President Haynes advocates for education through leadership

Lex Garcia, Assistant Features Editor


As a woman who has maintained positions of leadership over the years, CSUSM President Karen Haynes strives to pave the way for other women who aspire to compete in a male-dominated position within higher education institutions.

President Karen Haynes received her bachelor’s degree in both sociology and psychology at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She also received her master’s at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in social work and engaged in macro practice, which focuses on programming, planning, administrative work and policy practices. She also received her Ph.D in social policy and planning from the University of Texas at Austin.

Haynes has not only had an impact on CSUSM, but an array of other colleges and universities as well.

“I have worked at several institutions as a faculty member. I worked at University of Indiana of Bloomington, University of Houston as the dean of the graduate program for social work and later on becoming the president of University of Houston’s smaller campus, and now I am on my 13th year here on this campus,” said Haynes.

As far as Haynes’ presidency goes, it was not something she had always wanted to pursue. In fact, this was not her plan.

“Social work was my passion, so I never … wanted to be a president,” she said. “I never applied, even when invited to be a vice president.”

Initially, when Haynes was offered the position of President of CSUSM, it was supposed to be a one-year term. Thirteen years later, she is now the longest serving president in the CSU system.

Being a woman and taking on such a big role definitely played a part as to why she had no intentions of holding the position for a long time.

“Gender issues were part of why I did not want to be president, because there are still not many women presidents nationally. Which in fact, the percentage of women presidents in the country has not changed in two decades. So, there was a lot of reasons that kept me away from [the] presidency for a long time.”

Haynes has been determined to find out why women are not moving up to higher positions in the field of education.

“I would go to many events and basically scout out faculty members that were females, and I would ask them, ‘So, here you are now, what is your next step in your career?’ From there I would help guide them to the point where I had the opportunity to promote them into these higher positions, which is a good feeling,” she said. “It is an honor to do these types of things.”

President Haynes is very convinced that the women of this nation bring a unique and different skill set to the table that is needed in the workforce.

“For me, this job is about advancing an institution, it is about value based leadership, it is about the youth,” said Haynes. “The youth in particular is what I liked a lot about this campus. You could take them and lead them in this institution and get them ready for the 21st century,” said Haynes.

She knew that she had what the campus needed in order to get it to where it is today, and the most positive thing that has came from the campus in Haynes’ opinion is CSUSM’s culture of civility.

With all the encouragement President Haynes provides for others, she shared one piece of advice she has for CSUSM female students to work their way to the top.
“Have a career plan, then…you have to know how to tackle that plan. If you want to get into the education field, watch your favorite professor to see what qualities you must have. I would also say that, and something I wish I had done earlier in my career, is to have a mentor who is very successful in that field, and have them help guide you to where you need to be and acquire the skill sets that you need to have. In the end, it will pay off. I can guarantee you that.”