An academic step to the future
A host of faculty and administrators held a conference at SF State Wednesday morning on the need for a new academic master plan to help drive the long-term goals of the university.
In Jack Adams Hall, President Leslie Wong and Provost Jennifer Summit welcomed the academics with a coffee and bagel breakfast. They introduced the necessity of creating an overarching plan that will address current issues and future changes to the university.
“San Francisco State will become a national leader in innovation that builds into our strengths,” Summit said, acknowledging the university’s current strengths as well as the need for a strong academic plan to run concurrently with SF State’s present and future goals.
“As we plan the magnificent new science building,” she said to a smattering of applause, “what are we going to put in that place? What are disciplines going to look like?”
Summit identified that SF State could build off of other institutions that established long-term academic plans, such as Cal Poly Pomona, which has a master academic plan that includes a three to five-year faculty hiring plan aligning with university academic goals.
Summit gave the floor to Jolene Koester, the former president of CSU Northridge, to talk about what academic master plans entail and require.
Koester said the plans are designed to amp up, direct and focus academic decisions that need to be made, instead of making important choices sporadically – without a main goal in mind.
“If you don’t have intentionality about where or how you want to grow, or do you want to grow, the leadership of this campus is unable to advocate for where you want to be,” Koester said.
To create a master academic plan for the university, Koester suggested having a number of small groups of faculty and administrators answer questions on the current and future needs of the university, and how to solve those needs based on the campus’s goals.
There needs to be a “consulting process that includes a large group of stakeholders,” she said, making it especially clear that “heterogeneity of thinking is important.”
Koester did not have a specific answer for how an SF State academic master plan should be compiled, but she and Summit did have a list of questions for faculty and the administration to consider in forming one.
- “As we look to the future, what criteria should we apply in determining academic areas or programs to develop, grow, or transform?”
- “How do we ensure educational excellence and high levels of intellectual engagement and growth for students in every class they take (whether in majors or service courses, GE or graduate courses, classroom-based or online, experiential, or internship-based learning)?”
- “How do we define and enable an optimal balance of and synergy among teaching, research, and service in faculty achievement? How do we demand and support excellence all three areas, at every stage of the faculty career?”
- “What makes a degree from SF State distinctive?”