A Time for Reflection

Dec 22, 2011 by University Communications

CalSouthern 2011: The Year in Review

The year 2011 was a momentous one for California Southern University, one that saw the 33-year-old university continue to expand and enhance its educational programs while raising its profile and strengthening its reputation worldwide.

Brett and Elle at the CCME Conference

CalSouthern, now fully authorized to accept U.S. Military Tuition Assistance and military education benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, officially launched its military program at the 2011 Annual Symposium of the Council of College and Military Educators, held February 14-17 in Tampa, FL. As a platinum sponsor of the event, the CalSouthern team in attendance had the opportunity to introduce the more-than 1,000 military educators and decision makers to our degree and certificate programs, as well as to CalSouthern’s commitment to individualized attention and support.

Education Coordinator
Anthony Alvarado, Education Coordinator

The momentum from the launch continued to build throughout the year. CalSouthern’s military team, lead by Military Education Coordinator Anthony Alvarado (himself, former military), visited bases and other military facilities across the country, working with service members of all branches to help them better understand the importance of education, how best to utilize their education benefits, and to help them determine if CalSouthern would be the best fit for them.  CalSouthern also had the honor of being chosen to actively participate in the Yellow Ribbon Re-Integration Program, which promotes the well-being of National Guard and Reservists, as well as their families and communities, by connecting them with resources—including higher education—throughout the deployment cycle.

Our military team’s efforts were rewarded this fall when CalSouthern received the news that the university has been designated a “Military-Friendly School” for 2012—quite an accomplishment, especially considering the program had been launched only months before. The list of Military-Friendly Schools is compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide.

Other highlights of 2011 included the continuation of CalSouthern’s acclaimed Master Lecture Series. More than a dozen acclaimed practitioners and other luminaries from the world of psychology traveled to CalSouthern’s Irvine, CA campus to deliver informative and compelling lectures to a live and virtual audience. These audiences were treated to presentations on topics ranging from cyber-bullying to the challenges of treating the 21st-century couple to complex interpersonal trauma and dissociation. Presenters included nationally recognized professor, therapist, and author Dr. Diane Gehart; Sara Gilman and Susan Brown, two of the world’s leading experts and practitioners of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR); and Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, the internationally renowned therapist, and founder and director of the Milton H. Erikson Foundation. It was truly a world-class line-up of lecturers.

In the spring, the university received fantastic news when the results of CalSouthern’s 2011 Institutional Effectiveness Study were released. The university received the highest overall learner satisfaction ratings ever attained in the six administrations of the survey.

CalSouthern did not rest on its laurels however. The process of refining and enhancing the university’s education programs is continuous, whether it’s the information technology group working to make our proprietary online learning platform more intuitive and robust, or the academics team adding new courses or degree programs to better meet learner needs. (This year saw the addition of post-baccalaureate certificate programs in both psychology and business, leadership courses in the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program, and the new Bachelor of Science in Applied Technology and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degrees, among others. Look for more exciting announcements regarding new programs early in 2012.)

Kim and Elle at the CAMFT Conference

Part of the effort toward continual improvement includes meeting with leaders in the field to exchange ideas, review trends and best practices, and to raise CalSouthern’s profile. To that end, CalSouthern representatives traveled to a wide variety of conferences and symposia, including the annual conferences of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the American Counseling Association. We also sponsored and attended the popular and fast-growing Super Shrinks Conference, as well as the Veterans’ Mental Health Conference, among many others.

CalSouthern continues to strengthen its relationship with its accrediting body, the Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC). We not only attended the DEAC’s annual conference, we also hosted its Fall Regional Meeting and partnered on a number of important projects. In fact, CalSouthern produced the DEAC documentary The American Way to Learn (which celebrates the DEAC’s 85-year history and which debuted at its 2011 annual conference) and traveled to the DEAC’s Washington, DC offices to record an interview with Executive Director Michael Lambert, which was also used in the development of an editorial feature, The Value of a DEAC-Accredited Degree. The article, video interview, and documentary were all featured prominently on the DEAC’s website, as well as CalSouthern’s.

The CalSouthern ConnectionOn the topic of content, CalSouthern unveiled the new content section of its website in August. It already contains more than 75 original new articles, blog posts, videos, new items, and other features. You’ll find content that highlights the achievements of current learners and alumni, articles that offer tips for online learning success or which are designed to help you more fully utilize the resources available at CalSouthern, items of topical interest to students of psychology, business, and law, and news impacting online education in general. As a part of CalSouthern’s content initiative, the university also recently published the premiere issue of its new magazine, The CalSouthern Connection, featuring many of the articles referenced above—with a rich graphic design—as well as original editorial pieces.

CalSouthern GraduatesAlso in August was the 2011 CalSouthern Commencement Ceremony, always the high point of the university calendar. The event was held at Irvine’s spectacular Barclay Theatre. Representing our international student body, graduates in attendance traveled to Southern California from across the country and around the world to receive their diplomas. CalSouthern’s remarkably talented and diverse class of 2011 ranged in age from 22 to 75, represented the full spectrum of ethnic and economic backgrounds, and included successful entrepreneurs, groundbreaking marriage and family therapists, a recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Medal of Patriotism, and even a sitting judge, among many others. More than 350 friends and family gathered to celebrate the graduates’ accomplishments.

Dr. Kirsteen Moore
Dr. Kirsteen Moore

After introductory remarks from University President Dr. Caroll Ryan, student speaker Dr. Kirsteen Moore—a registered clinical counselor based in British Columbia, Canada with special expertise in youth depression and suicide—delivered a moving, poignant (and occasionally hilarious) speech. CalSouthern Faculty Mentor Dr. Clifford R. Kettemborough, Director of Technology at The Walt Disney Company, spoke about the challenges and opportunities presented by our increasingly global society. It was a remarkable event, and one we hope was a worthy celebration of the outstanding accomplishments of the CalSouthern Class of 2011.

The CalSouthern Difference Award was established in 2011 as another way to recognize the achievements of the university’s current learners and alumni. The award will be presented annually to a CalSouthern student or alumnus who makes a difference in his or her area of practice, field of study, or local community through distinguished scholarship, innovation, or service. It will be accompanied by a $2,500 donation to be made by the university—in the recipient’s name—to a charitable or philanthropic organization of the recipient’s choosing.

CalSouthern Staff members prepare care packages for deployed military learners

A selection committee has identified the recipient of the inaugural award. The winner will be announced (and presented with the award and $2,500 check) at a ceremony to be held at CalSouthern’s Irvine campus on January 25, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. The award ceremony will be preceded by a light luncheon, with CalSouthern learners and alumni invited to attend.

As you can see, it’s been a remarkable year. We hope that it has been a happy, healthy, and rewarding one for all CalSouthern learners and alumni. The faculty, administration, and staff consider learners and alumni to be the most valued members of the CalSouthern family, and we look forward to the opportunity in 2012 to provide you with educational programs of the highest caliber and all the personalized support you need to achieve all of your educational, personal, and career goals.

May 2012 bring you health, happiness, prosperity, and fulfillment!

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