February 17, 2020

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Jonas Rivera stands at a podium speaking in front of a crowd of graduates at AT&T Park

Alum wins Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Cinema graduate Jonas Rivera won his second Academy Award on Feb. 9, sharing the Best Animated Feature Film honor for Pixar’s “Toy Story 4.” The longtime Pixar producer (and keynote speaker at SF State’s 2016 Commencement, left) won his second Oscar, having won in the same category in 2016 for “Inside Out.” Rivera is the first U.S.-born Latinx person to win multiple Academy Awards. He shares his latest Oscar with director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen.

Rivera (B.A., ’96) joined Pixar in 1994 while attending SF State, serving as the studio’s first production intern and working on the original “Toy Story.” He landed his first Oscar nomination in 2010 with “Up.”

Fellow Cinema graduate Steven Zaillian was also nominated for an Academy Award this year for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Martin Scorsese-directed “The Irishman.” Zaillian (B.A., ’75), a five-time nominee, won in the same category in 1993 for “Schindler’s List.”

In addition, Poh Si Teng (B.A., ’07) produced the film “St. Louis Superman,” which was a finalist in the Documentary Short Subject category. She currently works as a senior producer for the TV documentary series “Witness” on the Al Jazeera English network.


Female and Male student inspecting a pair of jeans

Warm winter wearables wanted

The Wear Movement is an SF State initiative aiming for zero textile waste in San Francisco by 2030. Used garments are donated at the Wear Movement’s pop-up shop in the Cesar Chavez Student Center then resold below market cost. The result: less waste in the landfill and affordable clothing for those who can use it. This month, the Wear Movement is collecting winter wear and accessories. You can drop off your clean items at the Wear Movement pop-up shop between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.


Man with bicycle paying a food truck vendor

Keep on (food) truckin’!

Did you know you can go to the University Corporation website for a weekly schedule of food trucks bringing delicious eats to campus? Well, you can! A food truck can be found between Hensill Hall and the Science Building each weekday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. So when your stomach starts to rumble, head over to ucorp.sfsu.edu/foodtrucks to peruse the food truck option du jour.  


Vice president of University Advancement search update

The search committee for the vice president of University Advancement is inviting three candidate finalists to visit SF State and meet with campus stakeholders. Dates of the visits are still being finalized but will be between Feb. 24 and March 5. Each finalist will take part in a public forum, and the forum time and place, along with candidate bios, will be made available in CampusMemo and on President Mahoney’s website on Feb. 24 to respect candidate confidentiality in advance of their campus visits.

Please read the next CampusMemo or check: president.sfsu.edu/vp-advancement-search on Feb. 24 to read about the candidates. The forums are open to all campus and community stakeholders. Each will begin with a 15- to 20-minute presentation followed by discussion and questions.  Participants will have the opportunity to submit their feedback to the search committee. The search committee would like to thank everyone for participating in the search process.


Staff symposium for shared governance

The first round of staff symposia on shared governance was held Jan. 16 and 17 to explore interest in the creation of a staff council at SF State. The events were facilitated by Dylan Mooney from the College of Health & Social Sciences with the support of President Lynn Mahoney and Interim Vice President and CFO Jeff Wilson. Participants discussed how a staff council might function on our campus and what issues and community programs might be created or supported through this shared governance model.

Feedback gathered from these two events is now posted on the Staff Symposium page of the Human Resources website. All staff, whether or not they attended, are encouraged to review the data and complete an online feedback survey via Qualtrics. Results from the survey will be used to create a steering committee for a staff council and to inform future events. Updates on this process will be posted in a future CampusMemo.

If you have questions or wish to get involved, please contact Dylan Mooney at djmooney@sfsu.edu or Ingrid C. Williams at icwilliams@sfsu.edu


City prevails in parking tax lawsuit

For the past six years, San Francisco State University, along with other public universities in San Francisco, has been fighting in the courts on behalf of its students, faculty and staff against a 25% parking tax imposed by the City and County of San Francisco. Although the universities — including University of California at San Francisco and UC Hastings College of the Law — won several early rounds of the legal argument, in June 2019 the state Supreme Court ruled against us.

Following the decision, the matter continued to make its way through the legal process, and on Dec. 30, 2019, the court entered judgment against the universities. As a result, on June 1, 2020, SF State will be required to collect the city’s 25% parking tax from all drivers parking in University parking spaces.

The University is continuing work, with guidance from the CSU, on next steps in response to the court’s decision. Look for an update to the campus community in CampusMemo in the coming weeks.


CSU STEM-NET faculty education seed grants

In fall 2018, the CSU launched a new STEM-NET affinity group with the mission of increasing the success rate of CSU students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields. To better support educators in achieving this success, STEM-NET is offering faculty education seed grants. The goal of these grants is to support and encourage the development of a strong program of education research or scholarship by faculty members in STEM fields. Awards are to fund activity that supports the submission of large external grants aligned with the mission and vision of STEM-NET. Please visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs page for application details. 


Academic Senate agenda

The SF State Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center for its ninth meeting of the academic year. Visitors are welcome. An open-floor period from 2 to 2:10 p.m. will provide an informal opportunity to raise questions or make comments to senate officers or University administrators. Please arrive promptly at 2 p.m. The agenda includes the following:

  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: revision to #F98-204, Policy and Guidelines for Offering Existing SFSU Degrees via College of Extended Learning, in second reading
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: proposed Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business, in second reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Proposed Certificate in Pre-Master of Business Administration (MBA) Foundation, in first reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Revision to the Minor in Sociology, consent item
  • Recommendation from the Strategic Issues Committee: Proposed Resolution on the Implementation of the City of San Francisco Parking Tax, in first reading
  • Recommendation from the Faculty Affairs Committee: Proposed Resolution Calling for a Task Force on Faculty Workload Equity, in first reading
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Proposed Resolution Opposing Upcoming Title IX Policy Changes, in first reading
  • Presentation from Fredrick Smith, associate vice president for Equity and Community Inclusion

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


Provost's Arts and Lecture Series, Feb. 19

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Office of the Provost will host a talk from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Seven Hills Conference Center as part of the Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series. The discussion will cover the amazing research, scholarship and creative activities happening in each of the academic units on campus. Lunch will be served beginning at 11:45 a.m.


A Celebration of Life for Nontsizi Cayou, Feb. 21

A celebration of the life and work of Professor Emerita of Dance Nontsizi Cayou, founder of the program of dance studies at SF State, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in the Creative Arts building’s Knuth Hall. Professor of Africana Studies Mark Davis will present a night of performances and tributes inspired by the iconic professor, who shared her passion for African and African American art, dance and culture as an SF State faculty member from 1963 to 2001. Admission is free.


Microsoft Teams training, Feb. 21

Information Technology Services (ITS) will offer another Microsoft Teams in-person demo from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in ADM 201. Seating is limited, so please complete the online registration form via Qualtrics.

Teams has great features for collaboration that ITS would love for you to learn about. This demo will include:

  • Individual and group chat
  • Audio and video calls
  • Screen sharing
  • Setting up a team for your work group or department

Before attending the Teams demo, ITS highly recommends that you review the three-minute Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo. To learn more about the ITS Microsoft Teams service, go to the ITS service page at its.sfsu.edu/service/teams.


UndocuAlly training, Feb. 26

The Dream Resource Center would like to invite all staff and faculty to participate in an UndocuAlly training from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 26, in LIB 121. This training is designed to guide the SF State community in learning how to support the undocumented student population. Participants will receive an overview of immigration history, recent legislation, ways to support undocumented students and resources available to current and prospective undocumented students. Register online via Qualtrics. For more information, please visit drc.sfsu.edu/undocually.


“Conversations with Homer,” March 2

Next month the San Francisco-based Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) and Chicago-based singer/songwriter Joe Goodkin will come together on campus to premiere an original adaptation of Homer’s “Iliad” commissioned by SF State’s Center for Greek Studies. “Conversations with Homer” will consist of songs written by Goodkin and arranged by Ellie Ganelin of the GCMP as well as spoken-word pieces and student translations of ancient poetry. The performance will be held Monday, March 2, in the Creative Arts building’s Knuth Hall. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the performance begins at 5 p.m. For more information visit greekstudies.sfsu.edu.


Incorporating Service Learning Into Your Online Course, March 13

Online teaching and learning is a rapidly growing pedagogical reality in higher education in general and at SF State in particular. Like their classroom counterparts, learners in online and hybrid courses benefit from “real-world” connections. Organized by the Institute of Civic and Community Engagement, “Incorporating Service Learning Into Your Online Course” will integrate the benefits of service-learning and effective classroom teaching as participants apply interactive learning strategies, adapt traditional classroom activities and incorporate community-based work in the online environment. If any of the following describe you, then you might want to join.

  • You teach a Community Service Learning (CSL) course and want to put some service-type activities, or the whole class, online.
  • You’re teaching online and want to incorporate some CSL activities.
  • You’re designing a new course and want to include elements that are both online and CSL.

Register online via Qualtrics. The deadline for registration is Friday, March 6.


Open Classrooms, April 6-10

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) invites faculty to take part in “Open Classrooms: Teaching as a Specta(c)tor Sport.” Referencing Augusto Boal’s concept of “Specta(c)tors” rather than passive “spectators,” this initiative provides space for active witnessing of one another’s classes. Faculty open their classrooms to their peers in the spirit of making teaching more public. This presents an opportunity to observe the wealth of deep knowledge addressed in classrooms every day and to become more engaged in our community of teachers/scholars. By participating in Open Classrooms, you will:

  • Reflect on your own and others’ teaching practices
  • Consider new learning and teaching strategies as you see them enacted
  • Reflect on students’ experiences in SF State classes
  • Build community with other SF State faculty, staff and students.

Sign up for Open Classrooms online. Visit the CEETL website to find out more. Information on how to sign up to visit your colleagues’ classrooms will be available in mid-March.

Jeung on anti-Asian xenophobia

Professor and Chair of Asian American Studies Russell Jeung appeared in a “Good Morning America” segment on growing concerns about the coronavirus. Jeung talked about the xenophobia those concerns have sparked. He said a friend was recently told “If you sneeze on me, I’ll kill you” on a city bus, for instance. “If another person coughs, people don’t pay attention to it,” he said. “But if an Asian person coughs people move away [or] shun you.” Watch the full segment online.


Cohen discusses sea star decline

Professor of Biology Sarah Cohen and graduate student Noah Jaffe were interviewed by Bay Nature Magazine about their work tracking sea stars on coastal beaches. In 2013, a marine disease outbreak wiped out several species of sea stars along the coast. While in some places sea star populations are slowly beginning to recover, the six-rayed sea star — which is particularly sensitive to water temperature and salinity — has yet to return. That’s troubling because six-rayed sea stars are considered a good “local reporter” species: one that offers scientists an accurate indicator of the local environment’s overall health. “This is so important because climate change and environmental variation occur differently in local ways,” said Cohen. “If we want to understand and develop the ability to predict which changes are significant to which animals we need local reporters.”


Soe weighs in on “Parasite” Oscars

Professor of Asian American Studies Valerie Soe was interviewed on KCBS-AM about the impact of a foreign language film — the South Korean thriller “Parasite” — snagging multiple Academy Awards. “Parasite” was the first international film in Oscar history to win Best Picture. Soe says the movie’s themes of class conflict and economic struggle made it feel universal. She thinks its big win on Oscar night could pave the way for greater acceptance of foreign language films. “All this, I think, just leads to more global awareness,” said Soe. “I think definitely people will become more and more open to films in other languages.” Listen to the full interview online.


Lewis shares concerns about AB5

Lecturer for Theatre and Dance Mariam Lewis was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about California Assembly Bill 5, a controversial new law that changed which workers could be considered independent contractors. Lewis is a freelance costume designer for theaters during breaks from teaching at SF State. This bill could put small theaters out of business, which would impact her directly as an artist. “For me it will be an artistic hit,” she said. “I’ll lose my chance to continue to develop myself artistically, to have my design work seen by people and to participate in the world of arts that I love.”


McDaniel on ranked-choice voting

Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel discussed ranked-choice voting in an interview with the New York Times. A few states will use this system — which allows voters to rank candidates by preference rather than simply voting for one — in their 2020 presidential primaries. While the ranked-choice system aims to offer voters more choices, McDaniel says it could actually discourage voting. “The Democratic Party position now is that we need to remove barriers to voting, and I think ranked-choice voting is counter to that,” he said. “My research shows that when you make things more complicated, which this does, there’s going be lower turnout.”


ICCE helps salute civic leaders

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the Office of the City Administrator recently gave a shout-out to SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE), which was an event partner for the city’s 2020 NEN (Neighborhood Empowerment Network) Awards ceremony. The NEN Awards honor civic leaders, organizations and agencies working together to strengthen the city. This year’s recipients included two SF State alumni: San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department Wildlife Biologist Dylan J. Hayes (B.A., ’95) and the late Peter McElmury (B.A., ’72), a longtime member of the San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT).