September 19, 2022

News & Announcements

Manmit Singh

SF State student Manmit Singh believes people should use their position of power to advocate for marginalized communities. One of Singh’s proudest accomplishments embodies exactly that, which led to a major change within the California State University (CSU) system.

Earlier this year, the CSU became the first university system nationwide to add caste to its anti-discrimination policy. A big reason why this policy change happened is because Singh and their peers advocated for it.

“This change is acknowledging caste and coming to terms with it, which is step one of dismantling it,” said Singh, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Ethnic Studies at SF State. “With these protections now being promised, it creates the space for people to come forward to begin conversations on how we can transform our institutions.”

Singh, who comes from an upper caste background, worked with Dalit (the most socially and economically oppressed in South Asia’s caste system) feminist leadership to organize a campaign for this policy change. Because of their involvement, along with their academic achievements and strong commitment to community building, Singh is one of the recipients to receive the CSU 2022 Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, earning them a $7,000 scholarship.

Read more about Singh at SF State News.

Rocky ridges jut up over a desert landscape

“I was raised in the traditional Navajo way of living and I grew up learning how to be a sheep herder and a farmer. But now I’m a cell and molecular biologist,” said SF State Associate Professor of Biology Wilfred Denetclaw. “But the people that I come from are still living that way.”

Seeing initial reports of COVID-19 in his community, Denetclaw — who normally studies embryonic muscle development — pivoted to studying COVID-19. His findings were recently published in PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science ONE).

“When the outbreak occurred in March 2020, it just seemed like more and more cases were popping up all around the Navajo Nation area on the New Mexico and Arizona side of my reservation,” explained Denetclaw, who grew up in Shiprock, New Mexico.

The Navajo Nation is a Native American reservation covering 27,000 square miles across portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Despite its size, there’s been a lack of studies about COVID-19 cases and deaths in this community. Denetclaw set out to do something about that with study co-leader Kala Mehta, a biostatistician and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. Several SF State students in Denetclaw’s lab and SF BUILD students mentored by Mehta also participated in the study.

The team analyzed publicly available data from the first year of the pandemic that was collected from 11 counties that intersected with the Navajo Nation. Their study showed that early in the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases on the reservation doubled nearly every 10 days but slowed down to every 32 days by March 2021. The percentage of Navajo people in a county correlated with the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in a county’s population. The percent of Navajo population in a county was a predictor of COVID-19 deaths, even after considering access to health care.

However, Denetclaw says that this research is a story about the Navajo Nation’s resilience. They have their own government separate from the state, so they could close reservation borders to non-Navajo travelers at the height of the pandemic. When vaccines became available, the Navajo president advocated strongly for vaccinations using Navajo culture, like the Navajo creation story, to emphasize the larger importance of vaccination as a protective shield against COVID-19. The community took the message to heart and now vaccination rates are among the highest across the U.S.

Learn more about Denetclaw’s research on SF State News.

A view of Earth from space

The San Francisco State University Foundation made sweeping changes to its investment policy that deepen its commitment to socially responsible investing. The updates further promote racial and social justice, environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation, which are key priorities for the University. The changes also uphold the Foundation’s duty to manage investment risks and identify investment opportunities that will continue to grow its endowment. 

“In 2013, we divested from coal and tar sands. Then we created a student-managed fund in 2015 that provides students hands-on experience with socially responsible investing,” San Francisco State Vice President of University Advancement and Foundation President Jeff Jackanicz said. “These changes and our past accomplishments underscore our iterative approach to addressing climate change and racial injustice. We’re always looking inward by evaluating and refining how we’re tackling these issues.”  

With the updated policy, the Foundation — which grows, manages and invests the University’s endowment to generate more money to support University priorities — wants more people of color and women to manage the investments it makes. 

Historically, people of color and women have been underrepresented in the investment sector. This means that funds and investments designed by people of color and women — many of which are geared toward supporting the communities they represent — have been limited, despite their ability to produce strong returns for investors. The Foundation wants to work toward changing that with this new investment policy update. 

The Foundation also commits to full divestment from fossil fuel companies by 2025 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions across its entire investment portfolio by 2040. In the meantime, no more than 5 percent of its endowment will be invested in fossil fuel companies. 

2022 Open Enrollment will take place Sept. 19 – Oct. 14. Changes made during 2022 Open Enrollment will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. During this time, you can enroll in or change health plans, add eligible dependents, delete dependents or cancel coverage. View the Annual Health Plan Changes page on the CalPERS website for details on health plans, service areas and benefit design changes for 2023. A listing of 2023 CalPERS Health Benefits Basic Plan rates is also available on Box.

SF State Transforms’ National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE team is pleased to announce this year’s call for Faculty Hub fellows in the 2022-2023 NSF ADVANCE program Scholarship Hub. The theme for the 2022-2023 Scholarship Hub is “Creating Solidarity and Building Community.” Hub fellows will convene in a monthly cohort, at times with additional bi-weekly programs, aimed at developing professional scholarship and community, to support navigating career challenges and opportunities while providing a cohort and community to support advancement. Applications are welcomed from all faculty (TT or lecturer) who seek to build a community of scholars for ethnic/racial and gender equity in faculty advancement and leadership at SF State.

Scholarship Hub applicants are asked to propose or describe an in-progress project for their independent work in any area of scholarship (teaching, service, research, writing, media, creative or other) to develop in peer-to-peer community and identify areas of challenge and opportunity to work through in faculty community. Hub fellows will receive $1,000 honoraria for participation. Apply via Qualtrics. The application deadline is noon Monday, Sept. 26.

For more information see the SF State Transforms Scholarship Hubs webpage or contact

The College of Extended Learning (CEL) is in the process of developing a clear, inspiring and effective strategy that will guide the college through the next three to five years in support of the University’s strategic plan. As part of this important work, the college would like to tap into the knowledge and experience of SF State colleagues. Please consider sharing your thoughts and ideas about the College of Extended Learning’s future via CEL’s website comment box, which will close on Sept. 30. CEL thanks you advance for your assistance.

The Friends of the Leonard Library (FOL) is requesting donations of used books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl for resale in the Used Book and Media Store in the Leonard Library, room 120A (across from Peet’s). The store is 100% volunteer run by a combination of retired faculty and staff plus current students. It sells most hardback books for $2; all paperbacks are only $1. All funds from sales are invested in Library infrastructure and projects, plus supporting scholarships for Library student workers.

If you have excess books or media, please consider a donation to FOL. Volunteers can pick up your materials from your office or home or accept them from you at the Library. The store is open for business Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To arrange for a donation and collection, please send an email to or

The Academic Senate will meet from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. virtually via Zoom for its second meeting of the academic year. Visitors who wish to attend please contact the senate office at for a Zoom link. The agenda includes:

  • Recommendations from the Executive Committee: Resolution in Support of University Mission Statement (2022), in second reading.
  • Recommendations from the Executive Committee: Resolution Commending Eugene (Gene) T. Chelberg for His Distinguished Service to San Francisco State University, consent item.
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee (CRAC): Master of Science in Business Analytics, in first reading.
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee (CRAC): Master of Business Administration, in first reading.
  • Recommendations from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee (CRAC): Master of Arts in Classics, in first reading.
  • Formal presentations from:
    • Lizzy Borges, Online Learning Librarian; Melanie Smith, First Year Experience Librarian; Faith Rusk, Lower Division Research Assistance and Instruction Coordinator: “Library Student Success & Engagement Team.”
    • Lori Beth Way, Dean, Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning: “Advising Reorganization.”
    • Senator Robert Keith Collins, Senator Nancy C. Gerber and Senator Santhi Kavuri-Bauer: ASCSU Report

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

Scholars’ Writing Meet-ups are planned for Fall 2022. Join a structured Writing Check-in, quiet time and report back with faculty peers. Meet-ups will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. the first Tuesday and third Friday of each month in the Library’s second floor Faculty Commons. Sessions will be hybrid: in person and on Zoom. For more information contact Professor Anoshua Chaudhuri at For a Zoom link send a message to Meetings will be held:

  • Friday, Sept. 23
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4
  • Friday, Oct. 21
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1
  • Friday, Nov. 18
  • Tuesday, Dec. 6
  • Friday, Dec. 16

If you are attending via Zoom, please RSVP via Qualtrics. If you are attending in person, you do not have to RSVP.

The Department of Jewish Studies provides a study zone for students in HUM 415 (Silverman Reading Room) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There will be coffee and tea, and students can count on a quiet environment to work on assignments, catch up on reading and write their papers. The department has an extensive library available for students to browse while visiting.

The Department of Jewish Studies also invites students to HUM 415 to enjoy movies and selected TV shows, curated by the department, every Wednesday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Individual vegan, vegetarian and kosher snacks are provided, and seating is socially distanced. This week’s features include episodes of “Grace and Frankie” and “Shtisel.”

The University Budget Committee (UBC) will meet virtually via Zoom from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Sept. 20.  These meetings welcome members of the campus community to attend and learn about the University budgeting process and provide an open forum at the end of each meeting for public comment.

The UBC is comprised of SF State faculty, staff, students and administrators and is charged with serving as a deliberative body that provides the SF State president with ongoing advice and recommendations related to budget policy, planning and assessment. Information about the UBC can be found on the Administration & Finance website.

UBC meetings welcome persons with disabilities and may provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like to RSVP to the Zoom meeting as a guest or have other questions, please email

The campus community is invited to join the Department of Jewish Studies for its inaugural Schechter Lecture in Israel Studies from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in HUM 587. Author Shay Hazkani will discuss his book “Dear Palestine” with Goldman Professor of Jewish Studies Eran Kaplan.

A new social history of the War of 1948, Hazkani’s book analyzes the letters of soldiers both in the Arab Liberation Army and the Israeli Defense Forces to examine how propaganda worked on both sides of the war and how collective experience differed from individual experiences at the time. Most of these materials have never been seen before in contemporary scholarship and they attest to themes pertinent to scholars across the disciplines.

A reception will follow the discussion in HUM 415. The event is in person and on Zoom. To register for remote attendance, visit the Department of Jewish Studies website

The Lam Family College of Business (LFCoB) is hosting its Eighth Annual Women’s Emerging Leadership Forum (WELF) as an in-person event. This year’s theme is “Blazing Your Path.”

This lively, engaging forum is designed to help you achieve your full potential in the workplace by bringing together a diverse group of successful and aspiring leaders to exchange stories and insights, share knowledge and learn how to avoid common pitfalls on the path to career advancement. You’ll learn tips to enhance your leadership skills while making meaningful connections and expanding your professional network.

The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the office of KPMG, 55 Second Street, San Francisco. Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch and coffee/tea are included.

Seats are limited. There are special two-for-one ticket offers for SF State faculty, staff, students and alumni available until 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.

Visit the WELF website for more information and to buy tickets.  


Africana Studies Professor Dorothy Tsuruta was recently elected president of the Golden Gate Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an “organization of organizations” (comprised of 300 campus and community-based sections and 32 national women’s organizations) that enlightens, inspires and connects more than 2 million women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist.  

On Sept. 11, Tsuruta was recognized as a Dignitary attending the 170th anniversary of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) granted $10 million to the Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases, led by the University of California, Davis. The leadership team includes Associate Professor of Biology Andrea Swei. The five-year grant will be shared among SF State and the other collaborating universities in California, Arizona and Utah. 

The funds will continue to support the CDC’s work with public health and vector control agencies to improve response to mosquito and tick-borne diseases. The new award will allow Swei to test new host vaccine treatments to reduce the risk of tick-borne disease in the region. There is also an emphasis on expanding diversity, equity and inclusion in the field through new student training, research and outreach programs.  

Management Assistant Professor Ebru Ipek co-wrote an opinion piece for The Conversation on Sept. 8 offering strategies for hiring refugees successfully. Ipek and her co-authors cite their research from April in Organizational Dynamics to recommend a pragmatic management approach. 

Pragmatist managers strike “a balance between viewing refugee employees as victims and valuing their strong work motivation and the skills and knowledge they developed in their home countries,” they wrote. “This approach was most likely to result in positive outcomes for both the refugees and their workplaces.” 

A How Stuff Works story from July 29 provides advice on avoiding passive-aggressive behavior. Jenny Lederer, associate professor of English Language and Literature, explains how people express their anger in a way that may not seem overtly hostile. 

“In linguistics, being ‘passive-aggressive’ is related to a speaker’s semantic, syntactic and pragmatic choices,” she said. “A passive-aggressive speaker will often frame their commentary as polite, while actually conveying negative sentiment. … Passive-aggressive discourse is a way of masking criticism, negativity and noncompliance by linguistically distancing ourselves from the slander or critique.” 

Anthropology Assistant Professor Martha Lincoln wrote two opinion pieces last week about public health policy in the Trump and Biden administrations. In both pieces, she criticizes COVID-19 guidelines for being too lax.  

“We’ve collectively surfed the short-term euphoria of calling the pandemic over, removing restrictions and enjoying being ‘vaxxed, paxed and relaxed’ — and then repeatedly confronted new variants and surges,” she wrote in The Nation on Sept. 9 with co-author Anne N. Sosin. 

Lincoln’s Sept. 7 post is published on Bill of Health, the blog of the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard University Law School. 

“Over the past two years in the United States, leaders in both political parties have capitulated to — if not embraced — the doxa that a certain amount of death and suffering is inevitable in our efforts to overcome (or ‘live with’) the pandemic,” she wrote. 

Five faculty members wrote a recent research article in Teaching in Higher Education titled “‘I Can’t Unsee What I’ve Seen:’ Doing Social Justice Pedagogy in the Research Methods Classroom.” The authors are: Professor of Kinesiology Maria Veri, Associate Professor of Family and Community Sciences Sherria Taylor, Associate Professor of Kinesiology Nicole Bolter, Professor Emerita of Public Health Mickey Eliason and Professor of Public Health Juliana van Olphen

Their study examines the experiences of educators practicing social justice pedagogy through analyses of weekly reflections and interviews. Four themes were revealed: Intentionality (becoming more self-aware); vulnerability (sense of risk in trying this new approach); holding tension (contradictions between expectations, time constraints, old ways of teaching and the new approach); and meaningful teaching experience (satisfaction from increased creativity and witnessing impact of the intervention). 

Veri, Taylor and Bolter presented their findings in June at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. 

Secondary Education Assistant Professor Evra Baldinger wrote an opinion piece for The San Francisco Examiner on Sept. 7 to share her support for detracked mathematics courses in the San Francisco Unified School District. A detracked approach places students of various abilities and academic achievement in the same classes. 

Baldinger writes that her opinion is shaped not only by her research, but also by her experiences as a teacher and parent in the district. 

“What I want for my daughters is what I want for all children — for them to get to be their full, complex, beautiful, brilliant selves at school,” Baldinger wrote. “To be seen for all that they are. To be celebrated. To be in community with other children who are getting to be their full, complex, beautiful, brilliant selves. To learn rigorous and interesting mathematics joyfully in community with students with different backgrounds, life experiences, strengths and preferences.” 

Asian American Studies Professor Russell Jeung participated in a panel discussion on “Successful Community Engagements” at the 2022 National Civic Leadership Forum, hosted by the Asian American Unity Coalition from Sept. 12 – 14 in Las Vegas.