March 20, 2023

News & Announcements

A computer rendering of people working in a lab

The Gilead Foundation, the philanthropic nonprofit organization from Bay Area biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., awarded SF State $3.5 million in grant funding for the University’s new Science and Engineering Innovation Center (SEIC) slated for completion in 2024. The grant moves the University closer to its Catalyze the Future campaign goal to raise $25 million in private funds for research equipment and student support related to the new building.

“We thank Gilead and share their conviction that their generosity will inspire other companies to follow their extraordinary example,” said Dean of the College of Science & Engineering Carmen Domingo. “Gilead’s generous investment in the building and our students’ success is also a tremendous investment in the Bay Area’s unparalleled STEM workforce. Their support allows the University and our exceptional faculty to further strengthen SF State’s proud record of helping fuel a highly qualified and diverse regional workforce pipeline.”

The funds will outfit SEIC’s labs (seen in the rendering above) with state-of-the-art equipment and furnishings that will train students in essential skills required for biopharma, biotech and engineering careers. For example, SEIC houses a fluids and process control lab with a wind tunnel to evaluate wind turbines and vehicle aerodynamic efficiency as well as a biophysical and chemical analysis lab where students can conduct sophisticated experiments.

“All students should have access to state-of-the-art equipment, a quality education and the opportunity to prosper as they enter the workforce,” said Andrew Dickinson, Chief Financial Officer of Gilead and member of the Gilead Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Our relationship with San Francisco State University will help to expand the robust science and engineering education and research at the University for years to come and help it continue to provide students with the education they need to thrive. We hope that our grant will inspire other funders, particularly those in the biotech sector, to do the same.”

Gilead Foundation is also committing to student success by investing in new summer and academic programs for STEM students. Their investment will also help finance fellowships for undergraduate and master’s students in research labs.

The College of Science & Engineering (CoSE) has steadily grown, and this new 125,000-square-foot science building will help sustain this expansion and support the University’s role as leaders in fueling the workforce of the Bay Area. It will be prominently visible on 19th Avenue and is anticipated to benefit more than 7,000 CoSE students annually.

More information about the Catalyze the Future campaign can be found on SEIC’s website.

A Latinx student poses in his graduation regalia

Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority in efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, has announced that SF State President Lynn Mahoney has chosen to be part of Presidents for Latino Student Success network.

This important national network is comprised of college and university presidents and chancellors who commit to making their institutions learning environments where Latino students thrive. The institutions in Excelencia’s network are transforming higher education.

Of the thousands of colleges and universities across the country, the more than 150 leaders of the 175 institutions in the network enroll one in four of all Latino students in higher education. More importantly, these institutions account for one in three of all Latino graduates. In fact, a subset of the Excelencia network — 30 institutions that have been certified with the Seal of Excelencia — represents 13% of all Latino enrollment and graduates 14% of all Latinos in the U.S.

Excelencia professionals, the leadership network and their campus teams actively collaborate to put evidence-based practices and strategic analysis of student data to use supporting and advancing the talents, skills and contributions of Latino students and the institutions.

“Almost 37% of SF State students identify as Latinx, a figure that is more than double the percentage in 2010,” said President Lynn Mahoney. “It is wonderful to see this number to begin to near the representation of Latinx peoples in the general population in our state. We are committed to intentionally working alongside state and national partners to support our Latinx students.”

Through the network, President Mahoney will collaborate with Excelencia to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships and amplify current efforts at the national level. 

Learn more about Presidents for Latino Student Success network and the other institutional leaders across the country affiliated with Excelencia.

A frog

For the past few years, how a virus triggered a global pandemic has dominated conversations. Now, thanks to the TV show “The Last of Us” (about an apocalypse triggered by brain-eating ’shrooms), fungi have infected popular culture. The focus has been on pathogens that cause human disease, but what about those affecting nonhuman species? SF State scientists are among the many concerned about a fungus that has been detrimental for amphibians worldwide and is contributing to a loss of biodiversity.

In a new Frontiers in Conservation Science paper, SF State researchers detail the relatively recent emergence and spread of a deadly fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd) among amphibians in Africa. Eight of the co-authors are former SF State students who were in a seminar class led by senior investigator Vance Vredenburg, a University Biology professor.

“When [amphibian] skin starts to change thickness, it basically creates a condition where they can’t maintain their internal processes and they die,” said co-author Eliseo Parra (B.S., ’14; M.S., ’17) about how the fungus attacks. “If infecting a mammal, it might affect your fingernails or something you wouldn’t even notice, but amphibians (frogs, salamanders) use their skin to breathe. It’s a very critical part of their body.”

The fungus is lethal for many amphibian populations but not others, Vredenburg says. His lab wanted to understand where the fungus is, how it got there and why it’s deadly for some amphibians, particularly in Africa where it has been under-studied.

In 2016, Vredenburg’s class, eager to get involved in conservation research, read papers about Bd and evaluated previously published data. In parallel, Vredenburg’s lab, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, assessed the infection status of amphibian specimens from Africa. These two approaches gave the project nearly 17,000 records for analysis and a 165-year view of how this fungus interacts with amphibians across the continent.

The team reports low Bd prevalence and limited spread of the disease in Africa until 2000, when the prevalence increased from 3.2% to 18.7% and Bd became more widespread geographically. Vredenburg notes that not only is the fungus infecting amphibians but it is causing negative (often deadly) consequences versus being dormant.

Read more about the SF State team’s findings on SF State News.

The Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning invites applications for the position of faculty director of general education (GE). The GE director works closely with the Academic Senate and University-wide committees (Baccalaureate Requirements Committee, Upper Division Curricualum Committee, Lower Division Curriculum Committee, University Academic Assessment Advisory Committee, First Year Experience Committee, others as needed) as the faculty lead on issues, initiatives and activities related to the general education program. The director coordinates the approval of courses for GE (with the exception of Area F), SF State Studies and American Institutions (AI) and provides support to faculty in preparing their proposals for certification. Additionally, the director coordinates the assessment of courses for recertification in these areas with LDCC and UDCC. The director is responsible for communicating the outcomes of GE, SF State Studies and AI review with the faculty, departments and colleges proposing the course, and with the curriculum office. The director may also have other ad hoc duties that arise due to system-wide GE initiatives.

The director must have experience with, knowledge of, and commitment to the general education program and the policies and practices that guide it. The position will be held by a tenured/tenure track faculty at a 0.4 time base and reports to the associate dean of Academic Planning. The term is three years (assuming continued funding) beginning fall 2023. The full position description is available on Box. Please submit a letter of interest and CV to by Monday, April 3.

The nomination period for the 2023-24 Academic Senate elections is now open and runs from March 20 to April 7. All SF State faculty and staff members are invited to review the list of committees and nominate themselves or colleagues for these important positions. Each represents an important opportunity to express your perspective and influence the future of SF State.

Please take a moment to follow the appropriate link below to find the nomination form based on your college; staff specific openings are under “all staff.” There you will find a list of openings for: all University committees; committee seats based on college or rank; seats for college-specific committees; and seats filled by Academic Senate or Executive Committee vote.

If you would like to submit a nomination for yourself or someone else, please do so by April 7 to ensure inclusion on the April 17 ballot. Voting will take place April 17 – 28.

Nomination forms for:

Faculty, please also sign up for the following pools for the 2023-24 academic year. This is helpful to the Executive Committee and the Academic Senate for considering initial interest and willingness to serve on special committees and searches.

Committee Information:

Any questions can be directed to the Office of the Academic Senate at

Explore SF State is the University’s signature spring event for admitted students and their families — a day for them to visit campus, make connections and learn about life as a Gator. You can help them feel that they’ve found their home at SF State by serving as a volunteer ambassador.

Explore SF State will take place Saturday, April 22. Ambassador shifts are 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Lunch and T-shirts will provided for all who help for the day.

Learn more about Explore SF State or sign up today to welcome our newest students!

Health Promotion & Wellness now carries free NARCAN® and other opioid overdose prevention supplies for the campus community. This is all possible through the Naloxone Distribution Project in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services.

NARCAN® is a nasal spray of naloxone, a potentially lifesaving medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes. Since most opioid overdoses occur in the home and are most often witnessed, having a NARCAN® rescue kit nearby can make all the difference.

To learn more about this initiative, please visit the Health Promotion & Wellness office or email Elizabeth Gandara at

The Academic Senate met on Tuesday, March 14, via Zoom. The senate:

  • Adopted by general consent the following items:

    • Discontinuance of the Master of Science in Recreation Parks and Tourism.
    • Suspension of the Bachelor of Arts in Family & Community Science.
  • Passed the Revision to S01-87 Administrative Review Policy.
  • Passed the new Credit for Prior Learning Policy.
  • Passed the Revision to Syllabus Policy #S15-257.
  • Passed the following items:
    • B.A. in Psychology, Degree Completion
    • B.A. in Classics, Distance Education Authorization
    • M.A. in Classics, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Communications, Distance Education Authorization
    • M.A. in Communications, Distance Education Authorization
    • Certificate in Conflict Resolution, Distance Education Authorization
    • Minor in Criminal Justice Studies, reducing 20%
    • Minor in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, reducing 20%
    • B.S. to B.A. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, reducing 20%
    • Minor in Queer and Trans Ethnic Studies, Name Change
  • Heard in first reading the following items:
    • B.A. in Apparel Design, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Apparel Merchandising, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Italian, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Political Science, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Cinema, Distance Education Authorization
    • B.A. in Humanities, Distance Education Authorization
    • Minor in Persian Studies, Distance Education Authorization
  • Deferred the following items until the next Senate Plenary on April 4:
    • Minor in Humanities, reduction in units requirement.

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

Human Resources Professional Development invites all SF employees to attend a CSU’s GOT TALENT virtual presentation by David Burkus, award-winning thought leader, speaker and bestselling author, on Tuesday, March 28, from 10 to 11 a.m. Burkus will address the topic “Best Team Ever: The Surprising Science of High-Performing Teams.” Join via Zoom

The Office of Human Resources is offering Monthly Middle Monday Meditations via CSU Learn. In these sessions, Zen meditation practitioner Florian Brody explains what mindful meditation is, why it’s important and how it can help increase your self-awareness and manage stress. Brody will lead attendees through a guided meditation and finish the session with a Q&A.

Brody is a certified executive coach and a startup business mentor. He’s a multimedia pioneer and co-inventor of the e-book. Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, he is based in Silicon Valley, where he co-founded multiple startups. He worked in the film industry and as a software engineer, product manager and marketing executive with startups as well as companies like Apple, Amazon and Novartis. He has taught digital media theory and business management for over 30 years at universities in Europe and the U.S. As an executive coach, he works with successful leaders who seek to explore the next step on their personal and professional path to reach what really counts for them. He has over 35 years of experience as a Zen meditation practitioner and offers meditation and mindfulness training.

Sign up for the Monthly Middle Monday Meditations via the links below. (You will be required to log in to your CSU Learn account to register.) Once you sign up, add the events to your Outlook calendar. 

Longtime Political Science Professor David Tabb died Friday, Jan. 27, at his home in Berkeley, surrounded by family. Though his health had been declining since summer, Tabb’s vitality, intelligence and kindness never left him, and a cancer diagnosis just two weeks prior to his death was a shock. He was 83.

Tabb taught political science at SF State from 1972 to 2008. He was chairman of the Political Science Department when his book “Protest Is Not Enough: A Theory of Political Incorporation” was published in 1986. Co-authored with Rufus Browning and Dale Rogers, “Protest Is Not Enough” illuminated the importance of political coalitions in improving the lives of minority populations in Northern California.

Tabb is survived by his children, Kevin, Lisa and Jonah; their spouses, Caron, Sam and Ali; his grandchildren Shai, Noam, Aaron and Meleah; and his beloved wife Judith. He was proceeded in death by his first wife, Connie. Maya Angelou’s famous quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” captures Professor Tabb perfectly. Students, colleagues, family and friends from all walks of life talk about how he made them feel special. 

In accordance with his wishes and life’s work, donations in Tabb’s honor can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Congregation Beth El Homeless Meal Program.

View photos of Tabb and the many people who loved him on the Caring Bridge website.


SF State Spotlight

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Dance Professor Yutian Wong for a March 10 article and a podcast on Asian Americans and ballroom dancing in San Francisco. Ballroom dancing has been a popular pastime for many Asian American and Pacific Islander communities for more than a century, Wong explains. 

“Because of colonialism and cultural imperialism, Europeans and Americans brought different forms of ballroom dancing right to Asia,” Wong said. Eventually, Wong says, ballroom dance came to signify modernity and upward mobility: “It was associated with a certain kind of educated class, that you were open to new ideas.” 


Amid Academy Award buzz, Creative Writing Associate Professor and Acting Chair May-lee Chai brings attention to racism in the Oscar-nominated film “Tár” in an op-ed piece on The Emancipator, a racial equity project of the Boston Globe. 

In the film, the title character, Berlin-based conductor Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), faces a career reckoning and takes a less prestigious job in an unnamed Southeast Asian city. 

“The film embraces Asia as the ‘other,’ an opposite to Tár’s prestigious Berlin life,” Chai wrote. “This depiction echoes historical, dehumanizing tropes about Asia (in general) and Southeast Asia (in particular) that have fueled U.S. imperialism since the 19th century, including Asians in an inferior, subservient role where they need western and White cultural institutions or Asians providing cheap labor, like sex work.” 

Daniel Bernardi, professor of Cinema and director of the Veteran Documentary Corps, is the director of two films selected for the G.I. Film Festival, scheduled for May 15 – 20 in San Diego. The films are “Ultimate Sacrifice: Cpt. Jennifer Moreno” and “Time for Change: Kathy Bruyere.” 

Political Science Professor Joel Kassiola is co-editor of “The Palgrave Handbook of Environmental Politics and Theory” (Palgrave Macmillan). It is a 715-page, 26-chapter interdisciplinary work containing essays on the compelling and burgeoning field of environmental politics. Kassiola also contributed a chapter on environmental ethics as a political instrument and co-wrote the introduction. 

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Professor Erik Peper’s recent articles include: “Anxiety, Lightheadedness, Palpitations, Prodromal Migraine Symptoms? Breathing to the Rescue” in Townsend Letter on Feb. 26 and “Relive memory to create healing imagery” in a recent issue of Somatics. 

Peper will be a keynote speaker at the Holistic Lifestyle Conference and Expo, to be held May 31 – June 2 in Orlando, Florida. The title of Peper’s talk is “Transform Tech Stress into Tech Health.” 


Biology Professor Edward Carpenter is a co-author of a March 8 paper in Plos One titled “A growing plastic smog, now estimated to be over 170 trillion plastic particles afloat in the world’s oceans — Urgent solutions required.”

The Guardian, The Washington Post and Gizmodo covered the paper, among other media outlets. 

“We know the ocean is a vital ecosystem and we have solutions to prevent plastic pollution. But plastic pollution continues to grow and has a toxic effect on marine life,” Carpenter said in The Guardian on March 8. There must be legislation to limit the production and sale of single-use plastics or marine life will be further degraded. Humans need healthy oceans for a livable planet.” 

Fine Arts Gallery Director Sharon E. Bliss and Art Lecturer Kevin B. Chen receive praise in a review of the Fine Arts Gallery’s exhibition “Have You Seen Me?” on 48 Hills. 

“The exhibition, thoughtfully curated by Sharon E. Bliss and Kevin B. Chen, showcases work by Marcel Pardo Ariza, Erica Deeman, Yaron Michael Hakim and Jamil Hellu, and explores the limitations and opportunities within representation,” reviewer Ava Morton wrote on March 14. “In doing so, these artists challenge the viewer to reflect on their gaze and subsequent assumptions to untangle the ways in which we look at one another. At the same time, the exhibition also makes evident the idea that self-definition is in a constant state of flux — an ever-evolving status subject to time passing.” 

Nutrition and Dietetics Associate Professor Gretchen George and Family, Interiors, Nutrition and Apparel Lecturer Rachel Scherr, with colleagues from UC Davis and UC San Francisco, authored an article published in the February 10 issue of the journal Nutrients. The study, titled “Understanding the Role of CalFresh Participation and Food Insecurity on Academic Outcomes among College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” was conducted at UC Davis and looked at whether participation in CalFresh would moderate the effects of food insecurity on GPA. 

Nutrition and Dietetics Associate Professor Gretchen George, Kinesiology Associate Professor Nicole D. Bolter and graduate students Daria Sosna and Megan Arauzo published “Changing perspectives among pre-health undergraduates through a brief weight bias pedagogical intervention” on March 7 in Health Education Journal.  

Sarah Pawlowsky, associate clinical professor of Physical Therapy, presented her work on “Conversion of Yoga vs Physical Conditioning Trial for Older Women with Urinary Incontinence to Telehealth” at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego. The meeting is the largest scientific gathering of physical therapists from all over the country, with more than 14,000 participants this year.  

The National Institute of Justice newsletter recently highlighted Lecturer of Criminal Justice Jim Dudley’s Policing Matters podcast. On the podcast episode, Dudley spoke with Tamara Herold, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and senior research advisor at the National Institute of Justice, about her background in crime science and environmental criminology and her research into place-based violence. 

On March 29, Dudley will moderate a webinar, “How to build and sustain an effective officer wellness program: A Policing Matters Special.”