San Marcos,
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CSUSM Receives $1 Million Award from California Learning Lab

Cal State San Marcos is part of only six project teams in the state to receive a full award in the first request for proposals from the California Education Learning Lab, a grant-making program that seeks to close equity and achievement gaps in STEM and other disciplines.  

CSUSM was selected last week to receive a Learning Lab award of up to $1,038,000 over three years. The university submitted the proposal along with MiraCosta College, and the team is one of only six in the state receiving a full award out of 42 submitted across California.  

The grant was awarded to CSUSM faculty Youwen Ouyang, co-chair of the computer science and information systems department, and Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, chair of the sociology department, along with Nery Chapetón-Lamas, chair of the computer science department at MiraCosta College.  

Their proposal, titled “Facilitating Student Driven Learning Through a Hybrid Interactive Learning Environment,” addresses the high rates of students not passing introductory computer science classes. The project will take a bottom-up approach to the redesign of such courses with feedback and focus groups from students and faculty. It will develop a comprehensive skill map for learning objectives, create culturally responsive learning resources and activities, and build a variety of modules that are adaptive to students’ personal characteristics, background contexts and learning experiences.  

“To me, this means opportunity for my students,” Ouyang said. Introductory computer science classes are when students enter our door, and this lets them know that we care and we listen to them. We’re hoping that this grant will help them to build that question-seeking behavior very early on.” 

Work on the project is scheduled to start in June, with the first redesigned class to roll out in the fall semester.  

The Learning Lab was established last year by Assembly Bill 1809. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has an annual budget of $10 million for the program.  


About California State University San Marcos 

Building on an innovative 29-year history, California State University San Marcos is a forward-focused institution, dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities and solving critical issues. Located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the City of San Marcos, it is the only public four-year comprehensive university serving North San Diego, Southwest Riverside and South Orange Counties. 

The University enrolls 17,000 students. With approximately 2,000 employees, the institution is a Great College to Work For® (The Chronicle of Higher Education). As a recipient of the annual HEED Award since 2014—a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—CSUSM is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.