Distinctiveness Survey Results

February 8, 2017
clipart survey

The SSU Distinctiveness survey was sent out to all employees in Fall of 2016. The survey consisted of two questions asking respondents to rank ideas about what would make SSU distinctive and what university learning outcomes would possibly support the identities of SSU. The survey also provided room for respondents to submit comments on either question.

The top four highest ranked ideas for SSU Distinctiveness are:

•Close human and intellectual relationships among students and faculty (first in every ranking scheme)
•Liberal Arts and Sciences character of the university 
•SSU as a diverse, inclusive community reflective of and preparing students for California’s diversity
•SSU as a leader in regional sustainability

The two highest ranking learning outcomes are:

•Outcomes focused on the ethical framework of social responsibility 
•Outcomes focused on critical understandings of global and international issues

The next three tied:

•Outcomes focused on civic engagement 
•Outcomes focused on the value of perspectives provided by multiple disciplines when examining complex issues
•Outcomes focused on environmental, social, and economic sustainability

You can see more about the survey results at: http://www.sonoma.edu/senate/useful/SSUDistinctivenesssurvey.

At the Faculty Retreat on January 19th, these themes and learning outcomes were discussed in more depth.

Retreat participants were asked to come up with potential headlines that our website might say if we were wildly successful at the distinctiveness themes. These attempts do not necessarily reflect the exact wording that would be desired:

Close human and intellectual relationships among students and faculty-

Engaged Learning for Future Leaders!
SSU Prides itself on its approachable and embracing culture
Faculty of SSU believe in their students and inspires student’s confidence in themselves.
SSU Students are making a difference in the community

Liberal Arts and Sciences character of the university

Rigorous pursuit of knowledge conveyed through teaching excellence for all who seek. 
Employers thank SSU for Liberal Arts and Sciences educated students!

SSU as a diverse, inclusive community reflective of and preparing students for California’s diversity

Come Have the Real Conversation
Exploring Diversities, Transformed by Diversity

SSU as a leader in regional sustainability

What’s Your Problem? SSU students, faculty and staff leading regional dialogue to find sustainability solutions and implementations.

Each of the sessions also produced more thinking and discussion about the themes. We will continue to analyze that material for a further report.

Other sessions were devoted to the discussion of university learning outcomes. We were pleased to see that these conversations were robust and welcoming to the concept of university learning outcomes. Many other learning outcomes were generated by the examples in the survey. Those were presented to the retreat participants for further ranking.

Top four ranking of retreat generated learning outcomes in rank order:

Students use evidence to frame contextualize and analyze complex problems and to inform civic engagement 
How to recognize bias in information 
Develop cultural competency (worldly in the best sense, aware of geopolitical truths and perceptions). 
Our graduates will be prepared for lives of active citizenship and active community membership, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act and lead in pursuit of sustainability including justice.

University learning outcomes information will be given to the Educational Policies Committee for review and discussion. Watch for other opportunities to participate in this important conversation.

If you have comments about any of the survey results or outcomes from the Retreat, please send them to (Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes, holmstrl@sonoma.edu)