San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan is retiring after nearly 24 years in the post — and he’s not leaving quietly. He says Governor Jerry Brown isn’t doing enough to protect state colleges and universities from cuts. Corrigan joins us to talk about his career, and the future of higher education.

Robert Corrigan, president of San Francisco State University

  • David L

    By necessity, I left an elite university in the midwest to return home to San Francisco and finished my degree at SFSU. I know I received a much better education at SFSU than I was getting at the other institution. The main difference was the personal interaction with the professors creating a community of learning. Doctor Corrigan did great things to both maintain and enhance that quality. I went on to get my MBA at their excellent business school and developed my skills through the Open University. San Francisco State is a unique asset to the Bay Area, and thank you Doctor Corrigan for what you’ve done during your tenure. 

  • Diane

    I attended SFSU 20 years ago and was similar to students attending now-  I worked and supported myself while attending and commuting….  I found that the classes I needed to finish my degree became more and more difficult to schedule myself in to or they weren’t available.   My neighbor, now a senior attending SFSU is having the same problem.

    I ended up dropping out.  What I learned at SFSU was extremely relevant and I still use the skills and information I got from college.  I am just disapppointed that I couldn’t finish.  I have been able to do work that is meaningful and interesting despite not completing my degree.  I do recognize, particularly in this economy, that if I had a degree I would be more marketable in my field.  That said, because of my experience and knowledge, I was able to beat out folks with degrees (even phds!) for my current position.

    Are there any programs here in CA that help folks such as myself to go back and finish our degrees?

    • Bruce


      I teach at SF State now, and we have lots of students returning to finish degrees.  We have lots of students doing a course or two at a time while working full time.  I don’t know what your area of study is, but I’d encourage you to look at the web site and explore the possibilities for finishing your degree.

  • I’d like to hear more about alternatives to college education. Yes it expands your horizons but as tuition increases, a higher education has become inaccessible to more and more people.

  • Neal

    I just got my Master’s this Spring from SFSU in Computer Science. I also completed my undergraduate degrees at SFSU.  While able to get a decent internship  that might (hopefully) lead a good job at a nice company, I find the prospects of competing in Silicon Valley against Cal and Stanford (not to mention MIT and such) completely daunting.  I graduated at top of my class, Phi Beta Kappa, etc… 

    The president says the rank and file in the tech companies are coming from State, but that’s not what I’m seeing out here.  It was very difficult after completing my undergraduate to get a company to even look at me for an internship.   

    What does Dr. Corrigan think about making SFSU more  competitive  in Silicon Valley, not just in computers, but all Science and Engineering? It already has a great advantage – simple proximity to one of the largest economic engines on the planet.  How can  SFSU make employers come to it?

  • SF State has a strong Extended Learning program. Our changes ahead to utilize the resources within Extended Learning to help offset the 84 million that the university is losing? It seems to me that Extended Learning could be a huge benefit to SF State as a whole at this point

  • Sam

    What about the inflated wages of administrators and reagents? There are people working for the public colleges in California making hundreds of thousands of dollars against workers making minimum wage and even professors making middle-class wages. It seems unfair that these figures, mostly unelected, have colossal salaries while working class and middle class people are suffering more each year. Perhaps it would be a drop in the bucket in terms of overall costs but there is an inherent injustice in that.

  • Ellen Carlton

    As a 20 year + CSU professor I appreciate the respectful, supportive comments Dr. Corrigan has made about faculty. Why does he think that Chancellor Read consistently belittles the CSU faculty in the public media? The outstanding dedicated faculty is the most valuable resource of the CSU.

  • Jason

    My partner and I are both SF State grads and are very thankful for the education we received, we now own a local food manufacturing company and want to create jobs for sfsu grads.. what is the best way to partner with the school to grow our business and create internships and jobs for recent graduates?
    Jason J
    Jack & Jason’s brands
    San Francisco

  • $11803811

    this was beyond fantastic.  thank you!

  • DanielDanielson

    I am astonished to not see many comments from the faculty or CFA representatives here. I taught at SFSU for about four years and quit in 2007. You should see the e-mail correspondence from CFA (it is the union) about the state of things with collective bargaining, salary of the top officials, golden parachutes, realty acquisitions, and other abuse that was typical not jjust for SFSU but for all CSU system back in 2004-2007.

    Just for your information (and thank you Sam, you were the one who brought that up). Mr. Corrigan’s earnings around year 2006-2007 were (not exactly but close to) 240k plus 60k home allowance plius 40k car allowance. At the same time a lecturer with 15 unit load was getting paid something like 37k/yr.

    BUT … you want to know that in our departments at College of Science 15 units were equivalent to 5 lecture classes a semester (3 units = 1 lecture class) or seven and a half lab classes. NOTE that there was no way you could  have been given that load because there was tenure faculty and TAs who needed the work.

    So, a lecturer was by definition a part-time job. My load was 11 units and I felt overworked, honestly. Do the math: about 27k/ year with a Ph.D. degree!

    Perhaps now it is more clear to you how Mr. Corrigan did the “diversification” of faculty he was bragging about. No longer white males but more women and people of color. Why? No offense … it is not sexism, I would never do that. I know that there are single women who raise kids. But I was at CFA meetings and heard from women-lecturers that the ONLY way they could survive on that was because their husbands were getting paid reasonably well.

    Ohh … that was me throwing up.

    But I agree that faculty is still doing a pretty good job despite the meager  compensation. They should be highly praised and it is them who should be on the shows, not the old fox Corrigan.

  • DanielDanielson


    Sorry, one more thing. He started out bashing the Governor for not supporting CSU. 

    The public needs to know how over years CSU officials managed to eliminate or minimize the state’s control over their activities through the Board of Trustees, primarily finances. Schwarzenegger helped that during his tenure.

    The CSU Chancellor Reed has been called to the State Capitol around year 2006 and had to give explanations as far as the state of affairs in CSU and his leadership. The reaction of the State legislature was (very close to an exact quote): “The State legislature is loosing patience observing the mismanage and finance abuse that go on in the CSU system”.

    I am surprised (maybe those calls have been weeded out by the screeners) that no one from CFA called in and asked about the construction projects and other misuse of the taxpayers money.

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