March 30, 2020

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Russell Jeung

Professor tracks rise in racism linked to pandemic

As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, SF State Asian American Studies Professor and Chair Russell Jeung is tracking a different corrosive contagion — racism and xenophobia. Since January, he’s noticed a sharp rise in media reports about coronavirus-related discrimination, a finding he highlighted in recent reports sent to California civil rights groups. As a result, some of those groups are now working with the Asian American Studies Department to track — and hopefully help stop — coronavirus-inspired harassment.

In one recent study, Jeung and two collaborators surveyed American news reports between Feb. 7 and March 9 and found a 50% increase in the number of articles about discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that first week, there were 93 stories. By the fourth week the number ballooned to 140 articles.

The details in Jeung’s reports prompted California leaders to take action. SF State, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) launched the Stop AAPI Hate Center on March 19. The website allows people to report harassment, shunning, bullying and other racially motivated attacks and assaults they witness or experience firsthand.

Another initiative proposed by Jeung — a statewide anti-racism ad campaign — has been funded by policy groups. The campaign will likely target social media, grocery stores and mass transit.

Though he’s been alarmed by the spike in anti-Asian discrimination, Jeung is impressed by the swift action to combat it. “This is a good example of community-engaged research that has policy impact,” he said. “The College of Ethnic Studies has this legacy of working with community partners to try to effect social change. This is just another example of how we work with students and the community to really empower the most marginalized in our society.”


Three rows of female students depicted in a sepia-tone historical photograph

Meet the amazing women who shaped SF State

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting life and dominating conversation worldwide, it could be easy to forget that March is Women’s History Month. Which would be a shame, because there are so many amazing women worth remembering. We turned to University Archivist Meredith Eliassen, who wrote about the lasting impact of pioneering staff member Mary Anna Ward for SF State Magazine’s fall/winter 2019 women’s issue. Below, Eliassen spotlights more women who left their mark on SF State University — and the world.

Dr. Edna Locke Barney
When SF State was founded in 1899 — with a student body that was 100 percent women — female physicians were a rarity. Yet when the University’s first president, Frederic Burk, hired a college physician in 1919, he chose a female doctor with a long and distinguished track record. Dr. Edna Locke Barney had made her mark as an instructor and leader at the Children’s Surgical Clinic at the California Medical School. She paved the way for quality health services for SF State students, guiding many through their darkest moments with her renowned honesty and wry humor. She also taught a number of courses over the years, pioneering health education at the University with a physiology class for future elementary school teachers. Thanks to her leadership, SF State became the first California state college to offer a degree program for nurses.

Olive Thompson Cowell
Stuck in Germany at the beginning of World War I, Olive Thompson witnessed firsthand  the slaughter in the trenches. What she saw sparked a commitment to pacifism and world peace that stayed with her the rest of her life. Hired to oversee SF State’s social sciences instruction in 1919, she became one the first women in the United States to teach international relations. In 1933, she founded the International Relations Club to encourage student engagement in conversations on such topics as race and nationalism. Three years later she established the International Relations major to instill in students an understanding of world affairs and foreign service. International Relations became a department in 1950, and today it’s a thriving part of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.

Read about more extraordinary women who changed SF State

Birds eye view of female working on her laptop

Website supports remote teaching and learning

The SF State Instructional Continuity website provides students, faculty and departments a central location for finding useful resources and answers to frequently asked questions in support of instructional continuity using remote modalities. The site provides timely updates and announcements related to instructional continuity, orients instructors and students to SF State’s teaching and learning tools for remote instruction, supplies technical recommendations for departments transitioning into remote operations and offers resources for promoting justice, equity, inclusion and resilience in the academic setting

CEETL provides ongoing support for remote instruction

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) offers webinars, one-on-one consultations and a variety of resources to support inclusive teaching using remote modalities. Upcoming webinars include “Humanizing Your iLearn Course,” “Zoom Polling and Breakout Groups” and “Academic Integrity by Design: Options for Remote Instruction,” among others. Visit the CEETL website to register for webinars, review past recordings and access videos and resources related to remote instruction. New content is added every week. To request consultations, email and suggest two to three days and times for a Zoom meeting.

CEETL wants to hear your “Tiny Love Stories on [Remote] Teaching”

Inspired by the reader-submitted “Tiny Love Stories” in the New York Times, CEETL invites campus community members to submit their own “Tiny Love Stories on [Remote] Teaching.” What kind of remote teaching love story can you share in two tweets, an Instagram caption or a Facebook post? CEETL would like to hear a story from your own teaching experience in no more than 100 words. You may include a picture or illustration. CEETL will share the funniest, most inspiring and poignant entries it receives. Send your story to

Distinguished faculty, staff award nominations extended

The deadline for nominations for distinguished faculty and staff awards has been extended to April 1. These awards provide an opportunity for our campus to recognize and honor outstanding tenured faculty, full-time lecturers and staff who have demonstrated significant long-term contributions to the University and to their disciplines. By recognizing the achievements of distinguished faculty in the areas of teaching, service and professional achievement and growth, the campus community celebrates the University’s climate of excellence. Nomination forms can be completed online via Qualtrics.

Student employment I-9 verification by appointment only

Effective immediately, student employment eligibility verification via form I-9 will be handled by appointment only. When a student is hired, departments/units should first check the student’s service indicators in Campus Solutions to see if they are already I-9 verified. If the student is not I-9 verified, then the student should request an appointment for I-9 verification via email to All students must bring to the appointment appropriate identification in accordance with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ list of acceptable documents found on page 3 of the I-9. All documents must be unexpired and presented in person. (No photocopies or pictures on devices.) International students must first visit the Office of International Programs  to begin their I-9 verification process.

EXCO fall 2020 deadline April 10

The application deadline to teach an Experimental College (EXCO) course for fall 2020 is April 10. Students who teach an EXCO course can earn one to four upper division elective units. To teach a course, students must submit a title and short course description via EXCO’s website by April 10. If you have questions, please email or visit the website.

HR professional development tools: “Work/Life Balance”

CSU Learn has a new learning offering titled “Work/Life Balance.” This bundle includes “Work/Life Balance” and “Working Virtually for: Meeting Organizers, Team Managers, and Team Members.” To access the material, log in to CSU Learn and search for the CSU’s Professional Development: Working Virtually in the Library section.

To manage stress and gain a sense of peace during these challenging times, HR recommends that you view “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation,” a CSU’s Got Talent webcast with Dr. Juliet Hwang, which is also available in the Work/Life Balance bundle.

ORSP accepting nominations for WPE programs 

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will be accepting nominations for the Whiting Public Engagement Programs 2021-2022 cycle until 5 p.m. April 27. The Public Engagement Programs Fellows and Seed Grants are intended to celebrate and empower early-career faculty who embrace public engagement as part of their scholarly vocation. Over time, ORSP hopes the programs will help build a diverse community of faculty who are passionate about engagement while underscoring how essential advanced work in the humanities is to the health of our society.

Partner schools are invited to nominate one humanities professor for each program. A school may choose to participate in both programs or in only one. Partner scholarly societies and humanities organizations (such as state humanities councils, museums and libraries) may make a number of nominations based on their size; that number will be communicated with the invitation to nominate. To be eligible for either program, nominees must be full-time humanities faculty at an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning as of September 2020. They also must be early-career, which is defined as pre-tenure, untenured or having received tenure in the last five years. (Note that full-time adjunct faculty at an equivalent career stage are eligible.)

Learn more about Whiting Public Engagement Programs

Reminder: Department of Health Education name change survey

The campus community is welcome to provide feedback on the proposed name change of the Department of Health Education (DHE). DHE is requesting a name change to the Department of Public Health. Please comment by using the Qualtrics survey by April 10. 

In memoriam: Arthur Cunningham

Professor Emeritus of Marketing Arthur Cunningham died Feb. 2 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 97 years old. Cunningham began working at SF State in 1974 and was appointed dean of the College of Business in 1975. He is most noted for his development of the Masters of Business Administration program. He served on the Deans’ Council for many years and was a strong advocate for the college.

“He managed a period of phenomenal growth of the school,” said former College of Business faculty member Suren Mansinghka.

Cunningham was a mentor, colleague and great friend to many who had the opportunity to work with and know him. 

In memoriam: Peter G. Garabedian

Professor Emeritus of Sociology Peter G. Garabedian died at home in Berkeley with his family on March 18, the day after his 93rd birthday. Garabedian taught sociology and criminology at SF State from 1968 to 1992.

Garabedian was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, to survivors of the 1915-1917 Armenian genocide. He lived in Somerville with his parents and his three sisters until joining the Navy during World War II at the age of 17. After the war, he graduated from University of Redlands on the G.I. Bill and earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington. He taught at several universities before coming to SF State in 1968. 

Warm-hearted and generous, with the most cheering smile, Garabedian loved baseball, books (which he lent generously), spicy food, beer, history, barbeques, spending time with friends and music, especially jazz. Donations in his memory may be made to the California Jazz Conservatory, the Berkeley Food Pantry or to your favorite progressive cause.

A celebration of Garabedian’s life will take place once we can practice social closeness again. In the meantime, you can share memories of him online.

Swei, Peng talk ticks

A Bay Nature Magazine article about how ecosystems affect the spread of disease spotlighted work underway in SF State Swei Lab, which is headed by Associate Professor of Biology Andrea Swei and managed by Research Technician Ceili Peng. The article focused on the lab’s research into ticks and the spread of Lyme disease. Interest in such research has spiked recently due to COVID-19, which like Lyme disease is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans. Read the full article online.

Logan backs protections for grocery store workers

Chair and Professor of Labor Studies John Logan wrote an op-ed for Truthout detailing the challenges faced by grocery store workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Logan says such workers should be supported with free child care, paid sick leave and hazard pay. He also called for states to ensure that their health and safety are given adequate protections. “They should also take steps to make sure that grocery workers and their families are as healthy, safe and financially secure as possible during this unprecedented emergency,” he wrote. “They are working for us at considerable personal risk; we need to act now to protect them.”.

Vandergriff on wanderlust

Professor of Modern Languages & Literatures Ilona Vandergriff recently discussed something a lot of us have been feeling lately — a longing to leave home and travel — with BBC News. Specifically, Vandergriff talked about the German word “fernweh,” which describes the feeling of being homebound. “I think ‘fernweh’ for Germans refers to a longing for warmer and sunnier places, palm trees, lemon trees but also a different way of life, more carefree and less ordered,” said Vandergriff. Read the full article online.

Pahnke calls for more support for farmers

Assistant Professor of International Relations Anthony Pahnke wrote an op-ed for Georgia’s Rome News-Tribune about investing in farming during the COVID-19 crisis. Pahnke argues that federal spending that supports American farmers could help reduce the risk of future pandemics by ensuring that domestic sources for vital food products continue to thrive. “The new coronavirus is emphatically not a ‘Chinese virus,’ as President Donald Trump has claimed. But its origins can be traced to China, and its roots are in the international food market,” Pahnke wrote. “Recently, industrial farm operations in China have expanded to meet the country’s dietary needs for its growing urban population, causing farmers to include animals of questionable origin into the food chain. The Chinese poultry industry, which domesticates wild birds for slaughter and consumption, has been particularly singled out for enabling viruses to make the leap from animals to humans. ... Let’s use the government stimulus to make agriculture local and sustainable, which would improve the dwindling fortunes of rural America and also reduce the dangers posed by international commodity chains.”