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Academic Affairs

Updated January 9, 2019

Academic Affairs Strategic Plan Goals and Tactics

Schools and Units in Academic Affairs (i.e., IT, Academic Programs, etc.) have the opportunity to add up to 2 goals per priority as desired to support the strategic plan. Adding more goals is not required. All schools and units are responsible for implementing tactics and measuring progress. Metrics will be agreed upon in general terms as part of the implementation process. 

Links to PDF's for Division, School and Unit Plans:

Division of Academic Affairs, School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business and Economics, School of Education, School of Extended and International Education, School of Science and Technology, School of Social Sciences, University Library, Academic Programs, Academic Resources, Faculty Affairs, Information Technology, Research and Sponsored Programs

We are committed to this being a living, breathing process with annual assessment and modifications, if needed. Note that if a goal is accomplished it can be changed over time or can be put in the “accomplished” category. Then a new goal will take its place. 

Tactics are the suggested strategies to help us reach our goals. Not all tactics will be used—they represent a list of ideas that can support the goals. Other tactics could be added and/or adopted by schools or units as appropriate. Once refined, the tactics then will be supported by metrics and milestones, so we can measure progress annually.

In the first year, we anticipate that most metrics will hinge on the initial identification of: (1) the current state or baseline of the issues related to each tactic; (2) annual milestones for each tactic.

Priority #1: Student Success



Meet SSU's GI2025 graduation and retention goals, including elimination of all equity gaps.

Systematize identification, communication, and training relevant to student success best practices (including advising, scheduling, at-risk student support, etc.).


Implement and support effective student success technology support for improved advising, early warning and overall student academic support.


Identify and remove barriers to graduation and timely progress to degree. This would include tracking units to degree, waitlists, course scheduling to meet demand, as well as examination of barriers to entry and persistence.


Create pathways to graduation that allow students who choose to do so to take all necessary classes in four years (or two for transfers) so they don't have to add time to degree. This would include providing clearer pathways for articulation for students who take GE at community colleges (e.g., ethnic studies or other currently challenging articulation)


Increase use of affordable textbook solutions and improve timeliness of textbook orders to ensure students know the full cost of a given class with advance notice


Support and promote integration of best practices for online pedagogy in the delivery of hybrid and fully online coursework.


Change filing dates for graduation to occur early in the semester before a student plans to graduate to allow for more effective advising and to ensure students are on track to graduate when they want to do so.



Create and implement a sustainable A-G (admissions to graduation) student recruitment and support services plan that aligns with SSU's identity as a regionally-serving and Hispanic Serving Institution.

Create and implement robust, intentional student recruitment plan consistent with SSU's HSI status (including targeted recruitment of Pell eligible, first generation, under-represented minority students) and consonant with our commitment to diversity (including to international, graduate, and post-bac student recruitment).


Create and implement an academic student support services plan that includes tutoring (LARC), supplemental instruction, and advising support. This could include consideration given to expanding LARC (tutoring) hours, expanding consultation to Zoom meetings with students, and using other innovative ideas to respond to students’ need for more instructional support.


Expand and create programs that build stronger links with P-12 students to improve college preparedness and college attendance.


Attend to SSU’s student diversity with a focus on graduate and PBAC enrollments and programs, devise an overall recruitment and support plan for those programs and schools that includes integrated teacher education programs and pathways as appropriate.



Modernize SSU's teaching and learning spaces and business processes in support of student success.

Create and maintain twenty-first century teaching and learning classroom standards to ensure learning spaces aligned with student and curricular needs. This includes updating standards to align them with online education best practices to encourage more online offerings at SSU.


Streamline relevant business processes to enable more effective navigation of everything from admissions to registration to applications for graduation.


Modernize and automate intake of transfer records; course substitution and petition forms; electronic transfer request system, and other systems that will enable students to progress more smoothly through SSU.


Priority #2: Academic Excellence and Innovation



Diversify our faculty and staff ranks while supporting existing faculty and staff to ensure all employees are well positioned to support SSU’s multicultural student population.

Hiring practices: Align our hiring policies with our inclusivity and diversification goals (e.g., how hiring committees are constituted, what information can and should appear on an application form, what compensation packages and professional development support are offered, articulating employee benefits more robustly, etc.). Share findings broadly so all faculty and staff are aware of our current gaps in diversity and we can improve our unconscious bias training and other efforts to improve hiring practices.


Climate: Work in concert with the other divisions to create a change in climate to reduce unconscious bias and promote a sense of belonging and inclusive excellence. This may involve developing a more explicit shared definition of diversity and inclusive excellence at the campus level.



Deliver innovative, high-quality academic programs that prepare students for the regional and global workforce and to contribute meaningfully to twenty-first century society.

Create mechanisms to support and enhance students’ intellectual growth throughout their experience at SSU.  


Integrate global awareness and preparedness into our curricular and co-curricular programming to ensure students are prepared to work effectively and knowledgeably in an increasingly global economy.


Ensure that all programs and/or schools for which accreditation exists are pursuing and maintaining accreditation.


Identify (e.g., through a study and existing data) programs and skills development SSU could offer to better align with regional workforce needs and projected needs. This may involve: developing and launching new degree or certificate programs; working with employers to understand desirable skills for their employees; support for more project-based learning and community-based research; and/or integrating career readiness into GE and our majors so students know the skills they are gaining throughout their careers at SSU.


Develop more internships and corporate partnerships to ensure strong employment opportunities for our students after they graduate.



Amplify and support the expression of SSU's core values and strategic priorities in our curricula.

Devise support mechanisms to enable cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary collaborations in service of new programs, certificates, especially around our core values (sustainability, social justice, community engagement, adaptability).


Develop and implement a meaningful, distinctive GE program.


Support asset mapping across curricular and co-curricular activities to enable more coherence of purpose and more cross-fertilization across programs, schools, and areas.


Identify and address barriers to innovation and interdisciplinarity.


Encourage and support faculty and staff to engage in new approaches to enhancing student learning.


Simplify the curriculum approval process to enable easier experimentation with possible innovations in programs and courses.


Priority #3: Leadership Cultivation



Amplify integration of leadership into the curriculum and into co-curricular programming to make this a distinctive feature of SSU educational culture.

Use service-learning, project-based learning, and leadership specific courses at SSU to help create a continuous leadership cultivation opportunity for students at SSU.


Make more explicit connections between service and leadership in curricular and co-curricular programming.


Identify mechanisms to highlight leadership among current students, faculty, and staff so we can build a broader reputation around SSU as a leadership-driven institution.


Expand emphasis on preparing students for leadership roles in graduate and post-baccalaureate programs (e.g., teacher preparation) and ensure expanded access to such programs.


Develop communication plans in collaboration with strategic communications to highlight leadership accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff.



Support SSU faculty and staff in their professional development and RSCA so they can be leaders in the community and their disciplines.

Develop and implement sustainable professional development and RSCA support plans.


Create mechanisms for faculty to share their research with local and global communities on a broader scale. This could include, for example, an institutional repository, an Open Access policy/program, more community-based lectures or programming.


Consider encouraging academic departments to examine how they evaluate and/or support emerging forms of community- and web-based scholarship.


Enhance support of graduate programs that emphasize the preparation of tomorrow’s leaders. 


Encourage staff to engage in professional development opportunities and to take on leadership positions.


Develop plans for supporting leadership succession at school and/or department level to ensure stability in leadership over time.


Priority #4: Transformative Impact



Deploy SSU talent (faculty, staff, and students) for high-impact and/or community-based service, research, and engagement.

Promote high-impact and/or community-based research, service, and community engagement related to local issues and the local economy (such as water quality, wine research, fire ecology, resilience, etc.). This may also include assessing the possibility of using research crowdfunding, such as


Devise sustainable means of more intentionally integrating our environmental and cultural resources (e.g., the preserves, the campus, the Green Music Center) into teaching, learning, and RSCA opportunities.



Amplify and augment SSU's impacts on our regional communities and on the regional and statewide economies.

Assess and find ways to incentive more volunteerism of SSU staff and faculty.


Create an ongoing communication plan (in partnership with Strategic Communications) to capture and communicate SSU impacts on families, communities, region, and state.


Support SSU involvement and presence at key community events and on key community organizations (e.g., Sonoma County Science Fair, local leadership councils, etc.).


Strategic Plan Implementation Timeline 2018-19

Academic Affairs Strategic Plan Implementation Group

Process drafted and communicated

Draft goals for each priority created for feedback

Communication with stakeholders for feeback and refinement

Refinement and finalization of Academic Affairs plan
11/27 - end of fall semester 2018

Communication of the Academic Affairs plan
January 2019