November 23, 2020

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A row of houses in San Francisco

University programs help students facing housing crises

“Do I pay rent or my tuition?” Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for college students who are housing insecure to ask themselves this tough question. That’s why the California State University (CSU) responded with its Basic Needs Initiatives, which bolster housing stabilization programs for students at campuses across the state, including at SF State. And now the University is taking its commitment one step further by creating Providing Assistance to Housing Solutions (PATHS), a collection of programs supporting students experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming unhoused.

“The housing crisis is complex, with some of the factors beyond the reach of any university,” SF State Assistant Director for Basic Needs Initiatives Jewlee Gardner said. “However, there are many things we can do so that students have safe and adequate housing. That’s where PATHS comes in.”

Gardner helps oversee PATHS, a collaboration between Health Promotion & Wellness and the Dean of Students. Through this partnership, the University provides housing navigation support, temporary crisis housing and homelessness intervention to eligible students. In addition to existing resources, PATHS launched new services in November.

Organizing offerings under a single umbrella term, PATHS, makes it easier and quicker to steer students who are housing insecure to resources they need, Gardner said. “Imagine you’re an instructor and a student tells you they’re housing insecure,” she said. “We want you to know that PATHS exists and not second guess where to direct the student.”

Refer students to PATHS via Qualtrics. Students may also refer themselves using a different Qualtrics form. A staff member will assess each referral to determine eligibility.

Learn more about the support PATHS programs provide on the SF State News website. Direct questions about eligibility requirements to

Colorful pieces of paper with the phrase thank you written on them in various languages

Language disorder lab tailors therapies to better serve multilingual people

The symptoms can be alarming: reading a billboard and not recognizing basic words or looking at an object and forgetting its name. These experiences are common for people with aphasia, a language disorder that can occur after a stroke or head injury; the condition affects more than one million people nationwide. There are therapies to alleviate aphasia symptoms, but an SF State professor noticed a potential gap: some common treatments do not adequately meet the needs of multilingual people. So she designed a lab on campus that provides therapies that do.

Assistant Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Teresa Gray is the founder and director of SF State’s Gray Matter Lab, which provides care for people with aphasia. While the lab helps monolingual people, in recent years Gray has doubled down on improving the lab’s services for multilingual people.

“A lot of therapies that we use for adults with aphasia are based on studies focused on monolingual people,” Gray said. “Only in the last five to seven years have we seen more bilingual treatment studies. We adapted our lab with these studies in mind.” An increasing bilingual population in the U.S. also suggested the need for a multicultural approach to aphasia therapy, she adds.

In response, the lab began offering BAbSANT therapy (Bilingual Abstract Semantic Associative Network Training) in language combinations including English, Spanish, Tagalog, Russian, Polish and Chinese. This treatment helps clients who have difficulty naming abstract and concrete words, Gray says.       

Using BAbSANT, the clinician working with a client discusses words within a particular category such as fruits or animals. The clinician then asks the client to describe features of the words, such as what it looks like, where it’s found or what it’s made of. Answering these questions helps the client name more words in the category, Gray explains.

In partnership with Pennsylvania State University and Boston University, Gray and her students also developed a free online interactive tool — which is used in their lab — that helps clinicians conduct BAbSANT therapy in three languages: English, Chinese and Spanish. Their goal is to expand to 23 languages.

Learn more about the Gray Matter Lab on the SF State News website

Smoke detector

Environment, Health and Safety offers tips for a safe holiday season 

The Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) department has some recommendations to keep folks safe during the holiday season. The end-of-year holidays are when many home fires occur, so this is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. In-person holiday gatherings should be avoided during the pandemic. However, if you do participate, there are specific precautions you can take. EHS recommends reviewing online COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bay Area health departments

Call to submit RSCA work for Faculty Retreat 2021 showcase

SF State faculty are invited to submit Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA) to be showcased at this year’s Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) and Academic Senate Faculty Retreat. The retreat, exploring the theme “How to Be an Anti-Racist University,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, via Zoom and iLearn. The retreat will feature opportunities for faculty to engage in multi-directional discussions around anti-racism work.

Eligible RSCA work includes anything published, presented, performed or produced in 2019 and 2020 by lecturers, tenured and tenure-track faculty. Submit RSCA via the iLearn site for the retreat by self-enrolling and following directions in the RSCA glossary activity in Section 1. The submission deadline is Friday, Dec. 18.

The retreat will be hosted on the self-enroll iLearn site. There you will find Zoom links to the opening plenary and the panel discussion. Confirm your level of participation via the site by Friday, Dec. 18. Contact Wei Ming Dariotis at and Jackson Wilson at if you have any questions.

CEETL Circles delves into “The Art of Anti-Racist Assessment” 

The next issue of the CEETL Circles newsletter will explore the theme “The Art of Anti-Racist Assessment.” Produced by the Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL), CEETL Circles supports Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence (PIE) at SF State and beyond. Not a subscriber? Sign up for the newsletter and read past issues on the CEETL website

CEETL Winter/Spring Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Cohort

The Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL) invites faculty to join the Winter/Spring cohort of its popular JEDI PIE institute, which builds a community of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) protagonists through 25 hours of practice developing anti-racist Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence (PIE) and dismantling white supremacy in online teaching. This cohort runs from Jan. 11 to March 19, with access to the material beginning the first week of January. 

Special attention will be paid to accessibility and universal design for learning; microaggressions in teaching practices; anti-racism in designing assignments and assessments; and centering student voice and experience. Participants will receive expert feedback on their responses to prompts as well as the opportunity for individual consultations via office hours. Participants will:  

  • Identify and assess personal goals for anti-racist pedagogy practice in online teaching  
  • Examine and demonstrate knowledge of historical and contemporary institutional and individual racism and white supremacy in education practice 
  • Assess current assignments, assessments and teaching practices through critical race perspective
  • Design strategies for inclusive and equitable engagement

There will be a faculty stipend of $1,250 (pre-tax) upon completion and a GTA stipend of $550. Previous JEDI PIE participants will receive an additional payment. It will be sent to your direct deposit in six to eight weeks. Please note: The amount will be reduced due to taxes.

Interested? Self-enroll via iLearn

Academic Senate report

The SF State Academic Senate met on Tuesday, Nov. 17, via Zoom. The senate:

  • Adopted the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 Academic Calendar, the Fall 2022 –Spring 2023 Academic Calendar and the Summer 2021 Academic Calendar.
  • Passed Revision to S20-242: Academic Calendar Policy.
  • Passed a Resolution Thanking SF State Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis.
  • Adopted Revision to the B.S. in Industrial Design: Concentration in Product Design and Development.
  • Adopted Revision to the B.S. in Visual Communication Design.
  • Passed a New B.A. in Ethnic Studies; a New Graduate Certificate in Computational Linguistics; and Elevation of the B.A. in English: Concentration in Creative Writing to a B.A. in Creative Writing.
  • Heard in first reading Proposed Discontinuance of the Minor in Accounting; Proposed Revision to S19-255: Requirement for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors, Concentrations, Minors and Certificates; and Proposed Revision to S19-255: Appendices-Requirement for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors, Concentrations, Minors and Certificates.
  • Heard in first reading a Proposed Resolution in Support of Darlene Yee-Melichar’s Nomination for CSU Faculty Trustee.
  • Heard in first reading Temporary Modification of Academic Senate Policy F15-160: Policy Resolution on Lecturer (Temporary) Faculty.
  • Approved endorsing the naming of the new SF State building to be the official full name: “The George and Judy Marcus Hall for the Liberal and Creative Arts,” informally as “Marcus Hall.”

The full agenda, meeting materials and minutes can be found on the senate website

Access, Community and Hope (REACH) project info session, Dec. 1

The campus community is invited to an information session on an Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) federally funded grant project, Responsive Education for Access, Community, and Hope (REACH). The info session will be held from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, via Zoom.

REACH is a comprehensive set of culturally responsive and equity-minded access, awareness and financial literacy strategies designed to improve the college access, persistence and completion of Asian American and Pacific Islander and low-income students. The primary goals of the REACH program are to address critical needs and barriers to the success of AA&PIs and low-income students. The REACH project strives to create a pathway to college and career with support for students at key transition points and a focus on equity as it relates to students’ needs for access and awareness of postsecondary opportunities and financial literacy.

The project will address these needs through collaboration between the College of Ethnic Studies and Student Affairs & Enrollment Management (SAEM). Professor of Asian American Studies and FYE Faculty Director Grace Yoo and Director of Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Services Arlene Daus-Magbual will oversee the program and can be contacted for more information. Please email to RSVP for the Zoom event.

Faculty Open Forum with the Provost, Dec. 4

The Academic Senate invites faculty to an open forum with Provost Jennifer Summit from 11 to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. To receive a password-protected Zoom link, please register via Qualtrics by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3.

STS Hub December Reading Group, Dec. 4

The campus community is invited to join the Science, Technology and Society Hub’s December reading group 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. Discussion will focus on two short readings: Sylvia Wynter’s “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation” and K. Wayne Yang’s “Sustainability as Plantation Logic, Or, Who Plots an Architecture of Freedom?” For copies and a Zoom link, please contact Professor of Women and Gender Studies Julietta Hua at

The STS Hub is an interdisciplinary faculty community. For more information visit the STS Hub webpage

JEDI Writing PIE on tap for January

Faculty members are invited to join the Justice, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (JEDI) Writing Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence (PIE) Institute. JEDI Writing PIE is an online, self-paced asynchronous institute similar to the Online Teaching Lab (OTL) and JEDI PIE. This 25-hour self-paced institute focuses on teaching writing across the disciplines. Community norms emphasize curiosity, kindness and compassion with oneself and with each other as we navigate together this unusual time in history. Participants will explore modules focusing on:

  • Teaching writing in your discipline
  • Helping students navigate the stages of writing
  • Designing an effective writing assignment
  • Using scaffolding to teach writing (and content)
  • Scaffolding research skills to build information literacy and critical thinking
  • Peer response
  • Instructor response
  • Revising your writing-intensive course syllabus
  • Connecting with students through your course syllabus

The start date is Monday, Jan. 4. Self-enroll via iLearn. Those completing at least half of the institute’s requirements by Feb. 1 will receive a stipend: $1,250 (pre-tax) for faculty upon completion or $550 (pre-tax) for GTAs upon completion. But you can also join simply to participate and learn at your own pace.

Send questions to


Peña-Guzmán invites you to “Overthink”

Assistant Professor of Humanities and Liberal Studies David M. Peña-Guzmán has launched “Overthink,” a new podcast devoted to exploring philosophy as it relates to current events, contemporary culture and everyday modern life. Early episodes tackle such timely topics as the gender politics of wearing masks in the time of COVID-19, the role of nostalgia in the “MAGA” movement and why millennials are so obsessed with plants and “homemaking.” Co-hosted with Pomona College Assistant Professor of Philosophy Ellie Anderson, “Overlook” is available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

Kovacs explores Frisco film history

Professor of Cinema Steven Kovacs, an expert on San Francisco film history, was interviewed by KGO-TV about famous movie scenes filmed in the city. San Francisco has been a popular place to shoot movies for nearly a century, Kovacs says. “Maybe the first big film that was partly shot here was [1924’s] ‘Greed’ by Eric Von Stroheim,” he said. “There’s still a building [where some of it was shot] on the corner of Hayes and Laguna, and so that’s where it began.”

Ginwright advocates for support for Black youth

Professor of Africana Studies Shawn Ginwright discussed how human service professionals can better support Black youth with the Bermudan newspaper the Royal Gazette. “My career has been spent working and trying to understand how systems like schools and social workers and probation departments can better support young people of color, particularly African American young people,” said Ginwright, who served as keynote speaker for a virtual conference for human service professionals hosted by Bermuda’s Inter Agency Committee for Children & Families Thursday, Nov. 19. “I created an organization years ago [Flourish Agenda] that really tried to create the kind of relationships and opportunities for African American young people to really improve the quality of their lives. And from that I began to do a lot of research about challenges that we find in neighborhoods and schools, and now I’m really focusing on trying to support those systems with the lessons about really how to support young people of color, particularly those who have experienced trauma.”

Downing makes art with a message

An innovative art installation by Professor of Art Jeff Downing was the subject of a recent San Francisco Chronicle article. Titled “Aqua Metric Markers,” the installation consisted of five, 250-pound pylons topped with nautical symbols erected in Richardson Bay near Sausalito. The work — which Downing put up and took down the same day — was meant to call attention to the impact climate change will have on Bay Area communities. “There are people who don’t think about sea level rise and don’t know the extreme of it,” Downing said. “In 20 years, the sea level will be six inches higher, which means inundation and flooding streets. In 2045, there will be 4,000 homes under water.” Four of the markers from the installation are now on display at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, where Downing is the 2020 artist in residence.

Koenig, Sinervo to talk teaching

Associate Professor of Communication Studies CJ Koenig and Lecturer of Psychology and Anthropology Aviva Sinervo will be featured in two upcoming webinars devoted to teachers sharing their stories with other teachers. The Eli Review Showcase Across the Disciplines is a free series of peer discussions on Zoom. Koenig will take part in a conversation devoted to teaching communications 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. Sinervo’s discussion, focusing on psychology, will be 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. A full schedule and registration information can be found on the Eli Review website. For each attendee, Eli Review will make a $5 donation to the WAC Clearinghouse, an open-access publishing collaborative dedicated to providing barrier- and cost-free access to scholarly work for writing across the curriculum.