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Dec. 8, 2009- Reflections on 2009

December 8, 2009

Reflections on 2009

As 2009 passes into 2010, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the many accomplishments of the past year and thank you for your continued dedication to working together and getting creative in order to serve students and advance the University's strategic priorities despite the budget challenges.  Here are just a handful of our notable accomplishments for 2009:

Academic Excellence:
We closed 2008 and opened 2009 with our WASC Team hard at work as they prepared for the March visit from the WASC Accrediting Commission. We learned in July that WASC conferred accreditation appraisal to CSUSM by granting a 7-year reaffirmation, with the next Institutional Capacity Review taking place in the spring of 2016 and Educational Effectiveness review scheduled for fall 2017.  Congratulations again to all those who played a role in preparing the report and hosting the team while they were on campus.

2009 has been a stellar year for faculty scholarship. Their research has garnered support from a spectrum of agencies and research institutes. This year, faculty collectively received $8.9 million in research grants and contracts - more than similarly sized sister CSU campuses - reaffirming CSUSM as a thought leader in this region and beyond.

New and exciting programs were launched this year including the new interdisciplinary Global Studies degree, the Master's of Science in Biotechnology, and the Master's of Science in Nursing. These new programs build on CSUSM's existing programs and will prepare students for challenging and exciting careers in industries in high demand of skilled professionals.

In September, administrators, faculty, staff and friends came together to celebrate another major milestone for Cal State San Marcos - the official beam signing ceremony for the state-of-the-art Social and Behavioral Sciences Building.  I look forward to the building opening in 2011 and the research and collaboration that will take place there. 

Student Life:
Congratulations to the CSUSM Surf Team for bringing home the University's first National Scholastic Surfing Association Collegiate National Championship in June!  On the heels of their tremendous win, this fall has been one of the most successful seasons in the history of CSUSM Athletics. Both men's and women's soccer had outstanding finishes, participating in post-season conference tournaments. Women's cross-country took home the conference championship and men's cross-country won three events of the year finishing the season ranked number four in the nation.  Go Cougars!

The success of our student-athletes further drives home the need for facilities for them to play and practice on campus.  During the fall, we broke ground on practice softball fields thanks to the generosity of several individuals and companies. These fields have been a long time coming and it's wonderful to see them finally becoming a reality.

And I'm pleased that plans for another new facility, the University Student Union, will be getting underway. The building, to be completed and opened in 2014, will be a welcoming place for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests to congregate and socialize in an environment that promotes an appreciation for diversity.

Campus Climate:
Over the summer, we learned that for the fifth year in a row that CSUSM is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to recycling. We beat second place Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering by nearly 12 percent!  I look forward to seeing CSUSM take home the win for a sixth year in a row in 2010.

CSUSM's first parking structure is quickly going up before our eyes. Because a University can never have enough parking, we look forward to the additional 1,615 spaces that will be added when the structure comes online in 2010.

In a show of campus pride and spirit, over a thousand students, faculty, and staff showed up to form a human twenty in November for a photo that will be used for promotions throughout our 20th Anniversary Year. I'm so pleased that so many of you were able to participate and know you will love how the photo turned out when we reveal it next year!

Community Engagement:
In March, we hosted the ribbon-cutting for Cal State San Marcos at Temecula at the Paul Goldring Garrett Institute for Higher Learning. The Temecula site is our first off-campus center and is the culmination of our efforts to extend educational attainment to the citizens of Southwest Riverside County. CSUSM at Temecula is completely self-supporting and is going strong thanks to $575,000 raised through private funds.

And this past July, a whole new kind of building, a long-awaited place for meetings, events, and conferences - a place that further "blurs" the line between our campus and our community - a place for all of you to call home was opened. The McMahan House - a generous gift from Richard and JoAn McMahan - is our latest - but not our last - building to be opened.

Educational Equity & Diversity:
This November, I established the Committee on Diversity on Hiring to focus on our goals for increasing diversity hires, particularly for faculty.  The decision to create the new committee came directly out of the two Diversity Forums held during the spring and fall semesters this year. The committee will produce an action plan to address both staff a faculty hires, retention and support for career advancement.

In 2010, I know we will continue to build on this impressive progress as we simultaneously celebrate the university's 20th Anniversary.  Although challenges lie ahead, I know that your enthusiasm and commitment to this campus will propel Cal State San Marcos to new heights in its third decade.

With this in mind, please accept my best wishes for a joyful holiday season.  I look forward to continuing our good work in January when we return refreshed and rejuvenated from our winter break.