Campus: CSU East Bay -- August 24, 2005

Cal State East Bay Again Recognized as a 'Best in the West' College by Princeton Review

The Princeton Review, one of the top evaluators and guides for university-bound students in the United States, has selected California State University, East Bay as a "Best in the West" college for 2006.

It is the second consecutive year that Cal State East Bay has been recognized by the Review, which provides college preparation aid to more than 117,000 students annually.

It gave the university a high recommendation after a survey of Cal State East Bay students about campus life, academics, and their classmates. It found that CSU East Bay students gave their university high marks for "small class sizes, knowledgeable professors, and its scenic location in the Hayward hills."

"Again, this recognition is gratifying because it tells the nation what we've already known for a long time," said Norma Rees, president of Cal State East Bay.

President Rees was notified of Cal State East Bay's ranking in a letter from Princeton Review publisher Robert Franek, who noted that CSUEB was one of 122 colleges receiving the "Best in the West" designation. He said that this year that 646 American universities were surveyed in five geographic regions. The university was one of 40 California institutions of higher learning recognized, and one of four from the California State University system (the others are Cal State Long Beach, Cal State San Bernardino, and Sonoma State).

According to the Princeton Review, more than half of all college-bound students in the United States turn to its 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 East Bay 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 CSU East Bay student. "CSUEB is very diversified in terms of age, race, ethnicity, etc., like any major city you may visit in California."

The university received one of its highest ratings in the Quality of Life section, where one student wrote, "I personally love the view. It is a great motivation to being on campus whenever you are overwhelmed or stressed, you can just look out at the bay and find serenity."

Another student is quoted as saying: "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!" Another said: "Our athletic programs are growing and becoming stronger every year." A new intramural sports program for students for fall 2005 was recognized.

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 Cal State East Bay is truly a melting pot."

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

Rees said she viewed the continuing Princeton Review designation as a reflection of Cal State East Bay's ongoing enhancements in a number of areas affecting student life. It includes increasing first-time freshman enrollment and creating a more traditional four-year undergraduate experience at the university.

"We will continue to involve our incoming freshman class with new learning experiences, the core of which is an innovative learning communities program," Rees said. "It gives 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 of Cal State East Bay is in the midst of its most ambitious series of infrastructure improvements in 30 years, with construction under way on the Wayne and Gladys Valley Business and Technology Center, and expansion of the University Union and the Pioneer Heights student residence facilities.

When completed by the fall of 2006, 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 andlearning 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. It is due for completion by the fall of 2006.

Three new residence buildings are being 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 2006, will 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 Contacts: Kim Huggett, Dir. of Public Affairs, (510) 885-2032, or Barry Zepel, Media Relations Officer, (510) 885-3884

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