California State University
Special Focus: Summer Learning
California State University Monterey Bay | Seaside, California, Dianne Harrison, president
Founded only 16 years ago on the grounds of the decommissioned Army base, Fort Ord, California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has had a dramatic impact on its community. CSUMB is located on the border of extreme wealth and poverty. To the west are the prosperous areas of Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Monterey Bay. To the east lie towns such as Salinas, home to impoverished farm workers and their families, under-performing schools, and gang violence.
Since CSUMB can provide many helping hands, it has fully embraced service-learning as a way of life and a way in which to educate, serving the diverse people of California, especially the working class, historically undereducated, and low-income populations. CSUMB is committed to producing graduate students with an understanding of interdependence and global competency, along with the social responsibility and skills to be community builders.
CSUMB is the only public university in California (and one of a handful in the country) to have made service-learning a graduation requirement for all undergraduates. More importantly, service-learning is an academic department, where issues of service, diversity, social justice, and social responsibility are inextricably linked in the core curriculum. Faculty members are also encouraged and rewarded for their scholarly engagement with community.
Each academic year, nearly 50 percent of the students are enrolled in service-learning courses, contributing more than 60,000 hours of service to more than 250 local schools, agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
Many of CSUMB’s service-learning programs are committed to reducing the academic achievement gap between low-income students and their middle- and upper-income peers, and have identified the summer learning model as a way to improve academic outcomes for students.
The Increase the Peace Summer Youth Leadership Program brought students and staff together with 45 at-risk eighth-graders from El Sausal Middle School. The seven-week summer program focused on literacy, math, and the arts.
The Increase the Peace summer program has an 80 percent completion rate and reported improvements in academic skills and behavior. In addition, six CSUMB students changed their majors to enable them to work with the youth upon graduation.