August 27, 2018

"Please press the enter key fr the icon you would like to hear more about. Currently, the associated text is not being read automatically. Please use insert key and arrow down to get to the text."
President Wong at Convocation

Convocation kicks off new academic year

SF State welcomed more than three dozen new faculty and staff members at its 2018 Open University Convocation Thursday, Aug. 23. And the roster of educators isn’t the only thing that’s expanding on campus, it was revealed: The University also announced the start of two major construction projects.

Held in the McKenna Theatre, the Convocation (known in previous years as the Open Faculty Meeting) is SF State’s official faculty/staff kickoff for the academic year. In his Convocation address, President Leslie E. Wong shared new details of the construction projects getting underway this fall: a mid-rise mixed-use student housing development and a new academic building for the College of Liberal and Creative Arts (LCA). (See “Construction begins on Tapia Drive” below for more.)

SF State Vice President of University Enterprises Jason Porth, who helped oversee and coordinate these projects, urged the Convocation audience to look past the temporary disruptions of construction and focus on the revitalized campus coming their way when the buildings are completed in the fall of 2020. “Construction is loud and dusty,” he said, but a little noise and dirt is “a sign of progress.”

Porth also revealed that a new faculty/staff lounge — the University Club — is on its way. A campus fixture for decades, the old University Club was demolished as part of renovations to SF State’s J. Paul Leonard Library a decade ago. Now a new University Club is being built in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “I’m delighted it will reopen at the end of this semester,” Porth said. “It’s an important place for staff and faculty to meet.”

The Convocation also featured addresses by other campus leaders, and this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award winners were recognized. The Convocation can be viewed in its entirety online. 

Alum wearing a SFSU t-shirt

Time for Gators to show their true colors

Friday, Aug. 31, is the annual College Colors Day — a day where college graduates across the country and the world share pride in their alma maters by rocking their university gear. This year, SF State is getting in on the action, and you can win free swag by participating in our photo contest! We know how many faculty and staff are proud graduates of SF State, and we love seeing you wear purple and gold. Submit your entry anytime between now and Aug. 31.

Here's how it works:

  1. Wear SF State gear. No gear? That’s okay! Wear purple and gold!
  2. Take a photo and share why you’re proud to be an SFSU alumna/us. Post by tagging @SFSUAlumni and using #SFSUAlumni. If you are not on social media, send photos and captions to
  3. Share on or before Aug. 31 (College Colors Day).
  4. Be sure to make your posts public so we can see them!

The 2018 College Colors Day photo contest is sponsored by the SF State Alumni Association. Learn more and join.

Mary Ann van Dam and friends

Professor celebrates career highlight in Kenya

Mary Ann van Dam, professor and director of the School of Nursing, was on hand to congratulate the first graduating class of a nursing program named in her honor. The Mary Ann van Dam School of Nursing was launched in Ukwala, Kenya, four years ago as a project of the Kenya-based Matibabu Foundation. Last week, van Dam returned to Ukwala, a small town in western Kenya, for the first pinning ceremony for school graduates. (Newly graduated nurses are traditionally welcomed into the profession with a ceremony involving pins and a pledge written by Florence Nightingale.)

“Despite the heat, the experience was joyful, wonderful and unforgettable, full of dancing, awards and plays,” van Dam said. “I was very honored to pin the students and sign their Nightingale pledges. On the very same day, by coincidence or divine guidance, I celebrated my 40th anniversary of being pinned as a nurse. I could think of no greater celebration than this day with our 26 new Kenyan nurses.”

The dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning (DUEAP) invites applications for the associate dean position of Academic Planning. The associate dean of Academic Planning supervises the Academic Planning staff and serves on the leadership team of DUEAP. The position provides support to the dean in overseeing curricular changes, the new course proposal and course revisions processes, the annual assessment process, academic program review and program accreditation. The successful applicant will also work closely with the faculty general education director and WAC/WID directors. The associate dean of Academic Planning serves as the dean’s designee on several Academic Senate committees, including the Academic Program Review Committee, the University Academic Assessment Advisory Committee and the Committee for Written and English Proficiency.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest and CV (including at least three references) by Sept. 21 to Lara King at by Sept. 21. If you have questions about the position, please contact Dean Lori Beth Way at

Construction begins on Tapia Drive

Work is underway on a new Liberal and Creative Arts (LCA) building, the University’s first new academic building in almost 25 years. The new LCA building will be located on Tapia Drive, at the intersection of Font Boulevard and Holloway Avenue, and will house classrooms, recording studios and media labs.

The contractor, McCarthy Building Companies Inc., has erected a fence around the site. Work activities, including demolition and new construction, will occur on the site between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., with some dust and periodic noise expected during this time. Tapia Drive will remain open during construction.

Questions? Contact Boris Nemirovskiy, director of construction services at Capital Planning, Design, and Construction, at

Free access to the Mashouf Wellness Center

Stop by the Mashouf Wellness Center this week for free access to the facility. All staff and faculty are invited to sample what the Center has to offer at no charge between now and Sept. 1. Bring your SF State I.D. to take advantage of this limited-time offer.

Human Resources adds option for preferred names

SF State recognizes the need or preference of staff, faculty and students to use names other than their legal names to identify themselves with colleagues or on internal correspondence. In order to provide the campus community with a safe, inclusive and nondiscriminatory environment, the Human Resources Department has implemented a self-service option for employees to update a preferred name. More information and instructions for adding a preferred name via the HR Self Service interface can be found online here

HR reminder: It’s time to review your personal info

Human Resources requests that all members of the campus community review their personal contact information, emergency contact information and directory contact information. Looking everything over is quick and easy when done via the SF State Gateway. Step-by-step instructions are available online

University gets sustainability seal of approval

SF State has been listed as a 2018 top performer in transportation by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), a national organization working to strengthen campus sustainability efforts across the country. The University also received a silver STAR (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) ranking, indicating exemplary sustainability performance. The AASHE report on SF State’s sustainability efforts can be viewed online here.

College of Extended Learning (CEL) announces new Center for Global Engagement

The College of Extended Learning is consolidating admissions, student services and program management for its international programs under one entity, the Center for Global Engagement. This reorganization will make it easier for international students and clients to find what they need in one place while allowing CEL to more efficiently utilize staff and resources. The Center for Global Engagement team will manage the American Language Institute, San Francisco Discover Program, international customized trainings and international student advising and other administrative processes for international students participating in other CEL programs. CEL will launch the new Center for Global Engagement website and share more information in the next few months.

First-year student newsletter seeks submissions

To better inform new first-year students about SF State, the First-Year Experience initiative has created a new email newsletter: FroshMemo. The newsletter will be sent to all first-year students weekly for its first six to eight weeks, then switch to a monthly schedule. Click here to submit any programs, events and dates or deadlines tailored to first-year students that you would like to add to the FroshMemo newsletter. 

Confucius Institute offering free non-credit Chinese classes

The Confucius Institute at SF State is committed to offering Chinese courses at different levels for professional purposes, providing the resources for Chinese teaching and learning on campus and in communities. From Sept. 10 through Nov. 23, the non-credit Chinese classes will be available at no cost to all SF State faculty, staff and students who are interested in learning the language. Experienced instructors will teach different level classes and meet learners’ needs for specific purposes.

Chinese I, II and III will be offered at 6 - 8 p.m. “CI 4001-Chinese Culture Experience” and “CI 5001-Chinese for Specific Purposes” will be taught from noon to 1 p.m. The Confucius Institute will provide Basic Chinese Class for students who have registered for study abroad programs in China. The Institute will design unique curricula and teaching plans for different groups of students for specific purposes, including basic Chinese skills, knowledge about Chinese culture, specific academic vocabulary and expressions.

New lab safety software available this fall

Environment, Health & Safety, in partnership with Information Technology Services and Academic Affairs, is excited to announce that the campus will be implementing state-of-the-art lab safety technology beginning during the fall semester. New software was specifically developed for universities to help improve safety and regulatory compliance in labs and other locations where chemicals are used. For more information, please visit the EHS Lab Safety Software website

Proposals due for summer 2019 faculty-led study abroad programs

Faculty interested in organizing a faculty-led study abroad (FLSA) program during the 2019 summer break must submit a written proposal to the Office of International Programs (OIP) before Nov. 1. FLSA programs provide an opportunity for SF State faculty to expand their field of knowledge, gain international teaching experience and reconnect/establish ties with overseas colleagues while helping to build a more international SF State curriculum by leading a cohort of students overseas and teaching an SF State course relevant to the country of stay. FLSA programs also allow students to not only experience studying abroad with peers but to also earn University credit over the summer, fall, winter and spring breaks through programs designed and taught by SF State professors.

For more information, please visit OIP’s FLSA website or contact Jay Ward, associate director of OIP, at ext. 8-1121 or

Academic Master Plan Kickoff, Aug. 29

What kind of academic future does SF State imagine for itself? You’re invited to join the conversation at an Academic Master Plan Kickoff on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m., and the program will run from 9 to 10 a.m. Interested in attending? Register online

ICCE Internship & Service-Learning Fair, Sept. 5

The Institute for Civic & Community Engagement (ICCE) invites all to the fall 2018 Internship & Service-Learning Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The fair will be held on the Quad from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be 45 organizations from the Bay Area showcasing their work and offering opportunities for individuals to get involved. Organizations will have paid or unpaid internships as well as service-learning and volunteer opportunities. Those interested in learning about social justice issues, civic engagement and ways to give back to the community are encouraged to attend.

Campus Safety Week, Sept. 17-21

Designed to promote safety on and off campus through trainings and discussions, Campus Safety Week kicks off at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, with four hours of events in Malcolm X Plaza and the Quad. Later events will address such topics as sexual harassment prevention, active threat preparedness, stress reduction, self-defense and animals on campus. A full schedule is available online. To register for events you’re interested in, click here

Behrens nails gentrification

A film by the director of SF State’s Documentary Film Institute, Soumyaa Behrens, will be screened Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as part of the San Francisco Green Film Festival. “Nail House” explores gentrification, poverty and politics through the story of the fight to save a local recycling center. Tickets can be purchased online.

New book for Millet and company

A collection of essays co-edited by Department of Jewish Studies Professor Kitty Millet, “Fault Lines of Modernity” (Bloomsbury), will be released Sept. 20. The volume reflects an international cohort of faculty affiliated with Millet’s research committee on religion, ethics and literature. Contributors include Professors Geoffrey Green and Sara Hackenberg (English Language & Literature), Christopher Weinberger (Comparative & World Literature), Millet and Shawna Vesco, former SF State student and recent Ph.D. recipient from University of California, Santa Cruz.

“Hilarious” production for Galjour

Lecturer of Creative Writing Anne Galjour’s new play “#GetGandhi” was performed at the Z Space theatre in San Francisco through Aug. 26. Set in present-day San Francisco, the satire explores sexism, gentrification and changing perspectives on history. A review on the Bay Area theatre website Theatrius declared the play “intense” and “hilarious.”

New book for Brown and Barganier

Elizabeth Brown, director of the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement (PACE), and PACE Assistant Professor George Barganier co-wrote an upcoming book exploring race, policing and imprisonment in the United States. “Race and Crime: Geographies of Injustice” will be published in September by the University of California Press.

Veri presents on marginalization in tailgate culture

Associate Professor of Kinesiology Maria J. Veri presented a paper titled “Dixieland Symbols, Indigenous Appropriation, and the Frito Bandito: How Marginalized Groups are ‘Othered’ in Tailgate Culture” at the 46thAnnual Convention of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The paper was presented as part of the themed panel “Why Sport Matters,” for which presenters were tasked with the challenge of addressing a topic on the social significance of sport using a specific, timed format for their presentations. Veri discussed cultural meanings at the intersection of food and sport with an examination of how race and ethnicity have been represented in tailgate culture. Her analysis of the narrative content and images of tailgate cookbooks indicated that these texts often perpetuate an ahistorical rendering of U.S. racial and ethnic identity that obscures, marginalizes and maligns marginalized groups and their foodways.