October 11, 2022
Dear Campus Community,
What a difference a month makes! When I prepared my greetings last month, the campus was settling into its fall swing, while I began to settle into my new role in the SSU community. Now, almost two months into the semester, as the temperatures cool and our work heats up, everything seems to be moving just as it should be. I feel fully welcomed into the Seawolf community, and am very optimistic about our collective future.
There is so much to celebrate and look forward to. Our Department of Nursing was recently ranked 7th out of 131 statewide programs, placing it in the top 5% of all California nursing programs. Our bachelor’s degree program in Electrical Engineering has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a boon to students and faculty alike. The Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) also recently approved accreditation for our M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Sonoma State University.
We are also celebrating Serina Cabrera, a senior Applied Statistics major (Biology minor) who has been named the Trustee Emeritus Murray L. Galinson Scholar for her extraordinary public service to her home, university, and global community. One of the CSU Trustees’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement, this scholarship will support Serina’s academic and professional goals. And speaking of goals, in furtherance of our commitment to climate action, Sonoma State will be installing solar panels designed to provide almost a third of our daily energy usage into clean, renewable electricity.
Moving forward includes the work I mentioned in previous communications, especially increasing our enrollment and maximizing our revenue while managing the budget deficit. The President’s Budget Advisory Committee and the newly formed President’s Senior Leadership Council (PSLC) has provided excellent guidance and counsel. Please make sure you have November 3rd reserved on your calendar for the SSU open budget forum, additional details to come. It is crucial that we all participate in this process, not only to preserve our principles of shared governance, but also because we are all affected by the vicissitudes of funding.
Another issue on which I hope we can stand together as a community is DACA, the program that has saved from deportation hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United Stated as children. Tens of thousands of DACA students, aka Dreamers, are enrolled in California higher education, and their ongoing federal protections depend on the whim of each Presidential administration. DACA has faced myriad legal challenges, including an October 5th decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a new version of the program crafted by the Biden administration in August. The Texas district court reviewing the new revisions already found the prior version of DACA unlawful, which concerns advocates of what many see as a reasonable pathway to citizenship for those who did not freely choose to immigrate to the U.S.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Sonoma State is directly invested in the continued protection of Dreamers, the overwhelming majority of whom are either in school or contributing to the economy through employment. As a learning community dedicated to the humane discovery and sharing of knowledge, and a civic community working to improve society, we have a fundamental commitment to making sure all of our members feel safe and supported in their educational pursuits. We are Seawolves, after all, committed in common to the highest ethical standards and values of the university.
Mike Lee, Ph.D.