February 5, 2024

News and Announcements

Headshot for Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales

SF State Asian American Studies Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales has been honored with one of the most prestigious awards faculty can receive in the CSU system. 

On Jan. 30 at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting, Tintiangco-Cubales was recognized as one of five winners of the Wang Family Excellence Award. Each year, the CSU recognizes four faculty and one staff member with this award for their unwavering commitment to student achievement and advancing the CSU mission through excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. 

“Dr. Tintiangco-Cubales is an exemplar of student-centered pedagogy, including creative and innovative curriculum and teaching methods,” SF State President Lynn Mahoney said. “Colleagues across the College of Ethnic Studies look to her teaching as a model for how to engage and innovate in the classroom — from elementary to high school students and doctoral students.” 

Tintiangco-Cubales has been an SF State faculty member for over two decades, serving as a teacher-leader both on campus and off. While she has many teaching philosophies, she says her most important one is to humanize learning by seeing students as their authentic selves. 

“I truly try to see each one of my students as humans. I try to see what they come in with and try to be as understanding as possible,” Tintiangco-Cubales said. “They come along with experiences, and that oftentimes means the exchange of education is back and forth. I’m not the only one with the knowledge to give them.” 

That philosophy has proven to be impactful for many students, including Asian American Studies graduate student Jeanelle Daus. 

“As an educator, ate Allyson allows for her students to narrate, analyze and connect their own experiences with each other and to the larger field of Asian American studies,” Daus said. (Ate means “big sister” in Tagalog.) “Through this connection, she helps me remember that I am whole and that everything I have learned is real and rooted in this reality, thus supporting me in my endeavors to create the change I wish to see within my world and my community.” 

Beyond her unique teaching philosophies, Tintiangco-Cubales has achieved many other accomplishments at SF State. She developed and taught nine different undergraduate and graduate courses in Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies. She also teaches seminars in the Educational Doctoral Program and supports teaching ethnic studies each semester to more than 150 students in Step to College, a program focused on increasing the number of first-generation and historically underrepresented students who attend college. 

Outside of SF State, Tintiangco-Cubales has used her expertise to transform the K – 12 ethnic studies curriculum at local, state and national levels. She has worked with districts and schools across the country to advocate for the institutionalization and implementation of ethnic studies, and to provide pedagogical and curricular development and support.  

Tintiangco-Cubales received her bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies at University of California, Berkeley, and her doctorate in Education at University of California, Los Angeles. 

Learn more about Asian American Studies at SF State. 

A presentation of the Fast Track to Admissions initiative

Last month, SF State’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment rolled out an innovative pilot initiative, Fast Track to Admissions. Through this initiative, SF State partnered with three East Bay Aspire Public Schools: Richmond Cal Prep, Golden State Prep and Lionel Wilson College Prep. These schools educate historically underserved students — 72% Latinx and 19% Black/African American. This first-time event between SF State and the Aspire Public Schools aimed to inspire over 100 SF State-eligible students to realize and achieve their dreams of attending a four-year university. 

Over 150 students attended personalized, hands-on application workshops at their school sites, led by undergraduate recruitment specialists. The workshops walked students step by step through the Cal State Apply application process. This event not only ensured that students received the support necessary to complete the application, but also that they completed and submitted the application correctly. 

Overall, over 100 students (66% of applicants) were admitted to SF State at these events. 

After prioritizing and processing every application, the Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment team returned to each school site on Jan. 26 to personally honor and congratulate the admitted students, handing them their acceptance letter and SF State swag! 

“We hope that through this effort, and others like this, it will serve as a reminder to our community that SF State is committed to helping foster a college-going culture within our local community and building a pipeline that opens up the possibility for many more students in the future,” says Amanda Segura, Enrollment Management special assistant. 

Alie Ward sitting under a tree

Science communicator Alie Ward (B.A., ’99) has unique advice for anyone starting a new career: “Get in like a cockroach.” 

“Don’t wait to be invited in like a vampire,” said Ward, the host of “Ologies,” an award-winning popular science podcast, and a Daytime Emmy Award-winning science correspondent for CBS’s “The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca.” “Get under cracks and doors.” 

Ward says that can include repeatedly sending cold emails, volunteering, asking questions, being authentic and weird, and generally being persistent. 

While emulating roaches might not be common career advice, it’s paid off for Ward, who followed a winding road in her journey to science podcasting. (She also points out that despite their bad rep, cockroaches are fastidious, resourceful and humble.) 

“It took me until my late thirties to really find science communication as a goal. I didn’t even know that you could do it,” she explained. Instead, she spent many of her early years debating whether she should follow her passion for science or her love of arts and entertainment. 

Initially, she leaned into science by becoming a Biology student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. After a year, she transferred to a community college, largely due to affordability, and then transferred to SF State to finish her undergraduate career as a Cinema major. 

“I loved science, but I was also really missing the arts aspect. I thought maybe I would go into science illustration, but I was missing performance and writing and humor,” Ward said. She hoped she’d eventually find a way to combine science with film. “I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to pan out but I did it anyway.” 

After participating in dozens of student films and building an entertainment-focused network, Ward got an agent, relocated to Los Angeles and moved further away from science. After acting for a few years, she worked as an illustrator for LA Weekly, a writer/editor for The Los Angeles Times and even a culinary TV personality with the Cooking Channel. She’d sprinkle in science when she could, but she no longer felt authentic, and she became increasingly dissatisfied with her career path. 

Yet through all of this, one thing remained consistent: Ward’s lifelong fascination with bugs. She began posting about them on social media simply for the joy of it and caught the eye of Lila Higgins, an entomologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Higgins invited Ward to the museum for a behind-the-scenes tour and encouraged Ward to volunteer. Ward listened. Volunteering — something she did purely for fun — helped Ward feel like herself and led to her becoming a science correspondent for CBS. 

“I love science. Yes, I also love TV and film. Yes, I also love being on [‘The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca’]. You know what’d be a little bit better? If they had to do less with tech and more with biology,” Ward said. “You just start to whittle down what’s really at the root of what you love and who you are.” 

In 2017, nearly 20 years after she pursued science at school, she launched her podcast “Ologies.” It now ranks consistently among the top science podcasts on Apple Podcasts. Each week, Ward chats with an expert about their field and their passions, unafraid to ask seemingly silly questions she knows she and her listeners have. 

The conversations are led by her guest’s passion and Ward’s curiosity. She didn’t want expert sound bites that lacked any personal depth. She adds “asides” in her voice to provide necessary explanations or context. She realized she could also provide little “brain breaks” in the form of tangents, like one about wicker furniture in the middle of a conversation about molecular biology. 

She also keeps in the occasional expletive — though she agonized over whether she wanted her podcast marked by a little “E” for explicit. None of the other top science podcasts had an “E.” But eventually she decided to opt for personal authenticity over phony decorum. 

“If everyone’s shaving off parts of themselves to make this smooth surface, then the smooth surfaces look identical to each other. Then where’s your impact? Where’s your voice?” she asked. “Being gravely weird can sometimes be the most comforting thing. I would rather have a hundred people like my authentic self than a thousand people like a façade.” 

Learn more about SF State’s School of Cinema

Photo by Robyn Von Swank 

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. The Office of Student Financial Aid is offering online information sessions throughout the month to celebrate and promote financial aid awareness, and to encourage students to complete their Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the Tuesday, April 2, priority deadline.  

Please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website for a schedule of events. For more information, please contact Danielle Pattee.

In an asynchronous course, learn to scaffold, reinforce and reimagine Canvas courses to streamline and organize content in dynamic ways. Academic Technology’s Teaching and Learning with Technologies and Services Teams constructed this course as a blueprint for elevating instructors’ Canvas courses by providing insights, resources and peer discussion opportunities on course redesign. 

In this course, participants will: 

  • understand the benefit of removing unnecessary items 
  • distinguish the difference between removing and deleting items from Canvas 
  • identify areas in Canvas courses that could eliminate clutter 
  • choose which items they want to delete or remove to clean up their courses for both the instructor-facing side and the student-facing side 
  • assess course components to determine areas requiring improvement, considering both functionality and impact on students 
  • apply troubleshooting strategies to address common errors in Canvas Assignments and Gradebook, enhancing student user experience 
  • locate resources for technical and instructional design support, reducing obstacles associated with course repair 
  • utilize up-to-date and relevant subject matter information, ensuring that the course content reflects the latest research findings in their field of study 
  • seek to ensure that the course materials represent a wide range of perspectives, cultural contexts and voices, allowing students to engage with a diverse array of ideas and experiences. 

To access the course, please visit the Canvas website. An optional digital badge will be awarded for completing the course requirements. 


The Willie Brown, Jr. Fellowship application is now live for junior or senior students interested in gaining paid experience in the public sector.  

Information sessions will be held in HSS 233 on Thursday, Feb. 7: 4 – 5 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 21, 5 – 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 5, noon – 1 p.m. 

For more information, please visit the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement website

Students interested in studying abroad during the fall, academic year or summer 2024 terms should apply by the Thursday, Feb. 15, priority deadline.  

SF State Abroad has programs in 36 countries with options for every major and minor as well as lower and upper general education and language learning programs. Students pay the same tuition and have access to their financial aid while earning SF State resident credit.  

Information meetings are available both in person and virtually. For details, please visit the SF State Abroad website.

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) encourages faculty to join a Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) team. Connect with peers on non-evaluative and formative feedback on teaching and receive a $300 stipend. 

SGIF is a formative, mid-course check-in process to gather information about student learning experience to inform faculty’s pedagogical decisions. Participants work with a small group of colleagues from different departments to gather and share information about student experience confidentially.  

The SGIF process is designed to be a valuable tool to examine and enhance teaching; it is intentionally separate from official peer observation processes that may be part of departmental retention, tenure and promotion. 

SGIF groups will run between weeks 5 and 12 of the semester.  

To join, please complete the interest form via Google Docs by Friday, Feb. 16

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) invites faculty to submit a short video sharing an effective and/or powerful teaching practice they use in the classroom. 

Selected videos will be shared with the campus teaching community at CEETL events and, with permission, on CEETL social media accounts. Videos are due Friday, March 1.  

For more information, please visit the CEETL Call for Teaching Stories web page

The SF State Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Fund supports the creation of new or ongoing research projects and scholarly activities (including creative works and community-engaged activities).  

The grant awards up to $14,000 for an individual investigator proposal and up to $22,000 for a collaborative proposal involving two or more faculty. Apply by Friday, March 15.  

For details, including the request for proposals, please visit the application site.  

For questions, please contact Thien Lam, grant development specialist. 

The SF State Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2 – 5 p.m., at Seven Hills and virtually via Zoom for its seventh meeting of the academic year. 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 Faculty Affairs Committee: Revision to F22-214 Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy, in first reading.  
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee: Anti-Doxxing Resolution, 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. 
  • Recommendations from the Campus Curriculum Committee: program change requests, in first 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 
  • Recommendation from the Strategic Issues Committee: Resolution Affirming Shared Governance, Curricular Integrity and Budget Transparency, in second reading. 
  • Recommendations from the Academic Policies Committee in second reading: 
    • Revision to S02-217 Academic Program Assessment, in second reading. 
    • Revision to S99-206 Policy on the Academic Program Assessment Committee. 
  • The Academic Senate will hear formal presentations from: 
    • Jeff Jackanicz, vice president of University Advancement: “Report on University Advancement”  
    • Noriko Lim-Tepper, chief of staff, and Elise Green, tribal government relations lead: “Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Update” 
    • Carleen Mandolfo, associate provost of faculty affairs and professional development: “Faculty Affairs Update” 

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

Soul of SF State is excited to announce the inaugural Black Wall of Fame on Monday, Feb. 5, noon – 4 p.m., in the Art Gallery, located on the terrace level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. 

This event is a celebration of the legends of SF State, honoring the outstanding contributions of our esteemed alumni, faculty, staff and current students. As the Soul of SF State and the Art Gallery commemorate their achievements, the campus community is invited to be a part of this special occasion during Black History Month. 

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL)’s spring 2024 JEDI series will focus on the digital domain. Join the center to discuss innovative ways to use technology in the classroom, consider ways digital platforms have helped and/or hindered equity and access in education, and explore practices and perspectives that will ensure that faculty and students uphold just and equitable digital citizenship in our classrooms, communities and beyond.  

A $50 stipend will be awarded to all lecturer-faculty participants for each session. 

On Feb. 7 at 1 p.m., Kira Donnell will facilitate the “Virtual Citizenship: Building Critical Digital Literacy Skills” session. In this session, CEETL will consider the impact of our digital presence: how to utilize online resources for education responsibly and critically. They will explore ways that implicit bias, monetized content and digital footprints affect how people navigate the online world.  

Register via Qualtrics.  

Take a stroll through the center of campus on Wednesday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., for the International Education Exchange Council at the Study Abroad Fair. This event will be on Malcolm X Plaza. 

The tables at the fair will represent different countries where SF State students can study abroad through SF State Exchange and CSU International Programs. International students and study abroad alumni decorated each table, and will be at the table to talk about their country. 

Students can also follow @sfstateabroad on Instagram and on Tuesdays ask questions to study-abroad students. 

Are you interested in learning life-saving skills that could potentially help save someone’s life? The Office of Emergency Services will offer “Stop the Bleed” training sessions throughout the semester.  

Participants receive a certificate for completing the two-hour training, which includes hands-on experience practicing on silicone wounds.  

For more information and to register, please visit the Office of Emergency Services website.  

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) facilitates conversations between faculty and other student-facing campus partners.  

Vice Provost Lori Beth Way, Senior Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Katie Lynch and the Office of Student Financial Aid will discuss “Myths around Student Financial Aid” and “Do W/WU and NC impact Students on Financial Aid?” The discussions take place Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1 – 2 p.m., in Library 286 and Tuesday, March 12, 1 – 2 p.m., via Zoom.  

Please visit the CEETL website for more details

Sherria Taylor, director of healing circles in the College of Health & Social Services, will facilitate a monthly book club with the Black Unity Center this semester that begins Wednesday, Feb. 14, 5 – 7 p.m.  

The club will cover “You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience: An Anthology,” edited by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown. The sessions will be hybrid. The club is open to students, staff and faculty. 

Learn more and sign up via Canva.   

The Poetry Center will present “An Evening of Nice” with Small Press Traffic (SPT) on Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 – 9 p.m., at Et al. etc. art gallery in San Francisco. Admission is free. 

As part of SPT’s 50th anniversary, this evening will celebrate late San Francisco poet David Melnick, who passed away in 2022, and highlight the publication of “Nice: Collected Poems” (Nightboat Books). Benjamin Friedlander, one of the book’s editors, with J. Gordon Faylor and Jo Aurelio Giardini, will speak to the work and life of Melnick. Noah Ross of SPT will serve as emcee.  

For more information, please visit The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives website.

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 286. 

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 SF State Safe Zone Ally program is seeking staff, faculty and administrators to become safe zone allies for the campus LGBTQ+ community. The SF State Safe Zone Ally program’s mission is to foster a welcoming, inclusive and equitable campus environment by building a support network for people of all gender and sexual identities.   

Safe Zone allies are active and visible volunteers who are open to talking to members of the LGBTQ+ community in a confidential and supportive environment. To become a Safe Zone ally, volunteers must complete a Safe Zone Ally training.  

Safe Zone Ally virtual training is scheduled for Friday, April 5, and Friday, April 12, 1 – 4 p.m.  (Participants must attend both days).   

For further details about the training and to register and/or request accommodations, please RVSP via email to Rick Nizzardini. (Preregistration is required.)

SF State Spotlight 

Psychology Professor Zena R. Mello was selected as the program co-chair for the national meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence. The meeting takes place April 18 – 20 in Chicago.

The Metro College Success Program recently participated in a panel discussion, “Putting Equity at the Center Means Institutional Change: Why That’s Imperative, Why It’s Hard” at the Association of America’s Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2024 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Six faculty members from the College of Health & Social Sciences (CHSS) published a co-authored peer-reviewed article, “Transforming Tenure and Promotion: A Grassroots Initiative” in ADVANCE Journal in January. Authors are: Criminal Justices Studies Associate Professor Cesar Ché Rodriguez, Child and Adolescent Development Associate Professor Sherria D. Taylor, Public Health Associate Professor R. David Rebanal, CHSS Assistant Dean of Restorative and Transformative Racial Justice Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, Public Administration Professor Sheldon Gen and Public Health Professor Emerita Mickey Eliason

The article focuses on the initial steps of the CHSS to shift the culture of tenure and promotion processes, acknowledging that tenure and promotion processes can be vague, based on a faulty premise of meritocracy, individual values, color-blindness and full of implicit bias and unwritten assumptions. It includes a brief introduction on research about the challenges faced in the tenure and promotion process, then describe the development of a set of dialogical questions to guide revisions for tenure and promotion criteria departments and programs. 

Last month Tonya Foster, the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry, was an artist in residence at Casa Ojala in Mexico City. The central event during her stay was “Cartographies of the African and Indigenous Americas,” a three-hour extension of Foster’s “Undisciplining the Fields: Study, Performance and (Re:)Creation.” She was in conversation with two Afro-Mexican poets, an artist and a critic about Black life in Mexico and the U.S. 

On Jan. 27, Foster was in conversation with Soham Patel and Sara Borjas at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library.  

Foster, Creative Writing Associate Professor and Acting Chair Andrew Joron and The Poetry Center Director Steve Dickison will be among the many participants at a Feb. 7 benefit reading for the Middle East Children’s Alliance at City Lights Books in San Francisco. 

On Feb. 15, Foster will be in conversation with George McCalman about his recent book “Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and the Unseen.” This event takes place at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. 

On Jan. 25, Well Being Journal republished “Improve Health with Posture Feedback: You Don’t Have to Slouch,” an article by Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health Professors Erik Peper and Richard Harvey and student Lauren Mason. Peper notes that the concepts may be useful for people who sit and work on computers.

Peper presented the invited master class, “Breathing for regeneration, recovery and performance,” at the Sports Rehabilitation Virtual Summit on Feb. 2. 

In a Jan. 30 story on NBC News, Asian American Studies Professor Jonathan Lee shares insights for the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.  

“I’m seeing this wood Dragon year as a year of unlimited potential in terms of prosperity. Long term, it could also be the year in which major conflict can be resolved, if people can focus on empathy,” Lee said. “If we continue our tribal thinking and selfish thinking, we’re not going to achieve it.”

Arezoo Islami, assistant professor of Philosophy, offers a thought-based perspective to mathematics on the Jan. 19 edition of “Philosophy Talk” on KALW-FM. Does math create the blueprint for our universe or is it a human invention that helps people organize ideas? 

“Math is an invention on the basis of discovery,” said Islami, who teaches a course called “The Art of Quantitative Reasoning.”  

Anthony Pahnke, associate professor of International Relations, authored an op-ed for The Progressive magazine on Jan. 19 arguing that increasing agricultural exports does not benefit farmers. 

“Our legislators need to take this opportunity to get our own house in order by getting behind policies that could assure farmers fair prices rather than repeating past mistakes,” he wrote. 

Pahnke’s op-ed is part of Progressive Perspectives, a project of The Progressive magazine and distributed by Tribune News Service.