September 21, 2020

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University ranked in the top five for diversity nationwide 

The Wall Street Journal recently released its 2021 Best Colleges list, ranking SF State in the top five nationwide for the “Environment” category. This category measures the diversity of a university’s community based on the racial and ethnic makeup of students and employees, the proportion of students who come from abroad and the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants — a grant awarded to low-income students.

In a Wall Street Journal article that coincides with the ranking, SF State President Lynn Mahoney emphasized how diversity enhances the educational experience for students.

“Diversity is easy, but inclusion is hard,” says Mahoney. The payoff of having a diverse set of students who actually interact with one another is huge, she added. “It humanizes geopolitical issues, it humanizes differences. It breeds understanding, and with that comes compassion.”

The article also highlights how universities with socioeconomically diverse students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, may require additional academic, financial and social support to graduate. Mahoney discussed how SF State used a state grant to establish a program for low-income, first-generation college students that offers support for these types of challenges.

Read more on the Wall Street Journal website.

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Free tool offers audio, video call and chat features

Information Technology Services (ITS) offers a free campuswide collaboration tool available to all faculty, staff and students called Microsoft Teams. Teams allows the campus community to stay connected through chat, audio and video calls, among other useful features. Teams is available as a desktop application and mobile app as well as via a web browser. Check out ITS’s Microsoft Teams service page to view a three-minute interactive video, download the software, view guides and get started.

Already using Teams? Check out the cool new feature called “Together Mode.” Together Mode allows you to see all video participants in a theater-like setting. Learn more on the Microsoft website. 

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Kanopy streaming video collection now available

Recognizing that the University's collection of physical media is not available for use in the current context of largely remote instruction, Academic Technology and the J. Paul Leonard Library have collaborated to use 2020-21 CARES Act 2 funding to provide unlimited access to the entire media catalog available for streaming from Kanopy. Kanopy is a streaming video platform that offers classic and international films (such as Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”), documentaries, independent cinema and educational videos. Over 23,000 titles are available to SF State faculty, staff and students. You can search for individual titles in OneSearch on the Library's website. 

As is the case for all licensed electronic resources available from the Library, faculty and students will need to log in to the Library remotely to access these titles for free, unlimited use. You can access Kanopy from the Library’s database list or directly at You will be prompted to enter your campus Global Login ID and password and two-factor authentication.

Please be advised that like other providers of electronic content, Kanopy negotiates licenses from producers and suppliers. Titles are added and removed from the available collection as licenses change. The funding to support access to Kanopy is one-time. Unlimited access to this collection may not continue beyond 2020-21.

SF State Scholars Program expands

The Division of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce that it has expanded the list of degree fields eligible for the SF State Scholars Program. The SF State Scholars Program is a “blended” bachelor and master’s degree program that provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue both degrees simultaneously, with personalized faculty mentorship. The SF State Scholars Program expansion for 2020-2021 includes the departments of Anthropology, Comparative World Literature, Humanities, Modern Languages and Literatures, Political Science, Economics, Biology, Engineering, Earth Sciences, Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (Gerontology) and Social Work. A complete list of 2020-2021 SF State Scholar Programs is available on the Division of Graduate Studies website. 

For more information regarding the SF State Scholars Program, contact Special Academic Programs Coordinator Khaled Ezzat at

CSU to opt out of payroll tax deferral program 

On Aug. 8, a federal Presidential Memorandum was issued directing the Internal Revenue Service to allow the deferral of withholding, deposit and payment of payroll tax obligations for certain employees effective Sept. 1, 2020. IRS guidance provided on Aug. 28 clarifies that employers can, but are not required to, participate in this program. The state of California and state Controller’s Office (SCO) have made the decision to not participate in the federal tax deferral program.

As a result the California State University system will follow suit and opt out of the program. Questions? Contact the payroll representative for your area.

Virtual Open Enrollment has begun 

SF State Virtual Open Enrollment 2021 is now open and will run from through Friday, Oct. 16. Open enrollment is an opportunity for you to review your current benefit plan elections to ensure they continue to meet your needs and those of your family. You can change your benefits, update your beneficiaries and confirm your mailing address. Additions, changes or deletions will become effective Jan. 1, 2021. Remember to update your benefits, if needed, and submit documentation prior to the closing date.

All 2021 open enrollment form submissions will be processed completely through DocuSign. Forms are available on the SF State 2021 Virtual Open Enrollment website. Please note: Your open enrollment forms must say “OPEN ENROLLMENT 2021.” 

CSU employees can register at any time for an open enrollment virtual experience providing additional information. Registration is required for access to the virtual open enrollment website as well as SF State’s live Virtual Benefits Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30. Register for access. Direct questions to the SF State Benefits Team using the HR Client Services Center or learn more on the HR website.

New virtual walk-in hours for Benefits

SF State’s HR Benefits team is happy to announce its new virtual walk-in hours. SF State employees will be able to consult with Benefits team members during daily two-hour sessions. To find a session that works for you, visit the HR Support Services website. 

Degree programs proposed for discontinuance

Per Academic Senate Policy S12-177, the Educational Policies Council (EPC) is required to inform the campus community of the following discontinuance proposals two weeks before senate action. Discontinuance has been proposed for:

  • Master of Arts in Japanese
  • Master of Arts in Italian
  • Master of Arts in German
  • Minor in Accounting
  • Certificate in Digital Animation
  • Certificate in Music/Recording Industry

These proposals for discontinuance will be heard by the Educational Policies Council at its next meeting.  This meeting is open for any interested individuals. Any party interested in filing a response should send an email to

Academic Senate agenda

The Academic Senate will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, virtually via Zoom for its second meeting of the academic year. To attend as a visitor, contact the senate office at for a Zoom link. Agenda items include:

  • Recommendations from the Executive Committee: proposed Resolution in Support of Voter Registration Efforts and Resolution on Third-Party Remote Proctoring, both in second reading
  • Recommendation from the Executive Committee: Resolution: Opposition to Title V Restructuring of General Education, in first reading
  • Recommendation from the Executive Committee: Resolution Commending and Honoring Dr. Ann Hallum, In Memoriam, consent item
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Resolution in Continued Support of SF State Students During the COVID-19 Crisis
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Revision to the M.A. in Psychology: Concentration in Development Psychology, Revision to the M.A. in Psychology: Concentration in Mind, Brain and Behavior, Revision to the M.A. in Psychology: Concentration in Social, Personality and Affective Science and Revision to the Minor in Athletic Coaching, all in first reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: New Master of Fine Arts in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, in second reading
  • Presentation by Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) Faculty Director Wei Ming Dariotis on a CEETL report.
  • Presentation by CFO and Interim VP of Administration and Finance Jeff Wilson on the budget.

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

CSU online event series this fall

The newly formed ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of art museums and galleries from the CSU system, is pleased to announce a virtual event series to actively engage students, faculty, staff and communities through visual arts-based dialogue. The inaugural program, PLATFORM, includes six live virtual conversations with contemporary artists, collectives and curators whose work is critical to re-imaginings of the art world and the world at large. All events will be presented live via Zoom with access for all CSU campuses. Recordings of the events will be available for post-livestream viewing and archived by the sponsoring institutions. All events are free and open to the public.

Beatriz Cortez in conversation with Erin Christovale

Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m.

Beatriz Cortez is a multidisciplinary artist originally from El Salvador and currently based in Los Angeles. Her work explores life in different temporalities and versions of modernity through memory, loss, experiences of migration and the aftermath of war. She teaches in the Department of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. Erin Christovale is associate curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and co-founder of the experimental film and video program Black Radical Imagination. Register for this event. 


“Postcommodity: Some Reach While Others Clap, 2020”

Thursday, Oct. 22, 5:30 p.m.

This collaboration between artist and scholar Cristóbal Martínez and artist Kade L. Twist features interdisciplinary work that spans formats from video installation to land intervention, forging new metaphors through an Indigenous lens capable of rationalizing shared experiences within an increasingly challenging contemporary environment. A Zoom registration link will be available on the Cal Poly Pomona website prior to the event.


“Forensic Architecture”

Thursday, Nov. 12, noon

Architect Eyal Weizman will discuss the University of London-based research collective he founded, Forensic Architecture. Forensic Architecture undertakes advanced spatial and media investigations into cases of human rights violations with and on behalf of communities affected by political violence, human rights organizations, international prosecutors, environmental justice groups and media organizations. The collective’s work often involves open-source investigation, the construction of digital and physical models, 3D animations, virtual reality environments and cartographic platforms. A Zoom registration link will be available at prior to the event.

Faculty Open Forum with the provost, Sept. 25

The Academic Senate invites faculty to an open forum with Provost Jennifer Summit from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. To receive a password-protected Zoom link please register via Qualtrics by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23. 

Artel Great in the New Republic: “Black Cinema Matters”

George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African-American Cinema Studies and Assistant Professor of Critical Studies Artel Great wrote an article for The New Republic that explores his field of expertise: Black cinema. The article — “Black Cinema Matters” — is an incisive and expansive piece that speaks to social and racial justice issues facing our nation and the indispensable role Black cinema plays in helping us understand this critical moment in American history. The piece also unveils elements of new research that places Black cinema’s origins as early as 1896 and includes revealing details about pioneering Native American filmmaker James Young Deer and the first Black women directors, research that hasn't before been written about in a popular magazine or shared in public scholarship.

Almaguer looks back at pivotal Latino-led strikes

Professor Emeritus of Latina/Latino Studies Tomás Almaguer was interviewed on about how five Latino-led labor strikes improved workers’ rights in America. The first of these strikes — against the American Beet Sugar Company in Oxnard, California, in 1903 — protested wage reductions and the parasitic “company stores” where workers were required to shop. The strikers ultimately triumphed. “It was the first time in both California and United States history that agriculture workers were not only successful in organizing but in winning a strike,” Almaguer said.

Wilson and Tierney document the impact of wildfires on tourism

Associate Professor Jackson Wilson and Professor Patrick Tierney from the Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health discussed findings from their funded study on the impact of wildfires on tourism in the Sierra Nevada region of California at a Sierra Nevada Conservancy public board meeting. The research project combined multiple forms of data collection: a national survey, focus groups, interviews and an economic impact analysis. The study identified severe short-term and variable long-term impacts on tourism. The team also developed several recommendations for businesses and local governments to mitigate the impact of wildfires on the tourism economy of the Sierra Nevada region, which is more than twice as dependent on tourism revenue than the rest of the state. CAL Matters quoted Wilson in its coverage of the board presentation.

Cabigao offers advice on finding the perfect place to retire

Lecturer of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Edwin Cabigao wrote an editorial for WalletHub about the best California cities to retire in. A gerontologist, Cabigao identified important factors: access to health care; cost of living; senior communities and organizations to connect with; access to family, friends and caregivers; and overall quality of life. He also discussed weather and local policies that retirees should consider before finding a place to retire. Read the full article on the WalletHub website.

Yee-Melichar joins gerontological group’s public policy panel

Professor of Gerontology in the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) Darlene Yee-Melichar has been appointed to serve as a member of the Public Policy Advisory Panel (PPAP) of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). The GSA selects members to serve on advisory panels such as the PPAP on the basis of several factors, including professional experience in aging and public policy, successfully participating in state, regional and federal committees, and presenting at scientific conferences, meetings and workshops. Yee-Melichar will serve on the Advisory Panel for a two-year term, beginning this year and continuing through 2022.