July 18, 2022

News & Announcements

A silver coin with the likeness of Wilma Mankiller

The latest United States Mint quarter recognizing trailblazing U.S. women features alumna and 1995 SF State Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Wilma Mankiller — the first woman ever elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The American Women Quarters Program celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women who have transformed U.S. history. This four-year program, ending in 2025, has already featured luminaries like writer Maya Angelou, astronaut Sally Ride and Chinese American film star Anna May Wong.

The new coin design shows the late Mankiller with a “resolute gaze to the future,” the U.S. Mint said in announcing the design. She is wrapped in a traditional shawl with the Cherokee Nation seven-pointed star, and “Cherokee Nation” is written in Cherokee syllabary.

Mankiller, whose name signifies a traditional Cherokee military rank, was born in 1945 on a 161-acre tract in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. When she was 10, her father moved the family to Hunters Point in San Francisco as part of a Bureau of Indian Affairs program to assimilate Native Americans through urbanization. As the 1960s unfolded and the nation’s youth gravitated toward progressive ideals and activism, Mankiller dove in, too. The decade transformed her from a complacent housewife to a budding activist fighting for Native self-determination. In 1969, Mankiller was emboldened by the actions of SF State student Richard Oakes and the dozens of other Native American activists who took Alcatraz and claimed it for Indians of All Tribes. During the group’s 19-month occupation of the island, Mankiller visited several times and raised money for their cause. She went on to pursue college, first at Skyline College and later at SF State.

Mankiller returned to Oklahoma in 1976 and began working for the Cherokee Nation. After serving as deputy principal chief from 1983 to 1985, she served as principal chief between 1985 and 1995. She retired from office in 1995 but fought for the advancement of Indigenous people until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2010.

Nicole Redding

The Division of Student Affairs is pleased to announce that, after a competitive national search, Nicole Redding has been appointed to serve as the next director of the Disability Programs & Resource Center (DPRC), effective June 10. With approximately nine years of professional experience in public higher education (five plus years at Montana State and the past four years here at SF State), Redding is excited to continue on in her leadership role at DPRC. She has served with distinction as DPRC interim director for the past year, successfully navigating a safe return to campus for in-person services, launching an interactive database for employee accommodations and completing a number of critical staff searches. Prior to joining SF State as associate director of the DPRC in January 2019, Redding held leadership roles at Montana State’s Disability, Re-Entry, Veteran Services, including program coordinator and program manager. She holds a B.A. in Music from the University of Oregon and an MPA from Montana State.

“I want to thank Nicole for her excellent service as interim director and congratulate her on this new appointment,” said AVP for Student Affairs Gene Chelberg.

Special thanks to Cathy Kudlick, search committee chair, and the rest of the search committee members for their excellent work in completing the search so successfully. Thanks also to Steven Solomon for staffing the committee and to the entire DPRC staff for their support during these challenging times..

old photo of men in a restaurant

Five days a week for 45 years, Irene Poon would report to the SF State Art Department and work on its vast collection of images stored on slides. Along the way, she became a renowned photographer and a leading historian of Asian American art.

Now, the Fine Arts Gallery at SF State will honor Poon with a retrospective exhibition. “Moving Pictures: The Photography of Irene Poon” will be on display through July 29. It showcases Poon’s print photography (such as the picture “Memories of the Universal Cafe,” left) and highlights from her personal collection and from working as a curator and community activist. Other artists whose works are featured include Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Wong and Benjamen Chinn.

Poon developed her passion for fine arts photography in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Born and raised in the historic neighborhood, she has continued to document the people that make it such a unique place. In the 1960s, she began exhibiting her photography as she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Art from SF State.

Poon joined the Art Department (now known as the School of Art) staff in 1965 as the slide curator. By the time Poon retired from the University in 2010, the slide collection she was responsible for had grown from 36,000 images to almost 300,000. Now 81, she has seen her photography on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), de Young Museum, Crocker Museum of Art and many more venues.

Learn more about “Moving Pictures: The Photography of Irene Poon,” including exhibit hours and COVID protocols, on the Fine Arts Gallery website.

The next interim associate vice president for Student Life and Dean of Students, James A. Parker, comes highly recommended and revered by leaders in student affairs around the country. Most recently, he served as the associate vice president for the student experience at California Institute of the Arts, where he rebuilt orientation and residential life, assisted in reopening the campus after COVID-19, and designed and implemented a new organizational structure to better serve the student body.

Parker has 25 years of experience at places like Washington University in St. Louis, DePaul University, University of Texas at Dallas, St. Louis University and San Diego State University, among many others. He has served students in residential life, leadership programming, recruitment and admissions and as an associate dean of strategic initiatives. His resume is impressive, but it’s the personability and sincerity with which he connects with individuals that stands out immediately.

Trey Williams, SF State’s current interim associate vice president and dean of students, is heading back into his much-deserved retirement on Aug. 12. Williams’ work with SF State, our students, staff and faculty has been immeasurable.

As SF State reignites the national search for a permanent associate vice president for Student Life and Dean of Students, Parker is joining us in the interim to prepare our cabinet and University for this next phase. His expertise, experience, coaching and mentorship will be imperative as we welcome back our students this fall and continue working toward the University’s Student Success and Graduation Initiative goals and initiatives.

On July 4, Student Bubacarr Kora died in a tragic car accident. This sudden loss leaves family members and loved ones of Kora shocked and devastated. He was an influential and vibrant light for all who met him and an integral part of the Bay Area community. Kora was a graduate of Berkeley High School, and this year he was in his final year at SF State as an Africana Studies major. He aspired to have a career in finance. While at SF State, he was also a caregiver to his younger brother, who lives with disabilities. In the wake of this loss, a GoFundMe page was created. Funds will be used to support Kora’s family, including paying for funeral expenses and family support. All donations from the SF State community are most welcome to support the family at this time.

A $750K grant from the Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC) at Northeastern will help Computer Science (CS) faculty overhaul courses in the introductory sequence — which can make or break a career in computer science. The funding will help to support the department in implementing major sweeping changes on the undergraduate level. This project is led by faculty Ilmi Yoon, Duc Ta, Aakash Gautam, Jingyi Wang and Arno Puder. 

A $500,000 award from the National Science Foundation will support development of a sustainable, inclusive learning community for CS students through a peer mentoring program that aims to improve retention and graduation rates at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This program will tackle the critical shortage of undergraduate student resources. This project is led by Wang, Yoon, Ta, other CS faculty Hao Yue and E. Wes Bethel, Physics and Astronomy Professor Kimberly Coble and Psychology Assistant Professor Shasta Ihorn.

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Kim Coble and colleagues from San José State and California Polytechnic State University have won a $220,000 CSU CREATE (Creating Responsive, Equitable, Active Teaching and Engagement) Award. The CREATE Awards Program recognizes the vitally important role faculty play in providing high-quality instruction and underscores the importance of accelerating momentum toward Graduation Initiative 2025 goals. Coble and her team won the CREATE Award grant — the largest of five announced last month— for their proposal “Agents of Change: Faculty-Learning Assistant Partnerships Supporting Active, Engaging, Equitable Learning Environments.” The project builds on the faculty learning assistants (LAs) model by adding support, such as participating in a faculty retreat or academy where inclusive, equitable, engaging and active learning strategies will be discussed. Learn more on the CSU news website.

Information Technology Services (ITS) accomplished multiple technological improvements during Q2 of 2022. The ITS team continuously strives to ensure SF State is up to date with the most advanced technology. They care about student success, cybersecurity and top-notch educational progress for our Gators. ITS thanks the hardworking staff, leadership and campus colleagues for their ongoing support and dedication to advancement in technology. Our University continues to flourish as we build a better future hand in hand. Check out the details on the ITS website.

A newly launched online and mobile financial wellness platform for SF State students is also available for University staff and faculty. The iGrad platform includes comprehensive customized and interactive information on building and maintaining good credit, budgeting and money management, and much more. Because it adapts to each user’s specific circumstances based on answers provided when completing a short Financial Wellness Checkup, it can even provide interactive educational content on retirement and mortgages to those who need it. Learn more or sign up at sfsu.igrad.com.

iGrad is a San Diego-based financial technology company that offers artificial intelligence-powered financial wellness solutions to more than 20,000 employers and more than 600 colleges and universities, including San José State University and UC Berkeley. It became available free to SF State students, faculty and staff in June 2022.

SF State has developed a Direct Payment/Low Value Purchase policy that is now available to the public. This is an update to the existing Procurement policy, and the draft policy can be viewed on Administration & Finance’s Drafts Under Review page until July 31. Direct Payment templates have also been updated and are available for use in DocuSign. Feedback to the draft policy can be submitted using the Feedback: University Executive Directives and Policies online tool. For assistance, please contact policies@sfsu.edu.

Looking to get a personalized workout this summer? Fit Plus is now offering a chance to work one-on-one with a trainer every Friday noon at Gym 148. If you are interested, please contact jrubio2@mail.sfsu.edu.

Fit Plus welcomes staff and faculty to participate in its summer lineup of fitness classes, which include Yoga at Burk Hall 6, Pilates on Zoom and more! For any questions or if you are interested in joining Fit Plus, please visit the Fit Plus website or contact jpen@sfsu.edu.

The Global Museum, SF State’s University museum and teaching lab for the Museum Studies program, has partnered with local Western Neighborhoods Project on a collaborative exhibit, “The Museum at the Cliff.” This pop-up exhibition showcases art and objects from the historic Sutro Baths, Cliff House and Sutro Heights, as well as works from local artists and kid-friendly interactives.

A selection of objects from ancient Egypt collected by Adolph Sutro, now stewarded by the Global Museum on behalf of SF State, are displayed alongside other pieces from the Western Neighborhoods Project and Golden Gate National Recreation Area collections — reunited at the original site of the Sutro Baths “Museum of the World” for the first time since their removal in 1966. A newly expanded, larger, immersive area of the exhibit called “Naiad Cove” has just opened which further explores the historic region and includes items from Playland at the Beach.

The museum is free and open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through August 21. The former Cliff House Gift Shop is located in the Richmond district at 1090 Point Lobos Ave. in San Francisco. For more information about this exciting exhibition, visit OutsideLands.org.

SF State Enterprise Risk Management is pleased to announce the CSU’s first Youth Protection Summit, co-sponsored by SF State, the University Corporation, and the California State University Risk Management Authority (CSURMA). Staff and faculty are invited to come to the Seven Hills Conference Center on Thursday, Oct. 20, for a fun and informative day covering a variety of topics related to youth protection. This valuable training opportunity is open to all CSU personnel, including risk management, youth programs and event services personnel. Learn more or register on the Enterprise Risk Management website.

Professor Emerita Ruth B. Love died June 2. She served as professor of Black Studies (now Africana Studies) in the College of Ethnic Studies, professor of Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies (now Equity, Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies) and professor in the Leadership for Educational Equity Joint Doctoral Program. She first came to SF State for her master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1959 and returned to the University as a professor of education until her retirement in 2014.

Love’s passion for education has impacted students and educators. She was a steadfast advocate for equitable education for children from risk-inducing communities caused by racism, discrimination and the absence of economic privilege. Love served as a superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District and was the first African American to serve as superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools. As superintendent, she pioneered teaching literacy skills across the disciplines, ethnic and multicultural education and pedagogies to enhance student performance for all students. The global community including Ghana, England and Cuba have benefitted by her advocacy for all children to achieve academic accomplishments. 

Love has been recognized by the Horatio Alger Association, the national Coalition of 100 Black Women and others. In 1984, Educator Magazine honored her as among 100 of the best school managers in Northern America. She was appointed to serve on the U.S. President’s Mental Health Commission, the Board of Directors for the National Urban League and as director of the U.S. Office of Health and Education’s Right to Read Program. Congresswoman Barbara Lee recognized Love on the floor of the House of Representatives. Heads of state and dignitaries including President Barack Obama, President Nelson Mandela and Hillary C. Clinton also have sought her expertise in promoting student achievement.  


On June 18, KCBS covered the Queer History Conference, presented by SF State, the Committee on LGBT History and the GLBT Historical Society.

“I do think that there’s a resurgence, generally, of public interest in history,” said Amy Sueyoshi, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “So I just want to encourage folks to think about history as a tool of empowerment — not just for queer history but for BIPOC communities as well. ”

The Bay Area Reporter interviewed Asian American Studies Professor Jonathan H.X. Lee for a June 22 story on Pride celebrations in smaller cities, such as Clayton in Contra Costa County.

Lee has lived in Clayton (population: 12,470) with his husband and son since 2020. He helped organize its Pride celebrations, including the parade and a children’s art contest.

“I think, in smaller towns especially, it sends a very powerful message to kids it is OK to be LGBTQIA+ and that they are loved and they are welcomed and they have support,” Lee said Lee. “This is a safe zone and a safe city. ”

At its June 28 meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors presented a proclamation to the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. Supervisor Ahsha Safaí authored the proclamation, which recognizes the center’s work in supporting, promoting and recognizing queer folx in the Iranian diaspora context.

“We’re proud to be part of a city and a campus where diversity, inclusion and freedom to be yourself are celebrated,” said Persis Karim, the Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair and director of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies.

Amanda Roberti, assistant professor of Political Science, was interviewed by The New York TimesVox and KCBS-AM following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In The New York Times on June 27, Roberti said that demand in states where abortions remain legal may overwhelm clinics and increase waiting times for patients.

“California and other states are going to have to figure out ways in which to deal with the fallout from other states’ policies,” she said. “This is something kind of monumental. This overturns 50 years of precedent, and I think folks are going to be desperately seeking the medical attention that they need.”

Karen “Kym” Morrison, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies and associate professor of History, recently gave a talk to the San Francisco field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in commemoration of Juneteenth.

The talk, “Slave Emancipation and the Rise and Fall of Federal Citizens’ Protection,” discussed the expanded scope of federal law enforcement in the 1870s. At this time, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marshals and Department of Justice utilized new legal authority to temporarily counteract racial terrorism within the former Confederacy.

Social Media Specialist Tess Stevens showed other institutions “How to Not Be Boring on University Social Media.” She gave a presentation on this topic at the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s annual Social Media and Community conference on June 21 in San Francisco.

“Red Scare: The State’s Indigenous Terrorist” (University of California Press) by American Indian Studies Professor Joanne Barker was recently named Best Subsequent Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA).

The NAISA council considers Barker’s book a “critical and innovative intervention” into the history of the relationship between the U.S. and Indigenous nations.

“She draws attention to the way Indigenous people have been represented in racist ways as terrorists to justify the oppression of Indigenous activism,” NAISA President Brendan Hokowhitu said. “She shows how contemporary activism and fights for land and Indigenous life are not new, but the latest iteration of this fight by Indigenous peoples, which has been fought urgently and consistently since first invasions.”

On June 21, The Emancipator published an essay by Creative Writing Associate Professor May-lee Chai on the legacy of the brutal murder of an Asian American man in Detroit.

“It showed me the kind of power White men had in America,” Chai wrote. “They could kill a Chinese man with impunity.”

The Emancipator is an anti-racism journalism project founded by Ibram X. Kendi and Bina Venkataraman with the Boston Globe.

Public Health Lecturer Jessica Wolin is part of a team researching the effectiveness of programs addressing homelessness among California college students. In a Kresge Foundation video posted June 29, she discusses College-Focused Rapid Rehousing, a model that incorporates community-based support services tailored to students.

“What’s unique about this model on our college campuses — both at the community college level and at the Cal State level — is we’re trying to go beyond the traditional approaches that we’re using to address student homelessness,” Wolin said. “The College-Focused Rapid Rehousing model provides students with a direct entry into permanent housing. ”

The July edition of Eos, a magazine published by the American Geophysical Union, quotes Geology Professor Mary Leech.

The article “Holey Eclogite!” describes the work of geoscientists who found holes filled with minerals that indicate fluid-filled pores exist many tens of kilometers below Earth’s surface.

San Jose recently reversed its ban on cruising the city streets. The city council found that the law, enacted in the 1990s, was inherently discriminatory.

John Ulloa, lecturer in Latina/Latino Studies and History, told San Jose Spotlight on July 1 the law was “archaic” and rooted in institutionalized racism. He teaches a class on the history of lowriding.

“Lowriding is part of not only San Jose’s social and cultural fabric,” he said, “but a global worldwide phenomenon that is celebrated as artistic and an expression of cultural pride.”

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Professors Erik Peper and Richard Harvey wrote the article “Abdominal Nausea and Gastrointestinal Discomfort: A Biofeedback Assessment Model to Create a Rationale for Training.” It was published in Biofeedback on May 31. The article provides detailed instruction on assessment of a patient’s first session.

Peper, Harvey and students Yaneth Cuellar and Catalina Membrila recently wrote a NeuroRegulation article about college students feeling a reduction in anxiety when taking a holistic health class.