Classroom Upgrades to be Completed at Sonoma State University

Sonoma State students can look forward to classroom upgrades within this year.  Renovating and modernizing classrooms is something that Sonoma State students have been preparing themselves for with the Stevenson Hall renovation project. The university will also focus on upgrading other non-Stevenson Hall classrooms that meet the new Academic Technology and Instructional Spaces Subcommittee (ATISS) standards. The Academic Senate has recently developed the ATISS standards and plans to enforce it.

Senior Vice President for Academic Resources, Elias Lopez says, "currently at SSU there are daily complaints from faculty about the conditions of our general assignment classrooms.  Some of these complaints range from technology not working properly, lack of cleanliness, inadequate ventilation, or furniture not standardized or missing…Sonoma State never really had one standard to follow, one classroom may have what other classrooms do not.”

The new Academic Technology and Instructional Spaces Subcommittee (ATISS) focuses on keeping classrooms modernized with new technology and equipment for better learning environments.    

As the largest division at the university, Academic Affairs has responsibility for supporting student, faculty, and staff success. They focus on critical factors, such as precise budgeting, communication, and outcomes assessment. Active resource management is critically important for our success at Sonoma State. Academic Affairs is moving towards a multi-year planning model that aligns the budget to the strategic plan. 

“With the newly introduced Strategic Plan, and the resulting Academic Affairs Strategic Plan, Goals, and Tactics, one of the priorities for the university is to create and maintain twenty-first-century teaching and learning classrooms that promote student success and active learning spaces,” says Elias Lopez.

The Provost will be investing $3 million to bring classrooms to the standards that Academic Technology and Instructional Spaces Subcommittee (ATISS) has implemented. These standards will include academic technology, furniture, ADA requirements, lighting, and general classroom conditions.

In addition, the Provost and the Senate’s Academic Planning, Assessment, and Resources Committee (APARC) will jointly be sponsoring an annual classroom condition survey to ensure that they monitor and maintain those standards.  

 “For our part, APARC has been working with the AVP for Academic Resources to generate a survey of classroom conditions that will help us identify priority areas in the future,” says, Standing Committee Chair APARC, Sean Place.

Both faculty and student feedback will be a crucial part of this process to ensure classrooms promote accurate learning environments. 

“We are working on getting student feedback for the completed classrooms, to make sure that what we are doing benefits all learning environments, to better assist in student success,” says Melissa Kadar, executive vice president of the associated students.

The academic senate also plans to use strategic budgeting, as it promotes an all-source funding approach.  This includes using a combination of one-time funds, permanent funds, stateside and other unspecified types of funds. For classrooms, one-time funds, such as the $3 million from the Provost account will be used as well as, leveraging existing permanent funds from existing units like Academic Technology, Facilities, and Custodial. 

17 general-purpose classrooms will be fully upgraded by the end of this year, while the rest of the classrooms throughout Sonoma State will be upgraded gradually. According to the report written by Elias Lopez, Strategic Budgeting in Academic Affairs, the team estimates that it will take about three to four years to bring all classrooms to the ATISS standards.