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Dean, School of Social Sciences Rohnert Park, CA

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 scholar leader to serve as Dean of the School of Social Sciences. 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.

The School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State offers undergraduate and graduate degrees that are united by the study of human society and social relationships that play an integral role in a well-rounded liberal arts education. The School encompasses a diverse array of departments and programs. Students can choose from a variety of opportunities, ranging from the core of traditional social science fields (Anthropology, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology), to various cross-disciplinary programs (Geography, Environment, and Planning; Global Studies; Human Development; and Women's and Gender Studies), to programs with a professional emphasis (Counseling, Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, and Public Administration). It plays a distinctive role on campus as the largest school with 2,500 undergraduates and 130 graduate students studying across 9 departments offering 10 bachelor’s degrees, 10 minors, 5 master’s degrees, and a total of 286 courses. The School contributes to the political, economic, and cultural vibrancy of the university and the broader community through academic coursework, research, and community engagement. The School has a reputation as a regional center for active social change and human betterment, advocacy, and planning.

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 both are committed to a collaborative vision supporting and promoting student, faculty, and staff success.

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.

In support of the enduring legacy and mission of Sonoma State and the School of Social Sciences, 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 social sciences and the institution.
  • Develop and articulate a compelling vision for the School that aligns with the SSU strategic plan;
  • Recruit, retain, and empower 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

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Electronic submission of materials is required.

Deborah Hodson is leading this search with Lindsay Gold.

Sonoma State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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