California State University, Monterey Bay

California State University, Monterey Bay
Campus Category: 
Four year and graduate institutions under 5,000 student FTE

Contact Information

Executive Director for Strategic Communications
University Advancement
Education and Research:

Chartered in 1994, the mission of CSU Monterey Bay is “to build a multicultural learning community founded on academic excellence from which all partners in the educational process emerge prepared to contribute productively, responsibly, and ethically to California and the global community.” This ethic of sustainability has guided the university's development, both as a physical campus and as a center of learning for 4,200 students. Its founding initiated the historic reuse of the former Fort Ord Army base for higher education, with conversion of former military offices and former barracks into classrooms and residence halls – symbolically turning swords into plowshares.

The university’s academic program, with 18 bachelor's degrees and seven master's degrees, includes both traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary majors that span multiple fields and illuminate the connections between them. For example, the department of Environmental Science, Technology and Policy offers courses and encourages research in both marine science and environmental management, and one instructor teaches an introductory environmental-themed writing class, which in partnership with the university’s facilities and operations department created a “Green Campus Tour.” The partnership has brought staff into the classroom and helped create both internships and on-campus research opportunities.

Small class sizes and courses taught by full-time faculty promote hands-on learning and undergraduate research. Each student’s academic experience culminates in a senior capstone project, for which recent topics have included biodiesel, wind energy, fog collection and LEED certification. An Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center matches students with mentors and helps funds their research projects, while also encouraging post-baccalaureate study. Another important aspect of the CSUMB curriculum is its Service Learning program, which brings the university’s core value of service to life through a specialized curriculum. Each student is required to provide at least 60 hours of community service and apply that experience to their academic major while gaining understanding of social justice issues. In 2007-08, for example, 1,435 students provided 70,030 hours of service to community organizations in the tri-county area.

The university’s faculty members are known for both a commitment to student learning and for individual academic accomplishment, including in fields with direct relevance to the environment. Dr. James Lindholm, for example, pursues research interests that include the landscape ecology of fishes, the recovery of seafloor habitats after fishing, and the design of marine protected areas. His colleague Dr. Rikk Kvitek is director of the Seafloor Mapping Lab, and his primary research emphasis is involving undergraduate students in high-resolution of West Coast deep-water habitats and communities critical to resource management issues. To highlight scholarship of this kind, CSUMB held a daylong faculty showcase event in March 2009 at which dozens of individual faculty members made presentations. Among them were several that reflected work on environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the prospect of collecting water from the region’s ubiquitous marine fog, application of seafloor mapping in ecosystem management, and – on a social level – evaluating the effectiveness of home-based intervention to encourage early-childhood literacy.


Campus Operations:

In June 2007, CSU Monterey Bay President Dianne Harrison signed the University Presidents Climate Initiative and joined the commitment to achieving carbon neutrality. CSUMB’s embrace of environmental sustainability is evident in its updated Master Plan, which includes continued development of a walkable central campus, including large pedestrian areas closed to vehicles.

One of the newest sustainability initiatives is an agreement, in partnership with the entire California State University system and SunEdison, to build and operate a one-megawatt solar array for the next 20 years. The panels will supply 16 percent of the campus’s electricity needs and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 713 metric tons per year. Already, the university’s electrical mix includes 17 percent renewable energy. Thanks to such efforts as a lighting retrofit and remote HVAC control capability, CSUMB uses less energy than it did three years ago, even with its new, 136,000-square-foot library. Assistant Energy Director Mike Lerch has won numerous awards for his work to decrease the campus energy load, including two from the UC/CSU/IOU partnership for working with student leadership to establish an Energy Innovation Fund.

The new Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library was built to LEED silver standards, with certification pending. The structure features abundant natural light from high-performance window glass, extensive use of recycled materials, and an innovative heating and cooling system. Materials salvaged from deconstruction of vacant military structures are used to outfit new and renovated structures. Water-conservation efforts include waterless urinals, evapo-transpiration-metered irrigation, use of pervious and semi-permeable paving materials, athletic turf made from recycled tires, xeriscaping, and a storm water master plan with the goal of percolating and channeling all storm water runoff into landscaped areas. Both the campus planner and campus space planner are now LEED Accredited Professionals, and they are active in the local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

In transportation, the university benefits from a partnership with Monterey Salinas Transit bus service, which not only links the campus with the entire area but also provides free fare to passengers boarding from our stops. Fully 60 percent of students can be accommodated in on-campus housing, which minimizes commuting trips.  In addition, shuttle buses circulates through campus and serve residents in East Campus housing, about 2.5 miles away.

Finally, the university’s recycling programs are strong and expanding. The maintenance staff reuses grass cuttings and pruning and also recycles copper, oil and tires. CSUMB avidly recycles paper, cans, bottles, motor oil, light bulbs and batteries. As of fall 2009, recycling bins will be available at each employee’s desk and in every dorm room, thanks to a regional partnership for a $1.6 million Department of Conservation grant. Campus dining services use bio-plastics and recyclable utensils in all dining locations, while also serving organically grown fruits, vegetables and coffee. All toilet paper, paper towels are cleaning products are approved by and contain at least 20 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. Campus printing work is awarded to vendors who use certified green practices and recycled paper.

Administration and Finance:

True to its mission, CSU Monterey Bay continues to provide crucial access to knowledge and advanced career and educational opportunities for students from underserved communities. The university is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) located in a diverse region of Central California. Twenty-seven percent of students identify as Latino, 7 percent as Asian American, and 4 percent as African American. About one-third of first-year students are from the Monterey Bay region of Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties. Forty-four percent of all students are the first in their families to attend college, 34 percent are members of historically under-represented groups, 25 percent are eligible to receive federal Pell grants, and a total of 65 percent receive financial aid. Like other campuses in the CSU system, CSUMB encourages accessibility by providing tremendous educational value, with tuition, fees, and room and board totaling about $12,000 a year for a California student. In another effort to promote accessibility, the university in May 2009 launched a new program called the University Promise, which invited more than 600 local sixth-graders to campus to learn that a baccalaureate degree is within their grasp, and CSU Monterey Bay will have a place for them if they complete high school and meet other entrance requirements.

CSUMB remains committed to providing an outstanding workplace for employees. In 2008, the university was named one of Monterey County’s Best Places to Work by the Monterey County Business Council and cited for a low turnover rate, active employee development, and such benefits as its employee assistance program, paid maternity/paternity/adoption leave, paid dental, vision, life and long-term disability programs and a fully funded retirement program. In March 2009, the Monterey County Health Department awarded CSUMB a WorkWell Fit Business Award in recognition of its organizational support for employee health and fitness.

The university is known throughout the Monterey Bay region as an active partner in programs to bolster the economy, elevate the quality of life, and improve the environment. One such effort is the campus-based Watershed Institute, a coalition of researchers, planners, students, teachers and volunteers who work to preserve and restore watershed around the Central Coast. Current projects include restoration of native plants, possible conversion of a dry lake bed in nearby Salinas into a public park, and summer internships for at-risk youth. Among many other community partnerships is a program called RISE (Recruitment in Science Education), which encourages underrepresented middle and high school students to expand their interest and skills in science. In October 2008, the university hosted a forum on the “future of sustainable stewardship” in Central Coast agriculture. More than 250 students, faculty and agricultural industry representatives attended this all-day event, which was co-sponsored by the CSUMB School of Business. And for the second year in a row, the university in February 2009 presented a Focus the Nation teach-in event, entitled “Food, Fuel and the First Hundred Days: Connections to Global Warming and its Solutions.” Presenters included local elected officials, university President Harrison and CSUMB faculty.