The California State University (CSU) system is comprised of 23 campuses, including 22 university campuses and the California Maritime Academy. The system is administered by the Board of Trustees, which includes the following 25 members: 5 ex officio members, 16 members appointed by the Governor to eight-year terms, and 4 members appointed by the Governor to two-year terms (two student representatives, one voting and one non-voting, and one representative each of faculty and alumni). The Trustees appoint the Chancellor, who is the chief executive officer of the system, and the presidents, who are the chief executive officers of the respective campuses.
The California State Colleges were brought together as a system by the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960. In 1972, the system became the California State University and Colleges; the name of the system was changed to the California State University in January 1982. The oldest campus, San Jose State University, was founded in 1857 and became the first institution of public higher education in California.
The Trustees, the Chancellor, and the presidents develop systemwide policy. The systemwide Academic Senate, made up of elected faculty representatives from each campus, recommends academic policy to the Board of Trustees through the Chancellor. While each campus has its own unique geographic and curricular character, all campuses offer undergraduate and graduate instruction for professional and occupational goals and liberal education programs. For undergraduate programs, each campus requires a basic program of general education, regardless of the major selected by the student. In addition to a wide array of master's level graduate programs designed to prepare students for careers that enhance the community, the CSU offers the doctorate programs in education, nursing practice, and physical therapy, as well as a limited number of doctoral degrees offered jointly with the University of California and with private California institutions.
The program goals are:
- To provide instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, the professions, applied fields that require more than two years of college education, and teacher education to undergraduate students and graduate students through the master's degree.
- To provide public services to the people of the state of California.
- To provide services to students enrolled in the university.
- To prepare administrative leaders for elementary and secondary schools and community colleges with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective leaders by awarding the doctorate degree in education.
- To prepare physical therapists to provide health care services by awarding the doctorate degree in physical therapy.
- To prepare faculty to teach in postsecondary nursing programs and, in so doing, help address California's nursing shortage by awarding the doctorate degree in nursing practice.
Because department programs drive the need for infrastructure investment, each department has a related capital outlay program to support this need. For specifics on the California State University's capital outlay program, see "Infrastructure Overview."