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President Haynes Recognized as Social Work Pioneer

Press Release | By Eric Breier

Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes has been honored as a National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Pioneer.

The Social Work Pioneer Program was created to honor members of the social work profession who have contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the profession. The Pioneer Program identifies and recognizes individuals whose unique dedication, commitment and determination have improved social and human conditions.

NASW Pioneers are considered role models for future generations of social workers. Their contributions are reflected in every aspect of the profession, as well as in the establishment of social policies and human services programs.

Haynes will be honored at the NASW Social Work Pioneers 13th Annual Program & Luncheon on Oct. 28 in Washington, D.C. The NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world with 132,000 members.

Haynes is CSUSM’s longest-serving president and the senior president in the 23-campus California State University system, the first woman to hold that position. She has served for over 30 years as an academic administrator and is in her 23rd year as a university president, including 8½ years as president of the University of Houston-Victoria.

Drawing upon her experience as a social worker, Haynes has long championed higher education as an engine of social mobility and regional prosperity. Fifty-four percent of CSUSM’s 2017 graduating class were the first in their families to earn a four-year degree and 38 percent were from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

Under her leadership, CSUSM has become a first-choice campus for the region, with a particular focus on serving educationally at-risk student populations such as:

  • Former foster youth, who have an 86 percent retention rate — 30 points higher than the average college student and nearly 15 percent higher than similar support programs — thanks to CSUSM’s ACE Scholars Services, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
  • Veterans, including the highest percentage of veterans and military-affiliated students in the CSU system.
  • American Indians, who comprise 4 percent of CSUSM’s total student population; the University has the highest per-capita number — and the only increasing number — of American Indian students in the CSU system.

Haynes leads CSUSM with her eye continually trained on social transformation through access and education; increasing the educational attainment rate of students in the region; developing relevant degree programs that make CSUSM students in demand; and engaging with the community in unique and meaningful ways. She has overseen tremendous growth at CSUSM, including the construction of 10 new facilities, the addition of a Temecula campus, and the doubling of relevant new academic programs and career certificates.

Haynes has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including:

  • The 2015 Woman of the Year Award from San Diego Magazine for her commitment to creating positive change in the region;
  • The 2015 President of the Year Award from the California State Student Association, which represents all 460,000 CSU students, for outstanding commitment to CSU students;
  • Named a Power Broker of 2015 by the San Diego Business Journal for being a “catalyst for change and a champion for the underserved” in her leadership of CSUSM;
  • The Cool Woman of 2015 Award from the San Diego Girl Scouts; and
  • In 2014, the Social Work Degree Guide named Haynes the third-most influential social worker in the United States.

A first-generation college student, Haynes holds both a doctorate in Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin and a master’s in Social Work from McGill University in Montreal.


About California State University San Marcos

Building on an innovative 27-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 nearly 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.