Jake Zhu, who has served as the dean of Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus since July 2019, announced that he is retiring June 30.

Zhu, the fifth dean of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, was instrumental in moving the Palm Desert Campus (PDC) forward by focusing his efforts on growing the campus to meet the needs of students and the Coachella Valley community, as well as enhancing academic programs, elevating the student experience and building the campus’s capacity to serve.

Zhu worked with his Palm Desert and San Bernardino campus colleagues to bring new programs to PDC, increase student research activities mentored by faculty, and help secure state funding for the campus’s new Student Center Building. He also served on the board of the World Affairs Council of the Desert and was an honorary board member for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.

CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales praised Zhu for his dedication to the Palm Desert Campus.

“Over the past four years, Jake has worked hard to grow the Palm Desert Campus by expanding in-demand programs that are needed by the community,” said Morales.

“During his tenure, the Palm Desert Campus added many new programs, including hospitality management, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, kinesiology, social work and child development, along with a new cohort of designated PDC faculty for each program. And we saw the opening of the Palm Desert iHub across the street from campus – a collaboration of the City of Palm Desert, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and CSUSB – that houses many of these new programs. The iHub greatly enhances our Palm Desert Campus and gives our students much needed experiences and opportunities that will help them after graduation as they start their careers,” he said.

CSUSB Provost Rafik Mohamed echoed the president’s praise.

“Through Jake’s efforts, the Palm Desert Campus has expanded student research activities and there has been an increase in faculty involvement at PDC,” he said. “Jake has worked hard to strengthen partnerships with university leadership and community organizations.”

“It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as dean of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus and I very much enjoyed working with our exceptional faculty, staff and students,” said Zhu.

“PDC has significantly increased student enrollment, thereby, providing better access opportunities for local students and higher education, and we achieved this during the most challenging time - during the COVID-19 pandemic - when colleges and universities were experiencing an enrollment downturn across the country. The success of the Palm Desert Campus during the past four years is a community success and I thank everyone who made contributions to that achievement. I truly believe the best days of PDC are still ahead of us,” he said.

The search for an associate vice president to lead the campus is currently underway.

About PDC: The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, teaching credentials and certificates. Serving more than 2,200 students, it is the Coachella Valley’s four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Strategic Communication at msinger@csusb.edu or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the PDC website at www.csusb.edu/pdc.