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Applications soar for fall enrollment

Student Shot

A record number of students applied to attend Cal State Monterey Bay for the Fall 2016 semester.

The university received 16,208 freshmen applications by the Nov. 30 deadline to apply. That’s up almost 5 percent from the previous year. The number of transfer students applying to attend CSUMB increased 15 percent to 4,124.

“We are slowing our enrollment growth to match available resources for Fall 2016,” said Dr. Ronnie Higgs, vice president for student affairs and enrollment services. “We anticipate the enrollment to be just under 7,000 students.”

The entire California State University system received a record number of applications for Fall, with more than 830,000 submitted by prospective students, marking a 4.8 percent increase and more than 40,000 applications over last year’s total.

“CSUMB is a first-choice institution,” Dr. Higgs said. “Students from the region, California and beyond know that CSUMB will prepare them for success.”

CSUMB expands its presence in Salinas

CSUMB Salinas Campus

Cal State Monterey Bay has leased the main building vacated by last year’s closure of Heald College in Salinas and will begin offering classes in that facility later this year.

The lease, which went into effect Feb. 1, is for a 25,000-square-foot building located on North Main Street off Alvin Drive. The building includes 11 classrooms, several of which can serve as labs, and a number of offices. The facility will be known as CSUMB @ North Salinas.

“Leasing the building previously occupied by Heald College will allow us to increase our outreach and our course offerings to Salinas and the Salinas Valley,” said CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa. “With the space crunch on our main campus, and the need to expand higher education opportunities in Salinas, this seemed to provide an ideal opportunity.”

The building has been vacant since April 2015, when the for-profit college’s parent company, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., closed its remaining campuses.

CSUMB first established a presence in Salinas last year, when the University Corporation purchased the National Steinbeck Center’s building in Oldtown.

Renovations are continuing on the building, to be known as CSUMB @ Salinas City Center. The National Steinbeck Center remains the name of the non-profit organization that manages the Steinbeck museum, which continues to occupy about half of the downtown structure.

$1 million grant creates data science program


Starting next fall, CSU Monterey will train students in the field of biomedical data science, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Biomedical data science is the application of statistics and computer science to biomedical problems. It has hundreds of applications, from tracking disease outbreaks to providing personalized medical care.

CSUMB will partner with UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics over the five-year project.

“The emphasis for the program is really on the students and on preparing them for careers,” said Dr. Judith Canner, a CSUMB statistics professor and the principle investigator on the grant. The funding will enable CSUMB to create data science classes, train faculty, and fund student research - one of CSUMB’s strengths.

CSUMB professors will develop interdisciplinary coursework in data science, using classes offered at UCSC as a model. “UCSC is serving as a mentor institution,” Dr. Canner said. “They have a lot of courses and programs in this area, and we are just in the beginning stages of development.”

The ultimate goal of the grant is to enhance diversity in biomedical data science by opening up opportunities for CSUMB students who might not otherwise have access to such advanced training.

Students help with one city’s sustainability efforts


CSUMB has partnered with the city of Salinas as part of the Sustainable City Year Program. Dr. Dan Fernandez, professor of Science and Environmental Policy, is coordinating the effort.

The Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) is a one-year partnership between the campus and an interested city partner. Regional cities often have projects that have some element of sustainability (mixed-use development, water conservation, improved signage, and increased access to bike or walkways, etc.) that they would like to undertake, but lack sufficient staff time or resources.

Through the program, CSUMB students have the opportunity to work on real-world problems, while the city benefits from the university’s expertise as it provides fresh perspectives on familiar issues.

Last fall, CSUMB completed its first semester of running this program. Three classes worked with Salinas on projects related to road design for West Alisal Street, analyzing the wealth of GIS data the city collects related to parking and infrastructure, and looking at parent-child interactions within public spaces. More classes are working with the city this semester.

Through this program, CSUMB has become a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network, including more than two dozen institutions across the country. CSUMB is the second school in the state of California to initiate this program.