August 28, 2015


IEW 2015: Save the date

The Office of International Programs will host International Education Week (IEW) this year from Nov. 16 to 20. The U.S. departments of State and Education sponsor the annual event to emphasize the importance of increasing knowledge and awareness of the world's cultures, peoples and languages. It also affirms the critical role that international education and exchange programs play in fostering peace throughout the world.

Learn more about International Education Week and ways to participate at Contact Jay Ward at ext. 8-1121 or with questions or to request a presentation about International Education Week at an upcoming department faculty/staff meeting. Additional information about IEW 2015 is also available by visiting the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs

Employee University open house and registration, Sept. 10

The campus community is invited to the Employee University Open House on Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in LIB 121. Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about Employee University. Refreshments and pastries will be served and a raffle will be held. 

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 10, staff and faculty can register for Employee University's fall/winter 2015-16 courses, which include the following titles:

  • Active Shooter
  • Applied Leadership
  • Basics of Legal Analysis
  • Budget Basics for Public Universities
  • Disaster Service Workers
  • Engaging the Six Cultures of the University
  • Excel – Managing Data on a Mac Computer
  • Facilitating Change
  • Leading Teams
  • Pronunciation & Communication
  • Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle" Workshop
  • True Colors & Diversity Workshop
  • Verbal Skills for Limited English Speakers, Level I
  • Verbal Skills for Limited English Speakers, Level III

Visit or email questions to for further details.

CalPERS open enrollment starts Sept. 14

Open enrollment for benefits will start Sept. 14 and end Oct. 9, 2015. During open enrollment, eligible faculty and staff may:

  • Change health and/or dental plans
  • Add eligible dependents to new or existing health and/or dental plans
  • Renew or enroll in flexible spending programs
  • Update their Health Care Reimbursement (HCRA) or Dependent Care Reimbursement (DCRA)

Note that currently enrolled employees MUST submit new enrollment forms for HCRA/DCRA during open enrollment to continue deductions for 2016.

New rate information and enrollment forms will be posted on the Human Resources website starting Sept. 14.

Employees are urged to carefully review their health plan's Evidence of Coverage (EDC) publication for a complete explanation of the benefits covered, as well as limitations and exclusions that may apply, before deciding to retain their existing plan or make a change.  Eligible employees should receive a CalPERS open enrollment brochure in the mail soon. The brochure may also be downloaded from the CalPERS website once available on Sept.14.

Benefit & Retirement Services staff will be available for drop-in visits and appointments regarding open enrollment during the following hours:

  • Mondays: 2-4 p.m.
  • Tuesdays: 8-10 a.m.
  • Wednesdays: 8-10 a.m.
  • Thursdays: 2-4 p.m.

Benefits Fair, Sept. 16

Human Resources will host the 34th Annual Benefits Fair on Wednesday, Sept.16, from noon to 2 p.m. in the first floor lobby of the Administration Building. The fair provides faculty and staff an opportunity to explore the range of available employee benefits and speak with representatives from University-sponsored health, dental, life and vision plans.


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University smoking policy change

According to SF State's Policy Statement on a Smoke-Free Campus, the use of nicotine products not regulated by the FDA for cessation is prohibited on campus. Nicotine products -- now including e-cigarettes and vape pens -- are permitted only in the officially designated smoking areas and are otherwise prohibited on campus grounds or in campus buildings.

Enforcement starts Tuesday, Sept. 8. There will be a fine of $58 for violation of the smoking and vaping ban. For more information on SF State's smoking policy, go to

E-cigarettes are not FDA approved or regulated, and the long-term health effects remain unknown. The San Francisco Department of Public Health and SF State's Student Health Center offer programs to assist with quitting smoking.

Use tobacco or vapes and want to quit? Go to

BART Transbay Tube to close Labor Day weekend

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system will suspend service between the East Bay and San Francisco Sept. 5-7 for track work in the Transbay Tube, which will be closed during that time. The closure will begin at the end of service Friday and service will resume Monday morning, Sept. 8. Riders are encouraged to plan ahead and find alternate means of transportation across the Bay during the closure. Limited lifeline service between 19th Street in Oakland and the temporary transbay terminal in San Francisco will be offered for those who have no other options. Accommodations will be available for people with disabilities. Bus bridge service will take one to two hours longer than normal. For more information and resources for planning ahead, visit the BART Transbay Tube closure page.

BARI offers survey support, training

The Bay Area Research Initiative (BARI) -- a polling center housed at SF State that focuses on the Bay Area -- seeks to support the faculty and community by making methodological training and survey resources available to both students and faculty. Faculty who are interested in fielding survey questions or having students trained in social science research methods or students who are interested in course credit, social science methodology or survey work are encouraged to contact Assistant Professor of Political Science Marcela García-Castañon at for opportunities for the upcoming fall semester. For more information, read the article about the initiative on the SF State website.

Weight Watchers @ Work to meet Sept. 10

A new session of Weight Watchers @ Work starts Sept. 10 in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. All faculty, staff and students are welcome to join. A minimum of 20 participants is required to begin on Sept. 10, so those interested should contact group organizers Linda Bowles-Adarkwa at or Fran Barron at as soon as possible.

iLearn Improvements for Fall 2015

The new academic year brings exciting new improvements to iLearn including:

  • More mobile-friendly look and feel
  • Simplified gradebook
  • CourseStream integration
  • Turnitin's PeerMark student peer review functionality

Learn more about these iLearn improvements.

Campus Recreation faculty and staff memberships

Campus Recreation welcomes back faculty and staff with membership packages for varying levels of use of their facilities, which include a pool, strength and conditioning rooms and Group Fitness classes during the fall and spring semesters. Campus Recreation is located in the Student Services Building (SSB 206). Visit for more information or to sign up.

Become a Safe Zone ally

The SF State Safe Zone program is looking for staff, faculty and administrators to become Safe Zone allies for our campus LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community. The mission of the Safe Zone program is to foster a safe campus environment through building a support network for people of all gender and sexual identities. Safe Zone allies are active and visible volunteers who are open to talking to members of the LGBTQ community in a safe and supportive environment.

To become a Safe Zone ally, interested volunteers must attend one of the training sessions that are offered throughout the year. The next training will be on Friday, Nov. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Library. A light lunch is provided. Email Rick Nizzardini at for further details about the training. Be sure to also check out the Safe Zone program online at

Cruise Tahiti, January 2016

The University Women's Association (UWA) will return for the third time to the beautiful islands of French Polynesia. The 10-day cruise aboard Oceania Cruises' Marina will begin and end in Papeete, Tahiti. The ship will depart Jan. 25, 2016. Oceania is considered by many to be the best value in upscale cruising. The trip is open to all -- UWA membership is not required. For a detailed flyer with information about ports, prices, incentives and reservations, contact Lin Ivory at

UWA cruises provide scholarship support for students at SF State -- the 20 previous cruises have raised nearly $55,000 in scholarship funds. 

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Health Education

Health Education Lecturer Kenn Burrows gave two invited presentations over the summer: "Re-Inventing Healthcare" on May 31 at the POSSIBL festival themed "New Thinking & New Technologies for the 21st Century" held at Pier 35 and "Self-Care, Holistic Health Initiatives & Re-Visioning Activism" at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, which was held at SF State July 20-24.

Information Systems

Professor of Information Systems Robert C. Nickerson was named a senior scholar of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), the leading international association for academics in the information systems (IS) field, which has nearly 4,000 members. Senior Scholars, who are appointed for life, meet at the annual International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), where they hold an open forum to discuss issues that affect the IS discipline and IS issues.


Associate Professor of Mathematics Federico Ardila was awarded the 2015 Alejandro Ángel Escobar Colombian National Science Prize. The award, which went jointly to Ardila and his former student Felipe Rincón, was given for their research project on "Positive Matroids," in which they proved several new structural results about the objects, including a 1985 conjecture. Research was conducted in collaboration with UC Berkeley Professor Lauren Williams.


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Cheaper to change than not?

The New York Times included comments by Professor of Political Science Aaron Belkin in an Aug. 13 article on a report that calculates providing transition care to transgender members of the military would cost around $5.6 million. Transgender people are twice as common in the military as in the general population "...possibly because many transgender women -- those born male but identifying as female -- seek to prove to themselves that they are not transgender by joining the military and trying to fit into its hypermasculine culture," Belkin explained. "There are [mental health-related] costs, in other words, of not providing transition-related care."

Blunt opposition

Political Science Lecturer David Lee commented on opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco's Sunset District for an Aug. 16 San Francisco Chronicle report. "Their batting average is 100 percent in the Sunset -- that's pretty impressive," Lee said of the Asian American Contractors Association's efforts to keep dispensaries out of the neighborhood. "It's an outlier [of grassroots activism that] goes to issues around family. A lot of Chinese families revolve around their children and their education. A lot of families perceive that a medical marijuana facility might be a negative influence on their children."

Rush to report, damaging perceptions

Criminal Justice Studies Lecturer Jim Dudley commented for an Aug. 20 San Jose Mercury News article on changes to a San Jose police report about an officer's fatal shooting of a homicide suspect. "When something like that happens, you confirm the skeptics' belief, but you also put doubt into people who may have put a lot of faith [the police] in the past. It's that middle gray area you have to worry about alienating," Dudley said. "But as a member of the public, I care more about how the individual was a threat to the community. ... I know of no cop who would stone-cold shoot someone in the back without reasonable cause."

Don't touch, don't smell

In an Aug. 20 broadcast KRON 4 asked Professor of Biology John Hafernik to identify smelly, swarming insects in Nevada near where the annual Burning Man Festival is held. "People use the word bug really widely, but these actually are bugs. They're in the group of insects we call true bugs. They're completely harmless. They're the things that go around and suck juices out of plants -- they can't chew, but they do suck," Hafernik said. "Insects can respond quickly [to wet weather] and reproduce rapidly, so you can get a high number in a short period of time. [The stink is] part of their defense. If you don't touch them, they don't smell. If you step on one, grab one, swat one on the back of your neck, you're going to smell that [odor-causing chemical] quinone coming out."

Getting the big picture

Professor of Music Jassen Todorov's aerial photographs of Iceland's Thingvellir National Park were featured in an Aug. 23 Daily Mail article. "This [tectonic] divide splits Iceland in two and it is very impressive to see from above. Everything in Iceland is interesting and unusual. The canyons, rivers, black-sand beaches: It's all a wonder to see and photograph," Todorov said. "The faults and splits reminded me a little of the San Andreas Fault in California."

Fixing inequality interviewed Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies Jeff Duncan-Andrade for an Aug. 24 story about building community, addressing inequality and the new Roses in Concrete Community School in Oakland, which he founded. "The research around the impact of inequality in the U.S. and globally is not just compelling, it's conclusive. ... The biggest threat to health on the planet is inequality. So we have to be talking about racial inequality, gender inequality, hetero-normativity, income inequality, and educational inequality. We've siloed those things, [but] the latest research suggests you have to understand the intersectionality around those things. If you silo one and make investments, you actually don't get very much bang for your buck," Duncan-Andrade said. "What are we going to do about it? I think schools are fundamental to that conversation because they're contacting, generationally, every kid for 13 years. So if the schools can create a pivot, where if we pay attention and we're willing to fundamentally rethink the purpose of public schools, we can right this curve in a generation."


For more media coverage of faculty, staff, students, alumni and programs, see SF State in the News

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