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Dean Rohnert Park, CA, US

Sonoma State is a regionally serving public university committed to educational access and excellence. Guided by our core values and driven by a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, Sonoma State delivers high-quality education through innovative programs that leverage the economic, cultural, and natural resources of the North Bay. The university seeks a visionary and collaborative leader to serve as Dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE or the School). This is a distinctive opportunity to provide essential leadership at a public institution poised to become a national model for student success. SSU is located north of San Francisco in the heart of wine country and is the only public four-year university in the North Bay.

Working with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and external stakeholders, the Dean will have the opportunity to shape and execute the vision for the School’s next chapter of growth aligned with the university’s new strategic plan. Building Our Future @ SSU has four priorities at its core: student success; academic excellence and innovation; leadership cultivation; and transformative impact. The Dean will join a leadership team that is working to build the future of Sonoma State and deliver on its vision to embrace innovation in the institution’s quest to be a national model for public higher education by 2025.

Founded as a liberal arts college in 1961, Sonoma State has evolved into a diversified university that provides students with the intellectual framework and academic preparation to thrive in a variety of professional careers. U.S. News and World Report consistently names SSU among “America’s Best Colleges” The University enrolls approximately 9,400 students (92 percent undergraduate) and operates as part of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, the largest four-year system of higher education in the United States. Sonoma State has a long tradition of promoting intellectual and personal growth and contributing significantly to the region. The institution embraces its core values of diversity, sustainability, community engagement, and adaptability. The campus is in a phase of growth and excitement that started with the arrival of President Judy Sakaki in 2016 and Provost Lisa Vollendorf in 2017, who are committed to a collaborative vision supporting and promoting student, faculty, and staff success.

The School of Business and Economics has a strong international reputation for its Wine Business Institute and is widely recognized for having strong undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students in a range of business fields. The School led fundraising efforts that resulted in the opening of the Wine Spectator Learning Center in May 2018, as well as a successful Association for Advancing Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation visit, granting the School reaccreditation through 2022. The next Dean, working closely with various stakeholders, will set new directions based on SBE’s many strengths, and will inspire action from the School and University, as well as among alumni, the business community, and other constituencies. This is an opportunity to lead a niche AACSB accredited business school, one with a deep commitment to the region; in doing so, the Dean will have the chance to make a social impact locally, nationally, and globally.

In support of the enduring legacy and mission of Sonoma State and the School of Business and Economics, the Dean will address a set of key opportunities and challenges, which are detailed further in this profile:

  • Provide intellectual and academic leadership, both internally and externally, for the business school and the institution.
  • Develop and articulate a compelling vision for the School that aligns with the SSU strategic plan;
  • Recruit, retain, and support faculty and staff in support of student success and academic excellence;
  • Support student success and enrollment management to ensure SSU meets its graduation and retention goals for the Graduation Initiative 2025;
  • Manage and diversify revenue streams to grow resources and capacity;
  • Leverage the strengths of the School in prioritizing, embracing, and promoting diversity and inclusion.

Deborah Hodson is leading this search with Courtney Wilk-Mandel and Joe Kralick.

Sonoma State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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