Lori Beth Way, Ph.D.
Lori Beth Way, Ph.D.

2019 Outstanding Staff Performance Award

Lori Beth Way, Ph.D.

San Francisco State University
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning

People gain advantages, skills, promise and opportunities because of educators, because teachers love them, motivate them and mentor them.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Leads campuswide initiatives related to Student Success and Graduation Initiative 2025 goals
  • Pivotal leadership in re-envisioning academic advising that led to transformational academic support for students
  • Leads the implementation of more than $1 million in grants at San Francisco State
  • Served in faculty leadership roles in the redesign of General Education at Chico State

Lori Beth Way, Ph.D., may have only spent three-and-a-half years at San Francisco State University, but her impact on the campus has already been profound and lasting.

In her role as dean of undergraduate education and academic planning at San Francisco State, Dr. Way has been universally recognized for her superior leadership, collaborative spirit and creative problem-solving skills.

Together with SFSU faculty, staff and administrators, this “exceptionally gifted manager of people and systems,” as one colleague called her, has found ways to streamline and improve the curriculum so it better serves students. She has also overseen the process for creating new courses and revising existing ones. In short, her critical examination of practices is always done with an eye toward continuous improvement. Students remain at the center of all she does.

Way currently co-chairs the campus’ Student Success and Graduation Initiative Committee, which is already seeing remarkable results. In particular, the restructuring of academic advising services under Dr. Way’s purview has realized early successes for students.

San Francisco State’s division of undergraduate education and academic planning is a large and complex one, yet Dr. Way has also made it her priority to serve as principal investigator on a number of externally funded grants. These total in excess of $1 million and include projects that range from increasing the success and graduation rates of transfer students to comparing intervention strategies to improve students’ grades.

Not content to see only students succeed, Dean Way’s work focuses, too, on faculty success. An exceptional commitment to shared governance is one of her hallmarks, earning her a reputation for being a leader who isn’t just effective but also highly collaborative. Several faculty members noted that her skillful negotiations on the recent implementation of Executive Order 1100 Revised and Executive Order 1110 avoided conflicts and facilitated compromise.

Dr. Way received her Ph.D. and master’s degree in political science from Syracuse University and her bachelor’s degree from College of New Jersey.