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CSUSM is Community Engaged for the Common Good

By: Karen Haynes, CSUSM PresidentIn February I delivered my eighth annual Report to the Community where I shared my vision for Cal State San Marcos and our importance to this region.Higher education is under attack. State support is on the verge of falling 35 percent during a time when the need for an educated workforce is growing.College graduates are the ones who will help propel our region forward, so I want to make it clear that public education is a public good. CSUSM possesses an unwavering belief in the ability of education to transform lives and entire communities — and we do so every day by preparing tomorrow’s leaders, building better communities, solving critical issues and engaging our community for the common good.Our goals to raise educational attainment rates, provide improved access to higher education and offer experiences that will enable our students to lead our region — and state — into the next century are at the core of every CSUSM program.Through increased services and support, we are skillfully guiding students from admission to graduation. In fact our student continuation rate is 13 points above the national average! We are raising the educational attainment rates and, thus, the prosperity of our region.As a committed and engaged institution, Cal State San Marcos believes that for our region to thrive, students’ education must extend beyond the classroom and into our communities. Just one example of this is our science students who are using child’s play to teach ecology to fourth graders at Twin Oaks Valley Elementary School.There are many ways to build better communities, and Cal State San Marcos contributes to all of them. Obviously, our economic effect is large. Since 2009, our impact on our region has manifested itself in nearly one hundred million dollars of capital projects.Through Leadership North County and Chamber Champions, we are nurturing the growth of community members and spreading our message of education, training, consulting and community building.As a public university, I believe that community engagement is a moral obligation.Quite simply, community engagement makes sense because it builds on a core CSUSM strength: putting academic inquiry at the service of solving real-world problems.Faculty, students and alumni are currently involved in innovative and important research. Every discipline at CSUSM aims to solve the critical issues that are vital to our region’s growth. We truly are this region’s great agent of change and progress.When you think about all that we have accomplished, can you imagine what we’d be doing if higher education weren’t under attack?We must continue to move forward as a university, a community united in purpose and in action. This region’s prosperity clearly rests on the success of Cal State San Marcos.Engaged for the common good — preparing tomorrow’s leaders, building better communities, solving critical issues — there is no limit to what an educated region can do.