Skip to Content (Press Enter)

2018 Year in Review: Milestones That Moved the University Forward

Share This:

For Cal State Fullerton, milestones are reflected in a wide range of rankings, programs, partnerships and awards. They also include the many collaborative and research opportunities available to students that enrich their education and their lives.

CSUF Soars in National Rankings

U.S. News & World Report ranked CSUF’s master degree programs in business, engineering and education among the best in the country in its Jan. 9, 2018, Best Online Degree Programs issue. The business master of science program in information technology ranked 9th out of 119 programs nationally and was the No. 1 ranked program in California. The master of science in software engineering came in 16th nationally and third in the state, while master’s programs in education ranked 46th out of 219 programs.

The university also was recognized as fourth in the nation and second in California for awarding bachelor’s degrees to underrepresented students in the Aug. 23 issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The publication later ranked CSUF’s undergraduate business program the first in the nation and the state for awarding degrees to Hispanic students.

In September, Washington Monthly recognized Cal State Fullerton for its efforts to help low-income and underrepresented students succeed and graduate by offering a top education at an affordable price. The campus was ranked 6th in net price as part of the publication’s “2018 College Guide and Rankings,” recognizing that cost is often what can make or break a college dream.

Not only are the university’s programs recognized, the university was honored in April as among the top quartile of the nation’s “Best Value Colleges” in Forbes‘ ranking of higher education institutions. The ranking emphasized earnings, price and debt, taking into account the impact of students’ financial aid and the costs of room and board.

Quality of education, affordability and outcomes earned CSUF a spot among the top 12 percent of universities in Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for Your Money 2018.”

Advancing the University’s Vision

Cal State Fullerton unveiled a new, five-year strategic plan in November that highlights its commitments to a transformational Titan experience, student success and completion, faculty and staff diversity and success, and the university’s learning environment and legacy.

The new plan follows the successful completion of the 2013-18 strategic plan, during which time  the university achieved a 32 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and an 82 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen; eliminated the equity gap for transfer students while making tremendous strides to decrease the gap for first-time freshmen; tripled its fundraising efforts while reaching new records in the number of donor gifts; and further diversified its faculty and staff.

The campus also celebrated five reimagined spaces this year, including the launch of Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center in February to help students who experience such hardships as food or housing insecurity.

The Student Health and Counseling Center completed renovations in spring, with upgrades aimed at improving students’ overall wellness while protecting their privacy.

The Pollak Library held a grand reopening in August with renovated meeting and learning spaces, a hub for the university’s honors and cultural centers, and a new Innovation/Makerspace Center.

In September, the university launched Club 57, a dedicated space for faculty and staff members to gather, enjoy free coffee, and collaborate with colleagues.

The campus also celebrated the relocation and unveiling of a new, larger Veterans Resource Center in November that aims to expand support for the university’s estimated 600 student veterans.

A Host of Achievements

Cal State Fullerton was one of 96 institutions across the U.S. and Canada to receive INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, which measures an institution’s level of achievement and commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion.

Also getting a national nod from INSIGHT Into Diversity were university programs that support females in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Such programs include teaching Girl Scouts computer coding, hosting an event for girls about careers in engineering and technology, and providing female undergraduate students extra support.

CSUF was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for growth in philanthropic giving to the institution. Out of 56 universities in its category — public research/doctoral institutions with endowments under $350 million — CSUF was one of six honored for overall improvement.

Participating in a statewide Ballot Bowl competition to increase civic engagement and voter registration among college students, the campus registered 2,627 voters and garnered the award for the California State University campus with the largest number of students registered.

The university’s Supplemental Instruction Program, an academic assistance effort that provides peer-led study sessions for students in gateway, bottleneck or historically difficult courses, was honored with the 2018 Outstanding SI Program Award at the International Conference on Supplemental Instruction.

For providing exceptional support to student-parents, the WoMen’s and Adult Reentry Center received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Parent Program award from the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Cal State Fullerton was named the top campus in the large-school division in the national Forbes‘ 2018 #MyTopCollege social media challenge. The campus also had the most social posts, finishing No. 1 overall in the nation. This was the fifth year the university won the competition.

Titan researchers made significant discoveries, including a link between manta rays’ filters and new water filters, and a new genus and species of an extinct, tuskless walrus.

Expanding Programs and Partnerships

Reflecting its continual growth since the 1990s, CSUF’s Asian American Studies Program officially became a department in February, following unanimous approval by the Academic Senate and President Fram Virjee.

A nearly $1.5 million award from the National Science Foundation will support efforts to increase the retention and graduation rates of primarily Hispanic and other underrepresented students majoring in engineering and computer science. The effort is being led by engineering faculty member Sudarshan Kurwadkar.

Campus efforts, including the use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks and other Open Educational Resources, resulted in nearly $1 million in student textbook savings.

Physics researchers James F. Woodward and Heidi Fearn landed a two-year, $500,000 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Phase II grant to advance their study on space propulsion for future human exploration missions.

Cal State Fullerton, as part of a five-campus CSU consortium, was a recipient of a more than $440,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation award to establish a fellowship program supporting humanities undergraduates who will pursue a doctorate following their bachelor’s degree.

A new grant from Cisco Systems Inc. is supporting the development of an undergraduate “internet of things” elective track to provide students with technical skills for the emerging field of connecting smart devices to the internet.

A Hispanic-serving institution, CSUF was chosen by Google to have a “googler” in residence during the fall semester to help improve diversity in the tech workforce.

Marking Its Anniversaries

Kicking off a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History hosted a panel discussion detailing the history of the center and its goals for the future. Anniversary events will continue in spring 2019.

Guardian Scholars, a nationally recognized program for current and former foster youth, celebrated 20 years on campus. The program boasts a 95 percent retention rate and a 76 percent graduation rate for scholars.

Business leaders, alumni, students, faculty and staff celebrated the 10th anniversary of Steven G. Mihaylo Hall. The $89 million, 195,000-square-foot building began with a transformative gift from Steven G. Mihaylo ’69 (B.A. business administration) and his wife, Susie; and a six-year plan and $50 million capital campaign led by Paul Folino, Emulex executive chairman, and the late James Woods ’67, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Baker Hughes Inc.

The university’s Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership, launched to develop a stronger research culture in the College of Education and to support the doctor of education program, celebrated a decade of leading educational change and access.

The Asian Pacific American Resource Center marked its 10th year of connecting students, faculty, staff and partners through advocacy, programming and community-building. Alongside all of CSUF’s Diversity Initiatives and Resource Centers, APARC relocated from University Hall to the Pollak Library in 2018.

A Banner Year for Athletics

The 2017-18 record-breaking moments on the pitch, softball and baseball diamonds, hardwood and track were recognized by the Big West as the conference awarded the university its Commissioner’s Cup for the first time in school history.

The men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Championship Tournament in March. It was the first time since 2008 that the Titans had made it to the tournament.

Titans also took the Big West Conference Baseball Championship for the 30th time in program history. Softball also won the Big West Championship for the third time in a row and advanced to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional final.

A record number of Titan alumni made an appearance in the 2018 Major League Baseball Playoffs.