What's New at SEIE?

Now accepting applications for Fall 2019!

Sonoma State University is proud to announce a partnership with College of Marin, with the collaboration of the Schools of Business and Economics and Extended & International Education, to provide a new pathway for Junior-level transfer students to earn a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.

Courses will be taught by SSU faculty, scheduled evenings and Saturdays on the Kentfield campus of the College of Marin. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and is designed specifically for students with work, family or other commitments who are not able to join traditional Business degree programs on the main SSU campus in Rohnert Park. The program is open to Junior transfer students only; details are on the program website, B.S. Business Administration @ College of Marin. Interested students are invited to join our mailing list for updates.

As the title suggests, this newsletter connects SEIE with other SSU faculty and staff, along with the community at large, highlighting our students and programs. “Connect” and the red and blue knot symbolize what SEIE is about – extending access and resources, and promoting student success, while also meeting the education and training needs of individuals and groups that might not otherwise be served by SSU. SEIE is committed to providing global access to Sonoma State University. #YouAreWelcomeHere

Newsletter 2017

Table of Contents

From the Dean
What did we do last year?
SSU Welcomes New Provost
Team Impact Award 2017
SSU + COM: Creating Partnership
Breaking New Ground: Cannabis in California
$2 Million Osher Lifelong Learning Bequest
SSALI Class of 2007 Summer Reunion
B.A. Completion 20th Anniversary
Student Spotlight
Upcoming Dates for Faculty and Staff
SEIE Staff Directory

Profile: John Green

The Indy cars roaring around the Sonoma Raceway wouldn’t get far without a full tank of premium gas. Similarly, a world-class university like Sonoma State, even with its outstanding faculty, programs and facilities, wouldn’t function at its best without matriculating high-quality students.

The School of Extended and International Education (SEIE) is pleased to welcome to its “pit crew,” John Green, the new Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach as of November 2016. John is tasked with the critical responsibility of helping the SEIE attract students the university needs to run on all cylinders. He will be leading recruiting efforts domestically for the department’s professional development and degree programs and internationally for SEIE, including the Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI) and the Semester at Sonoma (SAS) programs.

John Green

John describes the SEIE team as “an excellent and dedicated group” and is energizedenthused about working to “expand the SSU brand, create access and increase enrollment and diversity at all levels.”

John grew up on a farm near New Ulm, Minnesota, a historically German community and the home of the second oldest, family-owned brewery in the U.S., in business since 1860. Talk to John if you are curious about Minnesota’s unique lingo or would enjoy a good discussion of German beers and heritage. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a master’s in international affairs from Alliant International University in San Diego and had traveled widely in the US and abroad.

John pursues an active lifestyle of skiing, snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking and running and no doubt appreciates the easy access he now has to both the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevadas. He and his wife Corene have a college-aged daughter living in New York and a teenaged girl and boy still at home along with 2 dogs and 2 cats- a full house!

Recruiting international students in the current marketplace is not as easy as just highlighting the university’s assets and describing the beauty and attractions of Sonoma Country, or even maintaining an active social media presence. Recruitment today requires the ability to analyze markets, manage 3rd party recruitment resources, and shift recruitment strategies to meet dynamic global developments.

Fortunately, John comes to Sonoma State with a wealth of experience in this arena. Most recently he was at the Pierce Community College District, in the South Puget Sound area of Washington, where he managed international marketing and recruitment efforts. Prior to this role, he worked on the business side of international education with IDP Education USA an Australianprivate student placement service. His first-hand knowledge of recruitment partnerships will be a strong asset for Sonoma State in the increasingly competitive pursuit of international students.

Ultimately, the purpose of student recruitment is not just to fill university seats but to create an environment of rich human interactions and cultural exchange. John appreciates the history and dedication of the Center for International Education (CIE) along with SSALI, SAS and the Study Abroad programs in establishing a robust and vital presence on campus. He invites everyone at the university “to experience internationalism at a personal level”, take advantage of SSU’s lifelong learning programs and participatetheir growth in the community and abroad. The SEIE is delighted that John Green will be at the front line of this effort, right where the rubber meets the road.

Sonoma State University Becoming Hotbed of Filmmaking Talent with New Film Studies Master's Program

In the wake of Sonoma State University students being invited to screen their short films at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 and 2016, the University's film studies minor has seen a jump from 6 to 36 students and now Sonoma State is launching a Master's in Film Studies program to turn big-screen dreams into fantastic reality beginning in fall 2017.

SSU M.A. Film Studies

"Students came to me asking, 'Where do we go from here? What can I do next?'" says Ajay Gehlawat, a theatre and film professor in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies who oversees the Film Studies Minor and will serve as Faculty Director of the new Master's program. "This program really comes from that student demand."

The two-year, 30-unit program will offer hands-on creative work as well as traditional film studies. "This could be the launching pad for a lot of young, untapped talent that we already have here," says Gehlawat. "Students can develop a vision for a film, master the tools needed to make it a reality, and learn how to distribute it to the world."

What makes Sonoma State's Master's in Film Studies program unique, says Gehlawat, is the offering of both digital storytelling and film studies tracks with the option to choose one after the second semester. Students will also be able to pursue both tracks.

The program is offered through the School of Extended and International Education, allowing for professors from many disciplines to teach one or multiple courses. Seven different full-time professors will teach the first cohort, from diverse areas including communications studies, modern languages and literature, Hutchins school of liberal studies, American multicultural studies, and Chicano and Latino studies.

Technical training like editing and cinematography will be part of the filmmaking curriculum, and Gehlawat plans to keep up on the latest trends as part of the program. "We want students to get into the new media technology, including digital distribution."

Hollywood has long had a love affair with the North Bay, from "The Birds," filmed in Bodega Bay, and Petaluma's "American Graffiti," to the 2017 Sharon Stone film "Running Wild" filmed in Santa Rosa and a new Netflix series filmed in Sebastopol this year. The film industry also has roots in the North Bay with Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch in Marin County and director Francis Ford Coppola's multiple wineries and properties in Wine Country. The Sonoma, Mill Valley and Anderson Valley film festivals also attract stars to the area each year.

Call for Participants: Online & Blended Teaching Institute: January 17-18, Schulz Library

Faculty Center

What is it?
The SSU Faculty Center is offering a 2-day, intensive, hands-on training institute for online and blended instruction. The event will be held Tue 1/17 and Wed 1/18 from approximately 9am-5pm both days in the Schulz Library. Participants in this program will receive $500 to attend the event, and both morning refreshments and lunch will be provided both days. If you have any questions not addressed in this description, please email Dr. Justin Lipp, Faculty Center Director (lipp@sonoma.edu). If interested, please complete the application form (https://goo.gl/forms/qUpPRjGyYUouSvCo2) by Fri 12/16 for full consideration.

A brief synopsis of the schedule:
Tue 1/17: Introductory Kick-Off Session; Workshop with CSU Chancellor's Office Dr. Ashley Skylar on the CSU Quality Online Learning and Teaching framework to promote best practices in online and hybrid instruction.

Wed 1/18: Morning Interest sessions with SSU faculty experienced teaching online/blended courses & tech-based sessions to learn best practices in the use of select SSU provided ed-tech tools; Afternoon drop-in time with dedicated staff person to start consultation for redesigning your online course.

Fine Print:

  1. Faculty should be prepared to work with Faculty Center instructional designers during Spring term to complete work on a redesigned course to offer as a pilot online during the Summer Term through Extended Ed (available financial support of up to $1500 per faculty member for completing redesign and offering the course pilot in Summer 2017 in addition to course based pay). The deadline to apply for a course offering with Extended Ed for Summer 2017 has been extended for participants of this program to Wed 2/15 by 5pm instead of the original January 27 deadline.
  2. Participants will be required to submit a syllabus for the intended course redesign in advance of the January Institute to share with your assigned Faculty Center staffer to begin redesign thinking and facilitate your initial conversations.
  3. Participants will be required to complete a formal course re-approval with the Educational Policy Committee by submitting a Master Catalog Course Change Form (MCCCF). This approval must also include a final sign off from a faculty member's department chair, so it is recommended to obtain permission from your department in advance.
  4. Due to limited space, we may need to prioritize who is ultimately selected to participate in the event due to aligning this effort with the Graduation Initiative. As such, impacted and bottleneck courses within majors and within certain areas of the GE may be prioritized. We want to encourage all interested faculty to register, and the final selection will depend on the contours of the final applicant pool.

Message from the Interim Dean, Dr. Rob Eyler, concerning the tragedy in Brussels

The events in Brussels on March 22 continue to remind us how terrorism is just that: cowardly acts in the hopes of changing for a never-achievable goal. Sonoma State University currently has no students in Brussels, and we express our concern for any alumni, faculty, or local community members who are currently in Belgium.

Please be advised that there are no programs to be cancelled at this time and that there are no travel restrictions to date. However, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning (see https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/europe-travel-alert.html). These events remind us that Europe is in a time of social and economic upheaval and part of those changes are adoption and adaptation to a changing security environment. Brussels is a great city and an amazing blend of Western European politics, culture and society. March 22 was a sad day indeed.

I urge you to consider your safety while abroad and other travel options. At the same time we need to continue to travel and take advantage of educational opportunities in Europe in part as defiance to these acts.

New Online Early Childhood Education Certificate Program Launches in Summer 2016

The new online Early Childhood Studies Certificate is offered in partnership between the School of Education, the Department of Early Childhood Studies, and the School of Extended and International Education at Sonoma State University. ECE Program Designed for working professionals, the ECE Certificate is a one-year program created to provide essential professional development for early childhood education providers and program directors, and transitional kindergarten and early elementary teachers. Students completing the program will meet the new ECE requirements for transitional kindergarten teachers, and qualify for the California Child Development Permit.

The Certificate consists of four classes totaling twelve units of coursework taken over one year, from Summer 2016 through Spring 2017, at a cost of $415/unit ($4,980 total). Transitional kindergarten teachers may qualify for the California Transitional Kindergarten Stipend Program.

Courses are designed to combine theory and practice to improve students' ability to design hands-on, integrated, project-based curriculum; support dual language learners; authentically document and assess children's learning; engage and support families; and advance their own development as Early Childhood Education professionals.

The application deadline for the Certificate has been extended to May 20. Please visit the program website https://www.sonoma.edu/exed/ece-certificate.

Senior International Officer Dr. Robert Eyler's Message on the Tragedy in Paris

Nohemi Gonzalez

"The horrific events in Paris on November 13 remind us how close terrorism is to us. One of the cornerstones of a college education is the opportunity to study abroad with the support of your home campus. All Sonoma State students currently in Paris are safe and accounted for; however, the CSU family lost a student at CSU Long Beach to these attacks, Nohemi Gonzalez, the only American known to have passed away due to these cowardly acts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our sister campus in Long Beach, the student's family and friends and to all who lost someone over the weekend.

This week is International Education Week across the United States. Sonoma State plans to showcase and celebrate the international exchange and study programs we have that send students toward points across the world and also bring students to us. The beauty of education is that we become informed on the importance of global politics in our lives, and how ignorance breeds fear and ultimately terror and violence. The more we spread the word about the power of education across the world, the more we can reduce those fears and create more communion with people that do not have the same beliefs we do, but who understand the power of those differences. Travel and study abroad, as well as welcoming those from other countries, is what international education is all about and why so many of us are passionate about travel.

I urge you to reflect on what happened in Paris and support international understanding, friendship, and education at Sonoma State University by participating in the many events November 16 - 19 during International Education Week. Education leads to positive connections between people globally, though this past weekend's events bond us in tragedy. There is a reason why red, white and blue are colors shared by France and the United States in their flags. We stand united with France in the wake of this tragedy; please come and see how we connect Sonoma State to the world this week at International Hall."

En Francais:

"Les événements terrifiants survenus à Paris le 13 novembre dernier nous rappellent combien le terrorisme n'est jamais loin de nous. Un des piliers d'une éducation universitaire est l'occasion d'étudier à l'étranger avec le soutien de votre université. Tous les étudiants de Sonoma State actuellement à Paris ont été retrouvés et sont sans danger. Toutefois, la famille CSU a perdu lors de ces attaques une étudiante du CSU Long Beach, Nohemi Gonzalez. Elle est le seul citoyen américain à nous avoir quittés en raison de ces actes lâches. Nos pensées et nos prières vont à notre université sœur de Long Beach, à la famille de l'étudiante, à ses amis, et à tous ceux qui ont perdu quelqu'un au cours du week-end.

Cette semaine est la semaine de l'éducation internationale dans tous les Etats-Unis. Sonoma State envisage de mettre en valeur et de célébrer les programmes d'échanges universitaires internationaux grâce auxquels nous envoyons des étudiants aux quatre coins du monde et nous accueillons également des étudiants étrangers. C'est souvent grâce à l'éducation que nous prenons conscience de l'importance des affaires internationales dans nos vies et que nous comprenons comment l'ignorance laisse place à la peur, puis à la terreur et la violence. Plus nous transmettons ce pouvoir de l'éducation à travers le monde, plus nous pouvons vaincre ces craintes et créer plus de échanges avec les personnes qui ne partagent pas nos croyances, mais qui comprennent la puissance de ces différences. Voyager et étudier à l'étranger, ainsi qu'accueillir ceux originaires d'autres pays constituent l'essence de l'éducation internationale et expliquent pourquoi tant d'entre nous sont d'enthousiastes voyageurs.

Je vous invite à réfléchir à ce qui s'est passé à Paris et à soutenir l'entente, l'amitié et l'éducation internationales à Sonoma State University en participant aux nombreux événements qui auront lieu du 16 au 19 novembre au cours de la semaine de l'éducation internationale. L'éducation engendre des liens positifs entre personnes dans le monde, même si les événements du week-end dernier nous lient dans la tragédie. Ce n'est pas une coïncidence si bleu, blanc et rouge sont des couleurs des drapeaux de la France et des États-Unis. Nous sommes unis avec la France à la suite de cette tragédie. Merci de venir voir comment nous connectons le campus de Sonoma State au monde cette semaine à International Hall."


Click below to view Dean Eyler's letter in:



Rebecca Petrow
School of Extended and International Education's
New International Student Coordinator
Sonoma State University

Rebecca Petrow

We are delighted to announce that Rebecca ("Becky") Petrow has joined the School of Extended and International Education (SEIE) as International Student Coordinator. A native of Sebastopol, Becky has been living in Humboldt for the past seven years, both studying and working in the field of International Education. She attended Humboldt State University (HSU), where she graduated with a B.A. in International Studies and in French/Francophone studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in International Education through the School for International Training (SIT) in Vermont.

Becky has 3 years of experience working with international and study abroad students in the Center for International Programs at Humboldt State University (HSU). Most recently, she was the Admissions Coordinator for the International English Language Institute (IELI) at HSU, where she was responsible for providing immigration advising to F-1/F-2 students and coordinating conditional admissions as a strategy to matriculate IELI students to HSU. Becky also has experience in developing volunteer programming, database design and data management, developing online orientation programming, planning and coordinating orientations for international students, and office management.

As the newest addition to the team at the Center for International Education at Sonoma State University, Becky will provide both academic and immigration advising for international degree-seeking, exchange, and Semester at Sonoma student populations. She is very excited to be joining SSU and share her love of the culture and natural offerings of Sonoma County with SSU students. Please join us in welcoming Becky Petrow back to the area and as a new member of Sonoma State University.

Sonoma State Goes Smoke and Tobacco Free

More information available here.

Sonoma State is one of the first campuses in the California State University system to go completely smoke free. San Diego State and CSU Fullerton are currently the only other smoke-free CSUs, although San Jose State has plans to go smoke-free this summer. SSU's policy went into effect February 1, 2015 and allows smoking in campus parking lots through June 30. Effective July 1 the entire campus will be smoke-free.

"Talks have been in the works for some time about this," says Tammy Kenber, SSU's Senior Director of Human Resources, "but 2015 was the year when things finally came together and the policy successfully made its way through the shared governance process. We are fortunate to live in a very healthy and health-conscious part of the country. For the most part, this policy is widely supported for promoting the wellness of employees, students and our community. Due to the meet and confer process that was required with campus bargaining units, the University was not able to do as much pre-communication about the upcoming policy as we would have liked, but that the administration is still pleased to see the policy move forward."

The policy includes smokeless tobacco and e-cigarette products and extends to off-campus sites under university ownership or control, which includes SSU's nature preserves. As of January 1, more than 1,500 colleges and universities nationally have implemented 100% smoke-free policies on campus, including 27 in California, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana and Oklahoma prohibit smoking on public college campuses statewide.

Santa Rosa Junior College was designated a smoke-free campus in 2009 and their campus issues tickets and levies fines for violations. SSU will not issue tickets for smoking on campus but offenses will be addressed similar to violations of any other campus policy. Employees with questions should contact the University's HR Office at hr@sonoma.edu. Students with questions should contact Student Affairs / Student Health Center. Visitors and community members may contact University Affairs.


Jason Lau, Ph.D.
School of Extended and International Education's
New Executive Director of Personnel, Programs, and Business Operations
Sonoma State University
A Member of the 23 Campus California State University (CSU)

Dr. Jason Lau

Jason traveled from Hong Kong to the United States to be the first member of his family to receive a college education. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Northern Iowa, completing both his B.A. and M.A. in Leisure, Youth and Human Services Administration. In 2010, he earned his Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies from The University of Iowa.

Jason has accumulated more than 15 years of professional experience in higher education. As former Director of Community Education, Lifelong Learning & International Education at College of Marin, he was responsible for all aspects of program planning, development and operations of fee-based programs, including an Intensive English Program for F-1 international students, and community services that provide continuing and lifelong learning opportunities for Marin County residents, especially older adults. He is also a Certified Park & Recreational Professional.

Jason also has extensive experience in managing grants and contracts for continuing education and international programs. As Assistant Director at the University of Northern Iowa, he was the principal investigator for over 40 federal contracts and international agreements with contract partners from all four branches of the U.S. military, U.S. embassies, corporate clubs, international schools and universities worldwide.

While a student at UNI, Jason received several awards for his extensive volunteer work. He also started an international early childhood education consulting business. Due to the success of this business, he created the Global Competency Consulting Research Fund for Early Developmental Education in the UNI Foundation. The fund had been used to help defray research expenses for UNI's faculty and graduate students. He also created the Po Wa Opportunity Scholarship Endowment Fund for International Students to honor his parents and support international education. Thanks to him, each year a UNI international student will receive $1,000 scholarship to study in the United States. In 2011, the University of Northern Iowa's Alumni Association honored him with the prestigious Heritage Honors Young Alumnus Award. This award is presented to a graduate who has demonstrated success early in his/her career and who has been active in the life of the University.

Jason has now joined the School of Extended and International Education at Sonoma State University. "We are extremely happy and proud to have an individual with Jason's background, education, and experience joining our University," said Mark Merickel, Dean of the School of Extended and International Education. Please join us in welcoming Jason Lau to Sonoma State University.