During a virtual press conference Wednesday, Sept. 30, chancellor-select Joseph Castro introduced himself to a Zoom room of about 20 student media members.
The current president of Fresno State University was announced as the incoming chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system on Sept. 23, and he will take over from his predecessor Chancellor Timothy White on Jan. 4, 2021.
The retirement of Chancellor White comes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in the country at large. Castro said he was motivated to lead during this time, because “it is a consequential time in our history and the CSU is well-positioned to provide that leadership for California and the United States.”
Castro said his top priority in his new role is continued progress on the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025, a plan to increase graduation rates and eliminate equity gaps that affect degree completion. Beyond that, he said he wants to focus on building and strengthening relationships with elected officials in Sacramento and Washington D.C. He said he also wants to consider more ways to use technology to enhance teaching and learning.
The chancellor-select is a first-generation college graduate, and he will be the first chancellor of color to serve the CSU system.
On the topic of diversity, Castro said he will aim to increase diversity at both the student and faculty levels. Castro said he is committed to the successful implementation of Assembly Bill 1460, which requires all students to take an ethnic studies course to graduate. He added that he looks forward to continuing that work in his new role.
“I think that we need to look at the strategies that we have utilized in the past and presently, and continuously ask, ‘Are these the right strategies going forward?’” Castro said.