CSU Voices and Views

Q & A with the CSU’s New Chair of Institutional Advancement

Upward Bound student Thais  Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

Trustee Steven Stepanek, a CSUN alumnus with over 40 years of service at the CSU, was recently appointed Chair of the Committee on Institutional Advancement.

The Committee on Institutional Advancement of the Board of Trustees includes seven CSU trustees who review, discuss, and recommend action involving alumni affairs and charitable gifts made to the CSU. When individuals and companies make generous contributions to the university, a responsibility of the committee is to approve the naming of programs and facilities to honor these donors. Institutional Advancement is also responsible for arranging and managing CSU partnerships with a wide variety of regional groups. Trustee Steven Stepanek is the newly appointed chair of the committee, whose motivational force for serving is rooted in his 40-year history at the CSU.

How did you become chair of the committee?

Steven: I volunteered to chair because I have a personal interest in giving back to the CSU. For more than 40 years, Cal State Northridge (CSUN) has been my professional home. I’m a double alum of CSUN; I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the campus. Throughout my career, CSUN continued to provide a truly supportive environment as I advanced through positions from student to staff, lecturer and eventually, professor – holding the rank of full professor in computer science for 20 years and serving as the department’s chair for 15.

Now, after being shaped professionally and being elected twice as Faculty President, I’m at a point in my life where I am looking to give back to the same institution that has been so supportive of my professional growth. I advocate for the CSU by encouraging others to also consider giving back to the system.

How does Advancement relate to the students’ educational experience?

Steven: With the state budget cuts from years of economic downturn combined with the surge in applications to the CSU, there is not enough funding to adequately support all academic programs. Programs that involve laboratories used by STEM fields, for example, are in special need of additional funding. Donations made to the CSU assist the funding of faculty and resources needed to handle the enrollment growth and allow the CSU to continue its core mission of providing high-quality public higher education.

The role of the CSU in the state of California and its communities is vital to the state’s success. Advancement is a bridge for those who are looking to get involved in their communities by connecting them to California’s largest public higher education system. Advancement gives individuals and companies the chance to become sponsors and enrich each student’s educational experience.

How does your history at the CSU strengthen you for your new role as chair of the committee?

Steven: From where I stand, I see things both as a faculty member and a trustee.

Being a faculty member, I see the need for students to have access to educational resources. From having sufficient learning spaces to meeting faculty needs, I understand first-hand the impact of having an effective learning environment.

As chair of the Committee of Institutional Advancement, I have a realistic perception of funding resources to support these needs. I have the power to weave together our 3 million alumni and industry leaders in supporting the CSU. I am more involved now in promoting the CSU than I’ve previously been, and I continue to be driven by the success that the CSU has given me.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Students, alumni, faculty and friends lend us your voices and views.

Share Your Story Idea

  • RSS

Search Posts