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Strategic Plan Process

Guiding Principles

We believe that strategic planning operates under one primary principle: meaningful input leads to meaningful output. For SSU’s strategic planning to be meaningful and impactful, we have committed to the following guiding principles:

  1. Inclusivity
  2. Integrity
  3. Respect

Fundamentally, the Seawolf Commitment provides a framework for our dialogue and engagement with each other:
As a Seawolf, I Commit Myself to the Highest Ethical Standards. Integrity: I will conduct myself with INTEGRITY in my dealings with students, staff, and faculty. Respect: I will RESPECT the rights and dignity of others. Excellence: I will strive for EXCELLENCE in my academic work and relationships. Responsibility: I have the RESPONSIBILITY to conduct myself as an ethical member of the community.


Our primary goal is to create a meaningful strategic plan that will guide campus decision-making, budget, academic program development, hiring, programming, fundraising, revenue diversification, and other core efforts for the next several years.

At the outset, we are committed to creating a document that guides SSU through 2025.

Fundamentally, we believe that a strategic plan is a living document. We need it to live and breathe. We need to revisit it frequently and measure our own success against it as well as be comfortable changing it as time goes on and as the institution and our broader context change.

At the outset, we have committed to the following basic goals:

  1. Mission, vision, values: articulate SSU’s mission, vision, and values;
  2. Strength and pride: Identify areas of strength and pride and means of strengthening those areas;
  3. Areas for improvement: Identify areas for improvement, including pathways for improvement and practices or processes that potentially should or could be discontinued;
  4. Opportunities: identify opportunities for growth, change, and adaptation.

As the SSU community participates in strategic planning, we will refine our strategic planning goals to ensure an ongoing, inclusive process of input and responsiveness.


The process will be driven by a framework of “appreciative inquiry.” This will allow us to focus on what we appreciate about SSU, what we believe we can and should do better at the institution, and how we think we can work together to build a better, stronger future.

The appreciative inquiry process will be framed by the following core values and supporting goals:

  1. Core values focus: The following core values of Sonoma State (as expressed through curricula, programming, and prior planning processes) will help bring focus to the process. These pillars (which could be explored via sub-committees of the strategic planning process or via another, similar mechanism) are:
    1. Diversity and Social Justice
    2. Sustainability and Environmental Inquiry
    3. Global Awareness and Citizenship
    4. Innovation and Interdisciplinarity
  2. Key supporting goals: The following key goals shall be considered vis-à-vis the university’s core values and our overarching goals for educational experiences at SSU. These key goals can be expressed through any of the core values (our pillars) listed above and serve as a means of strengthening the expression of those values:
    1. Student, faculty, and staff success (including, but not limited to, student support services, professional development, and support for innovation);
    2. Community service and engagement (including, but not limited to, service learning; focus on regional economy and serving the region; revenue diversification);
    3. Public liberal arts and quality education (including, but not limited to, academic excellence; fiscal and social responsibility; and relevance of SSU student experience to broader society).

Opportunities for input: The process shall include the following types of opportunities for dialogue, brainstorming, and engagement:

  1. In-person (e.g., large group meetings, smaller group meetings, open fora, etc.)
  2. Online (e.g., email, survey[s], and other similar input mechanisms)

We will use the existing organizational chart of the institution (e.g., divisions, schools, units, committees, Academic Senate, etc.) as well as a broader, cross-divisional approach (e.g., through World Cafes, open forum gatherings, and other types of group meetings) to create different kinds of opportunities for people to provide input.

Such opportunities shall be communicated widely through a strategic planning communication plan. Every attempt will be made to provide stakeholders with at least two mechanisms for providing input.


All stakeholders have an important role to play in the strategic planning process at Sonoma State. In particular, the Academic Senate, the leadership of Associated Students, and all students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to support the process to help make it successful.

We seek to make the process as inclusive and meaningful as possible. The Strategic Planning Taskforce, supported by LEAP Solutions, has committed to keeping the entire strategic planning year on track with the goals, values, and timelines laid out in this document.

The logistics and implementation of the strategic planning process will be coordinated by the co-chairs supported by three executive assistants (to the Provost, VP for Advancement, and VP for Administration and Finance) with support from LEAP Solutions for surveys, focus groups, outreach. Website to be developed and maintained by Marketing and Communications group in Advancement.