By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– During his annual Convocation address on Sept. 16, to a crowd of faculty, staff and administrators in Coussoulis Arena, Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales shared a number of highlights from the university’s 2018-19 academic year, including the notable success of CSUSB’s Comprehensive Campaign.
“No review of the past year would be complete without taking time to focus on our just-completed Comprehensive Campaign,” Morales said. “Let me begin by saying this was a major undertaking from the very start. Nothing of this scope had ever been attempted at this university. Just the thought of a $50 million campaign caught many by surprise.”
According to Morales, it took thousands of generous individuals, corporations, foundations and partners to achieve the goal, doubling the university’s endowment as a result.
“The official close of the campaign last June 30th saw us succeed beyond anything we could have imagined: $54 million,” he said. “I am proud of the expansion in philanthropic and corporation support. In the last year alone, we increased our donations by over 35 percent and grew our donor pool by over 70 percent. And, in what we hope is a sign of the growing affinity of our students with their alma mater, we increased the dollars raised from our students by 140 percent.”
In addition to this noteworthy achievement, during the event, numerous awards and acknowledgements were given to various faculty and staff who have shown commitment and hard work in advancing the university. The event also formally welcomed new faculty, staff and administrators, as well as recognized those who earned degrees or certificates in the past year.
Using the university’s Strategic Plan, Morales also shared a number of other highpoints from the 2018-19 academic year.
Some of the highlights:
Morales revealed that the university’s Honors Program grew by 33 percent last year, and under the leadership of the faculty athletics representative and the coaching staff, the Student-Athlete Academic Success Center opened. In addition, faculty and staff have raised by 11 percent the number of students in range to reach sophomore status by the end of their first year.
“More than $3 million were distributed in the form of Graduation Initiative Grants or Summer Assistance Grants, thereby assisting seniors in achieving graduation status,” Morales said. “I’d like to share with you a wonderful example of a partnership that is enabling an international experience for our student musicians: The College of Arts & Letters partnered with the division of Advancement, the Office of the President and Seoul Cyber University to bring 45 students plus faculty this October to give a concert in the most prestigious venue in South Korea. This will be a life-changing and world-expanding opportunity for them.”
Morales also acknowledged the expansion of the Affordable Learning Solutions program, which saved students nearly $950,000 on course materials, more than double in savings from the prior year.
“Supporting and advancing GI 2025 is another tool in our toolkit for enhancing student success,” Morales said. “Graduation rates are on track to meet our initiative goals, with increases in the six-year and four-year completion rates for full-time, first-time freshmen. All achievement gaps decreased from fall 2011 to fall 2012 cohorts. And the four- and two-year grad rates for transfer students also improved.”
Faculty and Staff Success
“Our students can only be successful if faculty and staff are successful,” Morales said. “For faculty, this has meant a review and strengthening of faculty development from teaching to research. New Faculty Orientation has expanded into support throughout that critical first year on campus. For faculty in years two and three at CSUSB, a year-long learning community last year brought together lecturers and tenure track faculty to disseminate evidence-based teaching practices campus wide. The Faculty Center for Excellence increased their offered events by 67 percent over the prior year. The Office of Research Development was established to assist faculty in strengthening their research agenda. The 2019 Faculty & Staff Book Launch honored those who have published a book in the past two years. And the Tenure Track Faculty Hiring Task Force created a three-year plan to support recruitment and meet strategic plan goals.”
Morales also highlighted the hard work of faculty and staff who serve on search committees to increase the diversity of faculty and also decrease the university’s student-faculty ratio as the university works toward the target ratio of 23.8 percent.
In addition, the Staff Development Center recognized the first cohorts of its Administrative Support Professional Career Pathway and Student Services Professional Career Pathway programs while also providing 122 workshops in collaboration with campus partners.
“Working with Human Resources, the center created opportunities for staff to engage in topics aligned with the university’s core values,” he said.
“CSUSB also moved forward in the area of campus climate by launching the Collegiality Matters campaign, which included a series of events and campus and community conversations,” Morales said.
Resource Sustainability and Expansion
“Resource Sustainability and Expansion is the lifeline to CSUSB’s growth as it increases and diversifies revenue,” Morales said. “This encompasses civic, community and/or business partnerships and fundraising.
“One stellar example is our new partnership with the city of Palm Desert to establish the Palm Desert Digital iHub, which will open this fall across the street from PDC. It will include a new state-of-the-art cybersecurity program, along with new programs in hospitality and entrepreneurship.”
Community Engagement and Partnerships
“Community Engagement and Partnerships, the fourth of our strategic plan goals, continues to serve as a motivational tool for our students, faculty and staff and strengthens our ties throughout the region,” he said.
“Service learning is one of these tools. Combined with study abroad opportunities — as in last year’s trips to Ensenada, Mexico and Peru — it ties this goal with the high impact practices we utilize in our student success efforts. My thanks to all the faculty and staff who engaged in and integrated service learning experiences into programming this last year,” Morales said.
Morales also said he sees volunteerism as an expanding area of campus life and culture and has created awards to recognize outstanding participants.
“Last year, the President’s 2018-19 Volunteer Service Awards recognized 183 participating students from the San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses,” he said. “A new President’s Volunteer Service Award program begins this fall.”
Morales also highlighted the Office of Community Engagement and the university’s commitment to service.
“Its new quarterly Educate & Serve breakfast series connects faculty with key community stakeholders to identify new collaborations and partnerships. Its faculty grants program awarded over $127,000 to 30 faculty last year. And the seventh annual Coyote Cares Day saw students, staff, administrators and alumni from the San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses volunteer at 18 community sites,” he said. “The value of their day’s service was nearly $72,000.
In 2018-19, CSUSB students contributed more than 95,000 hours of volunteer service.”
“Our fifth goal, Identity, is evident in the growth of this university’s visibility and reputation,” Morales said. “We had a 738 percent increase in alumni engagement last year compared with 2014-15. The alumni mentor program continues to grow, having its most successful year ever. The Alumni Professor for a Day program had a 166 percent increase in program participants. We continue to support affinity-based alumni chapters and launched an Undocumented Alumni Chapter, the first in the CSU.”
Morales also acknowledged the university’s transition from a quarter to a semester system, noting that CSUSB is entering its fourth year of the journey.
“2019-20 marks the final academic year CSUSB operates as a quarter-based institution,” he said. “My heartfelt thanks go to all of you in the campus community who have worked very hard on the transition, touching on nearly every aspect of campus planning and operations in the process, while striving to ensure that no student would be adversely affected by this transition.
“At this point, almost all curriculum items have been approved and work continues on updating our systems this fall.
“As a university, it is essential that we come together and make this transition as easy as possible for our students. We must also look to help each other, offering support and guidance as we march toward a successful conclusion to this extraordinary effort.”
And with the growth of residence space, dining options and related on-campus resources, Morales said the university can proudly claim a blossoming and vibrant life experience that offers more options to those who desire such opportunities.
“Expansion plans for the Santos Manuel Student Union are continuing so we can provide more learning, support and recreation space to enrich the CSUSB college experience,” he said. “The Coussoulis Arena has long been a center of Coyote Pride, and improvements to the seating and the floor itself will help it retain its reputation as a showcase for our student-athletes and our university.
“As we begin this, our 54th year as an institution of higher education, it is exciting to know that we continue to grow and develop to meet the needs of our students and our community.
“Change is a constant in life,” he said. “To deny it is to deny the chance to make things better. However, the past is the foundation upon which everything is built, so remembering what has been sets a standard for what will be.”