Campus: CSU Hayward -- August 27, 2004

Princeton Review Designates CSUH A 'Best in the West' College

One of the top guides for university-bound students in the United States has selected California State University, Hayward as a “Best in the West” college for 2005.

The Princeton Review provides college preparation aid to more than 117,000 students annually and gave Cal State Hayward the high recommendation after a survey of CSUH students about campus life, academics, and their classmates. The Review reported that Cal State Hayward students gave the university high marks for qualities including small class sizes, knowledgeable professors, and its scenic location in the Hayward hills.

“This recognition is gratifying because it tells the nation what we’ve known about the university for a long time,” said Norma Rees, president of Cal State Hayward. “It also comes at a significant time in our history, as we’re entering the 21st century with a renewed emphasis on student achievement and a new vision of a broader and deeper role in the civic, cultural and economic well-being of our region.”

President Rees was notified of Cal State Hayward’s ranking in a letter from Princeton Review publisher Robert Franek, who noted that CSUH was one of 134 colleges receiving the “Best in the West” designation. He said that this year more than 700 American universities were surveyed in five geographic regions.

Each year more than half of all college-bound students in the United States turn to the Princeton Review books and Web site, seeking information to help them choose the right college. Last year, more than a half-million persons visited the Princeton Review Web site on the day the results for best colleges went live.

Many of the responses of Cal State Hayward students to the survey questions have been posted on the Princeton Review’s Web site.

“I love this school because the class sizes are smaller than other state schools,” wrote one CSUH student. “My teachers all know me by name and are always willing to help.”

The university received one of its highest ratings in the Quality of Life section, where one student wrote, “Fun? You’ve got to be kidding! This is the San Francisco Bay Area. We have it all: clubs, restaurants, museums, parks, natural resources, the ocean, skiing and, the real
topper, the weather!”

Some of the survey respondents noted the popularity of Cal State Hayward’s 90 campus clubs. This fall, the university has created “learning communities” for incoming freshmen that will allow further opportunities for students to interact.

Answering questions about their classmates, those who were surveyed made numerous references to the diversity of the university’s student population.

“There is no typical student,” said one. “That is the beauty of it. I can say that CSUH is truly a melting pot.”

Responses to the surveys are included in the Students Say section at

President Rees said she viewed the Princeton Review designation as a reflection of Cal State Hayward’s progress in a number of areas affecting student life. It includes increasing first-time freshman enrollment, up by 37 percent this fall compared with 2003, and creating
a more traditional four-year undergraduate experience at the university.

“We plan to immerse our incoming freshman class with a new learning experience, the core of which is an innovative learning communities program,” Rees said. “It will give freshmen the foundation courses and social connections necessary for a successful four-year experience.”

Early pilots of the program demonstrated that participants earn higher grade point averages, develop superior writing and communications skills and are more likely to graduate in four years than students not in the program. This year’s first-time freshmen will enjoy a convocation assembly before the fall quarter begins and can participate in orientations, social programs, mentoring programs and intramural sports.

The Hayward campus is in the midst of its most ambitious series of structural improvements in 30 years.

Groundbreaking is scheduled in the fall on the Wayne and Gladys Valley Business and Technology Center, an expansion of the University Union and expansion of the Pioneer Heights student residence facility.

The Business and Technology Center will serve as a campus headquarters for technology-enhanced teaching, learning and research in several academic disciplines. The 67,000 square-foot facility will provide a state-of-the-art home for the College of Business and Economics and programs in engineering, multimedia production, K-12 teaching and
learning technology, science and online degree programs.

The University Union will add 28,840 square-feet, including a meeting room to accommodate up to 250 people, space for food vendors and student organizations, a catering kitchen, recreation and social areas, and a commuter lounge with lockers.

Work will also begin this fall on three new residence buildings to be added to the Pioneer Heights student residence facility. The project will double the student capacity to nearly 800 and allows the university to guarantee housing for first-time freshmen for up to four years. The plan includes creation of theme-based living communities to integrate academics with the living arrangements.

A freshman building, scheduled for completion by the fall of 2005, would have 230 beds in double-occupancy apartments. Two buildings for sophomores, junior and seniors would hold 176 single-occupancy apartments and are scheduled for completion in the spring of 2006.

Media Contact: Kim Huggett, Public Affairs, (510) 885-2032

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