February 3, 2020

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Woman in blanket with tissues, mug of tea and thermometer

University offers coronavirus update and tips

As students returned for Spring Semester last week, more than usual dropped by Student Health Services for face masks, reports Roger Elrod, director of Student Health. This time, they didn’t just have flu on their minds. As widely reported in the media, an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus has been identified starting in the city of Wuhan, China, with a handful of reported cases in the United States. The virus can cause symptoms similar to the flu, like fever and coughing.

Scientists are still learning about the virus, and the situation may change quickly. But currently risk to the general public in California is low, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Coronavirus, like the flu, appears to be spread through droplets in the air when people cough or sneeze, so there are precautions you can take to minimize the chance of catching it.

“The prevention behaviors that will help you avoid the flu — or get less sick if you do get it — are the same ones you would take to prevent catching coronavirus,” said Elrod.

That means stopping the virus’s spread by coughing or sneezing into an arm or tissue; washing hands frequently; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and keeping an arm’s length of separation between yourself and others whenever possible. It’s also important to take care of yourself. Eating healthy, maintaining good sleep habits and managing stress all make it less likely that a virus will take hold.

What should you do if you’re feeling flu-like symptoms? Call or email a health provider for advice. You should also stay home from work to reduce contact with others until symptoms subside.

SF State is closely monitoring guidance provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The University will provide updates as the situation evolves and understanding of the virus changes.


A male and female working together on paper assignments

Marcus Early Career Research Award winners announced

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Marcus Early Career Research Award will help three faculty members complete research and creative work encompassing art, law and cinema studies. Supported by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, the award provides a one-semester leave during the 2020–2021 academic year. Probationary tenure-track faculty in their third, fourth or fifth year are eligible. The winners are Assistant Professor of Art Libby Black, Assistant Professor of Political Science Nicholas Conway and Assistant Professor of Cinema Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto.

Black (far left) will complete “Photobook as Lineage,” a collaborative project with Chris McCall, director of Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco. Black will re-create 50 notable photo books as painted paper sculptures for her own book and an exhibition at the Aperture Foundation gallery in New York City.

Conway will complete a book exploring why, despite a massive increase in U.S. litigation, so few civil cases make it to court. In research that he began in his dissertation at Texas A&M University, Conway has found that unelected judges have manipulated legal procedure, resulting in a reduction in equality and civil rights.

Ramirez-Soto will complete a book addressing exiled Latin American filmmakers who found a new home in Europe in the 1980s. Titled “Transnational Experimental Television: The Global South on European Screens,” the book examines geopolitical issues and the convergence of film and television.


Four people sitting around a wooden table. It appears they are engaging in a conversation.

Clinic helps transgender, nonbinary people find their voice

Imagine how you’d feel if your voice didn’t sound like you — if every time you spoke you heard a voice that didn’t align with who you are. Many transgender and nonbinary people don’t have to imagine this scenario, because it’s all too common for them. 

This experience often leads to them being misgendered — described in a way that doesn’t align with their gender identity — in everyday situations like talking on the phone or giving a presentation. Understanding how unsettling this can be, one SF State professor is helping trans and nonbinary people find their voice through speech therapy techniques.

Assistant Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Anusha Sundarrajan launched a speech therapy program last semester that teaches strategies for achieving a gender-affirming voice. The goal of the clinic: help participants identify and speak with a voice that matches their gender expression.

“With our clinic, we provide a nonjudgmental space where our participants can find a voice that defines who they are,” Sundarrajan said.

Some trans and nonbinary people change their voice without formal training, which can strain and harm their vocal cords, she points out. Sundarrajan emphasizes that the clinic teaches safe, healthy and sustainable methods for participants to achieve their desired voice. She and a team of graduate student clinicians meet with participants weekly to explore natural techniques of voice modification. To reach their goals, participants use techniques common in the field of speech-language pathology. For example, clinicians employ Conversation Training Therapy, which helps participants comfortably speak with their target voice in a conversational setting.

Members of the campus community and general public can apply to be a participant, with priority given to enrolled SF State students. For more information, contact Anusha Sundarrajan via email.


CEL dean candidate interviews, presentations 

Candidates have been selected to interview for the position of College of Extended Learning dean. 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. The schedule for presentations, all to be held in LIB 244, is as follows:

  • Thursday, Feb 6, 9:15 to 10:25 a.m.: Alex Hwu, interim dean, College of Extended Learning, SF State
  • Friday, Feb 7, 10:15 to 11:25 a.m.: John Robichaux, founder and principal of Robichaux Global Consulting 
  • Wednesday, Feb 26, 2:45 to 4 p.m.:  J. Kim McKnutt, dean, College of Extended and International Education, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Information on all candidates is available on the Academic Affairs and Office of the Provost website.


ITS fourth quarter accomplishments

Upgrades and initiatives designed to introduce improvements in areas from security to disaster preparedness are among highlights of Information Technology Services’ (ITS) 2019 fourth quarter contributions to campus. Additional projects enhanced the SF State mobile app, network infrastructure and student-focused applications. To learn more, please see the full announcement on the ITS website


Academic Senate agenda

The SF State Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center for their eighth meeting of the academic year. Visitors are welcome. 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 includes the following:

  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: revision to #F17-249, the First-Year Experience Committee, in second reading.
  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: revision to #F98-204, Policy and Guidelines for Offering Existing SF State Degrees via College of Extended Learning, in first reading.
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: proposed M.A.s in Curriculum and Instruction and in Early Childhood Education and proposed M.S. in Quantitative Economics, all in second reading.
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: New Substantive Proposal Guidelines and New Bulletin Copy Guidelines, both information items.
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Revision to the Minor in Linguistics and to the M.S. in Business Analytics, all consent items.

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


Microsoft Teams and Qualtrics trainings, Feb. 6 and 21

ITS will be offering in-person demos of both Qualtrics and Microsoft Teams in February. Qualtrics is an easy-to-use, full-featured, web-based survey tool for creating and conducting online surveys. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that offers much more than just chat features. A laptop is not required for the demos, but feel free to bring one if you wish.

The Qualtrics demo will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in ADM 201. It will cover such topics as getting started, survey options, distribution and exporting data. Seating is limited. Complete the online registration form to attend.

The Microsoft Teams demo will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in ADM 201. It will cover topics such as individual and group chat, audio and video calls, screen sharing and setting up a team for your department. ITS highly recommends that you review the three-minute online Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo before attending. Seating is limited. Complete the online registration form to attend.


First Fridays: “State of the Bay Region: Core Issues and Challenges,” Feb. 7

President Lynn Mahoney will present opening remarks, followed by speaker Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, Feb. 7 at First Fridays Fun, hosted by the Lam Family College of Business. The event’s theme is “State of the Bay Region: Core Issues and Challenges,” and Wunderman will discuss how the Bay Area Council is addressing the big issues challenging our region’s businesses and workforce. First Fridays Fun events are held on the first Friday of every month. All current SF State students, faculty and staff are invited to the informal social and educational gatherings. The upcoming First Friday event is scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Downtown Campus. Refreshments will be served. Register via Eventbrite.


Reminder: Celebration of Life for the Rev. J.E. (Penny) Saffold, Feb. 11

A celebration of life for Rev. J.E. (Penny) Saffold, vice president emerita, will be held Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Seven Hills Conference Center. RSVP by Feb. 4 via email to or by telephone to ext. 5-3544. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the SF State Dr. J.E. (Penny) Saffold Scholarship Award.


Spring 2020 holistic health lecture series

A series of lectures on holistic health sponsored by the Institute for Holistic Health Studies in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism will take place on alternating Mondays beginning Feb. 17 and ending May 4. Open to all members of the University community, the lectures will be offered from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in HSS 213 and repeated in the evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in GYM 118. The series will include these lectures:

Feb. 17

“Anthroposophical Medicine”
Presenter: Dr. Robert Gorter

March 2

“Conquering Cancer My Way”
Presenter: Dr. Elior Kinarthy

April 6

“Vision and Health for Life Through Self-Healing”
Presenter: Meir Schneider

April 20

“Healing from Paralysis”
Presenter: Madhu Anziani

May 4

“Posture, Body Presence and Peace: Learn About the Alexander Technique”
Presenter: Elyse Shafarman

Watch CampusMemo for additional details.

Nelson: indigenous food systems are science, not folklore

Professor of American Indian Studies Melissa Nelson was a speaker at a recent summit with the theme “The Wisdom of Indigenous Foodways.” Held in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jan. 22, the summit was sponsored by Food Tank, a nonprofit organization devoted to exploring food supply issues. Nelson is president of the Cultural Conservancy and an advocate for educating people about indigenous cultures and food systems. She was part of a panel discussion “De-Powering Law and Institutions: What Needs to Change?” “Indigenous food systems knowledge is science,” Nelson said during the discussion. “It’s not folklore. They’re not stories. It’s not quaint and anthropology; they’re sciences. They need to be respected as such.”


Deterville reflects on racism in Disney cartoons

Lecturer of Africana Studies Kwadwo Duane Deterville was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about racist content in old Disney films. Disney’s new streaming service Disney Plus features several older movies — among them “Lady and the Tramp,” “Dumbo” and “The Aristocats” — that depict characters using racial stereotypes. Deterville doesn’t feel the material should be removed entirely, but he recommends that it be “curated and recontextualized.” “Even when shown in classrooms, they need to be unpacked in a sophisticated way to show how dangerous and hurtful these images can be over a long period of time,” he said. Read the full article online.


Peel publishes unique new take on “Frankenstein”

Professor Emerita of Comparative and World Literature Ellen Peel’s essay “Adoption, Tragedy, and the Failed Search for Origins in Frankenstein” was recently published in the journal Adoption & Culture. In her essay, Peel argues that in Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel the relationship between Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creation is metaphorically a tragic story of failed adoption.


Matsumoto talks about what we say when we’re not speaking

Professor of Psychology David Matsumoto discussed nonverbal communication cues in a BBC News article. According to Matsumoto, even the subtlest facial changes, such as the twitch of a lip or a tiny eyebrow rise, are important clues to an individual’s real feelings. “Silence is one nonverbal cue. Shifting of posture is a nonverbal cue. A social smile could be another cue,” says Matsumoto. “All of these are part of the nonverbal package that contribute to that contextual meaning.” Read the full article online.