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Student Success

In advising centers, college and department offices, classrooms throughout campus and Brotman Hall, we remained focused on our mission – graduating students with highly valued degrees. We can be proud of what we accomplished together.  

  • We awarded more than 9,000 degrees for the 2011-12 year, making the class of 2012 one of the biggest in CSULB history.
  • We remained very diverse, with a very high percentage of first-generation and Pell-eligible students. In the past eight years, the number of Pell-eligible entering freshmen at CSULB has increased by 80 percent.
    • In Fall 2011, 49 percent of CSULB entering freshmen were Pell-eligible.
    • Among freshmen entering in Fall 2011, 75 percent of Native Americans, 65 percent of Latinos, 64 percent of African Americans, and 51 percent of Asians were Pell-eligible. These statistics demonstrate that CSULB serves a high need population.
  • Lower division retention for all students is showing 6-7 percent gains for underrepresented and non-underrepresented students.
  • We saw modest increases in Latino freshmen retention rates in 2011. There was a 2.2 percent increase in the number of Latino students who went on to their second year at CSULB, a 1.5 percent increase in Latino students who returned for their third year and a 6 percent increase in students who were retained after three years.

Early Start Program

  • As part of ongoing efforts to improve student preparedness, the CSU implemented Early Start at all 23 campuses this summer. CSULB’s inaugural Early Start program proved very successful.
    • 1,529 students registered for Early Start math and writing courses and over 98 percent successfully fulfilled the Early Start requirement.
    • Students who completed our three-unit Early Start math course were remarkably successful. Over 70 percent improved their math skills and reduced or eliminated their need for developmental math.
    • In total, 182 students completed their first semester of developmental math and 152 successfully completed developmental math and are now ready for GE and major-based math courses.
    • In addition to keeping the fee for the course low, fee waivers for low-income students enabled over 800 low-income students to participate.

This year’s successes bode well for next summer, as we look forward to continuing to reduce the need for developmental courses for freshmen.

Academic Advising

Despite continuing budget challenges, college and university advisors worked hard to meet growing student demands for academic advising.

  • In addition to the thousands of hours faculty members devoted to advising and mentoring students, university and college student services professionals met with a record number of students last year in workshops and one-on-one appointments—serving more than 40,000 students.
  • Thousands more also received answers for quick questions, a format which helps reduce the burden on all advisors.


Nothing better represents the culture of student success at CSULB than the deep commitment to effective student advising. Each spring, we recognize one or more faculty advisors who go out of their way to help our students succeed.

Michael Chelian and Leland Vail

  • This year at the University Achievement Awards, we were pleased to honor Dr. Michael Chelian (Computer Engineering and Computer Science) and Dr. Leland Vail (Bob Cole Conservatory of Music) both of whom are highly regarded by students and faculty.

Quality Instruction

The quality of instruction is critically important to student success. We are very fortunate to have faculty who place their highest value on teaching and their availability to their students.

Nilufer Medora and Steve Wilson

  • In 2011-12 we honored Dr. Nilufer Medora (Family and Consumer Sciences) as the Outstanding Faculty Member for the quality of her teaching as well as her leadership on campus and in her field, and presented Dr. Steve Wilson (Social Work) with the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award.

Student Achievements

With the support of faculty and staff, our students achieved tremendous success in pursuits outside of the classroom. Here we highlight a few of their achievements.


CSULB Students Are...

Going Places

Stephanie Bryson

  • Stephanie Bryson, the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student for the College of Liberal Arts, became CSULB’s first Rhodes Scholar. Her faculty mentors, Dr. Larry Martinez (Political Science) and Dr. Nele Hempel-Lamer (University Honors Program), helped her receive the internationally renowned award. Of the 32 scholars selected only eight were from public universities.
  • Bianca Quesada, a recent Film and Electronic Arts graduate, won a prestigious internship at the world famous Cannes Film Festival in France. She was one of only 50 selected among applicants from around the world.
  • Lucy CraigMFA/MBA student Lucy Craig beat students from top business schools across the country to win an internship as a client development consultant for Gallup. Out of a pool of 1,297 applicants, she was one of seven selected for the internship.
  • Three CSULB Theatre alumni have worked under production contracts with the Tony Award-winning hit, “War Horse.” Ben Graney is part of the current Broadway production; Mackenzie Meehan was also in the Broadway production.  Brian Burns is appearing in the national tour.
  • Several students from the College of the Arts appeared on TV.
    • In Summer 2011 Clarice Ordaz made the top 10 on the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance."
    • Earlier this year, Heather Youmans, a music minor, received a golden ticket on the TV show "American Idol," sending her to Hollywood to compete for one of 20 spots.
    • Jessica Williams, a film and electronic arts major, has been appearing on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

Winning Awards

  • The American Marketing Association won eight awards at the 34th Annual International Collegiate American Marketing Association Conference, including the Outstanding Professional Development and Outstanding Chapter Planning honors.
  • The College of Engineering’s Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Student Chapter received second place in estimating and fourth place overall in the 2012 National Construction Management Competition, which is designed to challenge students’ construction knowledge, organization, time management and presentation skills.
  • Vocal Jazz ensemble Pacific Standard Time, led by Christine Guter, won the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards Collegiate Graduate Vocal Jazz Category for the second year in a row.
  • Psychology students were recognized for their research at CSULB's University Achievement Awards and Celebration of Instruction, Research, Creative Activity and Service.  Rhiannon Vaughan received the Outstanding Graduate Research Student and Sarah Clingan was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Student.
  • Film and electronic arts major Leah McKissock won the $50,000 grand prize in the Student Film Contest for her 2-minute, 22-second music video entry. The video also won Best Music Video at the La Femme Film Festival.
  • Tina Chan, a graduate of the Bilingual Asian Languages/English Bilingual Authorization program, received the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion National Teacher of the Year Award from the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE).
  • Students from the Daily 49er took home eight top prizes at the California College Media Association (CCMA) awards — the most in almost a decade. In addition, senior Stefan Agregado was recently named the national winner of the Society of Professional Journalists 2011 Mark of Excellence Award for breaking news photography.
  • Students Thomas Baker, a graduate student in physics, Sarah Clingan, who graduated in May with a degree in psychology, and Denise Okamoto, a graduate student in economics, captured top honors at the 26th annual CSU Student Research Competition, a statewide contest showcasing the significant research done by undergraduate and graduate students in the 23-campus CSU system.
  • Two political science majors, Ryan Chapman and Yasmin Manners, won the Texas State Undergraduate Moot Court Tournament at the University of North Texas in March after posting a perfect record of seven wins and no defeats. In addition, Manners was named the third best orator. In January, three teams advanced to the elimination rounds for the first time ever.
  • Social work student Tracy Souder won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge, securing a $10,000 make-over for LA County Department of Children and Family Services' Children’s Visitation Rooms.
  • Several students from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics received awards at the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Annual Symposium in January 2012:
    • Graduate biology student Melissa Kaye Jones, mentored by Dr. Lisa Klig and Dr. Elizabeth Eldon, received the 2012 Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award for identifying a fruit fly gene that can be useful in diabetes and other biological studies.
    • Chemistry and biochemistry undergraduate student Tuyen Ngoc Tran, a student in Dr. Vasanthy Narayanaswami's laboratory, won the Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholar Award for his proposal to study how secondhand smoke exposure may predispose women to heart disease.

    • Biology major Chris Armoskus, mentored by Dr. Houng-Wei Tsai, and biochemistry major Pankaj Dwivedi, mentored by Dr. Paul Weers, received Fall 2011 Student Travel Awards to present research results at professional meetings. Armoskus was awarded $1,495 to present research results at Neuroscience 2011, the Society for Neuroscience's 41st Annual Meeting, and Dwivedi was awarded $1,113 to present research results at the 2012 Biophysical Society meeting.


  • Shu Uemura Display Wesley Woelfel’s design students Kelvin Harly and Ayako Otani won an honorable mention at the International Planning and Visual Education Partnership 3D Challenge for their Shu Uemura store fixture.
  • Students Ryan Beck and Matt Martin won the $10,000 prize in CSULB’s second annual Innovation Challenge for their technology that improves the quality and performance of sliding glass doors and windows. The challenge is co-sponsored by the colleges of Business Administration and Engineering.
  • Students Jeanne Agcaoili and Alexander Santamaria created, a website that connects college students who want to buy, trade and sell their textbooks locally to avoid shipping fees.
  • Engineering students Pushpender Singh and Manmeen Kaur developed a proposal for energy harvesting chips that power signs on freeways, lights and billboards. Mentored by Walter Martinez (Engineering), their plan to place the silicon batteries along freeways to capture heat, vibrations from vehicles and radio frequency from cell phones and laptops qualified them for the finals of the Go Green in the City international competition in Paris. The duo was one of 25 teams selected out of a field of 600 entries.
  • Senior Industrial Design students and Mechanical Engineering students designed and constructed two cars for Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) competitions held in the summer. The cars were built under the guidance of Max Beach (Industrial Design) and Dr. Christiane Beyer (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering).

    Students constructing an airplane shower
  • Students in David Lee’s design class and Dr. Christiane Beyer’s engineering class collaborated with Gulfstream Aerospace to provide design concepts and a life-size model of an on-board showering compartment to go in the company’s newest executive business aircraft.