September 17, 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."
Rendering of new LCA building

New buildings, University Club on the way

Several major building projects are getting underway this fall, including a new Liberal and Creative Arts (LCA) building, the University’s first new academic building in 25 years. Another project, located on Holloway and Varela avenues, is a student housing facility that when completed will house more than 560 students as well as a variety of neighborhood-serving retail and commercial services. Each of these projects is expected to take 24 months and will be completed by fall 2020.

In addition, a smaller-scale project will revive an old campus tradition. The University Club, a lounge for staff and faculty members, has been absent from campus for more than a decade due to space issues. A portion of the Cesar Chavez Student Center that was used by the bookstore is being converted into a new and improved University Club. It will open in the latter part of the fall semester or early in spring 2019.

Go here to read an in-depth article about the new building projects and what they’ll add to campus.

Salma Abdel-Raheem

Grad student receives CSU honor

Geography & Environment graduate student Salma Abdel-Raheem has been given the $6,000 Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement. The awards provide donor-funded scholarships to students who demonstrate exemplary academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Abdel-Raheem and 22 other awardees — one from each CSU campus — were honored last week at a CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, California.

At a young age, Abdel-Raheem emigrated from Egypt to the U.S. with her family. When she arrived at SF State to earn her master’s degree in geographic information science, she found a surprising way to fulfill that mission: maps. For her master’s thesis, she’s creating digital maps for a diverse community on St. George’s Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize. Abdel-Raheem visits the island to organize meetings with residents, mapping out their shared understanding about their surroundings: everything from traditional boundaries to development projects to protected mangrove trees. Those maps can then form the basis for decisions about the future of the community. Abdel-Raheem has also been working with the Anthropocene Institute, an environmental NGO, to map boat traffic around protected areas off the coast of California in order to help park regulators and state officials better manage the waters.

“Salma always surprises me with her depth of knowledge and commitment to her research,” said her advisor, Professor of Geography & Environment Ellen Hines. “She is extremely self-assured.

Karen Boyce

New director of Health Promotion & Wellness named

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) is proud to welcome Karen Boyce to SF State as the new director of Health Promotion & Wellness (HPW). A graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work, Boyce comes to campus after more than seven years with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where her most recent position was deputy director of evidence based programs within the Center for Health Equity. In this work, Boyce oversaw community wide sexual health program implementation and training reaching over 130 partners and targeting 13,000 young people. She has extensive experience coordinating large-scale projects to improve community health, as well as supervising staff. Her first day at SF State was July 23.

DSA would also like to extend special thanks to Rick Nizzardini, who served as interim director, for his excellent leadership in the overall creation of HPW. Over the past three years, Nizzardini adroitly brought together staff from two distinctive departmental cultures and developed shared vision, mission and values that enhanced how the team approaches their work to improve student health and wellbeing. On July 1, Nizzardini returned to Counseling & Psychological Services, where he resumed his role as residential life counselor.

Academic Master Plan (AMP) seeks your participation

Senate Chair Nancy Gerber and Provost Jennifer Summit, co-chairs of the academic master planning process, invite your participation in articulating a vision that will drive the University's academic identity into the future. The Academic Master Plan Steering Committee is now accepting nominations for working group members. The time commitment will be roughly one to two hours a week, with the exception of breaks and holidays, from October 2018 to March 2019. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague, please complete the online form. The Steering Committee will begin assembling the working groups on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Learn more about the process on the AMP website.

New ergonomic self-assessment software

Working at an improperly aligned workstation could cause you to develop a variety of muscle strains and stress-related injuries. So it’s important to identify issues with your workspace before problems arise. On Oct. 1, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) will begin implementation of a new ergonomic self-assessment software tool, Work Safety Plus. Employees will be asked to take a 30-minute, online self-assessment of their workstations. The self-assessment is designed to assist with adjustments to your workstation to make it more ergonomically-friendly.

Assessment results will be reviewed by ERM’s Ergonomics team and in-person. Follow-up assessment will be provided to those users who are still experiencing workstation discomfort. Recommendations for additional workstation adjustments and improvements will be discussed.

To access the self-assessment tool, please request a link by emailing or by visiting the ERM Ergonomics homepage.

Become a Safe Zone ally

The SF State Safe Zone Ally program is looking for staff, faculty and administrators to become safe zone allies for the campus LGBTQQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Ally) community. The Safe Zone Ally program’s mission is to foster a safe campus environment by building a support network for people of all gender and sexual identities. Safe Zone allies are active and visible volunteers who are open to talking to members of the LGBTQQIA community in a safe and supportive environment. To become a Safe Zone ally, volunteers must attend one of the training sessions that are offered throughout the year. The next training will be on Friday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A light lunch will be provided. For further details about the training or to register for the training, contact Rick Nizzardini at or ext. 5-4415.  (You must pre-register in order to participate). You can also get more information about the Safe Zone Ally program by checking out its website at

National Preparedness Month

Environmental Health and Occupational Safety wants to remind the campus community that September is National Preparedness Month. Plan ahead, know the hazards and keep safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers a number of emergency preparedness guides for work and home. Learn more online.

Academic Senate meeting, Sept. 18

The Academic Senate will meet Tuesday from 2 to 3:30 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. A reception for new Senators at Seven Hills will follow immediately after adjournment of the plenary. The agenda will include:

  • Senate chair and standing committee reports
  • Jennifer Shea, associate professor of public administration, on the Political Engagement & Learning Assessment Project (2:30 p.m.)
  • A visit from Wendy Tobias, director of the Disability Programs & Resource Center (2:45 p.m.)
  • A visit from President Leslie Wong (3 p.m.)
  • A report from the Academic Senate of the California State University System from Professor of Gerontology Darlene Yee-Melichar, American Indian Studies Associate Professor Robert Keith Collins and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dipendra Sinha

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

Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Sept. 19

Do you know how to safely use, store and dispose of prescription drugs? Stop by the first annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Malcolm X Plaza from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to learn more from Health Promotion and Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Student Health Center. The first 30 people who “take back” their leftover or expired prescription drugs to the safe disposal kiosk in Student Health Services will receive a free pill-lock container. They will also be entered in a drawing to win a lock box that can help store prescription drugs safely.

Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-29

The J. Paul Leonard Library invites the campus community to explore banned books and celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-29. Visit the display of books for young readers that have been banned or challenged (located on the fourth floor’s east wall display cases in the Willie L. Brown Jr. Hall) then come down to the first floor and take a “mugshot” selfie for getting caught reading banned books. Don’t forget to post your mugshot to social media with the hashtag #JPLLBanned.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work information session, Sept. 27

The School of Social Work (SSW) will be holding an information session for its Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. in LIB 121. Anyone interested in pursuing a social work degree is welcome to attend. Off-campus participants may also Zoom in. Please see the SSW website for log-in details.

Global Museum program on the Amazon rainforest, Oct. 2

Jeremías Petsein Peas, a leader of the Achuar indigenous people from the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, will visit campus to make a presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The Achuar people are suffering from the impacts of decades of oil pollution in their rivers and food sources and are now fighting against new oil projects in their sacred territories. Come hear about the cultural, legal and political efforts to defend their territory, in turn protecting the environment for their children and all of humanity. The presentation will be last from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in HUM 133 and will be followed by a reception in the Global Museum (FA 203). Light refreshments will be provided. 

This event is co-sponsored by Amazon Watch, a nonprofit founded in 1966 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. The event is free and all are welcome. Send an optional RSVP to

EOS Center 40th Anniversary Celebration, Oct. 4

The Estuary & Ocean Science (EOS) Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the Romberg Tiburon Campus with a gala from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4. There will be music, food and drinks, auctions and more. The emphasis is on fun and friend-making to support development. Tickets are $75. More information is available online.

Logan talks Amazon

Labor and Employment Studies Chair John Logan was quoted in a BuzzFeed article about working conditions in Amazon warehouses. Logan commented on the growing interest by some in unionizing Amazon employees. “Unions are … coming to the conclusion that they really can’t afford to ignore Amazon,” Logan said. “Amazon is becoming such a significant player in so many different parts of the economy — in the grocery sector, in home delivery and commerce. I think in the future you will see more of a sustained effort, not just from unions, but with all of these other different community organizations.”

Sueyoshi explores CSU funding

Professor and Interim Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Amy Sueyoshi wrote an op-ed for Diverse Issues in Higher Education about the dangers of underfunding the California State University system. “In a city where coffee and a doughnut could cost $10 and a 500 square foot one bedroom condo frequently sells for $800,000, shouldn’t there be more dollars in the state coffers for the CSU?” Sueyoshi wrote. “Moreover, analysts have also associated high gross state product, low unemployment rates, and Democratic Party control to increased higher education spending. Why then does California – a state that fulfills nearly all these requirements – implement successive cuts to the CSU, even as waves of college-ready seniors are coming out of high schools?” To read the op-ed in its entirety, click here.

Jungle Express for gene expression

Associate Professor of Biology Joseph Chen, in collaboration with researchers at the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, developed a new gene expression system that outperforms conventional systems. Their work, published Sept. 6 in the journal Nature Communications, describes the bottom-up engineering of Jungle Express, a versatile platform that enables efficient gene regulation in diverse bacteria for basic science and biotechnological research. The collaboration was made possible partly by funding from the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) and SF State's Leave with Pay program.

New book for Salama

Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Mohammad Salama is the author of a new book, “The Qur’an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism: From Taha to Nasr” (Bloomsbury Publishing USA). Walid A. Saleh, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Toronto, calls it “one of the best studies to appear on the central debate in modern Islam: How should Muslims study the Qur’an?”