February 19, 2018

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Dolphin in water

Groundbreaking theory on animal behavior

Can animals choose to harm themselves -- or even commit suicide? A new article by Assistant Professor of Humanities David M. Peña-Guzmán says it's possible. Recently published in the Journal of Animal Sentience, the article argues that many animals, especially cognitively sophisticated animals held in captivity, exhibit self-destructive behaviors that culminate in great bodily harm and even death. While most researchers believe only humans have the cognitive and behavioral capacity to commit suicide, there is strong scientific and philosophical evidence that animals fatally harm themselves.

According to Peña-Guzmán, scientists have found that animals experience many of the same emotional states humans suffer before attempting suicide, such as grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and general helplessness. One researcher cited in Peña-Guzmán’s article noticed that some animals will starve themselves to death voluntarily if captured or separated from loved ones. A tragic example is the case of a dolphin named Kathy, who starred in the 1960s TV show "Flipper." Her trainer claimed she had been depressed after spending years in captivity and that one day she simply sank to the bottom of her tank and willfully stopped breathing, committing suicide.

Click here to learn more about Peña-Guzmán’s paper..

Steve Everett

Next provost candidate coming to campus

Steve Everett will be the third of four candidates for provost and vice president for Academic Affairs to come to SF State for public forums. Everett has served as dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2013. He also coordinates the numerous community-engaged activities of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and oversees activities at the UIC Innovation Center, an interdisciplinary research hub cosponsored with the Colleges of Medicine, Engineering and Business and supported by industry and corporate partners. An in-depth profile is available online.

On Monday, Feb. 26, an open forum with Everett from 11 a.m. to noon is scheduled for faculty members, while a 3 to 4 p.m. forum will include students, the general campus and community stakeholders. Both forums will be held at the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. Everett will begin with a 15- to 20-minute presentation, which will be followed by discussion and questions. An in-depth profile of Everett is available online.

The other candidates will be on campus Feb. 27.

Click here to learn more.

Hao Yue

Assistant professor honored in Beijing

A paper coauthored by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Hao Yue won the Best Paper Award at the 13th International Conference on Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks recently held in Beijing. The paper, "Receive Buffer Pre-division Based Flow Control For MPTCP," takes a close look at how the Internet governs the flow of information between computers. In it, Yue's team solves a problem faced by a potential successor to a current Internet protocol -- one that Yue says has the potential to be an industry standard for a future version of the Internet.

University part of national political learning effort

SF State is one of 12 universities across the country that will be testing tools for assessing campus climates for political education and action. The two-year initiative -- Assessing and Improving Political Learning and Engagement on Campus -- is a project of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project and Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Campus teams at SF State and other participating institutions (including James Madison University, Illinois State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) will pilot processes for engaging campus communities in measuring, understanding and improving campus climates in order to ensure that all students are prepared to be informed, engaged citizens. Look for updates in future issues of CampusMemo.

CEETL hosts open hours for faculty

The Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL), located in LIB 242, invites faculty members to drop in during open hours. Have a conversation about teaching with a CEETL fellow or ambassador, grab a snack and a cup of tea, have some quiet work time or peruse books and resources about teaching and learning. Open hours are:

  • Mondays with Amy Kilgard, 11 a.m. to noon
  • Tuesdays with Crystal Wong, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and Jen Reck, 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesdays with Jessica Fielder, 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Thursdays with Karen Wiederholt, 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Fridays with Amy Kilgard, noon to 1 p.m.

Jefferson Award nomination deadline approaching

Each year, the Jefferson Awards Foundation honors individuals across the country for their public service. SF State faculty, staff, students and community members may nominate a faculty member who has created positive change in the world. Nominations for this year's awards must be received by March 1. Know a faculty member who has empowered others through community service? Go to SF State's Jefferson Awards page to learn more and fill out the nomination form.

Special meal deal for staff and faculty

For a limited time, Sodexo Dining Services is offering a dining loyalty card for faculty and staff members. The $88 Edu'gator' loyalty card is good for 10 meals at any of the three Sodexo Dining Services locations:

  • City Eats: an all-you-care-to-eat buffet-style dining commons
  • Bricks: pizza and pastas
  • Cafe in the Park: pastries, sandwiches, salads and Starbucks coffees

The Edu'gator' Loyalty Card is valid until May 24 and can be purchased online or at one of Sodexo's three campus locations.

March 1 deadline for Distinguished Faculty nominations

Each year, the Academic Senate's Distinguished Faculty Awards honor outstanding faculty members for their meaningful and lasting contributions in the areas of teaching, professional achievement and service. Please consider nominating your colleagues. Nominations are due by March 1 and should be submitted online. Full guidelines are available on the senate's website.

Academic Senate report

The Academic Senate will meet Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. 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 will include:


  • Grace Yoo, Faculty Director of First-Year Experiences, and Chris Trudell, First-Year Experience Manager: Report on First-Year Experience Committee and First-Year Seminar Task Force

Agenda items:

  • Academic Policies Committee: Proposed Revision to the Withdrawal from Courses Policy (second reading)
  • Academic Policies Committee: Proposed Revision to the Grade Appeals Policy (first reading)
  • Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Proposed B.S. in Apparel Design and Merchandising: Concentration in Design (first reading)
  • Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Proposed B.S. in Apparel Design and Merchandising: Concentration in Merchandising (first reading)
  • Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Proposed Student Field Trip Policy (first reading)

The complete agenda and support documents for the meeting are available online.

Season for Nonviolence lectures, Feb. 19 & 26

The Season for Nonviolence is an annual, worldwide celebration of the accomplishments and philosophies of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Health Education Lecturer Kenn Burrows has marked the occasion by organizing two lectures open to the University community. The first will be "Psychology and Spirituality of Awe — Challenges to the Robotic Revolution," presented by author and psychotherapist Kirk Schneider today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in HSS 306. The second lecture, "Using the Enneagram for Collaborative Leadership & Team Building," will be presented by teamwork expert and consultant Matt Schlegel on Monday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in HSS 306.

Retention, Tenure and Promotion workshops coming in April

The Office of Faculty Affairs & Professional Development invites faculty to participate in one of the following workshops to help prepare for retention, tenure and promotion. Sophie Clavier, associate dean of Faculty Affairs & Professional Development, will conduct the workshops. Faculty who will be reviewed in the next few years are encouraged to attend. The workshops have been organized according to different phases of faculty professional development, but topics covered in each workshop will be similar, so feel free to attend the workshop that best fits your schedule.

  • Faculty currently in retention review: Tuesday, April 3, 10 to 11:30 a.m., LIB 244
  • Faculty currently in retention review: Wednesday, April 4, 10 to 11:30 a.m. via Zoom
  • Faculty preparing for promotion and tenure to associate professor: Wednesday, April 11, 1 to 2:30 p.m. via Zoom
  • Faculty preparing for promotion and tenure to associate professor: Thursday, April 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m., LIB 244
  • Faculty preparing for promotion to full professor: Thursday, April 26, 1 to 2:30 p.m., LIB 244

To register, RSVP online.

DPRC director candidate forums, Feb. 22 & March 8

The Disability Programs & Resource Center (DPRC) Director Search Committee has announced dates for the campus visits of two candidates for DPRC director. There will be one open forum each day.

  • Enjie Hall, director of Campus Accessibility and Student Disability Services at the University of Toledo, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, in LIB 244
  • Wendy Tobias, SF State's interim DPRC director, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 in SSB 401

More information on each candidate will be available at the venue.

Space Man

The San Francisco Chronicle turned to Subodh Bhat, professor of marketing, for an article about the image of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. According to Bhat, Musk's high-profile stunts -- such as shooting a Tesla into orbit recently -- have made him so associated with the brand people forget he's the company's fourth CEO. "Basically, the brand revolves around the person," Bhat said. "He's so well known for trying new things that people are willing to give him some slack, and by extension they'll give Tesla some slack."

The 411 on 911

Jim Dudley, a lecturer in the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement, recently appeared as a guest on the emergency services-themed "EMS Podcast." A retired deputy chief with the San Francisco Police Department, Dudley took part in a panel discussion on improving communication among emergency responders. The complete 38-minute podcast is available online.

Into Africa

Following a fall semester of preparatory discussion sessions, third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students Grace Wang and Emily Gee, Assistant Professor Casey Nesbit and Associate Professor Jet Lee spent two weeks in Malawi, where there is a critical shortage of physical therapists. During their visit in the southeast African nation, they provided a three-day rehabilitation training program for 60 home-based palliative care community health workers as well as physical therapy services at a 300-bed hospital. Physical therapy services were provided for patients at the hospital, a 20-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit and home-bound patients in the surrounding villages.

Going for the Gold

Professor of Psychology David Matsumoto discussed how to deal with setbacks in an NBC News article about the attitudes of Olympics competitors. Matsumoto emphasized the importance of accepting the agony of defeat on the way to the thrill of victory. "If you've had a setback you need to process it and then look forward," he said.

Not Just Fiddling Around

A violin solo by Assistant Professor of Music Jassen Todorov won raves from San Francisco Classical Voice. "Smooth and blended -- especially with each other -- playing from both soloists, violinist Jassen Todorov and violist Paul Yarbrough, gave the occasion a full measure of gallantry," critic David Bratman wrote of the Feb. 10 performance at a concert by the Redwood Symphony. "Both soloists are professionals who are known locally — Todorov as a teacher at San Francisco State and Yarbrough for his long service in the Alexander String Quartet."

BECA faculty members snag video awards

Assistant Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Oscar Guerra received two awards from the Broadcast Education Association. His film "Open Chest Simulation" won an Award of Excellence in the Educational or Instructional category. His video "Estacion de mi Gente: Tito Fuentes," produced with Lecturer of Broadcast Communication Arts Antonio Ayala and alumnus Paul Hodges, won a Best of Competition award in the Short Form Sports Video category.