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16:35 PM

Haynes Praises CSUSM's Unique Culture at Convocation

By Margaret Chantung

President Karen Haynes launched the start of the fall 2014 academic year at her annual Convocation address on Thursday, August 21.

Speaking to nearly 600 faculty and staff, she reflected on recent University accomplishments, applauding the talent, perseverance, determination and resiliency of the institution and the people who make it all possible.

“Everyone here understands that our work is about more than ourselves; it’s about our entire Universitya place that’s tremendously important to our region, that’s forward thinking and innovative and that transforms lives, builds better communities and solves critical issues,” said Haynes.

Watch the 2014 Convocation Video, highlighting the distinct culture of CSUSM that produces extraordinary results.

Institutional Accomplishments

In her remarks, Haynes emphasized the unique culture of CSUSM that led the Chronicle of Higher Education to name it the only public four-year university in the state as a Great College to Work For®. In a survey administered by the publication, more than 80 percent of employees agreed that they are given the freedom and responsibility to do their jobs.

“At the heart of our work and commitment to success lies accountability—the willingness to take responsibility for achieving goals, and the individual and institutional drive to make that achievement a reality,” she said.

A few recent accomplishments that she highlighted included:

  • Being one of the first CSUs to launch the college scheduler, a web-based planner that enables students to see, in real time, every possible schedule option with open courses.
  • Closing the achievement gap in one-year continuation rates between underrepresented minority students and majority students.
  • Graduating 2,600 students in May—52 percent of whom were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree.

A University for the Region

Haynes also spoke about CSUSM’s commitment to raising the region’s educational attainment rate, creating a student body that mirrors the external community, and producing well-prepared, ready-to-lead graduates who will stay local and give back.

“Half of our student body self-identifies as being from an underrepresented student population,” she said. “Last academic year, Hispanic students, at 37 percent, accounted for our largest population—the first time ever in our history.”

Among many recent accomplishments highlighting CSUSM’s work to become a diverse and inclusive environment, Haynes noted that CSUSM is:

  • Educating more former foster youth per capita than any university in the United States.
  • Retaining students in the College Assistance Migrant Program at 95 percent annually.
  • Increasing the six-year graduation rate for African American students with year over year improvement over the past decade.

Forward Together

“People matter,” Haynes stressed. “What we do matters. Culture matters.”

As CSUSM enters the fall 2014 semester and prepares for 25th anniversary celebrations in 2015, she applauded faculty and staff.

“We are accountable,” Haynes said. “We are supportive, inclusive and proud. That is who we are. That is the culture of CSUSM. Imagine how much more we will achieve in the coming years: forward together.”

Read a PDF of President Haynes’ complete Convocation remarks.