Univeristy Scholars Series Continues Oct. 11

Early Career Investigator Award Winner Miranda Worthen poses for a photograph at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Early Career Investigator Award Winner Miranda Worthen poses for a photograph at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

The Fall 2017 University Scholar Series continues Oct. 11, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 225/229. Dr. Miranda Worthen, an associate professor in the Department of Health Science and Recreation in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts and coordinator of the undergraduate Public Health Program, will present a lecture on “Risk and Protective Factors for Anger and Violent Behavior in U.S. Military Service Members.”

Worthen received San Jose State University’s Early Career Investigator Award in 2016 for her strong publication track record. Her research examines the psychosocial experiences of vulnerable populations that have undergone high levels of trauma, with an emphasis on those who have participated in armed forces or have been impacted by exposure to war.

At the lecture, she will discuss the findings of her recent mixed-methods study that aims to increase understanding of the reintegration challenges that U.S. Veterans and members of service face.

The last lecture for the fall series will be Nov. 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 225/229 when Dr. Randall Stross, a professor in the School of Management in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, presents on his latest book “A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees.”

The University Scholars Series is supported by University Library, the Spartan Bookstore, RSCA Advisory Council, the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost.

Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #25: Starting off on a good foot – building good habits and connections

Welcome to the new school year!  By now, your rosters are likely settled, and you and your students are well into the heart of your courses.  So now, before major assignments are due and before exams loom, is the perfect time to make sure that your students are establishing healthy routines that will enable them to function – and learn and perform – to their capabilities. This will also help ensure that they can maintain their stride as the pace and stress of the semester pick up.

  • Check in with your students about their study habits and time management strategies.  This can be especially helpful for students new to the campus.  Dedicate a few minutes of class time to general discussion of these topics.  Share your expectations and advice. Consider inviting a peer mentor (from Peer Connections) to give a brief presentation in your class.  Students will often take their suggestions to heart much more readily than yours, even if they are substantively identical.
  • Refer students to the calendar of workshops offered through Peer Connections, the Tutoring Hub, and Educational Counseling. Have them check out the Spartan Success Portal and complete one or two of the online academic success modules.
  • Check in with students about their physical and emotional well-being. Inform or remind them of the extensive resources available to them, free of charge, through Counseling and Psychological Services, including workshops and individual counseling sessions.
  • Build activities into your courses that help your students get to know at least a few of their classmates. One of the most common – and in many ways saddest – factors disclosed by students in crisis is that they feel they don’t know anyone to talk to at the university.  Whether the activities you design are formal group assignments or more casual discussions, they can help students feel a sense of connection and belongingness.
  • To the degree that you can, consider making yourself available to your students.  Circulate throughout the class as they engage in group activities, and take advantage of the opportunity to talk with them as you move around the room; encourage them to come to your office hours – individually, or in pairs if they feel more comfortable bringing along a classmate; consider inviting them to ask you to coffee through the Coffee with a Professor program; sign up to be a mentor (you may be matched with a student in your class, or from some other part of the campus – either way, you may help them feel like they have someone they can reach out to).
  • And finally, think about the laminated card in the seat-back pocket of the airplane seat in front of you:  If those oxygen masks appear, make sure to secure your own before helping others with theirs. As you encourage your students to establish these interpersonal connections and good habits, take a few moments to do the same for yourself.

You can read all previous tips on the Faculty Matter Tips page of the CFD website, and share your own thoughts and ideas on the Provost’s Academic Spotlight blog under the category “Faculty Matter.” Please add your own strategies using the comment link below.

Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #24: Before You Wrap Up for the Semester, Leave a Trail of Breadcrumbs

With exams nearly done and summer beckoning, this is a time when faculty can feel particularly pressed for time and ready to move on from the tasks of the academic year. In the spirit of the “A stitch in time saves nine” adage, we offer this last Faculty Matter Teaching Tip for the semester.

Before you wrap up for the semester, leave a trail of breadcrumbs to help you reconstruct how you’d like to modify your courses before you teach them next.

Many of us tend to shove all of our teaching materials aside as soon as we are done submitting students’ grades. The essence of this final Faculty Matter Tip for the semester is that it might be productive to take some time to review the courses we have just wrapped up, and make some notes before moving on to other commitments and activities. Next time you teach the class, what might you want to add, what might you want to delete, what might you want to tweak a little bit, what might you want to change significantly, and what might you want to leave exactly as is because it went really, really well?

As you review your course materials, consider the following:

  • Were there topics that didn’t grab students’ attention as much as you had hoped or expected?
  • Were there concepts that students struggled with more that you had envisioned they might?
  • Were there activities or techniques that required more of your time than warranted, given the student gains you can attribute to them?
  • Did you come across resources that you didn’t have time to draw upon this semester?Have you gotten ideas about things to try next time you teach the class?
  • Were there topics or activities or teaching techniques that really engaged your students or helped them master the material?

We encourage you to make some notes while these observations are still fresh in your mind.  Without this “trail of breadcrumbs” to jog your memory, as you sit down weeks or months from now to “refresh” the course, you may find it frustrating to try to reconstruct what changes you had thought might be fruitful. We also invite you to participate in any of the upcoming CFD or eCampus sessions or workshops, or to sit down one-on-one with CFD or eCampus staff, to flesh out your ideas about the changes you would like to make to your courses.

You can view the entire Faculty Matter Teaching Tip series on the Center for Faculty Development web-site. Please add your own strategies using the comment link below.

Faculty Notes for May 2017: Publications, Quotes and More

Associate Professor Andrea Bechert, Department of Television, Radio, Film & Theatre, designed the sets for the Center Repertory Theatre’s April production of Sisters Matsumoto, a play by Philip Kan Gotanda exploring the return of three sisters to their Stockton farm post-World War II. Bechert’s scenic design talents are currently on display at The Mountain Play’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Performances run until June 18 at Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre in Marin.

Associate Professor Christine Hagie, chair of the Department of Special Education, joined the board of Second Start Learning Disabilities Programs. Founded in San Jose in 1974, the organization provides individualized learning programs for students diagnosed on the autism spectrum and those with similar learning disorders.

Lecturer Michael Hernandez, School of Music and Dance, soprano saxophonist and founder of the Mana Quartet, performed at Jamestown Community College’s Scharmann Theatre on April 12. The concert featured works by Quantz, Singelée, Brahms and Piazzolla. Hernandez, who as been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today,” is also a D’Addario Performing Artist.

Released this month: “Chapter Five” (OA2 Records) by the Bicoastal Collective, one half of which is School of Music and Dance Professor Aaron Lington, a baritone saxophonist. Lington shares writing and arranging credits with trumpeter and long-time collaborator Paul Tynan, who is based in Nova Scotia, hence the name of their duo. The two met in the master’s program at the University of North Texas. This, their fifth album together, was recorded with an 18-piece big band. “It’s always been our dream to do a big-band record, and we were finally able to make this happen,” Lington said. Read more online.

Center for Literary Arts Director and Department of English Associate Professor Cathleen Miller received a 2017 Silicon Valley Artist Laureate award in recognition of her creative accomplishments and community arts involvement. She is the author of The Birdhouse Chronicles: Survivng the Joys of Country Life and Champion of Choice, a biography of UN leader Nafis Sadik, named by Booklist as one of the top ten biographies of 2013. Miller also serves as editor-in-chief of SJSU’s Reed Magazine. Read more online.

“A landmark day for San Jose State University and Armenian people,” reported The Armenian Mirror-Spectator on the occasion of President Mary Papazian’s inauguration this month as the university’s 30th president. Papazian is the first Armenian woman president of a California State University campus and only the third woman president of SJSU. Read more online.

 

Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #23: Summer Send-off for Students

In earlier tips, we provided suggestions for messages you might send to students before the formal start of the semester.  This tip will serve as something of the “other bookend” – suggesting things you might do to sustain students’ engagement with the course beyond its official end. In this way, you may provide opportunities for students:

  • to deepen their knowledge or appreciation of themes and issues you touched on during the course
  • to remain excited about and engaged in their academic pursuits
  • to find connections between the material you covered during the course and their “summer world” beyond SJSU
  • to share their interest in these topics with the people they spend time with outside of school
  • to be(come) life-long-learners.

“Books for the beach.” Bring to your students’ attention to a selection of books, periodicals, blogs, podcasts and the like that they could take up over the summer, wherever they are and whatever they are doing (at the beach or otherwise).

  • You might begin with sources you used as you constructed your course, as these will give students the chance to delve deeper into issues you covered in class.
  • Alternatively, you might suggest materials that will provide food for thought and help prepare them for other courses in your department that they are likely to take next year.
  • Or you might suggest materials you have found worthwhile for any of a number of reasons not necessarily connected to your course or your department’s offerings.

You could certainly add layers to this, by creating online discussion boards or others ways to check in throughout the summer.  Or you could just keep it simple, and provide the list of items you recommend and let your students take it from there.

You can view the entire Faculty Matter Teaching Tip series on the Center for Faculty Development website. Please add your own strategies using the comment link below.