationships with community leaders and stakeholders;
  • A personal commitment to and expectation of accountability for clear strategic, tactical and performance goals and meaningful metrics of student progress;
  • A dedication to creating a collegial environment that embraces and promotes inclusivity amongst the variety of cultural backgrounds and experiences represented by CSUF's diverse faculty, staff, and student populations;
  • A commitment to and demonstrated evidence of making a difference in providing quality education for students, specifically first-generation college students and a diverse student body;
  • A deep understanding of the culture, opportunities, and challenges that come with being a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI);
  • A strong, student-centered leader, an effective and inspirational communicator and collaborator, and an engaged listener;
  • A teamwork-focused leader who will unify and partner with campus constituencies to advance CSUF's strategic priorities and serve as a persuasive advocate amongst stakeholders both within and external to the CSU System;
  • Experience valuing unionized employees and the relationships delineated in collective bargaining agreements;
  • An understanding of and commitment to collaboration and transparency that leads to effective and timely decision-making;
  • Knowledge and experience in managing budgets and ability to strengthen, solicit, and secure financial resources;
  • A proven track record in building, maintaining, and motivating a strong and effective leadership team with a collaborative and inclusive leadership style;
  • A genuine level of excitement and enthusiasm for interacting with students and faculty and taking a personal interest in their success;
  • An innovative and entrepreneurial leader who will serve as a catalyst for new and compelling academic, research, and creative activity initiatives that engage students support CSUF's mission;
  • Experience fostering an environment that encourages and supports interdisciplinary programs and collaborations and scholarly excellence;
  • Experience cultivating donor relationships and developing a culture of philanthropy within and outside of the traditional alumni base;
  • An optimistic attitude coupled with the ability to engage and excite others about the University's mission and trajectory and the fortitude to lead through the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities the future will bring.

    Although a doctoral degree, exceptional scholarly and pedagogical contributions, and administrative experience are highly preferred, the CSU Board of Trustees will consider candidates who have achieved noteworthy success in their respective fields outside higher education. These candidates must have demonstrated experience and a track-record of success working in a complex organization where success is achieved in partnership and collaboration rather than solely through direct authority.

    Application / Nomination Process
    The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications immediately. Applicants must submit a current curriculum vitae and a letter of interest describing relevant experience. Submission of materials via e-mail is strongly encouraged. Nomination letters should include the name and contact information of the nominee. All nominations and applications will be handled in confidence.
    Applications and letters of nomination should be submitted by email to:

    Alberto Pimentel, Managing Partner Sal Venegas Jr., Partner
    Refer to code “CSUF-President” in the subject line
    SP&A Executive Search 6512 Painter Avenue
    Whittier, CA 90601

    California State University, Fullerton considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, or protected veteran status.

    Advertised: Mar 04, 2024 (9:00 AM) Pacific Standard Time
    Applications close: Open until filled

    To apply:

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