The Department of History at San Francisco State University is a rare example of a truly functional collective blending syndicalist and liberal democratic features. The faculty serve willingly on committees that make the bulk of the strategic decisions, while a rotating chair provides day-to-day oversight and plays some executive roles. Much of the administrative work is done by highly talented staff who are able to provide leadership in specific areas for which they are responsible as well. I truly love this community, and I have striven to be a chair who is humane, decent, and who recognizes the dignity of faculty, staff, and students alike.
My term as Chair of the History Department was focused on curricular redesign for student success. I was fortunate to have inherited a functional and friendly community from my predecessor as chair, Phil Dreyfus. At the same time, we had a 30-year old curriculum and faced challenges common to history departments in terms of a changing funding context and enrollment challenges as well as the specific challenges of a very expensive housing market for both faculty and students. While we have grappled with new ways to inspire and advise students and fought to make innovative and meaningful hires, we have also spent this period striving to create curricula that will help our students to learn and succeed, to get jobs and to become fulfilled people and contributing citizens. We expect our revised major and minor curricula, a new graduate (MA) pattern, and new certificates in teaching history and historical research (honors) to all be fully implemented in Fall 2019.