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president's message introduction vision strategic plan acknowledgments


San Francisco State University aspires to be the nation's preeminent public urban university. Building on a century-long history of offering broad access to undergraduate and graduate education, the University will provide a learning community in which students can equip themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace and world. We will become an institution of choice for many by offering comprehensive, rigorous, and integrated academic programs that require students to engage in open-minded inquiry and reflection in multiple real-world contexts. We will implement this vision in one of the world's great cities and its surrounding metropolitan area, making the San Francisco Bay region our classroom, as we prepare our students to become active, ethical citizens of a pluralistic democracy, possessing a global perspective.

SFSU upholds and embodies the American ideal of e pluribus unum – "out of many, one." It seeks not only to reflect diversity in its students, faculty, staff, and administrators but also to build a unified and vibrant community by exploring and affirming the many forms of that diversity.

The University aspires to these goals in a turbulent environment. The role of public higher education in modern society is in flux. We face an immediate future of uncertain funding, increasing competition, changing demands, and a shifting student population. Against these challenges, we are committed to developing fully the potential of those from around the state, nation, and world who choose to attend as students or who choose to work at the University, while benefiting the citizens of California whom it is our mission to serve.

As a complex organization, we are made up of many people and experiences. In order to encompass that complexity, we have developed visions for the future of SFSU from four perspectives: the Academic Experience, the Student Experience, the Employee Experience, and the University and Its Environment. These four visions, developed by a cross-section of the University community and articulated on subsequent pages of this document, represent our values and aspirations.

Several common themes emerge. Though echoed in different ways in the various sections, they are key unifying elements in a comprehensive vision of the University's future. These themes are:

  • Academic excellence.
    The University best serves those who choose to study here by creating demanding and rigorous learning experiences that encourage students to grow. All students will have experiences that challenge them to integrate the knowledge they are acquiring and to apply it to solve problems in multiple real-world contexts in collaboration with colleagues.

  • Improved access and flexibility for diverse communities.
    The wide range of people coming to San Francisco State University in differing capacities necessitates a strong commitment to improved access and flexibility. This commitment will shape the way the University serves its students and delivers its academic programs; the access to resources it provides its employees; and the efforts it makes to meet the needs of the community by providing educational and other services to a wide audience.

  • Engaged and expanded intellectual community.
    The University encourages its members to engage fully with the community, to share knowledge, to move beyond traditional boundaries, and to develop new knowledge to meet new opportunities and serve the needs of multiple internal and external constituencies.

  • Institutional culture that supports change and innovation.
    To meet the challenges of a changing environment, SFSU must continue to innovate. We will endeavor to create a University that welcomes innovation, whether it is in delivery of learning opportunities, streamlining of services, building of institutional spirit, or engaging with the community. We will align our processes, procedures, incentives, and evaluation criteria with our central vision and mission.

When we succeed in realizing our vision, we will become the San Francisco State University that is described in the following pages:

the academic experience

the student experience

the employee experience

the university and its environment


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