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president's message introduction vision strategic plan acknowledgments

the academic experience

When San Francisco State University succeeds in realizing its vision, the academic experience will be as follows:

SFSU's teaching and learning community stands on a foundation of discovery and invigorating liberal education that turns creativity into innovation and bridges theory to practice. The University fosters students' acquisition of cultural, historical, scientific, and professional knowledge. The faculty join with students to develop knowledge and skills through scholarly research, creative activities, and community service that extends from local neighborhoods to distant regions of the world. Graduates leave the institution as informed, empowered, and responsible thinkers and doers.

Thinking, Learning, and Doing. SFSU's academic experience of "thinking, learning, and doing" emphasizes intellectual rigor and creativity. The academic program aims not only to enhance students' knowledge and understanding of humanity and the natural world but also to equip them for open-minded inquiry and reflection in many contexts. Each disciplinary and professional program enables students to become proficient in the skills and knowledge of their chosen field and, as appropriate, to develop their creative imagination and abilities.

The University's programs help shape the future leaders for California, the United States and the global community. The undergraduate programs provide students with academic experiences that generate intellectual curiosity, a critical approach to understanding the world, and involvement as culturally aware citizens. As part of its institutional mission, SFSU makes a particularly important contribution in graduate education. Its post-baccalaureate certificate, credential, master's, and doctoral programs stand out for their advanced disciplinary content, intellectual exactitude, and rigorous training in the development and application of disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. Graduates serve as scholars, professional practitioners, and leaders for a diverse, knowledge-based society of ever-increasing complexity. As products of a learning environment that integrates theory and practice, they leave the University prepared and eager to make a difference in the world in which they live.

The general, disciplinary and professional curricula attempt to help students attain three broad learning objectives:

  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and compellingly. Because writing is the foundation of learning and inquiry, the University strives to make good writing a hallmark of its graduates.

  • The ability to participate in the intellectual life of a discipline, to think cogently about issues in that discipline, and to use its tools. Graduates must be both fluent in the "language" of their chosen field and technically competent in its practice.

  • The ability to link disciplinary theories to reality-based practice. Graduates demonstrate the capacity to integrate their training with knowledge from different sources; to adapt and apply that knowledge in new situations in order to design and implement problem-solving strategies; and to renew their knowledge and skills throughout their careers and lives. SFSU's graduates are prepared to think, analyze, and perform.

Challenges, Connections, and Lifetime Learning. As scholars, SFSU's faculty are recognized for their contributions to the bodies of knowledge within and across disciplines. As teachers, they possess broad-based pedagogical skill. They adopt an integrated approach that facilitates learning beyond classrooms and laboratories and combines research with the application of knowledge to meet the needs of the community and the world. Because the faculty engage in partnerships both on and beyond the campus, they are respected not only as a community of scholars but also as scholars for the community.

Teachers and students working together form the core of a quality academic experience. At San Francisco State University, accessibility means not just the opportunity to enroll in courses and programs valued by the student but also the capacity to form meaningful learning relationships with faculty members.

Accessibility to meaningful learning also requires that modes of instruction accommodate students' varied learning styles as well as their complex and challenging life situations. SFSU seeks to remove barriers between people in different disciplines in order to create an atmosphere that fosters open dialogue among groups.

The University also gives significant attention to the affective dimension of learning. It recognizes the impact of social and psychological factors on successful learning and provides strong support services for students dealing with stress or other personal issues. It also recognizes the importance of the social and emotional development of its students by preparing them to interact in many different settings both inside and outside the classroom.

Preparation for life beyond the University is also a key aim of the academic experience. San Francisco State University not only prepares students for careers and professions but also develops their interest in and capacity for learning throughout their lives.

Citizens and Leaders. In the University's classrooms, studios, and laboratories, students from diverse backgrounds work together toward shared educational goals, thereby coming to appreciate and act on their common humanity. In this atmosphere of tolerance and freedom, the University engenders respect for the dignity and rights of all human beings.

Through their studies and interactions with others, students develop skills as problem solvers. They prepare to engage as informed and empowered, ethical and responsible citizens and leaders in the political, economic, cultural, scientific, and social life of the San Francisco Bay Area, the state, the nation, and the world. They are equipped not only to participate successfully in a changing and challenging economy but also to confront the complex needs of a pluralistic democratic society and an interdependent global community.


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