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Community Engagement

As a regional anchor institution and engine of transformative knowledge, community engagement is a commitment to building a stronger and more vibrant region by connecting the University to surrounding communities in mutually beneficial ways. A strategic process whereby we build and sustain relationships with educational institutions, industry sectors, community organizations, alumni, and individuals that support student learning, university development, faculty research while also addressing community-based issues.

Culture of Care

Creating a culture of care means demonstrating through kind and thoughtful actions that we genuinely care for the wellbeing of others. It means that we treat people in ways that honor and affirm their humanity and unique lived experiences. It means creating an environment where people feel like they matter and are inspired to be the best that they can be. It means that we always keep the wellbeing of our internal and external campus community in mind when we design policies and processes, holding each other accountable. 

Diverse Communities

CSUSM embraces the rich diversity of all members of our campus community and values the broad academic, social and community benefits that arise from a university committed to equity and inclusion. The excellence we seek emerges from the contributions and talents of every member of our university, including those who identify in one or more of the following ways: 

  • American Indian and Alaskan Native 
  • Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American (APIDA) 
  • Black
  • First generation
  • Former foster youth 
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals 
  • International
  • Latinx 
  • Low income 
  • Persons with disabilities 
  • Religious/spiritual 
  • Undocumented/DREAMers 
  • Veterans and active-duty military/families 

High-Impact Practices

A specific set of educational practices linked to various positive undergraduate learning effects, including persistence and retention (Kuh, 2008). Coined “high-impact practices” (HIPs), the activities include first-year seminars and experiences, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, service learning, internships, and capstone courses and projects. 

Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive excellence means that knowledge, mastery, achievement, and success are distributed equitably across the university, ensuring that diversity and inclusion are systematically leveraged to catalyze student learning, social justice, educational excellence and institutional excellence. Equity requires us to continue to work towards full access and success for all—across multiple dimensions of diversity—by identifying and eliminating barriers, preventing bias and discrimination, and providing multiple and inclusive pathways to success. In an inclusive organization, differences are valued as a source of learning and collective growth. 


The process of finding and implementing novel solutions that address societal needs. Innovation at CSUSM is collaborative and takes place in partnership with students, faculty, and community members. It is situated at the intersection of diversity, inclusion, technology and student success, with a focus on enriching the intellectual, civic, economic, and cultural life of our region.

Intellectual Engagement

Exploration and imagination are the primary means through which human beings make sense of their world. Intellectual engagement includes knowledge and skill acquisition but goes far beyond that. It is about empowering students to find critical ways to consciously make meaning of their lives and the complex ever-changing world around them. It is about approaching the world of ideas with curiosity and wonder and being open to the possibility of developing a lifelong passion. It is about having the courage to imagine a better world and taking responsibility for making it a reality through creative problem-solving and innovative applications of new knowledge.

Meeting Students Where They Are

When we meet students where they are, we recognize that every student brings a different set of assets with them to college. We promote equity and student success when we recognize each student’s starting point by dismantling academic, social, technological or bureaucratic barriers and providing support to enable all students to thrive.

Social Mobility

The education and experiences that students receive at CSUSM will increase their capacity to transcend barriers faced by earlier generations, unlocking their potential for lifelong success. It will empower them to transform their lives, and that of their families and communities. It will expand their choices and their opportunities to follow their dreams. In addition, communities and organizations benefit from a broadened talent pipeline, innovation, greater social equity and economic mobility across all sectors.

Stewardship of Resources

The thoughtful and sustainable management of university resources (human, fiscal, environmental, etc.) in a manner that is consistent with our mission and values, and in a way that maximizes the value of resources to current and future university communities and stakeholders.

Student Success

Students succeed when they achieve their own goals, personal, professional and educational, prepared to thrive in diverse environments as resilient and engaged global citizens. We commit to an expansive and holistic approach grounded in equity and social mobility that looks beyond access, retention and graduation to provide seamless, equitable, and effective support for all students throughout their life cycle: from the first point of contact, in the classroom and outside it, through graduation, and beyond.

Sustainability and Climate Justice

Sustainability holistically addresses the interconnectedness among societies, all living beings and ecosystems by ensuring socially just, ecologically sound, and resilient communities that value diversity, innovation, fiscal stewardship, health, and well-being for all by creating a positive local to global impact for current and future generations. Recognizing that climate change amplifies socioeconomic disparities, climate justice is a lens through which social justice principles are incorporated into sustainability. Action requires collaborative and inclusive approaches to the climate crisis that create a fairer and more just world in the process.