January 25, 2021

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Article explores faculty effort to fight racism in STEM

In a new Inside Higher Education editorial, faculty members in Department of Biology describe how they seized the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to create remote-ready laboratory classes — while at the same time injecting a much-needed dose of racial justice content into the courses.

“The pandemic will pass within the next few years, but it will regrettably take much longer to eradicate systemic anti-Black racism in higher education,” the group wrote. “Our university serves a wonderfully diverse student body — it was recently ranked in the top five for diversity nationwide — and our mission is firmly rooted in social justice. It’s vital that departments such as ours combat anti-Black racism.”

Professor and Chair of Biology Laura Burrus, SF BUILD Assistant Director Audrey Parangan-Smith, Professor of Biology Blake Riggs and Assistant Adjunct Professor of Biology Cathy Samayoa co-wrote the editorial, with dozens of other collaborators in the Biology Summer Lab Activity Modification (BioSLAM) program also credited.

The authors describe a nine-week summer effort that included more than 60 faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants, giving examples of new social-justice-oriented lessons and explaining the unique set of circumstances at San Francisco State that allowed the department to pivot so quickly. The editorial also encourages other universities to adopt similar efforts.

“Because of BioSLAM, our department is better prepared to meet the challenges of the moment,” the faculty members wrote. “If our efforts are successful, we will have raised the bar from simply providing all students with equal access to the curriculum to ensuring that all of our students, especially our BIPOC students, can make their voices heard and can see positive representations of themselves and their communities in the curriculum.”

To learn more about BioSLAM, read the August 2020 SF State News article detailing the effort.

Students sitting in a classroom

Study: ethnic studies curriculum tied to increased graduation, retention rates

In 1969, the University formed its College of Ethnic Studies (CoES) — the first of its kind in the nation. Since then, various research studies have shown that ethnic studies courses could give a big boost to student success. A recent report with SF State data supports that idea.

Written by CoES Dean Amy Sueyoshi and Associate Provost of Institutional Analytics Sutee Sujitparapitaya and published this semester in the journal Ethnic Studies Review, the paper takes a quantitative look at ethnic studies. Using data from the University’s Division of Institutional Analytics, Sueyhoshi and Sujitparapitaya show a strong correlation between ethnic studies curricula and high retention and graduation rates. 

“We should look at education as a way to bring opportunity to all people regardless of their background,” Sueyoshi said. “It’s a way to distribute wealth and create an educated citizenry. The report shows ethnic studies can support that.”

The report’s analysis is based on a sample of 22,250 first-time freshmen who first enrolled at SF State between the Fall 2008 and Fall 2013 semesters. The data shows that SF State students with a major in the CoES had high six-year graduation rates. (Six-year graduation rate is defined as the percentage of students who graduate within six years or less.) 

For example, when looking at students who entered the University in Fall 2010, CoES majors had a six-year graduation rate of 77 percent. To put it into perspective, data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that the average six-year graduation rate for public institutions is 61 percent. 

Even students who did not have a CoES major but had a CoES minor showed a high graduation rate. For the Fall 2013 cohort, students with a CoES minor had a six-year graduation rate of 85 percent.

What might these findings suggest? Sujitparapitaya says that it validates some of the prior qualitative research on the value of ethnic studies. Those research reports suggest that ethnic studies could lead to higher student engagement and retention.

“There are studies that recognize that when students see themselves in curriculum or can relate to it, they perform better,” Sujitparapitaya said. “That’s the essence of ethnic studies.” 

Read more about the study at the SF State News website.

SF State's Student Services Building

Search commences for vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management

The search for a permanent vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management (SAEM) has begun. The position has been posted online and will also be advertised in national higher education publications. President Lynn Mahoney has charged the search committee and virtual forums to gather campus feedback on the position, and forums with candidates for the position will be scheduled later in the semester.

The committee members are:

  • Yvonne Bui, professor and chairperson, Department of Special Education
  • Andrew Carillo, president, Associated Students
  • Anoshua Chaudhuri, professor and chair, Department of Economics
  • Susan Chen, counselor faculty, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Meredith Eliassen, senior assistant librarian, J. Paul Leonard Library
  • Luis A. De Paz Fernandez, AB 540 Dream coordinator, Dream Resource Center
  • Erin Fischer, area coordinator, Office of Residential Life
  • Cyrus Ginwala, director, School of Music, College of Liberal & Creative Arts
  • Danny Glassmann, associate vice president for Student Life and dean of students
  • Nia Hall, graduate student and student leader, Graduate College of Education and Office of Residential Life
  • Reggie Parson, assistant vice president and chief of police, Division of Campus Safety
  • John-Carlos Perea, associate professor, American Indian Studies, College of Ethnic Studies
  • Tony Schifano, head coach, baseball, Athletics Department
  • Tonee Sherrill, executive director, Associated Students
  • Jennifer Summit (chair), provost and vice president, Academic Affairs
  • Kimberly D. Tanner, professor of Biology and director, SEPAL, the Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory
  • Sherria D. Taylor (co-chair), assistant professor, Child & Family Studies, Department of Family Interiors Nutrition & Apparel (FINA)
  • Jimmie Wilder, associate director, Financial Aid

2020 W-2 information from Human Resources

The State Controller’s Office (SCO) will mail the employee 2020 Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statements no later than Jan. 31 via the U.S. Postal Service. This includes wages paid in 2020 (December 2019 through November 2020 pay periods). W-2s are mailed to the employee home address on file as of Dec. 15, 2020. The October 2020 pay period pay stub listed your home address for verification.

If your W-2 form is undeliverable, the U.S. Postal Service will return the W-2 Statement to the Human Resources office in ADM 252. Human Resources will attempt to notify employees within two weeks of returned W-2s. If you did not receive your W-2 Statement and it was not returned to Human Resources, you will need to file a duplicate W-2 request. You may also request a duplicate form via the SCO website.

Note: If the SCO sent your W-2 Statement to the address on file as of Dec. 15, 2020, and you did not receive the W-2 Statement, you may apply for a fee exception. To receive the exception, you must report the lost W-2 to the Human Resources Office by Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

You may request more than one W-2 tax year; however, only four prior tax years are available and the $8.50 processing fee applies for each tax year requested. For current active salaried employees, payment for the duplicate Form W-2 may be paid via payroll deduction by checking the appropriate option on Form 436. Once you submit Form 436, the SCO will deduct the fee from your next paycheck.

If you are in one of the following employee categories, you cannot use payroll deduction:

• Student Assistants

• Hourly Employees

• Special Consultants

• Inactive/terminated employees

CSU employees can also log on to Cal Employee Connect (CEC). This portal will allow employees to view and print their earnings statements and W-2s along with personal information. Please refer to the User’s Guide on the Human Resources website for detailed instruction on CEC portal registration.  

All payments must be made via a money order or cashier’s check made payable to the State Controller’s Office. Personal checks are not accepted. Find more information on Form W-2 on the SCO website. If you have questions, please contact the payroll representative for your area.

New HR Benefits support options

In this time of increased remote working, the Human Resources Benefits team is aware that there is limited on-campus availability for all SF State employees, including Benefits staff. In order to provide a continued high level of engagement to assist with employee questions, issues and support, the HR Benefits team has now implemented “Make an Appointment with Your Benefits Analyst.” Employees now have this additional option to have a 30-minute meeting with their benefits analyst to discuss any concerns or support needed. Employees can still visit during HR’s virtual walk-in hours and submit a service ticket using the HR Clients Services Center.

Call for nominations: Exceptional Assigned Time Awards 

Article 20.37 of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement for the CSU provides a limited pool of funds to be awarded to faculty employees who are engaged in exceptional levels of service that support the CSU’s priorities. Faculty members may nominate themselves or other eligible members for these Exceptional Assigned Time Awards in a letter no longer than two pages. If nominating someone, please include a statement to the effect that the faculty member is not already receiving assigned time for the same general category of supported activity during AY 2020-21. Senate policy S18-271 is on the senate website and includes details on eligibility, supported activities, review criteria and process. Faculty who wish to apply for the award must include the coversheet, available on the senate website in MS Word or PDF formats.

Awards for AY 2020-21 will be announced in March. All nominations must be received by the Academic Senate office at senate@sfsu.edu no later than 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5.

SF State begins WASC reaffirmation of accreditation

The campus community is invited to learn about the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) reaffirmation of accreditation process. Campus input throughout the process is expected and encouraged. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 3:30 p.m., Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning and Accreditation Liaison Officer Lori Beth Way will present information about the process at the Academic Senate plenary. To join the plenary for the presentation, please contact the Senate office at senate@sfsu.edu for the Zoom link.

SF State is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The University’s last accreditation for 10 years, the maximum allowed, was awarded in 2013. The University’s reaffirmation of accreditation started in 2020-21, culminating in WASC review in 2022-23.

Savings Plus webinars and meetings available

The SF State Human Resources Benefits team would like to kick off your 2021 by providing resources to help assess your financial health and increase your financial knowledge. Please visit the Savings Plus Scheduler to browse for upcoming group education webinars or schedule an individual phone meeting with your designated Savings Plus specialist. Multiple group education webinar dates and one-on-one individual meeting slots are available. 

The ability to participate in Savings Plus — the State of California employee 401k and 457b plan — is offered to employees by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). CalHR partners with Nationwide to administer its 401k and 457b plan and deliver training to all employees. Savings Plus specialists regularly host complimentary education webinars to acquaint employees with plan features, investment strategies and other topics of added value not associated with the Savings Plus plan universe, such as Social Security.  

Questions? Contact Victor Tawn, the Savings Plus 401k & 457b plan specialist designated for the San Francisco Bay Area region, at victor.tawn@nationwide.com.

Fidelity one-on-one consultations, Jan. 27

SF State Fidelity Representative Erik Kautzmann will be available to discuss your Fidelity options from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27. As part of your benefits through the California State University, Kautzmann’s services are completely complimentary. Register online for a consultation.

Data Privacy Day, Jan. 28

Thursday, Jan. 28, is Data Privacy Day and a time to reflect on our rights as California citizens (as enshrined in the state constitution) to “pursue and obtain safety, happiness and privacy.” The theme of this year’s Data Privacy Day is “Respect Privacy,” spotlighting questions such as who to trust with your personal information and how much your data is worth. Please visit Information Technology Services’ Data Privacy Day webpage to learn about protecting your privacy while online.

CEETL Spring 2021 Teaching Large Online Classes Micro-Course, Feb. 8-26

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) is offering an online micro-course focusing on teaching and engaging students in large online classes. Micro-courses are short courses focused on one topic. The format is primarily asynchronous, with an optional Zoom session that will include SF State faculty sharing their own successful teaching strategies. In the Teaching Large Online Classes Micro-Course, participants will discuss best practices to foster inclusion and student interaction in high-enrollment online classes; explore assessment strategies for large student groups online; and reflect and share methods they plan to use in teaching large online classes.

Faculty participants will receive $250 (pre-tax), and GTA participants will receive $110 (pre-tax) for completing the course. The course is expected to take three to four hours to complete, with an optional synchronous Zoom session.

Register now for the winter session, which runs Feb. 8-26.

CEETL Spring 2021 Synchronous Online Teaching Micro-Course, Feb. 8-26

CEETL is also offering an online micro-course focusing on a technical introduction and best practices for teaching online with Zoom. In the Synchronous Online Teaching Micro-Course, participants will identify best practices around etiquette, privacy and security in Zoom sessions and consider how those might be applied to their own courses; share strategies for engaging students in Zoom; and examine principles of low-bandwidth teaching and resilient course design through the lens of synchronous teaching.

Faculty participants will receive $250 (pre-tax), and GTA participants will receive $110 (pre-tax) for completing the course. The course is expected to take three to four hours to complete, with an optional synchronous Zoom session.

Register now for the winter session, which runs Feb. 8 -26.

CEETL’s Teaching with ePortfolios Faculty Showcase, Feb. 19

The campus community is invited to CEETL’s Teaching with ePortfolios Faculty Showcase from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19., via Zoom. This webinar is designed for faculty interested in implementing ePortfolios in their courses and those already teaching with ePortfolios. It will feature SF State faculty who are currently teaching with ePortfolios. You will have the opportunity to hear from their experiences, learn best practices and ask them any questions you have about ePortfolios. The showcase will be held via Zoom. In this session, participants will:

  • Explore ways to implement ePortfolios to support student success through assessment, reflection and bridging academic work to future goals.
  • Get familiarized with SF State’s ePortfolio platform, Portfolium, and how to utilize the platform to fit their goals.
  • Discuss best practices when teaching with ePortfolios and ways to support students when introducing them to ePortfolios.

Register online.

Tsuruta elected to MLA Delegate Assembly

Professor of Africana Studies Dorothy Tsuruta has been elected to be a Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC) forum delegate to the Delete Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. Over 300 members are elected to govern the association through the Delegate Assembly, an Executive Council and other governance committees. Tsuruta’s term runs from January 2021 to January 2024.

Kimmerling and McDaniel weigh in on Sunset District housing plan

Lecturer for the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Science Flo Kimmerling and Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel were interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about a new affordable housing development in San Francisco’s Sunset District. The proposed development has received criticism from some residents of the area who question the size of the development. “Why can’t you make it three or four stories? Why can’t you make it in scale with the rest of the neighborhood?” said Kimmerling. “It’s just too big — too high, too many apartments, too many people, too little parking. It’s not the nature of the people who would live there we are against, it’s the nature of the building.” McDaniel, meanwhile, expressed support for the efforts of District Four Supervisor Gordon Mar, who has advocated for the development. “There is a reason why this is the first affordable housing development in that area,” McDaniel said. “That is the hardest thing for politicians to do — to impose short-term costs on a powerful group of constituents in exchange for something that will benefit the whole city over the long term.”

Logan on Amazon’s latest anti-union tactics

Professor and Chair of Labor Studies John Logan, whose research focuses on the union avoidance industry, was quoted on Amazon’s anti-union tactics in two recent articles published by the news and culture website Vice. “Amazon has unlimited resources to fight this union drive,” Logan said in one of the articles. “They will do anything for unions not to get a foothold. There’s no amount that Amazon wouldn’t be willing to pay [its anti-union law firm] to defeat this campaign.” The articles were published on the Vice website Jan. 11 and Jan. 15.

McDaniel analyzes Harris’ presidential transition role

Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel discussed Vice President Kamala Harris’ role in the new presidential administration in a KPIX report. McDaniel says a top priority seems to be focusing on healing wounds and nurturing a sense of positivity and optimism. “Kamala Harris is smiling and quite effusive in her public appearances these days,” McDaniel says. “I think that’s a lot of what’s going on as they transition in a very weird time. ... It’s going to be very telling, I think, to the rest of the country not just what the administration chooses to tackle first, but how they tackle it.”