April 10, 2023

News & Announcements

A group of smiling people

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SF State is dedicated to helping people learn and grow as they age. And now OLLI has something in common with the people it serves: It’s still going strong even as it racks up another birthday.

In 2023, OLLI — part of a national network of institutes partly funded by the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation — is celebrating its 20th year at SF State. Today OLLI provides a wide variety of in-person and online courses, free lectures series and interest groups for people aged 50 and older.

“In 2003, when we founded OLLI at SFSU, we had big goals in mind but no clear idea of how it would work out, or even if it would work out,” said businessman and philanthropist Bernard Osher. “But two decades later, I’m pleased to say that this OLLI has exceeded all of our expectations and is providing important services to a very receptive and committed audience of older adults. For me, it’s a dream come true.” 

Among the learning opportunities available during OLLI’s Spring Session, which runs through May 17, are classes on writing, the Constitution, painter John Singer Sargent, jazz history and the films of director Billy Wilder. That’s exactly the kind of eclectic mix of topics that hooked 73-year-old San Francisco State alumnus Bruce Flynn (M.S., ’85). Flynn joined OLLI as a way to meet new people after retiring from his job in human resources and risk management at UC San Francisco in 2019. Though COVID threw OLLI (and the whole world) for a loop in 2020, with classes going fully online for a time, Flynn stuck with it — and is grateful he did.

“I think my class choices became much more eclectic when taking them online,” he said. “The range of topics from OLLI was so inspiring that I felt compelled to take classes about stuff that I maybe wouldn’t have imagined taking a class on at all.”

An annual OLLI membership costs just $55 year and gives participants access to activities and interest groups devoted to hiking, books, film, poetry, foreign languages and more. Six-week courses cost an additional $125 each. And there are many new opportunities to connect and learn on the way, says Kathy Bruin, OLLI at SF State’s director.

“Our 20th anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on everything OLLI has done at SF State and all we plan to do in the future,” Bruin said.

Learn more by sending a message to olli@sfsu.edu or visiting the OLLI at SF State website.

The words "Business Ethics Week April 13-27, 2023"

For this year’s Business Ethics Week, running April 13 through April 27, the Lam Family College of Business is hosting a series of 11 speaker events, all related to how individuals or organizations have made real-world differences in issues related to sustainability and/or ethics. Want to hear about how a student became a nationally famous labor activist, find out how an accountant tackled corruption at an energy services company or understand more about socially responsible “ESG” investing? Business Ethics Week will explore all this and much more. Visit the Center for Ethical & Sustainable Business website for the full schedule of events. Note: all but one event will be hosted on Zoom, open to the public with no advanced registration required.

People tour a studio

The Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Department hosted the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ San Francisco/Northern California chapter for a tour of Marcus Hall last month. More than 100 guests attended, including academy members and SF State students, faculty and alumni. 

A recent post on Off Camera, the NATAS chapter blog, touts the new building as “a dream of a cutting-edge media training facility.”  

“Marcus Hall offers prospective students of the media arts a remarkable opportunity,” it continued. “This is a place that represents what is perhaps the most sophisticated facility for media arts in the entire country, certainly in the West Coast. There are three studios, and an audio production suite already producing content.” 

NATAS chapter President Brooks Jarosz added: “The partnership with San Francisco State BECA builds a bridge between higher education and our professional organization. Our shared mission is to inspire, improve and advance the television industry in a positive way. This is just the first step.” 

Photo by Susan A. Bradley

On March 22, 2023, the CSU Board of Trustees adopted a resolution designating June 19 (Juneteenth), which was recently recognized as a federal and state holiday, as a paid holiday for CSU employees, effective calendar year 2023.

The Juneteenth holiday will be observed this year on Monday, June 19, and must be observed every year on June 19, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday. If June 19 falls on a Saturday, the holiday shall be observed on the preceding Friday. If it falls on a Sunday, the holiday shall be observed on the following Monday.

The SF State academic calendar and payroll calendar have been updated, and the information can be found on the Human Resources website.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Human Resources at hrwww@sfsu.edu.

Candidates have been selected to interview for the College of Liberal & Creative Arts dean. The campus community is invited to attend the candidates’ presentations followed by Q&A and a light reception. The presentation will address the following topic:

College of Liberal & Creative Arts Mission: A Hub for creativity, Collaboration and Debate. Spanning the arts, humanities and social sciences, the College of Liberal & Creative Arts (LCA) is committed to inspiring the next generation of thinkers, makers and doers. We are home to world-class faculty who are constantly developing their own groundbreaking art and research in their respective professions. Our alums include Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winners — as well as elected officials, community leaders, journalists and scholars.

Given the current issues facing higher education nationally (dropping enrollments, pushes towards more vocational programs, etc.), what would be your five-year plan for LCA at SFSU in regard to:

  1. Developing a transparent approach to resources
  2. Advancing student success through curriculum innovations
  3. Building community on campus and online

Information on all candidates and the order of presentations is available at academic.sfsu.edu/dean-LCA/candidates.

The Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) has hosted several webinars, including its most recent offering in partnership with the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) titled “Student Access Needs and Disability Resources for Teaching & Learning.” You can view a recording of this webinar, as well as all previous ATAC webinars, via the ATAC website.

Looking for a new way to serve the University community? Become a volunteer scholarship evaluator! Each year the Alumni Association receives hundreds of student applications for scholarships, and they need help reviewing these applications. When you volunteer, you can make a difference in a student’s academic journey. Sign up online to volunteer by Sunday, April 16.

Established in 2006, the Health Equity Institute (HEI) at SF State is a campus-wide, interdisciplinary research and educational institute devoted to advancing health equity scholarship and activities through research, education and community engagement. HEI is inviting applications from full-time faculty at SF State whose scholarship focuses on, or includes an interest in, issues of health equity, broadly defined. Faculty Scholars are invited to join HEI as members of its faculty team for one year to join collaborative efforts toward supporting health equity scholarship at SF State, with preferences given to faculty interested in: (1) co-developing grant applications to support new collaborative research projects; and/or (2) co-developing graduate student research training programs at SF State.

Applicants should submit a current CV and a letter of application (one to two pages) that briefly describes their: (1) primary research interests; (2) past and ongoing projects; and (3) specific interests regarding future research projects and/or student training programs. The HEI Faculty Scholar or Scholars (up to two) will be provided a one-year appointment starting fall 2023 that includes funding to support up to two course releases over that one-year period. (Course releases to be negotiated with chairs and deans following election). The deadline for applications is Tuesday, April 25, and the selection process will be completed during the first week of May 2023. Please submit application materials to HEI Professor of Public Health and Interim HEI Director Laura Mamo at lmamo@sfsu.edu.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the first printing of Shakespeare’s plays, aka the First Folio, the Sutro Library will have its rare copy on display every Wednesday in April. The Sutro Library is located on the fifth floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library.

The SF State Academic Senate met on Tuesday, April 4, at the Seven Hills Conference Center and via Zoom. During the meeting the senate:

  • Passed the following items:
    • B.A. in Apparel Design, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Apparel Merchandising, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Italian, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Political Science, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Cinema, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Humanities, Distance Education Authorization
    • Minor in Persian Studies, Distance Education Authorization
  • Heard in first reading Revision to S21-275 Academic Probation and Disqualification Policy.
  • Heard in first reading SF State Land Acknowledgement Resolution.
  • Heard in first reading the following items:
    • B.A. in Labor and Employment Studies, Distance Education Authorization
    • M.A. in Creative Writing, Distance Education Authorization
    • MFA in Creative Writing, Distance Education Authorization
    • Minor in Creative Writing, Distance Education Authorization
    • M.A. in Humanities, Distance Education Authorization
    • Certificate in Music/Recording Industry, BECA, CPaGE to State Support
    • Minor in Prison Re-entry Studies, Criminal Justice Studies
    • Minor in Entrepreneurship, Business
    • Minor in Humanities, reduction in units required

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

The Division of Graduate Studies & Career Development invites the campus community to its Graduate Research & Creative Works Showcase and the Career & Internship Fair, both to be held live at the Mashouf Wellness Center.

Lasting from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, the Graduate Research & Creative Works 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 Career & Internship Fair will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 13. Over 80 employers from Bay Area businesses, non-profits, education, health care and government organizations will participate in this event. This is a great opportunity for the campus community to meet with employers interested in SF State students.

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to invite all to the first lecture of the Chin-Plaisance Colloquium Series. The lecture — “A critique of digital reason: successes and limits of some powerful techniques in AI” — will be presented by mathematician Guiseppe Longo on Thursday, April 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Humanities 587.

Every day we are invaded by new technologies and renewed promises. After 50 years of major promises and little delivery in AI (Artificial Intelligence), a major change in techniques has happened in the last few decades: the new mathematics of Deep Learning has opened new successful paths. Yet, how do we relate mathematical constructions of optimal paths in complex networks of interactions to actual human action? How does randomness, used to produce unpredictable machine events, relate to human creativity? Hype follows hype, often with major effects on the stock market but not much beyond those effects. A better understanding of the limits of these great technologies may help to produce better interfaces. A couple of examples of successful human/machine interface will be mentioned, and myths will be debunked.

A faculty panel, “Scholars Speak: At the Margins and Center,” will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, via Zoom. Panelists will share some of the struggles and frustrations — as well as successes and achievements — that they have experienced in their discipline and in the academy that flow from greater inclusion of scholars from historically marginalized populations, alongside resistance to the ideas, contributions, perspectives and identities of those scholars. Those interested should register soon for this event.

The Science, Technology, and Society Hub announces a public COVID Research Showcase to be held on Friday, April 14, from 1 to 2:45 p.m. in LIB 121. SF State speakers include Wilfred Denetclaw (Biology), Russell Jeung (Asian American Studies), Martha Kenney (Women and Gender Studies) and Martha Lincoln (Anthropology). The program will be moderated by Laura Mamo (Health Equity Institute/Public Health). Please register to help with planning. All faculty, staff and students are welcome.

Questions? Contact Martha Kenney at mkenney@sfsu.edu.

Join the Office of Diversity, Student Equity and Interfaith Programs for a panel on peace in religion. Representatives of five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism) will discuss teachings which support peacemaking from their faith traditions and how religion can contribute to peace in the world. Lunch will be served. The event will take place Wednesday, April 19, in Student Services Building (SSB) Room 404 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Register to attend

For more information or accommodations, please contact Danille Hoffer at dhoffer@sfsu.edu.

The campus community is invited to a book talk on Thursday, April 20, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in HUM 587. Agata Bielik-Robson is professor of Jewish Studies at Nottingham University (U.K.) and professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw. She will discuss her new book, “Derrida’s Marrano Passover,” with Professor James I. Porter, chair of Rhetoric, Irving Stone Professor of Literature, Chancellor’s Professor of Rhetoric and Classics. These internationally recognized scholars explore Jacques Derrida’s long relationship to crypto-Jewish traditions, the figure of “the Marrano” and how Derrida’s stance in relation to these unexamined and at times unconscious pathways informed the philosopher’s later work. 

Save the dates for the Annual Responsible Innovation & Entrepreneurship (RI&E) Conference: Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22. The annual Responsible Innovation & Entrepreneurship Conference is hosted by the Lam Family College of Business at SF State and is designed to engage the innovation and entrepreneurship research community in thoughtful discussions on the latest developments in this field, workshops to support research paper development and research ideation sessions.

This conference is funded by the Lam-Larsen Fund for Global Innovation.

SF State will welcome thousands of newly admitted students and their families for a day of introductions, information and fun Saturday, April 22. Running from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Explore SF State will feature campus tours, a student life showcase and presentations on SF State academics, programs and organizations.

Highlights of the day will include tours led by current students, workshops on financial aid, expert guidance on next steps for the admissions process and the chance to talk with alumni, faculty and staff about the SF State experience.

Newly admitted students interested in attending should register online by Friday, April 14.

Enjoy delicious holiday snacks and stories of how the Eid holiday is celebrated by members of the SF State community. Everyone is welcome to drop by! This special get-together will take place Monday, April 24, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Lam Family College of Business Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lounge, BUS 221.

SF State Spotlight

Dean of the College of Science & Engineering Carmen Domingo, along with Gilead Sciences Vice President Monica Tijerina and Lockheed Martin Systems Engineer Georgina Baca, discussed women in leadership in science. The panel discussion was part of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation event “STEM Leadership and the Women Who Power It” on March 23 at The Tech Interactive. The three scientists talked about how they navigated their careers — particularly being the first women in certain spaces — and shared advice for other STEM professionals still early in their careers. 

Computer Science Professor Dragutin Petkovic, Philosophy Professor Carlos Montemayor and Management Professor Denise Kleinrichert shared an overview and early experiences from SF State’s Graduate Certificate in Ethical Artificial Intelligence at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Symposium on March 28. The audience voted their talk as the best presentation during their session. The presentation was timely given recent AI advancement in health care, business, aspects of daily life and more. Despite this progress, AI systems are limited by errors, biases and issues in technical and judicial transparency.  

Launched in fall 2019, the certificate requires participants to take courses in AI technologies and applications, ethics and compliance in business, and ethical principles in philosophy, and produce a research and reflection paper done with the support of a certificate mentor. The program is open for professionals and graduate students.  

Associate Professor of American Indian Studies Robert Keith Collins published a book chapter on “Intersectionality and Ethnography” in the “Research Handbook on Intersectionality,” edited by Mary Romero and Reshawna Chapple (Edward Elgar Publishing).  

Central in this chapter is an examination of the relevance of intersectional research to ethnography and how taking intersectional lived experiences as the central focus of analysis lends to theoretical descriptions and specifications of how individuals make sense of their multidimensional identities. The fieldwork examples provided, and the lives that informed the research conducted, show how being a self-reflexive researcher, while observing individual interactions within social and cultural environments, and focusing interviews on what individuals say and do during these interactions, provides insight into the multidimensionality of experiences and identities that individuals can embody. These complexities in experiences and self-understanding can often be missed using standard ethnographic approaches. 

On April 5, Assistant Professor of Cinema Mihaela Mihailova contributed an article to Film Quarterly’s public-facing online column Quorum on the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on animation and visual effects (vfx) labor.   

“Regardless of the future trajectories of this tech, it is evident that generative AI tools are not currently a viable substitute for skilled animation labor. It is up for debate whether they will ever get there in a creatively meaningful way,” Mihailova wrote. “The salient issue here and now is the eagerness, even urgency, on the part of the tech and entertainment industries to make animation and vfx artists obsolete.” 

Mihailova also recently published an article in a special issue of The Velvet Light Trap dedicated to digital storytelling. The piece is called “An Extraordinary Piece of Engineering: The Artificial Woman as Digital Effect.” Drawing on the persistent cultural notion of the female body as a site for simultaneously negotiating gender roles and technological progress, this article offers a close reading of cyborg, nonorganic and biologically enhanced women and/as digital effects. It examines a range of feature films, including “Ex Machina,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “Alita: Battle Angel.” 

Over the past seven years, California has extended its ban on state-funded travel following a surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation in many states, the Associated Press reported on March 29.  

Marc Stein, the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History, says he would like to see an exception to the ban for social justice research. 

 “I think Ph.D. students in California are being discouraged from pursuing research projects that would require extensive trips to the list of states which is now almost half the country,” he said. 

After a police chase in the East Bay resulted in the deaths of two people, Criminal Justice Lecturer James Dudley commented to the San Francisco Chronicle on March 29. 

“To chase or not to chase is the dilemma officers must face when confronted by a criminal in a vehicle that refuses to yield,” Dudley said. “In the short pursuit — estimated at a half mile — the officer may not have had time to broadcast all information to dispatch and a supervisor who has the ability to call off the pursuit if deemed too dangerous.” 

Political Science Associate Professor Jason McDaniel has been quoted in several San Francisco Chronicle stories recently, including a March 28 piece about the ongoing blame game between City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. 

“McDaniel blamed regulation and boards over the years for ‘obsessively guarding’ local influence over housing and said the city is now paying the price ’with the highest housing and cost of living in the country, if not the world,’” the article states.