Faculty Retreat

Faculty Retreat for Spring 2024 will be held on January 18th, 2024


Faculty, Staff, and Student Leadership,

You are invited to join us for the following events at the Faculty Retreat on Thursday, January 19th, 2023:

Session 1; Kick-Off (In-Person; Stevenson 1301 & Online) 9:00 - 9:45 am: Reflection and Action for the Future  - Come prepared to share your thoughts on what you need and what you will bring this semester for shaping the future of Sonoma State University. Change is coming, how do we move forward? - Presenters: Vice Chair Bryan Burton, Senate Secretary Christine Cali, and guests

Session 2; Interim President Mike Lee (In-Person; Stevenson 1301 & Online) 10:00 - 10:30 am: Renewal: All Hands on Deck: Sonoma State's Next Level of Excellence - Faced with unprecedented enrollment challenges that have implications for academic programs, student services, and operational effectiveness, it is imperative that we come together as a campus community to think boldly to create a shared vision for SSU's next level of excellence amidst these challenges. We must do this - together - through deep collaboration and ongoing transparency.

Session 3; 10:45 - 11:30 am; 2 Options:

  • (Online) Academic Master Plan; Liberal Arts Identity - Presenters: Wendy Ostroff & Laura Alamillo
  • (In-Person) Cultivating Community & Belonging in our classrooms & our daily business - Co-led by Christine Cali, Kristen Daley, and Farrah McAdam

Session 4; 1:00 - 1:45 pm; 2 Options:

Session 5; 2:00 - 2:45 pm; 2 Options:

Close/Wrap-up; Next Steps (Online) 2:45 - 3:00 pm: Faculty Chair Lauren Morimoto & Vice Chair Bryan Burton

RSVPs are due by Wednesday, 1/18/2023

Once we have received your affirmative RSVP, you will be sent access to all online sessions. With this, should your plans change, you will be able to access any online sessions offered on the day of the Faculty Retreat.

Please contact the Office of the Academic Senate with any questions regarding the 2022-2023 Faculty Retreat; senate@sonoma.edu.


The 2022 Faculty Retreat was held on Thursday, January 20th. 

Pigs are Flying! How do we meet this Moment?

The idiom of pigs flying is a metaphor for describing what is likely to never happen. Unfortunately, these days the pigs are flying in the sense that we are seeing things that we never thought would happen - threats to democracy, the pandemic and its attendant consequences such as low enrollment, growing economic inequality, increased incivility in society including violence, and regular uncertainty. How can we meet this moment? We start with a prescient Ted Talk by Margaret Heffernon from 2019 about the skills we need in an uncertain world. All the topics were suggested by faculty answering the survey sent out by the Chair of the Faculty.

The retreat will be virtual. All Zoom URLs will be emailed to all faculty and staff. They will NOT be posted here. 

Tentative Schedule:

9:00am - Opening session - Webinar format 

Ted Talk by Margaret Heffernon from 2019 about the skills we need in an uncertain world followed by a panel of SSU Faculty and the Chief of Police discussing the themes of the Ted Talk. 

9:45 - Returning in Spring Issues

Breakout sessions - 1. Strategies for dealing with student mental health issues seen during advising; 2. Students' classroom safety policy & Faculty classroom safety policy; 3. Managing expectations (of students, RTP committees, etc.) during prolonged periods of uncertainty.

10:45 Shared Governance Issues

Breakout sessions - 1. What is authentic consultation?; 2. Improving communication flow within the Academic Senate structure and with constituencies; 3. Violations of faculty governance policies (what happens when violations occur? What is the recourse through governance?; 4. Academic Freedom at SSU.

11:45  Hands on Accessibility - how to make your various documents accessible

12:45 - 1:30 Lunch, Zoom set up in case anyone wants to eat together

1:35 Faculty and Administration Issues

Opening: What does a healthy department look like and how does it happen? 15 - 20 mins. Breakout session - How faculty should and can control all aspects of curriculum and pedagogy even (especially!) in times of institutional responses to emergent conditions (fire, flood, plague, etc.). Modality and class size. What is actually going on?

2:45 - 3:15 What have we learned? Next Steps?

3:25 - Zoom social time!



Thursday, January 21, 2021 
Sonoma State University Faculty Retreat
9:00am - 1:00pm
Virtual - an email will be sent out with Zoom links to all faculty. They will not be posted online. Email holmstrl@sonoma.edu if you miss the email. 

Mark your calendars and join your colleagues on the first day of our semester, Thursday, January 21, 9:00-12:30... and if you /really/ want to do it right, grab yourself a couple of donuts and some coffee beforehand :)

Time Topic Speakers
9:00-9:10 Opening and Welcome Jeffrey Reeder
9:10-9:45 Best practices for teaching through the pandemic: Modifying instruction for virtual learning Emily Clark, Parissa Tadrissi, Letha Ch'ien
9:45-10:15 Bridging the gap and overcoming silos to work together across departments and schools  Thaine Stearns, Lynn Stauffer, Maureen Buckley
10:15-10:25 Break  
10:25-11:00 Faculty supporting ourselves as Whole People - self-care, balance, and awareness of the emotional toll Adam Zagelbaum, Paula Lane, Rociel Martinez
11:00-11:35 Promoting inclusivity and decentering whiteness in all that we do  Patrick Johnson, Krista Altaker, Anna Valdez
11:35-11:45 Desktop Yoga with Natalie Hobson  
11:45-12:20 Working together across campus - Academics, Student Affairs, and addressing the needs of the whole student  Carmen Works, Richard Senghas, Ben Ford, Amal Munayer
12:20-12:50 Mitigating the impacts of pandemic disruption: Making it through Spring 2021 Matthew Paolucci, Wendy St John
12:50-1:00 Concluding Remarks & Summary Jeffrey Reeder



The Faculty Retreat for Spring 2020 was held on January 16, 2020 in Wine Spectator Learning Center

Title: “Floods, Fire, and PSPSs: Adapting to External Disruptions to Your Classroom” 

Preliminary Schedule 

8:30 - 9:00 - Continential breakfast and socializing

9:00 - Welcome from Chair Laura Watt

9:05 - 10:00Climate Change within a Cultural Context: An Assessment of What We are Doing, and Why, Michael Newland, Director of the Northern California Cultural Resources Group, Environmental Science Associates
Co-Chairman of the Climate Change and California Archaeology Committee, Society for California Archaeology

10:05 - 11:00Resilience in Times of Climate Change, Andreea L. Seritan, MD,Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, UCSF Department of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

11:10 - 11:30 - Student Panel

11:30 - 12:30 - Discussion/work groups

12:30 - Lunch provided by Sol Azteca

The Retreat will likely end after lunch, but if conversations are robust, it could continue. 

Please RSVP to holmstrl@sonoma.edu so we have enough food. We would still like to know you are coming, even if you don't eat. 

The Annual Faculty Retreat was held on January 17, 2019 in the Wine Spectator Learning Center

This year's topic was: Shared Governance at the Crossroads: Building Better Definitions and Expectations from the Faculty Perspective

We had a talk by President Sakaki about her vision of shared governance. We had a talk from Dr. Adrianna Kezar about her research into best practices for shared governance and she also provide us with some historical context for shared governance. 

The preliminary results of the Shared Governance survey were presented by Vice Chair Melinda Milligan. A more formal and comphrensive report about the survey and the retreat will be created this semester and sent out to all faculty. 

Break-out sessions after lunch included:

  • What should we be doing? Creating a mission and vision for faculty governance
  • Freedom to Speak Your Mind: Safety issues in faculty governance committees
  • Effective Faculty Governance: Communication and Transparency in the faculty governance
  • Who Does What?: Understanding the Role of Administrators in faculty governance

The Senate's Executive Committee will discuss how to task our Standing or Subcommittees with discussing and perhaps implementing the recommendations from these sessions. 

The powerpoint presentation from Dr. Kezar (requires SSU login)

Preliminary results of Shared Governance Survey