November 2020
Welcome to the fall semester!
As we continue to monitor and meet established safety guidelines in response to COVID-19, our offices are still open and operating in a virtual format. You can reach us via email and we will respond as quickly as possible. Please visit CSUSB’s dedicated COVID-19/Coronavirus information webpage for all things COVID-related at CSUSB. Thank you and stay safe!
Message from the dean
The start of the Fall 2020 academic year was quite different than usual. For the first time in its 34-year history, the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus adopted a semester calendar as a result of almost five years of work to convert CSUSB from a quarter system to a semester system. We also began this new academic year with 98% of our operations being virtual, with only a few lab classes being taught on campus.

We started to operate virtually in mid-March, and will continue this way through spring and summer 2021. We have been successful in providing PDC students with the types of services and academic delivery they need to be successful. As a result, this spring we had a record rate of graduates, both in headcount and graduation rate. In June, we celebrated the graduation of 421 students who earned either a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree, a 7% increase from a year ago. We also increased the PDC 4-year graduation rate, a measure of student success in the CSU system, from 28% to 35%.

Our success, especially during this time, is the result of several key factors. We have great staff and faculty whose passion and commitment to serving students is the key to our success, coupled with the leadership and support from the CSU system and members of our community. We also work with our colleagues at the San Bernardino campus to make sure that student equity issues are addressed by providing the resources students need to be able to participate in their learning activities, which include laptops, hotspot WiFi devices and parking lot WiFi access. Students continue to have access to our DEN Food Pantry and financial assistance is available to keep students in school and on track to graduate on time.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be profound and lasting. The CSU recently announced that all 23 campuses will continue to operate virtually until June 2021. We may see different ways of delivering academics, engaging students, conducting research and doing community outreach, but whatever the new normal will be, at PDC we will continue to focus on our mission of transforming lives by providing greater access to our local students and their families, and a unique set of college experiences for our students.

At CSUSB, We Define the Future!

Jake Zhu, Ph.D.
Dean, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus
PDC in the News
Siblings attend PDC on full-ride scholarship
Jennifer and Scott Hanson are the first siblings to receive the University Legacy Scholarship at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus and both plan to become nurses in the Coachella Valley!
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) connecting seniors during COVID-19
The OLLI program at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is helping seniors connect and learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many isolated people out there right now who can benefit from the OLLI program and the type of personal connection it provides.
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus faculty member seeks to help historic Black churches go virtual
Lacey Kendall is helping local churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is looking for support from the community to continue her efforts.
Campus Happenings
PDC dean participates on panel about education and the COVID-19 pandemic
Dean Zhu recently participated in a webisode which focused on how the coronavirus has impacted education in the Coachella Valley, and featured College of the Desert President Joel Kinnamon and Palm Springs Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon. (Dean Zhu's section begins at 10:22.)
PDC faculty member receives recognition from American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Diane Vines’ poster, titled “Street Medicine in the Coachella Valley,” was awarded first place in the Education category for the APNA 34th Annual Conference.
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus alumni create two successful businesses together
Kelly Schoenfeld and Brian Esser were out singing karaoke one night about five years ago when they decided to start what is now ESC Medical Billing. That resulted in a second business, Lightning MD, that launched in February.
Street Medicine program receives funding to continue providing healthcare services
Good news! The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus Street Medicine program recently received funding from the RAP Foundation, the Verizon Foundation and the Desert Healthcare District & Foundation to continue its efforts providing healthcare services to the homeless and unsheltered populations in the Coachella Valley.
Three new programs at PDC
Hospitality Management, Entrepreneurship and Cybersecurity are now being offered at the Palm Desert Campus!