CSUSM President to Address Social Work Chapter
By her own reckoning, Karen S. Haynes, Ph.D., has followed an unusual career path to her position as president of California State University San Marcos. By instinct, education and experience she is a social worker. You won’t find many of those occupying university presidents’ offices.
CSUSM President Karen S. Haynes, Ph.D., will address the SDSU Alumni Association Social Work Chapter September 28 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
“Mine represents a fairly unique trajectory,” admits Haynes, who came to the field through “a beginning awareness of a lot of social injustices” as a student in the 60s. “In now finishing 15 years and two presidencies, I think I’m one of still only three social work (university) presidents in the nation.”
Now beginning her sixth year as CSUSM president, Haynes has established a reputation as a community leader working to engage the institution she heads with the region it serves. Her efforts have been recognized on many fronts as having significant transformational impact. She is an inspiration to social workers, educators and women alike.
On Tuesday, September 28, at 6:00 p.m. at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center
, Haynes will speak with SDSU social work alumni. Her topic, “The Changing Role of Social Workers: Leadership for a Better Tomorrow,” will address many of the subjects closest to her heart.
“Some of what I enjoy talking about is how social work skills and social work education are transferrable across many fields and how social work values and social work practice methodology stay solid even as fields of practice change and social issues change,” Haynes says.
“I also believe all social work is political and I want to talk a little about that. By that I mean political with a small P in that we’re practicing in a political environment that is impacted - even if it’s private practice - by policies and policy changes that I strongly believe social workers should not only understand, but should influence.”
In influencing policy on her own campus, President Haynes says she draws on values and skills from her social work experience.
“I would say a majority of the skills I use are active listening, negotiating, mediating, bringing diverse groups to consensus and creating collaborations. Don’t those sound like social work skills? Some very specific initiatives at Cal State San Marcos, from my lens, might not look exactly as they look today if I did not have my social work background.
“I didn’t do a master’s degree in social work to be a university president. That was not my planned goal, but it has certainly been useful. In discussing my experience I personally enjoy being pulled even closer to my roots and talking about how important social work has been for me professionally and how social work skills can be used and where they can take people.”
What message does Haynes hope to impart to the SDSU social work alumni she will meet on September 28?
“My intention is to make them feel prouder, as I feel, of being a social worker and to feel more empowered with ways they can look at not only their own practice, but beyond that to be some agent of change,” she says. “If nobody thought of a university president being a social worker there’s a lot of other roles where people probably don’t think of social work skills as the right set of skills, but I see them in the future of many fields.”To attend this program, register online by September 24th