The past year has made it abundantly clear the importance of community. In the face of significant challenges at the local and global scale, it is our shared sense of togetherness that carried us through.
I firmly believe that Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) allows for higher education to be present and listen to what our communities need, to engage directly with the people we serve, and to promptly translate university assets (programs or faculty expertise) to respond to local concerns.
United around this core belief, we at Extension and International Programs (EIP) have striven throughout our history to ensure that Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) plays a strong, central role in supporting a lifetime of professional, continuing, and online education needs within and beyond Orange County (OC).
We have demonstrated innovative adaptability, working collaboratively with university and community partners to provide a diverse portfolio of programs and services designed to meet the changing needs of local, regional, and international constituencies.
All of this would not have been possible without the tight-knit community within EIP, the hard work of every EIP team member, the collaboration with CSUF leadership, faculty, staff and students, and the strong support from our community partners.
From our Titan Youth Programs, collaborations with CSUF’s Educational Partnerships and Alumni Association, retooled Public Sector Leadership programs, free financial literacy webinars, new Arboretum virtual tours and instructional videos, to the variety of virtual learning and engagement opportunities now available through OLLI, we have blazed a new trail for the future of lifelong learning here in OC and beyond.
Our professional development programs are created with campus, community and business needs in mind. Certificate programs assist professionals in their careers and educator programs build and strengthen the skills of teachers. We also partner with various agencies within Orange County to provide training for county employees. We have many certificates to choose from in the fields of Business, Crime & Forensics, Fiduciary, Technology & Engineering and Education.
Our professional certificate programs provide pathways for people to change or advance their careers, learn new skills and ultimately move forward in their goals.
Each year we see certificate program graduates excel in their career fields of choice. Certificate programs provide a way for professionals to advance their careers or change courses entirely. We are proud to serve as a stepping stone to those in pursuit of lifelong learning. This year we created numerous opportunities for business professionals, including our newest graduate certificate program in Human Resources Management. We launched our first cohort at the beginning of the fiscal year and have seen continued success. One of our first cohort participants, Lauren Murray, shared her story with us:
“I chose this program because it’s the first of its kind and it intrigued me.” - Lauren M.
While there are many HR professional development courses available (largely through SHRM), Lauren decided our program was the best way to solidify her learnings from her undergraduate studies prior to launching her career in the field.
Now, although less than a year into her career, she feels the knowledge she learned and the hands-on experience she received in the program will help her in the future.
In Spring 2020 we had the opportunity to award scholarships to 11 EIP Professional Development students. It is a privilege to be able to help our students achieve their professional goals which, as we often find, benefit their personal lives as well.
Dave is pursuing a career in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - a job that matches his passion for maps and the great outdoors.
While Dave had wanted to pursue this path for several years, his day job didn’t allow time for attending classes. It wasn’t until he found our online program that he was able to make real steps towards getting his dream job and, he hopes, taking a step towards a stable work-life balance.
Dave’s current job requires him to travel frequently, leaving him with little time to relax at home. With a GIS Professional Certificate, he hopes to succeed in changing careers and finding a job close to home so he can spend quality time with his family.
“The CSUF program provided me with an excellent opportunity to pursue my dream.” - Dave M.
“The online flexibility, reasonable prices and good prep for the real world — I would recommend this program to anyone seeking this level of flexibility.”
Congratulations to Dave and the other 2020 scholarship recipients! We look forward to seeing what you do next.
We ended the fiscal year with new beginnings. In Summer 2020 we successfully launched the Game-Based Learning Certificate program with a cohort of Orange County Department of Education teachers.
The program is three courses long, with lessons applicable to classrooms of all types, from teaching students to leading corporate training sessions.
“Because there are relatively so few experts in GBL, the demand for people with GBL expertise can position them to become the leaders of pedagogy and curriculum in schools, higher education, and the public/private sector.” - Randall Fujimoto, Instructor
Source: Unofficial OCDE report
In 2019-2020 we partnered with several organizations whose impact in Orange County was far-reaching.
Working full-time. Raising a family. Endless streams of freeway traffic. Earning a college degree is a challenging endeavor in the best of circumstances. Add work, kids and transportation in Southern California — it can feel almost impossible to get to class, let alone complete a degree. Thankfully, we have solutions to overcome these obstacles through our fully online degree completion programs.
Our online bachelor degree completion programs have continued to see great success. Our programs include Business Administration, Sociology, and our newest offering, Humanities & Social Sciences. Our degree-completion programs provide a way for students to earn their degree while continuing to balance their current lives, whether that's raising a family, holding down a full-time job or other responsibilities that may have taken precedence over college.
In collaboration with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences we launched the BA in Humanities & Social Sciences online degree completion program with great success in Fall 2019.
Our first cohort comprised a diverse group of students, with different careers and interests, but all sharing the drive to learn and attain their degree. We look forward to welcoming more individuals like these in the years to come.
“The curriculum in this program is wonderfully diverse, offering courses that focus on culture, literature, the place of humans in the environment, ethnicity, race and history, as well as music, art, film and technology. To me, this kind of training develops not only critical thinking and communication skills, but also an awareness and an appreciation for the cultural, ethnic, religious, age and gender diversity that is part of our world and our communities, and is certainly a part of our workplaces.” - Barbra Erickson, CSUF Professor
Meet alumna Maria del Carmen Gonzalez aka Carmen! Carmen is a graduate of our MS in Counseling program and her story is truly moving:
Carmen applied to our program in 2015 as a way to deal with the tragedy of losing her daughter.
She set out to be the best graduate student she could be, while working full-time as a single mother of two. "The brokenness I felt at the beginning soon turned into perseverance, resilience and empowerment as a result of the support I received from my professors, mentors and colleagues," she said.
Carmen is passionate about her new career, and is deeply committed to working in public mental health, particularly with the under-served communities of Los Angeles and Orange County. Her own journey has helped her grow the confidence and strength needed to help others better their own lives.
We continue to offer advanced degree programs for postgraduates. Programs include Fully Employed Masters in Business Administration (FEMBA), Masters in Social Work (MSW) and MS in Counseling. In addition to these, we continued to lay the groundwork to offer accelerated programs in the future, such as the soon-to-be launched MS in Financial Engineering and Risk Management (FERM) and Accelerated Master in Software Engineering (AMSE).
Our Pre-Health Professions Postbaccalaureate Program continues to thrive. This program provides a path for students without a science background to enter the medical field and other health related occupations.
One of our most recent graduates, veteran Manpreet Luthra, was featured by CSUF. You can read his inspiring story here: http://news.fullerton.edu/2020sp/Titans-Take-on-Medical-School.aspx
In support of CSUF’s “Choose 15” initiative, the University’s summer and winter session provides opportunities for students to stay on track to graduate without sacrificing precious time during the fall and spring terms. Smaller class sizes and fast-paced syllabi are the perfect combination for many students.
"Summer classes are smaller, so you get to know your professors and classmates better. It's a great foundation for networking and finding internships." - Kayla F.
Open University is the start of success for many. Our team has seen countless students raise their CSUF GPA, boost their self-confidence and complete their degree thanks to this program. Students can also take prerequisites for a credential or graduate program this way as well. Disqualified students can reset their academic careers and raise their GPA through Open University enrollment. Open University also provides a way for the general public to further their personal and professional growth and education.
Open University makes CSUF classes accessible to lifelong learners of all ages and backgrounds, from students looking to complete prerequisites for graduate school to adults looking to learn something new.1,473 students from Fall 2019 - Summer 2020
This was a busy year for our international team. We opened the newly established Global Titans Center to bring study abroad, International Students and Scholars services, and the University Semester Abroad program together under one roof at our new location in Titan Hall.
Additionally, we continued to engage with international universities, built out Study Abroad programs, and most importantly, ensured the safe return of students at the start of the pandemic.
We can’t wait to welcome back international students seeking the opportunity to grow and learn in a world-class American institution. Our international students provide our domestic Titans with the ability to obtain a global perspective driven by their peers, even from the classrooms in Fullerton.
President Fram Virjee said, "to all international students, my message to you is the same one I have for my son: You are a beloved and integral part of who we are as an academic institution and a family. You are valued. You are loved. You advance knowledge, spur innovation, and transform lives. You are the future who will help to shape and change our world for the better."
All students returned safely at the start of the pandemic. Special thanks to our Global Titan Center team all of whom worked tirelessly to ensure students and faculty were able to navigate the way home during this unprecedented time.
In 2020 Fullerton Arboretum celebrated its 40th anniversary. Since its inception, the Arboretum has served as a place of community and education for CSUF and its surrounding neighbors. Despite the challenges the pandemic brought upon us towards the end of the fiscal year, the Arboretum team has continued to remain resilient and innovative in the ways in which they engage with the campus and local community. Highlights of this year include:
Every year Fullerton Arboretum shares its resources with local community partners and this year was no exception, even as they navigated closures due to the pandemic.
We want to take a moment to celebrate our relationship with and thank the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum for the creation and growth of Fullerton Arboretum over the past 40 years. We look forward to the next 40 years, shaped by our continued partnership, the community support and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Arboretum volunteers play a critical role in taking care of the grounds and act as advocates for the gardens to the local public. We are grateful for all that they have done to support the Arboretum this past year.
Sustainability is a top priority of Fullerton Arboretum. Two highlights of this year’s efforts include a student project and our ongoing composting efforts:
Student Project: Undergraduate chemistry students completed a project that produced biodiesel and liquid soap using campus cooking oil. This process reused waste materials and produced less air pollution than burning diesel. In the future we hope to produce enough biodiesel and liquid soap to meet the needs of the Arboretum and CSUF’s Physical Plant.
Compost: Roughly 20 cubic yards of compost is generated by the Arboretum each month.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University Fullerton provides active, older adults with opportunities to continue learning in a university setting, to engage with peers, to serve our communities, and to support and enhance the activities of the University.
“After retiring from teaching at the same high school for 36 years, I felt a bit at loose ends. I no longer had my “school family” to see every day. Once I joined OLLI, I had more “family” than I knew what to do with. I feel as though I have known some of them all my life. In addition to friendship, OLLI gives me a purpose. I feel valued there. I can use my teaching skills with people who, like me, still want to learn.”
In 2019 the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary celebrated the 90th anniversary of Benjamin and Dorothy Tucker opening their famed bird porch to the public. For the past nine decades the sanctuary has been home to numerous birds and welcomed visitors of all ages.
In 2020 the Children’s Program was rebranded to Titan Youth Programs, featuring expanded virtual experiences to meet the needs of children in the local community. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, new class subjects were offered to a broader range of ages this summer. Academic and tech classes may have changed to virtual instruction this year, but we look forward to in-person teaching in the months and years to come.
Based on the success of our summer virtual offerings, year-round programs are becoming a reality. Both virtual and in-person options are being explored. Potential classes will be developed based on the needs of the educationally diverse students that Titan Youth Programs supports.
In 2020 we collaborated with security program company CISOSHARE to offer “CyberForward,” an accelerated foundational program hosted at the CSUF Irvine Center.
The program developed professionals into junior security and vulnerability analyst roles through training, mentorship, internships and employer-placement.
Courses were free and open to all working professionals, regardless of technical experience.
We would be remiss to ignore the impact COVID-19 had on our programs. Like the rest of the world, our staff, students and faculty found themselves grappling with the global pandemic on many levels:
In the middle of spring semester, every single one of our professional development programs transitioned to virtual instruction. We, along with the rest of the CSUF departments, made major changes in a very short amount of time.
We went from operating out of two physical locations to completely online. We are proud to say that we made the transition safely, efficiently and effectively.
The Extension & International Programs IT team led the way in teaching our staff how to set up remote working stations. The Learning Design & Development and Programs teams worked closely with instructors to build virtual classrooms for their students.
While the transition was not flawless, the process was efficient and protected the health and safety of staff, instructors and students at the beginning of the outbreak, ultimately eliminating the risk of exposure to the virus in our workplace.
We were also able to provide free resources to the public, including a series of financial webinars and professional development courses.
Looking forward, our team continues to refine our virtual classrooms and plans to expand learning opportunities.
Registration for Summer Session was well underway when the pandemic hit. Although the original Summer Session schedule had many online classes, it also had numerous in-person and hybrid classes. The entire class schedule had to be redone and communicated to students, faculty and staff.
In addition to this, the Learning, Design & Development team gave their time to Faculty Support Services to ensure summer courses made a smooth transition to virtual instruction.
Our operational units were also impacted, converting numerous in-person processes to online and virtual modes for business continuity.
We would like to give huge thanks and applause to our staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that summer classes were able to continue, even in the midst of a global crisis.
In April it became clear the campus would not permit in-person classes, and all efforts focused on expediting a new virtual Summer 2020 Titan Youth Program.
With less than seven weeks before the first summer class, new schedules were incorporated, classes evaluated for effective transition to online, contracts renegotiated, a new email campaign was developed and launched, websites updated, registration converted, and an extended effort by the TYP team to respond to parent’s concerns in one-on-one emails and phone communications to maintain a successful level of engagement.
The quick pivot to a virtual Titan Youth Program was successful. Although not without its challenges and unexpected hiccups, we were able to continue to offer these educational opportunities to the future generation, expand the proximity of the children we serve, and pilot out a new virtual program that is anticipated to continue both into the academic year and remain long after the pandemic restrictions have lifted. The new virtual platform increased access and flexibility for families seeking safe supplemental instruction and enrichment programs while sheltering-in-place.
We brought together supporters of the Arboretum to redefine campus and community engagement online, drawing upon the unique strengths of the Arboretum. These programs created a strong sense of community, and brought us together despite physical distancing imposed by COVID-19.
In addition to these initiatives, an intensive fundraising campaign is also currently taking place. Fullerton Arboretum relies heavily on donations, memberships and event rentals to maintain the grounds and preserve the many plants and projects taking place in the gardens.
Our online programs continued as planned, including all our online educator programs and degree completion programs.
The onset of COVID-19 demanded quick, radical changes to how Extension & International Programs functioned. We are proud of the way our team was able to pivot and be nimble while remaining dedicated to keeping our programs running and our students engaged.
“In response to COVID-19, we are offering more flexible program schedules than ever, utilizing innovative modes of instruction, and providing specialized and responsive support for diverse learners from a variety of backgrounds including those who otherwise may not have easy access to higher education.” – Christopher Swarat, Associate Vice President of EIP
Despite our accomplishments this year, our vision for the future is much greater. We are dedicated to creating programs that ensure better work-life balance options and strive to meet the needs of our regional partners and communities. We will continue to bring the community and the university together to assure that the transformative power of education remains available, accessible and accommodating to all.
Our longstanding connections with community partners like the Friends of the Arboretum, our colleagues and friends in OLLI, and the Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center are only a few of the partnerships we will continue to strengthen to ensure access to lifelong learning for the diverse local and global population we serve.
In developing and improving our certificate programs, we will continue to build multiple modalities: face-to-face, online, hybrid and other options for working adults. We will also create opportunities for our students to advance in their careers, and options to make career changes as they balance the responsibilities of their lives.
President Fram Virjee stated, "multicultural perspectives are integral to our mission to create globally-engaged graduates," and we fully believe that.
Despite great changes in the international education environment, the students’ desire and the necessity to craft a global perspective remain critical. The Global Titans Center is committed to broad access for all CSUF students to learn, grow, and develop a global perspective through the launch of the CSUF Global Programming Series.
Through this virtually delivered programming series, students will have a range of opportunities not limited to Fulbright and Peace Corps workshops, online international internship information sessions, and virtual social networking with students here and around the world through the Global Titan Buddies program.
Much of the programming lineup will be the product of the close collaboration between staff within the Global Titans Center and our student-driven Global Ambassadors program – allowing our student groups to help shape the programming to fit the needs of our broad student population.
Senior Director Jack Hobson stated, “Mobility associated with traditional study abroad and study away remains an important factor in our office identity and will return when it is safe, however I am elated to announce the launch of our Global Programming Series. This series will be a part of our new office identity and will remain even after a return to traditional mobility to demonstrate our commitment to program offerings that serve the global needs of all Titans – in person and virtually.”
We will continue to develop innovative programs to meet the growing workforce demands around the world. In addition to maintaining and growing our relationships with international educational institutions, we will also provide new opportunities here in the United States.
We have already developed new programs, including the Accelerated Masters in Science & Engineering (AMSE) and Financial Engineering & Risk Management (FERM), which appeal widely to our international student base.
This year we successfully developed and launched the University partner model with County of Orange employees, local tech companies, community colleges, and corporate organizations. As we move into the next year we will continue to build on these partnerships, providing new opportunities for education, career growth and support of small business leaders.
Putting this vision into practice has required EIP to rethink our role, to look beyond conventional notions of professional and continuing education, to expand narrow definitions of global learning and student mobility, to be more engaged in our community, and to challenge traditional perspectives on workforce development.
Encouraged and excited by the opportunities this liberating perspective provides, EIP looks forward to continuing these efforts to broaden the meaning and scope of “extension” in innovative ways that reflect the core EIP values, support the university’s mission, and help strengthen our community.
We know this will not happen overnight, but rather through the daily efforts of our team as a whole. The Japanese have a business philosophy called “Kaizen,” which means “change for the better” or “continuous improvement,” put into practice by involving all employees. At Extension & International Programs, each step forward is made with purpose. We are dedicated to changing for the better through continuous improvements, both big and small.
We thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you to shape our collective future.
What should our partners look to us for in the future? How does what we have planned impact the local business world and CSUF as a whole?