SSU Academic Senate Meeting of 26 August 2021

This meeting is the first of the ‘21-‘22 academic year.

The Senate, via the Consent Calendar, ratified the list of retiring (and FERP-completing) faculty who are eligible for Emeritus status, and forwarded the list to the President. 


Boda, Wanda

Draper, Paul

Jordan, Douglas

Kelly, Michelle

Purser, Margaret

Richards, Judith

Rockett, Kathleen

Shaw, Jennifer

Stauffer, Lynn

Su, Meng-Chih

Watt, Laura

Wautischer, Helmut

Wilkosz, Mary

Winter, Steven



Theatre Arts

Business Administration






Computer Science


Geography, Environment & Planning




A Resolution of No Confidence in the Library Dean was presented as an Information Item by the Library Staff. The text of the Resolution is included as an attachment below.

The Senate Analyst (Laurel Holmström-Keyes) presented a proposal for a course in Faculty Leadership Development, which she would organize and present. The proposal is included as an attachment below.

The chair of the Faculty (Lauren Morimoto) presented for a First Reading a Resolution Endorsing a Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History. The text of the proposed Resolution is included as an attachment below.

The President did not attend, but Dr Jerlina Griffin-Desta attended as her proxy. She announced that the Chancellor’s Office has recently appointed a new Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. She also reported a lot of positive feedback from students and parents regarding the re-opening of the campus and the return to largely in-person classes.

The Provost reported that the internal search for an interim appointment as a quasi-replacement for Deborah Roberts’s position has not yet succeeded. As we are already into the second week of instruction, it will be problematic to cover the new appointee’s assigned classes. There are no plans whatsoever for how this position will be covered in subsequent academic years.

An extensive list was included with the Senate agenda packet listing various functions that the former AVP provided and indicating who is now responsible for these. She also noted that many students are confused about which mode their classes are being held in (zoom or in-person) and regretted that these matters are still in flux due to uncertain about the direction of the pandemic. Finally she mentioned that the Continuity Group is continuing its meetings this term.

The CFO’s proxy reported that this year’s budget deficit of $21 million will be partially ameliorated by about $7 million in one-time Federal pandemic funds. But these funds may not be available for the following academic year and the budget deficit will probably remain about the same as now.

Student Affairs reported that we have 604 new freshmen and 227 new transfers. There are 1,935 in the residence halls including 35 staff. So the campus is “almost” back to normal [a questionable claim, since many classes are still being offered virtually, masks are still required of everyone on campus, and all such persons must have completed a “wellness report” despite a universal requirement for vaccinations]. There was a major data breach at Chico State recently but it had no effect on us or any other CSU campus. The Chancellor’s Office has taken steps to see that such a breach does not recur.

The AS student representative said students are complaining about poor quality of on-line courses and demanding a return to all in-person classes. The student government is focusing this term on Accessibility issues.

The Statewide Senate will begin meeting next week.

APARC is re-thinking its mission.

EPC reported that its proposal regarding CS codes was rejected by the Provost as too rigid and hence unrealistic.

-- Submitted by Rick Luttmann

Resolution of No Confidence in the University Library Dean, Dr. Karen Schneider

July 27, 2021

WHEREAS, the library faculty affirm the importance of shared governance, collaboration, inclusivity, and the role of faculty in decision making in support of student learning, values that are widely espoused in the SSU community, and

WHEREAS, the library dean consistently demonstrates lack of understanding of the role of faculty librarians in the operations of the University Library and lack of respect for shared governance, excluding librarians from decision making and disregarding librarian input and advice, and

WHEREAS, the library dean continues to make organizational decisions that disenfranchise librarians from engaging in our leadership roles and elevate people with little or no library experience or education into key decision making roles, creating an organizational structure that concentrates decision making within a small group of administrators and staff, and hindering operational effectiveness, and

WHEREAS, the library dean pursues priorities that do not align with and are not supported by library faculty, including establishing a plan for a large-scale library remodeling project that has redirected library resources from other key priorities, and

WHEREAS, the library dean demonstrates lack of transparency around library budget priorities and decisions, providing limited information, discontinuing regular budget meetings, and asking librarians to give budget input without providing the information necessary to make informed choices, and

WHEREAS, the library dean has engaged in assessment of library programs without the participation or inclusion of library faculty directly responsible for those programs, and has made decisions about library programs that disregard the decisions and input of the faculty responsible for those programs, and

WHEREAS, the library dean fosters a workplace culture of secrecy, retaliation, and favoritism, sidelining librarians from leadership and contributing to the loss of five faculty librarians, three long-time temporary librarians, and nineteen staff and administrators over the course of her six-year tenure, and

WHEREAS, the library dean fails to uphold certain core professional values and principles established by guiding organizations such as the American Library Association when enacting decisions around library personnel, resources, and programs, and

WHEREAS, the library faculty have made repeated attempts to resolve our conflict with the dean, including meeting with the dean to raise our concerns, engaging in dialogue with the dean, faculty affairs, and the provost, and initiating mediation, which was cut short by the dean, none of which resulted in meaningful change or resolution,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that on July 27, 2021 the library faculty passes a vote of no confidence in the library dean’s ability to competently lead the University Library, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be forwarded to Dr. Judy Sakaki, SSU President, Dr. Lauren Morimoto, chair of the Academic Senate, and Dr. Karen Moranski, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Laura Krier, Associate Librarian
Lynn Prime, Senior Assistant Librarian
Hilary Smith, Senior Assistant Librarian
Rita Premo, Senior Assistant Librarian
Kaitlin Springmier, Senior Assistant Librarian

 Catherine Fonseca, Senior Assistant Librarian



Leadership Development in Faculty Governance – a proposal

Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes, Senate Analyst Fall 2021

Faculty Governance at Sonoma State would benefit greatly from leadership development. Preparing faculty to take on the role of a committee chair or serving on an administrative committee will help governance improve its functioning and its standing at the University. I have learned recently that many new faculty do not feel welcomed into governance which is the antithesis of what we desire. Given the challenges of our University at this time and the strain on resources, our leadership development program needs to be nimble, cost effective and successful in a short period of time. We can leverage various modalities of leadership development (mentoring, training, experience) to achieve a robust leadership program to benefit current faculty and new faculty alike.

Here are ideas for what qualities we want in our faculty governance leaders.

  1. Vision – Each committee chair should have some vision for the work of that committee for the academic year. The Chair of the Faculty should have an overarching vision for faculty governance for the academic year which should be shared with all committee chairs and the faculty as a whole.
  2. Inspiration – As important as a vision is, it is equally important to be excited about it and help the committee members to stay motivated.
  3. Strategic and Critical Thinking – Committee chairs should strategize their work flows for the year and any relationships or data they need outside of and within governance. They should encourage the committee members to think critically about the work of the committee.
  4. Interpersonal communication – A good leader is able to communicate in ways that people see as genuine. Active listening and building rapport with your committee members are key.
  5. Authenticity and Self Awareness – A good leader has an authentic leadership style and is self-aware of their strengths and flaws.
  6. Open Mindedness and Creativity – A good leader is open to new ideas and understands various points of view. A good leader is creative in helping committee members resolve conflicts and come to mutual understandings. Leaders must be able to listen, observe and be willing to change course if necessary.
  7. Flexibility – A good leader is adaptable and nimble when the situation calls for it. Things rarely go as planned, so leaders need to stop, reassess and determine a new course of action.
  8. Responsibility and Dependability – a good leader should have a sense of responsibility and dependability. This means displaying those traits in your individual work, but also demonstrating them in your interactions with others. Your team members need to know that they can depend on you to take on your fair share of work and follow through, support them through tough times, and help them meet both shared and individual goals.
  1. Patience and Tenacity – A good leader takes the long view and persists despite roadblocks or bumps in the road. Patience is an essential trait for leadership.
  2. Keep learning – A good leader knows that perfection is myth. There is always room for improvement. A good leaders helps the committee members improve as well as improving themselves.
  3. Mentor – A good leader will mentor committee members to become the next Chair of the committee or the next Chair of the Faculty.
  4. Meeting facilitation – A good leader is well versed in meeting processes and knows how to facilitate a meeting so that the members move through the business in a timely manner, help the committee discussions stay on track and help the committee members feel a sense of accomplishment after the meeting.

Derived from

My idea for leadership development in faculty governance is to utilized our CANVAS software to create a “class” for leadership development. There are many ways this could be done and I am willing to develop such a “class.” We could have videos of campus experts discussing a particular topic, with exercises developed with that presenter. We could have assignments that ask faculty to develop a vision or learn about their character traits to help with self-improvement. It could be a self-paced course with no grades, but feedback provided to assist the learning and a self- assessment at the end. Since it is self-paced, we could request that faculty take the “course” before becoming a committee chair or faculty could just take it to learn more about leadership.

Since I have experience developing a course and am familiar with CANVAS, I believe I could create a good first draft and then get feedback on each section from faculty willing to give specific feedback. Once the course was completed, I believe it should stay within the Senate office, since committee memberships change and the technical needs of the course would be better served by a specific person over time. Content could always be updated as needed, either by the Senate Analyst or from feedback about the course.

In addition to this idea, developing a mentorship program in faculty governance would be ideal. Seasoned participants in governance could be matched with new faculty to help coach them and prepare them for service in governance. An idea S&F will discuss this year is creating a special seat on most committees for “new faculty” with a one- or two-year term. Mentors could then prepare new faculty for gaining those seats and being productive members of the committee and committee chairs would expect many questions from those members.

If this project sounds like a good idea, I could prepare a section of the “course” for review and move forward from there. The goal would be to have this roll out in Spring 2022.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my proposal.



Resolution Endorsing Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History

Resolved: the Sonoma State University (SSU) Academic Senate endorse the Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Resolved: the SSU Academic Senate calls on the SSU President to endorse this statement as well as CSU Chancellor Castro.

Resolved: that this resolution be distributed to the faculty of SSU, the ASCSU Chair, the CSU Board of Trustees, President Judy Sakaki and Chancellor Joseph Castro.


Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History

We, the undersigned associations and organizations, state our firm opposition to a spate of legislative proposals being introduced across the country that target academic lessons, presentations, and discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities. These efforts have taken varied shape in at least 20 states, but often the legislation aims to prohibit or impede the teaching and education of students concerning what are termed “divisive concepts.” These divisive concepts as defined in numerous bills are a litany of vague and indefinite buzzwords and phrases including, for example, “that any individual should feel or be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological or emotional distress on account of that individual's race or sex.” These legislative efforts are deeply troubling for numerous reasons.

First, these bills risk infringing on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn. The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States. Purportedly, any examination of racism in this country’s classrooms might cause some students “discomfort” because it is an uncomfortable and complicated subject. But the ideal of informed citizenship necessitates an educated public. Educators must provide an accurate view of the past in order to better prepare students for community participation and robust civic engagement. Suppressing or watering down discussion of “divisive concepts” in educational institutions deprives students of opportunities to discuss and foster solutions to social division and injustice. Legislation cannot erase “concepts” or history; it can, however, diminish educators’ ability to help students address facts in an honest and open environment capable of nourishing intellectual exploration. Educators owe students a clear-eyed, nuanced, and frank delivery of history so that they can learn, grow, and confront the issues of the day, not hew to some state-ordered ideology.

Second, these legislative efforts seek to substitute political mandates for the considered judgment of professional educators, hindering students’ ability to learn and engage in critical thinking across differences and disagreements. These regulations constitute an inappropriate attempt to transfer responsibility for the evaluation of a curriculum and subject matter from educators to elected officials. The purpose of education is to serve the common good by promoting open inquiry and advancing human knowledge. Politicians in a democratic society should not manipulate public school curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. In higher education, under principles of academic freedom that have been widely endorsed, professors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning.

Knowledge of the past exists to serve the needs of the living. In the current context, this includes an honest reckoning with all aspects of that past. Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today, an exchange that should take place inside the classroom as well as in the public realm generally. To ban the tools that enable those discussions is to deprive us all of the tools necessary for citizenship in the 21st century. A white-washed view of history cannot change what happened in the past. A free and open society depends on the unrestricted pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

The following have also signed this statement [spacing is random – Ed]:

PEN America
American Historical Association
American Association of University Professors

Association of American Colleges & Universities

ACPA-College Student Educators International

Agricultural History Society
Alcohol and Drugs History Society
American Anthropological Association
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Council of Learned Societies
American Educational Research Association
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

American Folklore Society
American Library Association
American Philosophical Association
American Political Science Association
American Society for Environmental History
American Society for Theatre Research
American Sociological Association
American Studies Association
Anti-Defamation League
Association for Ancient Historians
Association for Asian American Studies
Association for Documentary Editing
Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

Association for the Study of Higher Education
Association for Theatre in Higher Education
Association of College and Research Libraries
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

Association of Research Libraries
Association of University Presses
Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Business History Conference
Center for Research Libraries
Central European History Society
Chinese Historians in the United States
Coalition of Urban & Metropolitan Universities (CUMU)

College Art Association
Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History

Comparative & International Education Society
Conference on Asian History
Conference on Faith and History
Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes

Czechoslovak Studies Association
Forum on Early-Modern Empires and Global Interactions

French Colonial Historical Society
German Studies Association
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Historical Society of Twentieth Century China
Immigration Ethnic History Society

John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Labor and Working-Class History Association
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association

NAFSA: Association of International Educators
National Association for College Admission Counseling

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education

National Women's Studies Association
National Coalition for History
National Council for the Social Studies
National Council of Teachers of English
National Council on Public History
Organization of American Historians
Phi Beta Kappa Society
Radical History Review
Rhetoric Society of America
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Shakespeare Association of America
Society for Austrian and Habsburg History
Society for Classical Studies
Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender

Society of Architectural Historians
Society of Civil War Historians
Southern Historical Association
The Freedom to Read Foundation
Urban History Association
Western History Association
World History Association