Update from the President March 27, 2018

March 27, 2018

Greetings and Happy Springtime:

I hope you had an enjoyable spring break. It is hard to believe that the spring semester is already half over and that commencement is right around the corner.

Accreditation Reaffirmed!
A week after the campus reopened after last fall’s wildfires, we hosted the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC or WASC)accreditation team. The team conducted an evaluation of our academic and co-curricular programs. The accreditation process assures the educational community and the general public that institutions have been rigorously evaluated and meet high standards of quality and effectiveness.

I am very pleased to inform you that Sonoma State has just received official notification that we have been reaccredited by WASC for eight years. This is a significant achievement. We received eight specific commendations, which include having a strong sense of community; tangible results in integrating the Green Music Center into the campus and community; and for fostering a climate of collaboration where the SSU leadership and the Academic Senate are working together for the benefit of students and the advancement of the institution’s mission.

The WASC commission also made seven recommendations that will help us to improve and to be even better than we currently are.  We need to: assure that every degree program has measurable learning outcomes and an assessment plan; adhere to our program review policy; fully implement a comprehensive strategic planning process that identifies measurable goals and aligns financial resources with those goals; use data tools to enhance student learning and success; create an IT strategic plan; create and implement a comprehensive diversity plan; and formally articulate what it means to be a Sonoma State undergraduate or graduate student.  See the accreditation website for more details.  We will continue with our Strategic Planning Process that is underway and we all need to embrace work on the WASC recommendations in a collaborative manner. 

I want to express my gratitude to all the faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the community who participated in this extended WASC process, including Provost Lisa Vollendorf and Senate Chair Carmen Works, for their leadership. And, a very special thanks to Associate Vice President Karen Moranski who served as our Accreditation Liaison Officer. This successful reaccreditation means a great deal to Sonoma State, everyone who works here and everyone we serve.  Congratulations and thank you to all for a job well done!


Coming and going

Dr. Gregory Sawyer will be joining us on April 1 as our new VP for Student Affairs.  Harry LeGrande will be leaving us as Interim VP for Student Affairs at the end of this month.  Thanks to Harry and welcome VP Sawyer!

Paul Gullixson will join us on April 9 as Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications. He will lead the strategic communications media, social media and graphic design team and serve as chief communications officer.  He is also responsible for community relations and advocacy. For nearly 20 years, Paul has worked as an editorial writer and columnist for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, the last decade managing the newspaper’s editorial and opinion pages. He also has been a SSU lecturer and faculty adviser to the Sonoma State Star for the last five years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon School of Journalism. 

Steve Karp will be joining SSU in July as our new AVP for Research and Sponsored Programs, coming from Humboldt State University where he is Interim Dean of Research and Executive Director of the HSU Programs Foundation. Under his tenure, research revenue has grown from $17.5 million to $25.4 million per year, generating $1 million dollars in each of the last two years to support research. Steve previously worked for a variety of tech companies. He received his B.S. in Economics from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and his M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.

Disability Awareness Month

April is Disability Awareness Month.  This is our tenth year of this important recognition. Sponsored by Disability Services for Students and other departments, all events are free and open to all. Please see more information here.

Student Basic Needs gets a boost

Sonoma State will receive $67,000 to support the CSU Basic Needs Initiative. Thanks to Senate Bill 85, the California State University announced the distribution of more than $2 million across the 23 universities. Awards will be dispersed directly to CSU campuses to expand existing efforts to fight student hunger, raise awareness of services currently offered on campus and develop practices and procedures to provide additional assistance to students in need. 

New campus policies

  • Animal Care and Use
  • Cost Sharing
  • Student Grievance

These policies can be found on the University Policies webpage.

Thanks for reading.  Here’s wishing you a wonderful last week of March!

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki