The benefits of the CGE program to the Fresno State university, are quite significant. Firstly, it operates as a “ rapid-response team”, meeting the current training needs. This strategy helps the university to attract additional students, who would have never become a client of the California State University, Fresno otherwise. Secondly, it helps to assist local communities to adjust the profile of the labour force to the demands of the current market, thus improving the quality of life of the local communities. Moreover, it operates as a self-sustaining unit, therefore CGE not only does not require significant investment, but also contributes to the university’s revenues. These benefits are further reinforced by the fact that Fresno State is the pioneer of CGE programs and the success of the unit will shape the expectations for similar programs across the CSU system.
The main strategic issue that is faced by Continuing and Global Education Program of Fresno State is the lack of awareness about the programs among the university staff and faculty. As it is common to believe that the focus of any university is the provision of full-time undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the role of CGE programs is often underestimated. This fact raises structural, functional, and financial challenges for the university. Structural issues relate to the interconnectedness of the CGE and regular university programs. The allocation of CGE to a separate unit makes it hard to derive synergies with other programs and to foster collaboration among teaching staff of the two program types. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about CGE within the Fresno State university and to integrate the unit into the respective department of the university. This strategy would help to make sure that the continuing education and regular degree programs could tap into each other’s knowledge, thus fostering collaboration and resource sharing.
There are also several functional issues related to CGE. Thus, there is no clear definition of the activities developed by the unit as the number and the variety of courses continues to expand. This ambiguity of CGE tasks and activities as well as the possibility of an overlap with other programs could lead to further confusion. This challenge can be overcome by further fostering communication and collaboration among the programs, thus making it easier for the university faculty and staff to understand the role of CGE and its value-added in the university.
Financial challenges related to CGE partially stem from the lack of awareness about the program and the low acceptance of its importance for the university. As CGE operates as a self-support unit, all revenues come from the fees paid by students. However, this fact makes it hard for the program to invest in further development as well as to provide grants and other types of financial support. Wider recognition of the role of CGE as well as its financial needs could facilitate further development of the unit and help CGE to achieve its objectives.
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