March 8, 2021

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How to be an Anti-Racist University Faculty Retreat 2021

2021 SF State Faculty Retreat recording now available

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) is pleased to announce that the video recording of the 2021 Faculty Retreat, themed “How to Be an Anti-Racist University,” is now available. Watch it on the official retreat site

CEETL and the Academic Senate collaborated to organize and host the 2021 Faculty Retreat. More than 400 people participated in the retreat’s webinar, and more than 20 faculty members led working groups related to the retreat’s theme. Overall, more than 500 people signed up for the retreat.

Kimberly Ellis

Seventh annual Women’s Emerging Leadership Forum coming up April 2

The Lam Family College of Business at SF State is hosting its seventh annual Women’s Emerging Leadership Forum as an online event on Friday, April 2. The event theme this year is “Leading Through Uncertainty,” and the keynote speaker will be Kimberly Ellis (left), director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.

This annual event is a lively and engaging forum designed to help women achieve their full potential in the workplace by bringing together a diverse group of successful and aspiring leaders to exchange ideas and hard-earned insights. Participants will share knowledge, learn how to avoid common pitfalls on the path to career advancement and identify ways to enhance leadership skills while making meaningful connections and expanding professional networks. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and other community members are invited to attend. Visit the Women’s Emerging Forum website to view the full agenda and register.

Nona Caspers

New scholarships boost Department of Creative Writing diversity efforts

Since becoming chair of the Department of Creative Writing in 2018, Nona Caspers has worked with her faculty and staff to make the program more relevant and accessible to diverse students. With her lead, the department has hired faculty from historically underrepresented communities and has broadened the program’s offerings. “The goal of our faculty and staff and also of our current students is to make the program attainable to students from diverse communities and perspectives,” Caspers said. “We want the College of Liberal & Creative Arts [LCA] to be the go-to place for emerging voices in creative writing who have historically struggled to be heard.”

A key component of Caspers’ plan is to offer scholarships to students who may not otherwise be able to study creative writing. Responding to a public request for student support which she made during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, an anonymous family foundation has stepped up with a life-changing donation. The newly created $150,000 Bernice Ruben Arnold Scholarship Fund will award two $5,000 scholarships a year with preference to first-generation students in the Department of Creative Writing’s MFA program, through the academic year 2025-26. As long as students remain in good academic standing with the department, they can receive the scholarship for a total of up to three years. 

“Students who are first-generation, who have lived in this white supremacist system, we hope this gives them an opportunity to flourish,” Caspers said. “A little more ease, a little more cushion, and confidence that they belong here. The scholarship gives all BIPOC students an invitation and the message that we welcome and value them.”

The scholarship is named after Bernice Ruben Arnold. The child of Russian Jewish immigrants, Arnold worked in a bookstore that served the UCLA campus, befriending many college students whose excitement for learning she supported and shared. The Bernice Ruben Arnold scholarship is offered in honor of her understanding and appreciation of those many valuable students for whom things do not always come easily. 

The scholarship will be awarded to two students starting this semester. Six new creative writing scholarships have also been created in the department by the Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal & Creative Arts, which was made possible by a $25 million gift from alumni George & Judy Marcus in 2018.

University distributes $14 million in federal aid to students in need

Enrollment Management, in partnership with the Bursar’s Office, is happy to announce the distribution of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to eligible students on March 3. Funds were made available under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

Emergency grant awards were made to 11,812 students who demonstrated exceptional need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In accordance with guidance from the Department of Education, students with exceptional need were prioritized in the distribution of funds. The University was able to distribute funds to 70% of FAFSA filers and 47% of all students.

In total, $14,313,775 was distributed directly to students. Awards ranged between $200 and $1,500 depending on student’s enrollment load and financial need.

Additional information can be found on the Division of Student Life and Dean of Students website.

2021 Academic Senate elections now open

The nomination period for the 2021 Academic Senate elections is now open. All SF State faculty and staff members are invited to make their voices heard and nominate themselves or their colleagues for these important positions. To learn more about the open positions and the nominations process, please take a moment to review the information below. If you would like to submit a nomination for yourself or someone else, please do so by Monday, March 29, to ensure inclusion on the ballot.

Important dates for the Spring 2021 Academic Senate election:

  • Nomination period: March 8-March 29
  • Voting period: April 5-April 16

Nomination process:

Faculty Service Pool 2021-22
Faculty Administrative Search Pool 2021-22

College/unit-specific seats:

Committee Information is available on the senate website. Questions can be directed to the Office of the Academic Senate at

Survey on retail at Manzanita Square

Located along Holloway Avenue near 19th Ave., just across the street from the Administration Building, Manzanita Square is a new residential apartment community for SF State students. The ground floor of the building will have five or six retail offerings. As these begin to take shape, the owner and operator, American Campus Communities, is seeking feedback on what retail the campus community would like to see in the building. Please consider taking a brief survey to share your perspective. Participants will also have a chance to win a $250 gift card. Take the survey via SurveyMonkey

Campus student employment I-9 verification

The arrival of new Tracker I-9 software to campus means all I-9 Employment Eligibility Verifications, including those for students working in campus positions, will be done using the new software platform. I-9 verifications for newly hired students will continue to be handled through the Dean of Students Office, and all verifications this semester will be handled virtually due to COVID-19. Starting March 1, departments hiring students are urged to look at the Service Indicator’s page in the student’s Student Services Center (Campus Solutions) to see if the student is I-9 Verified. If not I-9 Verified, instruct the student to an email to that includes first and last name, student ID number, hiring department and desired start date. The student will receive a Tracker I-9 email to start the process. The hiring department should then provide the student with a list of acceptable identification documents and have the student email to set up a verification appointment once they have their documents in hand. Students may not begin work until their I-9 Employment Verification is completed.

For more information, please visit the Student Employment Manager’s Toolkit or contact the Dean of Students Office at

HPW Student Leader Program for 2021-2022

Health Promotion & Wellness (HPW) is now recruiting for the HPW Student Leader Program for 2021-2022. It is a paid, 10- to 15-hour-per week opportunity and an academic year commitment from August 2021 through May 2022. The program provides meaningful professional development training, networking, skill-building and health education opportunities for SF State students. Please share this opportunity with your students. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, April 2. The application is currently open; please visit the HPW website for more information or to apply.

Campus drop-off locations for sharps waste

The Environment, Health and Safety department has arranged to place approved sharps disposal containers in gender-neutral restrooms throughout the main campus for the safe disposal of used needles, syringes, lancets, etc. Sharps wastes are produced on campus in laboratories and as a byproduct of injectable medications such as insulin. California state law prohibits a person from placing used sharps in the trash or recycling containers. These containers, labeled as “Sharps Waste” and showing the international biohazard label, are rigid, puncture-resistant, unbreakable and leak-resistant, with a tightly sealed one-way lid.

Sharps waste drop-off locations can be found in gender-neutral restrooms in these locations:

  • J. Paul Leonard Library, ground floor
  • Cesar Chavez Student Center, B1 floor
  • Hensill Hall, third floor
  • Burk Hall, first floor
  • Village parking
  • Mary Park Hall, first floor
  • Fine Arts, first floor
  • Mashouf Wellness Center, first floor
  • Student Health Center

Call the Environment, Health and Safety department at (415) 338-2565 to schedule a pick up for a sharps-waste container that is more than two-thirds full or for any container-related issues.

Stay inspired: Read the new CEETL Circles issue

The newest issue of CEETL Circles, the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s (CEETL) newsletter, focuses on the theme of “Radical Love.” What's included?

  • An in-depth faculty discussion of educational debt
  • A look at the work of the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion
  • Updates from the Academic Senate
  • Plus much more!

Read the new issue or subscribe to the newsletter on the CEETL website.

Academic Senate report

The SF State Academic Senate met Tuesday, March 2, via Zoom. The senate:

  • Passed New Certificate in Climate Change Causes, Impacts and Solutions.
  • Passed Graduate Certificate in Enterprise Cybersecurity.
  • Passed Extended Absences Policy.
  • Approved by general consent Revision to Temporary Modification Academic Senate Policy #S20-241 Policy Resolution on Retention, Tenure and Promotion.
  • Heard in first reading Proposed Changes to F20-264 Online Education Policy.
  • Heard in first reading Revised Degree Title for the B.A. in Family and Consumer Science.
  • Heard in first reading New Certificate in Ethnic Studies Empowerment.
  • Heard in first reading Resolution on Prioritizing in the Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Staff, Faculty and Administrators.
  • Heard in first reading Resolution Affirming Shared Governance and Budget Transparency in Times of Crisis.

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

UBC announces office hours, March 18 meeting

Members of the University Budget Committee (UBC) invite you to attend the next UBC meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 18, via Zoom. Meetings are open to the campus community, with a public forum at the end for comments. To RSVP for the UBC meeting, please email

Additionally, UBC members will offer “office hours” once a month this spring for all campus employees and students to provide feedback on UBC meetings, offer ideas for future meetings, discuss University fund-related questions, etc. This is an opportunity to dialogue directly with your UBC member-peers, as sessions are offered specifically for staff, faculty, students and MPPs. The dates are on Fridays: March 19, April 16 and May 21, all from 10 to 11 a.m. via Zoom.

The UBC welcomes persons with disabilities to these virtual “office hour” sessions and meetings and may provide reasonable accommodations upon request. RSVP for a session via Qualtrics.

HR AVP to host University-wide staff forum, March 23

Associate Vice President of Human Resources Ingrid Williams will host a University-wide Staff Forum via Zoom from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 23. RSVP via Qualtrics by Friday, March 19, to help gather topics and questions in advance and ensure that you receive a Zoom calendar invite. This event is for staff only. (MPPs and faculty will have other opportunities.) All questions related to Human Resources are welcome.

Human Resources welcomes persons with disabilities to this event and can provide reasonable accommodations upon request. Send questions to

“Women at Work and the Work We Do” virtual panel, March 29

In honor of Women’s History Month, SF State will welcome three Bay Area alumnae for a “Women at Work and the Work We Do” panel session from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, March 29. The alumnae will share stories about their work in city and state government and community service while juggling family and other priorities. Moderated by AVP of Human Resources Ingrid Williams, this conversation will include Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo; Christine Chilcott, CEO of Girls Inc. of the Island City; and Elmy Bermejo, regional director of Northern California for the Office of the Governor.

This event is free for female-identifying, non-binary and women-allied staff, faculty and student leadership at SF State and welcomes persons with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations may be provided upon request. Space is limited. To RSVP, email This event is sponsored by Human Resources in collaboration with the Office of the President. 

Mello receives funding to study tobacco use and discrimination in adolescents

Associate Professor of Psychology Zena R. Mello has received a $600,000 High Impact Pilot Research Award (T31IP1855) from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to identify novel ways of preventing and reducing tobacco use in adolescents. She is the first faculty member at SF State to receive funding from this program. Mello has begun to conduct a mixed-methods study to examine tobacco use in relation to perceived discrimination based on race/ethnicity, immigration and gender. She aims to create a new measure for assessing perceived discrimination based on immigration in adolescents and a preliminary curriculum for tobacco use prevention and intervention that targets perceived discrimination. Visit Mello’s website to learn more about her work.

Lukas book wins French literary prize

A novel by Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Michael David Lukas, “The Last Watchman of Old Cairo” (2018), won the 2020 Prix Interallié in the foreign language category. The prize is one of the “big six” French literary prizes. In 2019, the book won theNational Jewish Book Award in the fiction category.

Viator on Rodney King and police brutality then, now

Assistant Professor of History Felicia Angeja Viator wrote an editorial for The Washington Post about how video evidence of the 1991 assault of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department could have done more than raise awareness about social injustice, prejudice and police brutality. In March 1991 over a dozen LAPD officers nearly beat King to death during a traffic stop. Another man caught nine minutes of the attack on his camcorder. Despite video evidence of the assault the law enforcement officers involved were all acquitted. “Decades later, police killings are routinely filmed,” Viator wrote. “Think of Oscar Grant in Oakland, Anthony Lamar Smith in St. Louis, Eric Garner in New York, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Alton Brown in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul and George Floyd in Minneapolis. The existence of video evidence no longer inspires much hope for police accountability. Yet there is still radical possibility in the dogged work of young Black activists today who understand that even in the absence of accountability, video continues to provide a way to make visible the grim determination of the racist systems protecting violent cops.” Read the full article on the Washington Post website.

Professors advocate for Arab-American, Palestinian studies K-12 curriculum

Professor of Asian American Studies Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales and Professor of Race and Resistance and Latina/Latino Studies Jeff Duncan-Andrade were quoted in an El Tecolote article about “The Fight for Ethnic Studies in California,” a webinar hosted Feb. 2 by the Save Arab American Studies Coalition. The discussion focused on the California Department of Education’s exclusion of Arab-American and Palestinian studies in the state’s K-12 ethnic studies curriculum. “I am outraged that in this process to develop a curriculum that really should have been about our voices at the center, a curriculum that really should have been about completely abolishing white supremacy, a curriculum that should have been about our liberation, has now become watered-down,” said Tintiangco-Cubales. Duncan-Andrade criticized the move, too. “There’s nothing in the work of ethnic studies that is about the exclusion of others,” he said. “It is a choice to prioritize those that have been deprioritized.” Professor and Chair of Asian American Studies Russell Jeung, Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies Jason Ferreira and former faculty member Angela Davis also participated in the discussion.

STOP AAPI Hate website lands new public funding

The Stop AAPI Hate website, which SF State’s Asian American Studies Department helped launch, will receive additional support thanks to $1.4 million in state funds awarded to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. The money comes from new state funding for community programs and ongoing research that address the impact of COVID-19 on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The budget allocation for Stop AAPI Hate was championed by California Assemblymember Phil Ting, chair of the assembly’s budget committee, and other members of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.