New dean aims to provide best education possible

SF State’s new associate dean of academic planning, Lori Beth Way, said she hopes to help students reach graduation while receiving the best education possible.

“My main concern is, what do faculty, students and staff need in regards to curriculum development and student learning?” Way said. “Where do faculty, staff and students want to go in the future? My job is to help them create a plan to accomplish those goals.”

Way works with departments to develop assessment plans for students, she said.

“As an associate dean in the division of undergraduate education and academic planning, my goal, with the rest of the members of the division, is to graduate students with the highest quality degree possible,” Way said.

With these plans, Way can help students best track their major-related goals, according to Jennifer Summit, the dean of undergraduate education and academic planning.

SF State Associate Dean for Academic Planning Lori Beth Way poses for a portrait in her office on the fourth floor of the Administration Building Tuesday, September 1, 2015. (Xpress / David Henry)

SF State Associate Dean for Academic Planning Lori Beth Way poses for a portrait in her office on the fourth floor of the Administration Building Tuesday, September 1, 2015. (Xpress / David Henry)

“She is doing a splendid job, as we knew she would,” Summit said. “Lori Beth is extremely approachable and brings fresh thinking. She has a deep understanding of and commitment to faculty work and student learning, and the campus gains a great deal by her presence here.”

Way joined SF State after serving as a senior advisor under the department of Undergraduate Education at Emerson College. During her time there beginning May 2013, she said she worked with deans, chairs and faculty to make sure that students had access to all classes despite their major.

Prior to that time at Emerson, she spent 14 years at Chico State where she was a professor of political science and the chair of the educational policies and procedures committee of Academic Senate and program coordinator of criminal justice beginning in August 1999. She also worked with the dean of undergraduate education at Chico State from November 2008 to March 2010 to lead a re-design and implementation of the General Education program.

Way’s extensive resume  has helped her transition into her new position as associate dean of academic planning, she said.

“Having a combination of a longtime CSU and a few years at a private has allowed me to have a variety of different experiences,” Way said. “I can bring solutions to some problems or new ideas that I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t go to different schools.”

Students said they would like better class availability and advising when it comes to what they want to see be done in the near future.

Emilia Ornelas, a fifth year Health Education Major stressed the lack of advising at SF State.

“I’m hoping she can create positions for more advisors to help students on their roadmap to graduation,” Ornelas said. “I am a fifth year, most likely to graduate in six because I didn’t get the advising that I think is necessary.”

Deborah Chang, a liberal studies major, wanted better class availability.

“I’m hoping she can create more classes,” Chang said. “I had to wait one year to get the class I needed.”

The undergraduate education and academic planning staff can be found in Room 450 on the fourth floor of the Administration Building. Most students who visit the office are lost while looking for the Advising Center, according to Summit.

“Not a lot of students probably know what we are or do,” said Summit.  “We’re here to help students get the best education possible– that’s our obsessive focus.”

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