The development of the Academic Plan at SF State will potentially accomplish some or all of the following:

  • A consideration of the role of the mission of San Francisco State University on the nature, characteristics and choice of academic program offerings;
  • A consideration of the contemporary standards of academic excellence to which we hold ourselves accountable;
  • A guided and thorough discussion about the relationship and appropriate balance among teaching, research and creative activity and service, as faculty fulfill their professional responsibilities in support of the University’s mission;
  • A consideration of the impact of the city of San Francisco, the Silicon Valley and the East Bay on the current and potential academic programs at the University;
  • Articulation of the role and offerings of graduate education at the master’s level, including the quantity of master’s programs offered, the source of funding for these programs and the balance of graduate students to undergraduate students;
  • Identification and agreement on parameters for the development of new academic programs, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as support for current academic programs (at both the graduate and undergraduate levels) that will fulfill the University’s mission;
  • Identification of the impact of the changing nature of future occupations and professional work on the academic programs offered by San Francisco State University;
  • Development of guiding principles that allow for greater interdisciplinarity in academic programs, teaching and research;
  • Development of guiding principles concerning the integration of technology into the pedagogy and content of academic programs;
  • Linking and specifying the relationships among current and future academic programs and the utilization of space on the SF State campus, the downtown center, Romberg-Tiburon, etc.;
  • A guided and thorough discussion about the nature of pedagogy, including an assessment of student learning for current and future programs;
  • A discussion about how pedagogy shapes the needs of faculty development and physical space construction and improvement; and,
  • Recommendations concerning the generation and linking of resources to support current and future academic programs as envisioned in other outcomes of this academic planning process.

Project Context 

Provost Summit has recently assumed the regular appointment as Provost, after serving as interim for 18 months. The provost desires to support more formal and systematic planning processes at the University, a goal she shares with the Academic Senate, which in Spring 2018 passed a resolution in support of an academic master planning process at SF State. Toward this end, she has commissioned the Society for College and University Planning to conduct a planning workshop on the campus in the early part of the Fall 2018 semester. Jolene Koester, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Senior Associate, former President of CSU Northridge, and former Provost of CSU Sacramento, will assist in the planning process.

Work Plan

The work plan depends on widespread University engagement and discussion about the mission and vision of the University in relation to its educational programs. This work plan, therefore, must create opportunities for participation and meaningful input about the critical questions that must be answered to achieve common understandings about the future of the University’s academic programs. Another hallmark of the process for developing SF State's academic master plan is the overt availability of ideas and inputs from all interested community members. Said differently, transparency of inputs and decisions must be valued highly in this process.


To ensure campus-wide engagement, there will be a Steering Committee to advise and assist throughout the planning process. The Steering Committee will be lead by the provost and the Academic Senate chair (The Office of Institutional Research will conduct any special studies that may be necessary). There will be a campus liaison/assistant to set up meetings and provide support as needed, such as distributing agendas and arranging workshops and meetings. Regular contact will occur with the provost, and through her with the faculty leadership. The University will initiate an online site in which information about the process can be posted for all to see. The project will be mindful of the academic calendar.



Note: All dates are tentative.


Phase One: Preparation (June-August 2018)

  1. The senior associate has a video conference with the provost and other key academic affairs personnel to identify relevant documents and data, which should allow the senior associate to study and understand critical aspects of the current academic programs, enrollments and relationships of various outside entities to the University.
  2. The senior associate works with the provost (and/or her key staff) to establish the Steering Committee.
  3. Off campus, the senior associate reviews the following key documents to understand the University and guide the preparation of materials for the Steering Committee and the Working Groups for the fall work.
    Key documents to be reviewed include:

    • Any existing documents related to academic planning, including the current state of general education and any future plans for majors (additions, eliminations or transformations) Enrollment data for current majors and concentrations
    • Catalog copy
    • Documents that describe University governance and decision-making processes
    • University fact books and materials (websites; dashboards, etc.)
    • Regional and state economic workforce development plans
    • Any relevant Chancellor-related directives
    • A comprehensive description of the program review and assessment processes
    • The status of technology resources including online instruction
    • SF State's organizational chart (detailed)
  4. The senior associate develops a draft of the “critical questions” that form the basis for the University-wide consultation. In Phase Two, the Steering Committee edits, deletes and makes other adjustments to the critical questions.

Phase Two: On-campus Meeting (Late August/September)

The work begins with the Steering Committee’s review and refinement of the planning process. These discussions include the overall process, a consideration of the critical questions that should be asked and answered, the timelines for the various steps of the academic master planning process and the proposed composition of the working groups (10-12 working groups of 10-11 individuals per group, to include faculty, student representatives, technology staff, department chairs, deans, directors of Centers, student affairs personnel, community representatives and any other administrators deemed essential to the conversation). The Working Groups will be co-chaired by an academic dean or Academic Affairs administrator and a faculty member.

Phase Three: Working Groups (October or November 2018)

Each working group meets with the senior associate to receive a description of the academic master planning process, and the role of each working group, which is to answer (for the members of their working group) the critical questions that must be answered in order for the University to come to agreement on elements of SF State's academic master plan. The senior associate will meet with each working group to describe the academic master plan process, outline the timetable and pose questions essential to effective academic master planning. A leader (or leaders) for each group will be selected. 


Sample critical questions are attached; the actual questions to be used will be highly influenced by the senior associate's summer 2018 study of SF State's and by input from the Steering Committee. Each working group will be tasked to prepare a paper responsive to the questions and submit it by a mid-March 2019 date.


Phase Four: Analysis of Stakeholder Responses and Plenary Session (April 2019)

The senior associate will do a qualitative analysis of the 10-12 working group papers and prepare a document that summarizes the agreements, the disagreements and the range of stakeholders’ points of view to the critical questions, along with suggestions for action steps. Based on this analysis, a plenary session will be conducted that includes all members of the working groups. The themes (agreements and disagreements) will be shared in this plenary, along with work that identifies the action steps that must be included in the Academic Master Plan to implement the agreements of the stakeholders to guide decision-making for the future of SF State's academic programs. 

Phase Five: Drafting the Plan Framework (May 2019)

Based on the findings in the prior phases and the previous work of the University, and in consultation with the provost (and possibly the co-chair of the advisory committee), the senior associate will draft a framework for the University's academic master plan. This draft framework will be presented to the Academic Master Plan Steering Committee, which will further refine the academic master plan. The final preparation of the Academic Master Plan is done by campus officials and then considered by the Steering Committee.

Phase Six: Implementation of the Academic Master Plan (Fall 2019 and on-going)

An Academic Master Plan provides guidance to a University as it improves, nourishes, and builds its academic programs. Many directives in an Academic Master Plan require formal consideration and consultation by relevant governance bodies. For example, any recommendation about the substance of curriculum for any academic program must typically be considered and ultimately recommended by the Academic Senate. Sometimes there are resource recommendations (human, financial, space) that also must be considered through the appropriate campus processes. The Academic Master Plan, as completed by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, will require additional implementation steps during the following academic year. While the Senior Associate has no formal responsibilities during this phase of the Academic Master Plan development, she will be available to consult with the provost and with relevant members of the Steering Committee.