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Karen Haynes

CSUSM president moves university forward in face of state budget woes

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Despite budget cuts, staff and faculty furloughs, and enrollment reductions, Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM) has remained productive under the leadership of President Karen Haynes.

“Although we were happy to see the state reinvest in the California State University system for 2010-11, state support is at the same level it was five years ago,” Haynes said.

Yet CSUSM is serving more students. State appropriations are only 59 percent of the university’s total budget, said Haynes, whose tenure as CSUSM’s third president began in 2004.

The university is making strides in other areas as well.

In 2010, CSUSM increased its one-year continuation rates for first-time freshmen to a new high of 77.3 percent. “This represents a nearly three point increase from last year alone,” Haynes said, “and further validates the continued collaborative efforts of faculty and staff to ensure that our students are on track to achieve their education goals.”

In October, the university had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its off-campus center, CSUSM at Temecula. The new building was leased to CSUSM by the Temecula Valley Unified School District for only a dollar a year for 10 years, according to Haynes.

CSUSM’s new Social and Behavioral Sciences Building will open in the spring of 2011. At 106,509 gross square feet, it will be the largest classroom and office building on the CSUSM campus, Haynes said.

Urban Villages San Marcos has partnered with CSUSM on the University District housing project. Phase one of construction is under way, and by fall of 2012, 300 student living units will be ready, with another 300 scheduled for completion by the fall of 2013.

Plans for a new student union building are in the works. The first phase of construction will get under way pending approval from the CSU Board of Trustees.

CSUSM is ranked No. 40 among the nation’s top universities for veterans by Military Times. The university was recognized in August by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School and ranked among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.

This year the U.S. Department of Education awarded CSUSM the designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

“This, in addition to our previous designation as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), opens up new grant opportunities that will impact the academic experience of all of our students,” Haynes said.

Going forward, the “formula for success,” she said, includes remaining innovative and finding creative ways of delivering services and programs without state dollars.

To do this, the university will build its base of community partners and donors. “Our roadmap to our 25th anniversary in 2015 includes being the place where businesses are incubated, students gain hands-on learning, and our community comes to enjoy arts and lectures, Cougar athletics games, or to pursue their professional or academic dreams,” Haynes said.

Chung Klam is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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