August 28, 2023

News and Announcements

Mascot Alli Gator with a student posing in front of a photographer

As the school year begins, it’s time for everyone — humans and alligators alike — to return to campus, show off their new fits and start the school year off on the right foot. After rocking the same look for 92 years, SF State’s mascot Alli Gator decided it was time to reinvent their look.

“What happened this summer was that Alli went away for a spa treatment and retreat, worked out, changed its diet, met with a dentist and what you are going to see today in the redesign is a lot of self-care,” said Miguel Ángel Hernández, associate vice president for Student Life and dean of students at Alli’s campus unveiling event Wednesday, Aug. 23. He reminded the SF State community to follow Alli’s lead and prioritize self-care.

Alli gathered a few of their closest friends — like Hernández, President Lynn Mahoney and Assistant Dean of Students Chris Trudell — in Malcom X Plaza to celebrate their new look and the first week of classes. The entire University community was invited and Alli made sure it was a true party with music, free giveaways, food and a chance to grab a selfie with the Gator. Many student clubs and organizations were also tabling in the Quad to help ring in the fall 2023 semester.

Introduced as an athletics mascot, Alli arrived on campus in 1931 and became a beloved fixture at campus events. Suggested alternatives for the school mascot included the golden panthers, owls and seals, but none of those stuck. Instead, students voted for the “Golden Gaters.” (Yes, like the Golden Gate Bridge. The spelling almost immediately changed to the “Gators.”) 

Though Alli had a glow up, they are still the same Gator at their core. Next time you see them on campus or at an event, say hi and compliment them on their new purple manicure. Who knows, they might even share some style secrets.

“We celebrate identity and all of its manifestations. And when you take a peek at our student clubs and organizations, you’ll see them celebrating their identities and all of their manifestations,” said Alli’s bestie President Mahoney. “But there is one, ONE, that everybody here shares. … Today we take a moment to celebrate the identity we share. We are Gators.”

A student shows a board that explains his research

Let’s say you’re a student who wants to participate in research or hands-on activities that'll complement your major or minor. You’ll probably ask yourself, “How do I get started?” Thankfully, SF State has the answer: Start with SF State Create.

SF State Create is a new hub focused on creating, facilitating and connecting students to research, scholarship and creative activities (RSCA), an inclusive term for hands-on investigative, experiential and creative work across all academic disciplines. Launched by the University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, SF State Create currently offers services remotely but has plans for a physical space in the future.

“San Francisco State is focused on increasing its emphasis on experiential education, and SF State Create helps with that,” said SF State Professor of Biology Gretchen Le Buhn, a co-director of SF State Create. “Getting those in-person connections, having one-on-one relationships with faculty and building community by participating in scholarship together are all critical to student success, particularly for our underrepresented students.”

With SF State Create, students will have better access to RSCA information, opportunities and services such as:

  • A marketplace that lists on- and off-campus jobs and independent study opportunities that include RSCA components
  • The latest information about events and gatherings that complement a student’s field of study
  • Scholarships and awards to fund RSCA opportunities

“RSCA opportunities open up doors for students in a way that is unique compared to their usual day-to-day,” said SF State Professor of Kinesiology Kate Hamel, a co-director of SF State Create. “They allow skill building for workforce development. Some of it happens inside the classroom. This is another opportunity to do it outside of the classroom.”

Because the word “research” is often associated with STEM fields, the SF State Create co-directors want to emphasize an important message: the hub and University help facilitate RSCA opportunities for all students.

“There are so many opportunities for every student, regardless of their field of choice, to engage in research, learn research methods and share their work, but they often don’t know what is available or how to find it,” said SF State Create co-director Joshua Singer, an associate professor in the School of Design. “Providing a central place where students can have better access to opportunities, resources and guidance is critical in getting all students engaged in these transformative experiences.”

Nathan Burns, who graduated from SF State this past spring, is the perfect example of why the University wants to ensure all students have access to RSCA opportunities. During their last semester, Burns presented their original zine at the CHSS Undergraduate Research & Creative Works Showcase.  The zine, titled “SURV(IO)LANCE,” incorporates academic research and Burns’ personal experience as a queer, trans, disabled person to discuss surveillance.

“Research has been such a key component of my SF State experience,” said Burns, who earned a degree in Sociology and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. “For the CHSS showcase I was able to print a few copies of the zine to share with people in attendance. It was so exciting to be able to not only share my research with other campus members, but get to see just how much incredible work is being done across campus that I otherwise might not have heard about.”

Example of buildings incorporating green infrastructure

As a Bay Area native, SF State Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Jenna Wong understands the importance of sustainability and structural engineering from personal experience. She was on hand for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and recalls being fascinated afterward by how downtown buildings were designed to withstand the formidable power of nature.

This year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) named Wong an Early CAREER grant recipient to study the resilience of green infrastructure. Her proposal focuses on the practice of incorporating nature, like a vertical greenery and green roof structure, into a building’s design. Wong’s five-year grant of $510,000 will help inform green infrastructure guidelines and equip SF State students with skills for an environmentally conscious workforce.

“This is going to prepare students, the next generation of engineers, by teaching them what sustainable structural resilience is,” Wong said, adding that climate change is a reality that engineers must tackle.

While Californians are familiar with sustainability, engineers focus on a parallel track called structural resilience. It’s how they design structures to endure natural hazards and continue to serve their communities after an event. Engineers plan for the worst-case scenarios — considering factors such as the maximum weight a structure can tolerate — but that’s difficult to do when loads are variable for items such as plants and trees. Despite their many benefits, green infrastructures are dynamic living environments that can be unpredictable.

“If we consider climate change and influences from the environment, this dynamic weight is going to vary over time,” Wong said. “There are also conditions where we may exceed [the weight] if we don’t have proper maintenance. For example, we have windborne storms with significant rain and puddling on roof surfaces.”

Wong is concerned about the lack of guidelines for sustainable structures. Her team will use computational modeling to estimate how green infrastructures impact a structure’s properties and earthquake response. This information will inform guidelines for these sustainable structures and help Wong’s group develop a strategy for green infrastructure that improves earthquake response.

Wong’s project broadens educational discussions about new and more sustainable materials. This is important, she explains, because engineering classes traditionally focus on materials like concrete and wood although in reality students are going to encounter sustainable materials like timbercrete (timber waste + concrete) and hempcrete (hemp + concrete).

In addition to developing new curricula, Wong will make educational YouTube videos on these topics in collaboration with a variety of industry and academic professionals. The videos will cover green infrastructure, sustainability and possible career paths.

“Children nowadays are experiencing [education] via YouTube channels and other platforms,” she explained. “I’m hoping to bring it to a higher level. Not only for high schoolers, but for our college students and even for the broader community so they can have a fun yet informative experience that exposes them to a lot of different topics.”

Wong’s latest award supports her ongoing mentorship efforts across the School of Engineering. In recent years, she’s been leading the NSF Hispanic-serving intuitions-funded Engineering Success Center, which provides students with academic, advising and professional development support.

“I want to motivate my students, especially knowing that they may not necessarily have the same support system as others,” Wong said. “I want to find ways within the classroom to build that community and create easily accessible resources for them to bring out their inherent resilience.”

Did you know that staff and faculty can purchase over-the-counter (OTC) products at a reasonable price at the Student Health Services (SHS) pharmacy? Visit SHS’ online list of current OTC products and prices. Prices and products are subject to change. Generic equivalent products are used when available. Fees will be charged to your bursar’s account and payment can be done online or at the bursar’s office.

The University Calendar is a great place to find and share information about a variety of things to do on campus. There you will find information about student organization events, guest lectures, art and cultural productions, sports schedules and more! If you have an event you would like to share, don’t forget to submit it. Questions? Contact  

The Fall 2023 Academic Senate Special Elections nomination period for a representative to the University Tenure and Promotion Committee (UTPC) is now open.  

Nominations are being accepted for tenure/tenure track candidates for three open seats. The nominees must be from Lam Family College of Business, College of Ethnic Studies, Graduate College of Education, College of Liberal & Creative Arts or the Library. No individual should participate simultaneously on promotion and tenure committees at two different levels (department, college and campus) or serve as senator. The term will be two years.

If you would like to submit a nomination for yourself or someone else, please apply by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, to ensure inclusion on the ballot. To learn more about the open position and the nominations process, please review UTPC election nominations and University Tenure and Promotion Committee information. Any questions can be directed to the Office of the Academic Senate at

The Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Aug. 29, from 2 to 5 p.m. in-person at the Seven Hills Conference Center and virtually via Zoom for its first meeting of the academic year. Visitors who wish to attend should contact the senate office at for a Zoom link. The agenda includes: 

  • Election of at-large representative to Ex Comm
  • Recommendations from the Executive Committee: Error Correction on S22-301 Sabbatical and Leaves with Pay Policy, consent item
  • Three formal presentations: 
    • ASCSU Report: Senator Robert Keith Collins, Senator Santhi Kavuri-Bauer and Senator Jackson Wilson  
    • Strategic Plan Short Report: Teddy Albiniak, Special Assistant to the President and Provost
    • WASC Accreditation Report: Jane Dewitt, Associate Dean of Academic Planning

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

Visit the Quad in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and Thursday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see the International Education Exchange Council (IEEC) at the Study Abroad Fair.

The tables at the fair will represent different countries that SF State students can travel to through SF State Exchange and California State University International Programs. International students and study abroad alumni decorate each table and will be available to talk about their country.

Please encourage your students to attend as well. If your students are not on campus, have them follow us on Instagram @sfstateabroad. They can directly ask current study-abroad students questions when they take over the SF State Study Abroad account on Tuesdays. If you have students interested in studying abroad spring 2024, please encourage them to apply by Sept. 17. 

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) that encourage application to externally funded opportunities and/or bring external recognition to the principal investigator and the University. Two separate funding opportunities are available:  

  • Development of Research and Creativity (DRC) Grant: Faculty creating new projects, scholarship activities or creativity directions are encouraged to apply for a DRC grant funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. All faculty (full-time tenured, tenure-track faculty and lecturers) are eligible to apply.  
  • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Small Grant: Faculty engaged in continuing work (e.g., preparing a scholarly manuscript for publication, completing creative work, conducting data analysis) or other scholarly work (e.g., pilot data) leading to external funding proposals are encouraged to apply for this grant. Only full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty or faculty with existing status as an eligible PI as of Sept. 1, 2023, are eligible to apply.  

Consult the decision tree document within the online submission platform to determine which funding opportunity (DRC Grant or ORSP Small Grant) best fits the proposed activities. Note: An application can be submitted for only one opportunity. Grant awards can be up to $14,000 maximum for an individual investigator proposal and up to $21,000 maximum for a collaborative proposal involving two or more faculty. All faculty must be SF State employees.  

Apply online by Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m. Awardees are slated to be announced in December with an anticipated start of January 2024. For more information, please contact Grant Development Specialist Thien Lam.

Welcome to the fall 2023 semester! SF State’s Campus Safety Week will be here before you know it with safety education and training opportunities. This year, Campus Safety Week will be held from Monday, Oct. 16, through Friday, Oct. 20, with a tabling day scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 18. This event is made possible by the Environmental, Health and Safety department, Enterprise Risk Management, the Office of Emergency Services and the University Police Department. They look forward to seeing you there. 

A Discover SF State Open House will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. to noon. This University-wide event is geared toward encouraging high school and community college students to apply for fall 2024 admission to SF State, as well for the campus community to provide a sneak peek of all that the University offers to students and their loved ones!   

Ambassador opportunities will be announced soon. Please consider serving as a University ambassador to assist colleagues in making this a great experience for our guests and a great success for SF State!  

SF State Spotlight

Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Development Molly McManus and colleagues were awarded a research grant from the Spencer Foundation to study and support early childhood teachers in Texas and California learning from and integrating Latine immigrant parents’ knowledge about bilingual and bicultural development into their everyday classroom practice. Teacher education does not systematically cover critical perspectives of parent engagement and marginalized communities. This leaves many teachers’ negative biases about minoritized families to inform classroom practice. This also excludes Latine immigrant parents from informing curriculum and pedagogy in the same way white, middle-class parents do. Unchallenged teacher bias and absent parent voices means children from immigrant families encounter subtractive educational experiences that diminish academic achievement. This study aims to reverse these outcomes by centering Latine immigrant parents’ voices as a stimulus to engage teachers in dialogue aimed at sowing the seeds of conscientization in their attitudes and practice to ultimately develop more equitable and culturally sustaining learning opportunities.

Anoshua Chaudhuri, professor of Economics and director of the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning, presented two papers at the Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Development in the Global South: International Experiences and Future Strategies conference on Aug. 11 – 12 in New Delhi, India.

Her first paper is on COVID-19 impact and recovery of small businesses in San Francisco, authored with San Francisco Small Business Commission President Cynthia Huie and Economics graduate student Tannaz Haghi. The second paper is out of a collaborative project on changing marriage patterns, spousal age gaps and power dynamics within the family in India.

Sota Watanabe, a former College of Professional & Global Education (CPaGE) International Business student, has been selected as one of “100 Japanese people the world respects” by Newsweek Japan. In 2022, he was selected for the Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list.

He earned a certificate in CPaGE’s International Business program and developed the knowledge and skills to become a global leader. After SF State, he returned to Japan and founded Stake Technologies, the first company in Japan to adopt blockchain acceleration sponsored by UC Berkeley. He received an unprecedented four rounds of funding from Web3 Foundation, which he is using to further innovae at his company.

“I had the opportunity to visit tech companies in Silicon Valley … and this experience in San Francisco leveraged my career, lots of knowledge and human connection,” Watanabe said, “I started my own business; running my own company.”

Watanbe participated in the 2021 International Student Journey event hosted by the Center of Global Engagement as an alumni panelist.

Africana Professor Dorothy Tsuruta was among a selected group of women who received an invitation-only invitation from Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to attend the “Equality Roundtable Discussion with Speaker Emerita Pelosi.” The event was held on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the MNC Inspiring Success, Main Administrative Building, 362 Capp Street, San Francisco. The enthusiastic event began with a delicious brunch. The comfortable numbers of participators and the place were conducive to the women’s fun meeting and greeting one another. 

Associate Professor of Counseling Elif Balın received a National Career Development Association (NCDA) Presidential Recognition Award at the NCDA Global Conference in Chicago for her leadership, advocacy and scholarship in committees in the last 10 years.

Balın presented with three Counseling graduate students — Jacqueline Aviña Espinoza, Iveth Lopez Obeso and Guadalupe L. Jimenez Martinez — at the NCDA conference. For this presentation, Balın used her recent certification in digital wellness and collaborated with her students to introduce the digital wellness framework to the NCDA community. In their presentation, Balın and her students reviewed the increasing impact of remote/hybrid work and technology on mental health and career development with examples from counseling training and work settings.

Balın also presented with her two other teams. With Mary Edwin, Yangyang Liu and Zori Paul, she presented their recent co-edited book “Moments of Excellence in Career Counseling,” which accompanies the counseling training video series (for which she collaborated with former and current graduate students from the Department of Counseling). With Pankaj Desai and Mona Ali Zaib, Balın presented their research on global perspectives in career services at the NCDA International Student Services Committee.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Supriya Misra and colleagues published a new open-access paper in Social Science & Medicine – Mental Health on colonialism as a fundamental cause of immigrant health, focusing on the Partition of India through the lens of historical trauma and conceptualizing the intergenerational effects on the South Asian diaspora.

Aritree Samanta, associate professor of Environmental Studies, and co-author Shilpa Viswanath, assistant professor in the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, won the Riccucci-O’Leary Award for the Best Article on Diversity from the Public Management Research Association for their article, “Gender Ramifications of a Weberian Bureaucracy: A Feminist Appraisal of the United States Department of Agriculture,” published in Perspectives on Public Management and Governance. Their award was recognized at the Public Management Research Conference at the University of Utrecht on June 30.

As part of their summer professional development practicum course last year, Master of Public Health (MPH) students supported the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) in conducting a community needs assessment of air quality and traffic impacts in the South of Market neighborhood. The MPH 2023 graduates were Robyn Cross, Bonnie Dundee, Maia Feinman-Welcher, Angelina Gutierrez, Daisy Hernandez, Jacquelynn Hoang, Kohinoor Joshi, Georjean Morado, Cynthia Rohrer, Angellynn Tam and Edel Vaovasa.

Supervised by Public Health Lecturer Ruby N. Turalba and SOMCAN staff, the students provided a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) training to residents, developed a comprehensive literature review, supported with Spanish translation, collected data at the Jessie Alley Street Fair and from elders affiliated with the Pilipino Senior Resource Center, as well as initiating preliminary data analysis. Assessment findings have been instrumental to SOMCAN’s community organizing and policy strategies. They were presented to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors (39:44 – 1:16:50 in video), culminating in the recent designation of permanent Slow Streets in the neighborhood. Read the final report.

Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health Professor Erik Peper was interviewed for the Premus, WDPI & Myopain International Scientific Conference, held Sept. 20 – 26, in Bengaluru, India. Watch “Balancing Tech and Health: Insights from Dr. Erik Peper” on YouTube or LinkedIn, or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

A new documentary about the acid-soaked 1960s San Francisco music scene features footage restored by Alex Cherian, Library services specialist and Bay Area television archivist.

“San Francisco Sounds,” now streaming on MGM+, includes restored black-and-white footage of a rehearsal by Big Brother and the Holding Company, led by the late Janis Joplin.

“The moment [Big Brother and the Holding Company] Peter Albin told the story about Janis’ first rehearsal in our interview, we knew we would have to make it a scene. SFSU had recently done this incredible 2K transfer of the Firehouse footage and had found 80 more seconds than had ever been seen, so we were thrilled to use it to bring the story to life!” directors Alison Elwood and Anoosh Tertzakian said in a Rolling Stone story on Aug. 20.

On Aug. 17, EdTech magazine highlighted Instructional Technologies Professor Brian Beatty’s “HyFlex” course model, which gives students the option to attend class in person, live via videoconference or by watching a recording later.

“Students are asking for flexibility. They want to be able to manage their schedules,” Beatty said. “They want to be in class when they can be there, and when they can’t, they want to do it online and still have quality.”

SF State offers about 40 – 50 class sections each semester as official HyFlex courses and has upgraded technology in 40 classrooms to support HyFlex learning.