Courage follows from and enables principle. Courage propels our willingness to be different and unique--to establish ourselves as a university with a distinct mission and character, rather than a follower in the pattern of others. Courage allows us to hold difficult conversations in broad forums and undergirds our commitment to social justice, to shared governance, to academic freedom and to student, faculty and staff activism. Courage recognizes that innovation involves risk and failure, and it embraces change and adversity as opportunities. Courage fortifies our efforts to question conventional wisdom and explore controversial issues in the name of deeper understanding; it energizes our commitment to academic freedom. We celebrate people of intellect and humanity who take positions of principle and stand by them despite academic and social pressure. Courageous scholars form fruitful and respectful partnerships with local and international communities while submitting academic insights to the test of practice, forming new knowledge. The courageous are aware of their vulnerabilities, but they are not resigned to victimization. Courage creates the condition and chief outcome of an education of substance--the ability to "own one's own mind."
LIFE OF THE MIND
By definition, the University is an intellectual community that aspires to encompass the richness and breadth of human knowledge. SF State’s academic mission advances a distinct commitment to critical and collaborative thought, intellectual pluralism and action. SF State’s faculty are both dedicated teachers and engaged professional practitioners and scholars; teaching is enlivened by faculty who create new knowledge in their academic fields, professional practice and community engagement, while faculty research and practice are sharpened and their stakes clarified through the privilege of teaching new skills to students at all levels. We embrace a reciprocal relationship between the University and the world and between experience and knowledge that is captured by our motto, “Experientia Docet.” We value learning that is not bounded by the classroom, archive or campus but takes place in myriad forms and locations. We nourish and recognize intellectual achievement across a range of academic, creative and professional spheres, both traditional and forward-looking. And we affirm the life of the mind as a continued source of meaning, purpose and commitment for all members of our intellectual community.
SF State’s distinctive identity is founded on our commitment to equity. The principles of fairness and inclusion guide our educational mission, our institutional practices and our relations with the community around us. Our commitment to equity fosters an environment of respect, diversity, support and dignity for all of our members--faculty, staff, and students. A commitment to equity:
- sees educational access and academic quality as reciprocal goals;
- affirms that resources are distributed according to need;
- empowers students who make the world a better place; and
- eliminates barriers to success.
We believe we can teach and support students in educationally purposeful ways when we collaborate with each other and the larger community; we care about and support academic freedom and freedom of speech; we create the space for pluralism and counter stories; we reinforce the tenets of equity and live and learn in ways that are principled and just; we respect the abilities of all students, faculty and staff and provide opportunities for community members to develop a strong sense of self-worth, care and respect for others; and we believe in developing strong partnerships that will support the pursuits of our students, faculty and staff within the local, national and global communities.
Resilience is the ability to recover and adapt quickly to difficulty or challenges and transform adversity into opportunity. It is a quality enhanced by intentional planning premised on the socio-cultural, environmental and economic systems of sustainability, and it is magnified by the ability to anticipate challenges that lie ahead. As the pace and unpredictability of change accelerate in the 21st century, resilience is increasingly indispensable. In this climate, a quality higher education that promotes radical and nimble thinking fosters resilience in people and families. We also recognize that we play a central role in the resilience of our community and the world, not only as the result of the contributions that our graduates make, but through our scholarship, activism and community-engaged work. As we confront such problems as environmental sustainability and climate change in our classrooms and labs, we recognize our responsibility to help forge resilience in the communities we serve.