Cal Poly 2000 Self-Study Compliance Report


  1. Institutional Integrity
  2. Institutional Purposes, Planning, and Effectiveness
  3. Governance and Administration
  4. Educational Programs
  5. Faculty and Staff
  6. Library, Computing, and Other Information and Learning Resources
  7. Student Services and Co-Curricular Learning Environment
  8. Facilities
  9. Financial Resources


Cal Poly certifies that it is in substantial compliance with WASC's Standards of Accreditation. Each of the nine Standards is briefly addressed in the following sections. Links are provided to Web sites at which supporting documentation may be found. Additional paper documentation is available on request from Cal Poly's WASC office.

The tables of supporting evidence (below) include columns in which connections are made, as applicable, to the "researchable questions" addressed in the innovative component of the self-study. These researchable questions fall under one or more of the three categories of "intellectual", "physical, "or "social" environment for learning.

1. Institutional Integrity

Institutional integrity derives from the clarity of the University's mission and the unity of its pursuit. The former is part revelation and part rehearsal—a self-examined statement about the values that define the institution and a commitment to a future guided by them. The latter aims to see the expectations of the institutional vision manifested in all structures and activities of the institution.

At Cal Poly the heart of the matter is learning. Students are the principal focus of this institutional purpose, but a devotion to learning and a responsibility to foster it encompass all members of the University community. It creates special obligations and expectations regarding the professional development of faculty, staff, and administrators.

Similarly, affirming that a commitment to learning is what binds and shapes this academic community is not enough to achieve a distinctive institutional culture, much less one that commands enthusiasm and evokes a sense of particularity among its members. That goal and the unified condition that it promises depend upon the design of a learning environment that joins the members of the institution in a common approach to learning with common goals. Within such an institutional culture there is a particular obligation to offer curricula that are contemporary and relevant; that are effectively balanced between studies that are concrete and applied and those that are abstract and theoretical; and that emphasize the critical connection between academic habits and life that develop in the academy but extend well beyond it.

Through a strong General Education program, a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs that appreciates the seamless quality of learning, and undergraduate major studies that emphasize engaged, active learning from the initial quarter of enrollment to the senior project, Cal Poly aims to create a rigorous, interconnected learning environment. The University fundamentally seeks to enable its students "to see life whole," to develop an appreciation not only for the basic knowledge that the arts and sciences impart, but also for their social dimensions, that is, the habits of heart and mind that represent more than mere technique and the sharpening of various "marketable" proficiencies, and that contribute to the development of a well-informed citizenry.

Cal Poly's "learn by doing" approach principally defines our learning community and charts our future. Yet, it is combined with other defining institutional characteristics—polytechnic, undergraduate, teaching excellence, residential, selective admissions, statewide service area—that in toto help set Cal Poly apart from other public higher education institutions in California and provide strategic guidance for the University.

Cal Poly is also guided by a sense of the "right rules" of the academy—reason, respect, civility and community. These virtues are deeply embedded in the structures, policies, and expectations of the University. They remind us that effective teaching springs not only from command of discipline but also the force of personal example. Cal Poly aims to be an effective teaching institution whose achievements are best measured in the learning of our students.

2. Institutional Purposes, Planning, & Effectiveness

During the past ten years Cal Poly has implemented a series of institutional planning initiatives that demonstrate the University's commitment to planning for its future. Figure 1 (Figure available in Academic Programs Office) illustrates how the University views its context for strategic planning as a member of The California State University system as well as of its local community.

From 1990-1994 Cal Poly developed a strategic planning document for the campus that embodies the University's mission statement and a series of policies to guide the future of the University. The polices address the following topics: academic programs, faculty scholarship, staff professional growth and achievement, student satisfaction, diversity, governance and collegiality, institutional size, and university relations and image. In addition, the policies contained crosscutting themes focused on technology, fiscal flexibility, and global awareness (the latter resulting in a series of amendments in 1995). This strategic planning effort involved an oversight committee of deans and faculty, and was thoroughly debated by classified staff and the Academic Senate prior to adoption. The Strategic Plan is available for the campus and other interested individuals on the Cal Poly website.

Figure 2 (Figure available in Academic Programs Office) shows how the campus has built on the strategic plan subsequently. Selective implementation even preceded final approval of the document, with particular attention given to the undergraduate curriculum. A faculty committee developed a series of statements of the desired characteristics of a Cal Poly graduate in what became known as the Visionary Pragmatism report. As a result of recommendations made in this report, the University engaged in a comprehensive review of its General Education program, which is scheduled for implementation with the catalog for the 2001-03 academic year. As the State of California experienced serious fiscal shortfalls during the early 1990s and public budgets for higher education were reduced, another critical follow-up to the strategic plan became the Cal Poly Plan (PDF). This focused implementation of the strategic plan seeks to maintain educational quality, accelerate student progress to degree completion, increase institutional productivity, and develop accountability and assessment measures — and is funded through a partnership of the State, University, patrons, and students and their families. By matching a campus-based academic fee with external sources, Cal Poly has sponsored educational initiatives to consolidate curricula and introduce technology-mediated instruction. In addition, the Cal Poly Plan funds sixteen faculty positions whose assignments include responsibility for teaching innovations, instructional technology and curriculum development. The Cal Poly Plan Steering Committee represents students, faculty, staff, collective bargaining units, and administrators in a unique experiment in governance. The Cal Poly Plan purposes and projects are widely publicized through its home page and other media.

Figure 2 shows further that during the 1997-98 academic year, colleges and other university units engaged in a divisional and departmental level of strategic planning to complement the university level. The colleges in particular undertook environmental scanning, involving their professional and industry advisory groups to assess the relevance of their programs to emerging needs.

As the University looks toward the 21st century and the growing demand for higher education in the State of California, Cal Poly is using the results of the strategic planning efforts at the divisional and college level to inform its long-term enrollment planning. As shown in Figure 3, the campus is in the midst of a physical master plan update based on these academic plans and enrollment scenarios. The Campus Planning Committee, consisting of campus and community representatives, oversees the update. In addition, the Deans' Enrollment Planning Advisory Committee developed enrollment scenarios, and a series of campus and community task forces met during Spring 1999 to recommend guiding principles for the Campus Master Plan update. Campus and community members can follow the development of the master plan through its website.

To support these planning initiatives and the ability of the campus to monitor them, Cal Poly has strengthened two organizational units and improved its databases and analytical capability. First, the position of Vice Provost for Institutional Planning was created to coordinate planning across divisions with respect to academic, fiscal, human and physical resources. This Vice Provost supervises the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis, which replaced the former Office of Institutional Studies with a function more focused on data analysis for planning and decision-making. Second, the University strengthened the Office of Testing and Assessment in the Division of Student Affairs, calling upon staff to support Cal Poly Plan accountability and assessment requirements, for example.

Finally, to support these two offices as well as broader campus planning and decision-making by deans and senior executives, Cal Poly initiated a data warehousing system. This is a cross-divisional effort involving Information Technology Services, Institutional Planning and Analysis, and data providers in Enrollment Support Services, Budget Planning and Administration, Academic Personnel, and Human Resources and Employment Equity. Known by the acronym ODIN, for Optimal Data Information Network, the data warehousing system focuses on user-accessibility through desktop queries. Thus, administrators, staff and faculty across campus can access current, consistent data as needed directly from their computer workstations.

3. Governance and Administration

The CSU Board of Trustees

For a concise overview of the CSU Board of Trustees the reader is referred to the web site maintained by the CSU Office of Public Affairs. The composition, structure, functions and powers of the CSU Board of Trustees are consistent with the standards regarding university-governing boards.

Since Cal Poly's last self study, in 1989, the CSU Board of Trustees has worked collaboratively with successive System Administrations to delegate expanded powers, responsibilities and accountability to the individual campuses, particularly in the areas of resource development and resource and finance administration.


The principal theme of this self-study, "Cal Poly as a Center of Learning," is reflective of the University administration's strong commitment to student learning and faculty and staff professional development. The University President, Warren J. Baker, has served in this capacity for twenty years and is a nationally recognized higher education leader. Through a series of national searches, the University has assembled a senior administrative team committed to supporting excellence in teaching and learning. Cal Poly Organization Charts provide an overview of campus administrative structure, roles and responsibilities. Annual performance reviews, implemented for administrative personnel, provide direction for future performance and professional growth and development and serve as the basis for determining merit salary adjustments.

Major administrative units of the University include the following Divisions: Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Student Affairs, and University Advancement. In addition, the University is supported by the following auxiliary organizations: the Associated Students, Inc. and the Cal Poly Foundation. Ancillary organizations that contribute further to the University and the achievement of its mission include the Cal Poly Alumni Association and the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission.

As described in the Cal Poly Plan (PDF), the administration, under direction of the University President, has joined with faculty, staff and students — and with the System Administration — to explore intensively new strategies to preserve and enhance Cal Poly's distinctiveness, as a polytechnic university, to support student learning and progress to degree, to increase institutional productivity and to ensure accountability.

The Cal Poly Plan grew out of and supports a set of related initiatives, including the University's Strategic Plan, the exploration of Charter Status, implementation of total quality management initiatives, curriculum reform initiatives, Master Plan Review and the emerging Centennial Capital Campaign.

Through a philosophy of "shared responsibility" (among the State of California, the University, students and corporate and individual donors), Cal Poly's administration has also encouraged and supported a multi-pronged resource development effort to facilitate attainment of the University's strategic and operational goals and objectives.


Through the CSU Academic Senate, through the Cal Poly's Academic Senate and through College and departmental committees, the University's faculty play a significant and independent role in shaping and guiding CSU and campus academic programs, and in developing and/or implementing criteria and procedures for faculty hiring, retention, tenure, promotion and merit pay. Active faculty representation on University Standing Committees ensures substantive input on a full range of other University planning and policy issues.


Cal Poly students are encouraged to participate actively in university governance. Students serve on University-wide standing committees, participate in the work of the Academic Senate and work through their own separate corporation — the Associated Students, Inc. — to develop and communicate student positions on a range of policy issues and to implement programs in support of student life at Cal Poly.

The ASI President and Chair are elected by students at large in the annual election process held each Spring Quarter. The Vice President and Vice Chair-of-the-Board are nominated by the ASI President and the Chair-of-the-Board respectively and approved by the Board of Directors. The Vice Chair of ASI/UU Programs and Services is nominated by their subcommittee and approved by the Board of Directors. Programs operated directly by the $10 million a year ASI corporation include: University Union, Recreation Center, Children's Center, and approximately 400 Student Clubs.


Cal Poly staff play critical support roles in the University and its auxiliary and ancillary organizations. Staff are represented on University standing committees and through these consultative bodies play important, active roles in University governance. Over the years, staff have taken the initiative to encourage University attention to key issues. For example, the staff "Cultural Awareness Committee" has fostered awareness and appreciation of the value of diversity at Cal Poly and received the President's "Diversity Award" in both 1997 and 1998.

4. Educational Programs

As mentioned in the section addressing Institutional Integrity, "at Cal Poly, the heart of the matter is learning." We have no hesitation in certifying that our educational programs, which lie at the heart of our efforts to promote learning among our students (both undergraduate and graduate), are in substantial compliance with the provisions of Standard Four. Supporting documentation is extensive.

As a constituent campus of The California State University (CSU), Cal Poly is bound by the provisions of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, as well as by CSU policies, rules, and procedures. These impose on the university an explicit obligation to address most of the compliance items, often in a pre-specified manner, and hold it directly accountable for doing so.

Cal Poly has a well established and relatively mature system of shared governance involving faculty and administrators, with input also from other constituencies (most notably students). Faculty play a key role in shaping academic policy as well as in developing and subsequently assessing educational programs. A curricular review process is established in partnership with Academic Programs and the Academic Senate.

The innovative component of the present Self-Study refers to an ongoing process of change at Cal Poly that is making the university more learner-centered. For example, proposals for curricular change (including new programs, new courses, etc.) are expected to articulate learning outcomes against which the curricula—once approved—are ultimately assessed. As mentioned in the chapter on Student Learning, departments currently differ significantly in the extent to which they comply with these new expectations, but there appears to be clear movement in the direction of greater compliance.

General Education

Cal Poly is in the midst of a major overhaul of its General Education program. After reviewing the GE curriculum which had been in place for the past fifteen years, the Academic Senate spent two years developing recommendations for a revised program (subject to CSU requirements specified in Executive Order 595) which would be more integrated and cohesive than the previous program. The template for the new GE 2001 curriculum has now been adopted, with educational objectives and criteria for course approval spelled out in each area. Built in to the process are provisions for future assessment and the use of assessment results in improving the GE program.

Off-Campus Programs

In July 1998, the WASC Off-Campus and Substantive Change Committee approved Cal Poly's proposal to offer the existing MS in Aeronautical Engineering program at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The first group of students began Spring Quarter classes on March 30, 1999. WASC has been approached about conducting a site review. A copy of the MOU is available for examination in the Academic Programs Office.

Cal Poly proposed to initiate a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in concert with the Rupin Institute in Hefer, Israel. The plan was for a cohort of students (American and Israeli) to complete the first year of the MBA at Rupin, and to complete the second year at Cal Poly. The WASC Off-Campus and Substantive Change Committee approved the proposal in December 1997. The Rupin program has faced several challenges, including a new Israeli Law on higher education, continued conflict in the area, and timing difficulties in marketing the program. The program has yet to begin.

A proposal for the MS Architecture (Taiwan) program was discontinued.

Study Abroad

The primary mission of the International Education and Programs is to provide leadership and the coordination for Cal Poly's international endeavors, and to serve as the principal resource center for global affairs. Cal Poly has been very successful in promoting both its own study abroad programs and those offered by the CSU.

Enrollment Support Services

The Office of Academic Records has a well-developed web page, including information related to registration, articulation, degree credit evaluation and grading and academic standards.

Admission to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, is selective. Helping us make selections from a large number of applicants is an objective, point-based admission process called the Multi-Criteria Allocation (MCA) plan reflecting factors deemed important to our faculty. The Admissions staff have developed an innovative web site that contains many useful links.

Professional Accreditation and External Reviews

Self-study and evaluation team reports from external reviews and the most recent professional accreditation visits are available for review in the Academic Programs Office.

5. Faculty & Staff

Excellence in teaching is the primary purpose of Cal Poly's faculty. Each college has published and distributed to each faculty member the standards for selection, promotion and tenure. High-quality teaching effectiveness continues to be emphasized as the most important criterion for promotion and tenure decisions, and is rigorously evaluated along with scholarship and service to the University and community. The criterion, service to the University and community, has been expanded to recognize the critical value of faculty involvement in diversity-related activities. Post-tenure review extends the University's commitment and expectation to maintain high-quality teaching effectiveness.

In terms of demographics, the percentage of female tenure-track faculty members has steadily increased from 13.5% in 1990, to 19.8% in 1998. The percentage of tenure track faculty from underrepresented ethnic groups increased by only 2.5% over this same period, to a total of 15.9%. By contrast, staff employees from underrepresented groups increased from 21% to nearly 29% between 1990 and 1998. Cal Poly anticipates that 35% of the faculty will likely retire by 2005. This will provide an opportunity and challenge to further enhance the diversification of the faculty in terms of gender and ethnicity. As a matter of University policy, all advertisements for faculty positions state that Cal Poly is strongly committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity and that the University actively encourages applications and nominations of women, persons of color, applicants with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups. Aggressive efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of those Californians qualified for employment is a strategic objective for the University.

Cal Poly has long recognized that its vitality as a university is dependent on an intellectually active and professionally vigorous faculty. Cal Poly endorses the broad definition of the four types of scholarship set forth in the Carnegie Foundation report entitled Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate (scholarship of teaching; discovery; integration; and application). The leave with pay program was recently expanded to allow eligibility for difference in pay leaves to occur every three years rather than six, while eligibility for paid sabbatical leaves continue to be every six years. All probationary faculty are expected to present a written a professional development plan of what they hope to accomplish by the time they are considered for tenure. The plans outline how they intend to provide substantive contributions to their discipline and how those activities can be useful in keeping their teaching current and dynamic. With regard to support staff, Cal Poly recognizes that activities that lead to professional growth and achievement are essential to providing excellence in support of students and faculty. Staff members are expected and encouraged to be proficient and current in their professions.

Full-time faculty members normally have teaching assignments in excess of twelve weighted teaching units per quarter. The heavy teaching workload has been further impacted by the increased emphasis on scholarly productivity and technology-driven change. Internal and external pressures to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into the curriculum have compelled the faculty to devote more time to refine the curricula to make full and appropriate use of technology's capabilities. In addition to being a content specialists in their respective disciplines, faculty need time, support, and access to resources to develop new skills, materials, and strategies that are needed to incorporate technology, where appropriate, into the curriculum and learning environment. Cal Poly is faced with the major challenge to providing comprehensive support and reward programs to encourage the appropriate use of technology as a means of achieving desired learning outcomes. In addition, Cal Poly continues to face the challenge of bringing the teaching load of faculty into line with the expectations for professional development and scholarly activity.

Compensation for faculty and staff are negotiated through the collective bargaining process. Merit pay (pay for performance) was introduced into the collective bargaining contracts in 1996. Merit pay is intended to recognize and reward the individual and collective achievements of faculty and staff. The faculty, through the Academic Senate, were involved in developing the guidelines and policies for implementing the faculty merit increase program. In addition, the salary schedules for faculty and staff have been transformed from structured rank/step schedules to open pay ranges. It is expected the increased flexibility in compensating faculty will allow more competitive base salaries to be offered to new faculty, and to reward the accomplishments continuing faculty and staff members

As stated in its mission, "Cal Poly is dedicated to complete respect for human rights and the development of the full potential of each of its individual members. Cal Poly is committed to providing an environment where all share in the common responsibility to safeguard each other's rights, encourage a mutual concern for individual growth and appreciate the benefits of a diverse campus community."

6. Library, Computing and Other Information and Learning Resources

Within the Library and Information Technology Services (ITS), we see our role as ensuring that these units are strategically positioned to anticipate and respond effectively to the diverse information needs of students, faculty and others. Although more could always be accomplished with higher levels of funding, we believe that the information and learning resources which we currently offer are sufficient to support institutional offerings at appropriate levels.


Information regarding the services provided by the Kennedy Library, as well as direct access to many of these services, are available on-line.

Looking to the future, we began the Library Strategic Planning Process in 1998 with a library-wide retreat. What emerged from the productive work accomplished by the staff was the identification of areas of strategic importance to the Library, united by a major theme: Reaching Out. These initiatives are essential to the vision of the Library and will serve as the road map to the future.

The strategic plan has given us the opportunity to articulate our vision and refine and realign our mission and values accordingly. We found especially valuable the analysis of the library's external and internal environments, the special review of our collections program, and the extensive stakeholder analysis.

Feedback on the plan was solicited through a variety of methodologies, including interviews with college deans and meetings with campus administrators, and surveys to all teaching faculty, a statistical sampling of students, all library faculty and support staff and other stakeholders. In addition, a special strategic planning advisory committee was formed, comprised of teaching faculty and undergraduate and graduate student representatives, to provide additional input.

The library's strategic plan provides a multi-year framework for directing goals and objectives and priorities to support the university's teaching and learning mission.

Information and Technology Services (ITS)

ITS provides and supports the technology infrastructure needed to meet the University's teaching/learning mission. Information technology is viewed as a means—not an end—to support and transform teaching and learning and the quality of education and service. Details of the services currently provided by ITS are available at the division's web site.

The vision of ITS is to build a "professional IT capability" that supports and advances the Cal Poly information technology infrastructure and its effective use, provides responsive consulting and support services for all users, and encourages the use of technology to attain the CSU vision that "by 2005, all students, faculty, and staff will have anywhere/anytime electronic access to information resources in support of the teaching-learning missions of the University."

In 1998, ITS launched a comprehensive planning process designed to systematically identify the requirements of our principal stakeholders and to drive these requirements into our strategic plan and operational priorities.

Initiatives in recent years have been established to support excellence in teaching and learning. The Provost appointed a Task Group to examine the role of Distributed and Distance Learning at Cal Poly. A subsequent Study Group evaluated the needs and opportunities for supporting the advancement of teaching and learning with particular attention being paid to the roles of information technology. Finally, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Provost convened a Charette to develop a strategy and design for distributed teaching and learning. These efforts produced recommendations that were included in the planning for the development of Integrated Media Services.


The overarching theme or common thread that links both the Library's and ITS' strategic planning initiatives is that both are about change, choice and focus. Planning was based on the premise that our organizations will change as a result, will become better at what we do. The decision to change means that choices must be made—how our respective organizations will use its people, money, equipment, etc. Finally, during implementation of our plans, we have constantly focused on the values, vision and goals that we have articulated to ensure that we are contributing to the unique teaching and learning mission of the university.

7. Student Services and the Co-Curricular Learning Environment

The Mission of the Student Affairs Division is to advance and encourage the learning and personal development of students. Together with the university, the Student Affairs Division is committed to the principle of integrating Student Affairs programs and services into the student's total learning environment, in and out of the classroom, and fostering within each student respect and responsibility for self and members of the greater community.

The delivery of student services and programs is influenced by an on going assessment of student needs, the campus climate and established outcomes. These factors serve as the backdrop to the dynamic evolution of the Student Affairs Division Strategic Plan. While some may consider the co-curricular experience to be separate from classroom learning, we have challenged our thinking to stretch beyond this dichotomy. We believe it is our obligation to look at the total learning experience for our students and to examine campus programs from that perspective. What follows reflects specific efforts to not only meet the WASC standards for student services and the co-curricular learning environment but to substantially exceed these standards.

Co-Curricular Educational Growth

Cal Poly, and in particular the division of Student Affairs, regularly participates in identifying the characteristics and learning needs of the student population through SNAPS, the Astin survey, open forums, student government feedback, specific needs assessment surveys, and various task force efforts. Documented examples of these efforts include analyses and survey reports as well as verbal input from faculty, staff and students involved in committee and task force work for the Cal Poly Plan (PDF), the ASI/Cal Poly Recruitment and Outreach Center, SAFER/VIP, First Year Initiative (FYI), the Career Services post-graduate survey, and the Lottery funded High Risk Student research project, to name a few. Recommendations flowing from these efforts resulted in new initiatives that are also reflected in the reference documents.

In addition to materials published by the office of Campus Student Relations and Judicial Affairs, Cal Poly recognized a need to strengthen administrative processes related to various student rights and responsibilities. To this end the office of Ombuds Services and Educational Equity Programs was created. As this new function evolved over the past two years, administrative policies and procedures regarding disabled student needs, academic records access, harassment cases, and academic integrity have received a great deal of attention. To increase consistent and impartial implementation, briefing sessions and materials are made available to faculty, department employees and students at key periods of the year. There are also efforts to make this information available to parents through mailings and Parent Association functions.

Cal Poly students participate in over 350 student organizations with 135 faculty and staff advisors. Their involvement is directly supported in partnership by the administrative units of Student Life and Associated Student, Inc. Students regularly participate in university governance functions. Through ASI, College Councils, Interhall Council, the Cal Poly Plan Advisory Committee, and a host of other advisory groups, students provide valuable input into policy and procedure decision-making processes. Referendum and alternative consultation under CSU regulations provide additional structure for student input.

The Student Affairs web site offers the reader a virtual tour of student services and activities. Cal Poly is well known for its successful Week of Welcome (WOW). WOW and other orientation programs are sponsored by Student Life, college advising staffs and Student Academic Services. The Student Handbook is provided to new students during their participation in orientation activities. The publication is a joint ASI and Student Life effort.

Cal Poly enjoys one of the finest Career Services programs in the country. We are on the cutting of technological applications for web-based services. Employers and students provide consistent feedback that the institution excels in this area. Learning outcome and assessment efforts provide feedback for continual program improvement.

The Housing & Residential Life department coordinates Living/Learning Program partnerships with Colleges and individual faculty members. New initiatives include freshmen courses offered in the halls. A new 800-bed student apartment complex is expected to be completed in August 2003.

Student and Faculty Involvement

The Student Affairs Council, ASI, Interhall Residence Council and the Instructionally Related Activities Committee (IRA) are but a few of the many venues for student and faculty involvement in policy development, program evaluation and planning co-curricular learning. Additional opportunities are reflected in the supporting documentation.

Evaluation and Planning

Student Affairs has received many acknowledgments for leading campus assessment efforts. Documents such as the Strategic Plan, annual reports and learning outcome assessment reports demonstrate a continuing effort directed at program improvement.

These efforts are best reflected in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan. A major divisional restructure occurred this year to develop new learning opportunities for students and to make the division more integrated, collaborative, effective, and efficient. The vision of Student Affairs is to be a model organization for providing programs, services and partnerships to enhance the total learning environment of the University community and to commit ourselves to overall institutional effectiveness commensurate with the fine reputation that Cal Poly enjoys.

8. Physical Resources

The "innovative" component of the self-study included two researchable questions relating to physical resources, namely:

To what extent do the facilities at Cal Poly support current and future learning and how can they be improved?

To what extent does the activity of providing facilities at Cal Poly support current and future learning and how can it be improved?

The results of our inquiry in this area - described in the accompanying chapter entitled Facilities Design - together with other evidence (see below) support our contention that we are substantially in compliance with Standard 8.

9. Financial Resources

Financial Stability Statement (August 4, 1999)

As a campus of the California State University (CSU), Cal Poly's operations are funded primarily via the General Fund of the State of California (1). This includes most expenditures for instruction, academic support, student services, administrative services and operation and maintenance of the physical plant.

General Fund appropriations are dependent to varying degrees upon the will of the legislature and the governor and the state of the economy from year to year. Since the appropriation process is political it can be influenced by numerous factors that are beyond the control of the university. Over the years a variety of legislatures and governors have consistently supported the CSU in a manner that has been adequate to allow for continuation of most programs and a limited amount of expansion.

Cal Poly has received its share of CSU appropriations relative to the number of students enrolled with occasional recognition of the higher than normal (for the CSU) cost of its polytechnic programs in the form of slightly higher levels of funding. In recent years the CSU has backed away from differentiating in favor of these higher cost programs, which has put an additional burden on Cal Poly to obtain funding by soliciting donations from alumni, corporate benefactors and other sources. While Cal Poly has been reasonably successful in this effort, it would be fair to say that it has placed an additional burden on the university.

In past years funding for construction of buildings and other improvements has been provided primarily through the state's capital outlay budget process, often by way of general obligation bonds. In recent years funds from general obligation bonds have become more limited. Recent capital outlay projects have been funded via CSU revenue bonds, by grants from external sources, by partnerships with other campus organizations or external entities, and by a variety of other creative approaches. The virtue of funding by general obligation bonds from Cal Poly's perspective is that Cal Poly and the CSU are not responsible for the debt service on these bonds. Most other arrangements (aside from outright grants) result in obligations of one sort or another for Cal Poly (and/or the CSU, which affects Cal Poly indirectly, if not directly).

The university also operates self-supporting programs for continuing education (2), housing (3) and parking (4) and receives additional support through the State's lottery fund (5) and indirect support via various federal, state and privately funded financial aid programs.

The continuing education program is relatively small and is independent of, and essentially unrelated for financial purposes, to the regular instructional program.

The housing program has been successful from both the financial and operational perspectives. Occupancy rates during the academic year hover around 100% for the current 2,700 beds. Debt service requirements have always been more than met, and substantial reserves have been built. An expansion of about 800 beds in a complex of apartment style units is currently in the planning stages.

The parking program has also been financially stable. A 1,200-space parking garage is currently under construction. This facility is fully funded from CSU parking system reserves. An additional parking garage is planned for the future.

Capital projects for housing and parking are funded via the sale of revenue bonds and/or via retained earnings.

In summary, there is reason for guarded optimism relative to Cal Poly's current and future financial resources.

  1. These funds, which are appropriated annually by the State Legislature, amounted to over $120 million for the 98/99 fiscal year. Additional funds for General Fund operations were provided by fees and other receipts in the amount of about $32 million. Gross expenditures were $152 million plus reimbursed activities of $18 million.
  2. Expenditures for the 98/99 fiscal year were about $1.1 million.
  3. Expenditures for the 98/99 fiscal year were about $7.2 million.
  4. Expenditures for the 98/99 fiscal year were about $1.4 million.
  5. Expenditures for the 98/99 fiscal year were about $1 million.

Debt Service Schedule


The University is obligated under various capital and operating leases and installment purchase agreements for the acquisition of equipment. Capital leases consist primarily of leases of certain computer, facility, energy efficiency and telecommunications equipment, with a carrying value of $7,257,130 at June 30, 1998. The leases bear interest at rates ranging from 3.5% to 6.2% and have terms expiring in various years through 2001.

The University has several operating leases for faculty workstations. The operating leases expire in the fiscal year 2000. The leases can be canceled if the state does not provide adequate funding.

Future minimum lease payments under capital and operating leases having remaining terms in excess of one year as of June 30, 1998 are as follows:

Annual Capital & Operating Lease Payments
Date - Year ending June 30: Capital leases Operating leases
1999 1,669,038 581,468
2000 1,646,559 581,468
2001 1,157,903

Total minimum lease payments

4,473,500 1,162,936
Less amount representing interest 316,448  
Present value of future minimum lease payments 4,157,052  

Lease financing is provided to the System for the construction of various system and campus facilities through its participation with the State of California in the State Public Works Board Lease Revenue Bond Program. Certain capital assets recorded by the University may have been financed under these arrangements. However, since the obligation for the repayment of this financing rests with the System and the proceeds of such financing are not readily identifiable with a campus or project, a substantial portion of such financing is not allocated to the individual campuses of the System.

Long-Term Debt Obligations

Long-term debt obligations of the University as of June 30, 1998 consist of the following:

Long-Term Debt Obligations
Description Interest rate Fiscal year maturity date Original issue amount Amount outstanding
Housing System Revenue Bonds — Series B 3.00% 2006/07 3,803,265 1,130,000
Student Union Revenue Bonds — Series A 3.00 2007/08 3,000,000 1,248,243
Koch Financial Corporation 5.00 2001/02 3,055,634 3,055,634
Koch Financial Corporation 5.00 2005/06 1,736,960 1,534,350
Koch Financial Corporation 6.00 2001/02 50,903 41,612
Koch Financial Corporation 6.00 2001/02 368,040 287,252
Total long-term debt obligations       7,297,091

The University has pledged the net revenues from housing and a portion of student fees to retire the related revenue bonds.

Financing provided to the California State University system through State of California General Obligation Bonds is not allocated to the University by the State of California. Certain capital assets recorded by the University may have been financed under these arrangements. This debt remains the obligation of the state and is funded by state tax revenues. Accordingly, such debt is not reflected in the accompanying combined financial statements.

Long-term debt principal obligations outstanding at June 30, 1998 mature in the following fiscal years:

Annual Long-Term Debt Principal Obligations
Year Debt
1999 1,156,533
2000 1,226,209
2001 1,288,381
2002 1,358,338
2003 450,505
2004 and thereafter 1,817,125
Total 7,297,091

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