Welcome to the College of Science & Engineering at San Francisco State University! We are entering a new academic year under challenging times. We are facing a global health crisis while also tackling persistent social inequities and associated police brutality.
As the Dean of the College, I am working with campus and college leadership to examine our practices and policies to ensure that they are address systemic inequities and racism that impede the ability of our students, staff, and faculty of color to thrive in our College and on our campus. This summer we spent time learning how to become an anti-racist and working towards recognizing unconscious and conscious biases as well as white privilege. We are meeting with key members of our community to develop strategies that will address a range of topics from student mentorship to faculty retention.
Given the on-going health crises associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized that the safety of our students, staff and faculty are the top priority. Hence, the vast majority of courses will be taught remotely. This is quite a challenge for a college of science and engineering where students learn best by putting into practice what they learned in the classroom. To address this challenge, over 130 CoSE faculty, lecturers and staff took advantage of the 25-hour QLT On-line Teaching Lab supervised by the Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching at SF State. These instructors invested significant time and effort to improve the quality of their on-line instruction for our students. Together, with help from College staff, they have been working on creating innovative instructional materials that can help mirror some of the activities normally taught in lab environments. Moreover, they are integrating approaches that facilitate an inclusive on-line learning experience that will help all of our students excel.
Research activities remain a high priority for our college. In collaboration with our department chairs, center directors, facility managers and our campus leadership team, we are working with our outstanding faculty to help them continue with their research activities in a safe environment that follows all of the necessary safety requirements outlined by the CSU Chancellor’s Office as well as by local county guidelines. Faculty research efforts continue to be of very high caliber. Evidence of this is their ability to continue to attract significant amounts of external funding. During the 2019-2020 academic year, they were awarded more than 60 grants totaling $20.3 million in new grants, with the largest number of grants being awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
There is a lot to be excited about as the College looks forward to a new academic year . During the past year we hired 6 new tenure-track faculty members who bring new expertise in diverse subjects to the College, which range from engineering education to graph theory. Our degree programs remain as popular as ever, with Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, and Psychology ranking among the top 10 undergraduate majors on our campus.
New initiatives like our PINC (Promoting Inclusivity in Computing), GOLD (Graduate Opportunities to Learn Data Science) programs funded by the NSF, and the renewal of the NIH-funded SF BUILD program, are examples of our commitment to increasing inclusivity in the sciences by improving the way, in which our students are taught and mentored in our programs. These efforts are paying off as San Francisco State ranks among the top universities in the nation for awarding STEM degrees to students from underrepresented groups across STEM disciplines.
As we look ahead, we are planning a new science and engineering building that will house our growing engineering and chemistry & biochemistry programs. Importantly, this new building will provide innovative instructional and research spaces that will welcome both STEM majors and students from the entire campus to learn about science and technology.
By bringing together the social justice mission of our campus together with our strengths in science and technology, CoSE graduates are uniquely prepared to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges and laid bare the huge inequalities and injustices of Blacks, and other people of color, in our country. Our University, and in particular our College, will be at the forefront of helping to train our students who will be needed to help rebuild the region’s economic engine. Importantly, given their diversity, and their social justice framework, they will help build a future that is more inclusive, more creative, and better able to serve all its people.
I invite you to explore our website and learn more about our strong educational programs and the impressive accomplishments of our faculty members, staff and students.
Carmen Domingo, Ph.D.
Dean of College of Science & Engineering