April 2018 Newsletter: Provost Update – Recognizing Excellence at San Jose State

As many of you know, my time here is nearing its end, as I will be leaving for a new role as president of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) at the end of June. The reason I was first drawn to SJSU as deputy provost in 2013 was because I saw tremendous potential in every student, every faculty and staff member, and the university as a whole. I have worked during the past five years with many Spartans who have exceeded my expectations and shown me what we can achieve when we work collaboratively toward the same vision. I am fortunate, too, that you saw potential in me when I was selected to be provost less than a year into my tenure.

Together, we have made great strides in improving graduation rates and expanding support for research, scholarship and creative activity. We have started professional development and onboarding programs and established student success centers in every college. We have created an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as student centers to support underrepresented minority and undocumented students.

While I am pleased with our collective accomplishments, I am also proud of the individual achievements of our students, faculty and staff. During my time as provost, I have especially enjoyed the regular notes I receive from deans, chairs and others sharing accolades for our talented and distinguished people who constitute our university community.

Whether I am meeting with people in person, checking email on my cell phone or looking through messages on a laptop, hearing about good news is a highlight of my day. Here are just a few of the items shared with me in recent weeks.

Alumna and former Spartan Daily reporter and city editor Mary Callahan made the list of 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners — she was part of the news team at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that received the award for breaking news reporting for coverage of the Sonoma wildfires. Assistant Professor Minghui Diao was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study ice supersaturation and its role on climate. Amy Strage, the director of our Center for Faculty Development, was named a faculty fellow with the Transforming STEM Teaching Faculty Learning Program. Professor and Director of the Burdick Military History Project Jonathan Roth coordinated a symposium on culture and WWI.

This month’s newsletter highlights more students, faculty and staff who excel in their fields and enhance the reputation of our great university. Read on to learn about an associate professor of English who received a Fulbright Award; students who will represent SJSU at the CSU Student Research Competition in May; a team of educators who are tackling ways to promote online civic literacy; two staff members who are co-chairing the Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign; a graduate student who was invited to participate in a panel on gentrification at the Chicago Ethnography Conference in March; and view photos from our April 20th Honors Convocation.

These and many other Spartans are what I will miss most about San Jose State University. The relationships I have built since my arrival are the thing I hold most dear about my time here. I want to reiterate that I have learned so much from all of you, and I am honored to have been part of your journey.

I know I will connect with many of you during my final months at SJSU and I hope to see many of you at my farewell reception that President Papazian will host from 3 to 5 p.m. May 7 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Social Work Professor selected for NIH Review Committee

Dr. Laurie Drabble

Dr. Laurie Drabble

Dr. Laurie Drabble, a professor in the School of Social Work in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, has been selected to serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review Community Influences on Health Behavior Study Section. She will begin her term on July 1 and serve through June 2022. Through her service, Dr. Drabble will have the opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort.

According to a message from Richard Nakamura, the director for the Center for Scientific Review, members are selected based on their demonstrated competence and achievements in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.

During her tenure, she will review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board and survey the status of research in her disciplines. Nakamura said these functions are of great value to medical and allied research in this country.

Next Steps in Strategic Planning: Share Thoughts on our Draft Desired Outcomes

Editor’s Note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on April 11, 2018.

Dear colleagues,

The university’s Strategic Planning Committee has been hard at work in the process of creating our new 10-year plan. In February, we shared with the campus five goals derived from conversations held during the fall with the university and community. Since then, five task forces, consisting of staff, students, administrators and faculty, have developed outcomes associated with each goal and proposed some action items for achieving each outcome.

As we continue to refine and develop these outcomes and action items, we would appreciate your assistance. The link below will take you to the Strategic Planning website where you can read this draft document and provide your input. Please take some time now – it shouldn’t be more than 15-20 minutes – to provide feedback.

View the draft desired outcomes and give your feedback here.

It remains very important to the President and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee that this be a campus-driven effort, and that all voices be heard. Please provide your input, if possible, by Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Please also save the date for our next all-campus discussion on Monday, May 7th at 10 a.m. located in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.  More details to follow.

Thank you,

Andy Feinstein
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stefan Frazier
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Chair of the Academic Senate

Provost Message: My Time At SJSU

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As you have recently read, I will be departing San Jose State University at the end of this academic year and will be taking on the role of president of the University of Northern Colorado. While I am excited for the new opportunities this appointment will provide for myself and my family, I am also saddened to be leaving the university and community I have called home for the past five years. I love this university and our students, staff and faculty!

I joined SJSU as deputy provost in 2013 because I saw tremendous potential in every student, every faculty and staff member, and the university as a whole. I hold dear the relationships I have built since my arrival. I have learned so much from all of you, and I am honored to have been part of your journey.

I arrived at a challenging time when our campus was dealing with issues of shared governance and a deep budget deficit. I was pleased to find a community of faculty and staff members who were willing to tackle these trying times head on while remaining focused on our mission of supporting students. We have accomplished so much in the past five years through collaborations with the Academic Affairs Leadership Team, the President’s Cabinet, faculty and staff, and, of course, our students. Under President Papazian’s leadership, I know that we are heading in the right direction and the university will continue its forward progress on top priorities.

As I think about leaving, there are many people who I wish to thank in person, and we will find some time later in the spring to come together and celebrate.

I would particularly like to thank the Academic Senate Executive Committee members, who have become not just colleagues, but friends. I can’t count the number of times I walked down the hall in the Administration Building into the Academic Senate chair’s office to ask for insight and advice—Lynda Heiden, Michael Kimbarow and Stefan Frazier have all offered an open door to me and I’ve offered the same to them. I am also grateful for the dedication of the Academic Affairs Leadership Team, the deans and members of the President’s Cabinet with whom I have worked so closely.

My fondest memories of San Jose State will always be my interactions with students. In my first semester as provost, I visited many classrooms to learn more about our students. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of working with Ariadna Manzo, our Associated Student president, who demonstrated tremendous courage in terms of sharing her personal story as an undocumented student in an effort to advocate for others. Students like Ariadna led to the creation of the African American/Black and Chicanx/Latinx student success centers and the UndocuSpartan Resource Center. I am also pleased to see the progress our campus has made on diversity and inclusion. Through the creation of an Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity and other initiatives, I know San Jose State will continue to honor its social justice legacy.

I will miss having my Sparta salad at In the Mix, soup at New Tung Kee Noodle House, and breakfast at Peanut’s, where I always knew I would run into someone from campus. Thank you very much for the opportunity to serve this wonderful institution. Go Spartans!


Andy Feinstein

College of Science Dean Appointment

Editor’s Note: This message was emailed to faculty and staff on April 9, 2018

Dear SJSU Community,

Following a comprehensive national search, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Kaufman has accepted the position of dean of the College of Science, effective April 16.

Michael has provided enthusiastic interim leadership to the college since July 1, 2017. During his brief tenure, he expanded support for research-active faculty by increasing assigned time; collaborated with internal and external stakeholders to move forward progress on the Interdisciplinary Science Building; worked to highlight the many ways that faculty and staff contribute to student success; and facilitated the Deans’ Leadership Academy, a year-long program focused on developing future university leaders. He has proven himself to be a skilled leader who will remain focused on supporting student success as he continues to grow the thriving research enterprise in the College of Science through collaboration with the Research Foundation, Tower Foundation and external partners.

In addition to his time as interim dean, Michael has more than 20 years of experience at SJSU and has served in multiple leadership roles, including a term as Academic Senate chair and six years as chair for the Department of Physics and Astronomy. As department chair, he coordinated the hiring of eight tenure-track faculty members, worked collaboratively on redesigning of introductory physics courses to increase student success, and garnered internal and external funds to facilitate space upgrades.

Michael joined SJSU as a lecturer in 1997 while completing a post-doctoral fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center and became a tenure-track faculty member in 1998. Through the years, he has been actively involved in supporting student research opportunities and has received more than $3 million in external funding to pursue the study of young stars and their natal environments, achieving the distinction of President’s Scholar in 2012.

He received his bachelor’s in physics from Middlebury College before attending Johns Hopkins University, where he completed a master’s in physics and a doctorate in astrophysics. Michael also completed the Management Development Program in Higher Education Leadership at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 2016.

I am confident that students, faculty, staff, alumni and other university stakeholders will be as enthusiastic as I am to have Michael at the helm of the College of Science and will find him to be a dedicated leader.


Andy Feinstein