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Volume 55, Number 14   November 12, 2007         

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April 2006 Newsmakers

Screwed pooch
Cinema Professor Jan Millsapps was featured in a Nov. 3 KRON-4 News Weekend interview about her new novel, "Screwed Pooch," which tells the story of Laika, the Soviet canine who became the first living creature to orbit Earth on Sputnik 2. "I found out everything I could historically; I wanted to write a historically accurate novel," Millsapps said. "Honestly, there's so much we don't know about what was going on 50 years ago, in part because the Soviets didn't want us to know, in part because everything was just moving so fast that nobody took time to document it." Although the space mission ended Laika's life, Millsapps assures, "She's having the time of her after-life!"

On a side note, KRON censored the name of the book during the interview, referring to it as "…crewed Pooch" and requiring the show's host to put his finger over the first letter of the book's title.

Experience counts
In a Nov. 4 New York Times article about the national need for more qualified school teachers, Terry Jones, secondary education lecturer, discussed the benefits of providing student teachers with more hands-on classroom teaching experience. "Universities do not do a good job, if they do anything at all, teaching students how to manage a classroom," Jones said. He discussed the approach taken by the Reach Institute for School Leadership, where he serves as an unpaid adviser. The program provides student teachers with extensive classroom teaching experience rather than relying on courses and seminars. "With Reach, young teachers go into the classroom, have experiences, then come to a seminar where their coach can add theory to what they're learning first hand. It's exactly the opposite of the way it's done now."

Show me the green
College of Business Dean Nancy Hayes commented on SF State's M.B.A. enrollment jumping up 25.8 percent this fall in the Nov. 2 edition of the San Francisco Business Times. Hayes noted that the program's new emphasis on socially responsible business practices reflects "where business is going and where new fields of study are in business research." The Downtown Campus, home to the M.B.A. program, offers courses on sustainability, and Hayes affirmed, "We believe that San Francisco is a leader in this and we want to represent and reflect that emphasis." Murray Silverman, a professor of management and founder of the sustainability emphasis, agreed. "On the front end, we have students coming in with strong social and environmental values. .... More and more, they are seeing they can change the world through business."

Family as system
Wade Nobles, professor of Africana studies and executive director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture, was a scholarly expert on a Nov. 2 segment of National Public Radio, "What Makes a Healthy Family?" Interviewed with Dorothy Height, chair and president of the National Council of Negro Women, Nobles said, "The family is a structure that is primarily designed to be child-centered. …. The key and most important element here is the love and nurturing of children." When asked about the different factors that shape a family unit, Nobles responded, "No family in this country exists on its own in an isolated bubble. Its success is determined not by what it does alone; it is an interaction with the larger society of those forces that either retard people's advancement or advance them."

Warming waters
On "Climate Watch" on NBC11 News, Jonathon Stillman, assistant professor of biology and researcher at Romberg Tiburon Center, stressed that an increase of just one degree above peak temperature for such animals as porcelain crabs could damage the fragile marine ecosystem. In the Nov. 6 televised interview, Stillman said, "There could be an impact on the food web, because [the crabs] are important prey items."

Popular for now
In a Nov. 5 USA Today article about Mayor Gavin Newsom's popularity despite personal and political controversy, Professor Emeritus Richard DeLeon says to look for Newsom to start positioning himself to run for governor in 2010. "I predict in his second term he'll move even more to the center and soft-pedal, or even mute, his initiatives in cultural policy, gay rights …. There are people who say his popularity is wide but not deep."

For more media coverage of faculty, staff, students, alumni and programs, see SF State in the News.

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Last modified Nov. 12, 2007 by University Communications.