Sonoma State's Annual Outlook Conference: One of Many Highlights in Innovative University 222 Course


School of Social Sciences Dean Elaine Leeder discussing social change and the family at the UNIV 222 class in Weill Hall which is being taken by more than 760 students.


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Sonoma State's Annual Economic Outlook Conference this year will be held in conjunction with University 222, an innovative new course on campus taught this spring by all seven deans, the provost and the SSU president.

In addition, the conference - whose theme is "Game Changers: Innovations and Leaders Transforming our Regional Economy" - will be held in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center. Philanthropist Sandy Weill will offer the keynote address, and 400 plus community members are expected to attend, along with the more than 760 students enrolled in University 222.


The Business Journal and Sonoma State University School of Business are partnering to present their annual Economic Outlook Conference for the first time on the SSU campus at the world-class Donald and Maureen Green Music Center on Feb. 27.

Sandy Weill, former chairman and CEO of Citigroup and lead donor to the performing arts center, will be keynote speaker at the conference from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.To find out more about the conference vist the website of the North Bay Business Journal which is a co-sponsor of the event.

The conference, titled "Game Changers: Innovations and Leaders Transforming the North Bay Economy," will also feature the annual North Bay economic outlook from Dr. Robert Eyler, economics professor at Sonoma State and director of the school's Center for Regional Economic Analysis.

Research is ongoing for the annual report, Dr. Eyler said. The report synthesizes data from a number of leading economic indicators, with a resulting index that will give attendees a clue towards the direction of the North Bay regional economies in 2013.

The annual conference also features innovators in the areas of food, wine, tourism and technology, some of the key industries that are playing an increasing role in the arc of the region's recovery. Robert Hunter, a Marin County-based financial and small business adviser, will also discuss the increasing prevalence of crowd funding as a way to capitalize early-stage companies.

More details at

The venue, theme and course schedule all converged to make the conference itself highly innovative this year. "Each year, we look at the regional economy and national trends to identify a responsive theme for the conference," said William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics that has organized the conference for approaching twenty years.

"The opening of the Green Music Center is definitely a game changer for our area and representative of other ideas in business and the world. This set the direction for the theme and also opened up the possibility of hosting the conference in Weill Hall. As with any game changer - things took off from that vision."

The alignment of a session of University 222 with the conference date created the opportunity for the participation of the more than 760 Sonoma State students enrolled in the class. "This class itself is about change in the world, so it presents a perfect learning opportunity. Having them able to mingle with the community just adds to that," said John Kornfeld, AVP for Undergraduate Studies at SSU, who is playing a key role in organizing University 222.

Added to the content focus is the fact that "University 222: Living in a Changing World - Cultures, Values and Perspectives" is breaking ground on campus and in the world of higher education.

Out of discussions on growth, quality, and collaboration at Sonoma State, the deans were inspired to take up the challenge themselves. All seven of the deans from the academic schools, the library, and the Provost decided to collaborate to teach this multi-disciplinary experience and to hold it in the breath-taking Weill Hall at the Green Music Center, making it the first use of the hall as a "traditional" classroom.

In addition to the Economic Outlook Conference, students will complete four hours of experiential leadership training as well as a K-12 community service project, participate in a live case-study with Matt Martin (president, Social Advocates for Youth), take one course segment on smart machines entirely online, study change in subjects from art to bioethics, hear nine mini-concerts from Sonoma State performing arts students, and learn from speakers like Mark Wood SVP at BioMarin and Kirk Pappas, Physician-in-Chief at Kaiser.

"I find this course exciting for a couple of reasons. First, it is truly experimental for SSU - we want to know if such a large class can be taught successfully. Second, by targeting lower division general education we have many students in the class who haven't yet chosen a major. This overview of many subject areas may help steer some to their dreams," concluded Andrew Rogerson, provost and VP of Academic Affairs.

To explore the course, visit

For more information, contact:

Annemarie Brown, 707-664-2221,

Jean Wasp, 707-664-2057,

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