Regional Leaders Host Forum to Discuss Education in San Marcos

cal state san marcos aerial viewAerial view of Cal State San Marcos and region. Photo by Jay Franklin

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CSUSM President Karen Haynes joined Palomar Community College President Robert Deegan and San Marcos Unified School District Superintendent (SMUSD) Kevin Holt to discuss the future of education in the region at a public educational forum on Oct. 17 hosted by the City of San Marcos.

All three education leaders and City of San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond emphasized the importance of collaboration in making San Marcos a regional hub for education and a resource for economic development aimed at keeping well-educated students in the community. The school district, community college and CSUSM have a combined enrollment of more than 60,000 students.

"We want to keep these exceptional, educated people here in San Marcos, not just export them to other communities," Desmond said.

"We transform lives. We transform families. We transform regions . . . and we do it collaboratively," Haynes said.

Haynes, who has served as president of CSUSM for nearly ten years, said the University’s founding in 1989 makes it a campus built for the 21st century with a future-focused and entrepreneurial spirit.
“As an agile, nimble and responsive university, Cal State San Marcos is elevating our region through our intentional, structured, sustainable and regionally significant partnerships that ensure that the most educationally at-risk students know early what it takes to get into college and have the help to get them there,” she said.

Regional Guaranteed Admission Programs

The University’s guaranteed admission programs are a hallmark of CSUSM’s commitment to educating the region’s students.

“We started the guaranteed admission program with local school districts, with a tribal nation and with three organizations for former foster youth,” said Haynes. “I signed our most recent agreement with Vista Unified in September. But this is just the beginning. Moving forward, we want to create a stronger, more integrated program that better supports the districts, teachers and CSUSM’s goals.”

To that end, the Price Family Charitable Foundation made a half-million-dollar donation to Cal State San Marcos to create The Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education.

“The goal of The Alliance is to offer workshops for teachers and parents on how best to prepare students for successful college careers and to establish a joint faculty development program between CSUSM professors responsible for first-year programs and area high school teachers to create a seamless transition for students from high school to college,” said Haynes.

Superintendent Kevin Holt also drew special attention to the district's PACE Promise—SMUSD’s guaranteed admission program with CSUSM—which launched in 2006. The program has an endowment from the Leichtag Family Foundation, and he urged the community to donate to "ensure that any student that goes to the San Marcos School District has the opportunity to go college."

University Growth: CSUSM Adds New Student Union, Veterans Center and On-campus Housing

“Our future focus extends to our physical campus,” said Haynes. “By this spring, Cal State San Marcos will have carefully planned, designed and built ten buildings in ten years — a remarkable feat considering the economic climate that we have faced. Perhaps among the most notable of those buildings will be the student union, slated to open in January.”

Once finished, the student union will have an outdoor amphitheater for community concerts and other events, as well as a 9,000-square-foot ballroom.

CSUSM also looks forward to the groundbreaking of its new veterans center in November, a “smart” and sustainable house designed by Stevens Institute of Technology students for the Department of Energy’s solar decathlon.  Stevens donated the house to Cal State San Marcos because of the University’s veteran friendly reputation and service to military-affiliated students.

The University also partnered with developer Urban Villages San Marcos on the University District project, a public-private partnership that doubled CSUSM’s student housing through the building of The QUAD.  The $50 million project allowed CSUSM to expand campus housing for students without using tax dollars or impacting campus debt or financing capacity.

Desmond also detailed major developments under way close to the CSUSM and Palomar College which will bring new businesses and housing while continuing to interconnect road improvements and SPRINTER transit stations.
"We want to be a friendly, collaborative city that embraces our role as the education hub of North County," Desmond said.

“I am proud to be a part of this community and the work that we all do,” said Haynes.  “We are making the grade in so many ways — through educating the next generation of leaders, through our future focus and through our commitment to transforming our region.”

“I am proud to be a part of this community and the work that we all do,” said Haynes.  “We are making the grade in so many ways — through educating the next generation of leaders, through our future focus and through our commitment to transforming our region.”