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Monday, September 25, 2023

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SDSU Imperial Valley on the Rise

SDSU Imperial Valley is on the precipice of a major expansion.
By Kellie Woodhouse

The article first published in the 2022 edition of Highlights: A Magazine of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities at SDSU.
With an infusion of funding to support STEM programs, bolster nursing education and expand health disparities research, SDSU Imperial Valley (SDSU IV) is on the precipice of a major expansion that will allow the border-adjacent campus to better serve the surrounding community during a time of unprecedented growth. 

Lithium Valley Vision

Recent SDSU IV investments tie directly into plans to develop the region into California’s “Lithium Valley” centered around the Salton Sea where scientists have recently discovered one of the world’s largest untapped reserves of the rare earth element. As the only four-year university in the Valley, SDSU IV is well positioned to build a pipeline of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates to support the booming lithium industry.
Research Focus

In recent years, SDSU IV researchers have collaborated with Imperial County on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded childhood obesity study, investigated asthma rates near the Salton Sea, helped develop and implement an air monitoring quality system in the area, and much more.
Faculty Hiring 

SDSU IV has seen a 350% increase in faculty hiring since 2018. This includes three new researchers hired as part of SDSU FUERTE (Faculty Unified towards Excellence in Research and Transformational Engagement), a National Institutes of Health-funded effort focused on Latinx health disparities projects. 
Funding Infusion

SDSU IV is receiving $80 million in California state funding to support the construction of a STEM campus and Innovation District in Brawley that will include labs and facilities with cutting-edge equipment, classrooms, and space to collaborate with public and private partners. The funding follows SDSU’s own $15 million investment to expand the campus.
STEM Evolution

To boost student success, SDSU IV math professors are developing a National Science Foundation-funded summer bridge program that will help newly admitted students brush up on necessary math skills, explore STEM career options, learn about campus life, and make the most of their college experience.
Nursing Expansion

Imperial Valley has a severe shortage of qualified healthcare workers – exacerbating health disparities in the area. Starting this fall, SDSU IV is offering an accelerated pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program — and there’s already a waiting list. The three-year program bolsters SDSU IV’s existing RN to BSN program, funded by the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, which has already graduated more than 250 nurses since 2009.