Faculty Experts

From the discovery of new planets to the work of noted criminologists, SF State offers a wide variety of scholars who are the most distinguished in their fields. This directory identifies academics who possess insight and knowledge of diverse subjects and who are willing to work with journalists whenever possible. The faculty experts directory is compiled by the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications. 

If you need immediate assistance finding an expert, please call (415) 338-1665 or email pubcom@sfsu.edu


Jason T. Cantley

Assistant Professor of Biology

Office Phone:

Email: cantley@sfsu.edu

Jason considers himself a botanist, evolutionary scientist, island biogeographer and biodiversity scientist. He is interested in the evolution of adaptive radiations and what generates novel biodiversity. His research is geographically focused on many plant lineages from the Hawaiian Islands, Australia and the California Floristic Province. ​

Areas of Expertise:




Highest Degree: Ph.D., Botany & Plant Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Kimberly Tanner

Professor of Biology

Office Phone: (415) 728-1062

Email: kdtanner@sfsu.edu

Kimberly's research group Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory (SEPAL) is interested in how people learn science, especially biology, and how teachers and scientists can collaborate to make science teaching and learning in classrooms — whether it's K-12 or higher education.

Areas of Expertise:

Science education

Faculty professional development in teaching

Biology education research

Highest Degree: Ph.D, Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco

Tony Sparks

Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Office Phone:

Email: tsparks@sfsu.edu

Tony's research and teaching interests fall at the intersection of poverty, law, and social policy with a particular emphasis on homelessness and housing informality. He has published several articles on the implications and complications of life in a homeless encampment in Seattle. His current research focuses on the everyday legal regulation of the bodies, spaces and habitations of the informally housed in San Francisco.

Areas of Expertise:

San Francisco and national homelessness

Homelessness policies

Highest Degree: Ph.D, Urban Geography, University of Washington

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi

Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies, and Senior Scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies

Office Phone: (415) 405-2668

Email: ria55@sfsu.edu

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi is an expert on the Middle East. She is also very involved in the new Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) minor program. Abdulhadi is originally from Nablus, Palestine.

Areas of Expertise:

Palestine, Israel and the Middle East

Arab and Muslim communities transnationally, race and ethnic relations, gender and sexuality and feminist movements (in general and in global south in particular)

Arab Americans and Muslim Americans

Highest Degree: Ph.D., Sociology, Yale University

Fred Astren

Professor of Jewish Studies

Office Phone: (415) 338-3152

Email: fastren@sfsu.edu

Fred Astren is an expert on Judaism, Jewish history and Israel-Palestine issues.

Areas of Expertise:

Israel-Palestine issues

Islam and Islamic history

Jewish history

Highest Degree: Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Nathan Avani

Professor Emeritus of Secondary Education

Office Phone: (415) 338-6442

Email: natalio@sfsu.edu

Nathan Avani is an expert on mentoring middle and high-school age youth and adults, and on the benefits of intentionally small schools for improved student learning.

Areas of Expertise:

Mentoring for youth and adults

Public school reform

Teacher preparation for secondary education

Highest Degree: Ph.D., Educational Psychology and Instructional Systems Development, Michigan State University

Bruce Avery

Professor of Theatre and Dance

Office Phone: (415) 338-3100

Email: bravery@sfsu.edu

Bruce Avery's expertise is in Shakespeare's life and work and teaching Shakespeare.

Areas of Expertise:

East Indian writers


Teaching Shakespeare

Highest Degree: Ph.D., English Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz

JoAnn Aviel

Professor Emerita of International Relations

Office Phone: (415) 338-1448

Email: javiel@sfsu.edu

JoAnn Aviel is an expert on foreign policy analysis and Latin American foreign relations.

Areas of Expertise:

U.S. foreign policy

Latin American foreign policy

International organizations including the United Nations

Highest Degree: Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University