Six college plan creates savings, new prospects

Robert A. Corrigan has served as SF State President since September 1988.

More than a year of discussion, consultation and input from hundreds of faculty and staff, coupled with two faculty referendums, has ended decisively: On July 1, SF State will move from eight to six colleges. This new structure won approval from two-thirds of the voting faculty – in electoral terms, a landslide.

Upon learning that Provost Sue Rosser and I had approved the six-college structure, a number of colleagues have told me how pleased they are that the process would be finished. We have accomplished a great deal, but we are far from done. In key respects, our work is just beginning.

It will be difficult and it is work for which we have no model. In fact, SF State may become the model. We will be seeking ways to make multi-million dollar, permanent cuts in operating expenses, while maintaining our academic excellence and our values. And we are going to do this – just as we did over the last 18 months – by giving the campus community a role and a voice. We know we can achieve consensus. We have just done so.  And we will continue to work in that spirit.

Once the six-college structure takes effect, college deans will work with their faculty to refine the internal makeup of each college and explore the educational and fiscal benefits of possible department and program mergers. I fully expect that strong feelings will arise, but I believe that shared concern for SF State’s healthy future will drive our decisions.

One guiding principle will be our efforts to focus on savings that are administrative and operational in nature, preserving teaching, academic support and student services to the maximum extent possible.

At the same time, we have vital off-campus work. We need to maintain the educational campaign – and the pressure – on both elected officials and the electorate. They need to see our future as their future, our well-being as their well-being. Affordable, accessible higher education made California great. Now, hard realities make clear that we must all grapple together to create a new, but still workable, model for supporting California’s public colleges and universities.

The last 18 months have demonstrated how insightful and creative a community SF State is, and how strongly faculty, staff and administrators care about our students. That concern gives me confidence that we will look back at this academic reorganization process not with pain, but with pride.  We are working to secure SF State’s future and I believe we will succeed.

The new college and departmental structure is spelled out at http://www.sfsu.edu/~news/announce/sixcolleges.htm.

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