November 13, 2017


Outstanding alums honored at annual event

San Francisco State President Leslie E. Wong and University community members honored five outstanding alumni and a dedicated University volunteer and community leader last Friday at the 2017 President's Dinner and Alumni Hall of Fame Celebration. Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, was named Alumnus of the Year at the event, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. Kim Mazzuca, president and CEO of 10,000 Degrees, was given the Distinguished Alumna Service Award, and three other alumni were inducted into the SF State Hall of Fame: photojournalist Mary F. Calvert, chef and restaurateur Mourad Lahlou and Norman Schwartz, president and CEO of Bio-Rad Laboratories. President Wong bestowed longtime Romberg Tiburon Center volunteer Colonel John H. Kern with the President's Distinguished Medal, which recognizes non-alumni whose contributions have provided long-lasting and widespread benefits for the University and the greater community.

"In that magical moment of time, Friday evening, the success and celebration of our community was so clear and unmistakable," President Wong said after the event. "Our awardees were moved, inspired and proud even as they inspired us."

Patrick Tierney receives award

Left to right: Phyllis Wong, Allison Schwartz (daughter of Hall of Fame inductee Norman Schwartz, who couldn't attend), Colonel John H. Kern, Mourad Lahlou, Mary F. Calvert, President Les Wong, Kim Mazzuca, Jim Wunderman, Julia Schwartz (daughter of Norman Schwartz) and David Serrano Sewell, SF State Foundation board chair and emcee for the evening.

University recognized for sustainability efforts

SF State was named a top performer in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's 2017 Sustainable Campus Index. The index recognizes the sustainability efforts of colleges and universities by institution type and in 17 impact areas. SF State was ranked fifth nationally in the Transportation category. In addition, the SF State Foundation was singled out for its commitment to limiting direct investments in companies with significant production or use of coal and tar sands. The University was awarded a "Silver" rating for its sustainability efforts overall.

Student named Holocaust Center fellow

The Department of Jewish Studies congratulates history major Zachary Kopowski on being the 2017-2018 recipient of the Jewish Family and Children's Services Holocaust Center's University Fellows award. The award carries a $5,000 stipend and enables Kopowski to train in archival research while working with Holocaust Center staff on Holocaust education.

A student in Professor Kitty Millet's Jewish Studies/History 317 "Holocaust and Genocide" course, Kopowski demonstrated a keen and intuitive grasp of how persecution became extermination during the Holocaust. Professor Millet had the honor of nominating him for this award. Like his predecessor for the award, Melanie Santos, a comparative and world literature major and also a former student of Professor Millet's, Kopowski illustrates the exceptional commitment SF State students have to the twin aims of social justice and academic excellence.

Return to top


Nominate HSS colleagues for the college's staff award program by Feb. 23

The College of Health & Social Science's Circle of Excellence (COE) staff recognition award program is continuing for the second year. The purpose of the COE program is to honor and celebrate staff for their exceptional and unique contributions critical to the mission of the college.

During the nomination period, a committee of volunteer staff members will process, evaluate and make recommendations to the executive leadership of the college on the merits of each nomination. Award recipients will be announced at CHSS Annual Showcase held in the spring.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 23, 2018. Nomination instructions are available online.

LeBuhn elected to Senate committee

The Academic Senate is pleased to announce the results of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee emergency election. The Senate congratulates newly elected representative Gretchen LeBuhn, professor of biology. The Senate extends thanks to the entire SF State community for its support of the University's system of shared governance.

University targets tobacco use

SF State's BREATHE campaign, which aims to help build a healthier campus through smoke and tobacco education, has launched a series of weekly "Tobacco-Free Tuesdays" from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Malcolm X Plaza. Members of the SF State community will be able to speak with Health Promotion & Wellness ambassadors about living a smoke- and tobacco-free life. Their stories may even be featured on social media (@sfstatecares on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) as part of a destigmatizing campaign encouraging students to identify their triggers and seek help for tobacco cessation.

SF State will also join colleges across the state that are hosting events on Nov. 16 as part of the Great American Smokeout. Launched by the American Cancer Society in 1976, the annual event encourages tobacco users to quit, even if it's just for one day. SF State activities will include a workshop -- "How to Quit Smoking, Stress Free!" from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Student Health Services Conference Room -- and tabling by BREATHE representatives from noon to 2 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza.

International Education Week, Nov. 13-17

The campus community is invited to join this week's annual International Education Week (IEW) celebration that emphasizes the importance of the world's cultures, peoples and languages. The U.S. Departments of State and Education sponsor the annual event. Learn more at the IEW 2017 website or contact Jay Ward at or ext. 8-1121. University activities include a visit today from Japanese diplomat Tomochika Uyama; a Nov. 14 presentation on reconstruction efforts after the Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011; a Study Abroad Fair in the center of campus on Nov. 14 and 15; and a Nov. 17 talk by alum Nani Ratnawati on her journey from SF State to the corporate offices of LinkedIn. More event information can be found on the Office of International Programs website and the University Web Calendar.

Academic Integrity Lunch & Learn, Nov. 15

Academic Technology invites you to come for lunch and learn about innovative strategies that promote academic integrity across all course instruction modalities. The event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 15, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in LIB 286 (Faculty Commons). Lunch will be provided. Learn more and RSVP online.

Health Equity Institute candidates to visit campus

Four candidates have been selected to interview for the position of director of SF State's Health Equity Institute. The campus community is invited to attend the candidates' presentations. Time will be allotted for questions and answers. The schedule:

  • George Ayala, Executive Director, the Global Forum on MSM & HIV Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., LIB 286
  • Laurie Drabble, Professor, San Jose State University School of Social Work Thursday, Nov. 30, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., LIB 286
  • Jesus Ramirez-Valles, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health Thursday, Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., LIB 244
  • Nancy E. Schoenberg, Marion Pearsall Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • Monday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to noon, LIB 286

Asian American Health Research Roundtable, Nov. 16

SF State faculty working on Asian American health issues will present their research at a roundtable scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in LIB 286. Sponsored by the Asian American Studies Department and the Asian American Research Center on Health (ARCH) at the University of California, San Francisco, the event will include these presentations:

  • "Can Immigrant Political Participation Improve Health Inequities? Case Studies of Three Asian American Communities in California": R. David Rebanal, Assistant Professor of Health Education
  • "'Twice Exceptional': Heritage Language Maintenance in Families of Children on the Autism Spectrum": Betty Yu, Associate Professor of Special Education & Communicative Disorders
  • "Family Support Dynamics in Older Asian Americans with Type 2 Diabetes and Their Adult Children": Melinda Bender, UCSF Assistant Professor of Nursing, SF State School of Nursing Associate Professor Therese Doan and SF State Professor and Chair of Asian American Studies Grace Yoo

Return to top


The Academic Senate will meet Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. An open-floor period from 2 to 2:10 p.m. will provide an informal opportunity to raise questions or make comments to Senate officers or University administrators. Please arrive promptly at 2 p.m. The agenda will include:


  • Vice President of University Advancement Robert J. Nava will report on Advancement plans and activities. (Approximate time: 2:30 p.m.)
  • Michael Scott, associate vice president, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, will provide an update. (Approximate time: 3 p.m.)

Agenda items:

  • Resolution in support of maintaining social justice procedures for increasing rent in University-owned rental units (first reading)
  • Proposed master of science degree program in business analytics (second reading)
  • Proposed minor in comic studies (first reading)
  • Proposed changes to the Retention, Tenure and Promotion Policy (first reading)

The complete agenda and support documents for the meeting are available online.

Senate meeting dates are posted on the University Calendar and on the Senate website at

Return to top



"Recollected: Photography and the Archive"
Through Nov. 16 in the Fine Arts Gallery, Fine Arts building

"Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art"
Through Dec. 12 in the Special Collections Gallery, LIB 460

"PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact"
Oct. 31 through Nov. 17 in the DesignSpace (room 115), Fine Arts building


Monday, Nov. 13

Sueno Mexicano Report-Back Event: 12:30 p.m. in the Ethnic Studies and Psychology building, room 116

Recital: piano students: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Tuesday, Nov. 14

Fulbright Information Workshop: 2 p.m. in LIB 244

Film: "Voices Beyond the Wall": 4 p.m. in the Humanities building, room 286

Poetry reading: Jerome Rothenberg: 5 p.m. in the Poetry Center, Humanities building

Willie L. Brown Fellowship Information Session: 5:30 p.m. in LIB 222

Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Ala Ebtekar: 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts building, room 286

Concert: A/B Duo: 7:30 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Wednesday, Nov. 15

Autumn Tea Ceremony: 12:10 p.m. in the Japanese Tea Room (Humanities building, room 117)

Recital: graduate student voice showcase: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Fulbright Information Workshop: 3 p.m. in LIB 244

The Best of Soviet and Russian Cinema: Aleksey Balabanov's "Brother": 7:10 p.m. in the Coppola Theatre, Fine Arts building

Friday, Nov. 17

Recital: SF State North Indian Vocal Ensemble: 1:10 p.m. in Knuth Hall, Creative Arts building

Nonprofit Management Certificate Program: Grant Writing Course: 6 p.m. at the Downtown Campus

For more upcoming events, see the University Calendar.

Return to top


College of Health & Social Sciences

Professor of Health Education and Director of Holistic Health Studies Adam Burke presented "A Simple Metacognitive Strategy to Increase On-Task Study Time" at the National Academic Advising Association's annual meeting in St. Louis in October. The study evaluated a mindfulness-based intervention, the Return Method, to address student procrastination. The method provides students with a self-regulatory practice that supports metacognitive self-monitoring, increases on-task activity and improves study habits.

The Marian Wright Edelman Institute's EDvance program, in collaboration with San Francisco's Office of Early Care and Education, presented two workshops at the National Black Child Development Institute (NCBDI) conference in Atlanta Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. The first workshop, "Supporting Early Childhood in South Africa," highlighted the work of the Department of Child & Adolescent Development's South Africa Honors Program. The second workshop, "Supporting Diversity in the ECE Workforce," highlighted the work that EDvance is doing in San Francisco's early childhood education community to create rigorous, inclusive and accessible education pathways to alleviate the teacher shortage. Presenters representing EDvance included Heather Daniels, academic success manager and Metro Academy of Child & Adolescent Development coordinator; Ashley Williams (B.A., Child & Adolescent Development, '10; M.A., Education, '16), lead analyst at San Francisco's Office of Early Care and Education; and Daechelle Williams (B.A. Child & Adolescent Development, '15), lead teacher at SF State's Children's Campus and an EDvance alum.

EDvance, in collaboration with the Department of Child & Adolescent Department (CAD), also received a grant from the San Francisco Foundation in the amount of $56,000. The funds will be used to support an innovative early practicum experience that provides students who are potentially interested in careers in early care and education an opportunity to gain firsthand experience working with young children. The students learn a broad array of skills, ranging from classroom management to specific strategies to promote child development. The early practicum model developed by EDvance/CAD has received local and national praise and recognition from early educators and policymakers.

Professor of Health Education Erik Peper gave the invited presentation "Effortless Abdominal Breathing for Resolving Pelvic Floor Pain, Anxiety, and Gastrointestinal Distress" at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Western Association for Biofeedback & Neuroscience in Costa Mesa, California, Nov. 5.

David Rebanal, assistant professor of Health Education, presented a research poster at the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) Convention in Las Vegas, Oct. 6-8, along with Mariah Santiago (MPH, '17), who was a research assistant on this project last semester. Lauren Becker (B.S., Health Education, '17) was also a research assistant on this project. The work was awarded Best Poster Presentation at the conference. The poster, "Racial Residential Segregation, Social Capital, Political Participation, and Psychological Distress among Asian Americans in California," was supported by an SF BUILD grant. Rebanal also presented the research at the American College of Epidemiology in New Orleans, Sept. 24-26.

Professor and Chair of Family Interiors Nutrition & Apparel Connie Ulasewicz presented "Visual Merchandising Meets the Library: Sustaining the Mission" at the Fashion Now and Then Conference at LIM College in New York City on Oct. 20. Her words highlighted the creative works of Apparel Design & Merchandising students in her Visual Merchandising class, as they designed and installed window displays in and for our J. Paul Leonard Library. Themes revolved around National Library Month, Library Awareness and Library Archives, heightening students' awareness of the resources within the walls of the Library.

Professor of Kinesiology David Walsh published "Narratives of Experiential Learning: Students' Engagement in a Physical Activity-Based Service-Learning Course" in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. The article chronicles three undergraduate students' experiences in a physical activity-based service-learning course using narrative inquiry.

College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Paul Ellison, a lecturer in the School of Music, was installed as president of the Association of Anglican Musicians at their annual conference in Winchester, England. He will serve a two-year term. Associate Professor of Journalism Yumi Wilson has become president of Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS). Founded in 1985, JAWS supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society. Members include editors and reporters all over the country.

Return to top


Not to Sound Passive-Aggressive, But…

Assistant Professor of Linguistics Jenny Lederer discussed speech patterns in an article about five passive aggressive sayings people should avoid. "In linguistics, being 'passive-aggressive' is related to a speaker's semantic, syntactic and pragmatic choices," Lederer said in the article, which appeared on the website HowStuffWorks. "A passive-aggressive speaker will often frame their commentary as polite, while actually conveying negative sentiment." Among the phrases called out in the article: "You're so sensitive," "I don't know what you meant right now" and "Not to sound racist, but…"

Identity Issues

Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature Anastasia Smirnova talked about using language as a tool for solidarity and division in an Atlantic article about Catalonia using school as a political weapon. Smirnova discussed the situation in the Ukraine, where a power struggle between the government and pro-Russian separatists has led to a wider culture clash. "What started as a pro-democracy movement in Ukraine could end up as an ethnic conflict," she said. "While there seems to be a psychological predisposition on the part of various social groups to focus on language when defining their group identities, political movements easily take advantage of such psychological predispositions and exacerbate them in directions that are not necessarily aligned with natural language divides."

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

Return to top


SF State received $4,340,046 in grants and contracts in October 2017.

David Anderson, Marian Wright Edelman Institution, Mimi & Peter Haas Foundation, Metro Haas Early Childhood Education (ECE) 9, $370,000

Katharyn Boyer, Romberg Tiburon Center, California State Coastal Conservancy, Living Shorelines, $186,641

Steven Dickison, Poetry Center, City & County of SF -- Grants for the Arts, Poetry Center Reading Series FY17-18, $22,050

Sarah Barber, Kate Hamel, Psychology, National Institute of Health, Stereotype Threat and Challenge in Older Adults, $425,396

Sarah Holley, Psychology, University of California, San Francisco/National Institute of Health, Emotion Network Dysfunction and Decline in Early Frontotemporal Dementia, $15,400

William Kimmerer, Romberg Tiburon Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Delta Smelt Individual Based Model (DSIBM), $273,596

Jeffrey Greensite, Maarten Golterman, Kristan Jensen, Physics and Astronomy, U.S Department of Energy, Research in Theoretical High-Energy Physics, $417,000

Karina Nielsen, Romberg Tiburon Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute/Prime: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CeNCOOS Partnership: Ocean Information for Decision Makers, $85,000

Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, Health Education, University of California, San Diego/Prime:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Decision making toward successful physical activity practices in schools, $49,964

Kimberly Tanner, Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Expanding HHMI Biology Expanding HHMI Biology FEST -- Faculty Empowering Students in Transformation, $1,000,000

Jessica Wolin, Health Education, University of California, San Francisco/Prime: Mary Benioff private fund, Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBI) SF Community Engagement Platform, $225,000

Betty Yu, Pamela Wolfberg, Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders, U.S Department of Education, Project ALLIES: Autism Language and Learning in Inclusive Education Settings, $1,249,999

Aiko Yoshino, Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, East Bay Regional Park District, Health Impact Study with Latina Center Members, $20,000

Return to top


John Paul De Cecco, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology and longtime scholar in the field of human sexuality, died at his home on Nov. 2 at age 92. De Cecco was the primary founder of SF State's sexuality studies program in the late 1970s and remained its director until 1997. He led an effort to add a human sexuality studies minor to the curriculum in the early 1980s and an LGBT studies minor in the early 1990s.

De Cecco founded the extremely popular "Variations in Human Sexuality" course, which enrolled 700 to 800 students per semester. He taught the course until his retirement in 2003. He founded SF State's Center for Homosexual Education, Evaluation & Research, which later became the Center for Research and Education in Sexuality. De Cecco served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Homosexuality, a landmark international peer-reviewed journal, from 1975 until 2009. He published scores of books, articles and edited volumes throughout his 50 year career as a professor. De Cecco was widely respected as a pioneer and trailblazer in LGBTQ studies and received awards from the American Psychological Association, the Gay Academic Union and other academic associations and organizations. He was honored by the GLBT Historical Society, to which he had donated his extensive collection of historical artifacts chronicling decades of LGBT-related research.

In 2016, SF State's Department of Sociology & Sexuality Studies awarded him the first-ever Founders Award, presented at the Dr. John P. De Cecco Endowed Lecture named in his honor.

Thurston Womack, professor emeritus of English, died on Oct. 27. He was 97. Professor Womack came to the English Department at SF State in 1954 and served as both English Department chair (1981-1985) and as head of the American Language Institute (ALI) before retiring in 1990.

Womack grew up in Dinuba, California, studied at Humboldt State, Stanford and Columbia, and was a combat engineer in the South Pacific during World War II. He helped establish the ALI at SF State in 1961 and, with his colleagues in the Language Studies Program, he helped design the M.A. TESOL program, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Trained in linguistics, Professor Womack held Fulbright fellowships to Japan and India. He was seriously interested in literature and music and loved hiking and backpacking. As chair of the English department he was able to listen to people with warmth and attentiveness. In retirement, he worked actively with the "Save the Redwoods" campaign and traveled widely in Asia and Europe.

The Department of English Language and Literature is deeply grateful for the enduring mark he made on the University and extends heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Return to top