February 5, 2018

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Sonja Lenz-Rashid and Xochitl Sanchez

Guardian Scholars founders named "ABC7 Stars"

Associate Professor of Social Work Sonja Lenz-Rashid and Associate Director of the Educational Opportunity Program Xochitl Sanchez were recently the subjects of a glowing profile on ABC7 News. The segment celebrated their work as co-founders of the Guardian Scholars program, which supports current and former foster care youth working to complete their undergraduate degrees at SF State. According to the nonprofit group Promises2Kids, only 55 percent of former foster youth go to college, and only 8 percent of them graduate. Yet the Guardian Scholars program boasts a 90 percent sophomore year retention rate and a 70 percent six-year graduation rate.

"Seeing that someone actually cared about your future and believed in you, that is tremendous," Sokhom Mao, a former Guardian Scholars student and SF State grad, said in the TV profile.

Click here to watch the ABC7 story.

S.K. Ramesh

Provost candidate coming to campus

S.K. Ramesh will be the first of four candidates for provost and vice president for Academic Affairs to come to SF State for public forums. A professor of electrical engineering and computer engineering at CSU Northridge (CSUN), Ramesh will be on campus Monday, Feb. 12. An 11 a.m. to noon forum will be open to 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. Ramesh will open with a 15- to 20-minute presentation, which will be followed by discussion and questions.

In addition to his position as a CSUN professor, Ramesh serves as director and lead principal investigator of the AIMS2 program, through which CSUN works with community colleges to boost graduation rates for underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science. He served as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSUN from 2006 to 2017. An in-depth profile of Ramesh is available online.

The other candidates will be on campus Feb. 23, Feb. 26 and Feb. 27.

Click here to learn more.

Richard Harvey and Erik Peper

Professors challenge drug-testing procedures

Drug trials that don't use active placebos could make meds look more effective than they really are, according to Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey and Professor of Health Education Erik Peper. An active placebo is usually something like a low dose of caffeine or vitamin B3, and causes some type of harmless side effect (such as increased heart rate or skin flushing). Study participants often interpret those effects as the drug working, according to Harvey and Peper. Using an active placebo offers a more honest test of whether the procedure or drug really works, the researchers contend. Currently, many studies use passive placebos, such as a low-dose sugar pill, which cause no side effects and may thus skew study results in favor of the drug.

Click here to read more.

W-2 FAQs

It's tax time again. The State Controller's Office (SCO) mailed out employee 2017 Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statements by the end of January. Human Resources has posted answers to frequently asked questions about W-2 statements -- including what to do if yours doesn't arrive in the mail -- on its website. If you still have questions, the SCO can help: It has a W-2 FAQ on its site.

New infographic offers student body analysis

As part of its ongoing effort to disseminate data across campus, the Office of Institutional Research (IR) has created a new infographic of the fall 2017 student population. Specific measures include enrollment, demographics and student success indicators. The infographic is available online here.

IR welcomes feedback and suggestions as part of its efforts to disseminate data across campus. Visit the IR website for contact information or to view more helpful data.

First-year initiative updates

During 2016-2017, SF State conducted the Foundations of Excellence (FoE) first-year self-study. Faculty and staff from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs & Enrollment Management (SAEM) provided input throughout the duration of the academic year to determine the barriers to success for first-year students. An overview of their recommendations is available online.

Chris Trudell has been hired in SAEM as the interim first-year experience manager, and Grace J. Yoo has been selected as the first-year experience faculty director. In addition, a first-year experience seminar task force has convened as well as the university-wide first-year experience committee. The first event to grow out of the initiative -- a student/faculty mixer -- will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Faculty Commons (LIB 286). Faculty and first-year students are invited to attend. Check the First Year Experience website for updates and contact information.

Faculty members have also been invited to submit proposals for lectures to first-year students. Lectures can be done at SF State or other locations in San Francisco and should expand first-year students' experience at SF State, build positive student-to-faculty relations and build affinity to the connections between their education, identities and the greater community. The deadline to submit a lecture proposal is Friday, Feb. 9. Faculty selected will receive a $200 honorarium for their lecture. Interested? Register online.

Cold and flu relief available on campus

Did you know that staff and faculty can purchase reasonably priced over-the-counter products and medications at the SHS Pharmacy? Check out the list of products and prices here. All you need is your ID number. Charges will go on your account and payment can be made at a later date at the bursar’s office.

College of Business launches Entrepreneurship Symposium

The first annual College of Business Entrepreneurship Symposium will be held Thursday, April 5, at the Downtown Campus. Ofer Ronen, a top bot-analytics leader for Google's startup incubator, will be the keynote speaker. The day will also include presentations by other entrepreneurs, a startup pitch competition and networking opportunities. Discounted tickets are available for faculty and staff members. Learn more online.

Citizen's Police Academy returns

The University Police Department is bringing back its Citizen's Police Academy. The program is intended for campus community members who are interested in learning about their local police department. It is a 10-week comprehensive program covering classroom and practical applications of law enforcement. Investigations, defensive tactics and traffic enforcement are some of the topics that will be covered. The program is open to current students, faculty and staff. Applications are due Feb. 15, and the program will start Feb. 21. For more information, contact Sgt. Rodriguez at daverod@sfsu.edu or ext. 8-3006.

Vista Room reopens today

The Vista Room has reopened to the campus community and to the public. A fully functional restaurant and teaching and learning laboratory, the Vista Room offers three menus over the course of the semester, highlighting the best in local produce and products. As always, there are vegetarian and vegan options. The menu can be found on the Vista Room's Facebook page or website.

The Vista Room will be seating guests Monday through Friday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. while classes are in session. Check the Facebook page or call ext. 5-4100 for availability and last-minute information. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling or by sending an email to vista@sfsu.edu.

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:


  • Ann Sherman, Vice President -- Administration and Finance (2:30, time certain)
  • Jeny Patino, Executive Director -- Housing, Dining & Conference Services (2:30, time certain)
  • Christine Miller, Chair -- Academic Senate of the California State University system(?)

Agenda items:

  • Proposed changes to the M.S. in Interdisciplinary Marine and Estuarine Sciences (second reading)
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Proposed Minor in Computing Applications (second reading)
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Proposed Creation of a Student Health Advisory Committee (first reading)
  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: Proposed Revision to the Withdrawal from Courses Policy (first reading)

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

Documentary "The Voices of Children," Feb. 5

SF State's Child Development Speaker Series, in collaboration with the Holy Family Day Home, will screen a documentary film on children's rights tonight in the Creative Arts building's Knuth Hall. Titled "The Voices of Children," the 24-minute film documents the words and actions of young children around the world and advocates for a more inclusive view of children's rights from the perspective of the children themselves. Doors open at 5:30. Tickets are available online.

ICCE Internship & Service-Learning Fair, Feb. 6 & 7

The Institute for Civic & Community Engagement (ICCE) invites all to the spring 2018 Internship & Service-Learning Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and Wednesday, Feb. 7. The fair will be held inside the Cesar Chavez Student Center's Plaza Level from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Several organizations from the Bay Area will be showcasing their work and offering opportunities for individuals to get involved, including paid or unpaid internships and service-learning and volunteer activities. Those interested in learning about social justice issues, civic engagement and ways to give back to the community are encouraged to attend.

Master class cancelled, Feb. 9

A master class for students by the Zephyros Winds, scheduled for 2:10 on Friday, Feb. 9, has been cancelled. The ensemble will still perform a free concert at 8 p.m. that evening in McKenna Theatre, and Professor of Music Richard Festinger will deliver a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. Reserve your free seats online or call the SF State Box Office at ext. 8-2467.

University Time, Place and Manner Directive Discussion, Feb. 16

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right and the University supports that right by upholding a long-standing tradition of encouraging critical thought and expression, engendering greater awareness of systemic societal issues and championing the development of one's own mind. However, freedom of expression at SF State is subject to reasonable restrictions of time, place and manner. University Executive Directive #89-13: Time, Place and Manner provides guidelines for the use of University grounds and facilities by students, faculty, staff and the general public including, but not limited to, where and when events and assembly can occur, the use of amplified sound, the posting of flyers and the placement of signage.

The campus community is invited to an informational discussion about revisions to the University's Time, Place and Manner Executive Directive and its intersection with the University's goal of supporting free speech on campus. The discussion will be held in LIB 121 at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16.

Professor wins teaching award

Professor of International Relations and Middle East and Islamic Studies Lucia Volk was awarded the 2017 Undergraduate Teaching Award by the Middle East Studies Association. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to undergraduate education in Middle East studies. The award committee cited her key role in the creation of SF State's undergraduate Middle East and Islamic Studies program and praised her innovative teaching materials and holistic approach to teaching.

A victorious vintage

A 2016 Primitivo vintage by Primrose Wines -- co-owned by SF State alumnus and Admissions Counselor Nicholas Curry -- took home a silver medal in the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines. It's not the first time Primrose has won accolades. Last year, Curry's 2015 Primitivo earned a Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

LaVilla talks vino on KFOG

KFOG will air an interview with SF State Lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism Management Joseph LaVilla on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 8:30 a.m. and again on Feb. 8 at 6:30 a.m. as part of the radio station's "Wine Wednesday" segment. LaVilla will be discussing this year's San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, for which he served as a judge.

Seagrass in the spotlight

As levels of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere rise, oceans are becoming more acidic. A working group including SF State Professor of Biology and Director of the Estuary and Ocean Science Center Karina Nielson and Professor of Biology Katharyn Boyer released a report this week highlighting the potential of seagrasses and kelp to provide some relief from acidity in coastal areas. The report will be presented in a legislative hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources in Sacramento on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

McBride comments on Spielberg snub

Professor of Cinema Joseph McBride was quoted in a New York Times article that questioned why Steven Spielberg wasn't nominated for a Best Director Oscar for his latest film, "The Post." McBride commented that Spielberg's skills may be taken for granted in Hollywood. "He has been around so long and has been so honored…that he may be seen as somewhat old-hat and his skills assumed rather than honored," McBride said.

Study explores impacts of Africana studies

Professor of Africana Studies Serie McDougal and Associate Professor of Africana Studies Dawn-Elissa Fischer co-authored a study about the effects of Africana studies courses on the thoughts and practices of the students taking them. The results, they say, have implications for the effective administration of Africana studies departments. The study was published in the journal "Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies."