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What’s So Special About Making & Staying on the CHABSS Dean’s List?

By Kennedy McIntosh, CHABSS Communications Team

Students receiving dean's list chord during graduationMaking the Dean’s List and staying on it is not easy. It is an accomplishment to be proud of, especially when the average student is balancing school, work, kids, partner, and a myriad of competing priorities.

To celebrate the exceptional commitment Dean’s Listers make to excelling in their studies, CHABSS hosts two Dean’s List Mixers during the academic year. The September mixer celebrates students who made the list from the Spring semester of the previous academic year. The February mixer celebrates students who made the list from the Fall semester.

To make the Dean’s List, students had to complete a minimum 12 units of graded CSUSM coursework and earn at least a 3.5 grade point average.

Staying on the Dean’s List until graduation may lead to a special graduation recognition and invitation to the CHABSS Academic Honors Celebration in April —an annual ceremony to honor and provide gold chords to CHABSS Latin honors-earning graduates. The gold chords are to be worn during commencement to recognize a student’s academic achievement. It is referred to as Latin honors because of the Latin terminology used in the recognition. There are three Latin honors titles associated with graduation. A GPA of at least 3.9 earns the honor of summa cum laude (meaning, with highest honors), a GPA of at least 3.7 and less than 3.9 earns magna cum laude (with high honors), and a GPA of at least 3.5 and less than 3.7 earns cum laude (with honors).

For clarity, because it can be confusing, there is a difference between a CSUSM GPA and a student’s overall GPA. The CSUSM GPA is calculated from only courses taken at CSUSM. The overall GPA includes coursework transferred in from another institution. The university will use the lower of the two GPAs to confer honors, which means that both GPAs must be above a 3.5 to be eligible for honors. For example, if the student’s CSUSM GPA is a 4.0 and their overall GPA is a 3.6, then student is eligible for cum laude (not summa cum laude).

The Four CHABSS Dean’s Awards

In addition to recognizing Latin honorees, the CHABSS Academic Honors Celebration also acknowledges graduating students receiving one of the four CHABSS Dean’s Awards: the Dean’s Outstanding Student, Champion for Community Service, Champion for Inclusive Excellence, and Champion for Scholarship & Creative Works. A student does not have to be on the Dean’s List to be eligible for any of the four CHABSS Dean’s Awards.

The CHABSS Dean’s Outstanding Student award is the highest award granted to a student graduating with a BA from a CHABSS major. The winner of the CHABSS Outstanding Student award will go on to compete against the pool of students who have been awarded one of the University’s six Dean’s Awards for the title of CSUSM President’s Outstanding Graduate – the university's highest award bestowed to a graduating student. CHABSS' Outstanding Students from 2019 and 2021 went on to win the CSUSM President’s Outstanding Graduate Award - Connor Whitten in 2019, Kodie Gerritsen in 2021, and Krystal Alvarez Hernandez in 2022. 

The CHABSS Community Champion must show service contributing to the campus and/or the greater community. 

The Inclusive Excellence Champion must show efforts towards advancing the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice. 

The Scholarship & Creative Works Champion must have achievements in research and/or creative activities in their academic field. 

Read more about previous years' winners.

Your Professors Are Your Best Resource

This academic year, the first call for CHABSS Dean’s Awards nominations will be in December 2021. Normally, professors and/or departments will take it upon themselves to nominate a student they think would be a successful candidate for one of the College awards. However, if a student thinks they are a strong candidate for any of the four awards, they can ask a faculty member to nominate them. Winners of the CHABSS Dean’s Awards are typically announced in March.