April 23, 2018

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Johanne Derbort

Lecturer learns she’s a Pulitzer winner

San Francisco State University Lecturer of Journalism Joanne Derbort was part of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat team that won a Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News last week for coverage of the deadly wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties. Derbort was an assigning city editor for the newspaper at the time of the October wildfires, the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. For at least three weeks, she and the other editors were glued to their desks for 16 hours a day, she said.

The fires started Oct. 9 and spanned several counties in the North Bay. At least 43 people died, 8,900 homes and buildings were destroyed and more than 245,000 acres burned. “There were no breaks,” Derbort said. “[The reporters and photographers] were all very determined and they never took their eyes off the ball.”

What stood out to Derbort about the Press Democrat's coverage was the pathos that came across in the writing, and the depth of connection to — and understanding of — the community that was under siege by the disaster.

“The community responded with gratitude, reaching out and thanking us,” said Derbort, who began teaching at SF State this semester and is the faculty adviser to the Xpress Magazine. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”


Families observing EOS demonstration

Discovery Day 2018 turns the spotlight on the Bay

On April 29, the Estuary & Ocean Science (EOS) Center will open its doors to the public for Discovery Day, the annual open house offering free family fun and hands-on marine science. Since 2018 marks SF State's 40th anniversary supporting estuary and ocean science on San Francisco Bay, the activities will focus on comparing the Bay and marine science as they were then and now. Collect plankton from the Bay, hold and measure invasive green crabs, enjoy games and collaborative art projects and much more!

The fun lasts from 1 to 5 p.m.  on Sunday at SF State’s Romberg Tiburon Campus. Admission and parking is free, but registration is required.

Already love marine science? Then you might be just who EOS is looking for. The center is seeking volunteers to help with Discovery Day.  Volunteers will receive a cool commemorative shirt plus lunch. You don’t have to be a science expert, but do you to have to be at least 18 years old. Faculty, staff and students are warmly welcomed. A sign-up form is available online. Click on the "register" button to see the three different volunteer shifts and all of the options and activities that are available.


Woman looking down at her phone

Study examines digital addiction

In a new study published in the journal NeuroRegulation, SF State Professor of Health Education Erik Peper and Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey argue that overuse of smartphones is just like any other type of substance abuse. On top of that, addiction to social media may actually have a negative effect on social connection.

In a survey of 135 SF State students, Peper and Harvey found that students who used their phones the most reported higher levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious. They believe the loneliness is partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals cannot be interpreted. They also found that those same students almost constantly multitasked while studying, watching other media, eating or attending class. This constant activity allows little time for bodies and minds to relax and regenerate, says Peper.

But just as we can train ourselves to eat less sugar, for example, we can take charge and train ourselves to be less addicted to our phones and computers. The first step is recognizing that tech companies are manipulating our innate biological responses to danger. Peper suggests turning off push notifications, only responding to email and social media at specific times and scheduling periods with no interruptions to focus on important tasks.

Read more about Peper and Harvey’s findings.


No tuition hike for CSUs

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White released a statement last Friday announcing that the CSU would not increase tuition for the 2018-19 academic year.

“This decision is not made lightly,” White wrote. “There will be serious adverse consequences if state funding falls short of meeting our university needs.”

The full statement is available online here.


Call for applications for the GWAR Mentoring Program 

The Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning (DUEAP) invites applications for the fall 2018 GWAR (Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement) Mentoring Program. The GWAR Mentoring Program is a learning community designed to provide support and an opportunity for growth and development to both new and experienced GWAR faculty. Through regular group meetings with fellow mentors, participating faculty will share ideas and insights, discuss writing pedagogy and learn about best practices in disciplines across campus. Faculty members work as a group and in pairs throughout the semester to provide each other support in GWAR course design, effective strategies for teaching writing and assessment of student learning.

All faculty (tenured, tenure-track and lecturers) interested in joining this program for fall 2018 are encouraged to apply. Eligible mentors should have an interest in intra-disciplinary writing and will either be teaching a GWAR course in the fall 2018 semester or will have recently taught GWAR courses for two to three semesters and intend to continue teaching GWAR in the future. New faculty and those new to teaching GWAR are welcome to apply. Proposals from teams (mentor pairs) within and across disciplines are highly encouraged. Those interested in applying should email Juliana van Olphen, professor of health education and director of WAC/WID (Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines), or Jennifer Swanson, associate director of WAC/WID. Stipends will be provided to participating faculty.

The application form​ [https://sfsu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_d0CgivHUiVihBcN&Q_JFE=0] must be completed and submitted by Friday, May 11. Successful applicants will be notified in early June.


Dean of Graduate Studies search begins

The search for a permanent dean of Graduate Studies is underway. The position will be posted and advertised in anticipation of an SF State internal search. For a detailed position description, please go to academic.sfsu.edu/content/dean-graduate-studies.

Provost Jennifer Summit is grateful to the members of the search committee:

  • Sophie Clavier, Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
  • Ellen Hines, Professor, Geography and Environment
  • Eric Pido, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies
  • Noah Price, Assistant Dean, Division of Graduate Studies
  • Linda Wanek, Chair, Physical Therapy
  • Jackson Wilson, Associate Professor, Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning search begins

The search for a permanent dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning is underway. The position will be posted and advertised in anticipation of an SF State internal search. For a detailed position description, please go to academic.sfsu.edu/content/dean-undergraduate-education-and-academic-planning.

  • Provost Jennifer Summit is grateful to the members of the search committee:
  • Kimberley Altura, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning
  • Elizabeth Brown, Chair, School of PACE
  • Trevor Getz, Chair, History
  • Amy Sueyoshi, Interim Dean, College of Ethnic Studies
  • Kimberly Tanner, Professor, Biology
  • Dawn Terrell, Chair, Psychology

Phi Beta Kappa reminders

The Phi Beta Kappa Society wishes to remind SF State/Omicron chapter members that:

  • Annual dues of $25, which help defray the cost of the annual student initiation, should be submitted to Society Treasurer and Economics Department Associate Professor Lisa Takeyama.
  • The Phi Beta Kappa Annual Initiation Ceremony will be held Thursday, May 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. in LIB 121. The keynote speaker will be Jennifer Summit, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Children’s Campus enrollment spaces available

Children’s Campus still has openings for the 2018-19 school year. Full-time and part-time preschool openings are available. SF State employees receive priority enrollment and discounted tuition. Email Rosie Schoen or call ext. 5-4011 for more information.


Academic Senate report and agenda

The Academic Senate met Tuesday, April 17, in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. Among the meeting highlights: 

  • Professor of Biology Leticia Márquez-Magaña, History Professor and Department Chair Trevor Getz and Interim AVP for Equity & Community Manuel Pérez presented to the Senate the concept paper from the Equity and Inclusion Educational Opportunities Working Group.
  • The senate approved recommendations from the Executive Committee regarding a resolution in support of a Campus Academic Planning Process and a resolution in support of the Black Unity Center.
  • The senate approved the recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee regarding a proposed revision of the policy on the declaration of an undergraduate major.
  • The senate approved recommendations from the Educational Policies Council on proposed discontinuance of the MBA, concentration in sustainable business and proposed temporary suspension of the master of arts in education, concentration in language and literacy education.
  • The senate approved recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee on a proposed minor in art history and a proposed new concentration for the B.S. in nutrition and dietetics, concentration in dietetics and nutrition science.
  • The senate approved the recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee on the proposed creation of a Student Health Advisory Committee.
  • The senate approved the recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee regarding a proposed revision to the Grade Appeals Policy.

A complete list of action items from the meeting is available online.


“Why Ethnic Studies?” art show, April 24

The Ethnic Studies Student Resource and Empowerment Center and the Ethnic Studies Student Organization (ESSO) are seeking art on the topics of social justice and the importance of ethnic studies for an art show to be held tomorrow. “Why Ethnic Studies?” will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in ESP 116. Digital art for the show can be sent to esso.sfsu@gmail.com. Hard copies should be brought to the ESSO office in ESP 110B. All art mediums will be accepted.


Alcohol Awareness Week events, April 25-27

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) is hosting several events. An Alcohol Awareness Week Kick-Off will be held Wednesday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza. Stop by for games and resources. The next day HPW’s Turn Up! Initiative, which encourages healthy decision-making around partying and drinking, will offer hangover remedies from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in LIB 121. And Turn Up! will also host a substance-free movie night on the Quad starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday night.


“Algal Dreams” presentation, April 25

Photographer, author and SF State alum Josie Iselin will present “Algal Dreams: Art and Science, a Few Iconic California Kelps and Seaweeds” at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center’s Bay Conference Center at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25. Author of the book “An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed,” Iselin has continued investigating the science, history and visual uniqueness of 15 iconic seaweeds and kelps from our California coast. This presentation will pick a few of these stories and weave historical illustration, herbarium pressings and Iselin’s contemporary seaweed scans into the life history and ecology of our remarkable ocean flora. The event is free, but those interested in attending should register online.


Global Museum opening, April 26

SF State’s new Global Museum will open its doors to visitors Thursday, April 26. Members of the campus community are welcome to come take in the inaugural exhibition, “Going Global: From San Francisco to the World,” between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day. The ongoing hours of operation for the museum, which is located in FA 203, are available on the museum’s website.


University Women’s Association spring luncheon, May 1

All faculty and staff are invited to the University Women’s Association (UWA) annual spring luncheon and celebration on Tuesday, May 1 in the Vista Room beginning at 11:30 a.m. Guests of honor are the recipients of the Gloria Spencer UWA Scholarship for 2017-18. Come and enjoy a relaxing luncehon with colleagues and friends and meet the student scholars as well as UWA board and scholarship committee members. The $20-per-person registration fee includes wine. Contact linivory@comcast.net for menu selections and a reservation form. RSVP deadline: Tuesday, April 24. You need not be a member of the UWA to participate.


Farm to Fork returns, May 2

The ninth annual Farm to Fork feast will bring a cornucopia of organic and locally produced food to campus Wednesday, May 2. The event features organic and seasonal produce grown within 250 miles of campus. The local cuisine, prepared by the Vista Room and SF State Dining Services, will be served on the Quad. Tickets cost $8 and may be purchased in person at the Bursar's Office or online at commerce.cashnet.com/FARMTOFORK.


Gospel Gators Live in Concert, May 5

The San Francisco State University Gospel Choir will hold its spring concert on Saturday, May 5, at the Student Event Center (Annex 1) at 1 North State Drive. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. General admission: $15. (Free with ID for SF State students.) Tickets are available at the door or online.


Opening University Convocation, Aug. 23

The Office of the President and the Academic Senate invite you to attend the Opening University Convocation (formerly the Open Faculty Meeting) in McKenna Hall on Thursday, August 23, from 10 a.m. to noon. Join your SF State colleagues for a celebration of the start of a new academic year, hear from campus leaders about challenges and opportunities in the coming year and meet the University’s new faculty, staff and administrators. Refreshments will be served outside McKenna Hall from 9 to 9:50 a.m., and the Convocation will start at 10 a.m.


In Memoriam: Marie Johnson Calloway

Painter and former SF State teacher Marie Johnson Calloway died February 11 at the age of 97. A celebrated artist and educator, she graduated from Coppin Teachers College in Baltimore and taught in the Baltimore School District for several years. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Baltimore’s Morgan State College. After moving to California in 1954, she earned a master of arts degree in painting from San Jose State University. The first woman of color to teach in the San Jose Unified School District, she worked as a professor at San Jose State and the California College of Arts and Crafts. From 1973 until her retirement in 1983 she taught at SF State, where she received a doctoral equivalency.

Calloway’s work was included in the 2014 SF State Fine Arts Gallery exhibition “Allegorical Procedures: Bay Area Collage, 1950–present.” She then donated her painting “Earth Mother” to the Library. The work is on display on the Library’s second floor.

Monday, Apr. 23

Recital: Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Writers on Writing: Donna de la Perriere: 7 p.m. in HUM 211


Tuesday, Apr. 24

Fulbright Information Workshop: 2 p.m. in LIB 244


Wednesday, Apr. 25

Alcohol Awareness Week Kick-Off: 11 a.m. in Malcolm X Plaza

Lecture: The “Diabolical Minority” in California: 1 p.m. in HSS 130

Recital: James Witzel Jazz Trio: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Fulbright Information Workshop: 2 p.m. in LIB 244

Greenhouse Theatre Festival: “Sweet and Sour”: 7 p.m. at the Z Space, 450 Florida Street


Thursday, Apr. 26

Lecture: The ‘Alt-Right’ and the American Political Tradition: 9:30 a.m. in LIB 286

Hangover Remedies Workshop: 12:30 p.m. in LIB 121

Banquet: Taste of the Bay 2018: 6 p.m. at the City View, Metreon, 135 Fourth Street, Fourth Floor2

Greenhouse Theatre Festival: “Diktador”: 7 p.m. at the Z Space, 450 Florida Street

Performance: “The Black Aesthetic”: 7 p.m. at the Poetry Center

Theatre: “Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical”: 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre, Creative Arts building

Recital: SF State Wind Ensemble: 7:30 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building


Friday, Apr. 27

Recital: Classical Voice: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

Nonprofit Management Certificate Program: Intro to Nonprofit Sector Course: 6 p.m. at the Downtown Campus

Greenhouse Theatre Festival: “Never Mind”: 7 p.m. at the Z Space. 450 Florida Street

Theatre: “Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical”: 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre, Creative Arts building

Turn Up! for Movie Night @ the Quad: 8:30 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza


Saturday, Apr. 28

Finance for Non-Financial Professionals: 9 a.m. at the Downtown Campus

Adolph Sutro birthday celebration: 1 p.m., J. Paul Leonard Library, 5th floor

Greenhouse Theatre Festival: “Avon Lady Calling”: 4 p.m. at the Z Space, 450 Florida Street

Greenhouse Theatre Festival: “Sweet and Sour” 7 p.m. at the Z Space, 450 Florida Street

Theatre: “Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical”: 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre, Creative Arts building

Professor snags major NSF grant

Xiaorong Zhang, assistant professor of computer engineering, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award of $549,760 for five years (2018-2023) to develop the Next-Generation Neural-Machine Interfaces (NMI) for Electromyography (EMG)-Controlled Neurorehabilitation. While neurorehabilitation system design has progressed remarkably over several decades, no system is currently capable of meeting all desired technical specifications for commercial and clinical implementation. This project takes a computer engineering approach toward improving EMG-based NMI technology functionality and robustness. Software will be developed for managing the sensor status and real-time responses, and novel computing platforms will be implemented to handle the large-scale, data-intensive computations required for responsive neurorehabilitation applications. The project integrates research and education through several avenues: enhancement of undergraduate curricula with embedded research experiences, development of a massive open online course on neural machine interface and initiation of a K-12 through community college outreach program.


Professor snags major NSF grant, part 2

Associate Professor in Secondary Education Larry Horvath has been awarded a three-year NSF grant for $3.3 million. As principal investigator, Horvath will lead the professional development for the NSF Robert Noyce STEM Teachers’ scholarship recipients from the Western Regional Noyce community. Also collaborating in the grant are SF State Professor of Mathematics Eric Hsu and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kimberly Seashore, Donna Ross at San Diego State and John M. Keller at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Western Regional Noyce community consists of the undergraduate Noyce scholars, Noyce teachers, Noyce master teacher fellows and Noyce leadership from all active NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Programs in 12 western states. The leadership team for this Western Regional Noyce Alliance (WRNA) includes STEM education faculty from SF State and nine collaborating institutions. Over the three years of the grant, the WRNA will host three annual conferences, three math and three science summer institutes and 18 regional networking sessions and support nine Noyce scholars’ participation in immersive summer research experiences.


“Plants Are Cool!” and so is Cantley

Assistant Professor of Biology Jason Cantley recently helped discover a rare plant hiding in plain sight in Pennsylvania for over 100 years. Cantley is an author on a paper published April 17 in the journal PhytoKeys detailing the discovery of the rarely seen Heuchera americana, which was previously unknown in the state. To access the plant, Cantley repelled down a 300-foot cliff above the Susquehanna River as part of a rare plant survey in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and Bucknell University. The survey was recorded for the latest episode of a Bucknell web series, “Plants Are Cool, Too!” Cantley can be seen making the discovery at the eight-minute mark.


McDaniel diagnoses candidate with “second-choice syndrome”

Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel is quoted in a San Francisco Magazine article about the mayoral candidacy of former Board of Supervisors member and State Senator Mark Leno. Though Leno was once the favorite to win, some campaign watchers say the odds that he’ll become the city’s first gay mayor are dwindling. “Leno may be suffering from second-choice syndrome,” McDaniel said. “He’s broadly acceptable to many, but doesn’t engender much passionate support.”


Verma disappointed as One Laptop powers down

A Verge article about the failure of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), an ambitious effort to produce cheap computers for children in the developing world, featured quotes from Professor of Information Systems Sameer Verma. “My mother’s family comes from a small farming village, and so growing up we were very familiar with the lifestyle there,” said Verma, who was an active OLPC supporter. “When I would look at OLPC, I would be like — ‘I know that this stuff can really do a lot of good things for communities like that.’”