Ballot Statements for Elections

Ballot statements for Search Committees

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Student Health & Wellness (Admin IV) – 2 faculty, 2 SSPs

Michael Eynon, M.A., He|Him|His, Disability Management Advisor, Disability Services for Students (DSS) - SSP

I am applying to the search committee for the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Student Health & Wellness (Admin IV) due to my interest and history with the division and area. I currently work under the Health & Wellness area as a Disability Management Advisor through the Disability Services for Students (DSS) department. At our office, I assist students with academic accommodations to grant them equal access within the classroom environment in conjunction with general education academic advising. I believe that bringing an advisor perspective to the search committee strengthens the ability to find a candidate who is student focused and shares the values of both our area and the university strategic plan. Additionally, I would add an alumni element to the committee by being a former student at SSU from 2005 to 2010. I hope to bring the perspective of a SSU graduate and staff member with historical knowledge of how health and wellness has evolved on our campus over the last 13 years. I want to utilize my professional background in mental health to support a search for a candidate who will continually strive for more mental health services for students, a continuous topic that is mentioned by the student body. I appreciate your support of me being one of the SSP representatives on this search committee. Thank you for your consideration.

Tony Bish, Theater Arts – TT faculty


Colleen Mahoney, Orientation, SSP

Please accept this letter and my excited self-nomination for consideration as a member of the search committee for the AVP of Health and Wellness.  Over the course of my (nearly) five years at Sonoma State University, I have sat on many search committees, ranging from administrative assistants to an AVP search.  Each time I was in that role, I enjoyed meeting the candidates that align with our university and its missions and goals, and now being able to incorporate the strategic plans is an exciting opportunity.  I have a wide variety of experiences on campus, as well, that include working as an SSP, a part time lecturer in the university studies department, and an active participant in developing and hiring students within our university leadership programs.

While I have extensive experience on hiring committees, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I am also personally invested in the hiring of the AVP role, as this person is my direct supervisor.  In my nearly 5 years, also, I have worked under six supervisors, and for a significant amount of time, I had no one to report to and ask for support.  Having been through so much change, I am excited at the prospect of finding the right person; someone who intends to be around for the long haul, that doesn’t look at this role as a stepping stone to the next higher level.  We joke about the fact that in our area that our Organization Chart changes almost daily, but in reality, it’s also very stressful.  The campus community and Student Affairs, especially, has seen enormous change.  While most of that change has been positive and for the better, it had worn many people into a state of “change fatigue”.  I talk with many of my colleagues, also SSPs, who feel like they just can’t take any more.  With the solidification of the AVP role, my hope is to provide my compatriots with the support and comfort of moving forward that we all need.

I ask that you consider my letter as genuine intent to help Sonoma State University take one-step closer to its goals by finding the right leader for such an important position.

Catherine Fonseca, University Library - Faculty

As a faculty seat representing the University Library, I have a vested interest in ensuring this new hire is capable of meeting and addressing student needs since the Library itself is highly student-centered and student-serving. Since the library sees students in every phase of their college career, I hope to bring my own observations of challenges and difficulties facing student health and wellness to this search process. I also hope to work closely with this new hire in future to provide programmatic and collection support for improving student well-being. I have a demonstrated record of service on several search committees, both for staff and faculty positions, since my arrival to SSU in August 2018 and am committed to best practices in hiring.

Dean of Social Sciences Search – 1 at-large position

Letha C. Ch’ien, Assistant Professor, Art History

As a relatively new faculty member anticipating years to come at Sonoma State, I am deeply invested in the future of our university. Having keenly read the new Strategic Plan, I am eager to find a Dean of Social Sciences ready to implement its goals. My work as an art historian places me in a discipline between the humanities and social sciences. My appreciation for Social Sciences drives my interest in this search. Serving on the search committee for Dean of Social Sciences, I will work with our colleagues to find a forward-looking responsible candidate dedicated to growing SSU’s research and educational prowess alongside all our schools. 

I bring to the committee a fresh perspective, commitment to diversity, and an investment in academic rigor. I look forward to learning from my colleagues and offering a perspective outside the school as we work together to create a thriving future at SSU. 

Hilary C. Smith, Research Services & User Experience Librarian

As subject librarian to the School of Social Sciences, I work with students and faculty in the social sciences to develop library instruction, to build collections and to develop relationships that support student success. I am committed to working with the school to continue to develop strong relationships, fulfill strategic priorities and support research needs. I have experience serving on faculty, staff and administrative search committees and am aware of the commitments required to be an effective member of such a committee. I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity.

Anne Goldman, English

I would be interested in serving as the faculty-at-large person on the search committee for the Dean of the Social Sciences led by Dean Robbins. If appointed, this would be my first time serving on an administrative search committee. That said, I have chaired search committees several times for my own department (English), as well as serving as an outside advisor for Hutchins. My own work is quite interdisciplinary in nature; I'd be particularly interested in learning more about their own work from Social Science faculty and the candidates for the Dean's position. Finally, I would enjoy working with Dean Robbins.

Monica Lares, Chemistry

I have served on two other search committees and I have found the process interesting.  I always learn something about how hiring occurs.  I like to bring my perspective to the table. Thank you for your consideration.

AVP for Institutional Effectiveness – 4 positions

Mark Perri, Chemistry

I’d like to serve on the AVP for Institutional Effectiveness search committee.  As the chair of APARC I am involved in academic planning, assessment, and resources, and I think my experience provides me insight into what qualities an institutional effectiveness VP should have.  I am excited for the opportunity to help in selecting the right candidate for SSU.  I think that being intentional about assessing and improving our work in the areas of GI2025, modernizing admissions and records, and strategic budgeting will be extremely important in the coming years.

Dr. Omayra Ortega, Department of Mathematics & Statistics

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics with an area of expertise in data analytics. Although I am relatively new to Sonoma State University, I have prior experience from serving on search committees for both faculty and administration positions at Arizona State University and Pomona College. 

I would be a valuable addition to the search committee for the Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness because of my past experience in industry working as a healthcare analyst and data scientist. In these positions I analyzed large data sets to inform departments of public health throughout the United States on which practices were most effective within their jurisdictions, identified sub-populations that required additional services or resources, and delivered this information to our clients in the best format for the audience that these reports were meant to serve.

I will work with my fellow committee members to select an Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness who will conduct institutional research, data reporting, and assessment projects in support of the University’s Strategic Plan and empower Sonoma State University to employ best practices based in data-driven research. 

Michelle Kelly, Nursing

My abilities to serve as a objective participant include familiarity with institutional metrics of effectiveness and how to interpret data to make micro and macro changes for improved performance (in this case better serving students).

Heather Smith, Psychology

I would like to submit my name for consideration for the Associate Vice-President for Institutional Effectiveness search committee because of my interest and experience with program review, program assessment and research on SSU students’ experiences. I currently serve as the GE subcommittee chair, and in that capacity, I organized the program’s recent program review. I also serve as the School of Social Sciences ASPIRE representative and have been fortunate enough to participate in professional development through this position. In addition, I wrote a program review for the psychology department and continue to lead the design and analysis of our senior student exit survey. Finally, my scholarship has drawn upon population surveys of SSU students and faculty as well as the close analysis of the effectiveness of the SSU Sophomore Year Experience program. Given my experience and tenure at SSU (over 20 years), I think that I could be a useful member of this committee. Thank you for your consideration.   

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies (Admin III) search committee – 4 positions

Brigitte Lahme, Math and Stats

I have served as department chair of the math and stats department for over 5 years. During this time I have worked closely with the office of academic programs in the areas of math placement, developing supported first year GE (B4) courses, and summer orientation (including the new mathematics component of the expanded summer bridge program). I have also worked with the faculty center to organize PD opportunities around student centered pedagogy and inclusiveness in mathematics. I think that the new associate dean for undergraduate studies will play an important role in helping the university become a more inclusive community where all students feel they belong and can achieve at a high level, and where faculty are supported as they develop high quality curriculum and incorporate active student learning pedagogies into their classrooms. 

Michelle E. Jolly, History

Since my arrival at SSU in 2000, I have been participated in a variety of committees and programs that shape my experience of and perspectives on undergraduate education at SSU. I worked with colleagues, students, staff, and administrators to develop the Sophomore Year Experience program, and I continue to serve as the faculty coordinator for the School of Social Sciences SYE program. I am the long-time Chair of the University Standards Subcommittee, which evaluates student petitions for withdrawal and reinstatement. In the History Department, I chaired the History Department from 2007 – 2015. I have served on a number of faculty search committees as well as the campus search committee for the Sophomore Year Experience Director (now Director of Transitions). In 2018, I served on the GE Revision Subcommittee. Through these roles, I have had an opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff, and administrators to understand and facilitate undergraduate success at SSU in a variety of different contexts. I would bring this experience, and my experience collaborating with many colleagues to my role on the search committee for Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Michelle Kelly, Nursing

I have extensive experience in undergraduate education, including managing a program, advising, developing GE courses and collaborating across disciplines and in SSU's large service area.

Monica Lares, Chemistry

I have served on two other search committees and I have found the process interesting.  I always learn something about how hiring occurs.  I like to bring my perspective to the table. Thank you for your consideration.

Associate Vice President for Human Resources - 4 positions

Doug Leibinger, Music