October 21, 2019

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Neda Nobari posing in a living room

Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies receives $1 million from alumna and philanthropist Neda Nobari

The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies has received an additional $1 million from alumna and Iranian-American philanthropist Neda Nobari, building upon her generous gift of $5 million from June 2016 that established the first-of-its-kind center. Administered under the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, the center is dedicated to research and teachings that examine the historical and cultural experiences of the global Iranian diaspora. The $1 million will expand Nobari’s vision for the center and provide grants and fellowships that will amplify the importance of studying the impact of migration, immigration and patterns of ethnic and racial identity formation.

“The impact of this gift will solidify the stature of the growing interdisciplinary field of Iranian diaspora studies and increase the University’s ability to nurture its continued vitality,” said Andrew Harris, dean of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts. “SF State is thankful for Neda’s generosity as the gift will provide faculty and students opportunities for intellectual growth and dissemination of new research and knowledge, which are central to the University’s mission.”

Over the next five years, the gift will be used for a variety of student and faculty initiatives that will roll out in 2020. The initiatives include the:

  • Iman Nobari Post-Doctoral Fellowship: an inaugural fellowship that will support a recent Ph.D. graduate to work in fields related to Iranian diaspora, Iranian-American studies or Iranian studies for one academic year.
  • Azar Hatefi Graduate Student Fellowships: two annual fellowships that will help two SF State graduate students advance their research and studies in the field of Iranian diaspora.
  • The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies Faculty Research Grants: These grants will support SF State faculty members with their research related to the Iranian diaspora, Iranian studies or other diaspora communities.

“The post-doctoral and graduate fellowships are named after my parents Iman Nobari and Azar Hatefi,” said Neda Nobari. “Neither had opportunities for higher education, but they made sure that my siblings and I did in Iran and abroad. I am grateful for my parent’s commitment to their children’s education and want to honor them in this special way and share their vision with others.”

A group of students and staff members pose in front of SF State’s J. Paul Leonard Library.

14 SF State students named CSU Pre-Doctoral Scholars

Fourteen SF State students have been chosen by the CSU to be Sally Casanova Scholars this year. The scholarship, also known as the Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, supports students who want to apply to doctoral degree programs by providing funding for professional development and application costs.

This year the CSU awarded Sally Casanova scholarships to 74 students, all of whom receive one-on-one mentorship from a faculty member and are offered the chance to participate in summer research opportunities at institutions that offer Ph.D. programs. The award is aimed at students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

Here’s a list of this year’s Pre-Doctoral Scholars at SF State:

  • Kiera Abdur-Rahman, Cinema Studies
  • Luis Ayala, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Justin Brown, Geography
  • Estely Caranza, Chemistry
  • Angeline Chemel, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Viviane Zurdo Costa, Physics
  • Romel Harmon, Education
  • Can (John) Ali Kilic, Developmental Psychology
  • Jill Laufer, Political Science
  • Matt Madruga, Philosophy
  • Wilmer Amaya Mejia, Biology
  • Steven Sun, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Meme Than, Public Health
  • Caitlin Waddle, Mathematics

Robert Kohls giving a lecture in a classroom

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages recognized

SF State’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, is also one of the top programs producing U.S. State Department English Language Fellows (ELF). The ELF program turns 50 this year and as part of the milestone they’re recognizing five universities for continually producing fellows, colleges that will be given an award at a Nov. 5 birthday celebration in Washington, D.C.

Nearly every year since 1969, SF State’s TESOL graduates have applied and been accepted into the ELF program. Once in, graduates are sent on 10-month assignments around the globe to countries in need of language specialists. Program fellows work on high-level language projects, such as developing a curriculum for a region or holding professional development workshops for teachers.

Teaching English abroad is ultimately about diplomacy, says SF State Associate Professor of English Language and Literature David Olsher. “The State Department sponsors this program because it builds powerful connections and goodwill around the world,” he said. “[The State Department] recognized that our most experienced graduate students are ready to come in and help advise on curriculum design and train teachers.”

SF State TESOL graduates stand out for two reasons, says TESOL program coordinator Priya Abeywickrama. From day one they’re learning the nuts and bolts of teaching, such as creating lesson plans and articulating a teaching philosophy. Students in the program also gain practical experience in a variety of settings, such as teaching immigrant literacy or academic English, which makes them highly adaptable.

Construction milestone nears for new LCA building

The campus community is invited to celebrate the topping off of the new Liberal and Creative Arts building at a special event from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Oct. 24. A topping off beam for the building will be located on the corner of Tapia and Centennial way (near the farmer’s market) for those who are interested in signing it. Stop by to add your name, take pictures and enjoy the morning with faculty, staff and students commemorating this significant moment.

Academic Pathways Infographic: An Alternative to Remediation

A new infographic prepared by the Office of Institutional Research highlights the positive impact of CSU Executive Order 1110, which revised the policy for first-year student placement in English and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses. Students are now able to receive additional academic support while completing their General Education (GE) requirements. Prior to this initiative, those students who needed additional academic support were required to enroll in remedial courses that were not credit-bearing. The effect of this remediation was that many students in this group were unable to complete their GE requirements in the first year. After the executive order was enacted in the fall of 2018, a greater proportion of students have been able to complete their GE writing or quantitative reasoning requirement in their first year. These students are now on track towards engaging course work in their majors and, ultimately, graduation. Learn more by viewing the infographic on these results, “Academic Pathways Infographic: An Alternative to Remediation,” on the Office of Institutional Research website.

Savor and Succeed campaign targets food insecurity 

The new Savor and Succeed campaign aims to raise awareness of the prevalent issue of food insecurity among students and spread the word about free on-campus food resources. The campaign is run by Assistant Professor of Family, Interiors, Nutrition, & Apparel Zubaida Qamar and her team of students in partnership with the Health Promotion and Wellness Center and Basic Needs Initiative. You can learn more about the campaign by visiting tabling events between 12:30 and 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays throughout October and the first week of November across campus. Get more details by checking out the campaign’s Instagram account, @savorandsucceed, or the hashtag #savorandsucceed.

Academic Senate report

The Academic Senate met on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the Seven Hills Conference Center. At the meeting the senate:

  • approved a resolution calling for CalPERS to divest from fossil fuel funds
  • adopted by General Consent the academic calendars for summer 2020 and the academic year 2020-2021
  • approved a new certificate in Cybersecurity Management
  • heard in first reading proposals to discontinue the M.S. in Biology, concentrations in Microbiology and Marine Biology
  • heard in first reading a proposal to create a minor in Spanish

The full agenda, meeting materials and minutes can be found on the senate website.

Cyber Security Awareness Month – Protect IT!

Information Technology Services’ (ITS) third Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign is Protect IT! Protect your devices and personal information by always setting privacy controls at the highest levels available and verifying the identity of someone before disclosing or confirming personal information so you don’t fall victim to fraud. Are you using security software? Make sure it’s up to date! For tips to help you take a protective approach when you connect, visit the ITS website.

ITS would like to thank all who came out last week to meet up with ITS to talk about cyber security. ITS would also like to congratulate the raffle winner from last week, staff member James Leung, who won a gift basket that included must-have security items such as an encrypted flash drive, a paper shredder, a low-profile safe, a laptop camera lens cover and an RFID card protector.

Basic Needs donation drive for National Transfer Student Week, Oct. 21-24

There will be a campuswide donation drive benefiting the Basic Needs Initiative during the week of Oct. 21-24 in conjunction with National Transfer Student Week. University departments are encouraged to collect toiletry items (e.g., shampoos, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soaps) to donate. Donations can be dropped off at the Transfer table, which will be located outside the Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 21-24. Please stop by the table to claim a commemorative button and show off your love for our transfer community. In addition, ESO Adelante transfer peer mentors will be picking up donations from departments between 1 and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22. If you would like them to stop by, please let them know via Qualtrics.

CSU’s Got Talent screening and discussion forum, Oct. 22

Professional and Organizational Development invites you to a screening of a “CSU’s Got Talent” live webcast featuring innovative and essential training for your professional success. The screening is scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22. Mary Abbajay, author and president/CEO of Careerstone Group, will present “Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed With Any Type of Boss.” Lisa Ike, manager of organizational development, will facilitate a post-presentation dialogue that will bring relevance and inspiration to your workplace. RSVP via Qualtrics.

Learn more on the Professional and Organizational Development website.

“Document the Impact” screening, Oct. 23

SF State’s Global Museum and Department of Anthropology will co-host a screening of the film “Document the Impact” from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Global Museum (FA 203). Following the screening there will be a discussion with the filmmaker, Adreanna Rodriguez. “Document the Impact” is an award-winning film that explores the crisis of climate change as seen through photographs taken by female pastoralists in Northern Tanzania. There will be a reception with light refreshments. All are welcome.

Student Health Services Wicked Wellness Expo, Oct. 23

The Student Health Center will host its annual Wicked Wellness Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23. Come explore the services offered both by the center and by other organizations on and off campus. Check out the spooky haunted house, free massages, prizes and much more.

WAC/WID panel discussion on Eli Review, Oct. 23

The Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Discipline (WAC/WID) program invites faculty to attend a panel discussion on the use of Eli Review in their classrooms from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in ADM 460. Professor of Biology Diana Chu, Lecturer of Anthropology and Psychology Aviva Sinervo and Lecturers of English Language & Literature Kristin Agius and Joan Wong-Kure will discuss their experiences integrating Eli Review, an online platform enabling feedback-centric classrooms, into their writing-intensive courses. They will share how using Eli Review has enhanced their writing pedagogy and benefited students.

The University has purchased an institutional license for Eli Review for this academic year, so use of the platform is free to faculty and students. Those interested in integrating Eli Review into their courses can learn how to get started online or contact John Holland or Juliana van Olphen for more information. Melissa Meeks, faculty development coordinator for Eli Review, will be on campus presenting Nov. 7. Look for more information in a future issue of CampusMemo. Lecturers will receive a small stipend for attending on Oct. 23 or Nov. 7, and lunch will be served. No RSVP is necessary.

“So You Want to Be a Professor” panel, Oct. 24

The Department of Anthropology will host “So You Want to Be a Professor: Panel Discussion on Graduate School and Life in Academia” at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, in FA 525. If you want to become a professor someday, how are you going to make that happen, and what possible challenges lie ahead? This panel discussion with anthropology Ph.D. students, postdocs and professors from SF State, City College, Stanford and University of California, Berkeley will help you answer these critical questions for yourself.

SF State Research and Scholarly Activity Symposium, Oct. 25

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) invites the campus community to the SF State Research and Scholarly Activity Symposium. This stimulating event highlights the work of the ORSP and DRC Individual/Collaborative grant awardees. Faculty who received internal funding (ORSP small grants or Chancellor’s Office DRC) will present their research/projects for about five minutes then answer questions for another five. Come discover the wonderful scholarship and research happening on our campus. The symposium will take place from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in the Faculty Commons (LIB 286). Learn more on the ORSP website.

Delegation Skills for the Workplace workshop, Oct. 30

Professional and Organizational Development invites employees to a workshop addressing effective delegation processes that assist you in empowering staff while growing your own competencies. Employees will learn the basic principles of delegation and how to identify appropriate opportunities to assign tasks. The workshop will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 30, in LIB 222. Register via Qualtrics. Learn more on the Professional and Organizational Development website.

HR benefits team and Patelco presentation in Cantonese, Oct. 30

Patelco Credit Union will visit SF State to present membership and direct deposit information to Cantonese-speaking University employees from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in LIB 121. There will be a 30-minute informational presentation, followed by a 15-minute presentation walking employees through the application process. Come learn about Patelco promotions for SF State employees and enjoy pastries and coffee provided by Patelco.

The entire presentation will be in Cantonese. Patelco and SF State’s Human Resources benefits team will hold additional presentations for Spanish-speaking and English-speaking employees.

Patelco will also hold regular office hours once a month in the Administration building. Times and dates will be announced in a future issue of CampusMemo. For registration information visit HR’s new website.

CalPERS info session, Nov. 6

The Human Resources benefits team will host a CalPERS info session from 1 to 4 p.m.  Wednesday, Nov. 6, in Jack Adams Hall (Cesar Chavez Student Union, third floor). The benefits team understands that employees have questions regarding CalPERS Retirement benefits and are excited to bring this information session to SF State CalPERS eligible staff and faculty. Discussions will cover topics such as retirement types, formulas and calculations, payment options and steps in planning your retirement. No registration required. If you are unable to attend keep an eye on the HR website as additional events are scheduled throughout the year.

Hybrid teaching workshops, Nov. 4 & 8

Join Academic Technology’s teaching and Learning team for its November QLT Hybrid Teaching Workshop. This three-part workshop supports faculty in redesigning their courses from traditional modes of instruction to hybrid learning. Faculty participate in a face-to-face session, asynchronous online activities and a final synchronous online session. The workshop is organized in a hybrid format so faculty are able to experience hybrid learning from the student perspective. The focus of this experience is on best practices in hybrid teaching and will expose participants to numerous tools. However, because everyone’s iLearn to-do list is unique, faculty interested in learning specific iLearn tips should email iteach@sfsu.edu for a one-on-one consultation.

It is strongly recommended that faculty participate in all three sessions, as each session builds on the next. Sessions include:

  • Face-to-face session in LIB 222: 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Nov. 4
  • Asynchronous session via iLearn: one to two hours of work anytime between Nov. 4 and Nov. 8
  • Synchronous session via Zoom: 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8

Space is limited. Register for this three-part workshop via Qualtrics.

Goldner memorial, Dec. 6

The School of Cinema will host a memorial to honor the life of Professor Emeritus Jameson “Jim” Goldner on Dec. 6 in the Coppola Theater (Fine Arts 101). A founder of the nationally ranked School of Cinema, Goldner died Sept. 30 at the age of 81. He retired in 2014 after 52 years of teaching at SF State. His 100-plus films include the Holocaust memoir “When I Was 14: A Survivor Remembers,” which won Best Documentary at the 2001 California Independent Film Festival, aired on the Sundance Channel and screened annually in his “Film and the Holocaust” class. The reception begins at 6 p.m. Tributes begin at 7 p.m. Learn more on the LCA website


Getz wins national teaching award

Professor of History Trevor Getz is a recipient of the American Historical Association’s (AHA) 2019 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award. Established in 1986, the award recognizes outstanding teaching and advocacy for history teaching at two-year, four-year and graduate colleges and universities. It is intended for inspiring teachers whose techniques and mastery of subject matter make a real difference to students of history. Getz is receiving the award for outstanding postsecondary history teaching. He will be presented with the award at the AHA’s annual meeting in January.

De Robertis discusses new novel, LGBTQ visibility

Creative Writing Assistant Professor Carolina De Robertis was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about her new novel, “Cantoras,” which was recently named a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in the Fiction category. The book was inspired by a trip De Robertis took to her mother and father’s home country, Uruguay, where her parents weren’t supportive of her identity as a gay woman. “A lot of the things that happen in there are closely based on things that actually took place,” she said. “Part of my intention with this book is to break the silences around LGBTQ histories that have always existed — because of course we’ve always existed. We just haven’t always been able to safely become visible.” Read the full interview online.

Nielsen sits down with “The Scholar’s Circle”

Executive Director of the Estuary & Ocean Science (EOS) Center and Professor of Biology Karina Nielsen was interviewed on the radio show “The Scholar’s Circle” Sept. 22. The episode focused on how climate change is affecting the oceans and marine life. “The things that I’m seeing in my world are changes that are underneath the ocean that are visible to those of us who study the ocean but are invisible to a lot of folk who aren’t divers or aren’t directly connected to underwater life,” Nielsen said. “What’s close to my research area has been what’s been happening on the Northern California coast with real decline in our kelp forest, which seems to be associated with the some of the marine heat waves and some of the things that are probably being accelerated or accentuated by climate change.” Listen to the full conversation online.

Barón’s mission is saving the Mission

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Carlos Barón was recently interviewed by KTVU for a segment about Hispanic Heritage Month. Barón led a tour of San Francisco’s Mission District, reflecting on the neighborhood’s Latinx history and its current gentrification. The Mission was historically an area Latinx immigrants gravitated toward because of the low rents and shared cultural identity, Barón says. “San Francisco is famous for culture, music, food, and we’re losing it,” he said. “Change is inevitable. But the kind of change we are experiencing is more pushed by economic changes that have pushed a lot of people out of the Mission.” Watch the full interview online.

Abdulhadi honored with community organizing award

Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, director and senior scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program, will be presented with the Lucius Walker Community Organizing Award from the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizing (IFCO) on Oct. 26 in New York City. Abdulhadi will receive the award, named for the late African American minister and activist, for her support for IFCO, her “commitment for justice-centered scholarship and pedagogy” and her “bold decision to stand up and speak out” for the “marginalized and vilified” who are aligned with the values of Rev. Walker.

Tiwald talks morals in Maryland

Professor of Philosophy Justin Tiwald led an ethics lecture on “Moral Expertise: Confucian Philosophers on Deference and Deliberative Autonomy” on Oct. 16 at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Tiwald is a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values.