February 13, 2023

News & Announcements

Darrow Feldstein

The College of Science & Engineering is pleased to announce that Darrow Feldstein joined SF State as the new Sierra Nevada Field Campus lead Tuesday, Feb. 7. He brings 15 years of experience in working with environmental organizations. He was the founder and program director for the Bird School Project, a place-based outdoor science education nonprofit that serves over 10,000 students. Feldstein was also the lead mentor for the Stepping Stones Project, which coordinates multi-family mentoring to support middle school boys. As a consultant and campaign director for several nonprofits, he also has experience with fundraising. 

Feldstein obtained his B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and an M.S. in Leadership for Sustainability from the University of Vermont. He holds certifications as a Wilderness first responder, Residential Design and Construction, and Non-Violent Communication Convergent Facilitation.

Hikers admire a mountain forest view

Situated in the Gold Lakes Basin and Sierra Valley regions of the Sierra Nevada — a little more than 200 miles northeast of the main campus — is SF State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus (SNFC). With scenic views and lots of wildlife, the campus makes for a unique classroom experience for anyone who enjoys learning about (and being in the middle of) nature. Registration for the SNFC’s 2023 workshops and classes is now open.

Every year from June to mid-August, the campus offers a variety of opportunities to learn about a range of topics, from birding and alpine painting to courses in insects, flora, fungi and more. Participants can immerse themselves in the beautiful locale as they learn. This year the SNFC is offering seven accredited classes (through SF State’s College of Professional & Global Education) as well as 25 non-credit workshops.

Registration is open to SF State students as well as the general public. The campus is also home base for researchers studying the local terrain.

Read more about the course offerings and research projects at SNFC at SF State News.

Students walk across campus

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and the Office of Student Financial Aid wants SF State students to make the most of it — and the financial aid they could be receiving. That’s why it’s offering online information sessions throughout the month to promote financial aid awareness and encourage students to complete their financial aid application (Federal Application for Free Student Aid/California Dream Act Application) by the March 2 priority deadline. Session topics will include completing a financial aid application, financial wellness, scholarships, studying abroad with financial aid, basic needs resources and more.

Financial aid is critical for students at SF State. Nearly 16,000 of them received financial aid during the fall 2022 semester — 64% of the overall student population.

“SF State is an ethnically and economically diverse campus, with 54% of our students being Pell eligible,” said Office of Student Financial Aid Director Denise Peña. “All of our students can benefit from building financial literacy to improve financial stability and understanding the costs of higher education in order to set themselves up for a successful future.”

The Financial Aid Awareness Month events kicked off Thursday, Feb. 9, with the Zoom session “Financial Aid February: Financial Wellness in School and Beyond.” They conclude Friday, Feb. 24, with the live talk “Fin Aid February: Completing a Financial Aid Application” in room 280 of the J. Paul Leonard Library.

See the full calendar of events (with passcodes for Zoom sessions) on the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Turkey and Syria last week, the University has identified ways members of the SF State community can support humanitarian relief efforts. Below are a few Bay Area and international organizations that you can connect with if you would like to help. Before offering to help or donate, you are encouraged to research organizations on sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar, which grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness. 

Bay Area contacts and organizations: 

National and international organizations: 

These campus resources and support services are available to students who may need support. 

  • Counseling and Psychological Services: Counseling and Psychological Services is a free service and resource to all SF State students. This department provides free counseling, virtual groups and workshops, crisis consultation, and outreach and collaboration, and offers after-hours crisis services. Phone: (415) 338-2208. 
  • Dean of Students Office: The Dean of Students Office, Dean-On-Call Program offers to meet with students virtually or in person by emailing dos@sfsu.edu. Students are welcome to drop in for a causal hello or to share a more complex situation. Deans on Call help students explore options, resources and services to support their academic journey at SF State. 
  • Diversity, Student Equity, and Interfaith Programs: Located in Student Services Building, Room 206, Diversity, Student Equity, and Interfaith Programs has friendly professional staff and student assistants available to listen.  
  • International Programs. Located on the first floor of Village at Centennial Square, Building C, International Programs has advisors and staff who can listen, advise and facilitate communication between students impacted by the earthquake and their faculty. 

Those who are living in on-campus Residential Communities may also reach out to an RA or other residential life staff for support. 

Our hearts go out to all who are impacted by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. 

Human Resources will host the next Staff Forum from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, via Zoom. All campus staff (who are not MPP or faculty) are encouraged to attend. Professors Anoshua Chaudhuri and Sheldon Gen will present a Campus Housing Survey, and VP & CFO Jeff Wilson will share an update on the state of the University budget. RSVP for the Zoom link via Qualtrics.

Article 20.37 of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement for the CSU provides a limited pool of funds to be awarded to faculty employees who are engaged in exceptional levels of service that support the CSU’s priorities. Faculty members may nominate themselves or other eligible members for these Exceptional Assigned Time Awards in a letter no longer than two pages. If nominating someone, please include a statement to the effect that the faculty member is not already receiving assigned time for the same general category of supported activity during AY 2023-24. Senate policy S18-271 is on the senate website and includes details on eligibility, supported activities, review criteria and process. Faculty who wish to apply for the award must include the coversheet, available on the senate website in MS Word or PDF formats.

Awards for AY 2023-24 will be announced in April. All nominations must be received by the Academic Senate office at senate@sfsu.edu no later than 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24.

The University Police Department (UPD) is excited to host its Virtual Citizens’ Academy this semester. The nine-week program will consist of sessions every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Feb. 15. The application deadline is Monday, Feb. 13. For more information and the application, please visit upd.sfsu.edu/citizens-academy.

The priority deadline for students to study abroad fall 2023/academic year 2023-2024 is Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 11:59 p.m. Please encourage your students to apply by the deadline. The application is online and can be done fairly quickly.

On SF State Abroad programs, students earn SF State credit, pay the same tuition and have access to their financial aid with programs for every major and minor, as well as upper and lower division GE courses. Some but not all programs will have an extended deadline of March 1, so students will still be able to apply to study abroad if they miss the Feb. 15 deadline. Learn more at oip.sfsu.edu/studyabroad.

The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program provides SF State students who have faced barriers pursuing a college education with an opportunity to gain professional experience in the public sector while developing a lifelong commitment to public service. Students who have completed 60 units, are in good standing (GPA of 2.0 or above) at the beginning of the fall 2023 semester and are interested in public service are eligible to apply. Students from all majors are welcomed. Selected students are awarded a $3,000 stipend. For more information, including links to the application and information sessions, go to the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement website. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 14.

Students can attend two upcoming info sessions to learn more and meet recent alumni of the program. The sessions will be held:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, from 5 to 6 p.m. in LIB 121
  • Monday, March 6, from 5 to 6 p.m. in LIB 286

The Academic Senate will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, virtually via Zoom for its ninth 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 Executive Committee: Resolution in Honor and Memory of Professor Margaret Leahy, consent item.
  • Recommendation from Executive Committee: Changes in bylaws to rename Curriculum Review and Approval Committee to Campus Curriculum Committee and to increase membership in the Student Affairs Committee to include Dean of Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning or designee (ex officio). A change in bylaws requires a 2/3 vote of members present; a quorum is required (50% plus one voting senators must be present), in first reading.
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: Certificate in Paralegal Studies (Distance Education Authorization), in first reading.
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: B.A. in Anthropology (Distance Education Authorization), in first reading.
  • Recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee: B.A. in Liberal Studies (Distance Education Authorization), in first reading.
  • Recommendation from the Strategic Issues Committee: Revision to S19-180 Search Committees for San Francisco State University Administrators Policy, in first reading.
  • Recommendation from the Strategic Issues Committee: Revision to S01-087 Administrative Review Committee, in first reading.
  • Recommendation from Academic Policies Committee: Online and Distance Education Policy, in second reading.
  • A presentation from Noah Price, interim dean, Graduate Division, “State of Graduate Program.”

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

The University Budget Committee (UBC) invites all campus members to attend its first meeting of the semester from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Feb. 23, via Zoom. All 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 Friday, Feb. 24, from 11 a.m. to noon 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.

A College of Liberal & Creative Arts discussion will explore how A.I. is likely to affect universities in the years ahead. “ChatGPT and Its Impact on Higher Education” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, via Zoom. To be moderated by Associate Professor of English Language and Literature Anastasia Smirnova, the discussion will also include:

  • Anagha Kulkarni, professor of Computer Science
  • Carlos Montemayor, professor of Philosophy
  • Cristina Ruotolo, professor of Humanities and Comparative & World Literature
  • Jennifer Trainor, professor of English Language and Literature
  • Mikey Pagan, student panelist, Comparative & World Literature
  • Eeshan Kumar, student panelist, Philosophy

Learn more and RSVP online.

SF State’s Fine Arts Gallery will present the exhibition “Have You Seen Me?” from Feb. 25 through March 29. “Have You Seen Me?” emphasizes the return of the gaze in contemporary self-portraiture created by diverse artists across a wide range of media. The exhibition features work by Marcel Pardo Ariza, Jamil Hellu, Yaron Michael Hakim and Erica Deeman and is organized by Sharon E. Bliss and Kevin B. Chen. Major support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. An opening reception will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Fine Arts Gallery (FA 238).

Ever seeking to broaden the canon of contemporary art and future art histories, SF State’s Fine Arts Gallery centers on the presentation of artists of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. The exhibition program at SF State’s Fine Arts Gallery positions emerging and mid-career artists from the Bay Area in conversation with national and international artists to consider global issues. ⁠“Have You Seen Me?” focuses on contributions of Latinx Americans, Arab Americans and Black and mixed-race Americans, with personal histories that include transnational adoption and the centering of transgender and Queer/BIPOC community. in defiant acts of seeing and being seen. The exhibition catalog features contributions from SF State Professor Santhi Kavuri-Bauer and a collaborative essay from UC Berkeley Professor Laura E. Pérez and Maya Elisa Pérez Strohmeier. Learn more about the project on the Fine Arts Gallery website.

The campus community is invited to join the Celebration of Life for Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion Jacob “Jerry” Needleman, who passed away on Nov. 28, 2022. 

Needleman was an extraordinary philosopher of religion, a fabulous teacher and a sublime human being. He inaugurated the Philosophy and Religion program at SF State, authored numerous life-changing books and essays on philosophy and spirituality, and taught our community up to the last year of his life. His colleagues in the Department of Philosophy are grateful for his presence and manifold contributions and mourn his departure. May he rest in peace.

The Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Seven Hills Conference Center at SF State. Services will be held both in person and via Zoom. RSVP via Qualtrics. Please email phlsphr@sfsu.edu for details.

SF State Spotlight

Professor and former Africana Studies Chair Dr. Dorothy Tsuruta will be part of a Black History Month discussion sponsored by the CSU Long Beach Department of Africana Studies from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. Dr. Tsuruta and CSU Long Beach Professor and Chair of Africana Studies Dr. Maulana Karenga will discuss the topic “Resistance Scholarship and Africana Studies: Critical Struggles for Ethnic Studies at SFSU & CSULB.” Watch the discussion via Zoom. Meeting ID: 891 5983 5749; passcode 075458.

Anthropology Associate Professor Dawn-Elissa Fischer, Africana Studies Lecturer Dave “Davey D” Cook and Jeff Chang comprise the advisory panel for KQED’s coverage of Bay Area hip hop in 2023. For the 50th anniversary of hip hop, KQED is spending the entire year celebrating the Bay Area’s often-overlooked contributions to the culture, launching the project on Feb. 1. 

Among the first stories: a feature on the Bay Area’s impact on the origins of hip hop including quotes from Fischer and a Q&A with Cook revisiting a historic concert that he co-hosted at UC Berkeley in 1984. 

In looking critically at the intersection of funk, boogaloo and the Black Panthers, Fischer said, “There was a lot of labor, gender and sexuality components of all of these movements, and specifically various forms of Black power. And Black women are a critical part of this paradigm.” 

Cook says hip hop will remain influential for the next 50 years and more: “It will never leave because hip hop at its core is the expression of people who want to build community with one another. Who want to lose themselves in other ways, to express themselves and not be limited to what society says is valid expression.”  

Tong Kou Lor, disability specialist in the Disability Programs and Resource Center, participated in Oakland’s first annual Lunar New Year Parade, wearing traditional Hmong clothing. He appeared in a picture in the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 29 with Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, the first Hmong American mayor of a major American city, and Gia Vang, the first Hmong American news anchor in the Bay Area. (Lor is in the background second from left.)

In a Feb. 3 story in Education Week, Africana Studies Professor and Chair Abul Pitre analyzes course content from the new Advanced Placement African American Studies course offered by the College Board. 

The final framework presents a standard introduction to African American studies similar to college courses in the 1990s, Pitre said. 

“As a general overview for students in high school, I think it’s a really good starting point,” he said, adding that he hopes the course will in the future include more discussions of power dynamics, contemporary scholars and movements and a wider array of historical voices. 

Professor of Nursing Fang-yu Chou gave an invited talk on “The Synergy of Nursing Education, Scholarship and Practice: Challenges and Opportunities” in December at the College of Nursing of Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. The talk discussed the ongoing process of professional role formation in nursing education, scholarship and clinical practice. Chou also explored the challenges of maintaining the balance and opportunities of synergizing the three areas. 

Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics and registered dietitian Zubaida Qamar presented about Teagle Foundation grant-funded curriculum redesign work at the International Conference on Education. It was held in January in Honolulu and organized by the International Academic Forum. Qamar presented insights and lessons learned from the redesign process conducted with the Foods and Community Nutrition concentration under the Nutrition and Dietetics major. 

Following the State of the Union speech on Feb. 7, Political Science Assistant Professor Rebecca Eissler commented to KNTV-TV on the unconventional, feisty back-and-forth between President Biden and Republicans. She said the mostly good-natured exchanges won’t last for long, as GOP leadership has indicated it is not interested in working with him. 

“Investing too much of his time, his energy, his political capital in that right now, may just leave him with a lot of things not accomplished,” Eissler said. 

Eissler and Annelise Russell wrote an article, “Conditional Presidential Priorities: Audience-Driven Agenda Setting,” published in American Politics Research on Jan. 27.  

“This research note illustrates the important variation in presidential agendas across venues by comparing the publicized agenda from the State of the Union with the policymaker-focused priorities conveyed in the annual Budget Message,” they write in the abstract. “Using the coding scheme of the U.S. Policy Agendas Project to assess presidential agenda setting over more than 35 years, we illustrate the audience-driven variability in presidents’ agendas and highlight how the intended audience reveals presidents’ strategic choices.” 

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Professor Adam Burke gave a presentation at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU&U) annual meeting in San Francisco on Jan. 19. The talk was titled “Learning problem solving to manage school/life challenges: the impact on student success in college.” The talk noted the positive outcomes for minority, first-generation and low-income SF State students in terms of retention, graduation, course completion and cumulative grade point average (GPA). 

On Jan. 13, Times Higher Education ran a story about Burke’s Holistic Health Studies 200 course, “Holistic Approach to Academic Success,” and its positive impact on student success, especially among students from historically disadvantaged groups. For example, the article noted superior graduation rates for underrepresented minority students (7% higher than matched peers), as well as 7% higher for Pell-eligible and 14% higher for first-generation students. Burke notes that many institutions of higher education seek these kinds of outcomes but are not always able to reach them. The study also observed a transfer of knowledge, with students taking the course as freshmen having the highest GPA change (5% higher than matched peers) versus seniors (only 1% higher). It appeared that the more time students had to use the skills, the more benefits they accrued. 


Counseling Professor and Chair Rebecca Toporek participated in the 2023 Thought Leaders Summit this February sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education (CDIHE). The forum brought together a select group of scholars, administrators and advocates across higher education to discuss theory, research, methodology and practice. They assessed conventional notions of anti-racism dialogues and outlined a collective manuscript contributing to CDIHE’s broader national research agenda regarding equity and justice in higher education. 

David Cox, a lecturer in the Information Systems Department and the School of Design, is the host of “The Big Other Pod,” a podcast covering art, design, technology, politics, film, writing, criticism, media, games and society. His Jan. 31 episode features an interview with poet and experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs.  

Counseling Lecturer Ulash Thakore-Dunlap is co-editor of “Counseling and Psychotherapy for South Asian Americans: Identity, Psychology and Clinical Implications” (Routledge, 2023). A Jan. 31 story on AsAm News discussed the book and the stigma around mental health care in the South Asian American community.