March 11, 2024

News and Announcements

Liz Hernández

SF State’s School of Art has named Liz Hernández as the Harker Artist-in-Residence, a 12-month appointment in which she will create a “fictional research organization” on campus, The Office for the Study of the Ordinary. 

The residency is made possible by the Harker Fund at the San Francisco Foundation. Established by Ann Chamberlain in 2005, the fund awards grants to nonprofit organizations underwriting residency and project support for artists working in public practice and environmental interdisciplinary studies.  

For Hernández’s residency, she will serve as lead researcher for The Office for the Study of the Ordinary. Her office will focus on investigating the everyday, documenting hidden narratives through the creation of objects, images and writing.⁣ It fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration, vulnerability, curiosity and experimentation. Her residency concludes in February 2025 with a culminating exhibition on the San Francisco State campus featuring documentation of the physical office, processes, artifacts and printed material.  

Hernández is a Mexican artist based in Oakland since 2011. Her work spans a variety of techniques — painting, sculpture, embroidery and writing — which she uses to blur the space between the real and the imaginary. 
Deeply influenced by the craft traditions of Mexico, her practice investigates the language of materials and the different stories they tell. She draws inspiration from literature, anthropology, syncretism, oral traditions and the landscape of Mexico City, always looking for an element that breaks the normalcy of everyday life.  
Her partially autobiographical work has led to collaboration with her family in the shape of very personal research. Hernández has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

SF State School of Art Director and Professor Victor De La Rosa says that Hernández’s work with students supports institutional initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates and eliminate equity gaps. 

“One central way that the School of Art is contributing to this effort is by increasing presence and engagement with role models of success,” De La Rosa said. “We are bringing in guest artists, lecturer faculty, graduate teaching assistants — and now Liz Hernández as the Harker Artist-in-Residence — who more reflect the diversity and varied experiences of our student body.” 

Learn more about SF State’s School of Art

Photo by Katherine du Tiel/Courtesy SFMOMA 

artwork of Cephalopods

“Pictures really do paint a thousand words, regardless of the language you speak or your scientific knowledge. The pictures, [they’re] universal,” Diana Neacsu said of her scientific illustrations. An SF State graduate student researcher and artist, she was part of the inaugural 2023 cohort supported by a new scientific illustration grant of the University’s Estuary & Ocean Science (EOS) Center

The program began due to a $10,000 grant from the Maxwell|Hanrahan Foundation specifically to support scientific artists and was recently funded for a second year. Recruiting for the 2024 spring semester cohort, the EOS Center program coordinators emphasized that the program is not restricted to a particular major or students affiliated with the EOS Center. Any student researcher in Marine and Estuarine Sciences was encouraged to apply. 

“We are thrilled to be able to offer these funds as a way to support science communication skills for the University’s budding marine scientists,” said EOS Center Interim Executive Director Katharyn Boyer. “We want our graduates to not only be trained in the rigors of cutting-edge science but to have tools they can use to share how and why they do their work.” 

Last year, the EOS Center offered three one-year fellowships to student researchers with a penchant for art. Inspired by student enthusiasm, the EOS Center gathered additional donated funds to support a fourth student. Faculty helped identify and nominate students working on marine or estuarine science research. Students received funding to work with their mentor to complete the project. 

Neacsu, a graduate student in Physiology and Behavioral Biology, designed a colorful 24-page manual bedecked with dozens of illustrations of squid, octopuses and other creatures studied by her adviser Associate Professor Robyn Crook’s research group. Neacsu filled the manual with detailed illustrations on animal husbandry and experimental protocols with the goal of helping student researchers joining the lab. There’s a steep learning curve for students learning research, she explained. 

Others in the 2023 cohort produced a variety of work. One student simplified the complex food web of longfin smelt into a graphic illustration. Another student created cartoons representing several EOS Center labs, designing icons with whales, otters, oysters and more. 

“Creating visual interpretations of science can be a powerful way to reinforce concepts not just for the viewer but for the scientist-artist,” Boyer said. 

Though her project was for scientists, Neacsu has plans to reach other audiences. Her goal is to freelance and use her art to educate a variety of audiences. Frustrated with the way academia and the sciences can exclude people, she sees art as an easier way to capture people’s attention. 

“A lot of people are afraid of science or don’t like science or were belittled. I am totally sympathetic,” said Neacsu, explaining that academia can be quite gated. She hopes to develop her illustrations to help draw in non-expert audiences. She hopes scientific illustrations could capture the interest of grade-school children at stages when their interests veer away from science. “I think illustrations are a great way to break that barrier. Who doesn’t [prefer] a pretty picture [instead of] a block of text that’s full of jargon and heavy. It turns people off.” 

For Neascu, the connection between art and science was natural. She grew up loving the “creepy crawlies” and doing art for fun. In high school, she joined an art-intensive school where she sharpened her artistic chops. But she knew she wanted to become a researcher. It’s a path that allows her to channel her creativity and get continuous inspiration. 

“I get art-blocked often. Months go by where I don’t produce any art. But with academia and research, I feel like I can always keep going at it,” she explained. “As I was doing research, I realized that I could incorporate my art, improve my research and expand my communication with others by using my art as a tool.” 

Students and faculty interested in the scientific illustration grant in future years can email the EOS Center

Illustrations designed by Diana Neacsu 

Anagha Kulkarni, Ilmi Yoon, Shasta Ihorn and Pleuni Plennings

Faculty members Anagha Kulkarni (Computer Science), Ilmi Yoon (Computer Science), Pleuni Pennings (Biology) and Shasta Ihorn (Psychology) have received a renewal award from Genentech Inc. (Aug. 15, 2023 – Aug. 14, 2026) to establish and expand a professional certificate program in Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology Professionals. 

This project aims to provide biotechnology professionals from any backgrounds with the knowledge, skills and practical experience necessary to excel in the rapidly evolving field of data science and machine learning. The program is designed to align with the technical needs of the biotechnology field and is adapted for professionals in various work-life situations. 

The first cohort of 24 Genentech employees is on path to earning this certificate in May 2024. 

The total award will be $661,250. 

Photo, clockwise from top left: Anagha Kulkarni, Ilmi Yoon, Shasta Ihorn and Pleuni Pennings

This is the last week for students to complete the National College Health Assessment (NCHA). The survey is an opportunity for students to make an impact on campus by contributing to the development of new wellness programs and services. The NCHA survey is administered every two to three years and covers a wide range of topics including mental health, sexual health, substance use, basic needs and sexual violence. 

All students who complete a survey before the Friday, March 15, deadline will be automatically entered in a random opportunity drawing. Prizes include:  

  • One SF State semester tuition (worth $3,700) 
  • Three SF State tuition payments (worth $1,000 each)  
  • Two iPads (10.2 inch, 128 GB with wi-fi)  
  • 30 Amazon gift cards (worth $100 each)  

For more information, visit the Health Promotion & Wellness website

Human Resources announces that the Cal Employee Connect (CEC) Employee Services feature has expanded to include a “Withholdings Change” feature. The Withholdings Change feature has been created as an additional self-serve option. If you already have withholdings on file, you do not need to submit a new request through CEC. 

With this new feature, employees have the flexibility to make changes to their current tax withholding status for both federal and state taxes. 

For more information, please visit CEC Withholdings Change and payroll basics. For questions or assistance, please contact the payroll representative for your area. 

The Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) and the Division of Enrollment Management have partnered with digital marketing agency OHO Interactive to redesign the University’s websites. The phases of the three-year project, currently in its second year, are detailed on the SMC website. SMC will provide updates on the project through CampusMemo and its website.

Per Academic Senate Policy F19-177, the Educational Policies Committee (EPC) is required to inform the campus community of the following discontinuance proposal at least two weeks before senate action. Any party interested in filing a response should email Claude Bartholomew. Discontinuance has been proposed for the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts: concentration in Design/Technical Production and will be reviewed by EPC this semester. 

Faculty Affairs and Professional Development has an open position for interim associate dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.  

The associate dean will assist the associate provost in all faculty-related processes and have significant responsibilities in the development and implementation of all new and continuing priorities and initiatives.  

Applications will be accepted until Monday, May 20. Interviews will be scheduled after May 20 and will continue until position is filled. Start date is negotiable but is anticipated between Monday, July 1, and Monday, Aug. 5.  

The associate dean reports to the associate provost for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.  

View position details and application information.  

The five-year administrative review is underway for Dean of Graduate Studies and Career Development Sophie Clavier, College of Science & Engineering Dean Carmen Domingo and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Carleen Mandolfo. The Administrative Review Committee (ARC) solicits input from members of the campus community.  

An electronic questionnaire is available for those who would like 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 Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) is accepting applications from faculty members (lecturer or tenured/tenure-track faculty) for the 2024 teaching awards. 

The awards honor faculty who have made a difference in the lives of SF State students through exemplary teaching practices such as: 

  • engaging pedagogy 
  • mentoring 
  • collaborating with students on research 
  • guiding peer-to-peer learning 
  • creating pathways for students 
  • connecting students to resources and opportunities  
  • providing impactful support for students.  

Faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary teaching to first-year students and faculty whose pedagogy reaches nontraditional students are particularly welcome. Teaching practice should reflect CEETL’s values and mission. 

Applications must include an artifact of teaching practice and a cover letter explaining the teaching practice. A reference letter is optional.  

Please email applications to CEETL by Tuesday, April 2. Please use “Application for 2024 Exemplary Teaching Award” as the subject line.  

During March, the Veteran Documentary Corps (VDC), in partnership with El Dorado Films, invites the campus community to free screenings of four films in honor of Women's History Month.  

To support the work of VDC, please subscribe for free to El Dorado Films on YouTube

The SF State Academic Senate met on Tuesday, March 5, at Seven Hills and via Zoom. A summary of the meeting follows.  

The senate:  

  • Passed: 

    • Revision to S14-236 Academic Program Review Policy 
    • Anti-Doxxing Resolution 
    • Revision to F22-241 Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy 
    • Resolution in Appreciation of Exceptional Efforts by the Enrollment Management During the Rollout of the Revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 
    • B.A. in Liberal Studies (Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) reduction in units 
  • Heard in first reading the following items: 
    • Revision to S23-257 Course Syllabus Policy 
    • Revision to S20-145 Department Chairs and Equivalent Unit Directors Policy 
    • Revision to S22-255 Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors Concentrations, Minors and Certificates.  
    • Minor, Health Education (name change)  
    • Minor, Empowerment for Self Defense (revised)  
    • B.S. Interior Design and Architecture (library info added)  
    • Minor, Special Education (reduce number of units, technically substantive)  
    • Minor, Finance (rescind the suspension that never actually took place and update courses)  
    • Minor, Global World Music and Dance (name change, resituate program and update courses) 
  • Postponed the following items for next meeting on Tuesday, March 19: 
    • Recommendation from the Campus Curriculum Committee: B.A., Ethnic Studies (move from College of Professional and Global Education to state support)  

The Office of Human Resources invites all employees to attend the CSU’s Got Talent webcast on Tuesday, March 13, 10 – 11 a.m, via Zoom. Nicole Rankine, certified professional growth coach and founder of the Cole Academy, will present “Teamwork Across Generations: Navigating the Communication Divides in the Modern Workplace.”  

Please register via Zoom.  

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) presents Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) Brown Bags. These events are open forums to discuss challenges and opportunities as they unfold across the semester, especially in the areas of assignment redesigns, grading and teaching with artificial intelligence. 

The next Brown Bag will be Wednesday, March 13, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in Library 242. Instructors teaching GWAR courses are encouraged to drop by. No RSVP necessary. Faculty will get an honorarium of $50 for participating.

The Academic Technology Advisory Committee presents an online panel discussion with students about generative artificial intelligence (AI) on Wednesday, March 13, noon – 1 p.m. 

They will discuss how they use and experiment with generative AI, their perspectives on this new and emerging technology, and their thoughts about how it can play a role in their learning. 

Generative AI is a hot topic in higher education, both for its potential to impact teaching and learning but also for its disruption of disciplines and the workforce. 

Please register via Zoom.

Please join the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) for an AI workshop Thursday, March 14, 12:30 – 2 p.m., to discuss ways to navigate the challenges of academic integrity in this moment of AI, including assignment redesign and syllabus policy creation.  

Please RSVP via Qualtrics.

Risk and Safety Services will host its first open house forum on safety topics Thursday, March 14, 10 – 11 a.m., in Library 121. It will cover the Youth Protection Program and how Risk and Safety Services strives to promote an environment that is safe, engaging and productive for all. 

SF State offers diverse and inclusive youth programs with a mission to provide a safe and high-quality experience that engages youth campers with recreation, field trips and other interactive learning activities. The campus Youth Protection Program provides youth program directors, staff and volunteers working in youth programs with valuable guidance for ensuring that youth in programs are protected.   

For questions or topic suggestions, please email Risk and Safety Services.  

For more information, please visit the Risk and Safety Services website

Asian American Studies Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales has received the prestigious Wang Family Teaching Excellence Award, one of the highest honors for faculty in the CSU system. 

The College of Ethnic Studies will celebrate Professor Tintiangco-Cubales on Thursday, March 14, noon – 2 p.m., in the University Club, Cesar Chavez Student Center. 

Please RSVP via Google Forms. Please note the University Club has a maximum capacity of 100 people. 

Project Rebound presents “[Un]Equal Under the Law: Extreme Sentencing and Racial Justice in California” on Thursday, March 14, 5:30 – 8 p.m., in Jack Adams Hall, Cesar Chavez Student Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. 

In collaboration with Amnesty International, the SFSU Criminal Justice Studies Department and Empowerment Avenue, Project Rebound has invited Kevin Cooper to call in from San Quentin’s Death Row. He will engage in a conversation about his artwork, the Racial Justice Act, and what the act means for his case.  

A Criminal Justice Studies student will moderate a panel featuring Criminal Justice Studies Assistant Professor Albert Professor de la Tierra, University of San Francisco Director of Criminal and Juvenile and Racial Justice Clinics Lara Bazelon, and Empowerment Avenue Executive Director Rahsaan Thomas.  

Please register via Google Forms. Food will be provided. 

Interact with the virtual world in the safety and comfort of a classroom. Academic Technology (AT) will host a soft-launch opening of a new Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) instructional space on Monday, March 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in Library 222. 

This space will be available for instructors to bring their students in groups to experience AR/VR content. VR is gaining ground as one of the latest tools for computing. It is making exploring, training, learning and entertainment immersive.   

The lab has five virtual reality headsets for students and faculty to use. Access to training and learning resources are only a few clicks away. Use Steam for educational games and simulators, including the latest games produced by top-tier developers.  

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) and Academic Senate will celebrate all faculty and staff colleagues at a book reading and coffee-tasting event on Tuesday, March 19, 4 – 5:30 p.m., in Library 121.  

Faculty who published a book in 2023 – 2024 will be invited to read from and discuss their books. All faculty are invited to bring a copy of their books to promote and display at the event. Kaveri Coffee, a woman-owned third-generation coffee roaster and small business, will provide a coffee tasting at the event.  

Please RSVP via Qualtrics.

In recent years, and more acutely after Oct. 7, 2023, the term Zionism has dominated headlines and social media posts, often generating heated, emotional responses. A lecture on Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m. via Zoom will explore the historical origins of Zionism, how the term evolved over time and how terms like anti-Zionism or post-Zionism also changed with the times.  

The speaker is Eran Kaplan, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Israel Studies. He is the author of “The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy,” “The Origins of Israel 1882 – 1948: A Documentary History” (with Derek Penslar), “Beyond Post Zionism” and “Projecting the Nation: History and Ideology on the Israeli Screen.” His next book, “New Directions in Israeli Visual Media” (with Yaron Peleg and Ido Rosen), will be published in 2025. Before coming to SF State, Professor Kaplan taught at the universities of Princeton, Cincinnati and Toronto.   

Event sponsors are: the Department of Jewish Studies, Jewish Campus Climate Initiative, Division of Equity & Community Inclusion and Jewish Student Life.  

Please register via Zoom.

Staff are invited to Human Resources’ next Staff Forum on Wednesday, March 20, 10 – 11 a.m., via Zoom. All staff, except Management Personnel Plan (MPP) and faculty, are encouraged to attend. 

This forum includes updates from Student Life, a presentation on generative artificial intelligence (AI) from Academic Technology, other updates and an open forum for Human Resources questions and beyond.  

Please RSVP via Qualtrics.  

These forums are 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, April 17, and Wednesday, May 15. 

What can artificial intelligence (AI) do for you? Join Academic Technology’s second 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 Wednesday, March 20, 2:30 – 4 p.m., in Library 281.   

In this workshop, participants will explore the art of crafting prompts that maximize this technology’s potential. Whether new to Gen AI or seeking more advanced techniques, this event is a great opportunity to enhance skills in a supportive and collaborative setting. 

Please register via Microsoft Office Forms.

The University Budget Committee (UBC) invites all to attend its next meeting on Thursday, March 21, 10 a.m. – noon, via Zoom.  

The agenda includes an enrollment update and riskpool costs as they affect the campus budget along with IDC policy updates and more.  

Members of the UBC are staff, faculty, students and administrators. UBC members offer peer-hosted “office hours” via Zoom on Fridays after UBC meetings to share feedback and answer questions about budget-related matters.   

Please RSVP for the meeting or the office hours by emailing the UBC

The Poetry Center and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability present a special program on Thursday, March 21, 1 – 2 p.m., in The Poetry Center (Humanities 512) and via Zoom. “On Poetry, Autism and Our Neurodivergent Future” features poet and educator Chris Martin and poet Imane Boukalia. 

Martin will be visiting from Minneapolis, where he’s been realizing his deep dream of teaching poetry to autistic youth. That work has resulted in a new series of poetry books, in Milkweed’s Multiverse series, edited by Martin.  

Boukalia will join the event, from her home in Toronto, to welcome her debut book of poetry into the world. 

This event is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  

This event is free and wheelchair accessible. ASL/CART provided; for other access needs, please email Emily Beitiks.

Please register to attend, either online or in person. 

SF State Spotlight

Michael De Anda Muñiz, assistant professor of Latina/Latino Studies, recviewed Chicago-based artist Maria Gaspar’s newest exhibition, “Compositions,” for The Latinx Project at New York University. 

Housed at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences as part of the Visualizing Abolition initiative, the exhibition features new and existing works that call into question the role, consequences and permanence of carceral institutions through painting, sculpture, video, and public art.  

De Anda Muñiz’s review, in the Intervenxion publication, provides an overview of the exhibition and argues that “Compositions” accomplishes two important abolitionist goals. First, it rejects the inevitability of prisons and jails. Second, it emphasizes the importance of collectivity and imagination for a freer future. Dense iron jail bars transformed into fragile transparent glass and carceral institutions hole-punched by exhibition visitors are just two examples of Gaspar’s abolitionist praxis. It closes by highlighting the relevance, urgency and promise of abolitionist art for Latinx communities. 

Audubon California and partners — including Estuary and Ocean Science Center Interim Executive Director Katharyn Boyer — released their San Francisco Bay Eelgrass Habitat Suitability Model, a new tool helping predict locations in the bay ideal for eelgrass restoration. The tool was developed by Audubon California, Merkel & Associates Inc., and Boyer, and was funded by a grant from the California Ocean Protection Council. The project is based on more than two decades of work and will help inform eelgrass restoration and bay conservation efforts.   

San Francisco Bay hosts approximately 17% of the state’s eelgrass, a critical species for the long-term health of the bay. It provides home and food to marine life, helps prevent coastal erosion and is key for climate-resistant bays. However, the species is difficult to restore and establish, thereby complicating conservation efforts. The new model projects the persistence and density of eelgrass across the bay, and predicts eelgrass response to future climate scenarios. With the San Francisco Bay eelgrass model done, the team is seeking funding for other major bays across California. 

“Understanding where eelgrass will grow best now and under different future scenarios is critical to our decision making,” said Boyer. “It is really exciting to have a much better tool to determine where to put our time and effort on the ground.” 

A new study from SF State researchers shows how students’ hardiness before the COVID-19 pandemic may impact their mental recovery during the pandemic. The lead author of the paper Emily Wu (M.S., ’22), Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Psychology Melissa Hagan and Professors of Psychology David Gard and Kevin Eschleman shared the findings in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy

Data from the first wave included hundreds of Psychology students reporting on how COVID-19 was impacting their academic and mental health. Subsequent data was collected from a smaller subsample over the course of two years. The analysis revealed that greater levels of hardiness before the pandemic predicted greater decreases in loneliness and traumatic stress symptoms over one to two years of the pandemic. 

“It’s a great example of a collaboration among faculty and students, and also has practical implications for boosting resilience among college students in the midst of widescale negative events,” Hagan said.

Cinema Professor Weimin Zhang directed the documentary “Of Color & Ink: Chang Dai-chien After 1949,” about the famed 20th-century painter from China. It screens at Cinequest in San Jose on Sunday, March 17, and at University of California, Berkeley, on Thursday, April 25. 

Jackson Wilson, professor and chair of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, facilitated a session at the 2024 National Academic Leaders’ Retreat in Palm Springs titled, “Acting Out: Challenging Discussions with Colleagues.” The session provided space for leaders to explain, reflect on and reenact challenging discussions that have occurred in their time as academic leaders. 

Utah Public Radio’s “UnDisciplined” featured an interview with Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health Professor Erik Peper on Feb. 29.  

The interview was based on a recent Townsend Letter article co-authored with Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health Professor Richard Harvey. The article is titled “Are Food Companies Responsible for the Epidemic in Diabetes, Cancer, Dementia and Chronic Disease and Do Their Products Need to Be Regulated Like Tobacco? Is It Time for a Class Action Suit?”