February 19, 2024

News and Announcements

Associate Professor of Computer Science, Wes Bethel

Wes Bethel, associate professor of Computer Science, is the principal investigator of a research project that will study methods for automating the generation of software tools and processes for the purpose of constructing software that builds machine learning models.  

The work is in support of an effort funded by U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to leverage artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning tools to reduce computational time-to-solution for specific physics calculations, with the ultimate objective of being able to predict plasma behavior in real time in fusion tokamak devices.  

Bethel, who joined SF State in 2022 after a career as a computer scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has assembled a team of Computer Science graduates and undergraduates (V. Cramer, C. Pestano, A. del Rio and S. Verma), and other faculty (Computer Science Lecturer Lothar Narins) to study this problem. The SF State team is part of a larger multi-institutional effort led by J. Wright at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and includes researchers from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

The key idea behind the team’s approach is to leverage recent advances in cloud-based AI tools, such Large Language Model implementations such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GitHub’s Copilot to quickly produce code that builds other AI models and model validation processes. The intent is to reduce the time to solution for trained models from years to weeks.  

Bethel looks forward to reproducing this work on other computational challenges within the SF State scientific community.

SF State University's Garden of Remembrance

Eighty-two years ago, Japanese American students from San Francisco State College were forced to withdraw from classes and taken to internment camps. Twenty-two years ago, San Francisco State University dedicated a Japanese garden to remember all 19 of them, designed by acclaimed artist Ruth Asawa. This year, the garden is the subject of further artistic exploration in new works on display in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus. 

“Reflecting on Ruth Asawa and the Garden of Remembrance” features new commissioned works by artists Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Tina Kashiwagi, Paul Kitagaki Jr., Lisa Solomon and TT Takemoto.  

The exhibition opens on Saturday, Feb. 24, with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m., and concludes on Saturday, April 6. The Fine Arts Gallery is open Tuesdays – Fridays, noon – 4 p.m. Admission is free. 

Dedicated in 2002, the Garden of Remembrance is located between Burk Hall and the Fine Arts building. A waterfall cascading from behind the Cesar Chavez Student Center signifies the return of the internees to the coastline after the war. Ten large boulders in the grassy area next to Burk Hall represent each of the camps set up during World War II. The names of the 19 former SF State students detained and the names of the camps are listed on a bronze, scroll-shaped marker. The marker also includes reproductions of official government documents regarding the internment. 

In an essay for the exhibition’s catalog, artist and cultural producer Weston Teruya describes “Reflecting on Ruth Asawa and the Garden of Remembrance” as a “relationship of care” to family, community and shared stories. 

“This collection of artworks is an intergenerational remembrance: a deep sensory reflection on ancestral practices and cultural traditions that are studied across veils of time and oceans, and the unearthing of elided histories and traumas from beneath stone memorials or out of the recesses of overlooked archives,” Teruya writes. 

“Reflecting on Ruth Asawa and the Garden of Remembrance” is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and SF State’s Instructionally Related Student Activities Fund. 

Learn more about the “Reflecting on Ruth Asawa and the Garden of Remembrance” exhibition.

Filipino American Band

The Museum Studies program celebrates its spring 2024 exhibit opening, “Through My Father’s Eyes: The Filipino American Photographs of Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado,” on Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 – 3 p.m. in the Global Museum gallery (Fine Arts 203). 

“Through My Father’s Eyes” offers a rare view into the daily lives of Filipino Americans in the post-World War II era. Over 50 photographs, plus historic objects and tangible memories, capture the special celebrations and daily rituals of the Filipino American (Pinoy) community in San Francisco after the war. 

The exhibit will be on view through Saturday, May 4. The Global Museum is open Tuesdays – Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Additional events and programs are tentatively planned for May 2 – 4.

Health Promotion & Wellness (HPW) is thrilled to announce the completion of the Health Promotion & Wellness 2020 – 2023 Impact Report, a comprehensive analysis of the strides HPW has made together toward campus wellness. The report highlights health education programmatic successes, the establishment of Food+Shelter+Success, policy and environmental initiatives, and much more.  

For questions, please email Health Promotion & Wellness.

Nominations for the annual Civic and Community Engagement Awards are still open. It honors people who have demonstrated exceptional involvement in community service learning or achieved remarkable accomplishments in community engagement. 

Students, staff, faculty and community partners alike are invited to submit a nomination — whether it’s a student making waves in service projects, a faculty member leading community initiatives, a staff member supporting local causes or a community partner collaborating for positive change. 

Submit nominations via the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) website by Friday, Feb. 23.

For questions or more information, please email ICCE.

The five-year administrative review is underway for Sophie Clavier, dean of Graduate Studies and Career Development. The Administrative Review Committee (ARC) solicits input from members of the campus community. An electronic questionnaire will be available via email on Friday, March 1.  

To participate in the review process, please email Rebecca Cheng

The deadline to submit online questionnaires to the Administrative Review Committee is Sunday, March 31. 

In keeping with the procedures for academic administrative review approved by the Academic Senate, the committee will not accept any anonymous responses. The ARC will preserve the confidentiality of those who submit evaluations, within the limits of the law, and individual responses will not be shown to the administrator under review.   

The ARC chair is Michael Scott, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs.

The five-year administrative review is underway for Carmen Domingo, dean of the College of Science & Engineering. The Administrative Review Committee (ARC) solicits input from members of the campus community. An electronic questionnaire will be available via email on Friday, March 1.  

To participate in the review process, please email Rebecca Cheng

The deadline to submit online questionnaires to the Administrative Review Committee is Sunday, March 31. 

In keeping with the procedures for academic administrative review approved by the Academic Senate, the committee will not accept any anonymous responses. The ARC will preserve the confidentiality of those who submit evaluations, within the limits of the law, and individual responses will not be shown to the administrator under review.

The ARC chair is Christian Wright, professor of Psychology.

The five-year administrative review is underway for Carleen Mandolfo, associate provost for Faculty Affairs. The Administrative Review Committee (ARC) solicits input from members of the campus community. An electronic questionnaire will be available via email on Friday, March 1.  

To participate in the review process, please email Rebecca Cheng

The deadline to submit online questionnaires to the Administrative Review Committee is Sunday, March 31. 

In keeping with the procedures for academic administrative review approved by the Academic Senate, the committee will not accept any anonymous responses. The ARC will preserve the confidentiality of those who submit evaluations, within the limits of the law, and individual responses will not be shown to the administrator under review. 

The ARC chair is Deborah Masters, University librarian.

The SF State Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2 – 5 p.m., at Seven Hills Conference Center and virtually via Zoom for its eighth meeting of the academic year. To attend, please email the Senate office for a Zoom link.  


  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: Revision to S14-236 Academic Program Review Policy, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee: Revision to S23-257 Course Syllabus Policy, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Faculty Affairs Committee: Revision to F22-214 Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Faculty Affairs Committee: Revision to S20-145 Department Chairs and Equivalent Unit Directors Policy, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Anti-Doxxing Resolution, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Resolution in Appreciation of Exceptional Efforts by the Enrollment Management During the Rollout of the Revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Executive Committee: Supporting Academic Senate of the California State University Resolution on AB 928, and Campus Autonomy in General Education Requirements, in first reading. 
  • Recommendation from the Campus Curriculum Committee in first reading: 
  • B.A. in Liberal Studies ITEP (Integrated Teacher Education Program) reduce units 
  • Minor in Health Education name change 
  • Recommendations from the Campus Curriculum Committee: program change requests, in second reading: 
  • B.Mus. concentration in Composition 
  • B.Mus. concentration in Vocal Performance 
  • B.Mus. concentration in Music Education 
  • B.Mus. concentration in Jazz/Ethnomusicology 
  • B.Mus. concentration in Instrumental Performance 
  • B.A. in Music Production 
  • B.A. in Biology 
  • Graduate Certificate in Teaching (GCT) English to Speakers of Other Languages 

Formal presentations: 

  • Carleen Mandolfo, associate provost of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development: “Faculty Affairs Update” 
  • John Kim, interim vice provost of Academic Resources: “Budget Update” 
  • Jeff Greensite, professor of Physics and Astronomy and member of Academic Freedom Committee: “Academic Freedom Committee Update” 

View the full agenda, meeting materials and minutes on the Academic Senate website.

Come look through the SF State Observatory telescopes to peer into deep space with your own eyes! It is open to the public Mondays Wednesdays and Thursdays through March 7, 6:30 – 9 p.m., in Thornton Hall 1004. (Modified times will be available after daylight savings time begins.) 

Highlights in February and March will be Jupiter and its four moons, and the stellar nursery known as the Orion Nebula. Student docents will be on hand to point the telescopes and for discussion. 

Astronomical observations require clear skies. For up-to-date information on availability and weather conditions, please visit the SF State Observatory on Instagram

Have a question about the night sky? Want to see your favorite constellation or witness the Milky Way in all its glory, as it appears far from city lights? You can do that right here on campus in the Charles F. Hagar Planetarium (Thornton Hall 422)! 

Shows are open to all members of the public. They take place on Fridays. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.; final admittance is at 12:40 p.m. Shows last 45 – 60 minutes. 

Questions? Please email Jim Gibson.

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies welcomes faculty, staff and students for tea and meditation every Tuesday, 3 – 4 p.m., in HSS 329.  

Take a break. Sip, relax, clear your mind and meet friends and colleagues. Free tea will be provided; donations welcome. Mary Costello, a meditation teacher, will lead a guided meditation with gentle, mindful movement. No prior experience with meditation is needed. All welcome. 

For questions, please email Jennifer Daubenmier.

The campus community is invited to the 28th Annual Mural Celebration honoring the life and legacy of Malcolm X on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 3 – 7 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall, Cesar Chavez Student Center. Distinguished guests include: 

  • Abul Pitre, professor and chair of Africana Studies 
  • Former Richmond City Council member Demnlus Johnson 
  • Esteemed Bay Area musician Niecey Living Single 
  • Second-generation Black Panther Rodney Alamo 

This event is proudly hosted by Shanice Robinson-Blacknell and the students of the Richard Oakes Multicultural Center.

Staff are invited to the next Staff Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 10 – 11 a.m., via Zoom. All staff, except Management Personnel Plan (MPP) and faculty, are encouraged to attend. 

The agenda features campus project updates from Jason Porth, vice president of University Enterprises and executive director of the UCorp.; information about employee accommodations from the Disability Programs and Resource Center; and an update on the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program from Ingrid Williams, associate vice president for Human Resources. 

RSVP via Qualtrics

These forums are hosted by Human Resources and held monthly throughout the academic year. They not recorded due to any personal information shared during comments.  

View past presentations via Box

The other forums this spring will be Wednesday, March 20; Wednesday, April 17; and Wednesday, May 15

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) holds its third WE Wednesdays event on Wednesday, Feb. 21, noon – 1 p.m., in Library 121.

Please drop in to connect with colleagues on gardening. Bring seeds to exchange or pick up seeds to prepare for the next growing season. No RSVP required.

Campus Recreation will celebrate National REC Day at the Mashouf Wellness Center on Thursday, Feb. 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Activities include a tabling fair, three-on-three basketball tournament, free swag and much more.

The campus community is invited to join The Poetry Center for two free events featuring Diné singer, writer and artist Hataałii, also known as Hataałiinez Wheeler, on Thursday, Feb. 22.

Wheeler hails from the capital of the Navajo Nation: Window Rock, Arizona. His writing includes “Natives Don’t Get Haircuts” (Wry Press, 2023), a debut chapbook of compelling poems, and a short story, “The University Powwow.” He began self-releasing his music as a teenager, beginning with 2019’s “Banana Boy, the fruit of a personal challenge to write a song every day.” Word-of-mouth and online interest swelled, and he followed with 2020’s “Painting Portraits.” His latest album is “Singing Into Darkness.”

Shuck (B.A., ’94; MFA, ’98) is poet laureate emerita of San Francisco. Shuck is a crow, a bubble blower and a cloud gazer; is solo author of 11 books; and had a hand in editing another eleven.

For more information, email The Poetry Center.

What can artificial intelligence (AI) do for you? Join Academic Technology’s first Generative AI Prompt-a-thon — a dynamic, hands-on workshop designed to empower faculty and staff with the skills to effectively utilize generative AI (GenAI) tools. It takes place Thursday, Feb. 22, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., in Library 280.  

In this session, explore the art of crafting prompts that maximize this technology’s potential, whether you’re new to GenAI or seeking more advanced techniques.  

Register now via Microsoft Office Forms.

The Labor Archives and Research Center’s 38th Anniversary Annual Program will be held Thursday, Feb. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Labor Archives and Research Center (Library 460). 

This program marks the opening of the exhibition “Fields of Struggle: Agricultural Laborers in California, 1939 – 1966.” This exhibit, drawn from the papers of Henry P. Anderson, examines the tensions and solidarity between distinct groups of migrant agricultural laborers, with an emphasis on the Bracero Program and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). 

The keynote speaker is Mireya Loza, author of “Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom.”

The Poetry Center and City Lights Books present renowned poet Major Jackson, reading from his recent book, “Razzle Dazzle: New and Selected Poems,” and engaging in conversation with poet and scholar Tonya M. Foster. It takes place Thursday, Feb. 29, 7 – 8:30 p.m., at City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco. It will also be streamed via Zoom.  

Please reserve a free ticket via Eventbrite

This event, part of Foster’s “Undisciplining the Fields” series, is organized with The Poetry Center and supported by the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry. 

The campus community is invited to the Seven Hills Conference Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, for a day of events focused on faculty research and scholarship. Lunch will be provided.  

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., things will kick off with the Provost’s Arts and Lecture Symposium focused on health equity. It features lectures by:   

  • Antwi Akom, professor of Africana Studies   
  • Teresa Gray, associate professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences  
  • Martha Kenney, chair and associate professor of Women and Gender Studies  
  • Leticia Márquez-Magaña, professor of Biology  
  • Sepideh Modrek, associate professor of Economics  
  • Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, professor of Public Health  

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., the Scholars Strategy Network will conduct a free workshop discussing how research is used in policymaking and what informs policymakers’ day-to-day decision-making. It will provide faculty with an introduction to effective strategies to ensure that their findings and perspectives inform policy.  

The day will conclude 4 – 6 p.m. with a conversation and reception with Diana Greene Foster, Ph.D., a 2023 MacArthur fellow and demographer and professor at University of California, San Francisco. Foster led the United States Turnaway Study, a nationwide longitudinal prospective study of the health and well-being of women who seek abortion, including both women who do and do not receive the abortion. Greene Foster will discuss her path to becoming a publicly engaged scholar, as well as her current work leading a study of the health, legal and economic consequences of the end of Roe in the United States and a Turnaway Study in Nepal. Refreshments will be served.  

Please register via Qualtrics by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Catriona Rueda Esquibel

Catriona Rueda Esquibel, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies and professor of Race and Resistance Studies, passed away on Feb. 8. She was 58. 

Esquibel was born in Los Angeles and raised in New Mexico. She earned her Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from University of California, Santa Cruz, following a Master of Arts in English from University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from New Mexico Highlands University. 

In 2005 she joined the SF State faculty, which she considered her dream job and enjoyed her students, who in turn appreciated her generosity and storytelling. During her tenure, Esquibel served as College of Ethnic Studies associate dean for six years and recently as interim dean.

Prior to SF State, Esquibel was an assistant professor of Women Studies at The Ohio State University and an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State. 

Esquibel wrote “With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicano Lesbians” (University of Texas Press). She and her partner Luz Calvo wrote “Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-based Mexican American Recipes for Health and Healing” (Arsenal Pulp Press). Together, they had their own urban mini-farm where they grew fruits, vegetables and herbs and raised chickens. 

Esquibel was a devoted and insatiable reader of fiction, particularly the work of Octavia Butler, and a dollmaker. 

Esquibel is survived by Calvo and their dogs, Sweet Pea and Nopalito. In lieu of flowers, donations in Esquibel’s and Calvo’s names may be made to Floripondio End of Life Planning & Services

Photo: Luz Calvo (left) and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Photo by Miki Vargas.

SF State Spotlight 

The American Printing History Association has published an article by Special Collections Librarian Meredith Eliassen titled “Bookseller Paul Elder and his Grandma Nellie: The Adventures of a Regional Publisher and Bookseller in Earthquake Country.”  

Inspired by a few books in the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Historic Collections published by Paul Elder, she took a deep dive into San Francisco and Bay Area history, social justice movements and philosophical and design influences of the Western Arts and Crafts Movement to unearth the human story of the book industry.  

Paul Elder & Company and his Tomoyé Press attempted to develop a market niche by building “Western” literary community of book creators and consumers. Navigating the Bay Area’s tumultuous economy and transformation of printing as newspapers started using compositing machines instead of typesetters to get headlines out quick.

Behind the scenes, Elder’s grandmother was a social justice activist named Nellie Blessing-Eyster, who served as the first president of the Women’s Press Association of the Pacific Coast. She was from an earlier generation who helped Elder to add voices of local women writers and missionary ideas to Western literature when San Francisco was a hub for missionary networks for better or worse. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the physical plants for Elder and former partner Morgan Shepard, compelling both to relocate their Western businesses to New York City. Both men encountered transformative experiences on the East Coast in relation to being vectors for Western sensibilities.  

Psychology Professor Zena R. Mello is co-editor of a special issue of the journal of Research on Human Development. The issue covers colorism research across the lifespan.

Liberal Studies Associate Professor Logan Hennessy was interviewed by KQED on Feb. 7 about the environmental impacts of the war in Gaza.  

“We’re not going to achieve any kind of progress, environmentally speaking, in terms of climate change by just focusing on only local issues,” he said. “The movement here for environmental justice is deeply connected to any kind of continued environmental impact we see anywhere.”

Asian American Studies Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales is a 2024 fellow of the American Educational Research Assocation (AERA), as announced in a press release on Feb. 15.  

The AERA Fellows Program honors scholars for their exceptional contributions to, and excellence in, education research. They will be inducted during a ceremony at the 2024 AERA annual meeting in Philadelphia on April 12. 

AERA is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

Director of Emergency Services Hope Kaye recently traveled to Long Beach to present on a panel at the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. The panel was titled “Assessing, Planning, and Implementing Resilience Activities” and focused on resilience planning, relationship building and the intersection between sustainability and emergency management at academic institutions. It allowed Kaye to showcase the great work SF State has done to collaborate across disciplines for resilience planning. 

Kaye discussed her participation in the Community Resilience Building workshop in April 2022, spearheaded by Director of Sustainability and Energy Caitlin Steele and facilitated by the Nature Conservancy and Second Nature. Participation in this workshop led to a collaboration with the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and the establishment of a resiliency hub called Resilience Southwest San Francisco, with SF State acting as the anchor institution. This project has brought together businesses, homeowner associations, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, schools, first responders, utilities and city agencies — as well as representatives from the District 4 and District 7 supervisors’ offices — to discuss collective vulnerabilities, needs, capabilities and mutual support during a large-scale disaster. 

One of the goals of this project is to highlight the intersectionality of resilience work and ensure holistic thinking when planning for, responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters

Every year, the United Nations convenes scientists, policymakers, advocates and delegations from 198 countries to chart a path to a safe climate future. Bay Area representatives and partners were among the 85,000 participants that convened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in December 2023, to rally the world and step up efforts to address the climate crisis. 

Professor Sheldon Gen of the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement will host an online panel of participants in COP28, on Thursday, Feb. 29, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. This panel discussion will provide a range of perspectives and insights into the outcomes of the conference and how local organizations help achieve them. The event is free and open to the public.  

Register for the webinar via PointBlue

SF State’s Journalism Department will serve as an independent monitor for a plan from San Francisco government to invest in ethnic and community media. The plan, included in a report commissioned by Supervisor Matt Dorsey, prioritizes the awarding of print and digital advertising contracts to local independent news publishers.   

“Ethnic and community media are essential voices for their readers and communities. Connecting local publishers with fresh revenue streams strengthens our media ecosystem while helping overcome vast disparities in funding and resources that have existed for decades,” said Jesse Garnier, professor and chair of Journalism, in a Dec. 16 press release from Common Cause. “We are energized to work with the city, ethnic and multilingual media outlets, and local community publishers to carry out recommendations from the report. This should help ensure city messaging on programs reach all residents, in all communities, through known and trusted outlets.”  

Learn more about this initiative

Emily Beitiks, interim director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, revisits the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s toddler child in an opinion piece for Genetics and Society. An alternate theory about the case has recently regained interest, and Beitiks writes that it has “chilling implications for disability history.” 

“Prominent eugenic ideas paired with hefty investments in a quest for immortality by the wealthy tech titans of the day — sound familiar? Jeff Bezos, Ray Kurzweil, Peter Thiel and many other tech leaders have funded efforts aimed at preventing aging, arguing that immortality is in reach,” Beitiks writes. “It seems that the biggest social problem haunting these leaders is their future destiny to die like everyone else. They are determined to buy their way out of it.”

The Marin Independent Journal published an opinion piece by Secondary Education Professor Emeritus Mark Phillips on Feb. 11. He explains that a school’s architecture can have a significant impact on the wellbeing and education of children.

“Most of our schools were not built for the educational demands of the 21st century,” Phillips wrote. “Funds for new buildings and upgrading old ones need to be found.”