Newsmakers for December 2001

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Newsmakers is published in CampusMemo on the last Monday of each month during the academic year by the Office of Public Affairs at SFSU. 415/338-1665.

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December 10, 2001

From classroom to showroom Remembering the forgotten Behind the evil Plays well with words
Casting a doubt Fungi for thought Back to school Saving Lake Merced
Praises for paper Open campuses across communities Science takes root in urban jungle Publicly speaking

From classroom to showroom

An October 2001 article in Entertainment Design Magazine explored the lessons learned when professional designers enter the classroom. Todd Roehrman, assistant professor of theatre arts, spoke about the challenges facing students accepting professional responsibilities. "Sometimes it's frustrating, but my philosophy is if I present them with the challenge, they're going to find a way to accomplish it," he said. "I don't try to dumb down my work or compromise my ideas."

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Remembering the forgotten

An article in the November issue of the Asian American Times featured Ruth Asawa, a renowned local Japanese artist and honorary graduate of SFSU, who designed the Garden of Remembrance to be inaugurated on campus next spring. The garden, dedicated to the 19 former Japanese SFSU students interned during World War II, is composed of 10 stone memorials and a waterfall surrounded by benches for students and visitors. "I want this memorial to be very pleasant and a place for people to gather, to think and to enjoy," she said.

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Behind the veil

Minoo Moallem, chair of the Women Studies Department, was interviewed for a Q&A that appeared in the Nov. 14 edition of the San Francisco Examiner. Asked whether she believes the Taliban is oppressive toward women, she replied, "I would get at that question in a different way. I would say, women pay a lot for wars because women are responsible for taking care of the sick and wounded. We never asked the question, what has been the impact of war on women in the last 20 years. In Afghanistan, there's been a war going on for the last 20 years."

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Plays well with words

Poet and playwright Brighde Mullins was featured in a Nov. 15 San Jose Mercury News article. Mullins, associate professor of creative writing, is currently collaborating with the Thick Description theater company on her latest play "Dominant-Looking Males." "Because I was so intensely shy and bookish as child," she said, "I remember my first production. It sort of pulled me out of my own head and into a room with other living creatures. I think that in a way, it saved me from a life of extreme isolation. Theater has become a way of making things."

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Casting a doubt

In a Nov. 21 San Francisco Examiner article, political science professor Richard Deleon commented on the November 2000 San Francisco municipal election, which is reportedly being recounted. "I would really like to see the evidence that would justify this," he said. "I've never heard of anything like this. It's astonishing, and at first glance, unbelievable, crazy."

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Fungi for thought

The Sunday Nov. 25 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Dennis Desjardin, professor of biology, about the effects of mushroom consumption on the human body. "We're finding that many fleshy mushrooms produce compounds that reduce the size of tumors, increase lymphocytes and improve the immune system," he said. Because mushrooms are said to contain potent antibiotic compounds, research has begun in the hopes of leading to promising new discoveries for the medical and biochemical fields. Genetically speaking, "We're much closer to fungi than plants," Desjardin added.

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back to school

In a Nov. 26 article in the San Francisco Business Times concerning the rise of MBA applicants as a result of a slowing nationwide economy, Art Kuhn, director of graduate studies for the College of Business, commented, "About a year ago, I was worried if we'd have enough (e-commerce) offerings, but that's not a problem now. Students are shifting back to traditional offerings." The wave of new applicants has increased enrollment at the University's College of Business by 40 percent this year.

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Saving Lake Merced

A Nov. 27 story in the San Francisco Independent touched on the declining state of Lake Merced and the alarm of conversation groups and neighborhood beautification committees, like the Lake Merced Task Force (LMTF), which brings together a large number of groups interested in restoring the lake. "Our job is not to move each agenda forward; our job is to broaden the conversation and keep it going," said Don Zingale, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and member of the LMTF. Working with other groups, LMTF has submitted an outline of 85 recommendations approved by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

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Praises for paper

Columnist P.J. Corkery praised the student newspaper in the Nov. 27 issue of the San Francisco Examiner.

"Kudos to Marcos Mocine-McQueen and his colleagues at Golden Gate [X]press,the intriguing and highly readable student newspaper-magazine at SFSU. The [X]press just won five top prizes from the Associated Collegiate Press, including one for a sharp issue just after Sept. 11 featuring local reaction. Mocine-McQueen won for a controversial piece that had him arguing against censorship of ads. Brave piece, brave buy, bright paper. "

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Open campuses across communities

In an initiative to help community college students attain their educational goals, San Francisco State University and Ca-ada College have joined together to form a new program called Pathways, which allows students to pursue an SF State degree from the Redwood City College without commuting or transferring to the University. A Nov. 28 article in the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Gail Whitaker, associate vice president for academic program development, as saying, "We're trying to make it easier for students to move from high school and lower division (community college) programs to upper division and graduation as well as on to teaching credentials."

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Science takes root in urban jungle

When school ends in some of California's poorest communities, at-risk youth flock to free neighborhood science centers to play and learn. In late November, newspapers including the Contra Costa Times, Fresno Bee, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sacramento Bee and San Diego Union Tribune, carried an Associated Press story reporting that SFSU received a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to replicate these Community Science Workshops across the nation, with the goal of getting underserved youth hooked on science. Papers including the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Examiner and Christian Science Monitor published individual stories. Of the impact the workshops have on youth, founder Dan Sudran told the Associated Press that it "broadens their worlds. I always tell kids, 'Whether you end up working in science or not, it just makes you see life in a bigger picture.'"

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Publicly speaking

Marshall Windmiller, professor emeritus of international relations, participated in the Dec. 3 edition of Forum on KQED-FM. The panelists discussed U.S. involvement in the nation building process in Afghanistan. "I think the main role that we can play is to provide a large amount of the money that is necessary to do this job," Windmiller said. "Given our economy and the many public institutions that are under funded in this country, that's going to be a tough thing to put together."

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