Welcome to Spring 24
As I welcome you back for the spring semester, I’d like to share some of the highlights from the past year and make you aware of the people and resources available to support your success at San Francisco State University. Looking forward to seeing you this semester!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.
President's Messages - 2024
January 30, 2024
As I write to you welcoming the beginning of the spring term, I am keenly aware that there continues to be pain and turmoil resulting from labor negotiations, global tragedies, and the challenges facing many universities, including SF State. Much of this rests elsewhere but deeply affects many of our community. And our local challenges as we work our way through the demographic realities of becoming a smaller university are at best unsettling and at worst deeply painful. Yes, 2023 was hard and 2024 is looking challenging. I assure you we will meet those challenges as they come, as we have for a good number of years now. But as we launch the spring semester, it’s crucial for our – and especially students’ – morale to look at how much we are nonetheless accomplishing—in the classroom, in services provided by staff, in faculty research, and in almost every space on our beautiful, dynamic campus.
Just as we left for break, I received word that a member of our faculty had received one of the most significant recognitions offered by the CSU. I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, professor of Asian American Studies, was chosen as the 2024 recipient of the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Faculty Teaching. Only one faculty member from across all 23 CSU campuses is chosen annually for this award. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Tintiangco-Cubales for this well-deserved recognition.
We launched new academic initiatives in much-needed areas that will also help increase enrollment, including a degree completion program in Psychology, certificate and credential programs in Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology Professionals and School Nurse Services, and a new School of the Environment. We are in the midst of an ambitious effort to hire 15 faculty with focused expertise in Black and Latinx/e student success, and the applicants show great promise in helping us advance our student success mission.
Faculty teaching and research continue to fuel change locally and globally. Based in large part on the research and teaching of Dr. Trevor Getz, professor of History, the New York City Board of Education launched Hidden Voices: Stories of the Global African Diaspora, an innovative curriculum giving voice to African and diasporic literature. And SF State continues to be a leader in teaching and research related to climate change. Climate HQ hosted its first CSU-wide meeting on climate change. Faculty from 15 CSU campuses discussed collaborations in teaching, research, and outreach.
Right here on campus, I encourage all to find a time to visit the Hager Planetarium when its renovations are complete. Thanks to Dr. Adrienne Cool and Dr. John Brewer of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the University received a $1.5M grant to renovate the planetarium. After a visit to the planetarium, consider attending one of the many events hosted by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts which highlight the talents of our faculty, staff, and students.
Our staff work tirelessly to support our students. To highlight but one example, staff members in the College of Health and Social Sciences redesigned several spaces to increase capacity. Sam Ward, Denzel Vaovasa, and Dominic Sciucchetti, working with support from across the college, increased capacity in instructional spaces, allowing greater access for students. Our staff also work hard to support one another. In its inaugural year, the Staff Council has created a strong role for itself in shared governance and community building. It is hosting events to bring folks together and providing opportunities for staff to step into leadership roles in its various subcommittees. Please be sure to keep an eye out for their events!
We have made reducing opportunity gaps one of our highest priorities. University-wide collaborations like the work being done to achieve the Seal of Excelencia or to Elevate Black Excellence have received grant funding from the CSU to build on the good work being done by many, including CEETL and the College of Ethnic Studies. I also encourage all to drop by one of the centers coordinated by the division of Equity & Community Inclusion—or follow them on social media to find out more about events happening all over campus.
And, as always, our students shine. The Auxiliary Organization Association, a statewide organization representing over 90 organizations, awarded Iese Esera, a graduate student in Public Administration and alumnus of the School of Music, its distinguished AOA Scholarship of Excellence for academic excellence and exemplary service. Congratulations, Iese!
Two student organizations collaborated with the library to create outreach and engagement displays on the first floor of the Main Library. The Iranian Diaspora Student Association created a Norooz/Nowruz display last spring, and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS) and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) created an Indigenous Peoples display in October. I encourage all to visit the library to see these rotating exhibits.
And SF State continues to be lauded for its work. We were awarded a 4.5 out of 5-star rating by Money magazine in its Best Colleges in America 2023 list. Money based its rating on SF State’s quality of education, affordability, and outcomes compared to other universities. U.S. News & World Report ranked SF State eighth in the nation for social mobility in its 2024 Best Colleges list—a critical testament to the value of an SF State degree and a step forward in our battle against the prestige bias which sadly informs too much of the discourse surrounding higher education.
I conclude as I started. Yes, it is a tough moment for higher ed and for us, but our common commitment to students and their success remains the shining feature of the SF State student experience. Highlighting that and sharing loudly and proudly the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, administrators and students will help us recruit and retain students and will go a long way to helping address our local enrollment challenge. We need to assure our students that we will continue to offer the classes they need to graduate and that their progress remains our priority.
As we start 2024 and begin our spring semester, I look forward to a year in which we work together to weather whatever comes our way and continue to provide the best experience we can for our students.
As always, please know that I deeply appreciate all you do to make SF State the unique and vibrant community it is.
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.