A pandemic, enduring systemic and systematic racism, caustic political effrontery, mass demonstrations, wildfires, unemployment, rampant homelessness and housing instability, and an increasingly fragile natural ecosystem is the wet woolen blanket that 2020 has wrapped around our heads and shoulders. Despite what the region, nation, and globe are experiencing, thankfully, CSUN is thriving. The College has higher enrollment than last year and we have more transfer students this year than in the past.
You chose us for good reason.
Money magazine ranked CSUN in the top 50 of all U.S. universities for education and value. U.S. News and World Report ranked CSUN in the top ten for best undergraduate teaching and in the top 25 for social mobility.
I do believe that people turn to those institutions where they find support and answers in times of stress and challenge. Despite being online and the announcement coming prior to the majority of other campuses, students chose us. It is within our College – Social and Behavioral Sciences where many turn for answers. We challenge assumptions here. We question here. We strive for better here. We do not only study and create, we contribute and act.
Faculty have adjusted to online formats to best engage students. Innovation abounds. Staff members have kept operations running smoothly and in some cases have made positive changes that will be maintained when we return to campus. We welcomed six new faculty members to the CSBS for the 20-21 academic year:
- Tuwana Wingfield, Social Work
- Jose Paez, Social Work
- Brianne Posey , Criminology and Justice Studies
- Jimin Pyo, Criminology and Justice Studies
- Anastasiia Timmer, Criminology and Justice Studies
- James Davidson, Sociology.
We are excited about their arrival and their scholarship.
Last year I shared that new school years mean possibility. That has not changed. CSBS continues to move forward with initiatives involving the Institute for Sustainability, the Dubois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement, the CSUN in DC program, our partnership with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the Center for Southern California Studies, the Young African Leaders Initiative (a partnership with USAID and the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration). The Geography Department in partnership with the Center for Geospatial Science and Technology created interactive maps to track COVID-19. CSUN’s BUILD PODER is the single largest National Institutes of Health grant received by CSUN and was renewed this past year. BUILD PODER continues to receive national awards recognizing its excellence. And there are many more initiatives and emergent efforts addressing making our society better.
From Africana Studies to Urban Studies the focus is on people. In the College we put people first. We remain dedicated to student success. We remain dedicated to study and contributions to make our society better. Yes we have challenges. But our educational goal is to equip students with the skill set to meet those challenges.
Through what we do in the field, in communities, in classrooms, across borders, online, in libraries, in studios, and in labs, all of us steadily embody our College tagline that states “Locally Engaged, Globally Prepared.” We aim to replace the wet blanket of 2020 with a cozy comforter of 2021! We welcome the challenge!
Yan Dominic Searcy, Ph.D.