Developing an Engaged Pedagogy: “Revisioning” the Classroom Using the Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool

The CHSS Teaching Academy is excited to host its first workshop of the academic year. Please join us for Developing an Engaged Pedagogy: “Revisioning” the Classroom Using the Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool. 

The mission of the CHSS Teaching Academy is to support CHSS teachers at all ranks and levels of experience (graduate teaching assistants, instructional aides, lecturer faculty and tenured/tenure track faculty members), and to foster a communal culture of reflective, inclusive, and intentional teaching practices. These practices are aimed at creating CHSS teaching that is accessible, community-engaged, and informed by social justice pedagogy.

The Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool (SJSDT) is JCSCORE's #1 most read article. Much of that is due to the fact that educators are seeking to discover meaningful ways in which love and justice can be centered in the spaces that we co-create with our students... spaces in which we and our students can show up fully and experience the content as relevant to our lives and communities. The SJSDT has been recognized as a leading resource by many higher education institutions in how to do just that and has been used in faculty orientations and faculty development trainings across the country. Training in the SJSDT not only provides educators and staff with an in-depth understanding of what it means to “do” social justice in the classroom, but what it means to “be” social justice in the classroom and through various strategies and activities co-create counterspaces with students where personal and community transformation can occur.

Using critical reflexivity techniques, we will not only explore what social justice educators do in the classroom but also who social justice educators are and can be. We will take a collective deep dive and briefly engage in strategies that promote the embodiment of 1) relationship, 2) community, 3) a growth mindset process, and 4) radical self-care in the classroom. All educators are welcome and will benefit from this training. Staff who facilitate educational workshops on campus would also benefit from this workshop as well.


Dr. Sherria Taylor, Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Development

Taylor holds a doctoral degree in Family Studies from Loma Linda University with a concentration in Systems-Organizational Consultation and has been involved in research funded by HUD and the Family Process Institute related to family resilience and family support services among low-income families. As the former executive director and current director of program development and evaluation for the nonprofit agency Access for Community & Cultural Education Programs & Trainings (ACCEPT) in Reno, Nevada, she has been successful in securing over 1.5 million dollars in grant funding for community programming. Taylor and colleagues have produced peer-reviewed publications and reports that seek to change the odds stacked against BIPOC communities rather than asking BIPOC communities to beat them. Her research interests include family, community, and cultural resilience and survivance through a lens of Indigenous and Womanist theories, mental health, compassionate inquiry as substance abuse prevention, family life education, social justice pedagogy and the buffering effects of spirituality.

Experts in public affairs conduct speed mentoring events with MPA program

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program successfully completed its first-ever speed mentoring project with the program’s board of advisors. On August 29 and September 14, graduate students and recent alumni took advantage of the advisory board’s in-house expertise in the fields of government, academic, business and nonprofit leadership.

Headshots of speed mentors

  MPA Program speed mentors

The events, conducted both at noon and in the evening, provided students nuggets of professional wisdom and lessons on civic engagement, organizational and public change management from experts such as Traci Lester, Lesley Miller, Regina Neu, Tina Olson, Maria Saguisag-Sid, Jim Schutz and Kenneth Songco. Some of the program’s advisors received their bachelor's or MPA degrees from SF State.

The speed mentoring project, led by Associate Professor Ernita Joaquin and the officers of the SF State University Chapter of the International City and County Management Association (ICMA)Joana De Sousa, Sidney Bliss, Mikayla Denney, Yami Kofuma-Henry and Grant Miller — allowed participants to interact with the board through break-out Zoom sessions. Beside informing students of their professions and initiatives that supplement what MPA students learn from the program, the mentors shared their personal journeys, stories, job- and life hacks and trends that aspiring public executives should note.

While all mentors spoke of equity and public service values, each had unique tips to offer. Neu, for instance, talked about finding “your special sauce” in career decision making and selling it. Olson explained why people who are flexible are successful and the importance of learning to manage people remotely. Schutz emphasized equity in resume preparation and in working in diverse departments as one moves up an organization. Saguisag-Sid urged finding out what stakeholders deem important and recognizing when a job is no longer a good fit. Lester spoke on transitioning into new roles, battling the imposter syndrome and how through voluntary activities, one could get a position created just for them. Miller called attention to  supplemental training courses and applying for jobs that have training involved. Finally, Songco emphasized the importance of self-reflection, motivation and diplomacy in public service.

Attendees appreciated the sessions and the wealth of experience the board has to offer. The success of this project suggests a similar undertaking in the future.

Check out the MPA degree now and jumpstart your career!

SF State initiative builds justice leaders who advocate for most vulnerable to climate change

Climate Justice Leaders Initiative takes interdisciplinary approach to tackle multifaceted climate crisis

San Francisco State University launches its Climate Justice Leaders Initiative (CJLI) to better equip the University’s powerfully diverse student body to become climate justice leaders who center their work around equity. The overarching goal of the initiative is to build leaders who understand the inequities of climate change and who can advocate for and create strategies that include the communities most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

“Our campus is diverse, meaning many of our students have lived experiences of dealing with climate change inequities,” said Kai Burrus, co-director of the Climate HQ campus hub that promotes and supports climate-related activities across the University, including CJLI. “This initiative helps students draw from their experience and combine that with academic training to fight climate change on behalf of their communities across California and the world.”

CJLI is also interdisciplinary, bringing students and faculty together across different majors and academic colleges to address the climate crisis. The initiative is designed that way because climate change is a multifaceted, complex issue that requires people with different skills working together. Yet, people tend to work in siloes and those that have the skills critical to fighting climate change are often overlooked.

“We can’t depend exclusively on people in natural sciences and technology professions to address climate change. It’s an ‘everyone’ problem,” Burrus said. “We need to break those disciplinary barriers so that people across backgrounds can come together for one cause. Universities play a unique role in breaking down those siloes.”

Key CJLI programs that will roll out over the next five years include:

  • Climate Justice Education Certificate for pre-K-12 teaching: The 12-unit program will train aspiring teachers to understand and teach climate justice issues relevant to the communities they work with. It will also develop, test and share new approaches to climate justice education.

  • Expand the recently launched Interdisciplinary Certificate in Climate Change Causes, Impacts and Solutions: In Fall 2021, the University launched a certificate to give students a foundational understanding of the causes and effects of climate change along with mitigation and adaption solutions, with an emphasis on social justice. The University is now expanding the certificate to include a capstone experience so that students can get out of the classroom and apply what they learn toward real-life issues. One of those ways will be a newly developed service-learning class in which students become ambassadors who promote, communicate and take action on climate change within the campus and beyond.

  • Create a new Metro College Success Program advising pathway for climate change: Metro was developed to support students from historically marginalized backgrounds within their first two years of college. The program has proven to be a success as 64 percent of Metro students make it to their third year (compared to 55 percent of students who are not part of the Metro program and are also from historically marginalized backgrounds). To inspire more students from historically marginalized backgrounds to explore careers that address climate change, there will be a new advising pathway that steers Metro students to the Certificate in Climate Change Causes, Impacts and Solutions. 

  • Expansion of course offerings: CJLI also creates a framework for expanding the number of interdisciplinary courses across the University that have climate justice as a common theme, setting up a campus-wide approach to climate justice.

CJLI’s launch will be supported by a generous grant from SF State Foundation Board Chair and alumna Neda Nobari.

“These initiatives will catalyze change throughout the Bay Area and beyond, resulting in more effective climate change solutions that are truly comprehensive and inclusive. By focusing on transformative changes that center equity, CJLI aligns with what Neda sees as SF State’s vital contribution to the defining challenge of our time,” Burrus explained.

Faculty consulted a panel in developing CJLI that included students like senior Sophia Benzoni, an Environmental Studies and English double major. Benzoni contributed input for the first climate certificate as well by collaborating with faculty to weigh the climate focus of different courses and decide which ones would be good candidates for the certificate requirements.

“Going to the student panel and hearing that professors from all kind of walks of life and different areas of the campus were also on board with the ideas that students have was really encouraging,” she said. “Because I also think that working with different people from the campus community is way more effective than trying to do something alone.”

Learn more about the Climate Justice Leaders Initiative on the Climate HQ website.

Story republished from SF State News

Problem-solving course helps boost student success, study finds

Adam Burke

A study of students who successfully completed an academic success course showed that the students benefited academically from what they learned. Professor of Recreation, Parks & Tourism and Holistic Health Studies Adam Burke published the findings in the journal Active Learning in Higher Education on July 24.

Colleges and universities have implemented a broad range of initiatives to support student success, including classroom-based approaches. Given the important role of teaching at SF State a novel general education academic success course was developed and tested. The course integrated a comprehensive problem-solving model into lectures and assignments. Students were taught the model along with relevant academic skills content. They then applied the model to a personal challenge affecting their success in school and life.

Using a matched cohort design, 826 course participants were compared with a campus-wide sample matched on key variables. Results showed that students who successfully completed the course achieved higher cumulative GPAs overall compared with matched peers. Highest GPAs for students who took the course as freshmen suggested a transfer of knowledge over time. Results also showed that the course significantly benefited students from historically at-risk populations. Lower SES, first generation, and underrepresented minority course participants earned more units, were more likely to remain in school or graduate, and graduate sooner. For example, first generation students earned more units (3 courses), were 10% more likely to still be in school, or 12% more likely to have graduated, and 16% more likely to have graduated sooner. Course participants also showed positive changes in academic self-efficacy and use of effective learning strategies.

The study shows that a well designed problem-solving course can help students, especially those who struggle academically, to more effectively meet the challenges of college and daily life.

Students learn about food, health and culture in Italy

Associate Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics Gretchen L. George (Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department) facilitated learning about diet, health and disease with a group of 15 students as part of the 2022 Health & Wellness Italy Abroad Program.

Students experienced new flavors and food practices by touring region specific tomato farms (e.g., San Marzano), visiting water buffalo dairies to observe healthy farming practices and production of mozzarella, engaged with a local production and packaging company to discover the art of Italian pasta and observed ancient food and culture at Pompeii. Students learned through movement by hiking trails on the Volcanic island of Ischia and Amalfi coast, participated in a local farm-to-table immersion where they sipped local wines and devoured Mediterranean cuisine, practiced yoga and meditation along the mountainside, viewed sunsets from a top a castle, swam in clear blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and soaked in ancient healing thermal baths.

Through structured based learning, students learned about the first medical school and botanical garden in Salerno, attended guest lectures regarding nutraceutical and labeling research at University of Salerno and applied themselves deeply in the NUTR 253 Diet, Health and Disease course lectures and discussions aligned with each day hosted by George. It was an unforgettable experience for all.

SF State Magazine Spotlights J Patterson as ‘Changemaker’

The Spring/Summer issue of SF State Magazine includes a “Changemaker” profile of alum J Patterson, who received the California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Patterson, who has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from SF State and returned to the University last fall to earn a master’s degree in Social Work, says one of her dreams is to become a Bay Area social worker and provide youth services. Drawing from her experience growing up, Patterson made it her mission to work on issues around intersectionality to improve the quality of life for young people.

Read story in SF State Magazine

CHSS announces 2022 Faculty Excellence Award winners

The College of Health & Social Sciences at San Francisco State University has selected the 2022 recipients of the CHSS Faculty Excellence Awards. These awards were established to underscore the College’s deep commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. The College will present the Excellence Awards at the CHSS Fall Opening Meeting in late August 2022. 

Read about this year’s awardees below.

Excellence in Teaching Award (Tenure-Track)

Gretchen L. George

Gretchen George

Gretchen L. George receives this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award for tenure track faculty in recognition of the exemplary quality and impact of her achievements in pedagogy.

In her position as associate professor of Nutrition & Dietetics and program lead in the Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department, she facilitates learning through nutrition education, metabolism, community nutrition and research courses. George is passionate about prevention and empowerment and provides an unparalleled level of commitment as a mentor, role model and advisor for Dietetics students and future dietitians. In the classroom, she includes students in her food literacy and basic needs research on the community and college students. More recently, she has begun exploring weight stigma in health-related majors from a social justice perspective, with the overall goal of eliminating weight bias in health professionals through incorporation of intuitive eating models in the classroom. Beyond the focus on eliminating weight bias, an imperative goal of hers is to strengthen the understanding of what health means, connecting individual, trauma, access, environment and biological mechanisms to dispel stigmatizing false information.

Excellence in Teaching Award (Lecturer)

Sarah Pawlowsky

Sarah Pawlowsky

Sarah Pawlowsky, associate clinical professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, receives this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award for lecturers in recognition of the exemplary quality and impact of her achievements in pedagogy.

Pawlowsky has been a full-time lecturer in Physical Therapy at SF State for the past six years. She is a valued member of the team with her excellent teaching skills, musculoskeletal content knowledge and clinical expertise.

Students praised her thorough, well-organized lectures; her integration of material throughout the course; her great feedback on assignments; the clinical relevance of her teaching; her accessibility and approachability; her solid foundation of knowledge; her open-mindedness and her commitment to making sure all students’ voices are heard. They also noted her ability to adjust to the learning pace of each student and her willingness to go above and beyond as a teacher and faculty member.

Excellence in Service Award

Larry Vitale

Larry Vitale

Larry Vitale, lecturer in the School of Nursing, has been awarded the CHSS Excellence in Service Award for his dedication to service activities that impact student success and enhance the SF State community.

Vitale inspires students to seek community service, working tirelessly to create opportunities and broaden the students’ experiences beyond traditional health care settings. He is an exceptional educator and mentor to nursing students. Over years of collaboration with Vitale, the SF State School of Nursing has provided free preventative services to community members without access to care and health education from student nurses under his supervision. Vitale has established, maintained and expanded volunteer opportunities for our students in with a variety of organizations and communities in San Francisco. He created opportunities for our nursing students that enabled them to contribute to San Francisco’s response to the pandemic, while learning valuable skills and progressing through the nursing program. Vitale has since coordinated volunteer assignments for hundreds of student nurses, forming the backbone of support to meet COVID testing demands. He continues to lead and inspire a new generation of nurses.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

Elif Balin

Elif Balin

The College has awarded Assistant Professor of Counseling Elif Balin the Excellence in Scholarship Award for her support of student-initiated research that evolves above and beyond the requirements for a degree.

Dr. Balin’s career priority is to train professional counselors who understand and apply career counseling and college counseling through systemic and culturally competent practices in various service and advocacy areas in the higher education, community mental health settings and beyond.

Her research projects and the related literature show that there is limited understanding and application of the multicultural and social justice counseling competencies, advocacy competencies, and international/global perspectives in career counseling and related educational settings. Counselors in these settings struggle to integrate such skills and advocacy into their work due to multiple organizational structure limitations. Her students’ feedback about their graduate training and internship experiences aligns with this finding.

Dr. Balin shared these student voices with the editor and author of several counseling skills textbooks, who offered her the opportunity to create a team with counselor educators and students to produce a series of training videos that are more culturally responsive, concise and relevant educational materials. In addition to her colleagues, Dr. Balin invited her graduate students (Atheena Haniff-Martinez, Alona Harris, Emily Jackson, Philip Payumo Jucaban, Zdravko Rozic and Paul Smith) to create a new series for the project, Moments of Excellence in Counseling and Therapy: Learning What Works for Relationship Building and Increased Effectiveness at Mindscape Commons.

CHSS announces winners of 2021 Faculty Excellence Awards

SF State’s College of Health & Social Sciences announces the 2021 recipients of the CHSS Faculty Excellence Awards, established to underscore the College’s deep commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

Excellence in Teaching (Tenure-Track)

Molly McManus

Assistant Professor, Department of Child & Adolescent Development

Molly McManus

Molly E. McManus began her career in education as a bilingual early elementary school teacher in Oakland and San Francisco. In the classroom, she developed a deep respect for and curiosity around the sophisticated knowledge and capabilities that young Latinx children from immigrant families demonstrate when offered culturally sustaining, agentic learning opportunities. This respect and curiosity carry over into her teaching and learning with undergraduates in the Department of Child & Adolescent Development, where Molly designs learning opportunities that center students own developmental experiences as an entry point into exploring the cultural nature of development and its connections to practice and advocacy.

McManus earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Human Development and Learning Sciences and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship with the Agency and Young Children Research Collective at the University of Texas at Austin. Her scholarship centers the perspectives of young children of color and focuses on the cultural nature of learning and development. McManus investigates the impact of different school-learning experiences on young children of color, particularly considering how young Latinx children of immigrants identify as learners and understand the process of learning. She explores the social, academic, cultural and linguistic implications of these learning experiences from the perspectives of young children themselves and examine how teachers and systems shape the type and quality of children’s learning experiences. Her scholarship has been published in a range of journals including Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education, Anthropology and Education Quarterly and Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education.

Excellence in Teaching (Lecturer)

Hamida Nusrat 

Lecturer, Clinical Laboratory Science Program

Hamida Nusrat

Hamida Nusrat teaches, trains and mentors Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) and Public Health Microbiology (PHM) interns and works as a public health microbiologist at Solano County Public Health Lab. She earned her M.S./Ph.D. in Clinical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Karachi, Pakistan, and holds dual faculty positions in the CLS Program at SF State and in the Post-Baccalaureate Program at UC Berkeley. Nusrat has always been inspired by biomedical sciences and their relevance in day-to-day life and is passionate about training students in various disciplines of clinical and public health microbiology on new methodologies of innovative diagnostic assays. She received 14 enthusiastic nominations for this award from students based on her performance in course design and pedagogy, teaching effectiveness and student development.

Nusrat has been a member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) since 2003 and of Northern California-ASM (NCASM) since 2008. She has served at NCASM in various leadership roles over the years and has been actively involved in the Board and Planning Committee meetings for making revisions for uplifting the organization. In her strategic position as the LabAspire Public Health Laboratory Director (PHLD) Training Program coordinator, affiliated with California Department of Public Health (CDPH), she networks with public health microbiology experts from Ukiah to San Diego, schedules meetings with state and county public health agencies, tracks and maintains training documents for the PHLD fellows, and prepares and submits the annual grant budget for the LabAspire PHLD Training Program. She is also actively involved in the training and certification of PHM interns through CDPH.

Excellence in Scholarship

Kate Hamel

Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Kate Hamel

Kate Hamel earned her P.hD. in Biomechanics and Locomotion Studies with a minor in Gerontology from Pennsylvania State University in 2002. Her broad interdisciplinary background in engineering, kinesiology, biomechanics and gerontology led to her current research program, the MAREY Lab, which is primarily focused on age-related changes in sensory systems and cognitive processes and how these changes impact the biomechanics of gait and balance in older adults.

The MAREY Lab conducts state-of-the-art research in the areas of biomechanics, motor learning and development, motor control, visual perception, gerontology and rehabilitation and provides research training opportunities for SF State students that are comparable in rigor to what they might receive at a R1 institution. These opportunities are grounded in developing self-efficacy and mastery in the research process and provide exposure and opportunity for a student population that is often marginalized in more traditional research settings. For many of the students, these experiences are critical to their development — they often have no exposure to research prior to participating in the lab and may never have considered the doors that it can open and the opportunities it can provide in terms of their future careers.

Hamel has mentored more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students through her research group, and over 80 percent have been women, students of color and/or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Nearly all the undergraduate students from her lab have gone on to graduate or professional degree programs and many of her graduate students have continued on to Ph.D., DPT, DO, MD and PA programs, with a handful going on to manage research labs themselves. She has also provided research experience and laboratory training for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in the MAREY Lab through the courses that she teaches, including KIN 437/747, KIN 680, KIN 730 and KIN 736.

Excellence in Service

Anthony Mayo

Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology

Anthony Mayo

Anthony Mayo has been a part of the Department of Kinesiology at SF State since earning his master's degree in 2003. He was a lecturer from 2006-2009, went to earn his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, and then returned as a lecturer in 2013 as a lecturer. In addition to teaching many of the department’s core, emphasis and senior classes over the years,Mayo has gone above and beyond in offering his service to the department, most prominently in his role as an advisor for the Kinesiology Student Association (KSA).

The KSA offers several career-focused events through the year (e.g., career nights, graduate school extravaganza), puts on the department’s research expo and plans and executes the department's recognition ceremony. Mayo has worked significantly to help KSA and its officers succeed. He attends all the meetings for the organization, offers feedback on events, connects students with speakers and networking opportunities, provides ideas for their year-long agenda and keeps them on track as they work toward their goals. 

Mayo has been a mentor and advocate for more than 25 students over the past five years, many of them first-generation college students who need guidance with navigating the University system, figuring out prerequisites for graduate school and determining the experiences needed to get into a program. Mayo helps them with this process, including meeting to talk about their career plans, editing drafts of their personal statements and resumes and discussing specific ways that they can strengthen their applications to allied health graduate programs. These students have gone on to physical therapy school, occupational therapy school, chiropractic school and medical school, among others, and at top schools across the country.

Four faculty members receive 2020 CHSS Faculty Excellence Awards

SF State’s College of Health & Social Sciences presented its Faculty Excellence Awards at the College’s Virtual Fall Opening Meeting on August 20. These awards were established to underscore the College’s deep commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

Excellence in Teaching Award (Tenured/Tenure-Track)

Linda Platas, Child & Adolescent Development

Linda Platas

Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Development Linda Platas received the Excellence in Teaching Award for tenured faculty in recognition of her broad range of accomplishments. Her primary areas of research are child development, early childhood education, early math and literacy development, professional development and teacher education, and the formation and implementation of early childhood public policy.

Platas has taught nine courses in child development, curriculum, early childhood education, professional development, research and public policy in the Department of Child. & Adolescent Development. Her experience includes 14 years of working directly with children and families as a teacher and director of an early childhood program.

Internationally, she has worked on preschool and early primary grades population-level child assessment and classroom observation instruments. She has also worked with ministries of education in low-resource countries on school readiness, curriculum development, early math and literacy assessments, and classroom quality measurement.

She serves as an expert in international meetings on early mathematics and literacy development for UNESCO, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, and other non-governmental organizations. She is also a member of the Expert Panel that developed the Early Grades Math Assessment (EGMA) for USAID, the Technical Advisory Group for Child Development and Learning for UNESCO, and the Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education (DREME) Network.

Excellence in Teaching Award (Lecturers)

Deborah Craig, Public Health

Deborah Craig

Deborah Craig of the Department of Public Health received the Excellence in Teaching Award for lecturers. She received the strongest nomination from students for lecturer faculty regarding the exemplary quality and impact of her achievements in pedagogy. Her background is in public health, teaching, writing, technology, music and the visual arts, and she currently teaches writing and LGBTQI health in the Department of Public Health at SF State. She also produces documentary films about health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and LGBT aging.

Craig has designed “LGBTQI Health: Health Disparities and Sexual/Gender Minority Communities,” an undergraduate health education course that focuses on how stigmatization of queer communities contributes to health disparities, and “Introduction to Public Health,” an overview of public health advances and public health concepts — with a focus on health disparities — geared specifically toward the post-baccalaureate pre-medical students in SF States’ Health Professions program.

She also teaches “The Health Education Profession,” an undergraduate Health Education course that provides an overview of the health education profession and emphasizes writing and analytical skills.

Excellence in Service Award

Sheldon Gen, Public Affairs & Civic Engagement

Sheldon Gen

Associate Professor Sheldon Gen of the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement was awarded the College’s Excellence in Service Award for his dedication to service activities that impact student success and enhance the SF State community. His courses cover public policy processes, civic engagement in public policy, policy analysis, program evaluation, environmental policy and education policy. He also advises MPA students in the public policy and environmental administration emphases.

Gen has been instrumental in serving in ways that impact student success, most significantly through his work on the Teagle Initiative at SF State, which supports enhancing student success through curricular revisions. He served as a faculty lead for this initiative in his own department and was then selected to lead this initiative throughout the CSU system. 

He has also been instrumental in promoting sustainability education. He led the development of a Student Sustainability Investment Fund and the development of an associated course. Through this course, and a $250,000 allocation to the fund, students will be able to direct the investment of real funds for sustainability initiatives.

In addition, he is an Advisory Board member of the Funding the Next Generation project, which has brought community expertise onto campus. This project has been linked to six different MPA course sections and provided students with opportunities to analyze municipal budgets, assess political settings for children's funds and explore alternative funding streams for children. 

Excellence in Scholarship Award

Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, Public Health

Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh

The College presented Professor Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh with the Excellence in Scholarship award for her support of student-initiated research that evolves above and beyond the requirements for a degree. A social epidemiologist and professor in SF State’s Department of Public Health, Sanchez-Vaznaugh is also affiliated faculty at SF State’s Health Equity Institute and the Center for Health Equity at UCSF.

Her extensive research has focused on critical social justice issues in public health based on factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and local community factors. She has been a generous mentor to many students in her department, and several of them have been authors on publications and presentations. Her recent research has been funded by the NIH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and involves studies on temporal changes in the fast food environment near schools, the influence of policies that regulate food and drinks in schools on racial or ethnic obesity disparities, and decision-making focused on physical activity strategies in schools.

CHSS honors outstanding faculty with 2019 Excellence Awards

San Francisco State University’s College of Health & Social Sciences presented its Faculty Excellence Awards at the College’s Fall Opening Meeting on August 26. These awards were established to underscore the College’s deep commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

Each awardee received $750 and a certificate signed by Dean Alvin Alvarez and Associate Dean John Elia. Student research assistants also received award certificates and a gift from the College. (Faculty award winners are pictured below with Associate Dean John Elia.)

Excellence in Teaching Award

John Elia presents awards to Pavlina Latkova an Ana Maria Barrera

Associate Professor of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Pavlína Látková received the Excellence in Teaching Award for tenured faculty in recognition of her broad range of accomplishments. Her teaching and research interests are in community-based tourism, international development, sustainable travel and resident attitudes towards tourism development. Látková shares her enthusiasm and dedication to the subject by incorporating different teaching methods including group projects, guest lectures and field trip activities.

When she is not discussing sustainable tourism efforts with her class in Costa Rica during spring break, coordinating the 400-hour culminating internship experience for graduating seniors, organizing student retreats each semester and planning the semi-annual career fair, you can find her preparing to implement new curriculum and pedagogical ideas. Her creative instructional contributions include RPT 605: Ecotourism Principles and Practices and RPT 470: Travel with Purpose — a faculty-led, study abroad program.

More than 20 students collaborated on Látková’s nomination. They described her as an inspiring professor and mentor who genuinely cares for and supports her students, always showing great commitment in helping them successfully accomplish what they set out to achieve.

Ana Maria Barrera of the Department of Kinesiology received the Excellence in Teaching Award for lecturers. Her interest and passion revolves around social justice and supporting underrepresented populations, and her instruction focuses on reflective and dynamic learning processes that maximize student learning and foster cooperative and collaborative learning environments. Barrera recently developed a new course that instantly became an essential foundation for the successful educational and developmental experience for kinesiology students to ultimately become self-sufficient lifelong learners.

Through appreciative advising, Barrera helps students realize their potential and use their strengths as resources. She strongly believes that students become empowered when someone listens to them and cares about their well-being and needs as they navigate higher education. Barrera started her department’s peer advising program, and has also developed several long-term and systematic advising strategies to enhance the quality of advising. Her talents have been recognized at the University level and she was appointed as a member of the Dream Resource Center Advisory Board for undocumented students. Her passion for diverse and underserved populations is also evident in her doctoral dissertation topic, which focused on documenting undocumented students’ experiences in higher education and how such experiences impact their academic success and fulfillment.

Excellence in Service Award

John Elia presents award to Jackson Wilson

Associate Professor Jackson Wilson of the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism was awarded the College’s inaugural Excellence in Service Award for his dedication to service activities that impact student success and enhance the SF State community. Wilson has a strong commitment to directly cultivating practical knowledge and skills to enable students to achieve their professional goals and help them become better citizens. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in research methods, leadership, organization management and information technology.

Wilson has been a faculty fellow for Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) since 2015 and currently serves as the lead faculty fellow. He continues to serve as a faculty researcher in a CSU-wide online education research project (SQuAIR), serves as a faculty fellow with the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning, co-chairs one of the AMP working groups and serves on SF State’s Enrollment Management Committee. At the college level, Dr. Wilson has served on the Leave with Pay Committee and the Elections Committee and on the FINA RTP committee. He is also the department graduate coordinator and leads the multi-campus Master of Science in Recreation, Parks & Tourism collaboration with two other CSU campuses.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

John Elia presents award to Valerie Francisco-Mechavez

The College awarded Assistant Professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies Valerie Francisco-Menchavez the Excellence in Scholarship award for her support of student-initiated research that evolves above and beyond the requirements for a degree. She provided opportunities for students Stephanie AnchetaJessa Delos ReyesKatrina LiwanagTiffany Mendoza and Jeannel Poyaoan to assist in data collection and analysis by training them in qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as interviewing respondents, conducting focus groups and administering surveys. Together as a group, they wrote a co-authored peer-reviewed publication, “Claiming Kapwa: Filipino Immigrants, Community Based Organizations and Community Citizenship in San Francisco,” which was presented at UC Davis’ inaugural Filipino American political symposium in 2018, the CHSS Annual Showcase in 2018 and the SOMA Pilipinas Community Network gathering in 2019.

As an educator, Francisco-Menchavez continues to develop her pedagogy to engage students’ ideas and spirit in learning how to analyze the world of sociology. She does this by preparing her courses with a global perspective and preparing a range of learning activities in and outside of her classroom that cultivate students’ ability to think critically about the complex times we live in and in their potential to change the world.