Update from the President March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017

Dear Sonoma State Community,

Happy Spring! There is so much happening on campus that I want to take this opportunity to provide an update on a few things.

Enhanced Service and Efficiencies

Administration & Finance, under VP Stan Nosek’s leadership, is redeploying custodial staff who previously worked at the Green Music Center exclusively.  Now these valuable members of our custodial staff will be available to serve the entire campus, including the GMC.  

We will be conducting a cleaning of Stevenson Hall offices at periodic intervals (e.g., every 6-12 months), and we are evaluating other possible building cleanings as well.  All such cleanings will be conducted by fully trained staff.

Executive Search Updates

Our search for a permanent Green Music Center Executive Director is progressing well.  We had a deep and talented applicant pool with 51 candidates.  Our search firm, the Catherine French Group, and the search committee, chaired by Interim VP Stan Nosek, have been working diligently to cull this group down to the top three finalists.  One candidate spent yesterday on campus.  There are open forums for the final two candidates on Monday and Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in room 3001 of Schulz Library.  I hope that many of you can attend the forums and that you share your written input with the search committee.

The search for a permanent Vice President for Advancement continues and we are reviewing additional candidates for the important position that oversees development and strategic communications.  We will keep the campus community apprised of our progress.  I am grateful for the leadership being provided by Interim Vice President Peter Smits.

And our search for the permanent Vice President for Administration & Finance begins with the search committee’s kickoff meeting the first week of April.  We are using the Isaacson Miller firm for this search.

Graduation Initiative 2025

We are working on several fronts to improve time to graduation and retention, which are central to our mission at Sonoma State.  Consequently, we are launching two important initiatives.

The first is the creation of a new center to provide services for transfer students and students in transition. We are confident this center — the exact name is still being fine-tuned — will strengthen our relationships with the community colleges in our region and make it easier for transfer students to feel even more welcome and to succeed academically at Sonoma State.

A director search will begin immediately, but in the meantime, Alvin Nguyen, who is now our Coordinator of Freshmen and Sophomore Programs, will serve in an interim capacity to get the center established. The center will be in Salazar Hall and be part of Student Affairs. 

The second initiative is our new online degree planner, which will be integrated with the recently implemented Seawolf Scheduler and make registration easier. This tool gives students a practical road map to help them navigate the many steps toward timely graduation.  Three other CSU campuses are currently using a similar online degree planner with more likely to follow.

Business School Accreditation

I recently participated in a meeting with an external Peer Review Team from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) that was on campus as part of the accreditation maintenance process for our School of Business and Economics (SBE). AACSB accreditation is the highest standard for business schools around the world, and most of the meeting focused on the SBE’s Continuous Improvement Review practices. I was encouraged about our direction and program quality. The final results of AACSB’s in-depth review will be communicated to us by the end of the semester.

Help Us Welcome Admitted Students

You can see lots of newly admitted students and their parents taking campus tours and checking out our University. Informal conversations with faculty, staff and students are an important part of welcoming these prospective students.  So whether you are in line for a cup of coffee or just walking across campus, take the time to engage a prospective student or parent in conversation. Tell them why you are proud to be a Seawolf and why this is a special place. April 8 is Seawolf Decision Day.

Student Elections

I strongly encourage all of our Sonoma State students to vote in the upcoming Associated Students election! Online voting begins at 8 a.m. on April 3 and closes at 6 p.m. on April 4.


Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki