Women in Leadership: Sacramento State Leading the Region

Article Jenni Murphy Comstock MagazineSpring 2018
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Sacramento State continues to lead students, alumni, and our entire region into the future. Dr. Ching-Hua Wang oversees the university’s Academic Affairs as Provost, and has seen groundbreaking changes even in her first year as the chief academic officer.

“When I came on board in February 2017, I felt a sense of renewal for the campus,” she says. “Sacramento State is part of a CSU system-wide graduation initiative, and our heightened focus on student success has increased the graduation rate an incredible 36 percent from the 2015-16 school year to the 2016-17 school year. That’s unprecedented and the largest increase throughout the entire 23-campus CSU system.”

Nationwide, 57 percent of higher education student body is female

Group of women leaders at Sac State

Of the 11 deans on her team, five are women who, combined, have more than 85 years of higher education experience and 62 years of that at Sacramento State.  Their degrees run the gamut - immunology, business, English, library science, biology, soil science, literature, communication, and educational leadership.

Nationwide, 57 percent of the higher education student body is female, but only 26 percent of leaders are female. Sacramento State is aiming higher, though, and Provost Wang, along with her Special Assistant to the Provost, Dr. Robin Carter, and the university’s five women deans are leading successful endeavors, such as increasing graduation rate for Sac State students, developing new academic programs, launching a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and working on the development of the new Sac State Downtown site in order to offer innovative and interdisciplinary academic programs, signature events and in-demand training services to the region and beyond.   

At Sacramento State, five out of 11 deans are women

Dr. Joanna Mott, Dean, College of Natural Science and Mathematics– Dr. Mott is leading the efforts of Sac State’s new Science Complex, a 95,000-square-foot building at the heart of the campus which provides an increase in teaching laboratories and specialized  research suites for the study of life and molecular sciences.

Dr. Sheree Meyer, Dean, College of Arts and Letters – The College of Arts and Letters prepares both artists and audiences of art, theater, dance, and music. Dr. Meyer is especially excited about Sac State Downtown, opening in the fall at 304 S. Street, because it’s positioned perfectly at the center of the cultural hub that is Sacramento.

Only 26 percent of leadership roles in the U.S. are held by women

Dr. Chevelle Newsome, Dean, Graduate Studies and Acting Dean, Undergraduate Studies – Passionate about preparing students for dynamic careers, Dr. Newsome is focused on creating an innovation fund to help students earning advanced degrees and credentials reach their full academic potential as leaders in the region and in the world.

Dr. Amy Kautzman, Dean, Sacramento State Library – University libraries promote inquiry and scholarship and Sac State is elevating that experience to new heights by adding the Dale and Katy Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship alongside a planned makerspace and financial literacy lab and the new Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development.         

Dr. Jenni Murphy, Interim Dean, College of Continuing Education – Working at the intersection of higher education, workforce development, and economic impact, Dr. Murphy is committed to serving working-age adults (25-64) with some college, but no degree. With community and industry leaders, Dr. Murphy is hosting the first Degree Attainment for Working Age Adults Summit in April in collaboration with Align Capital Region.

“I view Sac State as the Capital University,” says Provost Wang. “We’re the only major university in town offering undergraduate and graduate, including doctoral programs. We serve more than 30,000 students from the state-supported side, and from the College of Continuing Education we serve 30,000-plus learners, mostly adults from the community. We’re the hub for higher education in Sacramento and beyond, and look forward to continuing to serve the community to make the region even stronger.”