​For the Michaels family, the New Year brings hope that it won’t be anything like the previous year, thanks in part to CSU’s CourseMatch online learning program.

“We’ve been a family dealing with health issues for the past 18 months,” says Robin Michaels, mother of CSU biology major Zack, 19, and his younger brother, Josh, 16, a junior at Los Alamitos High. Between Zack, Josh and other close relatives, it has been one health issue after another that has disrupted any semblance of normalcy in the otherwise very normal family.

“On July 1, Zack, who was attending Cal State Monterey Bay, was injured while teaching special needs kids how to swim,” she said. “It is not unusual for him to get banged up, but this time he came home and said, ‘Mom, I am going to have a massive bruise.’ We didn’t realize at first that it was as bad as it was.”

When it was diagnosed as a damaged labrum and hip, Zack underwent successful surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles but faced a lengthy post-op period of rest, rehab and recovery.

Meanwhile, the question arose: “How can Zack continue his college classes? He could barely walk and returning to his home school at Cal State Monterey Bay was not an option,” Mrs. Michaels said. “He enrolled in the Fall 2015 semester at Cal State Dominguez Hills, but it was apparent on the first day of classes that he couldn’t sit in the regular classroom chairs without pain. We began to think he would have to take a semester off.

“That is when I contacted the CSU Chancellor’s Office to see if Zack could enroll in online classes. I was put in contact with Angela Williams, project manager of Intrasystem Enrollment, and she was able to make the CourseMatch program work for Zack.

“Working with Humboldt State University where Zack’s CourseMatch course was offered and together with two online courses and a professor who was willing to do independent study at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Zack was able to complete the semester. Through it all, he managed to earn all A’s.”

“I am very grateful,” wrote Mrs. Michaels in a letter to Dr. Timothy White, Chancellor. “I am grateful for Angela Williams’ help, expertise and ability to get the various… campuses to work together for my student.” She also is thankful to Zack’s online professor at Humboldt State University, Dr. Mark Rizzardi, who was “extremely accommodating to my son’s needs.”

Zack, whose health is steadily improving, is already enrolled for the Spring semester at Cal State Dominguez Hills where he expects to physically attend classes. According to his Mom, he can’t wait to graduate and further his studies in pursuit of a career in occupational therapy.

The CSU CourseMatch program was designed specifically for students like Zack and others who want to keep their college career goals on schedule. Online courses offered at various CSU campuses prove to be convenient as well as cost-effective since they are part of a student’s home campus tuition. The program also allows all unit credits earned to be applied to degree completion at the home campus.

Registration is now open through January 11 for the winter quarter and January 31 for the spring semester. Register at https://csrc.collegesource.com/view/csrc_view00.aspx.


CSU CourseMatch student Zack Michaels, top right, poses for family photo with his mom, Robin, his dad, Doug, left, and brother Josh, lower