Lunch discussion Monday 4/23; updates

By Ben Ford on April 22, 2012 2:28 PM | No Comments


To:  SSU Faculty
From: Ben Ford, 2011-12 Chair of the Faculty

Dear colleagues:

Lunch at the Faculty Center Monday 4/23 (Schulz 1125. Noon-1, drop-in, brown-bag):  Building on the theme of collaboration that emerged in Fall faculty discussions, we'll have a lunch discussion about motivation in education.  A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (http://0-chronicle.com.iii.sonoma.edu/article/Can-Colleges-Manufacture/131564/ ) highlights studies about the crucial role a college experience - and individual faculty members - can play in students' discovery of the motivation that drives their success. We'll look briefly at the article and talk about its implications for our teaching and other aspects of how we build this collaborative university.
Provost Rogerson and I host these lunches; President Armiñana will join us for this lunch.  We have one lunch remaining this semester, on Monday, May 7  (topic: budgeting principles).

Updates:  1) Budget; 2) Diversity events; 3) Disability Awareness Week April 23-27;

1) Budget
There is little more clarity in the statewide budget situation (the legislature will take up the budget in earnest in early May, I am told), but campus plans are becoming a bit clearer. The administration is planning next year based on a state appropriation at the same level as this year.  Since we are using some one-time funds this year, and those aren't available next year, significant cuts have to be made in the plans for next year (administrators refer to this as our "structural deficit").  The President has indicated that these cuts will not come from classroom instruction.
If the governor's budget is enacted and the governor's tax plan either fails to get on the ballot or fails at the ballot in November, then next year's CSU budget will be cut by another $200 million.  SSU's plan for this eventuality is apparently to identify sources of funds that could be used to bet through 2012-13 ("bridge") without huge cuts, using 2012-13 to figure out how to permanently implement the cuts beginning in 2013-14.  The President feels, and most seem to agree, that the level of cuts represented by the $200m would drastically reshape how SSU operates and what an SSU education would look like.

2) Diversity
The Senate Diversity Subcommittee is co-sponsoring three upcoming events:
April 25, Wednesday:  Diversity Dialogue: Envisioning the Future of Diversity at SSU
The "Diversity Dialogue: Envisioning the Future of Diversity at SSU" planning committee** is very happy to invite you to this event with the purpose of joining a collective effort to identify the future of diversity at SSU. President Armiñana has authorized staff to attend this event during working hours as professional development. Please disseminate this information widely. Thank you!
What: Diversity Dialogue @ SSU
When: Wednesday April 25, 2012, 2:00-3:30 PM
Where: Schulz 3001
Who: Students, faculty, staff, administrators
For more information please contact:  Elisa Velasquez, Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence velasqel@sonoma.edu (707) 664-2401
** Planning Committee: Sharon Cabannis, Elaine Leeder, Giselle Perry, Mark Fabionar, Erma Jean Sims, Margie Purser, Jake Tumas, Elisa Velasquez

April 28-- "Embracing & Celebrating Diversity:  an Asian American Forum" 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Cooperage Join us and share in this important day as we celebrate Asian History month at Sonoma State University! Peter Jamero will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Jamero is the author of "Growing up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American" and "Vanishing Filipino Americans: The Bridge Generation." He will speak about his book "Vanishing Filipino Americans" at the symposium.  There will be an intergenerational diverse panel, group discussions, and entertainment. Families are welcome, so bring your children! There will be a "children's section" with traditional Filipino games. FREE ADMISSION!  SPONSORED by FAASSU (The Filipino American Association @ Sonoma State University; FANHS Sonoma County (The Filipino American National Historical Society); FACSCI (The Filpino American Community of Sonoma County Inc) and Elisa Velasquez-Andrade, SSU Director of Diversity, and the Senate Diversity Subcommittee.  For more information, Karen Pennrich <karen.pennrich@sonoma.edu>.

May 2--Screening of the Documentary "Precious Knowledge" followed by discussion, 6:00-8:30pm, Napa Valley Unified School District Auditorium  We are a voluntary community group (high school/college students, parents and educators) committed to the implementation of Ethnic Studies courses (particularly Mexican-American Studies in Napa) at our middle school, high school and college level. In light of the passage of HB 2281 in Arizona which banned Ethnic Studies (specifically the highly acclaimed and successful Mexican-American Studies Program at Tucson Unified School District) we are hosting the screening of a documentary about this issue. In addition we are hosting a former student from the program, teacher and director. Purpose of Event: 1) To raise awareness about the challenges in AZ regarding HB 2281 and 2) To raise awareness about the importance of Ethnic Studies courses and how to provide all students with opportunities to access such classes.  Co-sponsored by Napa Valley Unified School District & Napa County Hispanic Network.  Endorsed by the SSU Senate Diversity Subcommittee.

3) Disability Awareness Week April 23-27
The Office of Disability Services for Students has put together an amazing-looking list of events for this week.  Please check out the ones that you can.  See http://sonoma.edu/dss/daw.shtml; events also listed below.

We will be celebrating Disability Awareness Week Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27
 
 
Disability and Diversity Workshop and Conversation
Monday, April 23 at 3:00PM at Student Union - MCC
 
Matt Glowacki was born in 1973 in Janesville, Wisconsin.
His birth drew attention because even though he was healthy,
he was born without legs. Matt will be coming to Sonoma State
University to speak about his struggles and achievements.
He and Anthony Tusler will be holding a workshop on disability
 and diversity issues in the Multicultural Center at the
Student Union.
 
 
Diversity According to Family Guy and South Park
Monday, April 23 at 7:30PM at The Cooperage
 
Matt Glowacki was born in 1973 in Janesville, Wisconsin.
His birth drew attention because even though he was healthy,
he was born without legs. Matt will be coming to Sonoma State
University to speak about his struggles and achievements. 
Click here to view Matt's website! 
 
 
Jack's Apps
Tuesday, April 24 at 12:30pmin Salazar 1061
 
A look at available free and low-cost mobile device applications
and how built-in accessibility features have increased efficiency for all users.
Examples might include apps such as: text-to-speech, screen reader, note-taking and organization tools.

 
Making Physical Activities Inclusive
Tuesday, April 24 at 1:30pmat the SSU Recreation Center
 
Making Physical Activities Inclusive - Adapting,
Teambuilding and Climbing Experiences at the Rec Center.
SSU Rec Center staff offer an hour long interactive adaptive ropes and climbing wall experience.
R.S.V.P. to ropes@sonoma.edu to reserve your spot. 25 person limit.
 
After registering, join us at the SSU Recreation Center
 
 
Using All Your Smarts to Learn
Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00pmin Salazar 1061
 
Dr. Leslie Shelton will provide a workshop on how we use our
8-10 intelligences to maximize our learning potential.
This event will be put on by the Learning Center.
Feel free to contact us for more information.
 
 
Come Away With Me!
Wednesday, April 25 at 3:00pm in Salazar 1061
Study Abroad & National Student Exchange Opportunities.
 
Have you been interested in studying abroad or away domestically
on National Student Exchange, but you're not sure how disability support
services might apply in another country? Please join us for this informative
presentation about your program opportunities!

 
Beyond Etiquette: Disability & Cultural Competence
Thursday, April 26 at 11:00amin Schulz 1121
 
Anthony Tusler will be speaking about disability and cultural competence.
There will be time slots from 11:00am-12:00pm and 12:00-1:00pm for questions and dialogue.
Contact DSS for more information.
 

Do I or Don't I: Disclosing a Disability in the Job Search Process
Thursday, April 26 at 12:00pm in Salazar 1061
 
Anya Bergman (Career Services) and Valerie McKamey (Department of Rehabilitation)
will lead a discussion on disclosing one's disability in employment and how the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employees with disabilities.
 

Disability Awareness Week Reception
Thursday, April 26 at 3:00PM at Student Union - MCC
 
We will be celebrating Disability Awareness Week Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27.
Join us at this fun event to recognize seniors and announce winners of the
"Spirit of Vitality and Distinction Scholarship" as well as the DSS Faculty Appreciation Award.
 
 
 
This message is also available in alternate formats.  Please contact DSS for more information.
If you need a disability-related accommodation or wheelchair access information, please contact
the Disability Services for Students office at: (707) 664-2677, TTY/TTD (707) 664-2958, e-mail:disability.services@sonoma.edu.

Please visit http://sonoma.edu/dss/daw.shtml for more information

Tuesday opportunities: Lunch conversation and Graduate Research

By Ben Ford on April 9, 2012 10:30 PM | No Comments

Dear colleagues:

Two opportunities tomorrow (Tuesday, 10 April):

1) Lunch conversation (drop-in, bring your own lunch, noon-1) in the Faculty Center (Library first floor, behind info desk)  

As part of on-going "what kind of University do we want SSU to be?" conversations, this week's topic is accessibility and affordability of learning materials.  We'll have a brief intro to the issues, then a conversation about how we can best meet our (faculty) responsibility to support our students' learning.  Hosted by Provost Rogerson and me, together with special guests Richard Senghas, Emiliano Ayala, and Paula Hammett.

Lunch schedule for the rest of the semester:  All drop-in, bring-your-own-food, noon-1 p.m., in the Faculty Center, Schulz first floor; hosted by Provost Rogerson and me (* indicates that the President plans to attend):
Monday, April 23*
Monday, May 7 (topic: budget guided by SSU's mission - see below)
2) Sixth Annual Graduate Student Research Showcase

SSU's sixth annual Graduate Student Research Showcase will be held on Tuesday, April 10, from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the Commons. Following on the success of previous events, the showcase will feature live presentations and poster sessions by master's degree candidates and recent alumni from SSU's outstanding graduate programs. This free event is open the entire campus community as well as our community partners. All students, faculty and staff are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The doors will open at 4:30 p.m., and Dr. Andrew Rogerson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will deliver the opening remarks at 4:45. Posters and multimedia presentations will be on display in the main Commons area throughout the event, and students will be on hand to discuss their research endeavors. Concurrent with the poster session, students will also be making live presentations in both the Terrace Room and University Club.

For more information and the complete event schedule, please visit http://www.sonoma.edu/aa/gs/showcase.shtml .


Faculty update 3/21/12

By Ben Ford on March 22, 2012 12:03 AM | No Comments

To:  All Faculty
From: Ben Ford, 2011-12 Chair of the Faculty
Re: Updates; Commencement!!; no drop-in lunch Friday

(All emails posted at www.sonoma.edu/senate/chair/ )

First, no drop-in lunch this Friday 3/23.  I didn't realize when I scheduled these lunches that this one was on the Friday before Spring break, and in my polling of a sample of the usual suspects, I discovered that there were likely to be very few attendees.

Lunch schedule for the rest of the semester:  All drop-in, bring-your-own-food, noon-1 p.m., in the Faculty Center, Schulz first floor; hosted by Provost Rogerson and me (* indicates that the President plans to attend):
  • Tuesday, April 10 (topic: accessibility to educational materials, encompassing both disability questions and affordability)
  • Monday, April 23*
  • Monday, May 7 (topic: budget guided by SSU's mission - see below)

Next, a few brief updates:

Budget in two parts:

1.  Internal:  The Provost has asked the (augmented) Senate Budget Subcommittee to try to devise "guiding principles" for budget decisions in Academic Affairs.  That committee is trying to do this in the context of broader discussions we've been having all year about SSU's academic identity and role.  Members of the committee have met with three schools' councils of department chairs so far, and will be using some of the remaining drop-in lunches to try to understand the ways in which our vision for SSU needs to guide budget decisions.

2.  External:  The State budget situation hasn't become any clearer since my last email, but the CSU has tried to begin to plan for currently-on-the-table possibilities.  The Chancellor's office has announced a systemwide 16-unit cap with very few exceptions, closing of admissions for Spring 2013 with very few exceptions, and significant enrollment cuts for 2013-14 (these enrollment cuts are dependent on what happens with tax measures on the November 2012 ballot).  Exactly how the "very few exceptions" will be is still being worked out, apparently


Green Music Center:

The GMC has had lots of action lately:
  • The GMC Board of Advisors had a generally positive response to the proposal from its University Affairs Subcommittee (consisting primarily of faculty members) to place an academic program (a substantially enhanced music and dance program) on the fundraising agenda for the Center.  The University Affairs Subcommittee will meet again in early April to consider scaling up the proposal in response to comments from the full Board.
  • The GMC Presents first season was announced.  You can see it at gmc.sonoma.edu, and ticket packages will be available on Sunday 3/25 (no single concert tickets until June, I believe).  Faculty and Staff receive a 20% discount (2 ticket max); students 50% (one ticket).  Other GMC presenters are the Santa Rosa Symphony (santarosasymphony.com) and On-Campus Presents (a partnership of Associated Students Presents, Housing, and other campus presenting organizations).
  • The President has announced plans to proceed with a search for an Artistic and Managing Director for the GMC.  A call for faculty members of the search committee will come out very soon.


Commencement:

Commencement is fast approaching and our graduating students are clearly excited to be planning their futures after Sonoma State. As Chair of the Faculty, I encourage all members of the faculty to participate in Commencement on Saturday May 12.  This is a very special day for our students, made much more special by their teachers' presence.
 
Let's give our students and their families and friends a strong showing of faculty sitting beside them. If possible please consider participating in both ceremonies because these students are all a product of our instruction regardless of whether they were in our respective Academic Schools, departments or classes. For faculty staying for both ceremonies, lunch is provided in the Commons.
 
The Morning Ceremony at 9:00 a.m. celebrates graduates of the:
·      School of Science and Technology
·      School of Social Sciences
 
The Afternoon Ceremony at 3:00 p.m. celebrates graduates of the:
·      School of Arts and Humanities
·      School of Business and Economics
·      School of Education
 
Please make every effort to wear your academic regalia and show your respect to the 2012 graduating class. Regalia can be ordered through the bookstore (deadline April 2) - please email bkstrmgr@sonoma.edu for more information. Prices attached in a PDF.
 
For questions about Commencement please contact Andrea Rodriguez-Jereb at ext. 42018 or andrea.rodriguez-jereb@sonoma.edu.
 
I look forward to a wonderful day and hope you will be there as well.

Faculty Update 3-9-12

By Ben Ford on March 9, 2012 2:03 PM | No Comments

Hello all --

(emailed to the faculty on 3/9/12)

Apologies for the long gap between communications from your faculty chair!  And apologies for the length of this message.  You can also read this message, and other musings, at the faculty chair blog, http://www.sonoma.edu/senate/chair/

Lunch conversations about SSU's academic identity:  The February 24 lunch was canceled in favor of an open forum with the visiting CSU Faculty Trustee, Bernadette Cheyne of Humboldt.  We had a good conversation about challenges facing the CSU in general, and tried to give her a feel for the characteristics that make SSU stand out.  She was grateful for all the feedback she received during her 2-day visit.

No drop-in lunch March 12: We had scheduled a lunch for this Monday, March 12, but we are canceling it in favor of the Access and Equity presentation, "Remediation as a Civil Rights Issue," in Schulz 3001, noon-1:30 p.m., Monday, March 12.  The Provost and I both feel that this is an important event for us to attend.

Lunch schedule for the rest of the semester:  All drop-in, bring-your-own-food, noon-1 p.m., in the Faculty Center, Schulz first floor; hosted by Provost Rogerson and me (* indicates that the President plans to attend):
  • Friday, March 23*
  • Tuesday, April 10
  • Monday, April 23*
  • Monday, May 7
Topics:  As we continue to try to flesh out the ideas of collaboration and leadership that emerged as central to SSU's identity in Fall conversations, we'll have more specific topics for this semester's conversations.  The February 10 conversation was about collaborative educational spaces; look for an email soon outlining a project growing out of that conversation.  One or two of the remaining lunches will focus on issues of accessibility to educational materials, encompassing both disability questions and affordability.  Others will feed into feed into Senate Budget Subcommittee discussions about creative ways to build our vision of learning at SSU, even in the face of the State budget.

Budget:  The State budget situation continues to be clear as mud.  The governor's January budget proposal for 2012-13 includes a flat budget for the CSU (making permanent the $100 million "trigger" cut that happened this year, as well as the original $650 million cut) as a best case scenario; in his proposal, if voters don't approve a tax measure at the ballot box in November, the CSU would be cut by an additional $200 million. 

The additional $200 million, on top of the $750 million total cut this year, would be undeniably disastrous.  Many of us believe/hope that the governor is trying to focus the pain of the budget mess in areas that people who vote will notice, in order to build the case for fixing the "structural" problems with California's budget. 

My understanding, from the President's comments at Senate and Executive Committee, is that all campuses have to submit plans to the Chancellor's office to implement the full cuts - $650m + $100m + $200m - but the implementation of the last $200m would likely begin in Spring 2013.  This would mean a Fall 2012 semester roughly similar to Fall 2011.

The legislature is beginning its work on the many pieces of the budget, but it probably won't be in the news much until the governor releases his "May revise" budget, after which the full legislature will take up the budget in earnest.

In the meantime, count on many doom and gloom scenarios being floated.  Also count on - and participate in - lots of political action to try to produce a better budget outcome.

The Provost has asked the Senate Budget Subcommittee (augmented by two department chairs) to hold broad conversations and provide him with "guiding principles" to use in making budget decisions in Academic Affairs.  The Committee is taking up this task, trying to figure out the type of "principles" that would be most helpful to the University.  The first one, of course, is that all decisions should rest on the University's sole mission of preparing students.  Watch for and participate in these discussions.

Green Music Center  The GMC's opening classical music season was announced at a press event at noon today, and should be listed soon at http://gmc.sonoma.edu/ .  Tickets go on sale March 25; students will have a 50% discount, and faculty/staff a 20% discount.  Subscription tickets to the Santa Rosa Symphony are already available.

The GMC Advisory Board meets today as well, and the University Affairs Committee has a proposal on the agenda to add substantial support for the academic program associated with the GMC to the Advisory Board's list of fundraising priorities.  To date, fundraising has all been aimed at construction and, more recently, operating costs of the Center.

Elections  You received notice of the election results in the Spring 2012 faculty governance elections; I'd like to thank those who stepped forward to help guide us all through tough times and exciting re-imagining. 

If you haven't voted in the constitutional amendment ballot, please do so! (Sign in to moodle, choose Academic Senate Elections as the course, and it'll be obvious how to proceed.)

Commencement  Watch for a separate email about participating in commencement ceremonies.  It really means a lot to our students for us to be there on their big day.


If there are topics you'd like to see addressed in these infrequent emails, please let me know!

Ben Ford
2011-12 Chair of the Faculty

Spring Lunch Conversations

By Ben Ford on January 29, 2012 7:31 PM | No Comments

Spring Lunch Forums - faculty, staff, administrators, student leaders invited
Noon-1, drop-in, bring your own lunch
Faculty Center, Library first floor

I hope you'll join Provost Rogerson and me for conversations about SSU's academic story and our role in Sonoma County and the world. 

President Armiñana will attend those marked *

Wednesday, January 18*

Friday, February 10*

Friday, February 24

Monday, March 12

Friday, March 23*

Tuesday, April 10

Monday, April 23*

Monday, May 7

Welcome to Spring 2012

By Ben Ford on January 17, 2012 4:51 PM | No Comments

Welcome to the Spring 2012 semester!  I hope your classes are getting off to a good start, and that your students are engaged and excited.

First, a few links from the Spring University Retreat:  The Clay Shirky TED Talk we watched pieces of is "Institutions vs Collaboration," and the poem with which I ended the retreat is Marge Piercy's To Be of Use.

I didn't manage to keep up with blogging in the second half of the Fall semester - still trying to figure out what this medium feels useful for - so I'll try to catch up a bit here.

In asking us to engage this year as a University community in a conversation about SSU's academic story, I wondered if we would be able to identify and agree on any central identifying elements that might distinguish SSU from so many other 5-10,000-student underfunded state universities.  One framing for those conversations was "what does/should make SSU distinctive as an academic institution?"  It was remarkable to me how many faculty, students, and alumni independently led with some version of "close faculty-student working relationships."  Many other ideas were floated as well, of course - student scholarship experience came up a lot, for instance - and Debora Hammond suggested at one of the lunches that "collaborative education" seemed to encapsulate a lot of what had been coming up.

"Collaboration" strikes some as vague and perhaps not distinguishing enough; the word is certainly not a pithy encapsulation of a story all by itself.  We'll need to flesh it out this Spring as we explore how we might "build collaboration into the infrastructure," as Clay Shirky puts it in the TED talk above.  I want to talk here about why I think it can be the basis of something distinctive and meaningful, by talking about the various ways in which collaboration might shape what we do - all of which came up in conversations this Fall. 

First, collaboration as a tool/setting for student learning:  Most of the time, I feel like my students learn more when they are working together on problems or projects than they do in any other mode. I would love for my students to arrive with the expectation that this is what it means to learn at SSU, and to have similar experiences in most of their classes.  This model does not fit society's standard (but no-longer-relevant, I argue) model of a class as information transmission from instructor to students, and so this understanding of collaboration could give us some real distinctiveness, both externally and in driving our internal discussions about teaching.

Second, collaboration across disciplines and across other traditional university boundaries:  There are so many great contexts for learning all over the University, and so many benefits to the University overall of situating learning in those contexts.  Internships offer a small way to take advantage, but I'd love to explore this much more broadly.  The stretch English program is using service writing assignments for the SSU preserves, for example; Associated Students Presents is doing outstanding work to help tie co-curricular and curricular efforts together. I'm sure we could be doing so much more - if we could figure out how to remove barriers that make it so hard right now.  An story of collaboration across the entire university in creating our students' education would be quite distinctive in the current hyper-disciplinary higher ed world.

Collaborating with colleagues to improve my teaching:  We still have way too little collaboration among ourselves as teachers, I believe.  I spend a fair bit of time in K-12 schools.  I was part of a research team visit to the Bellevue, Washington school district some years ago, and I have never seen a more engaged, involved teaching group (district-wide).  Teachers were in and out of each others' classrooms; hallway and lunch conversations were often about ideas for how to approach certain ideas or certain students.  Teaching does not have to be as solitary an endeavor as it often is for us.  I feel like I become better at it when I get out of my stand-alone box and work with colleagues to examine it carefully.

Community-engaged partnerships are a powerful form of collaboration about which much has been written.  Lots of research demonstrates the motivating and outcome-improving effect of situating learning in a meaningful community context.  How do we make it easier and part of the normal course of things?

Finally, collaboration as a skill that our students are known for:  In most careers/life endeavors, the ability to work with others to accomplish goals is a hugely important skill.  How could we make it the case that the world in the future knows our graduates to have this skill?

Faculty Update #5

By Ben Ford on November 7, 2011 9:50 PM | No Comments

To:    SSU Faculty
From:    Ben Ford, Chair
Date:    7 November  2011
Re:    Fall 2011 Update #5

I am trying to keep a
blog updated with news about ongoing academic story conversations:  www.sonoma.edu/senate/chair .  Go there for more details on what's below, and add comments by clicking on the entry title and then scrolling to the bottom.

Note the new breakfast conversations in #1 below

1)  Faculty conversations about SSU's academic story.  What should we be as an academic institution, beyond a collection of departments?  Or, what should it be that makes an SSU education distinctive?

Lunch conversations. Since I last wrote, we've had two lunch conversations in the Faculty Center (October 12 and 26) and two breakfast gatherings at North Light Books and Cafe (October 21 and November 4).  Eight to 15 faculty have attended each, along with the Provost.  President Armiñana has joined us several times, and others from the campus community are joining in as well. 

To continue, I invite you to join me at lunch on the following Wednesdays (drop-in, bring your own lunch).  Provost Rogerson will be joining us at most, and President  Armiñana will join us about once a month.  These will be in the new Faculty Center, 1125 Schulz.

  • Nov 9, noon-1:00 (with President Armiñana)

  • Nov 30, noon-1:00

  • Dec 14, noon-1:00 (with President Armiñana)

Breakfast conversation!  One remaining Friday breakfast gathering this semester: On December 2 at 8:00 a.m., Provost Rogerson and I will be having breakfast at North Light Books & Cafe (in the Oliver's shopping center, 550 E. Cotati Ave.), for another discussion along the lines above. 

2) Faculty Governance updates
Here I'll list brief updates of faculty governance happenings.  Talk with your faculty governance representatives if you have interest in any of these.  You can find your representatives here: www.sonoma.edu/senate/committees/meetings.html

  • The Academic Planning Committee has just been assigned a trio of related issues to work on:  An in-depth look at the new CSU Online initiative, and consideration of any possible faculty response; the possible drafting of an SSU policy on online learning; and the drafting of a new Memorandum of Understanding with the School of Extended Education.

  • The Professional Development Subcommittee is working with the Provost's office to figure out what professional development opportunities can be put together for this year, how support can be found for someone to oversee them, and what the long-term structure for professional development might be.

  • The Student Affairs Committee has a very full plate, currently working on a "Disruptive student" policy and a re-working of campus policies on fee referenda, among many others.

Academic Story conversations picking up steam, broadening

By Ben Ford on November 7, 2011 8:48 PM | No Comments

Conversations about SSU's academic story - the story we tell ourselves, our students, and our community about the role of SSU in the world - have been very exciting.  Ideas are more consistent and coherent than I expected, and many people seem very happy to have an opportunity to talk with colleagues about why and how we do this work.  I know I sure enjoy them.  Since I last wrote, we've had a lunch or two and a breakfast session at North Light Café and Books; 12-14 faculty members have come to each lunch, and about 8 to each breakfast so far.

I think I've written before that ideas around collaboration seem to resonate with a lot of participants as capturing much of what is true and is wished to be true about SSU:  Close faculty-student interactions; interdisciplinary efforts; coherent GE efforts; community partnerships; and more.  "Collaborative" also describes a characteristic that many of us want our graduates to have; it's one of the critical skills mentioned by Richard Thornburg in his address last week.  Another theme that some have mentioned is leadership.

I've discovered that, while "collaboration" is meaningful to me, it needs some explanation to some who haven't been in the conversations.  Here are pieces of what it captures for me: 

  • Collaboration as a way to "do" education: Student-faculty collaboration; students collaborating in teams on projects; faculty collaborating across departments
  • Collaboration with our community to situate our students' learning in this amazing place and community
  • Collaboration as a learning objective, as a critical skill for our students in almost any career they choose

One challenge for me is seeing how these conversations lead to some kind of motto or tag line or motto, if such a thing would be useful (as I think it would).  The usefulness would depend on a balance between having some real meaning, and being broad enough to frame most or all of the ways we want SSU to be a force in the world.  The two examples I cite a lot are Cal Poly SLO, which uses the standard polytechnic "Learn By Doing" to great effect, both internally (as a way of structuring education) and externally (corporate recruiters talk about Cal Poly graduates' ability to hit the ground running); and Evergreen's "Let it all hang out," which also tells you something about how education works there, and what you might expect of a graduate.

Conversations are broadening:  Representatives from development and public relations, along with two deans, participated in the last lunch gathering, and the student government cabinet is coming to this Wednesday's lunch.  Hope to see some of you there!

SSU's Academic Story: Conversations abound

By Ben Ford on October 24, 2011 10:58 AM | No Comments

Conversations about SSU's academic identity continue in many forums.  We had another drop-in lunch on October 12 at the Faculty Center (about 10 faculty members and President Armiñana attended), and a breakfast October 21 at North Light Books and Cafe (seven faculty members and Provost Rogerson).  In the last few weeks, I've had conversations with the Library faculty, the Science and Technology Council of Department Chairs, the Professional Development Subcommittee, the Academic Coordinating Team (which consists of the Academic Senate leadership and the Provost and Deans and AVPs), and probably others.  I've got more scheduled.

In these attempts to identify the significant distinguishing feature of an SSU education, I'm surprised by how quickly conversations seem to be converging around some ideas about close faculty/student interaction, faculty caring about their students' success, and student scholarship experiences.  One phrase that captures a lot of this is "collaborative education," which seems to be a good fit for lots of people in lots of departments.

I hope you'll join us for continuing conversations.
 


Faculty Update #4

By Ben Ford on October 11, 2011 5:54 PM | No Comments

To:    SSU Faculty
From:    Ben Ford, Chair
Date:    11 October  2011
Re:    Fall 2011 Update #4

I am trying to keep a
blog updated with Faculty governance happenings at the Senate web site:  www.sonoma.edu/senate/chair .  Go there for more details on what's below, and add comments by clicking on the entry title and then scrolling to the bottom.

Note the new breakfast conversations in #1 below

1)  Faculty conversations about SSU's academic story.  What should we be as an academic institution, beyond a collection of departments?  Or, what should it be that makes an SSU education distinctive?

Lunch conversations. A group of 14 faculty, Provost Rogerson, and President Armiñana met for lunch on September 28 and had a great conversation.  To continue, I invite you to join me at lunch on the following Wednesdays (drop-in, bring your own lunch).  Provost Rogerson will be joining us at most, and President  Armiñana will join us about once a month.  These will be in the new Faculty Center, 1125 Schulz.

  • Oct 12, noon-1:00 (No Provost; with President Armiñana)

  • Oct 26, noon-1:00

  • Nov 9, noon-1:00 (with President Armiñana)

  • Nov 30, noon-1:00

  • Dec 14, noon-1:00 (with President Armiñana)

Breakfast conversation!  On Friday, October 21 at 8:00 a.m., Provost Rogerson and I will be having breakfast at North Light Books & Cafe (in the Oliver's shopping center, 550 E. Cotati Ave.), for another discussion along the lines above.  If the Wednesday lunch times haven't worked for you, please join us for breakfast!  If it's popular, we'll do more.  If it's just the two of us, we'll have a nice breakfast....

Department conversations.  I'm meeting with Schools' Councils of Department Chairs to try to bring this discussion to an even wider group.  As I promised at convocation, I hope to steal a bit of time on many of your departments' agendas to find out as much as I can about your ideas of SSU's academic story in its second fifty years.

3) Faculty Governance updates
Here I'll list brief updates of faculty governance happenings.  Talk with your faculty governance representatives if you have interest in any of these.  You can find your representatives here: www.sonoma.edu/senate/committees/meetings.html

  • The Student Affairs Committee is working on the Student Election Code, to help resolve issues that arose during last year's Student Union Fee Referendum.  We are working on this task in partnership with the Associated Student government.  We will also be compiling a report on the history of the resources and services that have been available in Student Affairs and Enrollment Management over the last five years, with an eye toward documenting the ways in which these have diminished as well as comparing SSU's SAEM division with those in similarly sized CSUs.

  • The Educational Policies Committee: EPC is reviewing a new major proposal in Early Childhood Studies, taking a final look at the Ukiah Liberal Studies 2008 Program Review, and working on revisions to the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding with the School of Extended Education.

  • Faculty Subcommittee on Sponsored Programs:  We have been working with Academic Affairs in connection with the hiring of a new Director of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. A hire seems likely in January 2012.  We reviewed and passed on to the Provost two NEH applications.  Also, we revised and are getting ready to issue a Request for Proposals for the Summer Stipend program. While there is no RSCAP money available for the coming year, the Provost has been fund the program.

  • From the Senate Diversity Subcommittee:  SDS has been working on a Resolution "Regarding the Subsidization of the New CAPS Student Fee for Pell Grant Students," which goes to the Senate this week.  At the last meeting of SDS there was a discussion of the importance of providing Spanish language information to prospective students and their parents.  Gina Geck, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment, reported that they have a Spanish language web page http://www.sonoma.edu/admissions/espanol/ and they are working on reestablishing the link to it from the Office of Admissions home page.  Sharon Cabaniss, SDS Co-chair, reported that the Chancellor's Office also has a Spanish web page at http://www.calstate.edu/pa/espanol/, and she has requested that SSU put a link to it on the SSU homepage.  This request was forwarded to University Affairs.  The Campus Reengineering Committee is also discussing language options for the SSU phone system.