New-look Academic Year Gets Underway
By Eric Breier
Cal State San Marcos expects to welcome more than 16,000 students Monday as it kicks off a fall semester unlike any in its history.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in alignment with the California State University’s decision for all 23 campuses to have a unified approach, more than 90% of courses are occurring virtually this fall. Select labs and courses that use specialized equipment or have certain accreditation/licensure requirements will have in-person instruction.
Earlier this month, the university launched its “CSUSM as One” website, which provides information and resources for students, faculty and staff to navigate the fall semester.
While the semester may look different, President Ellen Neufeldt expressed excitement and optimism during her annual Convocation address on Thursday morning.
“Even though this will be unlike any other fall semester in history, I can’t but help feeling excitement for what’s before us,” she said in an address streamed virtually. “So much is in flux, but the fundamental parts of our university are unchanged. Our dedication to our students, our region and each other will move us through and past this moment and on to the next 30 years.”
Computer lab available for students
The University Student Union and IITS have partnered to establish a computer lab in the USU Ballroom and Meeting Rooms for students who need access to computers, printing services, power and/or Wi-Fi.
Beginning Aug. 31, the USU computer lab will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday on a first-come, first-served basis.
Students will use the campus app to check into the lab and receive an assigned station. The process is as easy as opening up the app and scanning their digital ID when they arrive. The app also has an “On Campus” button that will show available on-campus services, including the number of computers available in the USU so that students will know if there are open stations before arriving.
- Carl Kemnitz began his tenure as the university’s new provost and vice president of Academic Affairs on July 1.
- Professor of chemistry and biochemistry Jackie Trischman began a one-year appointment as CSTEM’s interim dean on July 1, succeeding the college’s founding dean, Katherine Kantardjieff, who left for a position as provost at Cal State Monterey Bay.
- Biology professor Deborah Kristan began a one-year appointment as interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services on July 1, succeeding Emiliano Ayala, who decided to take on a faculty position in the college as a special education professor.
- The California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center named Eric S. Trevan as a visiting scholar of innovation, business and economic policy for tribal nations.
COVID-19 testing site
CSUSM is hosting a San Diego County-operated, walk-up coronavirus testing site, expanding critical testing services to North County residents.
The testing center, which is free and open to the public seven days a week, operates independently of the university within the Viasat Engineering Pavilion on campus.
Weeks of Welcome
The annual Weeks of Welcome started Aug. 29 and runs through Oct. 10. It includes dozens of virtual events to meet new people and kick off the new academic year.
Visit the Weeks of Welcome calendar for a complete schedule.
Arts & Lectures for fall
The university’s longstanding Arts & Lectures series is presenting a virtual fall lineup, with all of the events taking place via Zoom. This season boasts a diverse selection of six events.
Attendees can reserve tickets online via the Arts & Lectures website.
- Psychology professor Sharon Hamill was among 25 faculty and staff members recognized by the California State University system with Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards for their commitment to student success, particularly in courses or areas with traditionally low success rates or persistent equity gaps.
- Robert Iafe, an associate professor of chemistry, and Paul Jasien, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a grant of almost $1 million from the National Science Foundation that will support the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students in chemistry and biochemistry.
- CSUSM received a best practice award for social equity and justice at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference for the second straight year.
- TRIO Student Support Services will receive a federal grant of more than $1.7 million over five years, the U.S. Department of Education announced this month.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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