March 19, 2018

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Photo of three people handling a sarcophagus

Museum readies for grand opening

After a year of preparation by faculty, staff and students, the University recently began moving collections and rare artifacts into its new, soon-to-open Global Museum. Mummies, sarcophagi and other treasures belonging to SF State have been making their way to the museum space in the Fine Arts Building. The occasion has also provided a valuable lesson for students, says Professor Edward Luby, director of the Museum Studies Program.

“You need to take time to explain to students what we’re doing,” he said. “We told them that safety is first, but let’s pause to reflect what we’re doing and recognize the knowledge and experience we’re gaining from this.”

The moves represented a significant milestone in preparation for the Global Museum’s grand opening, scheduled for April 26. More information about preparations for the museum can be found on the College of Liberal Arts website.

A group of about thirty faculty members smile at the camera, seated and standing, with two trees and a yellow building in the background.

Teacher trainings help Biology Department evolve

Through a five-day training institute and follow-up workshops, biology faculty have mastered “active learning” techniques and other classroom skills. The initiative began in 2013 when, at the request of her faculty colleagues, Professor of Biology Kimberly Tanner led the charge to give biology faculty at SF State the space and time to improve the way they teach — and to dispel the myth that scientists care more about research than they do about their students.

The effort started with the five-day summer training institute and snowballed into more workshops and follow-up programs throughout the semester. Eventually, 89 percent of the faculty ended up participating in at least one workshop, and 83 percent participated in follow-up programs. Faculty who went through the entire program spent more than 100 hours each on training. The training focused on a few main strategies, like “active learning” techniques for giving students more control over how they learn, creating tests in a way that accurately assesses student knowledge and creating a more inclusive classroom environment.

“Other universities could only dream of getting this much of their faculty to participate in this kind of development,” said Professor and Chair of the Biology Department Laura Burrus.

To read more about the trainings — and the impressive results — go here.

Student singing at Commencement 2017

SF State’s got talent

The University is looking for someone to sing the national anthem at this year’s Commencement — and it could be a student you know. Open auditions to find this year's national anthem singer will be held Wednesday, March 28, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Creative Arts building’s Knuth Hall. Each student will be allotted three minutes for their tryout and should come prepared to sing the national anthem unaccompanied.

A sign-up sheet is posted on the board outside the Music Office (Room 141) in the Creative Arts building. Those interested in auditioning must sign-up personally. Any student (undergrad and grad) who graduated in fall 2017 or will graduate in spring or summer 2018 is eligible. The chosen singer will need to be available at 4 p.m. the day of Commencement — Thursday, May 24 — and earlier for an as-yet-unscheduled sound check. Regalia will be required.

Know an eligible student with a beautiful singing voice? Tell them to sign up for an audition today!

Faculty invited to participate in Commencement

Faculty members are invited to take part in SF State’s 117th Commencement celebration on Thursday, May 24, at AT&T Park. Faculty will gather and mingle in the Field Club Lounge before the procession begins. The Field Club Lounge has a separate, dedicated entrance gate, next to the Luxury Suites entrance on the left side of Willie Mays Plaza (the corner of 3rd and King streets). The doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and refreshments will be served. All faculty must arrive by 5:30 p.m. in order to participate. The faculty procession will enter AT&T Park along the warning track and will be seated in a special VIP section of the stadium.

RSVP by Monday, May 1, to reserve seating.  Information about regalia and the ceremony can be found on the faculty page of the Commencement website.  If you have questions, please contact the Commencement Office at

Associate vice president for Academic Resources candidate visits

David Wallace will be the first of three candidates for associate vice president for Academic Resources to visit the campus. He is the current dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the California State University, Long Beach, overseeing 28 departments and programs in the humanities and social sciences.  As dean, he increased funding for faculty research, raised $15 million in philanthropic funds for the college and oversaw efforts that resulted in a rise in the college’s four-year graduation rate to 44 percent in the 2017-18 academic year. A more detailed profile is available on the Academic Affairs website

An open forum with Wallace will be held Monday, March 26, at 2:30 p.m. in LIB 244.  Wallace will open with a 20-minute presentation, followed by discussion and questions. Refreshments will be served.

Two additional candidates will be on campus April 2 and April 5. Watch CampusMemo for more details.

Check pick-up instructions for March 30

In observance of Cesar Chavez Day, the campus will be closed Friday, March 30, which is also a scheduled pay day for the March pay period. If you do not have direct deposit and would like to pick up your March paycheck that day, you will need to sign and return the warrant release request. Read the form carefully and return it to Human Resources by Wednesday, March 21. You may submit your signed form through email (scanned to, campus mail, USPS (address below) or walk-in. Human Resources is located at:

San Francisco State University — Payroll
1600 Holloway Avenue, ADMIN 252
San Francisco, CA 94132

Paychecks will be available at the University Police Department between 9 and 10:30 a.m. Paychecks will only be released to employees who have submitted a signed release form by the due date and who have a valid picture ID. There will be no exceptions. A map displaying UPD’s location on campus is available online.

If you do not wish to pick up your paycheck on March 30 or if you have not returned the signature form by the due date, you will be able to pick up your paycheck from your department when the campus reopens on April 2.

New name proposed for B.A. in Drama

Faculty and staff in the School of Theatre and Dance have voted to change the name of the Bachelor of Arts in Drama to Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts. The new name is more consistent with other academic theatre programs across the nation as well as the standards of the National Association for Schools of Theatre (NAST), the accrediting body for the program at SF State. “Theatre Arts” also better reflects the liberal arts focus of the B.A. degree, which includes theatre studies, playwriting, theatrical design, theatre technology and management as well as performance. The name change would ensure that SF State students hold a relevantly titled degree. Part of this change would include the minor name change to Theatre Arts from Drama and a reduction in the unit requirement from 22 to 18 units.

Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the proposed new name may send it to College of Liberal & Creative Arts Associate Dean of Student and Curricular Services Susan B. Shimanoff

CEETL initiative to open classrooms across campus

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL) invites the campus community to participate as witnesses in a new pilot initiative, “Open Classrooms: Teaching as a Specta(c)tor Sport,” during the week of April 2-7. Referencing Brazilian writer and politician Augusto Boal’s concept of “Specta(c)tors,” the initiative provides space for active witnessing of one another’s classes. Faculty across campus are opening their classrooms to peers (faculty, administrators and staff members), and all participants will have the chance to learn from each other about the teaching magic that takes place on this campus.

Sign up online to visit a class.   

Deadline for housing research mini-grants approaching

As part of efforts to expand faculty research on housing, Public Affairs & Civic Engagement's (PACE) new Center for Applied Housing Research (CAHR) is offering mini-grants to support faculty-led applied research projects exploring affordable housing issues at the state, regional and local levels. Faculty who receive these grant awards will be required to submit a working paper summarizing their project and the key findings and implications for the field. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply. There is a $5,000 maximum budget per grant proposal, and funds are available for the 2018-19 academic year (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019). More information, including the full request for proposal and application instructions, can be found on the PACE website or the CAHR Proposal Submission Portal. The submission deadline is Monday, April 2.

Reminder: Retirement Association travel grants available

The San Francisco State University Retirement Association (SFSURA) is accepting applications for its 2018 travel grant awards until April 1. Additional information and the application form are available at The application must be signed and emailed to all members of the committee:


Ann Shadwick, chair,

Sheila McClear,

Dan McGough,

Gary Penders,

QLT Course Design Workshop, April 4

Academic Technology invites faculty members to a QLT (Quality Learning and Teaching) Course Design Workshop on Wednesday, April 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. in BH 170. The workshop is designed for faculty who are familiar with iLearn and are building a new course or converting to hybrid or fully online formats. Register online

Deadline nears for dean of the College of Business administrative review

The five-year administrative review for the dean of the College of Business, Linda Oubré, will be concluding soon. The Administrative Review Committee solicits input from members of the campus community. For those who would like to participate in the review process, please send an email to Mona Sagapolutele at or call ext. 8-2571. The deadline to submit online questionnaires to the Administrative Review Committee is March 31.

Amazing Grace

Grace J. Yoo, First-Year Experience faculty director and professor of Asian American Studies, is the 2018 recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Excellence in Mentorship Award. The Excellence in Mentorship Award annually honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding mentorship of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and colleagues. Yoo will be presented with the award at the AAAS annual conference in San Francisco later this month.

New book for Sueyoshi

Interim Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Amy Sueyoshi is the author of a new book, “Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American ‘Oriental.’”. Part of the University of Illinois Press’ Asian American Experience series, the book explores the ways in which the pursuit of expanded gender and sexual freedom for whites in San Francisco in the 1890s led to greater racial inequality.

“Invisible” ink

John P. Elia, associate dean of the College of Health & Social Sciences, and Professor of Health Education Michele Eliason are contributors to the new book “Bisexuality: Theories, Research, and Recommendations for the Invisible Sexuality” (Springer). Elia and Eliason (along with trans activist Genny Beemyn) co-wrote the first essay in the book, “Mapping Bisexual Studies: Past and Present, and Implications for the Future.”

Peel speaks “Frank”-ly

Department of Comparative and World Literature/Department of English Professor Ellen Peel has made several presentations recently inspired by the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein.” In February, Peel gave the inaugural lecture, “Frankenstein at the Ballet: Mary Shelley and Her ‘Hideous Progeny,’” at a “Frankenstein” bicentennial event at San José State University. And at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies conference in San Francisco in March, she gave the talks “Why Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of ‘Frankenstein’?” and “Romance, Rebirth, Recycle: ‘Frankenstein’ and the Horror of Seriality.”

Getz has written the book on teaching African history

Department of History Chair Trevor R. Getz is the author of the new book “A Primer for Teaching African History: Ten Design Principles.” Published by Duke University Press, the book is designed to help high school and college teachers address preconceptions about Africa while challenging students to think critically about the discipline of history.

Experiences pay our happiness bill, says Howell

According to Associate Professor of Psychology Ryan Howell says, money makes us happier when it covers basic needs but experiences bring us true smiles. “If your goal is to be happier, you should ask yourself if your purchase will bring you closer to your true, authentic self,” he said in an article about his research published on the CSU website. “The buyer must take into account their personal values. If you spend your money buying yourself experiences that will bring you closer to your friends and family — and you feel that your identity is remaining true to who you are — you will be a happier person.”