For the past several years, Sonoma State University has intensified its efforts to improve its successes as an institution committed to "inclusive excellence." Inclusive excellence is much more encompassing than the term diversity: It means fully integrating our diversity and educational quality efforts and embedding them into the core of our academic mission and institutional functioning.
The changing demographics in our service area and the state demand that we foster an environment that will result in higher graduation rates for all our citizens.
Not only is this important to me as the president of Sonoma State University but to me personally. Many years ago, I came to the United States from Cuba not speaking any English. As one of the very few non-white students at the University of Texas , I know first-hand the challenges many of our students face at an institution like Sonoma . I understand the benefits of receiving a quality education.
To help facilitate these changes, I appointed the President's Diversity Council. Along with a task force from the Academic Senate, and California faculty Association, a number of retreats and open forums have been held for members of the University community to shares its thoughts and ideas.
Sonoma is doing many things well. We have one of the highest graduation rates in the CSU for ethnic minorities. We have partnerships with Roseland University Prep, Elsie Allen High School , and other programs to increase the number of college going students from underrepresented students. The Multicultural Center has been reopened and is developing programs that promote inclusiveness. For fall, 2010, we have enrolled our most diverse freshmen class ever.
To attract and retain a diverse student body, staff, and faculty, we know that our efforts must address campus climate, services, and educational offering. To help the University reach this end, we recently appointed our first Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence.
As president, my commitment is personal and strong. I know that it is essential for our graduates to succeed in a multicultural world it is valuable for all students to engage not only with diverse perspectives but with students, faculty, and staff from a wide variety of cultures and experiences.
- Ruben Armińana