November 13, 2018

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Venesia Thompson

Interim VP for University Advancement announced

President Les Wong has named Venesia Thompson-Ramsay interim vice president for University Advancement. Previously University Advancement’s associate vice president for operations, Thompson-Ramsay is stepping in for Robert J. Nava, who has accepted a position at Cal State San Bernardino. The search for a permanent VP for University Advancement will begin after SF State names its next president.

“I am confident that Venesia will provide strong and compassionate leadership as you continue the good work you are doing in our great university,” President Wong said.

Thompson-Ramsay joined SF State as chief of operations for University Advancement in 2012. Before that, she served as senior director, finance & administration for the Oakland-based advocacy organization Urban Habitat. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, and a masters in political science from Florida Atlantic University.

You're Invited Graphic

Faculty and staff holiday celebration on the way

President and Mrs. Wong would like you to join them for a faculty and staff holiday reception.

When: 2 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 6
Where: The Seven Hills Conference Center
What: A fun-filled celebration of all the hard work you do for the University

In keeping with an SF State tradition, guests are invited to bring canned goods for donation to individuals and families in need.

Mark your calendar now!

A student ponders a shelf full of textbooks

Affordable course materials help students

With the help of funding from the California State University Chancellor’s office and the state legislature, SF State is working to ensure that course materials are affordable for all students. Since 2014, Academic Technology, the J. Paul Leonard Library, the Disability Programs and Resource Center and the SF State Bookstore have been working with faculty to replace expensive textbooks with lower-cost alternatives such as high-quality open educational resources, library resources, digital or customized textbooks and faculty-authored materials. To assist students in making affordable course choices, the course schedule now identifies classes that use zero or low-cost course materials.

Faculty who wish to lower course costs can receive funding to develop open educational resources by submitting an Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) grant proposal at Awards range from $250 to $2,500. 

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Operations Brian Beatty says the University’s efforts to cut the cost of course materials over the past four years have resulted in an estimated $5 million in savings for students. “As more faculty approach their courses from affordable and open perspectives, and as awareness builds in the form of zero-cost course materials designations, there is greater opportunity to increase course access for all students, a hallmark of the equity that is so representative of SF State,” Beatty said.

Campus visits for AVP and dean of students finalists

The search committee for the dean of students is pleased to announce three outstanding finalists and their schedule for campus visits this week. All students are encouraged to attend the student forums from 2 to 2:45 p.m., with employees and students invited to campus-wide open forums to follow from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Carol Takao took the role of assistant vice chancellor, student life, student academic affairs at UCSF in 2014. She previously served in a variety of student affairs positions at UC Berkeley and Arizona State University. Takao’s student and campus sessions will be held in the Towers Conference Center’s Richmond and Sunset Rooms.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Brian Arao has 18 years experience in the student affairs field and is currently serving as the college administrative officer for the Oakes and Rachel Carson Colleges at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Arao’s general student forum and open forum sessions will be in the Cesar Chavez Student Center Rosa Parks Rooms A-C.
  • Friday, Nov. 16: Danny Glassmann has served as the associate dean of students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville since June of 2015. Prior to that, he was the assistant dean of students at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. Glassmann will meet with students and the campus community in the Towers Conference Center’s Richmond and Sunset Rooms.

Sodexo Scholarship supports student success

This fall, four students were selected as recipients of the Sodexo Scholarship, receiving a total of $25,000 in awards. Sodexo, Inc. established this scholarship fund at SF State in 2015 to recognize its partnership with the University and to ensure the academic success of our students, encourage diversity in our campus community and reduce the debt burden of young alumni. To date, the scholarship has provided 12 awards for a total of $75,000 in support to exemplary scholars across the campus.

“With this generous scholarship, I am beyond excited to pay off tuition and be able to craft my own path in dietetics, where I can make an impact on the individual, community and policy level,” said scholarship recipient Mical Woldemichael.

The scholarship is open to all graduates and undergraduates with a preference for students who work or major or minor in hospitality and tourism management, dietetics, sustainability, environmental studies, business and related fields. If you know of a student who may be interested in this opportunity, please encourage them to apply here.

The University extends its gratitude to Sodexo, Inc. for their annual support totaling $800,000 to date split between support for housing, scholarships and student organizations.

Winter Session enrollment open

Winter Session 2019 registration has started and is open to everyone — matriculated SF State students, prospective SF State enrollees and the Bay Area community at large. Administered by the College of Extended Learning, Winter Session lasts only three weeks but is rich in variety. You can apply four units toward a degree. In addition to credit-bearing coursework, Winter Session includes Continuing Education Units (CEUs) classes in topics such as construction or project management. Take a Winter Session course to get one step closer to graduation or satisfy your intellectual or professional curiosity. Questions? Please contact Donn Callaway, senior director of programs, at (415) 817-4488 or

Free use of the Mashouf Wellness Center

The Campus Recreation Department is offering faculty and staff members free access to the Mashouf Wellness Center Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 20. If you haven’t made use of the state-of-the-art center’s weight room, cardio equipment, group fitness classes, full-service locker rooms and other amenities, now’s the time. To gain access to the facility you must present your SF State ID card at the front desk and sign a waiver of liability. Please note: The natatorium will be closed for maintenance Nov. 19 and 20. For hours, specific program times and more information, go to the Campus Recreation website.

Deadline approaching for Call to Service grant applications

The Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) is accepting applications until Friday, Nov. 30, for 2019 Call to Service grants. These grants are for activities taking place during calendar year 2019 (Jan. 1-Dec. 15, 2019). Call to Service grants support SF State faculty and staff in providing service learning and community and civic engagement opportunities to students and in disseminating service learning knowledge, research and findings. Applicants may submit up to two proposals (though the proposals must be for two different categories).

Visit for more information and the online proposal submission form.

Open auditions for “Dreamgirls in Concert”

“Dreamgirls in Concert,” an upcoming showcase of songs from the Broadway musical, is looking for performers, and all SF State students, faculty and staff are welcome to try out. Female and male lead and ensemble singers are needed. Auditions will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in CA 152. Those interested should prepare two contrasting R&B, gospel, soul or pop songs and sign up in the office of the School of Theatre and Dance. The show will be performed in the McKenna Theatre May 10 and 11, 2019. 

Tours available at Children’s Campus

The Children’s Campus will be offering tours in November and December. An early education lab school facility for children ages 6 months to 5 years old, it offers priority enrollment for SF State faculty and staff and is conveniently located on the northwest corner of campus. All of its infant, toddler and preschool classrooms are led by highly educated, dedicated teachers who create nurturing and stimulating environments for children. Tours are free, and all prospective families are welcome to sign up and attend.

If you are looking for enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year and are interested in signing up for one of the tours, please contact Leanne Birog at Upcoming tour dates:

  • Monday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m.

Academic Senate meeting, Nov. 13

The Academic Senate will meet today 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:

  • Recommendation from the Executive Committee — Proposed Revision to the All University Teacher Education Council, #S94-146, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee — Proposed Revision of #S17-277, Standardized Time Blocks for Use in Course Scheduling Policy, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee — Proposed Revision to the Online Education Policy, #S16-246, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee — Proposed Revision of the B.A. in Journalism, Concentration in Print and Online Journalism, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee – Proposed Revision of the B.A. in Journalism: Concentration in Photojournalism, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee — Proposed Revision of the Minor in German, first reading
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee — Proposed Resolution in Support of Honoring the City of San Francisco Minimum Wage, first reading

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

International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 13-16

Celebrate International Education Week (IEW) 2018 with the Division of International Education and the Office of International Programs Tuesday, Nov. 13, through Friday, Nov. 16. Sponsored by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, IEW is an international event that emphasizes the importance of increasing knowledge and awareness of the world’s cultures, peoples and languages. Everyone is welcome to attend the free events and workshops, including Chinese Culture Day, the Study Abroad Fair and more. For more info about IEW 2018, please visit or contact Isabel Chou at or ext. 5-3931.

Chinese Culture Day Celebration, Nov. 13

As part of IEW, the Confucius Institute at SF State will co-host a Chinese Culture Day Celebration with the Office of International Programs Tuesday, Nov. 13. The event will be held at the Annex Student Event Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Chinese dragon and lion dance will kick off the event, which will also include Chinese cultural activities like brush calligraphy, paper cutting, painting Peking Opera masks, making Chinese lanterns and much more. Students, faculty and staff are invited to join the celebration! For more information, contact the Confucius Institute at or call at ext. 8-7624.

Writing pedagogy workshop, Nov. 14

A Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID) writing pedagogy workshop will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. in ADM 460. Department of English Language and Literature Associate Professor Sara Hackenberg and Department of Health Education Associate Professor Juliana van Olphen will each present peer review strategies for the writing classroom. Hackenberg will share a peer review strategy from her classroom and discuss integrating peer review with other forms of assessment. van Olphen, who also serves as director of WAC/WID, will discuss her use of Eli Review, an online platform to facilitate a feedback-centric classroom. They will be joined by students from their classrooms who will share their perspectives. Lunch will be served and lecturers will receive a small honorarium for attendance. No RSVP necessary. Email if you have any questions.

“In Between the Look: Fashion, Identity, and the Spaces Between,” Nov. 28 

Fashion designer, visual artist and activist Hushidar Mortezaie, whose work blends folklore, gender politics and iconography, will be speaking in the Global Museum (FA 293) on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 5:30 p.m. Mortezaie intends for his designs, featured in Italian Vogue and worn by celebrities including Beyoncé and Sarah Jessica Parker, to reflect the past, present and future of his heritage and inspire the next generation of Iranian-American youth to take pride in their culture. This event is co-hosted by the Global Museum, the SF State Anthropology Department and the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. Light refreshments will be served.

“Personalizing Positional Pedagogy,” Dec. 4

The Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning’s (CEETL) Happy Hour Workshop series focuses on sharing faculty members’ pedagogical expertise. The next workshop in the series — “Personalizing Positional Pedagogy: Integrating Transparency, Anti-Oppressive Assessment, and Active Learning Practices” — will be held

Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in LIB 242 and will be led by Associate Professor of Asian American Studies Wei Ming Dariotis. In this workshop, you will:

  • Explore TILT (transparency in learning and teaching), anti-oppressive assessment practice and active learning pedagogy
  • Discuss how these practices are connected, how reflecting on one might teach us about the others, how these pedagogical practices are related to positional pedagogy and how these can combine to encourage liberation in teaching and learning

CEETL will provide light snacks and beer, wine, and sparkling water, so come raise a glass and learn. Please register here to reserve your space.

Questions? Contact the CEETL team at

“Equitable Teaching Series: Inclusive Syllabus,” Dec. 5 & 6

CEETL’s Equitable Teaching Series explores foundational teaching approaches that foster equity and inclusivity in support of student success. In the third workshop of the series, offered on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 6, in LIB 242 from noon to 1:30 p.m., you will:

  • Apply social justice syllabus checklist to current syllabi
  • Reflect on social justice implications of current syllabi 

Bring your own lunch and a copy of your current syllabus. CEETL will provide dessert and beverages.

Click here to register for the Dec. 5 workshop.

Click here to register for the Dec. 6 workshop.

The workshop will also be offered by departmental request. Questions? Contact the CEETL team at

Grants & Contracts

SF State received $5,150,035.92 in grants and contracts in October 2018.

David Anderson, Marian Wright Edelman Institution, Jumpstart for Young Children Inc./Prime: AMERICORPS, Jumpstart for Young Children FY 18-19, $248,960

Katharyn Boyer, Biology, Merkel & Associates, Inc./Prime: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) Baywide 2, $58,871.92

Amber Friesen, Special Education, U.S. Department of Education, Project GROW: Guiding Responsive Communication Within Inclusive Early Childhood Settings, $1,247,737

Pamela Hunt, Special Education, U.S. Department of Education, California Deaf-Blind Services, $2,875,000

AKM Newaz, Physics & Astronomy, U.S. Department of Defense, Optical and Optoelectrical Properties of Franckeite: A Naturally Occurring Van Der Waals Heterostructure, $517,035

Britta Sjogren, Cinema, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, 2018 Grad Film Scholarship- A. Cisco, $30,256

Stuart Siegel, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) Research Intensive Pedagogical Training of Interdisciplinary Estuarine Scientists (RIPTIDES) Interns Mentoring, $14,855

Stuart Siegel, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, Regents of the University of Michigan/Prime: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Connecting End Users Throughout the Applied Research Process, $157,321


Gross on the move

Department of Jewish Studies Assistant Professor Rachel Gross gave an invited lecture, “Buying and Selling American Jewish Nostalgia,” at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, California, on Aug. 6. She also presented a paper, “Ghosts in the Gallery: Historic Synagogues and American Jewish Nostalgia,” at the International Conference on Urban Jewish Heritage: Presence and Absence in Krakow on Sept. 6. And she flew to Salt Lake City to give a public lecture, “Give Us Our Name: Genealogy and American Jewish Religion,” sponsored by the History Department at the University of Utah, on Nov. 1.

Kaplan gets theatrical (and political)

Jewish Studies Professor Eran Kaplan served as creative consultant for a production of the stage play “Oslo” at the Marin Theatre Company last month. The political thriller explores the true story of the secret negotiations with Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords.

A breath of fresh air for Peper

Professor of Health Education Erik Peper published an article about breathing exercises that can reduce pain and stress in the October issue of Western Edition HP Journal. The article (on pages 10 and 11 of the publication, which is available online) takes an in-depth look at the impact of posture on breathing and general well-being.

Roderick talks IT in higher ed

Director of Technology Services Andrew Roderick discussed plans to improve technology collaborations at SF State in an Inside Higher Ed article. Roderick discussed plans to create a “unified IT approach” with academic units, allowing for smoother technology collaborations. “The future of academic technology is really embedding [a teaching and learning] sensibility, maybe even an organization, within the general IT offerings that take place,” Roderick said.

A striking article

SF State’s 1968 student-led strike was the subject of a feature article on SFGate. The article features dozens of pictures from the strike, which was commemorated at a series of events at SF State this weekend.