San Francisco State UniversityCampusMemo
CampusMemo is published weekly during semesters and monthly in the summer for faculty and staff by the Public Affairs and Publications offices at SFSU. 415/338-1665.

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday at 5 p.m. of the week preceding publication. Send submissions to: Please include a contact name and extension.

March 18

Volume 49, No. 24.
Announcements In memoriam: Jesse Ritter CampusMemo gets spring fever Toot your horn--we'll listen
Expand your mind Scientists wanted Votes due April 2 Be a planner
This Week Golden Gate [X]press open house Academic Senate agenda Women, war and globalization
The Coup to perform Faculty to discuss retirement Filipina author on campus Faculty Affairs dean candidate
Italian lecture Coming Up Body image on KQED Green activist book signing
Lecture on Chinese language Paris preview Sandra Cisneros to speak
Newsmakers Decongesting traffic jams Plumbing spirituality Jazz masters in Marin
Accolades for classicist History and heritage Learning made electrifying A dynamic duo
Transcripts for deaf students Gay elders: a new generation Thursday is Founders' Day! STAR of the month


In memoriam: Jesse Ritter

Jesse Ritter, emeritus professor of English, died Feb. 10 from cancer.

Born on Oct. 16, 1930, in Los Angeles, Ritter graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in 1955 with a B.A. in history and English and then went on to the University of Arkansas, where he earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on modern literature.

Ritter began teaching at San Francisco State in 1968. He was actively involved in the anti-war movement and the struggle on campus to establish a School of Ethnic Studies.

For a number of years, Ritter was responsible for the freshman English classes, including the staffing of those classes. He also worked on departmental, University and statewide committees that were developing general studies programs.

College of Humanities Dean Nancy McDermid remembers sitting in on one of Ritter's experimental courses, "Born Losers and Dubious Winners."

"This course attracted over 200 students and included Cervantes, Gogol, Algren, Pynchon and Marcuse on the required reading list," she said. "There were serious writing assignments and fantastic class discussions."

Ritter taught a wide range of courses with special emphasis on modern American novels. One of his favorite classes was the NEXA course "John Steinbeck and ‘Doc' Ricketts," which he team-taught for many years with Jim Kelley, former dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

Ritter, who retired in 1996, was also a freelance journalist, a poet and screenwriter, and an expert on jazz, the blues, American railroads and organic farming.

Return to top

CampusMemo gets spring fever

CampusMemo will not appear during the week of spring break (March 25 - 30). Look for the next issue to arrive in your mailbox Tuesday, April 2. All submissions for the April 2 issue must be received by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 26. Because of the Cesar Chavez holiday on April 1, First Monday will be published on April 8, the first Monday the campus is open next month.

Return to top

Toot your horn -- we'll listen

The Office of Public Affairs encourages members of the campus community to let us know about your accomplishments. Drop us a line and tell us about awards received, interesting community projects, student accomplishments and stories with a strong human interest aspect to them. The office is always looking to make the good work of SFSU visible.

Contact Public Affairs at ext. 8-1665,, or via fax at ext. 8-1498.

Return to top

Expand your mind

The New York Times is running a special home delivery offer for the employees and students of colleges and universities. To take advantage of the 60-percent discount ($4.90 per week), call 1-888-NYT-COLL. The SFSU code is: S96YE1.

For details, call Ligeia Polidora at ext. 8-3053 or

Return to top

Scientists wanted

The SFSU chapter of Sigma Xi, the national research society, invites faculty to apply for membership. Sigma Xi advances scientific research, encourages cooperation among scientists in all disciplines, and assists the wider understanding of science.

For an application and information about membership in the SFSU chapter, please contact Andrea Boyle at or Darlene Yee at

Return to top

Votes due April 2

The voting deadline on the change to the language of the SFSU Faculty Constitution is Tuesday, April 2. Please submit all ballots to the Academic Senate Office, ADM 552. Additional ballots are available.

For details, call ext. 8-1264.

Return to top

Be a planner

The Academic Senate Office seeks interested members of the campus community to serve on the planning committee for the 2003 Faculty, Staff and Administrative Development Conference.

For details, call ext. 8-1264.

Return to top

This Week

Golden Gate [X]press open house

The Golden Gate [X]press is opening its doors to the public from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in HUM 308.

Campus administrators, faculty, staff and student groups are invited to come and observe the newsroom. [X]press staff and faculty advisers will be on hand to answer questions about content and policy. Refreshments will be provided.

Academic Senate agenda

The Academic Senate will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Nob Hill Room of Seven Hills Conference Center.

Agenda items include: a report from Provost Thomas J. La Belle; a report from the statewide senators; a proposed resolution on the hiring of graduate teaching assistants; a report from Marilyn Verhey, coordinator of academic assessment; proposed revisions to the bachelor of science degree in computer science and the minor program in computer science; and a proposed policy on academic assessment.

Return to top

Academic Senate agenda

The Academic Senate will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Nob Hill Room of Seven Hills Conference Center.

Agenda items include: a report from Provost Thomas J. La Belle; a report from the statewide senators; a proposed resolution on the hiring of graduate teaching assistants; a report from Marilyn Verhey, coordinator of academic assessment; proposed revisions to the bachelor of science degree in computer science and the minor program in computer science; and a proposed policy on academic assessment.

Return to top

Women, war and globalization

The Third Annual Public Lecture and Film Series in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day wraps up with a panel discussion on "Feminist Practices Against War" from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday in HSS 362. Minoo Moallem, chair of Women Studies, will moderate the panel, which features immigration attorney Reem O. Awad-Rashmawi, Inderpal Grewal of the Women Studies Department at UC Irvine, Jennifer Terry of the Women Studies Department at UC Berkeley, and Sheila Tully of the Anthropology Department at UC Berkeley.

For details, call ext. 8-3295 or ext. 8-1388.

Return to top

The Coup to perform

Hip-hop artists The Coup will perform at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Jack Adams Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Tickets are $10 and can be bought in advance by calling (800) 594-8499. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the performance.

Return to top

Faculty to discuss retirement

The "Let's Talk About Teaching" series continues with a discussion on "Retirement -- Why It Scares the Hell Out of Us" from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Verducci Room of the University Club. Geosciences Professor Ray Pestrong will facilitate the discussion.

The series is sponsored by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and is part of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Return to top

Filipina author on campus

Author Tess Uriza Holthe will be on campus for a book signing at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Rigoberta Menchu Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Holthe's novel When Elephants Dance, the story of a group of Filipino civilians during the Japanese invasion of World War II, was published earlier this year.

Return to top

Faculty Affairs dean candidate

Jeanne Zarucchi, a candidate for dean of faculty affairs and professional development, will be on campus this week. Zarucchi is the faculty coordinator of the Campus Mediation Service at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Her presentation and a reception will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the University Club.

Return to top

Italian lecture

Albert R. Ascoli will present "Fede e Riscrittura: Il 'Furioso' del '32" at 2 p.m. Friday in the De Bellis Collection on the sixth floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library. Ascoli, a professor of Italian at UC Berkeley, will discuss the third edition of Ariosto's narrative poem Orlando Furioso.

Return to top

Coming Up

Body image on KQED

"Body Image: The Quest for Perfection" will air on KQED-TV at 5:30 p.m. on March 31. The program was directed by Hamid Khani, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, and is based on research by Michelle Wolf, who is also a professor in the BECA department.

Return to top

Green activist book signing

Julia Butterfly Hill, an environmental activist best known for living in a tree for two years to protest old-growth logging, will be at the SFSU Bookstore for a book signing at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 2. Hill's new book One Makes the Difference: Inspiring Actions that Change Our World will be published March 26. In it, Hill outlines ways people of all ages can reduce pollution and waste through environmentally sound living.

The event is sponsored by the SFSU Bookstore. For details, call ext. 8-2650.

Return to top

Lecture on Chinese language

The spring 2002 Foreign Language Colloquium Series presents "Conflicting Notions of Language Purity: Tradition, Change, Progress, and the Perception of Standard Chinese," a lecture by Chris Wen-Chao Li, assistant professor of Chinese, from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in HUM 122.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. For details, contact Midori McKeon at ext. 8-7413 or

Return to top

Paris preview

The College of Extended Learning will hold a preview of its July study-abroad session in Paris at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Downtown Center Campus, 425 Market St. The program includes language classes, a French civilization course and a variety of cultural activities and outings.

For details, call ext. 8-1533.

Return to top

Sandra Cisneros to speak

Sandra Cisneros will lecture and sign books at 1 p.m. Monday, April 15, in Jack Adams Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Cisneros, a writer of fiction and poetry, is best known for her short story collection A House on Mango Street.

The event is sponsored by the College of Ethnic Studies, the departments of Raza Studies and Women Studies, the Raza Faculty and Staff Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the Office of Human Relations.

Return to top


Decongesting traffic jams

Commuter discontent has become a prevalent concern among voters, according to a Feb. 12 article in the West County Times. "I think the Republicans will find they will have plenty of material to work with along these lines," said Roger Crawford, professor of geography and human environmental studies. Despite efforts by Gov. Gray Davis, gasoline price increases, poor air quality and road conditions, and stagnant mass transportation development still trouble commuters. "All of us know we have to do these things when the economy is healthy. We missed our opportunities -- think of the possibility of maybe billions of dollars lost over the last several years."

Return to top

Plumbing spirituality

A Feb. 24 San Francisco Chronicle Q&A with Jacob Needleman, professor of philosophy, featured an in-depth interview about his new book, The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders. Published in February by Tarcher/Putnam, the book is Needleman's attempt to extract philosophical and spiritual meaning out of the lives of America's founders. "I think it's a great mistake to say that America is not fundamentally a spiritual concept. And it's not religious dogma, compulsion or fanaticism. It's all based on free choice," he said. "And spirituality is certainly not necessarily religion. The founders were men and women concerned with the deepest questions of the inner life." Needleman's book was reviewed in the same issue of the Chronicle.

Return to top

Jazz masters in Marin

The Feb. 27 issue of the Marin Independent Journal featured a visit to San Rafael High School's jazz band by jazz legend Branford Marsalis, artist-in-residence in the Music Department, and music Lecturer Andrew Speight. Offering technical tips and a little tough love, Marsalis also told the students they must listen to more jazz music to learn to play better. "They are just playing the notes. They don't know what the song is supposed to sound like," he said. Speight led the band through a series of music exercises and sampled a few notes on his saxophone. "You have two ears and one mouth," he said. "Use them to that proportion when you play music." By the end of the 90-minute period, the band's playing improved noticeably.

Return to top

Accolades for classicist

The recipient of the American Philological Association's highest award, Pamela Vaughn, associate professor and chair of the Classics Department, was profiled in the March issue of the Sunset Beacon. Her interest in the classics, defined as classical Greek and Latin literature found in antiquity, began as a child. "Even though there were no professional teachers or scholars in my family, my parents encouraged me," she said. "We were a family of readers. My dad gave me a book on Greek mythology and from that time on I was swept away."

Return to top

History and heritage

On a March 8 newscast on KPIX-TV, Channel 5, Oba T'Shaka, professor of black studies, commented on the auctioning of Malcolm X's personal items, which include more than 10 crates of journals, handwritten speeches, correspondence and photographs. "To have his most important, private documents put up for sale I'm sure would make him sick," he said. T'Shaka,who studied and trained under Malcolm's tutelage in 1963, now teaches a course on his life. San Francisco-based auctioning house Butterfield and Butterfield canceled the auction several days after the story aired.

T'Shaka also appeared in a Feb. 6Grand Rapids Press article about Black History Month. The article paraphrased him as saying, "Positive things are emerging from uncorrupted black culture that are humanizing African-Americans and all Americans." It added, "T'Shaka sees popular culture beginning to embrace the traditional African world view that the world belongs to all of us, that the spirit of the creator is in all things, a covenant marriage between science and the sacred, and that money is of considerably less importance than goodness of character."

Return to top

Learning made electrifying

Students helping businesses save millions of dollars through the University's energy audit program was the feature of a March 8 story in The Stockton Record. Through the program, SFSU engineering students are given the opportunity to evaluate the energy efficiency and make recommendations for improvements of manufacturing companies throughout the Bay Area. Ahmad Ganji, professor of mechanical engineering, says that there are 230-plus companies that have volunteered for surveys conducted by the school since 1992. "This program has increased my knowledge at least 75 percent from what I've learned in class," said Hassan Bitar, an engineering student who has audited more than 20 companies.

Return to top

A dynamic duo

The March 13 edition of the Philippine News reported on Christine and Thelma Domingo, a mother and daughter duo who are both pursuing master's degrees in nursing at SFSU. The master's program, which began in May 2000 with a cohort of 25 students, prepares working nurses to move into administrative and managerial positions at a hospital or care facility or to start their own private health care ventures. Amy Nichols, one of the coordinators of the master's program, said it is "a wonderful life experience" for the Domingos to pursue the degree together. Nichols encouraged Thelma, the mother, to recruit her daughter into the program. In turn, Christine helped keep "the flame alive" when her mother got bogged down in the difficult coursework. "By her exemplary diligence, she inspired me to go on," Thelma said.

Return to top

Transcripts for deaf students

The March 13 issue of the SF Weekly reported on the difficulty deaf students at some UC campuses have in getting services that will help them with their coursework. One dispute revolves around the campus' reluctance to provide transcripts of captioned class lectures to the students. The UC argues that a transcript gives hard-of-hearing students an advantage over hearing students. Gene Chelberg, disability programs and resource center director at SFSU, disagrees. "My whole thing about transcripts is that if an individual wants to go back and look through a transcript, more power to them," he said. "I don't see it giving more of an advantage or disadvantage. If they find it helpful, that's fine." While SFSU has provided a captioning and transcript service in the past, the deaf students currently on campus all prefer to use assisted listening devices.

Return to top

Gay elders: a new generation

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on March 15 on "Aging and Sexuality," a conference discussing such topics as alternative relationships, fulfillment in midlife, sex lives of older gay men, and the gay and bisexual African American perspective on life after 40. Psychology Professor John De Cecco organized the conference, which was held Saturday. "I think they're all issues that can be discussed and need to be aired, so that the range of preferences and practices are opened up again -- so that people don't have to give up who they are to be sexual," he said. Gerontology Professor Brian de Vries gave a presentation on "Life Stories and Gay Men: Life Course Pathways to Gay Identities." He noted a generation gap in the gay community. "Older people who don't conform to that (gym) prototype are seen as 'less than' (by younger gay people)," he said.

Return to top

Thursday is Founders' Day!

The University will celebrate its 103rd birthday with a Founders' Day celebration that will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday. You are invited.

Keeping with the theme "Party like it's 1899!" students dressed in period costumes will be stationed at main campus entrances, passing out fortune cookies before the event and inviting people to participate. At noon, a brief program will begin with a few words from President Corrigan and include the announcement of the staff STAR of the Year and a performance of SFSU's University Hymn by the Chamber Singers. A copy of the Hymn can be found on the back page of CampusMemo. Bring it with you to the celebration if you want to sing along.

After the program, campus administrators and deans will serve a 3,000-piece birthday cake to the campus community and Harry Best's band will serve up its own blend of reggae, calypso, and other Caribbean sounds.

Return to top

STAR of the month

Stella Blankenship, a registered nurse in the urgent care department at the Student Health Service, is the University's STAR of the month.

"Stella's warm and friendly nature distinguishes her as a professional," says Winnie Yuk, a records health technician at the Students Health Services. "She is a thorough and yet highly approachable and understanding staff member."

"She helps the staff members remember that in their day-to-day care for all the patients they see, they can also remember to care for themselves," said Carol Brewer, administrative assistant in the Student Health Services. "She really is steadfast, and when her supervisor is absent, everyone knows to go to Stella for anything, and she takes on responsibility readily."

Blankenship, who has worked as a registered nurse at SFSU since 1982, is responsible for assessing the physical and emotional needs of all patients. She initiates patient treatment, which can range from education on prevention to management of emergency medical conditions.

To send events: call EXT 8-1665 or send e-mail to

San Francisco State University Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    415/338-1111
Last modified March 15, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs