Cal State San Marcos held its annual Convocation event to mark the opening of the 2012-2013 academic year on Thursday, Aug. 23. The program, which welcomed new and returning faculty and staff to campus, included an address by President Karen Haynes, who reflected on recent University successes while also setting the tone for the start of the fall semester.

Haynes applauded the positive spirit of employees who are championing CSUSM’s values while responding to the needs of students and the region. With recent cuts to the California State University system totaling $750 million last year alone - and more likely on the horizon, she urged faculty and staff to continue to adapt and search for innovative and unconventional ways to be successful.

The New Reality

“The entire funding model for public universities is – and has been – broken,” said Haynes. She noted that the United States is lagging behind China and other nations because of a lack of investment and adaptability.

“China continually adapts their approach to education to meet global demand. They invest heavily in teacher training and continuing education so that lessons remain current and relevant,” she said.

In California, corrections and rehabilitation receives more funding than higher education.

CSUSM Adapts and Thrives

In response to the changing budget environment, Haynes reported that Cal State San Marcos has looked for new ways to fund its operations and aspirations. From prudent spending on travel and purchases to the use of profits from auxiliaries and Extended Learning, the campus is changing where and when it makes sense. 

Through increased efficiencies and adaptations, “we are adhering to our mission to raise the educational attainment rate of our region to help students of all races, ages and circumstances achieve their academic goals,” said Haynes.

The use of technology is another way that the campus is evolving. “Web-based courses help CSUSM facilitate time to graduation for students and attract students outside our region. Last spring we offered forty-six classes online, along with twenty-two hybrid courses,” she noted.

Haynes also commented that the University is implementing a Technology Strategic Plan that better defines how technology might provide more data and services in the future while also facilitating student access to resources.

Public Good, Committed to Access and Excellence

“Our University is fiercely committed to raising graduation rates and to keeping public higher education accessible, especially for at-risk and underrepresented student populations,” proclaimed Haynes, who pointed to the fact that CSUSM educates the highest number per capita of veterans, active duty military and their dependents and foster youth in the CSU.

Freshman retention has increased to 80 percent – the highest in University history, while the six-year graduation rate for minority students reached 52 percent. This past spring 2,600 students graduated, half of them were the first in their families to obtain a four-year degree. 45 percent were minorities.

Looking Forward

President Haynes urged faculty and staff to continue to focus on growing and serving the region’s students despite economic restraints.

“We must continue to look for creative ways to generate revenue – through public/private or public/public partnerships, through self-support programs [and] perhaps through Cal State Online opportunities,” she said.

Haynes emphasized that increased agility and responsiveness is not merely a way through budget cuts but a path toward improving and stimulating the work of the campus.

“We will continue to move forward with purpose and with passion, with determination and with decisiveness,” Haynes declared. “We will be tireless in the pursuit of new ideas, but we will remain steadfast in our adherence to the timeless ideals that guide us.”

Haynes closed her remarks with a rallying declaration: “We are here because of the values we believe in, because of the vision that we share for our region and our region’s students. We cannot and will not fail them. We are this region’s greatest resource . . . and we will not just survive, we will thrive.”

In 2011-2012:


• Over 17 percent of students were 26 and older

• Nearly fifty percent of students identified as a minority

• Seven athletic teams finished their seasons ranked among the top 25 in the U.S.

• Twenty-four American Indian students graduated (and 60 more were accepted in fall 2012 – the largest in history)

• $4 million was raised in private support

• CSUSM offered forty-six online courses and twenty-two hybrid courses

• Retention of freshmen increased to 80%

• Six-year graduation rate for minority students reached 52%

• The University Student Union broke ground

• New student housing – The QUAD – opened