San Marcos,
12:59 PM

Spring Semester in Full Swing

By Christine Vaughan

The spring academic semester is underway at CSUSM, as the university welcomed students back to campus on Jan. 23. With new degrees on the horizon, a new student center and milestone celebrations, here are few highlights of what is ahead this spring.

A Packed Calendar

Twelve events pack the first week of the semester for Welcome Back Week. The lineup includes a build-your-own waffle bar at the USU on Tuesday morning, a movie night with “Suicide Squad” on the big screen on Wednesday night, Meet the Greeks with step and stroll performances during Thursday’s U-Hour, and a lively circus-themed evening with dancing and carnival games for Cirque de Cougar on Friday night. See the full calendar.

Arts & Lectures will bring an impressive lineup of scholars and artists to campus for its spring series. Among those taking center stage is one Hollywood’s most legendary composers, Jonathan Wolff, country music singer and songwriter Jimmy Wayne and actor and activist Fernando Vega for his one-man play that examines the life, struggles and legacy of Cesar Chavez. Tickets can be reserved and purchased at

Engineering on the Horizon

CSUSM continues to move forward with its plans to establish two new degree programs: software engineering and electrical engineering. Curriculum development and academic reviews are in progress. Programs could be offered as early as fall 2017, although private support will be necessary to launch engineering at CSUSM.

New Faces, New Center

Two new leaders are stepping into their respective roles this spring. Dr. Joe-Joe McManus will lead as chief diversity officer and associate vice president for the Office of Diversity, Educational Equity, Inclusion and Ombuds. McManus comes to CSUSM with an impressive portfolio. A first-generation college student with his doctorate in Educational Leadership, McManus has worked at a historically black college, an Ivy League institution, an international university, and the largest and most diverse urban public university system in the U.S. Most recently, he served as vice president for a diverse national consulting firm focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in education. A welcome reception is planned for Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Kellogg Library Reading Room.

CSUSM will officially open the doors to its new Black Student Center this spring on the fourth floor of USU’s East Pavilion. Anthony Jett Sr. will serve as its founding associate director. Jett holds a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona, and has six years of experience in higher education. An official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Black Student Center will take place this spring with a date still to be decided.


In February, ACE Scholars Services will celebrate its 10th anniversary serving former foster youth. An all-campus celebration is planned on Thursday, Feb. 16 starting at 11:30 a.m. in Tukwut Courtyard.

In March, CSUSM will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the commissioning of the Cesar Chavez Statue. The statue was erected in March 1997 in tribute to the work and legacy of the social rights activist.

NCAA Bound

This spring Cougar Athletics kicks off what will likely be its final season of transition into NCAA Division II.

The Cougars will play 10 more home games between men’s and women’s basketball and finish out their inaugural home season in The Sports Center with a doubleheader against conference rival Cal State East Bay on Saturday, Feb. 18.

On Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, baseball and softball will host their season home openers against San Diego Christian. Track and field’s ever-popular Mangrum Invitational is Feb. 25.

Information at Your Fingertips

The CSUSM mobile app added several new features in December, including the ability to confirm class schedules, check grades, search for classes and review any pending holdings through myCSUSM. The mobile app is available in the Android and iTunes app stores.