Fall 2013 Convocation Speech

Marybeth Hull
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate

Fall 2013 Speakers
August 19, 2013

Ruben Armiñana
President

Andrew Rogerson
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Margaret Purser
Chair of the Faculty

Mac Hart
Associated Students President

Marybeth Hull
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate

It was easier to do this last year because I didn’t know what my role was.  Now that I do, I am honored to represent staff at the Academic Senate. 
I want to give a shout out to my Darwin colleagues.  We have had an interesting year.  It has made us closer though.

[I raise a bouquet of flowers.]  I grew these.  I nurtured these. All are different but when you bring them together it makes something beautiful.  This bouquet represents the employees of SSU.  When we all come together we can make something special for the students.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the fifteen years I have been employed here the following changes have occurred:

  • I was one of the youngest staff members and now I am one of the oldest
  • Schulz, ETC, Toast, Rec Center, Green Center, & Student Center were built
  • Darwin and Salazar were remodeled
  • All dorm villages were built with the exception of Zinfandel
  • EdenOA to PeopleSoft/Oracle
  • Phone registration to online registration
  • Mascot name change from Cossacks to Seawolves
  • Bookstore changed management to Barnes and Noble
  • Amecis and the Cooperage were built
  • The Village was torn down and the fruit trees removed
  • CIHS was closed
  • YRO was talked about
  • Natural Sciences became Science and Technology
  • Math became Mathematics and Statistics

SSU is changing and so are our students.  This year’s freshmen were born in the year that:

  • Netscape, JavaScript, and eBay were introduced
  • DVDs were sold for the first time
  • Toy Story, the first total computer animated movie was created by Pixar
  • The usb was created by collaboration of many high tech companies

So it makes sense that we roll out on-line SETEs.  Now students can do them in their pajamas.

I have worked with 6 chairs, 4 Provosts, 3 Deans, and an ever-changing faculty. The staff has endured floods, furloughs, Prop 30, hiring freezes, lecturer layoffs, multiple reorganizations, threats of faculty strikes, controversy and no raises. The Math/Stats students served has increase from 1600 in Fall 2000 to 2500 currently.  Math/Stats in Fall 2000 had 18 faculty members with the majority being Tenure track to 32 with the majority being lecturers. 

Sonoma State University is a place of Education.  Sonoma State University is more than buildings; it’s people and some of the people are staff. Though staff is not faculty we still play an important role in the day-to-day operations of the university.  Administrative Coordinators have been referred to as the air traffic controllers of the departments.

For a better perspective, think of the university as a movie production.

  • The students are the performers
  • Instructors are the directors
  • Administrators are the producers
  • Staff members are the behind-the-scenes folks that make everything work

All are important to the success of the project

We are Team Sonoma and it is our task to work together, collaborate, communicate, and value each other’s contributions.  It is our responsibility to teach the next generation to think for themselves.

Sonoma State’s webpage has lots of FAQs but sometimes the students need some human interaction and the staff members are called upon because we are more approachable or just more convenient.  Sometimes students just need to know something and they don’t even know what they are asking for.  Sometimes a student may be just overwhelmed or needs to vent or needs to voice a new idea. 

Educational Moment:  On Friday night, I got into a fender bender in the parking lot of my hotel.  The other car was parked and unattended so I left a note.  My insurance agent and the fellow whose car I damaged were surprised that I acknowledged the accident.  I made a mistake and I was accountable; that’s just what I do.  Later that night someone dropped his IPhone. I tried calling the last number called to find its owner.  I did and again the person was most grateful. The cell phone loss is a common thing on campus.  I made a difference.  Lesson: Be the change you want to see.  Sometimes lessons are learned outside the classroom.

I am a staff member at SSU and I and my fellow staff members are team players and do what needs to be done and for that I am grateful and so is my department.  “Stuff happens” but we roll with it.

I am proud to work at Sonoma State University or “granola state” as it has been affectionately known.

No matter how many buildings we build or great achievements we make, we will always be known as the hippie liberal college with a nice library

I guess it’s a cross we will have to bear.