By Margaret Chantung
For 25 years Cal State San Marcos has trailblazed a new pathway in uncharted territory for public higher education. Defined by its strategic priorities—Academic Excellence, Student Life, Campus Climate, Community Engagement and Diversity and Educational Equity—the University has steered toward success to become a mature, first-choice institution that is positively transforming its region.
“But if we are to succeed at impacting tomorrow together, we must also agree on a destination,” President Haynes stated at her 12th Annual Report to the Community on February 4. “I believe that destination must be a revisioned American Dream.”
In the traditional model of the American Dream, each new generation enjoys a better standard of living than their parents. College was once a primary part of that dream—but at the very time when global competitiveness depends on a well-educated citizenry, educational access is slipping. Projections show that at today’s enrollment rates, by the year 2030 California will have a 1.1 million degree gap between the total state output of bachelor’s degrees and what the state’s workforce will require.
“We must reset our compass toward this new reality— the new American Dream of a college education for all in our region who seek it – and we must do so by renewing our collective commitment to three critical goals: Increasing access to higher education…embracing innovation in all that we do…and building global awareness within our curriculum and among our students,” said Haynes.
Speaking to the approximately 600 individuals in attendance from business, civic and service organizations, Haynes noted that for far too many youth in CSUSM’s region, the American Dream of a college education remains out of reach. But, in the face of insufficient state support— Governor Brown proposed funding for only one percent growth for the coming 2016-2017 academic year—she said that CSUSM is committed to growing enrollment.
For example, new online programs are serving more students while providing additional convenience for working adults.
“A great example of this, and a big win for California, is our online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which we launched in partnership with major health care providers in our region— Kaiser, Palomar and Scripps— to help meet their needs for qualified medical professionals,” shared Haynes. “Since the program began just this past fall with 50 students, its enrollment has grown by an additional 650 students, and for this calendar year we project another 1,250 enrollments. In just two years, we will be making those new American dreams come true for 2,000 registered nurses.”
In addition, CSUSM at Temecula continues to be Southwest Riverside County’s only four-year public institution of higher learning. The campus, founded in 2008 thanks to a partnership with the Cities of Temecula and Murrieta, Mount San Jacinto College and the Temecula Valley Unified School District, has now graduated 400 students.
In order to be successful in extending the dream of college to more students, innovation is key. President Haynes highlighted “high impact practices”—techniques and designs for teaching and learning that have been proven to be beneficial for student engagement and learning among students from diverse backgrounds—including experiential learning.
“[Students] work alongside dedicated faculty and community partners to conduct research in the lab and in the field,” she shared. “They tackle real-world business challenges. They design and lead important social justice initiatives. They develop creative solutions to pressing regional, national and global issues.”
Two other high impact practices highlighted by Haynes was the newly launched Cougar Care Network, a safety net for students experiencing challenges inside or outside the classroom, and the real-time Degree Planner tool which gives students a visual presentation of their academic status with recommendations on the quickest path to graduation.
In a world that is more interconnected than ever, the need for enhanced global awareness, multi-cultural competence and cross-cultural cooperation is greater than ever.
From global education programs to a new event series titled Conversations that Matter that presents speakers, films and facilitated workshops aimed at opening minds, questioning assumptions and broadening understanding, the University continues to be committed to helping all students feel safe, valued and appreciated.
In her speech Haynes highlighted several awards that CSUSM has recently earned, including Insight into Diversity Magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, a $2.6 million U.S. Department of Education grant to enhance Latino retention and graduation, a $2.5 million grant from Governor Brown to support first-year students, and ongoing recognition for serving veterans and their family members.
Looking forward, Haynes said that Cal State San Marcos is committed to creating programs that graduate students who are academically prepared, socially responsible and career ready.
Recently CSUSM launched a Master’s Degree in cybersecurity— the only one of its kind in California—and a hospitality and tourism management option for the Specialized MBA program. On the horizon, the University is in the early stages of developing an “Enginbeering” program that will focus on the business of craft beer as well as brewing science and brewery engineering. The campus will also soon launch a Master of Public Health and a Master of Science in Health Information Management.
“The silver tsunami” is another issue that Haynes has on the University’s radar, an issue that led the campus to create the system-wide Institute for Palliative Care in 2012.
“It’s been said that ‘great achievement has no road map’ and that there can be no gain without some risk,” said Haynes. “I stand ready, with you by our side, to go where no university has gone before…to impact tomorrow together.”
Watch a video message from President Haynes below and read her complete speech online.