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Presidential Communications - Fall 2023

President Luke Wood’s messages to students, faculty, and staff

Share your voice on draft strategic activities for the Strategic Plan

December 13, 2023 - In April 2023, the University launched its 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, three months before I began my tenure as Sacramento State president in July. The plan details six essential imperatives, including Learning and Student Success; Teaching, Scholarship and Creative Activity; Justice, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging; Resource Development and Sustainability; Dedicated Community Involvement; and Wellness and Safety. These imperatives serve as a guidepost for 32 Strategic Goals embedded within the plan. Examples of these goals include:

  • Remove administrative barriers that impede student success (Goal 1.5).
  • Strengthen support for research and scholarly and creative activity (Goal 2.5).
  • Provide and institutionalize resources for students, faculty, staff, and communities who have been targeted for oppression (Goal 3.2).
  • Raise Sac State’s profile with local, state, and federal leaders, and diversify additional funding to expand and leverage university partnerships and student opportunities (Goal 4.4).
  • Provide an educational and work environment that develops students and employees who can engage effectively in local and global communities (Goal 5.2).

The Strategic Plan is a powerful document, with imperatives and goals that capture the ethos of where Sacramento State is and where it needs to be. As a new president, my aim has been to identify efforts that our campus can take to implement the Strategic Plan. This is particularly important given that it does not contain action items (i.e., strategic activities) to realize the imperatives or goals. Thus, when I began my tenure as president, we launched 100 Days of Listening. We have held more than 80 listening sessions, averaging 75 minutes each and attended by nearly 1,500 faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, and community leaders. The listening tour will end next week..

Four primary questions guide the listening sessions. They are:

  • What makes us distinctive?
  • Where do you want Sacramento State to be in five years (or tomorrow)?
  • What specific actions do you think we need to take to get there?
  • How do we accomplish all of this while embracing our values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion?

For the second half of the listening sessions, we included this question: “Is there anything we should stop doing, or at least stop doing the way that we are?” This question was added because of multiple concerns elicited from prior sessions that highlighted bureaucratic “red tape” and significant inefficiencies that impeded staff and faculty members ability to perform normal, daily tasks that support student learning, community service, and research.

In addition to the listening sessions, the CSU Office of the Chancellor in September engaged the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to conduct a survey of campus stakeholders. More than 1,500 students, faculty, staff, and community members participated in the survey.

Based on extensive feedback from the listening sessions and the AASCU survey, we are pleased to share that the proposed strategic activities for each of the six imperatives are now drafted. The 35 strategic activities are at the bottom of this email for your review and feedback. I hope you will provide your input on these draft activities using this form by January 5, 2024 at noon. Your feedback will help to inform perspectives, insights, and potential revisions to the strategic activities.

A few caveats to consider as you review the strategic activities:

  1. Not everything will happen at once. The Strategic Plan spans a five-year time frame, so the activities will take place between now and 2028. The campus will need to phase in the implementation of these efforts to align with institutional resources, personnel constraints, and differing levels of urgency.
  2. A limited number of actions are underway. Action items noted with an asterisk (*) are underway and/or were previously announced. For example, the move to reach a 1:1,500 therapist/counselor-to-student ratio was set forth as part of the action items that laid the foundation for the Presidential Taskforce on Campus Safety.
  3. One of the six Strategic Plan imperatives was revised. The revision was based on extensive feedback from members of the campus community who felt that “research” was not highlighted within the plan, especially given our upcoming reclassification to an R2 university. Specifically, the imperative “Advance Innovative Teaching, Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity” is now “Advance Research, Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Innovative Teaching”.
  4. Preexisting campus initiatives are still underway. Existing efforts that have been underway for several years or more are not highlighted within the plan as they already have visibility on campus. In particularly, the Placer Center and the California Mobility Center are not highlighted within the plan but remain core and essential efforts for the future of Sacramento State and our region.
  5. Operational actions are not listed. A number of action item recommendations are “operational actions” that are not listed in this plan but will still occur. For instance, we learned from members of our Deaf community that the coordination of campus ASL interpretation services should return to the Deaf Studies Department. This is occurring but is not specified within the plan. We also learned from the University Police Department that the campus dial-out number, “9,” prompts a high number of accidental 911 calls. We will be transitioning to a different a dial-out number in the near future to address this issue. Operational actions will be communicated to departments and/or via presidential SacSends, depending upon the scope of those affected by the change.

I want to thank all who attended a listening session and shared their experiences, opinions, and vision for Our Sacramento State. In the coming weeks, we will release a full report about what we heard in those sessions. I will go in depth on many of the themes and strategic activities that came out of those sessions at my Spring Address, 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the University Union Ballroom.

Until then, we look forward to receiving your feedback and insights on the draft activities for each imperative listed in this PDF document. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Stingers Up!

Shiva Pillai to oversee OIREP & University Initiatives & Student Success

December 11, 2023 - I am pleased to share that Shiva Pillai has been named director of Institutional Research, Data and Analytics and will continue to lead the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning (OIREP) and University Initiatives and Student Success. Shiva previously served as associate director for OIREP under the late Dr. Jim Dragna, who passed away in August.

Shiva has been a member of the Hornet Family for over 20 years and is Made at Sac State, having earned a master’s in Computer Science here after earning his bachelor’s in India. His first position at Sac State was as a student assistant in CCMS (now IRT), progressing through various roles in ABA, IRT, the University Registrar, and Enrollment Management before joining the Office of Institutional Research in 2018. Shiva has been a driving force behind the development of dashboards that facilitate data democratization, streamlining institutional reporting and the identification of high-impact initiatives contributing to student success. Shiva has been an integral part of key projects such as the campus conversion to CMS PeopleSoft, Graduation Initiatives 2010 and 2025, Hornet Launch, Align Capital Region, ProjectAttain!, Degrees When Due, Sacramento K-16 Initiative, and Seal of Excelencia, among others.

In light of Shiva’s expanded leadership responsibilities, we have decided not to proceed with the recruitment of a new executive director for University Initiatives and Student Success. Dr. Dragna, who served in that role as Sac State’s “graduation czar,” led campus efforts to improve student success at a time when our four-year graduation rate was a mere 8%. Under Dr. Dragna’s leadership, our four-year graduation rate rose by an impressive 212%, turning Sac State into a national model for improving graduation rates. Our commitment to improving graduation rates and student success remains strong, a testament to Dr. Dragna’s strategic vision, creativity, collaborative spirit, and the steadfast dedication of our faculty, staff, and students.

I am grateful that Shiva will lead these critical areas. OIREP has been instrumental in providing the data foundation for evidence-based decision-making, while University Initiatives and Student Success have transformed this data into actionable programs and initiatives to enhance student success and overall institutional effectiveness. The synergy between these units is crucial for the holistic improvement of the university's academic landscape.

Please join me in welcoming Shiva to this new role. Stingers Up!

Chief of staff announcement

December 6, 2023 - I am pleased to share that Dr. Mark R. Wheeler has accepted the position of chief of staff. Mark joined the President's Office as interim chief of staff in July, having previously served at San Diego State University as an administrator, professor of philosophy, and a faculty leader.

I am grateful that Mark has agreed to make Sacramento his home, as he brings valuable experience, perspectives, and expertise to the President’s Office. Mark most recently served as the SDSU Imperial Valley Campus interim dean. Prior to that, he served as associate dean of Academic Affairs and interim chief administrative and academic officer. As a tenured full professor of philosophy, Mark engaged in research in the areas of logic, metaphysics, and ethics. Mark served in numerous faculty leadership roles, including department chair, director of the SDSU Institute of Ethics and Public Affairs, CFA chapter president, University Senate chair, and as SDSU’s elected representative to the Academic Senate for the California State University (ASCSU).

Mark shares the values that we pride ourselves on at Our Sacramento State, and he is driven by our mission to ensure that students succeed. In addition to his work as a teacher and mentor in philosophy at SDSU, Mark has always engaged with students outside of the classroom, working to ensure they are treated with care and respect and are offered the best chances to succeed.

Since joining Sacramento State in July, Mark has quickly become a trusted member of Cabinet and the Office of the President. He has taken the lead of Sac State's NAGPRA/CalNAGPRA team, which has been elevated to the President’s Office. He is currently working closely with the Native American Studies faculty and Native Tribal members to ensure that we are living up to our commitment to serve our Native students as well as regional Tribal Nations. Mark is also partnering with Vice President Mia Settles-Tidwell as co-chair of the newly established Taskforces on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobiaand and is co-organizing the sixth International Conference on Genocide with Dr. Boatamo Mosupyoe and other campus colleagues.

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Colgate University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester. Please join me in congratulating Mark on officially joining the Hornet Family. Stingers Up!

Open forums for candidates for VP Student Affairs are this week

November 27, 2023 - After a nationwide search, we are pleased to welcome three outstanding candidates for the position of vice president for Student Affairs to campus, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 28.

We encourage you to participate in these virtual open forums with each finalist. A link to the livestream is included below for each session. Resumes/CVs for each candidate are available by clicking on their names. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided. Please note that each candidate will participate in an open forum for faculty and staff, and one just for students. If you require additional accommodations, please email

Tuesday, Nov. 28
Gloria Laureano, Ed.D.
Sr. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Kennesaw State University
Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet with Candidate: 1:30-2 p.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 853 7504 5234

Wednesday, Nov. 29
Aniesha Mitchell, J.D.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Sacramento State
Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet with Candidate: 1-1:30 p.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 869 9335 2766

Thursday, Nov. 30
Romando Nash, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Life Services, University of Nevada, Reno
Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Student Meet With Candidate: 1-1:30 p.m.
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 818 1528 9875

Please use this survey to provide comments and feedback about each candidate. The survey will open Tuesday, Nov. 28, and close at noon, Friday, Dec. 1. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Nikki Khamsouksay at

Thanks to the search committee members for their diligence and time in identifying high-quality candidates for this critical position. We had an impressive pool and an outstanding initial round of interviews.

A Thanksgiving message from President Luke Wood

November 22, 2023 - For centuries, if not for millennia, days of thanksgiving to celebrate the end of the harvest season have been common throughout the world. This week, as we pause from our work, let us be grateful for our blessings and for all that is good in our lives. At Sac State we cherish and champion our freedoms: freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and academic freedom. We also uplift our values: to foster an environment of care, unity, and belonging. These freedoms and values are hard-won and require ongoing commitment and effort.

For many, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, community, joy, and family. At Our Sacramento State, we have many reasons to be thankful. We teach and study and work and play on a beautiful campus in one of the most fertile valleys in the world, in the capital city of the fifth largest economy in the world, nestled between the majesty of the Pacific Ocean and the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada.

For others, it is a time of discomfort, as the holidays can serve as a painful reminder of loved ones who have passed. The holiday celebration may also seem callous to those suffering from the atrocities of war. Further, the American celebration of Thanksgiving serves as a stark reminder of our residence on the unceded traditional lands of our Native American neighbors and their subjection to state-sponsored ethnic cleansing, genocide, displacement, and cultural erasure. We do well to acknowledge the citizens of the Native Tribal Nations who live near to us in this region, and to thank them for all they have done and continue to do to make this land thrive. As we celebrate the bounteous harvest, let us also remember the farm laborers of California who produce much of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we eat.

I am thankful to have returned back home to Sacramento, to Sacramento State, and to the Hornet Family. A place where our faculty and staff are dedicated to their students’ success, and produce world-class, innovative research. A place where our students are gifted, diverse, diligent, and wonderful, studying and researching, leading and serving, competing and creating. I am filled with gratitude for each of you and your continued care and love for each other.

Investigation into threat to Run to Feed the Hungry

November 20, 2023 - I want to share information we received today from the Sacramento Police Department about a threat made against the Run to Feed the Hungry, which takes place near campus on Thanksgiving Day.

The Sacramento Police Department is working with the FBI’s Sacramento field office to investigate an email threat received by the event organizers last week. According to today’s Sacramento Police media release, the two law enforcement agencies are “actively and assertively investigating the threatening remarks contained in the email” and are implementing increased safety and security measures for the event even though the threat might not be credible.

I want to assure the campus community that this threat is not aimed at Sacramento State, however we are alerting you out of an abundance of caution because the race begins near the entrance to campus. We will update the campus community should we learn that the event is canceled.

The Run to Feed the Hungry is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, and they hope to host the event in person as planned. They have shared that those who choose not to attend in person can participate virtually by doing the 5K or 10K at the location and time of their choosing and then sharing their results and donations with the organization. If you are registered for the event, you will receive additional information from the organizers.

Thank you for all you continue to do to take care of our community and one another.

Please save the dates for open forums for candidates for VPSA

November 16, 2023 - We are in the process of interviewing candidates for the position of vice president for Student Affairs. On-campus finalist interviews are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Please save the dates below and plan to participate in these virtual open forums with each finalist. A link to the livestream is included below for each session. Names and resumes/CVs for each candidate will be sent out on Monday, Nov. 27, along with a link to the survey for providing feedback on each candidate. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations, please email no later than noon Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Please note that each candidate will participate in an open forum for faculty and staff, and one just for students.

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet With Candidates: 1:30-2 p.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 853 7504 5234

Wednesday, Nov. 29

Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet With Candidates: 1-1:30 p.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 869 9335 2766

Thursday, Nov. 30

Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet With Candidate: 1-1:30 p.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 818 1528 9875

Friday, Dec. 1

Campus Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 865 3083 3582

Students Meet With Candidate: 1:30-2 p.m.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 851 4253 3059

Nominations now open for campus and system NAGPRA committees

November 9, 2023 - On Oct. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 389 into law. This bill requires the California State University to establish Systemwide and Campus NAGPRA Committees. The Committees will oversee the state and federal Native American Graves and Protection Act compliance efforts. Respectful repatriation rooted in meaningful Tribal consultation is required by California NAGPRA (CalNAGPRA). The California State University is soliciting nominations from qualified candidates.

The CSU is committed to fully implementing the spirit as well as the legal requirements of NAGPRA and CalNAGPRA, which were enacted to acknowledge the fundamental human right of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to their ancestral Human Remains and Cultural Items.

The committees are composed of both Tribal and CSU representatives with a majority of the committee’s voting members from California Indian Tribes. All members are nominated by the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) and appointed by the CSU chancellor or the chancellor’s designee. Enclosed are the application materials, which can also be found on the CSU NAGPRA website,

Committee members can expect to commit to quarterly meetings per calendar year to discuss specific collections, repatriation activities and efforts, and NAGPRA policy.

All CSU representatives must meet the following criteria:

•A graduate degree in any of the following: Archaeology, Anthropology, Native American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Law, Sociology, Social Sciences, Environmental Studies, or History, with a focus in California; and

•A minimum of five years of experience working in his or her field of study.

Preference shall be given to members who have demonstrated, through their professional experience, the ability to work in collaboration with Native American tribes successfully on issues related to repatriation or museum collection management.

You are encouraged to submit a nomination/self-nomination if the nominee meets a majority of the requirements, even if you are unsure as to whether they meet a specific requirement.

Please reach out with any questions or concerns to

Claim your free Homecoming tickets and join us to cheer on the Hornets!

October 24, 2023 - Idara and I would like to invite all University faculty, staff, and their families to attend the Homecoming Festival and football game on Saturday, Oct. 28. Join us to experience the energy and excitement as the Hornets take on the Idaho State Bengals at 6 p.m. at Hornet Stadium. All current and emeriti faculty and staff can reserve up to four (4) complimentary game tickets. Click here for step-by-step instructions to reserve your tickets, or go straight to the ticket form. If you have trouble claiming your tickets, please call the Hornet Ticket Office at (916)278-2222.

We are also excited to offer all University faculty and staff a clear Sac State fanny pack, great for Hornet football games and other events at venues that have clear-bag policies. The supply is limited, and fanny packs will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to faculty and staff who present their One Card/employee ID. University Advancement will distribute the fanny packs in Lot 8 near the Harper Alumni Center during the Homecoming Festival from 3-5:30 p.m. or as long as supplies last.

I encourage you to visit the Homecoming web page for more information about all Homecoming Week activities. There is something for everyone!

Let’s show our Hornet Pride by packing Hornet Stadium for Homecoming and all remaining home games. We look forward to cheering the team to victory, together. Stingers Up!

New Student and Family Convocation to become a regular event

October 20, 2023 - In August, Sacramento State held its first New Student and Family Convocation, a celebration to mark the beginning of a student’s journey at Sacramento State. More than 1,200 new students and their supporters attended the two ceremonies, and there was not a dry eye in the Ballroom as students were “pinned” by their family members or other supporters as Hornets for Life. Students were welcomed into the Ballroom by our Pep Band, Dance, and Cheer teams, and had the chance to pose for their first selfie with Herky. They heard inspiring words from campus leaders about what it means to begin your academic journey, and what it means to be a part of the Hornet Family. Our talented team of photographers and videographers captured the day beautifully, and you can check out the video and photo album from the event.

A new student being pinned at New Student and Family Convocation. (Sacramento State/Bibiana Ortiz)

Based on the overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback that we received from students, their family members and supporters, and everyone involved in the event, we have decided this will become a regular tradition to mark the start of each semester. All incoming students in both spring and fall semesters will be invited to participate.

The event felt like a formal welcome for me, as well. It was a memorable and meaningful way to begin my first semester as president of Our Sacramento State. As such, I have decided to forgo having a presidential investiture ceremony so that more resources can be directed to supporting the New Student and Family Convocation.

I am grateful to the University Events team for planning and organizing a beautiful event in just a few weeks, and to everyone who worked so hard to make it a huge success. Thank you to the team in Student Affairs who will lead the event in the future. Stingers Up!

Please share your opinions, experiences, and ideas

October 19, 2023 - The “100 days of Listening” tour that I announced at the Fall Address is well underway. I have met with about 30 groups representing faculty, staff, students, and community members. I am learning a tremendous amount about what you think makes Sacramento State distinctive, where you would like to see us in five years, what actions we need to take to get there, and how we can get there while truly embracing our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Several opportunities remain for staff to participate in a session. Leaders from each division have shared details for sessions specific to each area. Details for a virtual session open to staff from all divisions is below. Requests for accommodations for that session should be submitted no later than Dec. 1 using the RSVP link.

We have also added a session for Deaf faculty, staff, and allies and a session for disabled faculty, staff, and allies. ASL-English interpretation and captioning will be provided at these sessions. Requests for additional accommodations can be submitted using the RSVP link.

All Staff Virtual Session

Monday, Dec. 11
12:30-1:45 p.m.
RSVP and get Zoom link

Disabled Faculty, Staff, and Allies Virtual Session

Monday, Nov. 27
Noon – 1:15 p.m.
RSVP and get Zoom link

Deaf Faculty, Staff, and Allies

Tuesday, Nov. 28
1:45-3 p.m.
Riverview Hall Beetle and Elderberry Room

I look forward to continuing to learn from your opinions, experiences, and ideas.

Gov. Newsom signs bill to allow CSU to expand doctoral degree offerings

Oct. 11, 2023 - We are happy to share some exciting news that will help reshape the state’s higher education system and have a profound impact on our mission to make transformative education available to every family in California.

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 656, a groundbreaking bill that grants the California State University system the authority to offer independent professional and applied doctoral degrees. This historic legislation is a monumental stride toward a more inclusive and equitable higher education landscape and greatly empowers our campus to serve current and future students.

AB 656 brings to scale a long-overdue transformation of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, originally established in 1960, which limited the privilege of offering doctoral degrees to the University of California system. The passage of SB 684 last year marked a significant step in this direction as it allowed CSU institutions to offer independent Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs.

What this means for us

Sacramento State expanded into doctoral programs after the 2005 passage of SB 724, also known as the Scott Bill. Beginning with our prestigious Ed.D program in 2007, which is ranked second in the country, we now offer three doctorates and one joint doctorate program that advance our campus imperatives as an Anchor University. We have shown that we can build flourishing doctoral programs. Now, with AB 656 in place, we can deepen our commitment to providing high-value education that meets the evolving needs of our community and state.

As California’s Capital University, we are uniquely positioned to prepare students for leadership, service, and success. Offering a wider range of doctoral degree options will allow us to grow in stature and influence ̶ and attract even more talented and diverse students, faculty, and staff to our campus.

Some of the exciting changes ahead with AB 656:

  • A more extensive range of doctoral degree options will become accessible to all students, particularly those underrepresented in STEM fields.
  • The California State University system, the state’s most successful driver of social and economic mobility through higher education, will play a pivotal role in this endeavor.
  • Sacramento State will be able to tailor our doctoral degree expansion to the departments most ready to take on that growth and whose degrees will be most sought in the workforce.
  • We will look forward to a future where more professionals, leaders, and change-makers in California are “Made at Sac State."

To be clear, this new law doesn't supersede our existing joint doctoral programs with our UC partners. Those collaborations will remain intact. Moreover, departments and colleges may still choose to pursue additional joint doctoral programs if they wish. The primary advancement of AB 656 is that it provides our faculty with greater academic freedom – and gives our students access to new and life-changing career pathways.

Thank you to Gov. Newsom and the California Legislature for taking this bold step toward a more equitable higher education system in our state. In particular, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for Sacramento Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, who sponsored AB 656.

We also want to extend our deep appreciation to our faculty and staff. Your belief in the potential of our students and what our University can mean to them has made this change possible. Thank you for all you do, and thank you for being part of the Hornet Family.

Help for CapRadio won’t hurt service to students, faculty, and staff

September 29, 2023 - In light of the recent CSU audit, I want to reassure the campus community that the University’s significant – and necessary – financial and organizational assistance for Capital Public Radio will not diminish Sac State’s capacity to serve students, faculty, and staff.

For more information.

Update about the Presidential Taskforce on Campus Safety

September 29, 2023 - I am pleased to share that the Presidential Taskforce on Campus Safety held its first meeting on Sept. 20. It is moving forward with its charge to assess campus safety and recommend efforts to foster a campus environment that supports emotional, cognitive, and physical safety.

To achieve this, the taskforce will conduct open and inclusive discussions through town halls and focus groups to capture the full range of campus community members’ experiences and concerns. After this assessment, the taskforce will produce a final report with recommendations for specific actions that can be taken to achieve our goal of being a campus where all feel safe.

Taskforce co-chairs are Aniesha Mitchell, interim vice president of Student Affairs, and Shawki Moore, presidential aide. Taskforce membership was carefully assembled through the shared governance process to ensure that we have representation from all campus stakeholders. The Faculty Senate, Associated Students Inc., and the University Staff Assembly each identified three individuals to serve. I also appointed individuals whose areas of expertise are closely associated with campus safety.

I would like to thank taskforce members, listed below, who have agreed to serve in this important capacity:

  • Aniesha Mitchell, co-chair
  • Shawki Moore, co-chair
  • Nataly Andrade-Dominguez, ASI appointee
  • Leila Cormier, ASI appointee
  • Chris Gill, student, ASI appointee
  • Glen Schaezlein, United Staff Assembly appointee
  • Nahom Sereme, Student Affairs appointee
  • Madeleine Vadenais, United Staff Assembly appointee
  • Kimberlee Walker, United Staff Assembly appointee
  • Adam Rechs, faculty designee
  • Rebecca Cameron, faculty designee
  • Brian DiSarro, faculty designee
  • Chet Madison Jr., Chief of Police
  • Tom Carroll, student conduct officer
  • Jeanne Harris Van Dahlen, senior associate vice president for Student Health, Counseling and Wellness Services
  • Samuel Jones, director of University Housing

Input and feedback from all members of the campus community is critically important. In the coming weeks, the taskforce will share opportunities for you to participate in discussions, share your insights, and help to shape the future of campus safety at Our Sacramento State. Stingers Up!

Call for Research Enhanced Support Grant applications

September 28, 2023 - We are excited to extend an invitation to faculty to participate in the inaugural Research Enhanced Support Grant program. This grant is an opportunity for faculty to secure funding that will empower them to contribute new knowledge and innovative scholarship to their respective disciplines, as well as provide transformational educational experiences for their students. This program is funded by the President’s Office and is administered by Academic Affairs with support from the Offices of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED). This inaugural competition will support campus scholarship activities during the Spring 2024 and/or Fall 2024 semesters. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 30.

All faculty unit employees are eligible to apply, including full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, librarians, and tenured faculty, as defined in the Unit 3 collective bargaining agreement. Individual and collaborative projects involving multiple Sacramento State faculty are eligible. You can find application guidelines and detailed information on the Research Enhanced Support Grant call for applications.

As president and provost, we are committed to advancing new and equity-minded faculty research and scholarship at our institution, which proudly serves as both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). This grant program not only supports the faculty’s individual research goals, but also contributes to our University’s broader mission of fostering academic excellence and student success. We encourage all eligible faculty members to consider participating in this program. We look forward to engaging with the important research and scholarship that will emerge from this program, and witnessing the impact it will have on our students' educational experiences.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact ORIED at

Thank you for your dedication to advancing knowledge, scholarship, creativity, and student success at Sacramento State.


Luke Wood

Carlos Nevarez
Interim Provost

Nominations for honorary doctorates are now being accepted

September 18, 2023 - Sacramento State’s honorary degrees selection committee invites nominations for honorary doctorates to be conferred during 2024 Commencement. The California State University awards honorary doctorates to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, the nation, and/or the world. Recipients serve as examples to be recognized and honored for their exemplary contributions. More information about honorary doctorates, including past recipients, can be found on our Honorary Degrees page.

To learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination, please review the nomination form. The submission deadline is noon on Oct. 20. If you have questions about the nomination process, please contact Gladys Glaude at 916-278-4952 or

We are already working to mitigate the impacts of tuition increases

September 14, 2023 - At this week’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting, the decision was made to raise tuition 6% per year for the next five years. The increase will go into effect for the Fall 2024 semester.

Today, I met with student leaders from ASI and several other student groups to listen and learn. In response to this, I am initiating a 10-point plan to address many of the barriers that students currently face, as well as those that we anticipate. The full list is below the video.

In the video below, we share some of the ways we will work together to mitigate the impacts of the tuition increases to ensure all students can still achieve their dream of earning a college degree.

10-Point Plan to Reduce the Impacts of Tuition Increase

  • Launch an awareness campaign focused on tuition increases and financial aid resources.
  • Establish a tiger team on reducing barriers in financial aid and scholarships.
  • Increase scholarship utilization rate by streamlining and simplifying scholarship processes.
  • Increase staff in the financial aid office and provide more support for student staff.
  • Implement a Sacramento State-led lobbying campaign at the state Capitol.
  • Increase access to information on scholarships on main website and Canvas.
  • Establish a Basic Needs Center on Campus
  • Resume the removing administrative barriers working group.
  • Increase opportunities for student employment.
  • Increase fundraising for scholarships for students most impacted by tuition increase.

President Wood & ASI President - Student Open Forums

September 12, 2023 - I am pleased to share information about three upcoming sessions for students as a part of my listening tour. In the video message below, ASI President Nataly Andrade-Dominguez and I share details about these listening sessions designed just for students.

Date, time, location and RSVP information are included. You can request accommodations on the RSVP form.

President Wood’s 100 Days of Listening: Student Forums

Session 1: Wednesday, Sept. 20
6-7:15 p.m.

Session 2: Monday, Oct. 2
12-1:15 p.m.
University Union Ballroom

Session 3: Monday, Oct. 30
4-5:15 p.m.
University Union Ballroom

If you cannot make it to one of these forums, or if you prefer to share your opinions, experiences, and vision for Our Sacramento State in writing, please take this survey.

Share your voice as part of the 100 days of listening

September 5, 2023 - At the Fall Address, I announced that I will spend the next 100 days learning about what members of our campus community are most proud of, what opportunities and challenges we face, and what our priorities should be in the coming years. The information learned over the next 100 days will inform actions that we will take as a campus to advance the strategic priorities (six imperatives) and goals identified in the strategic plan launched in April 2023.

As a part of our effort to hear the voices of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, I ask that you please take a survey facilitated by The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). AASCU will compile the survey results into themes and provide us with a summary of responses. None of the respondents will be identified by name, and your responses will be confidential. I hope you will take the time to share your feedback through this survey, which will remain open until Sept. 20.

In the coming weeks, please be on the lookout for additional opportunities to share your voice with us in the form of town halls and smaller group meetings.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to take the time to complete the survey. I look forward to learning more about what you think makes Our Sacramento State distinctive, about what our priorities should be, and what actions we need to take to achieve these goals.

President Wood - Welcome to our Sac State

September 1, 2023 - Welcome back, Hornets! Please take a few minutes to watch this video message welcoming everyone to the Fall 2023 semester.

Join us for the Hornet Football watch party today at 3:30 p.m.

August, 31, 2023 - Your Sacramento State Hornet football team kicks off its 2023 season today, when the three-time defending Big Sky Champions face off against Nicholls State. Join us at 3:30 p.m. for a watch party in University Union Ballroom 3.

Kickoff is at 4 p.m.

The first 100 students will receive a FREE t-shirt. Come and watch the game with friends, classmates, co-workers, faculty, and other Sac State fans. Don’t miss the t-shirt tosses, Hornet Athletics swag, prizes, and more that is included for all attendees.

The watch party is free and open to the entire campus community. Get there early to secure the best seats in the house to watch the Hornets start the 2023 season.

Stingers Up!

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