January 22, 2019

"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."
Michael David Lucas

Professor wins 2018 National Jewish Book Award

SF State Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Michael David Lukas has won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in fiction. He was honored for his second novel, “The Last Watchman of Cairo,” which was published last spring. Administered by the Jewish Book Council, the award recognizes outstanding literature that focuses on themes of Jewish interest. Lukas says he wrote the novel to capture Jewish history in a unique way, bringing to light the rich history of Jewish communities in Egypt.

Published by Spiegel & Grau in March 2018, the novel is centered around Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley and the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. The story follows Joseph’s attempts to unearth the two sides of his family lineage. Lukas, who has also lived and worked in Turkey and Tel Aviv, attributes much of his storytelling to his own personal travels. He says of all the characters he has created, Joseph is who he relates to most.

“That was difficult to do because it involved digging deeper into my own sense of self," Lukas said. "He was a nice vehicle to explore some of the questions that I have been dealing with: questions of identity and nation and memory.”

Lukas joined SF State’s Department of Creative Writing last summer. Though teaching takes time and energy away from his writing, he says he finds his students’ thoughtful opinions and insightful questions inspiring.

“I’ve been really amazed by the students and I think if anything I feel like they’ve taught me so much,” said Lukas.

Graduating Students Waving at Commencement

University smoothes the path to graduation

When a 2013 survey of SF State students revealed that they consider enrolling in required courses their biggest obstacle to a timely graduation, the University took action. The result: the distribution of $280,000 in departmental “mini-grants” supporting course redesign. The project has streamlined different pathways for more than 6,500 students to meet requirements for their majors.

Led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jennifer Summit, the project was funded by the Teagle Foundation, which promotes teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. One-third of all University departments and more than 40 faculty members participated, using the grants to fund faculty-led initiatives through student focus groups, alumni surveys and course development and support. The project also funded work retreats and other networking opportunities that strengthened faculty relationships and cross-campus cooperation.

“By establishing faculty communities of practice within and across the disciplines, we could identify meaningful curricular changes that would help students graduate faster,” Summit said. “We also saw how new approaches to curriculum design can reduce costs, strengthen student engagement and retention and sharpen the University’s culture of teaching and learning.”

According to a Teagle Foundation report, the changes impacted 6,748 students, giving them more flexibility by merging courses and degrees that were previously separate. Summit says SF State will continue to build on these mini-grant innovations in collaboration with the California State University’s (CSU) Graduation Initiative 2025, which aims to increase graduation rates for all CSU students.

President Les Wong taking to Students

Search for Wong successor moves forward

The California State University Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new permanent president of SF State following the announcement of President Leslie E. Wong’s retirement in July. The first meeting of the Trustees’ Committee for the Selection of the President will be held in an open forum from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the McKenna Theatre. Faculty, staff, students and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The purpose of the visit is to review the role of the committee; explain the search process and confidentiality; receive comments and input from the public and the campus community; discuss preferred attributes of the next president; and discuss any other business related to the search process. The University welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for this event, please contact the Office of the President at ext. 8-1381 or president@sfsu.edu as soon as possible so your request can be reviewed. The event will also be livestreamed for those who can’t attend in person.

A presidential search website will serve as the repository of communications related to the selection process. Via the website, you will be invited to nominate someone to be considered for the position and submit comments about qualities and specific experiences desired in the new president. An announcement regarding the membership of the search committee will be sent as soon as the members are confirmed and seated. Look for more details on both the website and the committee in a future issue of CampusMemo.

Chancellor’s Office health and safety audits

The CSU Chancellor’s Office began conducting a health and safety audit at SF State on Monday, Jan. 14. This is part of a health and safety audit of all 23 campuses. If contacted by one of the auditors, please answer their questions honestly and to the best of your ability. The best audit is an accurate one.

Search begins for dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development

Academic Affairs is conducting a search for the dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.  The position is to be filled by July 2019. Below is a list of search committee members selected based on adherence to senate policy. A detailed committee roster including the committee chair, complete position descriptions and application procedures will be added to the Academic Affairs website at academic.sfsu.edu/aa/op as further information becomes available.

The Search Committee members are:

  • Sophie Clavier, Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Wei Ming Dariotis, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies 
  • John Elia, Associate Dean, Health & Social Sciences
  • Andrew Ichimura, Associate Professor, Chemistry 
  • Nara Jeong, Assistant Professor, Management 
  • Amy Kilgard, Professor, Communication Studies 
  • James Martel, Professor, Political Science
  • Jasper Rubin, Associate Professor, School of PACE
  • Christina Sabee, Dean, Equity Initiatives

Dean of the College of Science and Engineering campus visits 

Final candidates have been selected to interview for the dean of the College of Science and Engineering. The campus community is invited to attend the candidates’ presentations, which will address their professional experience and vision for the college. Time will be allotted for questions and answers, and each presentation will be followed by a light reception:

  • February 4 – 5: Mahmoud Reda Taha, Chair and Professor of the Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, University of New Mexico
    Presentation: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 10 – 11:30 a.m. in LIB 286
  • February 6 – 7: Ignatio E. Vakalis, Professor, Computer Science, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
    Presentation: Thursday, Feb. 7, 10 – 11:30 a.m. in LIB 244
  • February 11 – 12: Sindee Simon, Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University
    Presentation: Monday, Feb. 11,  1:30 – 3 p.m. in LIB 244
  • February 18 – 19: Carmen Domingo, Interim Dean College of Science and Engineering and Professor of Biology
    Presentation: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 10 – 11:30 a.m. in LIB 121

Information on all candidates is available at academic.sfsu.edu/aa/op.

SF State email has moved to the cloud

On Monday, January 7, Information Technology Services (ITS) successfully migrated the on-campus Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft cloud-hosted email after 10 months of careful project planning and execution. Since 2010, campus email and calendar functions for faculty and staff had been hosted on campus using Microsoft Exchange.

The Microsoft-hosted environment provides:

•email that is more resilient to outages because of redundant systems within Microsoft hosting
•enhanced security and business continuity
•increased mailbox quota: 100GB
•an experience for faculty and staff that matches the one for students, who have been using Microsoft hosting for the last three years.

If you have issues or need assistance, please contact the ITS Service Desk at service@sfsu.edu or ext. 8-1420.

New customer service management application for ITS

ITS has migrated from the Footprints ticketing system to ServiceNow, a robust, industry-leading, cloud-based IT and customer service management application. ServiceNow will increase productivity, improve the service experience and speed up response time for end-user requests. Enhanced reporting features will be introduced, and ServiceNow will provide a platform for service providers to expand their service management capabilities.

You can still request help or service by contacting your service providers through the channels you previously relied on for ITS: emailing service@sfsu.edu,  calling ext. 8-1420 or submitting a ticket online. Over the next few months, ITS will continue to add content, service providers and services to the ServiceNow Portal.

ITS thanks the core project team, including Director of Service Management Scott Nemes, Project Management Team members Wendy Chapman and Michelle Tagay, ITS members Whitney Sanford and Timothy Cho, and Academic Technology members Andrew Roderick, Cristian Alvarado and Jonathan Foerster, as well as other members of ITS Systems, Enterprise Applications, Service Desk and Academic Technology teams. ITS would also like to extend a special thanks to campus service providers for their contributions to making the project a success, including College of Health & Social Sciences IT, the Bursar’s Office, Human Resources, the Graduate College of Education, Library IT, the Accessible Technology Initiative and Institutional Research.

Gators hit TV screens this weekend

The men’s and women’s basketball teams can be seen squaring off against Cal Poly Pomona on ESPN 3 Saturday, Jan. 26. The away games are being aired as part of an agreement between the network and NCAA Division II. The women are set to tip off at 1:05 p.m. followed by the men at 3:05 p.m. The games can also be viewed via the ESPN app.

San Francisco State Athletics is very honored to be a part of this showcase," said Director of Athletics Stephanie Shrieve-Hawkins. "Both teams are playing extremely well and should represent our CCAA conference and NCAA Division II basketball proudly."

New DPRC database on the way

The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is pleased to announce the implementation of a new student services database, “myDPRC,” which will streamline the student reasonable accommodation process.

The DPRC will implement the database in phases. Phase 1 features have just launched and include the ability for students to choose any approved classroom reasonable accommodations based on their specific needs for each class (rather than one list being submitted for all classes). In turn, faculty will receive an email of the student’s approved reasonable accommodations (rather than a paper letter). Phase 2 is expected to launch this fall and will include more specific accommodation management features.

The DPRC will be hosting several myDPRC drop-in sessions for students to learn how to use this database. The DPRC website details exact times and locations and also features short tutorial videos and other myDPRC training materials. Staff, students and faculty are invited to contact the DPRC for any additional information or questions about this exciting new service.

Safety Champion of the Month awards

As part of its mission to promote environmental stewardship and protect the health and safety of SF State faculty, staff and students, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) has begun awarding a monthly Make Safety Happen — Safety Champion of the Month Award. November’s award prize — an ice cream social — went to the Procurement Department, which was recognized for exemplary support of EHS in procuring services to support compliance efforts. December’s award went to Instructional Support Technicians Kimberly Tsui and Darleen Franklin for raising awareness of safety and training needs for instructional support staff. Each winner received a certificate and a pair of movie tickets.

The EHS website will maintain a list of past and future winners. Send your suggestions for making our campus safer to sfehs@sfsu.edu and you may be a future winner.

Chinese classes available for faculty, staff, students

The Confucius Institute at SF State continues to offer non-credit Chinese courses at different levels for specific purposes, providing the resources for Chinese teaching and learning on campus and in communities. From Feb. 11 through May 9, the non-credit Chinese classes will be available at no cost to all SF State faculty, staff and students who are interested in learning Chinese language and culture. Complete course information and a link for registration can be found on the Confucius Institute website. Questions? Send an email to cisfsu@sfsu.edu or call ext. 8-7631.

Writing, art submissions sought

“Vistas & Byways,” an online journal of literature and artwork by members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SF State, is open to submissions. The latest issue features short stories, essays, poetry, paintings, photographs and more. The theme for the next issue is “travel.” Interested? Learn more here.

“True Detective: Tracking Your Criminal Ancestor,” Jan. 30

Join the Sutro Library for its first event of the year just in time for the new season of HBO’s “True Detective.” All family histories have a dark side. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 11:30 a.m. genealogist Ron Arons will describe the records and tools you need to become a true detective and investigate if your ancestor had a criminal past. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP through Eventbrite.

University Budget Committee meeting, Feb. 4

The University Budget Committee (UBC) will meet on Monday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in ADM 560. The UBC is charged with providing the University president with advice and recommendations related to budget policy, planning and review. Meetings are open to the public, and there will be a 10-minute open forum period for interested members of the campus community to speak on budget and funding.

Grants & Contracts

SF State received $992,874 in grants and contracts in November and December 2018.

  • Daniel Bernardi, Cinema, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Legacy Program (VLP): Korean War Veteran, $326,532
  • Linda Platas, Child & Adolescent Development, Stanford University/Prime: Heising-Simons Foundation, Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) Network Phase III, $7,116
  • Christopher Wenshen Pong, School of Engineering, Regents of the University of California, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Engineering Program (MEP), $10,000
  • Alexander Stine, Earth & Climate Sciences, Yale University/Prime: National Science Foundation, CNH Large Research Project (CNH-L): Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, $336,724
  • Ilmi Yoon, Computer Science, The University of Texas at El Paso/Prime: National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) Alliance: Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, $312,502

In memoriam: Steven Obrebski

After battling esophageal cancer and Parkinson’s disease, Steven Obrebski succumbed peacefully Dec. 20 in Port Angeles, Washington. Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938, Obrebski immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1948. He earned biology degrees at Columbia College in New York and the University of Chicago. 

Since his undergraduate days, Obrebski was an active researcher of marine ecosystems in San Francisco and Tomales Bay. At the time of his retirement from SF State in 2004 he was associate scientist and lecturer at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center (formerly the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies). He was much appreciated by students in the graduate degree program, to whom he was a statistics and sample design consultant.

Obrebski was known for his keen intellect, generosity, integrity, irreverent sense of humor and charm. He is survived by his wife Paula.

In memoriam: Saul Steier

Associate Professor and former Chair of Humanities Saul Steier passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 7, in San Francisco. His wife Cynthia Ward and his four children, Creed, Liam, Misha and Asher, were with him.  

After teaching at UCLA and UCSD, Steier began teaching at SF State in 1982. In spite of his many health problems he still had hopes of teaching again this spring. Colleagues remember him as brilliant, funny and kind, an inspiring teacher and an unforgettable person, and he will be sorely missed. Plans for a memorial service are in progress. If you would like to send condolences to Saul’s family, the address is 1723 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco CA 94132.


Duncan-Andrade receives international education honor

Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies Jeff Duncan-Andrade has been named the 2019 Brock International Prize in Education [http://brockprize.org/] laureate for his contributions to the field of education, particularly surrounding his work as a practitioner-researcher in urban education. This honor recognizes the ideas and work of those who have contributed to the science and art of education by providing long-term benefits to humanity through change and improvement in education. Duncan-Andrade is the founder of the Community Responsive Education [http://www.communityresponsive.org/] (CRE) group, which works domestically and internationally to develop more equitable school environments. He also founded Oakland’s Roses in Concrete Community School, a lab school designed to provide a viable alternative model for urban education by prioritizing culturally affirming and trauma-responsive school relationships as the pathway to building healthy and sustainable communities. Duncan-Andrade will be formally honored at the annual Brock Prize Symposium March 6 at the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus. In addition to a monetary award of $40,000, he will receive an honorary certificate and a sculpture of legendary Native American educator Sequoyah.

New book for Salama

Professor of Modern Languages & Literatures Mohammad Salama is the author of the new book “Islam and the Culture of Modern Egypt.” Published by Cambridge University Press last month, the book explores the conflict between traditional and secular values in modern Egypt.

Wong co-edits book on dance

School of Theatre and Dance Associate Professor Yutian Wong has co-edited with Jens Richard Giersdorf the third edition of “The Routledge Dance Studies Reader.” This expanded and updated edition includes 37 texts addressing the social, political, cultural and economic impact of globalization on embodiment and choreography. These interdisciplinary essays in dance scholarship consider a broad range of dance forms in relation to historical, ethnographic and interdisciplinary research methods including cultural studies, reconstruction, media studies and popular culture. The new edition also expands both its geographic and cultural focus to include recent research on indigenous dance and dance from Southeast Asia and the People’s Republic of China.

Khoury named finalist for SFMOMA Award

Sahar Khoury, administrative office coordinator for Anthropology and a Bay Area artist, is one of 16 Finalists for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) Awards for 2019. The finalists were announced in an article in the Dec. 14 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. Khoury specializes in creating sculptures and installations from found materials. She has recently exhibited her work at the Oakland Museum of California, the UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and elsewhere.

McBride commentaries make top 10

Film critic Glenn Erickson selected two commentaries by Professor of Cinema Joseph McBride — one on Orson Welles’ “The Magnificent Ambersons” and the other about Frank Capra’s World War II documentaries — for his list of top Blu-ray and DVD editions of 2018. Welles’ film “The Other Side of the Wind,” in which McBride appears as an actor, also appeared on many reviewers’ end-of-the-year top 10 lists and won special awards from the National Society of Film Critics and other groups.