SDSU team members


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Strategic Planning Committee

Provost Hector Ochoa headshot


Salvador Hector Ochoa, Ph.D.
SDSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Luke Wood, SDSU Chief Diversity Officer headshot


J. Luke Wood, Ph.D.
SDSU Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity

Strategic Planning Team Organizational Structure

Committee Members

Cassie Aaron
President of Graduate Student Association
Ed Balsdon, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Graduate and Research
Kyla E. Blaylock
SDSU Student
Joanna Brooks, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs – Faculty Advancement
Jenny Bramer
Executive Associate Athletic Director
Karen Emmorey, Ph.D.
Professor of Speech Language in the College of Health and Human Services
Angelica A. Espinoza
SDSU Student
La Monica Everett-Haynes, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
Michele Goetz
Associate Vice President and Executive Director of SDSU Research Foundation
Maureen A. Guarcello, Ph.D.
Research, Analytics, and Communications Specialist, Instructional Technology Services
Jim Herrick
University Relations & Development, Assistant Vice President, Special Projects
Edgar Hodge, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice President for Information Technology
Helina Hoyt, Ph.D., RN, PHN
School of Nursing, SDSU Imperial Valley
Jennifer Imazeki, Ph.D.
Associate Chief Diversity Officer for Faculty Success and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning
Gina Jacobs
Associate Vice President for Mission Valley Development
Shane James
SDSU Student
Maria Keckler
Presidential Communications Director
Vanessa Malcarne, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology in the College of Sciences
Antionette Marbray, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Karen May-Newman, Ph.D.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Christian Onwuka
President of the Associated Students
Gregorio Ponce, Ph.D.
Dean of SDSU- Imperial Valley
Jessica Rentto, J.D.
Associate Vice President, Administration
Jeffrey Roberts, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Sciences
Sherry Ryan, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of the School of Public Affairs
Brittany Santos-Derieg
Radhika Seshan, Ph.D.
Dean of SDSU World Campus
Stephanie Smith
Professional Graduate Fee Coordinator for the Fowler College of Business
Jeanne Stronach
Assistant Vice President, Analytic Studies and Institutional Research
Christopher Thomas
SDSU Graduate Student, Division for Diversity and Inclusion Graduate Assistant

Meet our Consultants

San Diego State University is embarking in a landmark planning process and, through that process, is committed to generating input from all levels of the university. To ensure broad participation, SDSU is drawing on expertise from both within and outside of the organization. An expert-informed initiative will strongly contribute to the campus community’s ability to develop a strategic plan that will define not just the future of one campus, but three: the SDSU main campus, SDSU Imperial Valley, and the potential development of SDSU Mission Valley. Skilled and nationally-recognized experts have been engaged to support and help guide this effort, and we encourage you to get to know them below.

Emeritus Consulting Group

Alma R. Clayton-Pedersen is Chief Executive Officer of Emeritus Consulting Group, a firm that uses organizational development principles to assist nonprofit, public and education entities in enhancing their effectiveness for the public good. Clayton-Pedersen brings a wealth of experience to the firm’s work, particularly with respect to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and facilitating discussions around inclusive excellence.

Clayton-Pedersen previously worked with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in several capacities. From 2010 to 2016, she was a Senior Scholar and co-Principal Investigator directing the work of AAC&U’s Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. From 2000 to 2010, she served first as a Senior Policy Director, then Vice President for Education and Institutional Renewal, directing ongoing programs and several grant-funded projects. Prior to joining AAC&U, Dr. Clayton-Pedersen was deeply engaged for 16 years at Vanderbilt University, where she served in senior leadership roles in student affairs, a public policy center, academic affairs and athletic affairs. She conducted more than 20 institutional studies on retention, climate for diversity, and student programming. Throughout her 35-year career in higher education, Clayton-Pedersen has provided consultation on program evaluation, inter-organizational collaboration, diversity and institutional change in a range of settings and working with stakeholders nationally and internationally.

Sonja C. P. Armstrong, whose expertise stems from developing an expansive legal practice to public, is president and chief operating officer of Emeritus Consulting Group LLC.

Armstrong has served as both associate general counsel and special counsel at Chicago State University, a public, urban institution. As a generalist in higher education law, she has been responsible for oversight of issues relating to labor and employment, governance, athletics, residence life, academic affairs and student discipline, among other areas. One of Armstrong’s most significant campus endeavors involved a 15-month presidential appointment as interim director of intercollegiate athletics to restructure an emerging division of the university – creating a culture of compliance, an environment for successful student outcomes and a focus on institutional mission.

Prior to joining Chicago State University, Armstrong was an attorney at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, one of the largest, most well-respected national law firms based in Chicago. While in private practice, she served as legal counsel and advocate for a diverse group of public and private entities – including higher education institutions – in business, regulatory, complex litigation and dispute resolution matters. Overall she was responsible for resolving challenges faced by her clients and fostering trusting relationships at all levels within these organizations. Handling that work effectively required her to use collaborative approaches to chart the best course of action to reach each client’s organizational objectives.

AASCU Penson Center for Professional Development

Howard Cohen, Ph.D. is the AASCU Penson Center for Professional Development (APC) Executive Director and a Senior Associate of its consulting group, which works primarily with public regional universities. Cohen also holds the distinction of Chancellor Emeritus at Purdue University Northwest. Prior to his 10-year tenure as Chancellor, Cohen also served in academic and administrative appointments within the University of Massachusetts and University of Wisconsin systems. His areas of focus include strategic and academic planning, department chair leadership, leadership team development and executive coaching. Cohen is expected to be the lead consultant for the strategic planning components of our engagement, working in conjunction with other APC colleagues as needed.

Sal Rinella, Ph.D. is a former university president who has served as a consultant with APC and other organizations in all sectors of higher education for the past 14 years. Rinella also has been a facilitator and author for the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) roundtables and monographs, leading discussions of timely topics including New Forces and Realities: Making the Adjustment and The Presidential Role in Disaster Planning and Response. From 1994 to 2000, Rinella served at the helm of Austin Peay State University, an institution known for its collaborative, integrative learning community that tremendously expanded over the past three decades. Rinella’s areas of emphasis include strategic planning and positioning, identifying transformational programs and initiatives, formulating partnerships to advance the institution and team development.

We thank all members of our campus community – students, faculty, staff and administrators – for providing input and feedback, which will then inform San Diego State University’s future vision, mission and strategic priorities.