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Divisional Initiatives



On January 2022, Dr. Viridiana Diaz joined CSUSM as the new Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Diaz spent her first year in the role meeting with various divisional constituents, including staff, managers, faculty, student employees, students, as well as campus partners, and community members, to learn about CSUSM and the overarching challenges and opportunities in the division. The process included structured listening sessions with all constituents as well as informal “VPSA Chats, that occurred in fall 2022 and spring 2023.     

Guiding Principles 

The Student Affairs Reimagination Initiative was built on the following guiding principles:

  • Ensure the division of Student Affairs thrives in a changing environment by remaining competent, competitive and relevant;    
  • Respond to the ever-changing needs of students particularly post-pandemic, and meet students where they are;  
  • Create opportunities for advancement by leverage existing talent and aligning expertise and strengths with divisional and institutional needs;
  • Encourage creativity and innovation to improve processes, identify efficiencies, and establish realistic expectations;
  • Align divisional goals, objectives and outcomes with budget and enrollment projections, the university’s new Strategic Plan, systemwide Graduation Initiative, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Inventory, as well as Minority Serving Institution (MSI), Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANIPISI) designations;
  • Become stronger as a division by adopting a growth-oriented mindset that empowers the division to embrace change and make the most of it. 


  • August 2022 – November 2022
    • Student Affairs Senior Leadership Team (SALT) individually met with VP Diaz to discuss strengths and opportunities for their respective units. 
  • November 2022
    • VP Diaz met with Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) to introduce the SA Reimagination Initiative, discuss guiding principles, process change, facilitate group discussions, and reviewed next steps and timeline.  

  • December 2022
    • SALT was asked to engage their teams by facilitating the same group discussion conducted by VP Diaz in November's SALT meeting; were asked to gather feedback, recommendations and questions/concerns and share these with their AVP's.  
  • January 2023
    • VP Diaz introduced the SA Reimagination Initiative at the Divisional SA Professional Development Conference; including the principles, the process and timeline.  
  • January 2023 – February 2023

    Virtual and in-person open forum sessions were offered for Student Affairs staff and faculty, managers, students and student employees: 

    • Managers | January 31, 2023 | 10am – 11am | The Hub, Administrative Building 2302
    • Staff & Faculty | February 1, 2023 | 2pm – 3pm | The Hub, Administrative Building 2302 
    • Students and Student Employees | February 2, 2023 | 12pm – 1pm | The Hub, Administrative Building 2302

    Open comment period occurred simultaneously.  Comments were submitted online via a link.

  • March 2023 – May 2023
    • SLT met continuously to discuss feedback, timeline, and continue conversations. 
  • June 2023
    • SLT adjusted the timeline for SA Reimagination Initiative to allow for a communication plan to be developed and implemented.  
  • July 2023 – November 2023
    • Draft of the SA Reimagination Initiative, Phase I was presented to SALT. Simultaneously, a Communication Plan (July-November) was rolled out to communicate changes to those directly and indirectly impacted prior to a public communication.
  • August 2023
    • VP Diaz provided an update on the Reimagination Initiative at the divisional-wide meeting.
  • December 2023
    • Reimagination Initiative, Phase I is announced to the division. 

Student Affairs Reimagination Update | Phase 1

View Video

CUMU Huddles

CUMU Huddles are informal, online learning communities for individuals from across the CUMU network to connect, learn, and collaborate around shared challenges and common goals. You can sign up for a CUMU Huddle at any time during the year.

Social & Economic Mobility Huddles

Higher education continues to be the strongest avenue for upward social and economic mobility and, as CUMU institutions, we have a unique and significant role to play in serving diverse students and helping them succeed across the graduation finish line. With COVID-19 and its many interconnected impacts continuing to place barriers in front of students, how are we rethinking our services, programs and other student-facing processes with fresh eyes and a student-ready perspective? And how are these efforts increasing our students’ capacity to transcend barriers faced by earlier generations and unlock their potential for lifelong success?

  • March 10, 2023 

    Title: Advancing the Social and Economic Mobility of Undocumented Students in Higher Education​.  

    Presenter: Josefina Espino, Coordinator DREAMer Resource Office at California State University San Marcos. 

    Abstract: Undocumented students face a variety of challenges to achieving the social and economic mobility that a college degree can help make possible. By providing individualized wrap-around holistic services to students, faculty, and staff who are undocumented or come from mixed-status families, and their immediate family members, the DREAMER Resource Office at CSU San Marcos assists them in overcoming these challenges. During this session participants will explore promising practices with evidence of effectiveness that could be adapted for implementation at their home institutions.  

  • April 25, 2023 

    Title: How to Center Students’ Mental Well-Being to Better Advance Social and Economic Mobility in Higher Education.    

     Presenter: Dr. Jason Schreiber, AVP & Dean of Students at California State University San Marcos. 

     Abstract: As institutions focus more on holistic student well-being as a means of supporting undergraduates, many campus leaders wonder where to start in initiating a well-being program. This workshop provided attendees with case studies of how one campus has supported student mental well-being across the co-curriculum.   

  • June 21, 2023 

    Title: Building Structures to Support Outreach, Belonging, and Success for Black Students.   

    Presenters: Rosa Barr-Williams, Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships, Shanelle Watkins, Black Student Success Initiatives Coordinator at California State University San Marcos. 

    Abstract: Participants explored some of the promising practices being implemented at California State University San Marcos to promote access and success for Black students of our region. During this session, the presenters shared lessons learned around community partner coalition building, nurturing a sense of belonging and engagement with the campus, and targeted efforts to enhance student success and empowerment on their pathway towards achieving social mobility through a college education. Participants had the opportunity to share their own promising practices as part of this community of learners.   

  • August 2, 2023 

    Title: Leveraging an Innovation Hub as a Catalyst for Social and Economic Mobility.   

    Presenter: Dr. Scott Gross, Associate Vice President for Industry Partnerships at California State University San Marcos. 

     Abstract: California State University San Marcos aspires to enhance its culture of innovation and entrepreneurship as a pathway to social and economic mobility. During this session the presenter shared a theoretical framework for appreciating the complexity of an innovation ecosystem and explored how it impacts social mobility.  He then described current efforts to build infrastructure and activities that will contribute to a thriving ecosystem.  In the spirit of an interactive session where we can exchange ideas and lessons learned, the content shared aimed to serve as a catalyst for conversation.   

  • October 15, 2023 

    Title: Developing Resiliency, Grit, and a Growth Mindset for K-16 Students to Pursue Social and Economic Mobility.  

    Presenters: Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, Chief Community Engagement Officer, Dr. Viridiana Diaz, Vice President for Student Affairs at California State University San Marcos. 

    Abstract: This CUMU Huddle explored how campuses are increasing students’ capacity to transcend barriers faced by earlier generations and unlock their potential for lifelong success. During this session participants built a common definition of social and economic mobility and linked the concept to their home institution by sharing ideas, program strategies, and best practices. The presenters shared the California State University San Marcos framework for promoting social and economic mobility and discussed it’s Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education program as a promising practice.