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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

Addressing Anti-Blackness and Systemic Racism at CSUSM

In August 2020, President Neufeldt committed in a message to the campus to taking specific actions related to confronting systemic racism and becoming a more anti-racist campus community. The work detailed below is part of a broader commitment to inclusive excellence and represents just a part of our ongoing journey to improve programs and practices at CSUSM.  

  • 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. 

    03/29/21 Update: 

    As part of Office of Inclusive Excellence’s inaugural Distinguished Faculty Lecture series, Drs. Sharon Elise, Lori Walkington and Mohamed Abumaye, presented “The New Jim Crow in Academia” on October 27, featuring the results of a research study on the Black Experience at CSUSM.  

    The second lecture in the series will feature Dr. Joely Proudfit presenting her findings on the impact of COVID on our American Indian and Alaskan Native students. A date and time will be shared with the campus as soon as it is confirmed. 

  • 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. 

    03/29/21 Update:  

    Student Affairs developed the Black Student Success Initiative focused on creating community for Black students on campus and off, with a strong academic focus and holistic approach that will support higher retention and graduation rates. This program is launching this spring. 

  • 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. 

    03/29/21 Update: 

    Student Affairs developed a Black Allyship Workshop training which will launch this spring.  

  • 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. 

    03/29/31 Update: 

    The UPD Community Engagement group is working 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 Innovating a University Police Department of the Future Taskforce is identifying new and holistic approaches to public safety that will foster increased trust with our campus community, as well as considering how we might create a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) on campus. UPD has reallocated an officer position line to Student Health and Counseling Services to support this effort. The taskforce will provide a report with recommendations in late spring which will help inform next steps and ongoing opportunities for participation in this work. 

    Read the report here.

  • 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).


    03/29/21 Update: 


    A workgroup met in the fall to review and recommend existing climate surveys. With their recommendations, we have seated a steering committee to oversee the administration of the surveys and communicate results. Students have been invited to participate and employees will receive their invitation in mid-April.  

  • 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.  

    03/29/21 Update:

    Thanks to the recommendations of the report, we have:  

    Launched our first Diversity and Inclusion Cluster Hire Pilot Initiative this year with eight tenure track faculty searches, including two for ethnic studies and one for American Indian studies. 

    Initiated the process of reviewing and revising lecturer hiring practices to enhance the diversity of our lecturer faculty. RTP processes for tenure track faculty will also be discussed later in the semester. 

    Launched a HBCU faculty student exchange program with one cohort in the fall with Clark Atlanta University. This spring, we have three cohorts involving North Carolina A&T and Bowie State 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

    03/29/21 Update:

    We began the process of identifying and changing exclusionary or biased university policies and administrative practices at the personal, interpersonal and institutional levels. Many faculty, staff and administrators attended the Moving Beyond Bias training offered by the Chancellor’s Office in fall 2020 as well as the related Train the Trainer workshop. Earlier this month, administrative leaders and Academic Senate executive officers participated in a half-day workshop to prepare them to review policies and processes with an equity lens. Future workshops are being planned so that additional students, faculty, staff and managers may participate. 

  • 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. 

    03/29/21 Update:

    FACES and the new Staff Center launched in the fall - each guided by advisory committees - to provide nonclinical case management services and care coordination to better serve and support our faculty and staff. Among the many outcomes, FACES and the Staff Center have partnered with the Cougar Care Network to host “Our Space” events, providing opportunities for students and employees to process timely events and come together in community.

  • 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. 


    05/19/21 Update: 

    Dr. Aswad Allen appointed Chief Diversity Officer