May 14, 2018

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Ramona Tascoe

Activist alumna to be Commencement speaker

Activist, physician and alumna Ramona Tascoe (B.A., ’72) will be the featured speaker at the University’s 117th Commencement ceremony May 24 at AT&T Park. In 1967, Tascoe took part in campus protests that grew into the historic student strike of 1968, eventually leading to the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies. But before that milestone there were many intense confrontations — and in the midst of one of them, Tascoe became the first of the student protesters to be arrested. After graduating from SF State, she went on to earn a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1979. She later earned both a master of public administration degree from the University of San Francisco and a master of divinity degree from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union.

Tascoe has been an internal medicine specialist in Oakland for decades and has also put her unique mix of skills to work on behalf of communities around the world. She’s led medical missions to Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, India and Sri Lanka. And she’s worked extensively with Haiti’s Ministry of Health.

“While she was a student here, Dr. Tascoe fought to make our university more broad-minded and inclusive,” said San Francisco State President Les Wong. “She’s gone on to make the world a better place as a physician and spiritual leader. She’s an alumna any university would be proud to claim, and I’m immensely pleased that she’s agreed to share her story with this year’s graduates."


Guy looking at robot

Students develop marketing campaign for robot startup

Students in Assistant Professor of Marketing Nga Ho-Dac’s “Digital Marketing” class have been working all semester to develop an integrated digital marketing platform for ZoraBots, a startup creating user-friendly software for hospitality and companion robots. When the semester ends, the finished product will include a website that’s search-engine optimized, digital ads, articles, social media and email marketing campaigns, as well as promotional videos targeting sectors where the robots will be used, such as retail, education or healthcare.

Ho-Dac says he likes having students working on these types of projects because nothing replaces actual experience.

“Students are building a website from scratch and they then use that as a platform to do marketing,” Ho-Dac said. “They’re also using Google analytics to measure the website’s performance and to test the performance of different landing pages and website features.”

Benjamin Le Cam, U.S. vice president of business development for ZoraBots, has been working closely with students to execute the company’s vision. Once the project is completed, he says, this will be a wonderful way for students to boost their resumes; some may even get an internship with the company following the class.

“We’re a startup so we don’t have a budget for marketing, so this is a perfect relationship because students are creating a product for a real company,” he said. “Students have a creativity we don’t have. I give them guidelines, but of course they can come to me with their ideas.”


Petra Dekens

Study exposes bias at science conferences

A new study co-authored by Chair of the San Francisco State University Department of Earth & Climate Sciences and Associate Professor of Oceanography Petra Dekens shows how the structure of a large scientific meeting perpetuates the gender gap in science and points the way to strategies that might help make such gatherings more equitable. Dekens and several of her colleagues looked at data from the fall meetings of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) between 2014 and 2016. With over 24,000 attendees in 2017, the conference is the largest in the field of geoscience, bringing together researchers who study the Earth and space. They found that women had fewer opportunities than men to speak about their research findings. That’s because these opportunities were more often given to senior researchers, the career stage where gender disparities in science are the greatest. When men selected speakers, they tapped women only 29 percent of the time, even though women submitted 32 percent of the presentation abstracts overall. Women in a position to choose presenters, on the other hand, picked other women 37 percent of the time.

The researchers published their results on April 24 in the prestigious journal Nature Communications Nature Communications. To learn more about Dekens and the study, go here.


“Bold Thinkers”: a new SF State News column

News stories about research can grab your attention — an exciting discovery, the completion of a long-running project, a public outreach project that changes lives. But what about the setbacks, pitfalls, tangents and motivations that made that culminating moment happen? In the SF State News website’s new “Bold Thinkers” column, we'll look behind the headlines to feature stories that can’t be captured by a single moment in time.

Our first three profiles feature Associate Dean of Ethnic Studies Amy Sueyoshi’s research uncovering previously untold stories of Asian men in San Francisco’s queer history; Psychology graduate student Gerald Young’s winding path to a Ph.D. program; and Professor of Analytical-Environmental Chemistry Peter Palmer’s two decades of work to help test repatriated Native American artifacts for pesticides. We hope you enjoy!


Faculty administrative search and service pool

The Academic Senate has created a Qualtrics survey to gather information about faculty interest in shared governance opportunities on our campus. All Unit 3 employees are welcome to register. In addition to being added to the administrative search pool as outlined in #S18-180, faculty can register interest in one or more of the Academic Senate appointments on committees across campus. This will help the senate match faculty interests with opportunities as well as increase the diversity of its committees.

Faculty in the administrative search pool are eligible to be a nominee for administrative searches across the University. The senate encourages all campus faculty to add themselves to the list. Upcoming searches include, but are not limited to: dean of the College of Science and Engineering, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, dean of the College of Business, AVP of Academic Resources and AVP of Communications & Strategic Marketing.

Please click here to fill out the survey, and thank you for your participation in shared governance on our campus.


Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning presentation, May 17

Lori Beth Way has been selected as the finalist for the dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning. Way has been serving in the position in an interim capacity. Her all-day campus interview will be held Thursday, May 17, and will include a presentation at 9:15 a.m. in the Faculty Commons (LIB 286). The campus community is invited to her presentation and to stay for a light reception. 


Friends of the Library wants your clutter

It’s never too late to get started on your spring cleaning. Clear those old books, CDs and LP vinyl records from your shelves and cases before leaving for the summer. The Friends of the SFSU Library always appreciates donations for the Book Sale Room, a nonprofit, volunteer-run used book shop which raises funds for our campus library. The Friends even come to your office or home and pick them up. For a pickup, contact Barbara Loomis or Rob Strong.


Reminder: retirement consultations available

Matthew Case, your dedicated Fidelity retirement planner, will be hosting onsite individual meetings to help you address your retirement questions on Friday, May 18, and Tuesday, July 31. For more information or to sign up for a session, visit their site.


Academic Senate report and agenda

The Academic Senate met Tuesday, May 1, in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. Among the meeting highlights:

Reports: Professor Jennifer Shea, chair of the Graduate Council, and Interim Graduate Dean Mi-Sook Kim gave a report on the work of the Graduate Council; Professor Zuzana Janko gave a report on changes to the appendices of the Baccalaureate Requirements Policy.

The senate approved:

  • A recommendation of the Academic Policies Committee to revise the policy on Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors, Concentrations, Minors and Certificates
  • Recommendations of the Executive Committee to revise three policies: the Graduate Council Policy, the Charge for the Center for Equity in Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Policy on Assigned Time for Exceptional Levels of Service to Students
  • A recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee for a Policy on Graduate Teaching Association Tuition Waivers
  • A recommendation of the Educational Policies Council for the discontinuance of the Concentration in Art Education in the Bachelor of Arts in Art
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee for a Policy on Undergraduate Student Instruction, for a proposed minor in History and for a proposed minor in Music
  • A recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee to revise resolution RF15-337, In Support of Anti-Bullying

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


Academic Senate election results

At its meeting on May 8, 2018, the Academic Senate elected members of the 2018-2019 Academic Senate Executive Committee.

The Officers of the Academic Senate for 2018-2019 will be Chair Nancy Gerber, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Vice-Chair Teddy Albiniak, Department of Communication Studies and director of forensics; and Secretary Kim Schwartz, Department of Theatre and Dance.

The two at-large members on the Academic Senate Executive Committee for 2018-2019 are Dylan Mooney, IT staff in the College of Health and Social Sciences, and Ellen Hines, Department of Geography & Environment.

The chairs of the Academic Senate standing committees are:

  • Academic Policies Committee: Jackson Wilson, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism
  • Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Genie Stowers, School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement
  • Faculty Affairs Committee: Jasper Rubin, School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement
  • Student Affairs Committee: Aimee Williams, lead health educator, Health Promotion and Wellness
  • Strategic Issues Committee: Tom Thomas, Department of Management

HPW, CPS candidate visits announced

Two candidates for the position of director of Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) will soon visit campus. Karen Stradford Boyce will be at an open forum presentation tomorrow from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in SSB 404. Frank V. Strona will appear at an open forum presentation Tuesday, June 5, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in the Student Health Services Conference Room.

In addition, a campus visit has been scheduled for Lisa M. Cohn, a candidate for the position of director of Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS). Cohn will answer questions provided by the CPS on Thursday, May 17, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in the Student Health Services Conference Room.


ASSIST webinar dates

As part of a comprehensive upgrade to ASSIST, the transfer and articulation database for California's public two-year and four-year institutions, the ASSIST Executive Management and Oversight Committee will host one-hour webinars for all interested ASSIST users. The content for all webinars is the same.

  • Tuesday, 5/15/18 10:00 – 11 a.m. Register here.
  • Thursday, 5/17/18 1:00 – 2 p.m. Register here.
  • Monday, 5/21/18 12:00 – 1 p.m. Register here.

For more information, contact Ceci Herrmann in the Articulation office.


In memoriam: Bernard "Bernie" Goldstein

Professor Emeritus of Biology Bernard Goldstein passed away April 27. Goldstein was also an alumnus, earning his B.S. in biology here in 1962 and his M.A. in biology two years later. He joined the faculty in 1968 and later served as chair of both SF State’s Academic Senate (1980-82) and the CSU’s Academic Senate (1984-1987). He was also a longtime board member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In 1986, Goldstein was named SF State’s Alumnus of the Year. 

Donations in Goldstein’s name can be made to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University (where he served as provost) or SF State’s Department of Biology.


New book for Caspers

"The Fifth Woman," a novel in stories by Professor of Creative Writing Nona Caspers, will be published August 7 by Sarabande Books. Caspers is also the author of the collection "Heavier Than Air: Stories," which won the Association of Writers and Writing Program's Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction. .


Monshipouri talks turkey on trumped agreement

Professor of International Relations Mahmood Monshipouri was interviewed on KTVU about the ramifications of abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, based on President Trump's decision last week. According to Monshipouri, Iran was abiding by the agreement's terms. "Iran before this nuclear deal had something close to 20,000 centrifuges and had something close to seven to eight tons of uranium stockpiled," he said, "The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA has shown that Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear deal." Yet Trump wasn't happy with a provision allowing Iran to resume development of nuclear power in 2025, Monshipouri said, and also opposed Iran's involvement in Syria. "President Trump is not happy with Iranian political behavior in the region outside of the nuclear deal, so therefore they would like to add more pressure, more sanctions on Iran," said Monshipouri.


Goen-Salter talks stretch courses

Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language & Literature Sugie Goen-Salter discussed SF State's "stretch" courses (which extend one semester’s worth of material over two to give students more time to master important skills) with the education-focused website Edsource. According to Goen-Salter, stretch courses both increase the odds that students will finish remedial courses and do a better job of bolstering writing skills. Her final grade for stretch courses: They’re "definitely better for students."


Swei talks ticks

Assistant Professor of Biology Andrea Swei authored a study showing where ticks carrying Lyme disease are more prevalent in the Bay Area. According to the study, Northern California ticks are drawn to large, intact natural settings, like parks. (Their East Coast counterparts, on the other hand, prefer lurking in smaller areas, such as yards.) So if you're planning a visit to the great outdoors, Swei told SF Gate don't forget the Off!. "Ticks don't move very far," she said. "You have to move to them."


Cox rocks space opera

Design and Industry and Department of Information Systems Lecturer David Cox appeared at Oakland's Temescal Arts Center yesterday with singers John Smalley and Anna Samborsca to present excerpts from "Rocket Opera," Cox's work-in-progress about the 1960s space race. Cox also screened "Otherzone," a science fiction short film he wrote and directed. The presentations were part of the Temescal Arts Center's monthly Shapeshifters Cinema series, which spotlights experimental films, videos and performances.