May 18, 2020

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Alex Hwu

College of Extended Learning names new dean

Shih-Hsung “Alex” Hwu has been appointed dean of the College of Extended Learning (CEL), the University announced. He has been the interim dean for the college since June 26, 2018.

“As interim dean, Alex has set the college on a strong path toward future growth by creating productive collaborations within Academic Affairs and across campus. I am confident that his leadership will solidify this path and ensure CEL’s future flourishing,” said Provost Jennifer Summit.

Hwu has more than 15 years of experience managing self-supported online learning units, international education and program development in higher education. During his career, he has demonstrated deep commitment to an accessible, multilingual, multicultural, gender-equitable, innovative and inclusive environment that promotes engaged excellence through diversity. He served as associate vice president for the College of Extended Education and Global Engagement at Humboldt State University prior to joining SF State. 

Much appreciation is extended to the search committee for leading a strong and successful search process: co-chairs Maggie Beers and Marilyn Jackson and committee members Julie Briden, Sophie Clavier, Kurt Daw, Carmen Domingo, Therese Doan, Erik Rosegard, Jerry Shapiro and Rachel Small.

Alexander String Quartet members

Quartet to celebrate end of the semester with music 

To mark the conclusion of the academic year, the University’s longtime quartet-in-residence will present a celebratory concert via YouTube. The Alexander String Quartet’s performance of Antonin Dvořák’s “American” Quartet in F Major, Opus 96 will be available 5 p.m. Thursday, May 21. The video will also include a Q&A with the quartet led by Cyrus Ginwala, director of SF State’s Morrison Chamber Music Center, preceded by introductory remarks by President Lynn Mahoney. More details about the performance, which is being presented by the center and the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, are available online.

Still from Fringe Festival participant video

Fringe Festival adapts to shelter-in-place, moves online 

For 25 years, the School of Theatre and Dance has produced the Fringe Festival, featuring original short plays written, directed and acted by students. But in true dramatic fashion, the COVID-19 global pandemic threatened to cancel the 2020 show. For a short while, Fringe Fest was scrapped. But then a graduate student playwright, along with Theatre Arts Professor Roy Conboy, decided the show must go on. 

Creative Writing graduate student Ali Littman wrote “Marla,” her first-ever play about a real-life friend who was killed in a terrorist bombing in Israel. She hoped to stage it at Fringe Fest this spring. When she heard the show was canceled, she was heartbroken, fearing this could be her only chance to stage her show. So she and Conboy hatched a plan to save the festival by debuting the productions online.

At first they considered performing live via Zoom, but there were too many technical issues to contend with, particularly internet connectivity concerns. Instead, recordings of some of the student plays have been livestreamed via Zoom, followed by a chat with the playwright.

Transferring the productions online wasn’t too challenging, Conboy says. He brought the Fringe Fest to SF State in the 1990s, and the plays, by design and budget, never required a lot of production support. “That way we could put on 11 short plays,” he said. “Some of the plays have adapted really well to the online format.”

The Fringe Festival will concludes its live program on Zoom today with a twin bill of David Wainwright’s “Santa” and Samantha Sotomayor’s “How Many More.” All of this year’s festival performances will remain available to view for free online. For details or to begin watching, go to the Fringe Festival website.

All Drupal 7 sites to move to Drupal 8 by year’s end 

Does your department website need a refresh? If your department website is on Drupal 7 and in need of a boost in terms of style and substance, now is the time to get on the Information Technology Service (ITS) schedule for moving your website to Drupal 8. All departments are expected to move their sites to Drupal 8 by Dec. 10, 2020, or earlier as Drupal 7 will be phased out. Please find details about moving to Drupal 8 on the ITS website. Questions can be sent to

2019 Transfer Student Survey results available

In fall 2019, all enrolled SF State students who started along their degree paths at other institutions were invited to participate in a campuswide Transfer Student Survey. The survey design and administration were the result of a collaboration between the Office of Institutional Research and the Transfer Advisory Committee (TAC), a subcommittee of the Student Success and Graduation Initiative (SSGI) task force. The survey probed specific aspects of the transfer student experience at SF State, including initial transition from a previous institution; students’ assessment of their engagement and sense of belonging in the SF State community; and the perceptions of SF State’s commitment to supporting transfer students. Read more about the survey, the key findings and TAC’s recommendations for strengthening support and resources for our transfer students on the Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning website.

Summer 2020 remote internship collaborative

First Year Experience, Institutional Research and the Center for Equity and Excellence are collaborating to create a summer 2020 student research internship examining first-year student retention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Student interns will:

  • Explore the first-year experience through the lens of an evaluator/student researcher
  • Gain skills in research methodology, including survey methodology and in-depth interviewing
  • Enhance knowledge of support services that exist for first-year students
  • Connect with students who have completed their first year at SF State
  • Assess the needs of first-year students as it relates to remote learning and completing their first year in the midst COVID-19

The internship will start on June 8 and end on Aug. 7. Students are encouraged to apply by June 1. The application is available via Qualtrics.

ITS first quarter accomplishments

Information Technology Services (ITS) is excited to share highlights of its accomplishments for Q1 of 2020. Things changed dramatically in March due to the coronavirus and shelter-in-place. ITS pulled together all its resources to ensure that the campus community could be productively working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. ITS encourages you to see what its staff members were up to during the first quarter of the year. To learn more, please see the full announcement on the ITS website.

Academic Senate report

At its organizational meeting on May 12, the Academic Senate held elections for the 2020-2021 Senate Executive Committee, and it is now pleased to announce the results. The one-year terms will begin June 1.

  • Chair: Teddy Albiniak, Communication Studies
  • Vice Chair: Jackson Wilson, Recreation, Parks & Tourism
  • Secretary: Kim Schwartz, Theatre & Dance
  • Member-at-Large: Rachel Small, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Member-at-Large: Cynthia Wilczak, Anthropology
  • Academic Policies Committee Chair: Genie Stowers, Public Administration (PACE)
  • Curriculum Review and Approval Committee Chair: Ellen Hines, Geography and the Environment
  • Faculty Affairs Committee Chair: Jasper Rubin, Urban Planning (PACE)
  • Student Affairs Committee Chair: David Olsher, English Language and Literature
  • Strategic Issues Committee Chair: Mike Goldman, Biology
  • Academic Senate of the CSU (ex officio): Darlene Yee-Melichar, Gerontology (PACE); Robert Keith Collins, American Indian Studies; and Nancy Counts Gerber, Chemistry and Biochemistry

School of Cinema End-of-Year Showcase through May 22

The School of Cinema’s End-of-Year Showcase, running now through May 22, features an array of student-film screenings, talks with distinguished alumni and industry insiders, and a celebration of graduating M.A. students. All events can be accessed through Zoom, with videos available through Vimeo. Full details are available on the School of Cinema website.

SF State welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for any events or Zoom sessions mentioned in CampusMemo, send an email to

Retirement salute to Professor Adam Burke, May 18

The campus community is invited to join the Institute of Holistic Health Studies as it honors retiring Professor of Holistic Health Studies Adam Burke. Burke first joined SF State as a lecturer in Holistic Health Studies in 1986. He became an assistant professor in 2001 and a full professor in 2009. The director of the Institute of Holistic Health Studies from 2006 to 2019, he was awarded the 2019 Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for his pioneering work in integrative health and wellness education.

The salute to Burke will be held remotely from 6 to 6:30 p.m. today. Join the celebration via Zoom. Password: 240040. The event is part of a larger celebration for Holistic Health Studies students from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Superfest Disability Film Festival Kids Showcase, May 21

For the first time, the Paul K. Longmore Institute’s Superfest Disability Film Festival will host an online showcase that’s just for kids. The showcase will present short films that will help you introduce to your children how disability can serve as a creative force in cinema and society. All films will play with audio description and captioning, and the program will have live captioning and American Sign Language. Register online. Questions? Send an email to

University Budget Committee, May 28

The University Budget Committee (UBC) will meet via Zoom from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 23. 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 issues. If you would like to attend the meeting as a guest, please email Nancy Ganner at to request Zoom access.

The UBC welcomes persons with disabilities and can provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for this event, please email as soon as possible so your request may be reviewed.

Academic Senate-sponsored faculty open forum with the provost, June 1

The Academic Senate invites faculty to an open forum with Provost Jennifer Summit from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 1. To receive a password-protected Zoom link, please register via Qualtrics by 5 p.m. Friday, May 29.

In memoriam: Stephen Elias Arkin

Emeritus Professor of English Stephen Elias Arkin passed away from cancer May 6. Born in Connecticut in 1942, Arkin began teaching at SF State in 1967. He taught at the University for decades, serving 20 years as chair of the English department. You can read more about him on SF Gate’s Legacy website

Smooth stone

We could all use more kindness and connection to help us get through the COVID-19 crisis. Human Resources Executive Director of Organizational Development Jeannette Peralta says she’s found both in the Kindness Rocks Project. It encourages people sheltering in place to paint rocks with bright, hopeful messages and leave them out to inspire the community. “The purpose of this project is to cultivate connections and uplift others through simple acts of kindness,” Peralta said. “This is a great opportunity to be creative and spread kindness.” Visit the Kindness Rocks Project website to learn more.


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Henderson talks post-pandemic transportation

Professor of Geography & Environment Jason Henderson was interviewed by KCBS-AM about how public transportation operations might look when people return to work following the shelter-in-place. “In terms of public transportation, there’s a lot of things we need to do in response to this pandemic that are things we needed to do anyway in response to climate change,” said Henderson. “For example, transit capacity was already a problem. We know we don’t want to have crowding now. So things like coordinating between large employers in the region [for] staggered work hours and days of the week where employees telework [should be explored].” Listen to the full interview on the KCBS website.

Raggio joins American Academy of Audiology board

Speech Language Hearing Sciences Professor Marcia Raggio has been elected to the American Academy of Audiology’s Board of Directors for a three-year term as a member-at-large. The American Academy of Audiology is the world’s largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists, representing the interests of approximately 14,000 audiologists nationwide.

Chew, Gonzales discuss SF State history on PBS

The 1968 student strike at SF State was spotlighted in a section of the new PBS docuseries “Asian Americans.” The segment featured interviews with Professor of Asian American Studies Dan Gonzales and Professor Emeritus of Asian American Studies Laureen Chew, both of them SF State alumni who were on campus at the time. “The demand for black studies was influencing Asian Americans,” said Gonzales. “We started reflecting on our own experience and saying, ‘Yeah, you know, we need to have something like that for ourselves.’” The full episode is available online. The section on SF State begins at the 1:18 mark.

Dudley critiques “all-hands-on-deck” policing

School of PACE Lecturer James Dudley was quoted in a recent Police One article about law enforcement staffing during the pandemic. The article explored the “all-hands-on-deck” approach of some police departments, which shifts usually office-bound employees into public policing during a crisis. Dudley says the practice can have many benefits — if used judiciously. “I would not just order everyone to get into uniform and hit the streets without direction, goals or plans to keep areas saturated with a visible presence, while other areas of the agency are suspended,” he said. “By ordering everyone to leave assignments to go to uniform patrol only, you may do more harm than good. A good leader should consider the expertise and not entirely strip critical units that investigate violent crimes such as homicide, gang violence, sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. Care should be taken not to waste critical resources.”