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