San Francisco State UniversityCampusMemo
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February 4

Volume 49, No. 18.
Announcements Washington’s birthday not a holidayNew scholarship office Travel funds Accreditation data on the Web
Reveal the cinemaphile within This Week FitnessPlus! Plan for health fair Dean of Business candidate
Senate reconvenes Faculty affairs dean finalists A mix of traditional American music Summer plans Academica Judaica
CUSP II meeting Angels returns to SFSU Trios by two B’s RTC a chunk of ‘California’s Gold’ Math chair named dean of the College of Science and Engineering
Buttlaire takes post as undergrad studies dean Segment III reminder Give the choir a hand Coming Up Book colloquium
CIC: deadline for student recruitment More candidates for College of Business dean Student research deadline Kingman in the City Founders Day 2002
Library expansion update Saffold to receive prestigious award


Washington’s birthday not a holiday

CampusMemo would like to clarify the University’s celebration of Washington’s birthday this year. The campus will be open for instruction on Monday, Feb. 18. The Sept. 4, 2001, edition of CampusMemo printed incorrect information that may have led to some confusion. The correct campus calendar was reprinted in the Sept. 10, 2001 edition and is available at:

Washington’s birthday was observed during the holiday campus closure. With supervisory approval, employees may take the day off as vacation, CTO or personal holiday.

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New scholarship office

Prompted by the increased number of talented scholars on campus, the University has opened a new scholarship office to match qualified students with financial awards.

The Academic Honors and Scholarships Office will connect eligible students with national and local scholarships and fellowships requiring campus nominations. The office serves as a clearinghouse for merit-based scholarships by gathering and dispersing information about the dozens of financial opportunities offered each year.

The office operates in collaboration with Financial Aid and works with academic advisers, graduate coordinators, faculty members and student organizations to identify outstanding students and help prepare them for prestigious, national competitions.

Please inform students of two upcoming workshops that will outline the various steps in applying for scholarships. The first is at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, and the second at 2 p.m. Monday, April 8. Meetings will be held in Student Services 401. Students planning to attend should RSVP to

To schedule an appointment with the office, call ext. 8-7000 or send an e-mail to

For more information, students can visit the Financial Aid Office in the One Stop Student Services Center.

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Travel funds

The SFSU Retirement Association will again provide support for approved, job-related travel. The award rotates between faculty and staff, and this year it’s the faculty’s turn. Letters of application should contain the purpose of the travel as well as travel plans and costs. Applications should be sent to the SFSU Retirement Association by March 11 in care of Franklin Sheehan, Mathematics Department.

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Accreditation data on the Web

Associate Vice President Richard Giardina announces that information on SFSU’s externally accredited academic programs is now available online at:

Comments or questions may be directed to Giardina at

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Reveal the cinemaphile within

The International Film Club (IFC) would like to hear from faculty members interested in selecting their favorite international film for an IFC screening. Faculty members would attend the screening and give a short presentation on why they selected the film. The IFC screens movies from 7 to 10 p.m. on Mondays in the Coppola Theatre.

All proceeds from the events go toward a scholarship fund for study-abroad students. The club is co-sponsored by the Office of International Programs, the Department of Cinema and the International Education Exchange Council at SFSU.

If you are interested, send an e-mail to or call ext. 8-1293 .

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This Week


FitnessPlus!, the faculty/staff wellness program formerly known as Healthstart, begins today. The program offers morning, noon and evening fitness classes for a nominal fee. Information and registration forms are available online at:

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Plan for health fair

The planning committee for the African American Community Health Fair will meet at noon Tuesday in the Student Health Center. The fair is tentatively scheduled for April 25. Faculty and staff are welcome to join the committee and are asked to encourage students to join in the planning.

For details, contact Kamal Harb at ext. 8-2191 or

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Dean of Business candidate

James T. Strong, the first of four candidates for the Dean of the College of Business, is scheduled to be on campus today and Tuesday. A reception for Strong, associate dean of the College of Business at the University of Akron, will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. today in the University Club. He will give a presentation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday in BUS 202. Both events are open to the campus community.

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Senate reconvenes

The first Academic Senate meeting of the semester will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Seven Hills Conference Center.

The Academic Senate and its Shared Governance Task Force invite the campus community to attend and discuss issues and concerns of shared governance. Topics of discussion include the role of shared governance in the retention-tenure-promotion (RTP) process and in allocating academic resources. Department chairs, RTP committee members and new faculty are especially encouraged to attend.

Agenda items include: a report from Vice President Thomas LaBelle; a report from the statewide senators; proposed revisions to the bachelor of science in business degree -- multiple concentrations; and the discussion on shared governance.

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Faculty affairs dean finalists

BECA Professor Ronald J. Compesi, the first of five finalists for the dean of faculty affairs position, will give a presentation and participate in a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the University Club. The campus community is invited to attend.

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A mix of traditional American music

The Mocha Festival, which begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 14, features four concerts celebrating folk, country, bluegrass/Celtic/African and Delta blues music and an afternoon of Southern humor.

Odetta performs Tuesday. Jim Lauderdale performs Wednesday. Peter Rowan performs Thursday. James Cottom performs Tuesday, Feb. 12. And T. Bubba Bechtol with Red Meat performs Thursday, Feb. 14.

All shows are at 7:30 p.m. in Knuth Hall, except T. Bubba Bechtol with Red Meat, which is at 3:30 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $8 for students and seniors for each show. Tickets may be purchased at the Creative Arts Box Office or by calling ext. 8-2467.

The festival is presented by Associated Students Performing Arts and Lectures and co-sponsored by Jazz and World Music Studies.

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Summer plans

A Summer Semester Committee meeting will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday in ADM 552.

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Academica Judaica

Academica Judaica kicks off this semester with a presentation by Rami Friedman on “Israel and Jerusalem Today: Issues and Problems” from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Thursday in HUM 279. Friedman is the head of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

For details, contact the Jewish Studies Program at ext. 8-6705 or

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CUSP II meeting

The campus community is invited to attend the second CUSP II meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday in the Cantina at Mary Ward Hall. For details, contact Richard Giardina at

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Angels returns to SFSU

Tony Kushner's award-winning epic drama "Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches" returns to San Francisco after a seven-year absence when the Players Club, an SFSU student run organization, revives the work with an 8 p.m. preview performance on Thursday in the Little Theatre. The play runs through Feb. 17.

Tickets are $10 reserved and $8 for students/seniors. For tickets, call the Creative Arts Box Office from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at ext. 8-2467. Tickets also go on sale one hour before each show.

Directed by Lisa Marie Sato, Kushner's play about five gay men, two women and an angel remains topical two decades following the discovery of AIDS as it initiates a critical dialogue on social and political issues.

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Trios by two B's

Faculty members of the Music Department--Victoria Neve, piano; Sandy Walsh-Wilson, cello; and Peter Josheff, clarinetÑwill perform trios by Beethoven and Brahms at 1 p.m. Friday in Knuth Hall. The performance is free.

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RTC a chunk of 'California's Gold'

The Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, the Univeristy's world-class marine research center located in Tiburon, will be featured in an upcoming episode of the PBS television series "California's Gold."

Produced and narrated by history buff Hewell Howser, the syndicated show will air 3:30 p.m. Saturday on KQED-TV Channel 9.

Copies of the broadcast are $20 and can be ordered by calling RTC at ext. 8-6063.

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Math chair named dean of the College of Science and Engineering

Two years ago, a new dean for the College of Science and Engineering was an unknown value. Carry the search by one year, subtract a member of the search committee, add Mathematics Department Chair Sheldon Axler, and what is left? A formula for success.

Like any good math problem, the answer was always there but not easy to see. As chair of the search committee, Axler didn't consider himself a potential candidate until colleagues from across campus encouraged him to apply.

"I thought it would be an interesting challenge," says 52-year-old Axler, who officially replaced retired dean James Kelley as new dean in January. "And I wanted to be of service to the College, so I thought, 'why not?'" His charm and wit, coupled with an excellent track record as chair of SFSU's Math Department for the last four and a half years, may have impressed the search committee. But according to University Provost Thomas La Belle, it's his dedication to the University and its programs that ultimately informed the committee's decision.

"Sheldon is a world-class mathematician, a proven academic administrator and an individual who has worked productively with colleagues on this campus," says La Belle. "I feel very fortunate that we will be able to take advantage of his intellect and problem-solving skills."

Axler, who says he finds math both "logical and beautiful," joined the Math Department as chair in 1997 after 20 years as a professor at Michigan State University. As chair, Axler dedicated himself to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for students, particularly those afraid of math.

"We try to open them to the beauty of math," Axler says, "that it is not rote calculation, that it is thinking. That it is exciting, and clear. We try to show students that they can succeed in mathematics and enjoy it."

If the steady growth of students pursuing math degrees is any indication, Axler succeeded in his mission.

But Axler considers faculty hiring his greatest accomplishment.

"We hired professors who are terrific teachers, terrific researchers and terrific colleagues. We never compromised on making sure that they excelled in those areas."

A productive researcher and publisher, Axler has received numerous National Science Foundation grants and professional awards, and has written a handful of textbooks including "Linear Algebra Done Right."

"It's an audacious title, I know," says Axler, laughing. "It implies that all the other books on the subject are done wrong, which is what I meant to imply." In the textbook, Axler elucidates what he says is a "cleaner, simpler approach" to working with the main theorems of linear algebra, one that eliminates the use of determinants. Whether marketing genius or wry humorist, Axler is proud of the book's success. It is being used at more than 100 universities.

As dean, Axler says he hopes to perpetuate Kelley's legacy of keeping faculty and students "intellectually alive," by emphasizing research. "Our goal is excellence in research and teaching," Axler says. "To be a good teacher, you have to be intellectually alive, and you do that through research. While that's not unique to us, what makes SF State different is that we actively bring this research to our students. We bring it into the classroom, into student projects.

"I'm not inheriting something that needs to be fixed," Axler adds. "The College is in great shape. I just want to perpetuate and extend that."

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Buttlaire takes post as undergrad studies dean

Daniel Buttlaire, a chemist with 27 years of experience at SFSU, was recently named dean of undergraduate studies. Buttlaire was previously interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

As dean of undergraduate studies, he is responsible for managing the undergraduate courses and curriculum as well as the Learning Assistance Center and Advising Center. Buttlaire began his new job Jan. 22.

"I am delighted that Dan Buttlaire is San Francisco State's dean of undergraduate studies," says Thomas La Belle, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "With a 27-year tenure at the University as dean, associate dean, department chair and faculty member, he is poised to play a key leadership role in working with faculty and administrators to ensure the integrity and currency of our undergraduate curriculum, in addition to managing our learning assistance and advising efforts."

Buttlaire replaces Susan Taylor, who died in May 2000 after a long illness. Jerald Combs served as dean pro tem through December 2001 and will continue to teach in the History Department.

"I want to make a difference and contribute to strengthening undergraduate education at San Francisco State," he says. "A strong undergraduate program enriches the life of our students and prepares them to be productive members of society."

Buttlaire joined SFSU in 1975 as an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. He was chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department for 17 years before being named associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering in 1997. During the 2000-2001 academic year, Buttlaire served as interim dean while the University searched for a replacement for the legendary James Kelley, who retired after 26 years as dean.

Buttlaire earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University in Denver in 1963 and his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Kansas in 1970. His research interests are in physical biochemistry, enzymology and protein chemistry.

Since Buttlaire left the classroom, he has not had much time to conduct research. However, he plans to continue collaborating with faculty in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department on projects involving the catalytic mechanisms of enzymes and the role of metals in biological systems.

Throughout his tenure at SFSU, Buttlaire said he has most enjoyed working closely with students and faculty to help them achieve their professional goals.

"It's really a joy to watch students develop intellectually, especially to help them reach farther than they thought they could," he said.

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Next Week

Segment III reminder

As noted in the October 2001 letter sent to faculty and deans, the deadline for submitting proposals for revised Segment III clusters and new clusters for this year's cycle is Friday, Feb. 15.

All forms, instructions, guidelines and samples can be found at: Return to top

Give the choir a hand

The SFSU Handbell Choir has a vacancy that needs to be filled. No prior experience is required.

Rehearsals are from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. every other Monday through May 20. The first rehearsal will take place on Feb. 11.

Rehearsals are held in the Choir Room of Temple United Methodist Church, 65 Beverly St.

To beome a member of the choir, contact Caroline Harnly at ext. 8-1454 or

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Coming Up

Book colloquium

Randall Nakayama will present "'Unpossible' Loves," from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in HUM 203. Nakayama will speak on Sir John Harington's translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso. Randall Nakayama, associate professor of English, specializes in early modern English literature.

The colloquium, which is open to the campus community and the public, will be followed by a reception. It is sponsored by the English Department, the Graduate Literature Association and Friends of the Library.

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CIC: deadline for student recruitment

The recruiting period for students to participate in Community Involvement Center (CIC) projects runs through Feb. 15. The CIC asks faculty to inform their students of the Center's academic internship opportunities.

For details, visit the CIC in building T-A (near the SFSU Bookstore). Or contact the CIC at ext. 8-1486 or

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More candidates for College of Business dean

More candidates for College of Business dean

In addition to James T. Strong, who will be on campus this week, three finalists have been selected for dean of the College of Business and have scheduled on-campus visits. All members of the campus community are invited to attend the candidates' presentations and receptions.

  • Feb. 15 and 18: William C. Hunter, senior vice president and director of research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Hunter's reception will run from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 15 in Room 1 of the University Club and his presentation will run from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in BUS 202.
  • Feb. 19-20: Jack A. Fuller, director of business administration, College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University. Fuller's reception will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the University Club and his presentation will run from 2:30 to 4 Feb. 20 in BUS 202.
  • TBA: W. Gerald Platt, interim dean, College of Business, San Francisco State University. Check CampusMemo next week for the schedule for Platt's reception and presentation.

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Student research deadline

The deadline to apply for participation in the 16th Annual Student Research Competition is Tuesday, Feb. 26. Faculty are asked to share this news with their students, including recent graduates.

All currently enrolled students and spring, summer and fall 2001 graduates are eligible. Proprietary research is excluded.

The SFSU competition, which features oral presentations, takes place March 4-8.

SFSU will provide travel funds for campus winners to compete in the CSU-wide competition May 3-4 at CSU Long Beach.

Student registration forms and application guidelines are available in the Graduate Division office, ADM 254, and in college offices. For details, contact Darlene Yee at or Lisa Hoskins at

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Kingman in the City

The watercolors of Dong Kingman are featured in an exhibit at the Chinese American National Museum co-sponsored by the College of Creative Arts and Chinese Historical Society of America and curated by Mark Johnson of the Art Department. The exhibit runs through Feb. 28. The museum, located at 965 Clay St. in San Francisco, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors and $1 for children ages 6 to 17.

Considered the most famous Chinese artist in mid-century America, watercolor master Dong Kingman (1911-2000) is the subject of this highly focused retrospective featuring 25 watercolors of San Francisco scenes painted between 1935 and the mid-1980s. Viewers can see the development of the artist's influential style and marvel at the ease in which he fused traditional Chinese and modern Western techniques.

For details, call (415) 391-1188.

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Founders Day 2002

SFSU will celebrate its 103rd birthday during a Founders Day celebration on Thursday, March 22. Stay tuned to CampusMemo for more details!

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Library expansion update

A feasibility study for the expansion and renovation of the J. Paul Leonard Library was recently presented to the Legislative Analyst’s Office for the state of California. Gov. Gray Davis has proposed fast-tracking the project by including it as part of his economic stimulus package. The package, which augments the state budget for the current fiscal year, is awaiting approval by the state legislature before funds will be released. While there is still much planning work to be done before construction can start, the following information may be of interest to the campus community.

The current building, which was constructed in three phases (1953, 1959 and 1971), contains approximately 183,000 square feet. The proposed plan outlined in the study would provide a total of approximately 302,732 square feet, the space required by the CSU for a library to serve 20,000 full-time equivalent students. The existing facility provides only 68 percent of the needed space.

The expansion will come in the form of an addition to the building. The Library will remain open and accessible during construction.

To get maximum use out of the added space, some Library holdings will be shifted into an automatic retrieval system located in the basement of the Library addition. Patrons will order and pick up books at the circulation desk.

The new facility will also greatly increase the number of seats for readers (by as much as 25 percent) and the amount of space available for group or class meetings. Also included is additional space for the Audio Visual Department and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching.

A renovation of the existing building, also included in the project, will bring it up to current seismic codes, create a better interior layout, and upgrade the telecommunications, electrical, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

The proposal also calls for the creation of a joint facility. The Library will share part of its expanded space with the state of California Sutro Library, which is currently housed in a temporary facility on Winston Drive.

The Sutro Library contains holdings of rare materials related to California history and genealogical research materials. It also has provided space for the SFSU Labor Archives.

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Saffold to receive prestigious award

J.E. "Penny" Saffold, vice president for student affairs/dean of students, will receive the 2002 Exemplary Award for Public Service from the Black Caucus of the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) at an awards ceremony March 18 in Chicago.

The annual award is the highest honor given to a member of the AAHE Black Caucus. It is awarded to "an individual whose public life and career have been superlative with regard to addressing broad policy issues relating to the welfare of African Americans," said Sheila Baldwin, chair of the AAHE Black Caucus and professor of English and African American studies at Columbia College Chicago.

Baldwin praised Saffold for her work on the Program Committee and her role in the Black Caucus' decision to hold a national Summit on Blacks in Higher Education in 2000 instead of attending the AAHE's national conference that year.

"She is an outstanding role model," Baldwin said. "She is always there with an encouraging and extremely realistic word to help others to boldly rise to their potential."

The Black Caucus has about 500 members.

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