Glossary of CSUMB Terms

CSUMB's unique Vision has given rise to specialized terminology. Becoming familiar with the following terms will help students, staff members, faculty members, and visitors alike.


The formal process of gathering information about student learning and achievement of outcomes. Assessment may be embedded in a course, or achieved through independent study or evaluation of prior learning.


Public presentation of a culminating project or portfolio of work that demonstrates a student's cumulative learning.


Working together to achieve a desired outcome. At CSUMB, professors take great pride in collaborating with students to reach learning outcomes rather than just telling students what they need to know. They also create opportunities for students to collaborate with each other to achieve learning outcomes. Collaboration does not stop there. Across campus, students, staff members, faculty members, and administrators collaborate to determine desired outcomes, then collaborate to achieve them, knowing that working together produces far better results than working alone.


Entered through formal enrollment, a learning experience accompanied by ongoing assessment.


Wide variation among unique individuals in terms of race, ethnicity, color, socioeconomic status, national origin, culture, religion, ability/disability, gender, sexual orientation, and other variables.

First Year Seminar & ProSeminar

Three required courses that combine to develop the values, knowledge, skills, and abilities that form a foundation for lifelong learning. Each of these courses creates a community of learners. First Year Seminar orients students to CSUMB as they draft their Individual Learning Plans (ILPs). Major ProSeminar, a junior-level course offered by each undergraduate degree program, orients students to the requirements of the major as they refine their ILPs. ProSeminar 400 (Senior Capstone) helps students prepare their final projects and complete their ILPs in preparation for graduation.

Individual Learning Plan

A detailed outline of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes required for a student to reach self-identified personal, social, and professional goals. The ILP, initially drafted during the First Year Seminar and later refined during the Major ProSeminar, guides a personalized CSUMB education for each student.

Learning Experience

Any knowledge and ability expanding set of events in and out of class, e.g. traditional coursework, online coursework, practical training, work experience, and life experience. All such events may earn CSUMB credit either through concurrent enrollment in a course that delivers the learning experience or through subsequent enrollment in a course offering formal assessment of a prior learning experience.

Learning Outcomes

The tangible results-what students know, understand, appreciate, and can do-following a learning experience.

Graduation Learning Outcomes (GLOs)

A set of learning outcomes required for all undergraduate degrees. When students demonstrate all of these through assessment and fulfill all other requirements such as the University Learning Requirements, the Major Learning Outcomes, and minimum credits earned, they become eligible to graduate with a bachelor's degree.

Major Learning Outcomes (MLOs)

The learning outcomes required by an academic major. When students demonstrate all of these through assessment and fulfill all other requirements such as the University Learning Requirements and minimum credits earned, they become eligible to graduate with a degree in the major.


Displaying influences from many cultures rather than reflecting a single dominant culture. Used in relation to ideas, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, communications, social interactions, environment, art, literature, music, cuisine, clothing, and other tangible and intangible manifestations of culture. At CSUMB, there is a deep Vision-based commitment to building and sustaining a social and educational environment that reflects the multiple cultural influences of the diverse members of the CSUMB and Tri-County communities. Rather than welcoming diverse individuals then asking them to conform to a dominant campus culture, CSUMB welcomes diverse individuals to bring all of their belongings to further enrich a multicultural campus.

Outcomes-Based Education

An educational model where the educators first identify the desired end results, then identify and develop the means to achieve those results. This means that faculty members publicly articulate learning outcomes and assessment criteria in advance of instruction. They also focus curriculum and instruction on the agreed-upon student learning outcomes. Student progress and completion of courses and programs of study are determined by proficiency in the articulated outcomes.

Grounding curriculum and instruction on an outcomes-based education model has the power to:

  • Focus resources and instruction on common and cohesive student learning goals.
  • Institutionalize core academic values across the academic program.
  • Foster continuous attention on student learning.
  • Enhance institutional accountability.

Outside of the educational world, outcomes-based is the norm. Example: You first decide that you want to get to the store, then you determine whether you should walk, drive, or take the bus. Few just jump on the bus then later decide to have the ride result in getting off at the store. Overall, individuals make few decisions in life without some desired outcome in mind. While the action-first approach can result in great discovery and surprises, it hardly seems efficient for people who want to move forward in life. Unfortunately, education has often focused on specific actions that produce varied results, rather than specific results that can be reached through various actions. Most notably, most colleges require students to take specific courses as part of their program of study, but no one ensures that various sections of those courses taught by different professors result in students learning the same things. Passing the courses becomes the objective. CSUMB identifies the desired learning outcomes first, then adopts courses that will produce those outcomes. The university also provides mechanisms for getting appropriate credit if students have already achieved designated outcomes through prior learning experiences rather than requiring that they take specific courses.

Service Learning

Individuals learning about themselves and the world around them through service in the community. CSUMB has both lower-division and major-based service learning requirements that allow students to choose among a variety of placements in community agencies and schools. The surrounding coursework focuses on personal reflection and growth.


Focus on the student rather than the professor. A commitment by professors to engage students in the learning experience, and a commitment by students to become involved in their own learning. This typically means that professors design more hands-on and dynamic experiences that consider varying student learning styles, and provide opportunities for students to take more responsibility for their own learning by interacting more extensively with each other and with the instructor. This process looks and feels very different than traditional lecture-style instruction where professors dispense knowledge and leave students with the burden of connecting to it.