Academic Master Plan, Update #1

Karen Moranski, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
February 10, 2023

The Academic Master Plan effort is officially underway and off to a strong start. Thus far, we have held three sessions at the Faculty Retreat in January as well as two additional open forums for Strategic Scheduling and Current/New Programs. Recordings of the open forums will be posted to the Academic Master Plan website.

The Strategic Scheduling and Liberal Arts Identity working groups will create a report with recommendations by the end of the semester. Current/New Programs will continue its work through the fall semester and produce a similar report. Recommendations that come from the Academic Master Planning process cannot be implemented overnight. Some of the changes will occur on a shorter timeline in order to address Academic Affairs reorganization plans, but School/department reorganization will not take place until July 2024. This will allow time to consult further with faculty and staff and work through the processes that are needed to effectively transition. I know that this time of uncertainty is unsettling for many staff, faculty, and students, and I want to express my gratitude for your patience, your willingness to approach change with positivity and hope, and your continued support of our students and each other while working through these changes.

Liberal Arts Identity Working Group Updates

The Liberal Arts Identity Working Group has spent their meetings carefully defining the values of Liberal Arts institutions and the values of a Sonoma State University education. Through discussions in the WG and with that of our faculty colleagues in the interactive session at the Faculty Retreat, the WG is close to arriving at a Liberal Arts Identity Statement and a Student/Parent-Focused Identity Statement, using these priorities: breadth of knowledge across the disciplines with depth and comprehensiveness in focused career-track majors; individual attention for students in smaller classes with hands-on active pedagogies, research and internship opportunities, service learning, and relevant professional programs. Of the utmost priority is highlighting that SSU is a proud Minority- and Hispanic-Serving Institution with social justice as part of SSU’s DNA. Also, SSU has a strong sense of place with natural preserves as living laboratories and community learning opportunities to allow students to gain real-life experience while supporting the growth and development of our region.

The WG had a very productive and illuminating meeting with Cole Woodcox, Executive Director of COPLAC. The WG intends to take inspiration from sister COPLAC institutions about perceptions of the Liberal Arts and developing the communication and messaging which will help SSU to leverage our strengths to recruit and bring in students and to form a deeply meaningful educational experience for them once they are here.

The Liberal Arts Identity charge and deliverables are available to view. 

Strategic Scheduling Working Group Updates

The Strategic Scheduling Working Group held a productive open forum on 2/6/23, hosted a session of the faculty retreat, and have had 3 committee meetings thus far. The WG has been compiling the various tools and metrics used in course scheduling and discussing ideas for best practices recommendations. Data collection, budget and target projections, fill rates and course cancellation practices have been part of the discussions. The WG has begun conversations around multi-year planning, block scheduling, GE coordination across schools, and centralized scheduling.  

The Strategic Scheduling Working Group charge and deliverables are available to view.

Current/New Programs Working Group Updates

The Current and New Programs Working Group has held 3 meetings, hosted a session of the faculty retreat, and a campus Open Forum (Feb. 1). Our collective work to date has focused on the development of metrics for program assessment, based on open discussion and input from the campus. The WG is also examining job market data as a potential predictor of program sustainability and to guide development of new programs/minors/certificates. Another avenue under exploration is programs offered by other COPLAC institutions and how they utilize their identity for attracting students. Finally, the WG is also exploring how other institutions employ aspects of interdisciplinary programming to attract students and provide additional options while maintaining core degree programs.

The Current/New Programs Working Group charge and deliverables are available to view. 

Upcoming Events and Opportunities for Feedback

There are many opportunities to get involved in the Academic Master Planning process and give feedback. The upcoming open forums will be listed on the Academic Master Plan website and emailed to campus. An anonymous Google feedback form is available if you want to provide feedback on the process. There will be periodic email updates via a listserv if you would like to sign up for more frequent communications. If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to any members of the Executive Committee, Steering Committee, or working groups, or you can email