Thomas W. Durso
California State University, San Bernardino

When the California State system allowed its schools to levy additional fees to fund student success initiatives, leaders at Cal State, San Bernardino went in a novel direction: They set up a venture capital program.

The Vital and Expanded Technologies Initiative—or, VETI—is one of four programs the university launched with the additional revenue. VETI provides competitive grants to colleges and departments to fund technology projects that directly enhance student learning and success.

“Technology is a part of everything the students do at the university,” says Samuel Sudhakar, vice president for information technology services and chief information officer. “It’s an integral part of their success.”

VETI mostly funds one-time projects. In 2015-16, these projects included an upgrade to the Multimedia Language Center Computer Lab, development of advanced handheld GPS technology for the department of geography and more than a dozen other efforts. Funded year after year are a library laptop lending program and one for development of mobile applications.

Eight months and then two years after receiving funding, VETI grant recipients submit a report describing project activities and challenges. Tracking outcomes helps ensure that future grants go to worthy projects, says Sudhakar. “Every penny that is spent on these initiatives has to have a direct impact on student success.”

Inside the program

  • VETI grants are awarding by a committee comprising students, faculty members and staff, with students in the majority
  • VETI is managed by the university's Information Technology Services in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Over the last three years, VETI has funded more than four dozen projects.