About CSU Channel Islands

California State University Channel Islands (CI), located in Camarillo, California, is a student-centered, four-year, public university known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural, and international perspectives and its emphasis on experiential and service learning.

CI's strong academic programs focus on liberal studies, sciences, business, teaching credentials and innovative master's degrees such as the M.S. in Bioinformatics.  Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by stellar faculty research. The University promotes partnerships with the community and works to build pathways to college for Ventura County residents. CI is a responsible citizen of the region and actively pursues sustainable and energy efficient practices.

CSU Channel Islands History

Founded in 2002 as the 23rd and newest campus of the CSU system, California State University Channel Islands (CI) offers an unparalleled student-centered learning experience in one of Southern California’s most scenic settings. 

Located only minutes from the Pacific Ocean with panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains, CI is a wonderfully planned and preserved campus that includes a unique collection of architecturally significant buildings organized around a central mall, formal quads, quiet courtyards, and sprawling open spaces. Its newly renovated 1930s California Mission and Spanish revival buildings house a state-of-the-art, 21st century university. 

Planning for the University began in 1965, when Gov. Pat Brown signed a bill to study the need for a four-year, public college in Ventura County. Over the next three decades, the plan inched closer to reality with the establishment of the UC/CSU Ventura Learning Center and CSUN Ventura Campus. In 1996, the CSU Chancellor appointed Planning President J. Handel Evans to lay the groundwork to establish the 23rd campus of the CSU in Ventura County. Later that year, a community panel adopted the name “CSU Channel Islands.” In 1997, the campus found a home when the CSU Board of Trustees accepted the site of the former Camarillo State Hospital. 

With the arrival of Founding President Richard R. Rush in 2001 and a team of hand-picked faculty members, CI launched on a course of innovation, growth and regional partnership. It opened its doors to the first transfer students in fall 2002 and welcomed the inaugural freshman class in fall 2003. The University earned rapid accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which commended it for “learning-centered practices that place it far ahead of many much older and better-established universities within the CSU, state and nation.” 

Over its first decade, CI emerged as a nationally recognized institution for the quality of its faculty, work environment, community service and student/faculty research. Faculty members garnered prestigious awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, Mathematical Association of America, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others. The University is a three-time winner of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great College to Work For” designation and was recognized on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll three years in a row. Collaborative faculty-student research projects consistently win awards at both the state and national levels. 

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education designated CI as a Hispanic Serving Institution for having an enrollment that is more than 25 percent Hispanic. The designation, held by fewer than 10 percent of all institutions of higher education, allows CI to compete for federal Title 5 funding and other financial support for all students on campus. 

CI saw remarkable physical growth during its first decade, doubling in size to over 1,200 acres and undergoing more than $233 million in building and renovation projects. The campus artfully blends original 1930s Spanish and Mission style architecture with a modern learning/living/working environment. Among its many striking features are the world-class John Spoor Broome Library, the iconic Bell Tower, the well-appointed Student Union, two modern student residence halls, and cutting-edge labs, studios and classrooms. 

As it celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012, CSU Channel Islands had grown to more than 4,900 students, 700 employees and 6,800 alumni. It offers 23 undergraduate majors, 6 graduate, and 10 teaching credential programs, and eight centers and institutes that support regional prosperity and the University mission. Its programs continue to expand based on regional input and workforce needs, with the goal of preparing students for the most promising jobs of the future.

CSU Channel Islands is a student-centered University, committed to academic excellence, civic engagement, environmental responsibility, and leadership for the 21st century. Students tackle problems in their community and the real world; conduct meaningful discussion, research and exploration; and work closely with expert faculty to make a difference. At full capacity, the University is expected to serve 15,000 full-time equivalent students.

As it enters second decade, CSU Channel Islands is poised to grow in size and renown, while maintaining one of the most thoroughly student-focused learning environments in public higher education.

Learn more about CI's history and key dates by visiting the CSU Channel Islands Timeline.  

CI Named a 2013 Great College to Work For
by The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle 2012 Great College To Work For

The Chronicle of Higher Education's sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace, ranks CI among the top 97 institutions in the nation for its work environment. The results are based on a survey of more than 44,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities. >> Read more