Academic Mission and Goals for San Francisco State University

Reference Number: S92-176
Senate Approval Date: Wednesday, January 01, 1992




At its meeting of April 21, 1992, the Academic Senate approved the following

mission and goals for San Francisco State University:

The mission of San Francisco State University is to create and maintain an

environment for learning that promotes respect for and appreciation of scholarship,

freedom, human diversity, and the cultural mosaic of the City of San Francisco

and the Bay Area; to promote excellence in instruction and intellectual accomplishment;

and to provide broadly accessible higher education for residents of the region

and state, as well as the nation and world. To fulfill its mission, the University

is committed to the following goals:

* attracting, retaining, and graduating a highly diverse student body;

* providing disciplinary and interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional

education that is academically rigorous and intellectually challenging;

* providing curricula that reflect all dimensions of human diversity, and

that encourage critical thinking and social and cultural awareness;

* recruiting, retaining, and supporting a diverse faculty whose teaching

demonstrates an active engagement with their individual fields of study and

whose creative and scholarly work is an extension of the classroom, laboratory,

or studio;

* employing a staff and administration reflecting the diversity of the community

and the values of the campus.

* fostering a collegial and cooperative intellectual environment that includes

recognition and appreciation of differing viewpoints and promotes academic freedom

within the University community; and

* serving the communities with which its students and faculty are engaged.


The history of San Francisco State University contributes unique elements to

its mission. The University existed solely as a teacher training institution

from 1899 to 1935, first as a normal school, then as a teachers' college. Although

officially a liberal arts college after 1935, and a university since 1972, one

important aspect of the University's mission has remained teacher education,

a function shared throughout the campus. The University established the School

of Ethnic Studies in 1969, the first such school in the nation; it offers baccalaureate

and post-baccalaureate degree programs, and a broad range of courses that meet

general education and other graduation requirements. Many of the University's

current discipline-based departments have been created since the early 1960s,

succeeding broadly interdisciplinary divisions; and the University has continued

an active commitment to interdisciplinary studies. Responsibility for general

education is widely shared among interdisciplinary and discipline-specific units;

new baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate programs in recent years have been

largely interdisciplinary in nature.

Because San Francisco State University is the only public, comprehensive university

located in San Francisco, the heart of the fifth-largest metropolitan area in

the nation, its urban character contributes unique elements to its mission.

For example, San Francisco is a world-renowned cultural center; hence, the University's

students have the opportunity to study with prominent literary, performing,

and creative artists. The San Francisco Bay Area is an international center

for science and technology, furnishing opportunities for students to study and

work with leaders in these fields. San Francisco Bay forms a unique living laboratory

for estuarine studies. The City is an international center for business, labor,

and finance; hence, students can learn from and work with leaders in these fields.

The Bay Area is a major center for higher education; hence, students and faculty

have opportunities for significant scholarly interchange and interaction. The

city itself provides a working environment for a variety of academic programs,

including a downtown center. San Francisco's heterogeneous population is reflected

in the diversity of SFSU students and increasingly in the diversity of the faculty,

staff, and curriculum. In all these ways and more, the University encourages

active participation with individuals and organizations in the Bay Area, working

on community projects in economic, social, scientific, and cultural areas.

The mission of San Francisco State University is defined in part by its status

as one of the twenty campuses that make up the California State University,

the largest four-year higher-education system in the country. Thus, the mission

of the University incorporates that of the California State University, which

is to provide undergraduate and graduate instruction through the master's degree

in the liberal arts and sciences and the professions; have the option to award

doctoral degrees jointly with the University of California or with a private

institution of post-secondary education; assume a broad responsibility to the

public good and welfare of the state, which shall be particularly exercised

through projects and programs aimed at regional economic, social, and cultural

development; encourage and support programs of public service for its students

and faculty; and engage in research, scholarship, and creative activity that

supports its instructional mission, involves students, and/or supports its public

service role.

To carry out its mission, the University provides a wide range of liberal arts

and professional programs and offers an undergraduate general education program

intended to provide training in basic skills, expose students to major areas

of knowledge, and demonstrate the interrelations of knowledge. The University

is committed to providing the best possible education for all its students and

to responding to their needs through special programs, co-curricular services

and activities, and student governance. The University encourages both informed

and readily available advising and imagination and innovation in curricula and

instruction. The University seeks to enhance instruction through scholarly and

creative activities; extend areas of scientific and cultural knowledge; and

apply scholarly, scientific, and creative endeavors to the solutions of specific

problems. The University is committed to shared governance through the Academic

Senate, which recommends standards, policies, and procedures regarding the curriculum,

instruction, professional performance, and related academic matters.

Through planning, the University must develop a vision of its future derived

centrally from its mission and goals. The University must respond to new developments

in knowledge, to the evolving needs of its ever-changing student body, and to

resource realities, while fostering the commitments derived from its unique

history and its engagement with the rich cultural tapestry of the City of San

Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area.