|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2008)|
Jolene Koester holds a Ph.D. in speech communication and served as the fourth president of California State University, Northridge from July 2000 through December 2011.
Koester earned a Bachelor's of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 1970, a Master's of Arts in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1971, and a Ph.D. in speech communication from Minnesota in 1980. She began her faculty career as a professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento in 1980. She held various executive positions in the academic affairs division at Sacramento State prior to her appointment as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs in 1993.
At the beginning of her presidency at Northridge, Koester identified several goals to serve as the focus of the campus' efforts. These include improving graduation rates, creating a user-friendly campus, strengthening the University's connections to the community, and increasing fundraising. In spring 2006, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed and the Board of Trustees completed their its second three-year performance evaluation of President Koester. The public summary concluded that Dr. Koester "continues to deliver an outstanding performance as president of a very large urban university."
Koester announced her retirement from the CSU system at the end of 2011.
As an active member of the community, Koester serves on the boards of directors for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, and the Southern California Biomedical Council. She also is a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and the Los Angeles Jobs and Economy Committee. Known nationally for her leadership in the area of higher education, she serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education's Commission on Women in Higher Education. In November 2007, Koester was named chair-elect of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and served as chair in 2008-09.
In 2008, CSU, Northridge celebrated its 50th anniversary as the only public university located in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, home to about 1.8 million residents.