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News - Fall 2017




Welcome to the 2017 fall semester. While I expect summer seems like a distant memory as we conclude the fourth week of the semester, I hope you found time to rest and renew. I’m pleased to share with you the latest updates from Community Engagement. The Division continues to refine programs and initiatives as well as extend our outreach to the North County community. Below you will find details about our work and the ways in which we can support you in your teaching and research. If you have any questions, feel free to stop by our offices on the 6th floor of Craven – we are always around! 

Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, Vice President of Community Engagement



veronica elizabeth

Dr. Veronica Anover is serving as the Interim Faculty Director for Service Learning. We will issue a university-wide call for a Faculty Director in spring 2018. Dr. Anover joined CSUSM in 1999 as an Assistant Professor in Modern Language Studies. Soon after, she created the French Minor with a Service Learning component as an integral part of the curriculum. Dr. Anover’s research focuses on Second Language Acquisition, and most recently she has been writing a textbook about Spanish for healthcare professionals that incorporates Service Learning skills so that language acquisition is applied to the real world practice of meeting community needs. Dr. Anover has held several leadership positions including Department Chair, Faculty Fellow for Online Teaching and Learning, and Interim Co-Director of the Faculty Center. 

"I am really honored and excited about this opportunity to provide support and assistance to my fellow colleagues about service learning pedagogy, an experiential teaching method with a strong social, cultural and civic commitment for all involved." -Dr. Anover

Dr. Elizabeth Matthews joined Community Engagement as the Faculty Director of Civic Learning. Dr. Matthews has been with CSUSM since 2007 as an Assistant Professor in Political Science. In 2015, her position became a joint appointment in Political Science and Global Studies. She teaches numerous classes that help students connect global events to their local community. For example, Global Studies partnered with Community Engagement for the last two years on the highly successful Town Hall project. Town Hall provides students in Global Studies 300 the opportunity to research a global problem and then connect with community experts on seeking local solutions. 

"I am thrilled to be a part of Democracy in Action because it allows students to engage in their community and see that they can make a difference, while also learning more about how their city government works." -Dr. Matthews

Both welcome you to visit their offices in Community Engagement on the 6th floor of Craven Hall.

  • Office hours for Dr. Anover: Tuesday from 3:30pm - 5pm and Thursday from 11am - noon/3:30pm - 5pm
  • Office hours for Dr. Matthews: Monday from 11am - 1pm



power of civic engagement

CSUSM is partnering with the City of San Marcos to tackle real-world local issues within the community through a civic learning model.

Through the Democracy in Action (DIA) program, CSUSM faculty and students are conducting research and gathering (qualitative and quantitative) data, to benefit city projects that are backlogged or need additional attention. 

Faculty and students work closely with city officials to hone their expertise on specific scopes of work for a semester-long research project. At the conclusion, the students provide a polished, final report to the city. In the process, students learn about city government, attend city council meetings, become more civically engaged, and ideally consider the prospects of working in local government. 

"Democracy in Action is an exciting program not only because students get to experience the course content coming to life, they also begin to appreciate the important role of local government in a community," said Scott Gross, Associate Vice President, Community Engagement.

Fall 2017 projects include a parking study project and social media and analytics project.


Democracy in Action is modeled after the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) in the Sustainable Cities Initiative at University of Oregon and is part of a larger consortium of universities and colleges that participate in the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N). In this community engagement practice, the university contracts with the city in the capacity of consultant. 



the alliance

The Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education developed an 8-week program called F.A.C.E. (Family Alliance Community Exchange), which is focused on the Habits of Mind. The Habits of Mind are essential skills that characterize successful individuals such as curiosity, creativity, responsibility, and persistence. When families and educators create environments that foster these habits and when youth understand how successful people react to challenging situations, they learn how to be successful in academics, career, and life. Weekly workshop sessions are offered simultaneously for elementary, middle, and high school students as well as sessions for adults in English and Spanish.

According to Faculty Director, Dr. Erika Daniels, the F.A.C.E program meets a critical need for families because it helps all members of any type of family develop cognitive, social, and emotional skills that support living a full and productive life. She says, "CSUSM’s Alliance facilitates the university’s guaranteed admission agreements with 10 local school districts, and F.A.C.E. is one of many programs designed to deepen the collaboration between the university and the community it is proud to serve."

The Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education (The Alliance) at CSU San Marcos is a regionally focused initiative intended to improve the college attendance and completion rates of students within North County. Guided by principles of partnership, collaboration and academic excellence, the Alliance serves as the oversight and support office for Guaranteed Admission agreements with ten area school districts.



Recently, Community Engagement conducted research on how CSUSM compared to the 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results. The findings are noteworthy.

"I was truly encouraged to see that the results from the most recent administration of the NSSE indicated that students at CSUSM are reporting that they are participating in Service Learning and Internships/Fieldwork at comparatively higher rates, most significantly among students who are historically underrepresented. This initial finding has inspired us to further investigate the reasons why our students are engaging in Service Learning and Internships/Fieldwork at higher rates. By understanding what is inspiring such high student participation, our Community Engagement division can strategically shape our program efforts accordingly in order to allow students to access and, ultimately, succeed in these important high-impact practices," said Cheryl Landin, Decision Support Analyst.

According to 2016 NSSE results:

  • CSUSM seniors are significantly more likely than NSSE’s national comparison group to say they participated in two or more high-impact practices at the 99% confidence interval.
  • In comparison to their peers at Hispanic serving institutes and institutes across the nation, Latino seniors at CSUSM self-reported significantly higher participation in Service Learning & Internship/Field Experiences at the 99% confidence interval.


The NSSE is an inquiry into the extent to which students at four-year colleges and universities engage in an array of good educational practices. Many of the questionnaire items deal with student behaviors that educational researchers have found to be highly correlated with the intense learning and personal development that are hallmarks of a meaningful college education. CSUSM has participated in the NSSE survey since 2001, and the survey is now administered biennially to freshmen and graduating seniors.



mou tribal

In spring 2017, CSUSM signed MOU's with two American Indian Schools. The agreement with Noli Indian School ensures admission for graduates beginning in fall 2018, while the agreement with Sherman Indian High School commences with the graduating class of 2019. Noli is a middle school and high school on the Soboba Indian Reservation near San Jacinto in Riverside County. Sherman is an off-reservation boarding school for American Indian students in Riverside.

Tishmall Turner, Tribal Liaison, gave the keynote address to Noli Indian School graduates and emphasized the significance of the agreement. "I would love to welcome you to Cal State San Marcos this fall," Turner told graduates. "We have a great program and are serious about supporting our Indian students. We are proud that we have signed a guaranteed admission program for American Indian students to have access to Cal State San Marcos."

Over the course of the 17-18 academic year, we will work to build infrastructure and outreach initiatives to support those students who will part of the new MOU agreements.

Built on the land of the Luiseño Indians, California State University San Marcos is proud of its impressive history of engaging the local American Indian population. Our reach extends into 25 tribal communities across San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties—with18 of those communities located within our service region—and our American Indian student population at CSUSM is now at 1%. Through the efforts of a full-time Tribal Liaison, a community-based Presidential Native Advisory Council and the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC), CSUSM continues to build strategic partnerships with these communities—linkages that are producing mutually beneficial outcomes for both CSUSM and its tribal neighbors.



The Chamber Champions partnership program launched in fall 2005 as a way to engage the University in the work and activities of our regional chambers of commerce, and equally, to engage the chambers in the work and activities of the University. Since the inception of the program, nearly 100 University employees have stepped forward to champion the work of the chambers by attending mixers, networking events, luncheons, and installation galas and, in some instances, by participating in committee work or serving on boards of directors. Each partner chamber has an assigned lead, a "champion," supported by a team of volunteers, most of whom reside in the chamber’s community.

If you are interested in joining or would like more information, please contact Christine Lee, Community Outreach & Communications Liaison at 760.750.8752.