Update from the President Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

Members of our Campus Community,

As we approach the start of the spring semester, I want to wish you all a happy new year. We are grateful for the rain and for new beginnings. But, most of all, we are grateful for you – students, faculty and staff alike – who bring our campus to life and embody the promise of another transformational year at Sonoma State University.

We are eager to see what 2019 has in store for all of us, and I’m pleased to say that we are off to an exciting start. As many of you may have heard, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed an ongoing increase in funding for the California State University of $300 million with his first budget. These are critical funds that will help Sonoma State and other CSU campuses fund Graduation Initiative 2025 and enrollment growth as well as help with employee compensation and other costs. As Chancellor Timothy White noted last week, Newsom’s plan “marks the single largest proposed investment by any governor in the history of the university, and we are extremely appreciative of Governor Newsom’s bold investment in us.”

Here are some other highlights I would like to share with you:

Digital transcripts available

We’re pleased to announce that, for the first time, SSU students may now obtain digital copies of their transcripts by going online rather than having to go to the Admissions and Records office to get it done. Thanks to the staff of Academic Affairs, working in partnership with Associated Students, transcripts can now be ordered through students’ MySSU accounts. Provost Lisa Vollendorf will provide more information in the coming days, but this is an important change that students are sure to appreciate. Good work everyone!

SSU accolades

Sonoma State was recognized in recent weeks with two special honors. First, the North Bay Business Journal has, for the second year in a row, named our University among the North Bay’s 13 Healthiest Companies for 2018. As part of this distinction, the newspaper recognized how many of our employees take advantage of our lunch-n-learn classes, lunchtime workout classes and other opportunities.

We also recently received notice that Sonoma State has been ranked 12th in the nation on Money magazine’s list of “Best Colleges for Transfer Students.” The rankings were based on such criteria as four-year graduation rates for transfer students, early career earnings and average student debt at the time of graduation. Congratulations Noma Nation for these distinctions!

Staff changes

Please join me in congratulating Dean of the School of Education Carlos Ayala and AVP for Human Resources Tammy Kenber on their exciting new appointments. As announced in previous emails, Tammy has accepted a position as Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach. And, Dr. Ayala has accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer of Growing Inland Achievement, an education collaborative in the Inland Empire of the Greater Los Angeles area. These are wonderful promotional opportunities for both of them. Meanwhile, we welcome Dr. Jerlena Griffin-Desta who will be joining us as my new Chief of Staff and AVP for Strategic Initiatives and Diversity. Her first day will be Jan. 28.

SSU in the news

Finally, here are links to several stories that were in the local press recently featuring Sonoma State. The first concerns SSU’s role in growing manufacturing and engineering jobs in Sonoma County. The last one is about a Sonoma State graduate, Erick Roeser, who recently was elected auditor-controller-treasurer-tax collector for Sonoma County.

1.     Sonoma County exploring ways to upgrade manufacturing technology to boost local innovation

2.     Can local economy keep rolling? Sonoma County business leaders offer 2019 predictions

3.     Sonoma State University named among North Bay’s Healthiest Companies for 2018

4.     Smith: A gift from Sonoma State University alum grateful bullet didn’t kill him 30 years ago

5.     Sonoma State math professor receives national award for student advocacy work

6.     Erick Roeser takes helm as elected Sonoma County auditor-controller-treasurer-tax collector

All of these stories showcase the impact that Sonoma State is having not only on our students and campus community but how we contribute to the vibrancy and quality of life of our entire region. It’s this kind of impact that makes me so proud to serve as your president– and makes me so enthusiastic to see what is in store for us in the new year.

Best wishes!

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki