April 17, 2023

News & Announcements

A group of smiling people in hard hats shovel dirt

On Wednesday, April 12, SF State held a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction for the West Campus Green (WCG) project. The project includes a first-year residence hall that will add 750 affordable beds, a dining facility and a student health center. SF State hired design-build team McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and EHDD to deliver the project.

“With this project, more students will have access to affordable housing, which is critical here in the Bay Area,” SF State Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Jamillah Moore said. “That’s because when students have safe, stable and affordable housing, they are more likely to enroll, excel and graduate.”

The WCG project includes two all-electric buildings adjacent to each other. The first is a 120,000 square-foot, six-story first-year residence hall slated for occupancy by fall 2024. The second is a three-story, 50,000 square-foot building, to open in winter 2024, that will include a dining common area and the Gator Health Center.

WCG will cost a total of $179 million. It is supported by $116 million in funds from the State of California's Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program, which was established to increase affordable student housing across the state's three public higher education systems. 

“During my visits to almost 30 universities across California, I have met with countless students who shared experiences with housing insecurity,” said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who attended the ceremony. “Thanks to projects like West Campus Green, more California students will be able to focus on their education and not worry about where they are going to sleep at night. I’m deeply proud of our state’s historic commitment to supporting the total cost of college attendance for students and ensuring every Californian has a shot at achieving the California dream.” 

Designed by global design firm headquartered in San Francisco EHDD Architecture, the WCG project will be delivered under a progressive design-build model led by the national construction company McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.’s San Francisco office. Both companies play an integral part in shaping the Bay Area local economy and housing market.

Learn more about the WCG project at SF State News.

Two men in lab coats inspect machinery

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded SF State $3.75 million to establish and lead the new Western Regional Center of Excellence to train a new generation of clean energy engineers and improve energy efficiency among manufacturers. This new center, housed within the School of Engineering, will be one of five regional Centers of Excellence in the nation and the only one in the West.

Over the next five years, SF State’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) will partner with four other minority-serving institutions — San Jose State University, San Diego State University, Laney College and Cuyamaca College — to promote renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, reduce manufacturer emissions, improve industrial assessment methods and more in a multi-state region including the western United States, Hawaii and Alaska.

“This award recognizes SF State as a leader in advanced energy technologies and engineering education. The Center of Excellence will expand our best practices to other existing and new IACs, in order to promote the development of diverse energy engineers who can meet the high workforce demand in this field,” said Ed Cheng, professor and associate director of the School of Engineering, who is leading this project.

Based out of SF State’s IAC, the new program will be a regional hub for IACs to collaborate with government, nonprofit, labor and industry partners. Building upon services and training opportunities already provided via IACs, the center also will support training at other minority-serving institutions, establish programs in tribal communities and address environmental justice issues. This includes development of new curricula and best practices for IACs and other organizations.

Learn more the Western Regional Center of Excellence at SF State News.

Earth seen from space

Earth Week 2023 runs from April 17 to 21, and members of the SF State community are gearing up to celebrate. Among the festivities planned for this year are art exhibitions, research conferences, information sessions, a party, food trucks and more — all centered around celebrating, supporting and saving our planet.

Though various SF State organizations have celebrated Earth Week in the past, this is the first year that many of these activities will fall under the new Climate Justice Leaders Initiative (CJLI) that is part of the University’s Climate HQ, a hub that promotes and supports climate-related activities at SF State. Launched last year, CJLI’s goal is to equip the University’s diverse student body to become leaders who center their work around equity through courses, community activities and campus events. Earth Week 2023 is the initiative’s inaugural event and the first large event under Climate HQ.

“There’s a cohesion now that there never was before, and we hope to keep growing it because I’m sure there are faculty who still don’t know this is happening and who are doing stuff independently in their classrooms,” said Climate HQ Annual Events Committee Chair Erica Pulley, a lecturer in the Department of Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts. “Going forward, they can start to tap into Climate HQ’s resources.”

Pulley emphasizes that these events are largely driven by students. Many of her Climate HQ partners organizing Earth Week are students. They are also collaborating with Associated Students Environmental Resource Center and the University’s Office of Sustainability.

“What we’re trying to do is bring a little more joy to this and celebrate all of SF State’s accomplishments and efforts [in climate change and climate justice] and really focus on the students’ efforts as well,” said Astrophysics master’s student Jessica Agnos, one of the student organizers working with Pulley.

The new Climate Change Certificate Program will be highlighted throughout the week as the ambitious project that it is — integrating climate education into as many colleges as possible.  And more events will be happening throughout the week beyond those being organized by Climate HQ. The group plans on updating their website with other events across campus.

Learn more about Earth Week festivities organized by Climate HQ and others on the Climate HQ website.

Our campus is incredibly proud of its commitment to shared governance. The SF State Academic Senate urges all faculty and staff to participate in the voting process so that we can ensure the success of collective deliberation across the campus.

The voting period for the spring 2023 Academic Senate elections has started and will close at the end of the business day on Friday, April 28. Here’s where to go to vote:

All available ballots, nominees and personal statements can be found on the senate’s Spring 2022 Elections page. The link to the voting application can also be found on this webpage.

All faculty and staff members are encouraged to participate in this year’s election and continue our tradition of shared governance at SF State. Questions? Contact the senate office at senate@sfsu.edu or Senate Chair Michael Goldman at goldman@sfsu.edu.

On April 4 – 5, the Office of Emergency Services hosted the San Francisco Fire Department Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training. SF State employees and students were joined by neighborhood community members in a community-based training program dedicated to a neighbor-helping-neighbor approach. The training was led by Capt. Patricia Liu and Capt. Brandon Tom, who educated participants on basic skills in search and rescue, disaster medicine and preparedness.  

The SF State Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, April 18, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. virtually via Zoom and in person at the Seven Hills Conference Center for its thirteenth meeting of the academic year. Visitors who wish to attend please contact the senate office at senate@sfsu.edu for a Zoom link. The agenda includes:

  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee Revision to S21-275 Academic Probation and Disqualification Policy, in second reading.
  • Recommendation from the Student Affairs Committee Land Acknowledgement Resolution, in second reading.
  • Recommendations from the Campus Curriculum Committee in second reading:
    • 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 requirement
  • Recommendation from the Campus Curriculum Committee, Distance Education Authorization, in first reading
    • M.A. in Chinese, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.S. in Computer Science, more than 70 units
    • B.S. in Electrical Engineering, more than 70 units
    • B.S. in Computer Engineering, more than 70 units
    • B.A. in Music, more than 45 units
    • B.A. in Journalism, Concentration in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, Title Change
    • Minor in Journalism, Title change
  • Formal presentations from:
    • Sally Pasion, associate professor of Biology and SF State Transforms team member, and William Jacobs, chair of the Professional Development Council: “Faculty Service Survey-Results and Recommendations.”
    • Dylan Mooney, chair, Staff Council, “Updated on Staff Council.”

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

Don’t miss Business Ethics Week (BEW), running through Thursday, April 27! Join in via Zoom to hear experts discuss topics at the intersection of business ethics, innovation, social justice and the environment. There’s even a talk with famous whistleblower “Tony Menendez” on how an accountant took on Halliburton. See the schedule of events and Zoom links on the Lam Family College of Business website

Human Resources will host the next Staff Forum on Wednesday, April 19, from 10 to 11 a.m. via Zoom. All campus staff (who are not MPP or faculty) are encouraged to attend. Presentations include CFO & VP Jeff Wilson’s update on the University budget, the new Undergraduate Advising Center and New Student Orientation. RSVP for the Zoom link via Qualtrics.

The University Budget Committee (UBC) invites you to attend its next meeting on Thursday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. via Zoom. All campus members are welcome to attend. Additionally, UBC members who are staff and faculty offer peer-hosted “Office Hours” on Fridays after the meetings. The next is on Friday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. via Zoom, if you’d like to share thoughts about University finance topics or clarify anything heard at the budget meetings.

All UBC meetings and Office Hours welcome persons with disabilities and may provide reasonable accommodations upon request. RSVP to ubc@sfsu.edu to attend the meeting or attend Office Hour Friday.

The Division of Graduate Studies will host the online discussion “Approaches to Interdisciplinarity” from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 21. The event is part of the Scholars Speak series. Faculty panelists will share a problem or issue they have encountered in their own interdisciplinary research or writing and how they decided to navigate this challenge of interdisciplinarity. Those interested should register for this event via Zoom.

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies invites students, faculty and community “thought leaders” for a collective ”Think Tank” (new type of conference) to explore some of the core issues of our time. To be held Friday, April 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in LIB 121, “From Polarization to Integration — A New Vision of Health, Activism & cultural Evolution” will explore a key question: Which thoughts, beliefs and conditions bring out the worst in us, and which bring out our best? The conference will emphasize five reflective topics and practices to foster integrative thinking:  

  1. New Mind, New World — The Life-Changing Shift: Dualistic to Holistic Thinking
  2. Media Awareness: Finding Trustworthy News in an Era of Censorship and Misinformation 
  3. Art, Artists and Awakening Possibility 
  4. Seeking Social Justice: Culture Wars and Cultural Healing 
  5. Cross-Cultural (Community) Dialogue 

There is no cost for this event, but face-to-face attendance requires pre-registration. Contact Kenn Burrows at kburrows@sfsu.edu for more information.

There will also be three pre-conference events as part of the National Week of Conversation April 17 – 23.

Monday, April 17
1:15 – 2:30 p.m. in BUS 108
“Red, White & Blind — The Truth About Disinformation & the Path to Media Consciousness” with author Tony Brasunas

Tuesday, April 18
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. via Zoom
“Street Medicine — The Future of Equity in Healthcare”

Wednesday, April 19
1:30 – 3 p.m. in HSS 329

“Black Maternal Liberation: Incorporating the Wholistic Wisdom of Black Birth Workers”

The Department of Women and Gender Studies will host speaker Nanea Renteria (Columbia University) for a presentation titled “Bringing the Receipts: Two Spirit Legacies and Justice Centered Scholarship.” Renteria will give the talk via Zoom from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25. A Zoom link will be announced on the Women and Gender Studies Event website

Prospective students are invited to information sessions to learn about the Department of Child & Adolescent Development (CAD) undergraduate programs, opportunities for CAD students, and admissions. The sessions will be held on Thursday, April 27, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Friday, April 28, from noon to 1 p.m. on Zoom. You can learn more and RSVP for a Zoom link on the CAD website.

James Riedel (M.A., ’93) passed away on May 25, 2022, at 66 years of age after bravely enduring a long-term cancer illness. Riedel earned his TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) master’s from SF State, working for a time as an intern/trainer with the University’s American Language Institute (ALI). He went on to serve as executive director of English Language Programs (ELP) at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Riedel was best known for his delicate empathy and wicked humor. As Ocean Vuong, one of Riedel’s favorite authors, wrote in “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” “to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly,” and while at SF State and the ALI Riedel briefly filled his whole life with his studies, classmates, students, interns and colleagues.

Upon graduation from SF State, Riedel accepted a position at Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe, Japan, where he taught for six years. After that he joined the University of Pennsylvania as a language specialist, soon becoming coordinator of Business English programs and eventually ELP executive director. Riedel traveled extensively for Penn, established worldwide educational partnerships and became a well-known ambassador for the field of TESOL.

SF State Spotlight

KNTV-TV recently featured Golden Gate Xpress staff reporter Adriana Hernandez and multimedia editor Andrea Sto. Domingo, both Journalism majors, for their outstanding coverage of a contentious event that took place on campus on April 6 about transgender athletes, which later became a part of a national discussion. Students publishing in Golden Gate Xpress are enrolled in Journalism 609: “Publication Laboratory” and are advised by Journalism Department faculty Josh Davis, Rachele Kanigel and Laura Moorhead. 

In an April 6 article, the San Francisco Business Times featured SF State’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI) certificate program in a story about the growth of the technology. Computer Science Professor Dragutin Petkovic says the biggest ethical considerations are in health care and the military, both high-risk industries. 

“Now, [AI is] actually encroaching on every aspect of human life. Rental approvals, loan approvals, bail determinations, hiring, autonomous cars that make mistakes … The genie is out of the bottle,” Petkovic said. “People should be cautious, for sure. Some will fear it. Maybe fear is good to balance the hype, because if you don’t have a fear, the hype overruns you.” 

Creative Writing Assistant Professor Tonya Foster and Eleza Kelley hosted “Black Counter Cartographies,” an April 7 webinar presented by Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies.  

Akin to the way that racial thinking marks and makes human difference, geographic knowledge and its modes of representation mark differences — above from below ground, land from water, here from there, mine from yours. The field of Black Geographies challenges and reimagines modernity’s production of space (and time), one that has been abstracted by the metrics of markets and politics. “Black Counter Cartographies” brings together diverse scholars, artists and designers in a series of conversations exploring the spatial practices of Black life across the diaspora and how they construct “counter cartographies” of sociality, imagination and liberation. 

 Foster serves as SF State’s George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry. 

On March 16, Associate Professor of Sociology Karen Hossfeld hosted 15 visiting social science and humanities professors from various Norwegian universities as part of a research trip to study higher education systems in the U.S. The visitors met with Hossfeld and attended her Sociology 502 senior seminar, which features students in community service learning internships. The visiting researchers were hosted by UC Berkeley and spent one day each at SF State and Sonoma City College. 

The Norwegian visitors said that meeting the diverse and inspiring students in the Sociology class and hearing about their engaging community internships was a highlight of their research tour. They also remarked on the high level of trust among the students and their willingness to share their life experiences in front of an international audience. 


Sierra Nevada Field Campus Instructor and former Biology Lecturer J.R. Blair appeared on KQED-FM “Forum” on April 10. He was on a panel of nature lovers discussing their recommendations for hiking in the Bay Area. 

Blair, an amateur mycologist, says the heavy rain this winter has extended the mushroom season. He urges caution to prospective foragers. 

“You have to really do your homework. And the best way to do that is to go on trips with the local mycological societies that are in the Bay Area and learn from the people who know what they’re doing,” Blair said. “Basically, what you need to do, in essence, is not only learn about the characteristics of the edible species, but learn the characteristics of the poisonous lookalikes.” 

Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Development Rachel Flynn was a discussant for a panel at the Society for Research in Child Development conference biennial meeting, held March 23 – 25 in Salt Lake City. Flynn discussed the future of research at the panel, titled “Contributing factors to digital game efficacy for learning among children and early adolescents.” 

Lecturer of Criminal Justice Studies Jim Dudley presented at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association Conference and Expo, held March 20 – 25 in St. Louis. In his presentation, “Bringing University Level Pedagogy to Police Field Training,” Dudley provides methods of instruction that have proven effective for teaching Gen Z in police training environments and for improving retention and training outcomes.