August 19, 2019

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Oscar Nunez sitting in an office environment

University ushers in new academic year with laughs

Starting college comes with mixed emotions. There’s the excitement of exploring a new place, forming new friendships and learning more about the world. But there can also be anxiety about the challenges ahead. GatorFest!, SF State’s weeklong celebration to welcome new students, was planned in part to ease this transition. And what better way to break the ice than with laughter?

New and returning students are invited to attend a free improv show at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in McKenna Hall. Some seats also have been reserved for faculty and staff. The talent lineup features a number of SF State alums, including Emmy-nominated actress Janet Varney (B.A., ’97) and Cole Stratton (B.A., ’00), two of the founders of the annual comedy festival SF Sketchfest. Other comedians include John Michael Higgins (“Best in Show”), Jessica Makinson (“South Park”) and Oscar Nuñez (pictured, “The Office”).

“There’s no better way to feature our own alums who have gone on to have successful careers,” said SF State Interim Associate Director of Student Activities and Events Mia Reisweber, who helped organize GatorFest!. “[Varney and Stratton] came out of Creative Arts and requested to perform in McKenna Hall, because that’s where they started.”


People gathering around a track field

Other ‘GatorFest!’ highlights to include lecture series, A’s night

The Sketchfest comedy showcase is just one piece of GatorFest!, which officially kicks off Sunday, Aug. 18, when more than 3,600 freshmen move into their dorms. Last year, GatorFest! introduced a host of new traditions, such as a class photo and a pinning ceremony featuring a uniquely designed SF State pin. Additional new events include Gator X, SF State’s first lecture series showcasing experts from around the city and from the University faculty. (See the item “Gator X: First Faculty Lectures, Aug. 22” for details.)

New students can also attend an Oakland Athletics game on Aug. 21. The first 100 tickets are free for students and include food and drink vouchers. GatorFest! co-chair and First-Year Experience Manager Chris Trudell says the outing is a great way to introduce students to BART. It’s all part of getting students acclimated to the University and the Bay Area, he adds.

The first six to eight weeks of a student’s college experience are critical because it sets the stage for their entire experience, according to Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Danny Glassmann. “GatorFest! is about helping students transition to life at SF State,” he said. “If we can help them feel like they matter and belong here, that will support and sustain them throughout their time here.”

Download the Gator Guides app on your phone to get up-to-the-minute GatorFest! event info. Find more GatorFest! information online.


Piggybank with coins lying around it

Study reveals school savings accounts can dry up in ‘financial deserts’ 

Children’s savings accounts (CSAs), offered by elementary schools throughout San Francisco and in schools across the nation, were introduced to boost college-going rates, limit student debt and foster equal opportunity for low-income children. However, SF State Assistant Professor of Management Ian Dunham finds that geography — particularly in neighborhoods that lack brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions — may play a key role in how much families with CSAs actually save for college.

Dunham and two collaborators are the first to investigate the connection between economic inequality, a neighborhood’s financial service environment and the CSA savings rates at nearby schools, according to their recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs. They examined San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College (K2C) Program, one of the nation’s oldest and largest CSA programs. Since 2012, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has been opening savings accounts and depositing $50 for each new kindergarten through sixth grade student. Family and friends are encouraged to contribute to a student’s saving account throughout their education.


Sanders departs University

Chief of Staff to the President Alison Sanders is leaving SF State to pursue a new opportunity at the University of California, San Diego. Effective Sept. 9, she will join UCSD as assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and chief of staff to the executive vice chancellor.

Sanders came to SF State as an undergraduate in the fall of 1989, stayed to complete her master’s in Marine Biology and joined the Romberg Tiburon Center as a research technician in 1999. Over the past 20 years, she has held multiple leadership roles at the University, making a significant impact. As director and interim AVP for ORSP, she supported and broadened research activities to enhance faculty scholarship and represented the University among educational agencies and the research administration community in the CSU. She also maintained relationships with international education partners and supported the expansion of Project Rebound to other CSU campuses.

In consultation with the Cabinet and the chair of the Academic Senate, President Mahoney will appoint an interim chief of staff and begin planning for a national search.


AT introduces new Syllabus application

Academic Technology (AT) has launched an updated version of the Syllabus application. Users can now explore the new application, build out syllabi or even transfer existing content into the new system from the previous one. With the new application, users can also:

  • Integrate content with campus and department requirements, such as policies, standards, resources and templates for syllabus development
  • Create their own templates for course syllabi or clone any past syllabus
  • Integrate with iLearn to ensure users have access to the most up-to-date version of an instructor’s syllabi
  • Export syllabi as web- or mobile-friendly syllabus displays, Word documents or hard copies

Go to SF State’s Syllabus page to get started, and take a look at AT’s help guides to learn more about working in the new application.


ITS unveils enhancement and project releases

Information Technology Services (ITS) is excited to announce enhancement and project releases for Q2 of 2019. Recent upgrades and initiatives increase security in multiple areas, promote business continuity in case of a disaster and increase efficiencies that are expected to benefit faculty, staff and students. See the full announcement on the ITS website.


Student accommodation database changes benefit faculty, staff

Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is rolling out the second phase implementation of its student services database, “myDPRC.” Starting in the fall, faculty will use myDPRC to review all student accommodation requests related to their courses, submit exam accommodation information and submit videos for media captioning. The move will allow students, faculty and the DPRC office to receive updates on accommodation facilitation in real time, including directly managing scheduled exams. Faculty, who already receive emails from myDPRC, can continue to use their existing SF State credentials to log in from the DPRC website.


Revised University style guide available

A revised edition of the SF State Editorial Style Guide is now available online. It’s a handy guide that takes the guesswork out of routine writing questions for the SF State community, from how to abbreviate academic degrees to when to capitalize a staff member’s title. Created by Strategic Marketing and Communications, the style guide covers rules for writing about the University and its departments, facilities and personnel. It also includes guidance on grammar, punctuation and common writing mistakes. Download the guide as a PDF.


Gator X: First Faculty Lectures, Aug. 22

New students are invited to Gator X: Faculty First Lectures Thursday, Aug. 22, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the McKenna Theatre. The following faculty members will speak about the San Francisco Bay Area and SF State:

  • Paige Viren, Recreation, Parks and Tourism: “San Francisco State University: Your Adventure Starts Here”
  • Eric Pido, Asian American Studies: “Changing the World: Activism at SFSU and the Birth of Ethnic Studies”
  • Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Biology: “Extending the Agents of Change Legacy in STEM through Resistant Capital”
  • Catherine Powell, Library: “Jobs for Justice”
  • Benjamin Sabey, Music: “West Coast Synthesis: The Astonishing Diversity of Music in San Francisco”
  • Yikuan Lee, International Business: “A Mindful Journey”
  • Nancy Robinson, Speech Language and Hearing Sciences: “Seeking Wisdom: A San Francisco State University Journey”

GatorFest! academic open houses, Aug. 22

Departments and colleges across campus are hosting open houses for new students on Thursday, Aug. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. Find details on the Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning website.


CEL Open House and Registration Fair, Aug. 22

A College of Extended Learning (CEL) Open House and Registration Fair will be held at the Downtown Campus from 3 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 22. Students can learn about professional development opportunities through the professional and academic certificate programs offered by CEL. The fair also gives students a chance to register for courses that align with their interests. CEL staff and faculty will be available to answer students’ questions. Refreshments will be served. RSVP at the CEL website.


Effective communication training, Aug. 27

The Office of Professional and Organizational Development invites leadership staff to a training session dedicated to effective communication approaches that help create and maintain trusting relationships. The training will be held in LIB 244 from 1 to 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug 27. RSVP via Qualtrics


CEETL Reflective Journaling Workshop, Aug. 29

Join colleagues and the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) in launching the new semester by participating in a goal-setting and reflection workshop. Verónica Rabelo of the Department of Management will lead a workshop on reflective journaling from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, in LIB 242. In this workshop, you will:

  • Experiment with bullet journaling as a tool for facilitating semester mapping
  • Use bullet journaling as a tool to develop and deepen a reflective teaching practice

Register via Qualtrics to reserve your space. For more information, visit the CEETL website.

Guillermo cites campuses as sanctuaries

Lecturer of Journalism Emil Guillermo recently wrote an article for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education about how universities can be sanctuaries in a chaotic world. “In a world where chaos and hate reign, colleges and universities, whole societies unto themselves, are natural leaders,” Guillermo wrote. “And their campuses should be seen as natural public sanctuaries for a country in need of safe and sane spaces.” Read the rest of the article on the Diverse: Issues in Higher Education website.


Peper talks posture

Professor of Health Education Erik Peper discussed how posture affects mood in a Miami Herald article about a new phone app for monitoring stress. “Even our posture, our thoughts, affect our muscle structure or our emotions,” Peper said. Read the story on the Miami Herald website.


Compesi authors new edition of video production guide

Professor Emeritus of Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts Ronald J. Compesi is the author of “Video Field Production and Editing, Eighth Edition,” recently published by Routledge. In print since 1985, the book offers a comprehensive introduction to the aesthetics and techniques of single-camera video production in field environments, from planning through production and post-production.


Ferretti named WiRED International board chair

Professor Emerita of Nursing Charlotte Keegan Ferretti has been elected chair of the board of directors of WiRED International, a volunteer-driven organization that provides free health and medical education to underserved populations around the world. Ferretti first began working with WiRED while director of SF State’s Marian Wright Edelman Institute, facilitating teleconferencing to enable physicians in war-torn Iraq to get up-to-date medical information by connecting them with physicians and nurses in San Francisco.