California State University



The CSU Academic Affairs Header
Academic Affairs VOL III ISSUE 1
Group Shot of Counselors from CSU Campuses


Providing advice and counseling to students has taken on greater importance in this age of decreased budgets, higher fees and lower student enrollment. From early outreach to preparation for college, the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the 23 campuses work with K-12 and the community colleges to support CSU's mission of access, retention and graduation.

The Student Academic Services (SAS) department of Academic Affairs assists the 23 campuses with a broad range of student service-related programs designed to help students achieve their academic and personal goals, and to prepare CSU graduates to be engaged citizens and successful members of the workforce. Important components are outreach and academic preparation so students realize what is needed before they enter a CSU.

This month and next, the CSU will hold eight counselor conferences across the state to provide information to high school and community college counselors and other educators who work with high school students. Counselors will learn about CSUMentor, CSU’s online application program; the Early Assessment Program (EAP); Early Start; SB 1440: The Associate Degree for Transfer program; foster youth; financial aid; mental health services; Troops to College and many other programs coordinated by the SAS unit at the Chancellor’s Office and campus representatives. Read more

CSU Online Logo


Cal State Online is CSU’s systemwide effort to centralize marketing and support for fully online degree programs.  Cal State Online is slated to begin in spring 2013 with 10 degree programs set to join the initiative in the initial year. Cal State Online is partnering with Pearson eCollege to provide course and program delivery services as well as technology, faculty and student support services that will supplement the campus and program support structures. Press Release

“Pearson eCollege's expertise and demonstrated success in online education and experience with large state universities make them an excellent fit for Cal State Online," said John Welty, president of Fresno State and chair of the Cal State Online Board."Their compelling case studies highlight their ability to provide a robust learning experience and support for the students who will participate in Cal State Online."

Background: In 2010, the Technology Steering Committee (TSC) investigated the possibility of the CSU entering the online world as a system rather than just as individual universities.  An outside analysis was conducted, the TSC's recommendations were endorsed by the CSU presidents in June 2011 and the result is the nascent Cal State Online with Ruth Claire Black appointed as executive director. Campus and program participation in Cal State Online is voluntary. Any CSU campus can develop an online program using its own resources and then work with Cal State Online to implement, deliver, market and provide outreach for the program.

Research in the field at CSUMB


While many people think that research is pretty much the purview of graduate students, CSU undergraduates are very involved in research activities.

The Chancellor's Office has created a new undergraduate research website that provides information on opportunities for students and showcases faculty who involve students in their research activities and scholarship. Three videos highlight CSU San Marcos faculty and why they believe involving undergraduates is important to their students' education. More videos will be added in the near future.

Similar to international programs, service learning and civic engagement, undergraduate research is a "high impact" practice that contributes to student success and graduation. The website is currently featured under “Latest News” on the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR). Beth Ambos, former assistant vice chancellor of research initiatives and partnerships at the Chancellor's Office, is the recently appointed CUR executive director.


The CSU has a new website that highlights programs and activities at the campuses to fight alcohol and other drug use.
Read more


CSU Northridge students and Professor Steven Loy are headed to the White House after winning a contest on how to fight childhood obesity.
Read more


Ephraim SmithWelcome to the new academic year and to this issue of News and Reflections, the online Academic Affairs newsletter highlighting initiatives, programs, events and people at the system office and the 23 CSU campuses.

I want to take this opportunity to update the CSU's key initiatives.

Graduation Initiative: This initiative strives to raise the freshman six-year graduation rate by 8 percentage points, and cut in half the existing gap in degree attainment by CSU’s under-represented minority (URM) students by 2015. We appear to be making good progress on achieving our graduation rate goal, but we still have work to do to close the achievement gap. As a result, the CO Graduation Initiative team is focusing on two strategies:

  • Encouraging more inclusive and systematic use of engaging “high-impact” educational practices such as service learning and undergraduate research. These practices have shown to be particularly effective in promoting student success, especially for URM student.
  • Helping campuses make strategic use of data to understand the effects that their programs and policies are having on their various student populations.

The Early Start Program:  In summer 2012, more than 18,000 new freshmen were provided with in-person and online opportunities to improve critical skills in English and mathematics, and in many cases, satisfy components of their remediation requirements. The Early Start Steering Committee will be meeting in the coming months and results from 2012 will help in guiding improvements for summer 2013.

SB 1440 Associate Degree for Transfer: Ten campuses opened to SB 1440 transfer students in spring 2013, and 18 transfer degree programs were available to them. Approximately 2,100 students applied for admission. The marketing campaign opened with a new website, radio spots and printed materials for students and for counselors attending the CSU counselor conferences. CSU Mentor was also updated. We are anticipating that more community college students will see this as the best pathway to a bachelor's degree.

We all know that the state's fiscal challenges are severely impacting the CSU and its campuses, students, faculty and staff. The budget will be discussed at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting, with options presented for the passage or failure of Proposition 30, Governor Brown's tax measure, on the November ballot. For the most up-to-date information, please go to Budget Central: Link to Latest budget news »

Again, thank you for what you all do for the California State University, particularly during these difficult times.



Sonoma State University joins other CSUs in producing wine Two CSU campuses have produced award-winning wines for several years, most notably Fresno State, which has the only university teaching facilities in the world that combines 150 acres of table, raisin and wine grape vineyards and a commercial 50,000 gallon winery. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has nearly 9,000 acres of farmland, including a 100-acre state-of-the-art commercial vineyard. Now joining its sister campuses is Sonoma State, which has recently released Sonoma State Cellars Cuvée. The idea was first considered two years by a four MBA students working with Professor of Business Armand Gilinsky Jr., and it came to fruition at Kokomo Winery and Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley. Proceeds support SSU’s Wine Business Institute, the only program in the U.S. to focus exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry. Courses are offered in Wine Marketing, Wine Finance and Accounting, Human Resources Management, Wine Business Strategies and Wine Production, Operations & Distribution.

While Sonoma is new to the wine-making business, Fresno State has been in it for years, and offers a Bachelor of Science in Enology; Bachelor of Science in Viticulture; and certificates in Special Study in Enology and Special Study in Sustainable Viticulture. Fresno wines are sold at the Fresno State Winery Online Store and in the Gibson Farm Market. A Centennial Wine was released in 2011 to celebrate the university’s 100th year. The winery released a limited edition special wine blend to honor Philip Levine, the Library of Congress’ 18th Poet Laureate and an emeritus professor of English who taught at Fresno State for 34 years. This commemorative wine was named “Picaresque” by Levine. Like Fresno, Cal Poly SLO wines have won numerous gold, silver, bronze, double gold and unanimous gold medals They can be purchased online. Cal Poly wines, and the vineyards that produce them, have had a long-standing tradition of quality. Some of the first vintages were made at Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards. Now the campus has a relationship with Orcutt Road Cellars, where its nearby location allows student winemakers to maintain close ties with the wines during the entire process from vineyard to bottle.

Irrigated fieldThe state’s interest in investing and protecting our water continues to be conversation among policy-makers, citizens and faculty researchers. Water has long been a focus for the CSU, as shown in the varying applied projects at many campuses. As part of the 10-year, $32 million NASA grant that was awarded to CSU Monterey Bay in spring 2012, researchers at CSUMB and NASA are teaming up to determine water needs for crops. By placing sensors around the crops and utilizing satellites to take high resolution photos, researchers are measuring crop development and creating formulas to estimate how much water a field might need. With this information, farmers could schedule irrigation and use less water, conserving resources and increasing profitability at the same time. Fresno State has considered research in water management one of its top priorities. The campus is home to the $60 million International Center for Water Technology (ICWT), a joint venture with industry in the San Joaquin Valley, and the Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center. Education, research and development, and on-campus incubation for new water technology companies are a few of the program focuses that fuel the push to become a leader in the field of water. “Water is -- and will continue to be -- the cornerstone of growth and prosperity in the San Joaquin Valley,” says David Zoldoske, ICWT director of ICWT, in a recent Fresno Bee article. In 2008, the Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI) was established as a CSU systemwide, multidisciplinary network bringing together campus institutes, faculty and staff experts. In June 2012, the WRPI met for their annual conference and covered issues ranging from drinking water technology to funding in tough economic times.

SPOTLIGHT: CSU Olympians Soar

Track and Field OlympianThe 2012 London Olympics made this summer memorable as Team USA brought home 104 medals. The CSU proudly cheered for eighteen of their own as they competed in a handful of events such a track and field, volleyball and judo.

Event coverage kept many on the edge of their seats as Misty May-Treanor (CSU Long Beach) fought for her third gold medal and Carmelita Jeter (CSU Dominguez Hills) sprinted toward a world record time in the 100m. Seven CSU women returned from London with medals, making it a stand-out year as women Olympians earned more than half of USA’s gold.

Questions? For questions about content, email Colleen Bentley at

For technical questions, email

Review past issues at

Subscription Information
To subscribe or unsubscribe please visit the Academic Affairs Newsletter website.