Sonoma State University 2008-09/2012-13 Strategic Plan

Introduction - Purposes of a University Strategic Plan

The Sonoma State University Strategic Plan was developed by the University Planning Steering Committee, a group of faculty, staff, students, and administrators appointed by the President in consultation with the Academic Senate, endorsed by the Academic Senate and other University advisory bodies, and adopted by President Armiñana. The Strategic Plan is intended to be a broad statement of SSU's goals and objectives in pursuit of its mission and vision for the University. As such, it is intended to serve a number of institutional purposes:

  • To be a framework for planning, prioritizing, and decision-making by Divisions, Schools, Departments, and other units;
  • To be a basis for allocating university-wide resources to selected appropriate initiatives;
  • Through its development process, to help develop consensus on a shared vision and direction for the University.

The Strategic Plan is structured as follows:

  1. Mission - This is the statement of purpose of Sonoma State University. The current Strategic Plan retains the existing University Mission Statement as included in the University Catalog and its Web site.
  2. Vision - This is an aspirational statement of what SSU hopes to become in the future. If where we are now is point A, point B is where we hope to be, and the Strategic Plan is the road map from point A to point B.
  3. Values - The list of values are intended to capture the culture of SSU, the manner in which we go about doing what we do. Some of these values may be aspirational: we may not always succeed in embodying these values in our practice, but they should be the ones that we agree that we should try to do so.
  4. Strategic Areas - These are the areas for which SSU will have an overarching goal and supporting objectives. The implication is that these should be the aspects of the University that need a strategy (goal) in order to fulfill our mission and make progress toward our vision. Because of this, the areas sometimes reflect the large-scale organizational units of the institution, but some are overarching aspects of strategic importance, such as Diversity. The objectives under each goal are the identified ways in which the strategic goal can be advanced, and imply a greater degree of specificity, while still being qualitative in nature. The objectives of a University Strategic Plan do not consist of specific actions, initiatives, or resource allocation decisions; but such actions, initiatives, or resource allocation decisions at the Division, School, Department, or other unit level can and should be geared toward advancing one or more of these objectives. In that sense, the University Strategic Plan can be a guide to decision-making and action at these levels.
  5. University-Wide Funding Initiatives - A University Strategic Plan's goals and objectives can sometimes be advanced best by allocating resources or initiating a program at the University-wide level. When this happens, the Strategic Plan generates specific resource allocation decisions "off the top" of the University budget. Such initiatives (like the ones generated at the unit levels) typically include year-by-year dollar magnitudes and quantitative target outcomes.
  6. Appendix A - The membership of the University Planning Steering Committee.
  7. Appendix B - A contextual history of planning at SSU, and an overview of the main trends that define the external environment within which the Strategic Plan is formulated.
  8. Appendix C - A sample of potential initiatives that could be considered in advancing the goals and objectives identified in the Strategic Plan.

Sonoma State University Mission

The mission of Sonoma State University is to prepare students to be learned men and women who:

  • have a foundation for life-long learning,
  • have a broad cultural perspective,
  • have a keen appreciation of intellectual and aesthetic achievements,
  • will be active citizens and leaders in society,
  • are capable of pursuing fulfilling careers in a changing world, and
  • are concerned with contributing to the health and well-being of the world at large.


Sonoma State University will be recognized for its excellence in student-centered liberal arts and sciences and professional programs that combine with supportive residential communities to promote social, cultural, and economic progress of the North Bay region and beyond.


  • Academic Excellence
  • Student-Centeredness
  • Creativity
  • Respect
  • Collaboration and Shared Governance
  • Global Perspectives
  • Sustainability