April 15, 2024

News and Announcements

Two students researching

SF State and Braven, a national nonprofit organization, have signed a five-year memorandum of understanding. This new partnership between SF State and Braven will serve 4,400 sophomores, juniors and transfer students over the first five years, providing them with a two-part career-accelerating experience. 

“We take pride in providing SF State students, many of whom are Pell Grant recipients or first-generation students, a clear path to strong jobs or entry into graduate school,“ SF State Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Amy Sueyoshi said. “We are glad Braven also shares that same vision and look forward to working with them to help students achieve upward mobility.” 

The experience begins with a three-credit undergraduate course (AU 220: SF State and Braven Career Accelerator). Students, who Braven calls fellows, complete weekly online modules on Braven’s online platform and then apply that content through weekly virtual Learning Labs in a cohort of five to eight peers led by a volunteer professional called a Leadership Coach. Fellows complete assignments to grow their leadership in five professional competencies: operating and managing, problem solving, working in teams, networking and communicating, and self-driven leading. 

Upon completion, fellows receive continued access to the online portal, periodic events and/or programming, including a regular jobs newsletter and a one-to-one professional mentorship program. 

In fall 2024, about 300 SF State students are expected to take the course, joining a growing network of over 8,600 Braven alumni nationwide. Already in partnership with San José State University in San José, Braven’s partnership with SF State will be its second site within the CSU system, demonstrating the potential for creating a systemic solution for the college-to-career pipeline. 

“Braven is thrilled to partner with SF State to empower students to seamlessly transition from college to fulfilling careers, enabling them to apply their hard-earned degrees to make a meaningful impact,” said Aimée Eubanks Davis, Braven’s founder and CEO. “This partnership would not be possible without the unwavering support of exceptional champions like Tipping Point and Crankstart, who have played a pivotal role in establishing our new San Francisco location.” 

Nationwide, Braven is showing promising results. Braven Fellows have outpaced the national average for strong job attainment before and amid the pandemic. Within six months of graduation, 60% of Braven’s 2023 graduates secured quality full-time jobs worthy of their bachelor’s degree, and or enrolled in graduate school (17 percentage points higher than their peers nationally). In addition, Braven Fellows have achieved a 91% on-time graduation rate. By comparison, about 7 in 10 of their peers nationally graduate college on time. Furthermore, 64% of Braven college graduates have at least one internship during college compared with 48% of all college graduates and 41% of students from similar backgrounds. 

Photo by Steve Babuljak 

Caryn McClelland

Caryn R. McClelland spent more than three decades as a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service, a path she’s unknowingly been preparing for since childhood. Her parents’ wanderlust had the family moving every few years to cities in New Jersey, Maine, Michigan and California, eventually ending up in San Francisco. With each move she’d reinvent herself. For some, that might grow tiresome, but the SF State alumna says she thrived — and developed resilience and adaptability that helped her climb the ranks of the U.S. Foreign Service. 

McClelland (M.A., ’90) is now ambassador to the nation of Brunei Darussalam, an absolute monarchy strategically located on the island of Borneo. The U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment in 2021, the culmination of 33 years in the Foreign Service. She was accepted into the program in the early 1990s while earning a graduate degree in International Relations from SF State. (She earned her B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and later earned an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.) Since joining the Foreign Service, she’s had posts in Vietnam, Latvia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Turkmenistan and other nations. 

McClelland learned about the Foreign Service at the recommendation of a family friend who thought she’d be a good fit. At the time, McClelland had just graduated from UCLA and was deciding what to do next with her life. “I thought this was a great opportunity and a way to represent my country, but also experience life overseas,” she said. She was sold. She began studying International Relations at SF State soon afterward, building a solid foundation for the work she’d be doing abroad, and passed the Foreign Service exam shortly before earning her degree. 

It wasn’t just the travel that appealed to her. “I took an aptitude test once, and it concluded that I needed to either cure world hunger — like do a big global thing — or I needed to find a job that changed frequently,” she said. The mission of a U.S. Foreign Service officer is promoting peace and prosperity and protecting American citizens abroad while advancing the interests of the United States. It’s work that deals with important global issues and changes constantly — the perfect career for McClelland. 

Looking back on her decades-long career, she believes she’s made differences large and small. “There are things that we do every day as diplomats that have a long-term impact on individual lives and countries. In Vietnam it was dioxin remediation at Agent Orange sites,” she said. “There’s an organization in the military, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, that identifies missing service members, so it’s repatriating remains and reuniting them with loved ones who never thought they would see their family member again.” 

And then there are major multinational projects, such as getting a pipeline built to transport oil and gas from former Soviet nations to international markets. She authored a pipeline strategy in 1995. The main pipeline project, which required the coordination of many agencies within the U.S. government, international lenders and commercial entities, took about 10 years to complete. “It required bringing everybody together,” she said. “But when the tap on that pipeline opened, it changed the trajectory of those countries that it went through.” 

The work is rewarding but also challenging, something she relishes, she says. One of the most important lessons she’s learned is that “no” is not the end of the conversation, it’s just the beginning. 

“Everybody is different and every scenario is different, but I think the commonality is a certain persistence to always look at new ways to achieve an end,” she said. “The people who are most effective in this job are the ones who are constantly willing to reinvent themselves and reinvent the way they think about things to get to ‘yes.’… It’s always constantly adapting and refocusing and reprioritizing and being willing to look for avenues that you didn’t originally see, which requires you to learn so much from other people.” 

For students considering a career in the Foreign Service she recommends looking at all the different ways to join. There’s the Foreign Service exam — the route she took — but there are also fellowships and internships. Students can visit Department of State Careers to view options. There are also other employment opportunities at other federal agencies, such as the Department of Commerce, that have career opportunities abroad, she adds. 

The Foreign Service is not for everyone, she acknowledges. To start, it’s an “up or out” organization, like the military. Officers either get promoted or they must leave. But the most common reason people leave is that moving around every few years can be taxing, especially on families. She has a daughter, so she knows the difficulties. 

For McClelland, the benefits far outweigh the downsides. “When I joined the foreign service, my goal was not to become an ambassador. My goal was to have a rewarding career filled with wonderful experiences, meeting new people and constantly reinventing myself,” she said. “It was, ‘How could I do good but also constantly challenge myself?’” 

After more than 30 years with the same organization, it’s safe to say she found her answer. 

In 1946, SF State became the first university in the U.S. to establish a Department of International Relations. Learn about studying International Relations at SF State today

a hot dog with ketchup spelling out "Vote!"

The SF State Academic Senate urges all faculty and staff to vote in the 2024 Academic Senate elections

The voting period is underway and will close Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m.  

For questions, please email the Senate office or Senate Chair Michael Goldman

Photo by Gino de Grandis 

SF State’s Experimental College (EXCO), created during the radical unrest preceding the 1968 – 1969 student strike and revived by Kathy Emery in 2017, has been going strong since then. Every semester, EXCO accepts proposals from undergraduate students to teach a course on any topic of their choice the following semester.  

These course topics can be an extension of a student’s individual course project(s), an extension of their organizing work, or an outside interest that a student wants to explore by creating a curriculum around it. Students have prep workshops before the semester and then biweekly meetings during the semester they teach to learn about pedagogy, share what is working in their classrooms and give each other ideas. 

The current Faculty Advisory Board has representatives from English and Urban Studies. They are seeking two to three additional faculty from departments across campus to primarily: 

  • Assess and give feedback to course proposals, 
  • Visit EXCO teacher meetings as available to offer support. 
  • Be available to student teachers, especially in your department, for your office hours if students seek guidance. 
  • Contribute to events, outreach, announcements in your department and other ways to support and grow the EXCO program. 

If you are interested in volunteering for this committee role starting in fall 2024, email Dan Curtis-Cummins, EXCO faculty director. 

The SF State Academic Senate met on April 9 at Seven Hills Conference Center and via Zoom.  

The Senate: 

  • Viewed an informational item on discontinuance of Certificate in Spanish/English Interpretation (Legal/Court) 
  • Viewed an informational item on correction of a typographical error in S20-145, Policy on Department  
  • Passed by general consent resolution in support of the SF State Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Program 
  • Passed revision to S22-255 requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors, Concentrations, Minors and Certificates 
  • Passed revision to S23-257 Course Syllabus Policy 
  • Passed revision to S21-296 Curriculum and Course Standards Policy 
  • Passed Graduate Certificate in Decision Sciences 
  • Passed Certificate in Autism Studies, name change from Certificate in Autism Spectrum 
  • Heard in first reading the following items: 
    • New policy: Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Pathway 
    • Minor, Russian (name change and other changes) 
    • Certificate in Paralegal Studies (reduce by 20%) 
    • Certificate in Financial Analytics (new) 
    • Certificate in Real Estate (new) 
    • Certificate in Fintech (new) 
    • Certificate in Data Science for Biotechnology Professionals (new) 
    • Certificate in Business Analytics (new) 
    • Graduate Certificate in PK – 12 Climate Justice Education (new)

Join the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) for its JEDI Critical Digital Tools workshop “Approaches to Teaching Critical AI” on Wednesday, April 17, 1 – 2 p.m., via Zoom.  

CEETL will provide an overview some of the ethical and social justice limitations of writing tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and share teaching strategies for helping students develop critical AI literacy. 

Please register via Qualtrics.  

Do you feel stressed? Are you tired sitting at the computer? Do your eyes get blurry and irritated? Do you experience back or neck pain? Do you get irritated and find it challenging to let go? Are you looking for techniques you can implement right away to improve your health and wellbeing? 

You may want to attend the “TechStress to Health” workshop series on Wednesdays starting April 17, noon – 1 p.m., in HSS 306. Registration is not needed. 


  • Wednesday, April 17: “Posture, Body Presence, Peace” by Elyse Shafarman, lecturer in Recreation, Parks and Tourism. Learn to use the mind and body to stop tension habits, gaining more freedom and control in life implementing the strategies from the Alexander Technique to improve posture, breath and movement. 
  • Wednesday, April 24: “Quick Rescue Techniques When Stressed” by Erik Peper, professor of Recreation, Parks and Tourism. Learn breathing, movement and reframing techniques that can be applied right away to restore balance and regain calmness.  
  • Wednesday, May 1: “Clear Your Vision” by Meir Schneider, lecturer in Holistic Health Studies. Learn about the principles of natural vision improvement: simple strategies to prevent vision degeneration and techniques to improve vision and health.  

This workshop series is sponsored by the Institute for Holistic Health Studies and Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.  

SF State Transforms invites all faculty and staff to join in celebrating the conclusion to its four-year National Science Foundation ADVANCE Project on Thursday, April 18, noon – 1 p.m., in Library 242. It features a space for faculty to connect and discussions on the impact of scholarship hubs, the Promoting Equity and Relationships among Colleagues program, equity in service focus and plans for continuation. Lunch will be served.  

Please RSVP via Qualtrics.  

For more information, please email Ilse Gonzalez.  

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement will host a Pints and Pie workshop, “Teaching an Active Learning Class: Why and How?” Thursday, April 18, 2 – 3:30 p.m., in Library 242. 

This workshop will help identify experiential and service-learning activities relevant to their fields of study and program/class learning objectives. The process of how to designate a new service-learning course and the funding available to support the development of service-learning courses will be discussed. 

Faculty will get a $50 honorarium for participating.  

Please register via Qualtrics.

The Division of Graduate Studies & Career Development invites the campus community to its Graduate Research and Creative Works Showcase on Thursday, April 18, 2 – 5 p.m., in Jack Adams Hall, Cesar Chavez Student Center. 

This showcase is an annual exhibition of the excellent work of SF State graduate students. Students present the purpose, design, methods and results of their research or creative project in a conference-style setting.  

The Philosophy Department presents two talks with Dwight K. Lewis Jr. on Thursday, April 18 – Friday, April 19. The events are part of the Chin-Plaisance Philosophy Colloquia Series. 

Lewis is an assistant professor of Philosophy and the Stephen R. Setterberg, M.D., Faculty Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He hosts the “Larger, Freer, More Loving” podcast. His research and teaching are in philosophy of race, Africana philosophy and history of early modern philosophy. 

Lewis will present “Adventures in Early Modern Philosophy: Anton Wilhelm Amo” on April 18, 5:15 – 6:15 p.m., in Humanities 391.  

He will present “A Larger, Freer, More Loving Talk” on April 19, 3 – 5 p.m., in Humanities 587. A catered reception and meet-and-greet with Lewis will follow. 

Please RSVP by emailing the Philosophy Department

The Philosophy Department is grateful to donors Elaine Plaisance and Kenny Chin for funding the Chin-Plaisance Philosophy Colloquia Series. The department can provide this type of quality and pioneering scholarship entirely due to their generosity. 

Celebrate the end of Ramadan with the Muslim Student Association’s annual Eid Banquet. The event is open to everyone. 

Please RSVP via Google Forms

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Music Program, in cooperation with the Estuary and Ocean Science (EOS) Center, presents “Ecomusicology: Exploring our Environment through Sound” on Sunday, April 21, at 4 p.m. It takes place at the church, located at 3 Bayview Ave. in Belvedere.

Admission is by suggested freewill $20 donation; no advance tickets are necessary. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the EOS Center. 

Registration for the Office of Emergency Services’ last two “Stop the Bleed” courses of the semester is open with only a few seats remaining available. This course can be life-saving during emergencies.  

Please register via Qualtrics.  

Prospective students are invited to join one of the Department of Child and Adolescent Development information sessions to learn about undergraduate programs, opportunities and admissions. Sessions will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, April 23, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and Thursday, April 25, noon – 1 p.m. Admission is free.  

Please RSVP via Qualtrics

Join Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and Health Promotion and Wellness on Thursday, April 25, for GatorHealth and Well-being Day! The GatorHealth and Well-being units will showcase health and wellness services in front of the Student Services building from noon to 1:30 p.m. Activities include “Wags for Wellness,” a condom cart and free mocktail samples. 

The SFSU Academic Freedom Committee presents “Academic Freedom and Free Inquiry: New Threats, Old Tactics” on Thursday, April 25, at 4 p.m. via Zoom. 

Amna Khalid and Luana Maroja will lead a wide-ranging conversation, followed by a Q&A. Codi Lazar, a professor at CSU San Bernardino and co-founder of CSU Faculty for Academic Freedom, will serve as moderator. 

 Topics include: 

  • How important is free inquiry to the production of scholarship? 
  • How is academic freedom threatened on U.S. campuses? 
  • Should there be limits to scholarly discourse? 
  • Should we balance academic freedom against other values? 

Khalid is an associate professor of History at Carleton College. She specializes in modern South Asian history, the history of medicine and the global history of free expression. Born in Pakistan, Khalid completed her bachelor’s degree at Lahore University and her D.Phil. in History from Oxford University. 

Maroja is an evolutionary biologist and a professor of Biology at Williams College, where she is also the chair of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program. Her B.S. and M.S. degrees were earned in Brazil, and her Ph.D. is from Cornell University. 

Please register via Zoom

For more information, please email committee Chair Jeff Greensite

This event is made possible with support from the SFSU President’s Office.  

The campus community is invited to a webinar led by Dante Everaert, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) researcher at Amazon, on Friday, April 26, at noon, via Zoom. The Lam-Larsen Initiative for Emerging Technologies is the host of the webinar, titled “Unveiling the Secrets of Generative AI & Large Language Models.”  

In this insightful presentation, Everaert will dive deep into the world of Large Language Models (LLMs), providing a scientific perspective on their inner workings and construction. He will explore the capabilities and limitations of LLMs, shedding light on their successes and the challenges faced in real-world applications. He will also share his vision for the future of AI and the developments that scientists are working on. 

Late Professor Emerita of Speech and Communication Studies Sally Gearhart was a charismatic radical activist and academic who spearheaded the 1970s and 1980s lesbian feminist movement. She also co-founded SF State’s Women Studies program in the 1970s, wrote cult-classic utopian fantasy novels (complete with flying lesbians!), helped establish a women’s land community in Northern California, and more. But although she worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Harvey Milk to defeat the anti-gay Briggs Initiative in 1978, most people don’t know her name. An upcoming documentary about her hopes to change that. 

On Thursday, May 2, 2 – 4 p.m., in Library 286, Public Health faculty member Deborah Craig will show clips from her documentary-in-progress about Gearhart’s long and rich life, discussing the adventures involved in film creation and her aims for this project. Although the film begins as a relatively straightforward biography of an overlooked heroine, it becomes a meditation on the symbiotic relationship between leaders like Gearhart and movements for social change. Finally, at the end of Gearhart’s life, despite the challenges of aging, her gift for reaching across the aisle sustain her in the end and inspire today’s urgent struggles for social justice and equality. 

Please RSVP via Qualtrics.    

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) hosts a mini-symposium on using artificial intelligence (AI) in the classroom on Friday, May 3, 9 a.m. – noon, via Zoom. 

The program includes faculty presentations and a keynote speech by Jose Antonio Bowen. 

Please RSVP by Monday, April 22, via Qualtrics.  

The Estuary and Ocean Science (EOS) Center hosts a screening of three short films it co-produced about plankton, mussels and sea slugs. It will be held Wednesday, May 8, at 6 p.m. at Bay Conference Center in Tiburon.  

Josh Cassidy, the award-winning producer and cinematographer from KQED’s “Deep Look,” and EOS Center scientists will be on hand to talk about the production and science behind the films. 

This event is free, but seating is limited. Please reserve your seats via Eventbrite

Join Risk and Safety Services for a forum on promoting wellbeing, personal preparedness and outdoor safety on Thursday, May 9, noon – 1 p.m., in Library 286.  

Please register via Qualtrics

SF State Spotlight

Associate Professor of American Indian Studies Robert Keith Collins published a case study, “Using Person-Centered Ethnography to Explore African and Native American Intersections in the United States,” in “Sage Research Methods: Diversifying and Decolonizing Research” (Sage Publishing).  

This case study focuses on how person-centered ethnography can be used as a decolonial methodology to conduct research on the subjectivity of acceptance, being, belonging and discrimination that inconsistencies between cultural identification and racial recognition create. This case study also discusses how to use person-centered ethnography to center African-Native American voices and the intersectional experiences as the central foci of analysis. 

Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Tony Sparks, along with a group of homelessness researchers, have filed an amicus brief in the Johnson v. Grants Pass case, which will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 22. More than 50 social scientists have signed the brief. 

Johnson v. Grants Pass is the most significant case regarding homelessness in 40 years, Sparks says. It will address the critical issue of whether laws punishing homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors with basic protections such as a pillow or blanket — when no safe and accessible shelter options are available — are violations of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects against excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishment.  

Professor Marc Dollinger, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility, is the author of an April 5 opinion piece in the J. He explores increased tension among Jewish people following the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7.  

“American Jews have always claimed U.S.-based patriotic nationalism. In this country, ‘Judaism’ connotes a religious rather than a national category,” Dollinger wrote. “Not so for Israeli secular Jews, who embrace their Jewish nationalist military needs whether or not they adhere to Judaism’s religious tenets.”