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Inclusive Excellence

Award winner with university leadership

“The principles of inclusive excellence have defined my career in my commitment to student social mobility, and they will continue to guide me and all of us as we write the next chapter of Cal State San Marcos.” – President Ellen Neufeldt

Inclusive Excellence is an ongoing, collaborative process combining CSUSM’s commitment to academic excellence with its dedication to embed diversity and inclusion in all aspects of campus life.



Based on preliminary findings of her Listening and Learning Tour, President Ellen Neufeldt requested that Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibáñez and Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos lead three Inquiry Workgroups that focus on timely and urgent topics for study and recommendations.

  • Workgroup 1: Staffing and Resources for the Office of Inclusive Excellence
  • Workgroup 2: Review and update the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan
  • Workgroup 3: Follow up on Academic Senate 751-18 “Resolution on University Police Department’s Use of Force & CSUSM’s Critical Incident Response”

Workgroup Progress Reports

Message from President Neufeldt

Addressing Anti-Blackness and Systemic Racism at CSUSM

This summer has been a time of pain, anguish, reflection and longing for impactful action as we grapple with the ‘pandemic within a pandemic’ – the interrelated crises of racism and inequity that has converged within the crisis of COVID-19. Today, I’d like to share with you a few updates on steps we are taking now, and where we hope to go next as we collectively work to confront and address anti-Black racism and systemic racism at our university. 

Since the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, many Black faculty, students, staff and administrators have openly and bravely shared with me their experiences as well as their exasperation. I’m so appreciative of the time that people took to talk with me and educate me. Once again, they stepped up and gave their time and energy – and I don’t want it to go to waste. I recognize that many members of our Black community are tired and traumatized from having to recount their experiences time and time again. I hear you, I believe you, and I thank you.  

I also want to thank the many individuals at every level, including Black students, faculty, staff, and administrators, who have had engaged in thoughtful conversations about confronting and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world and on our campus. There has been good work underway for many years thanks to both the formal and informal leadership of many across campus who have long championed educational equity and inclusive excellence leading to concrete actions. But there is much more to do especially in addressing anti-Blackness and racism on our campus. Many ideas for further action have come forward that tie into the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan, the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) and the work of other groups across campus.  

Below are several steps many across our campus are taking now to target the removal of systemic barriers and build a more inclusive university community for our students, faculty, staff and greater community. 

  • Study on the CSUSM Black Experience

     Dr. Sharon Elise has been working on a study with fellow Black faculty on the CSUSM Black experience, which will document and amplify Black student and employee voices and experiences from the classroom and in the workplace. The OIE is identifying a date and time for a public presentation of Dr. Elise’s findings and will publish the document on the OIE website when it is complete. 
  • Supporting Black Student Success

    Student Affairs is working to develop and grant fund a program for Black student success, modeled after the success of PASO (Pathways to Academic Success). This program will be focused on creating community on campus and off, with a strong academic focus and holistic approach across the student life cycle that will lead to higher retention and graduation rates for our Black students. 

    In addition, the Dean of Students is critically examining student conduct data to ensure that policies are equitably applied. Housing and Residential Education will be working in collaboration with OIE to add additional training for Resident Advisors on racial justice and bias for fall 2020. 

  • Black Allyship Workshop

    Beginning last fall, the vice presidents and I began participating in various campus cultural competency and ally educational programs, and I asked that all senior managers join in this endeavor as well. A Black Allyship Workshop training is in the final stages of development by Student Affairs. It will be piloted this fall with a full launch in the spring. Any member of our campus community who is interested in furthering their work, education and commitment to Black allyship is welcome to participate. More information will be shared as the program is finalized. 
  • Innovating the Future of the University Police Department

    Acknowledging the national call for transformational change to public safety, our university police chief is helping us lead the way toward a new university policing model. In addition to committing to adding a social worker to the department, two University Police Department (UPD)-related groups are moving forward: 

    • The first, a UPD Community Engagement group will work directly with Chief Lamine Secka to identify and address public safety issues and concerns, seeking out partnerships across our campus to improve the overall UPD experience for all campus members.  
    • The second, a Task Force on Innovative Policing, will look at how we can further innovate the future of policing, including next steps for creating a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT). We will be asking faculty and staff to lend their expertise and ideas. 
  • Climate Survey

    So that we may continually develop a better understanding of the steps we need to take to make our campus a welcoming and productive environment for everyone, this academic year we will administer a climate survey with peer benchmarking. This survey will provide us the opportunity to continually inform and improve our support, policies and practices, particularly those related to equity and inclusive excellence. We will also continue to administer and share the biannual diverse learning environment survey to students. 


    In addition, the Black Student Center is currently working to survey Black students about their experience with student life on campus from a cultural perspective. Results of the survey will help to enhance the programs and services of the Center, including a new tutoring services opportunity in the BSC (in collaboration with the Learning and Tutoring Services in the Office of Undergraduate Studies).

  • Faculty Center Report Regarding Experiences of Faculty of Color

    In the spring, I received a summary report from Dr. Ranjeeta Basu in her role as Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice for the Faculty Center. The report details experiences of faculty of color at CSUSM and makes several recommendations including cluster hiring of faculty of color, improving hiring processes for lecturer hires, revising the Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) process and more. I am supportive of these and have asked Provost Kemnitz to work with Academic Senate and college deans to explore next steps. In addition, we are moving forward with a faculty and student exchange program with historically black colleges and universities.  
  • Supporting Black Staff and Administrators

    With regard to the Black staff and administrator experience, Office of Inclusive Excellence Assistant Director Ariel Stevenson and AVP for Faculty Affairs Michelle Hunt brought forward suggestions related to staff career progression, retention and support. In conjunction with our interim AVP for Human Resources and Payroll Services Kent Porter, I’ve asked them to continue conversations and recommend next steps. 
  • Reviewing University Policies

    We will begin to identify and change exclusionary or biased university policies and administrative practices that lead to and maintain inequity and deny opportunity
  • Coordinating Care and Support for Faculty and Staff

    This fall FACES and the new Staff Center will launch - each guided by advisory committees - to provide non-clinical case management services and care coordination to better care for our faculty and staff. 
  • University Cabinet Commitment

    Dr. Tumay Tunur and Dr. Sharon Elise facilitated a conversation with the University Cabinet in July. In addition, the Cabinet viewed the webinar, Addressing Anti-Blackness on Campus: Implications for Educators and Institutions which will serve as a framework for ongoing conversations. 
  • Chief Diversity Officer Next Steps

    Office of Inclusive Excellence Workgroup 1, which reviewed and made recommendations on staffing and resources for the Office of Inclusive Excellence, provided me their report earlier this summer. I am in the final stages of reviewing and consulting with shared governance groups and key campus stakeholders and I look forward to announcing next steps shortly. 

The steps we are taking represent many but not all the initiatives that we will be implementing. This work will continue to evolve and grow. The Office of Inclusive Excellence will map and track the work that is taking place across campus, and we will continue to share regular updates.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the inequitable burdens of intellectual and emotional labor place on Black, Indigenous, and people of color within our campus community. Antiracism work must be ALL our work. Even during these challenging times, may we be united in our resolve to stay engaged, stand together, and honor the values that make CSUSM so special. Thank you for learning and growing with me on this journey.

If you have ideas or would like to participate in our antiracism efforts, please email me at 


Ellen Neufeldt