Update from the President Archive - Sept. 8, 2022

September 8, 2022

Dear Campus Community,

Despite the intense heat in Rohnert Park right now, it is, indeed, fall semester at SSU, with all of the fanfare and activity I associate with a robust and vibrant campus life. Which, given the past several years, is more than a simple observation – it is a statement of gratitude and hope.

As students, faculty, staff, and administrators return or arrive for the first time to our beautiful campus, I am thinking about all of the promising initiatives and programs and activities we have in our learning community. The President’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Advisory Council is well underway, and as you can read below, our PUERTA teacher preparation initiative has been nominated as a national finalist for the 2022 Examples of Excelencia in higher education. Our campus-wide Common Read Initiative is rolling out, including a visit from author Ijeoma Oluo to the Green Music Center, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversaryseason! Student life remains active, as you can see from this Seawolf Life June 2022 video. Then we have our December 2nd ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Stevenson Hall. Having the first academic building on campus transformed into a 21st century model of comfort, utility, and sustainability is a fitting reflection of the whole-campus renaissance we are working to build.

The importance of community on a campus the size of Sonoma State cannot be overstated; our fortunes rise and fall with the strength and engagement of our collective energies. Our work to build back enrollment depends on these characteristics, as does our sense of identity as a unique, modestly sized, public liberal arts institution. An important element of this understanding is that even if we build back a substantial portion of our pre-wildfire, pre-COVID enrollment, our financial situation will not magically resolve. Resources are such that things will be tight for the upcoming future, and we need to work together to optimize talent and opportunity on behalf of our educational mission.

So, I want to reiterate my commitment to staff and faculty well-being and morale. Moving forward, I will be working intentionally on inclusive, consultative decision-making, and I specifically plan to bring together senior leadership from across campus to discuss ideas and options for staff and faculty life at SSU. Everyone matters here, and I want it to matter to each and every one of you that you have chosen to work, study, teach, research, and learn at Sonoma State.

With that, I offer the fall edition of our Noma Newsletter, and invite you to let us know if you have an item or issue you would like us to share in future issues. 




Mike Lee, Ph.D.