Author and Artist Awards Celebrate New Publications, Pieces and Performances

The Author and Artist Awards on Nov. 3 celebrated the work of 39 Spartans who completed significant publications or performances in 2017. The evening event this year was held in the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Grand Reading Room on the eighth floor with President Mary Papazian offering opening remarks while Provost Andy Feinstein shared some closing thoughts. The annual campus event sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Office of Research, Spartan Bookstore and University Library is designed to recognize faculty and staff who have recently published a book or other major works of general interest and significance.

“As I shared in my fall welcome address, amazing things happen when liberal arts and STEM connect,” Papazian said at the event. “That is evident in the publications we celebrate today with an anthropologist who studies Silicon Valley culture, a librarian who provides a guide to massive open online courses and a composer who uses computers to make music. The work you do that leads to these publications exposes our students to research, scholarship and creative activity. RSCA is uniquely important to a comprehensive university because it is a critical aspect of experiential learning.”

At the celebration, authors and artists from all seven colleges and multiple disciplines were recognized, including Feinstein who is the co-author of a hospitality textbook, Purchasing: Selection and Procurement for the Hospitality Industry, that was updated this year.

“Your work supports our students by providing up-to-date textbooks, by enhancing your disciplines and by generating new creative efforts such as musical recordings, literary collections and live performance art,” Feinstein said. “I have enjoyed learning about all the pieces written, composed or edited by faculty and staff members completed in 2017 and sharing a bit about my updated hospitality textbook.

All publications are now listed in SJSU ScholarWorks. Many are also available at the Spartan Bookstore.More photos can be viewed online.

CS Professor Recognized for Educational Contributions to Computing

Python for Everyone book cover.

Python for Everyone book cover.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) named San Jose State University’s Cay S. Horstmann as a distinguished member for educational contributions to computing. A computer science professor in the College of Science, Horstmann has written several books that are used in introductory computer science courses including Big Java, Big C++, Python for Everyone and others. His books for professional programmers include Core Java and Scala for the Impatient and are also well regarded.

In addition to his publications, Horstmann has been a long-time member of the College Board AP Computer Science development committee and has been an associate editor of the ACM Transactions on Computing Education. He developed a Udacity/SJSU course that is still used by many AP CS instructors and created educational software including Violet, GridWorld and Codecheck that he has made freely available to the community.

“I was very happy to have received this recognition,” Horstmann said. “I have worked on computer science education for many years and am glad that our professional society considers me to have ‘achieved significant accomplishments.’”

Department Chair of Computer Science Sami Khuri noted that Horstmann’s books are used around the world, and that he has participated in educational panels and given international talks.

“We, the Department of Computer Science, are extremely honored and proud to have one of our own get such a distinguished recognition,” Khuri said. “ACM is the best-regarded society for Computer Science and they are extremely selective with their awards/recognitions.”

Horstmann noted that SJSU has supported his efforts and allowed him to build up a portfolio of accomplishments over the years. Horstmann participated in the first cohort of the University Grants Academy in 2015-16. He said one of the key things he appreciated about the grant academy was the opportunity to learn about other research interests on campus.

“It put us together with other people – otherwise you are a lone player,” he said, noting that he connected with other professors with whom he could collaborate in the future.

The CS professor is one of five 2017 ACM Distinguished Members recognized for educational contributions to computing this year, with 43 total members recognized in all arenas including engineering and scientific contributions to computing.

“Computing technology is becoming an increasingly dominant force in our daily lives and is transforming society at every level,” said ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. “In naming a new roster of Distinguished Members each year, ACM underscores that the innovations which improve our lives do not come about by accident, but rather are the result of the hard work, inspiration and creativity of leading professionals in the field. We honor the 2017 class of ACM Distinguished Members for the essential role their accomplishments play in how we live and work.”

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.orgis the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

College of Business Student Wins Top Award in Competition

Tiana Khong, right, a 2017 business administration graduate, won a student paper competition in September.

Tiana Khong, right, a 2017 business administration graduate, won a student paper competition in September. Photo courtesy of Stanley Olszewski, SOSKIphoto

Recent San Jose State University graduate Tiana Khong, ’17 Business Administration with a management concentration, won first place in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) student paper competition in September.

For this year’s competition, students were charged with submitting papers that exemplify the theme “The World in 2050.” In her paper, Khong envisioned a future in which international governments and technology companies have created safety-by-design service standards. The ANSI summarizes the main preface of her paper: the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) will lead to innovative intelligence buildings, autonomous vehicles and smart roads – and these systems will increasingly rely on service safety standards to ensure optimal security for consumers and the public.

As a student, Khong worked with Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Associate Professor Nitin Aggarwal and former Associate Dean Stephen Kwan. She was recognized for her paper at an awards banquet Oct. 18 in Washington D.C. and received $2,000 prize from ANSI.

Read Khong’s paper online.

Since graduating in spring 2017, Khong has been working as a product support analyst for a start-up company called TeemWurk that offers software as a service-based solutions for human capital management with a special focus on employee benefits administration.

In her position, she has traveled overseas, including a month-long trip to India. She works with the implementation and support services team and acts as a point of contact between the client teams and the offshore IT team, among other duties.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that is engaged in enhancing U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems.

Paseo Prototype Challenge Teams Solve Civic Issues

By Barry Zepel

Last year, 16 teams of creative and imaginative students showcased their technological solutions for many of their city’s most pressing issues – including downtown safety, traffic congestion, homelessness, and support of local small business entrepreneurs – at the Paseo Public Prototyping Festival in downtown San Jose in April. In preparation for the festival, students majoring in art, design, engineering, business and the sciences spent months in collaboration with fellow team members to develop and refine their proposed solutions for improving quality of life in San Jose.

In September 2016, SJSU in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of San José, Intel, Microsoft and Autodesk – launched the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival. The Challenge and Festival will be held every two years, pending funding.

“San José State University students are making a difference through their creative and technical talents,” said Gary Craig Hobbs, faculty director of the Paseo Prototyping Challenge and Festival. “The festival is the culmination of a year-long civic innovation challenge designed to incubate solutions to pressing social and environmental problems in San Jose.”

The 2016-17 student teams were selected by a competitive review process headed by university faculty members, as well as industry professionals, shared prototypes that included:

  • A skateboard modified to generate electricity that can be used to charge a cell phone or power a headlight for the board to be safer at night;
  • An app to better control city traffic and enhance access to public transportation;
  • Devices to collect solar energy during the day in order to light up pedestrian walkways at night;
  • A social app enabling residents to follow the actions of their local government, while communicating with it to access services and report problems;
  • An inventory-tracking module to help local food entrepreneurs provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods to city residents;
  • An app to help drivers more efficiently locate available parking spaces near their downtown destinations, while eliminating excess traffic jams;
  • A collaborative educational game that encourages learning and offersfirst-hand experience, while keeping students continuously engaged; and
  • An app that helps individuals with niche interests and hobbies find other like-minded persons as well as events and organizations related to those pursuits.

September Newsletter: Dr. Spangler Wins the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance

Dr. Matthew Spangler teaches at San Jose State University on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.  (James Tensuan/San Jose State University)

Dr. Matthew Spangler teaches at San Jose State University on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. (James Tensuan/San Jose State University)

By David Goll

Dr. Matthew Spangler enjoyed a summer of achievement in 2017—based on a mixture of long-running professional successes, recurring events, and brand new honors.

In August, Dr. Spangler, associate professor of Communication Studies, became the first San José State University faculty member to win the prestigious Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance. Since 1994, the National Communication Association has bestowed the honor annually to teachers, directors, producers or performers who’ve created a body of live performances. He will receive his award during the Washington D.C.-based organization’s annual conference in Dallas in November.

“I’m honored and flattered to receive this award,” said Dr. Spangler, a member of the SJSU faculty since 2005. “We in this field are not in it for the awards, but it’s very nice to be recognized.”

The award was announced roughly at the same time as the 15th production of his stage version of The Kite Runner—the former number one New York Times best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini—was wrapping up its eight-month run at two different theaters in London’s famed West End theater district. Dr. Spangler adapted the novel, which was also turned into a successful 2007 movie, for the stage and was first performed at San José State that same year and then by theater groups throughout the U.S.

The professor/playwright said he has modified the play over the years by adapting the script to better reflect current events, including adding new characters to keep “The Kite Runner” relevant. The British production gave added emphasis to the experience of Afghan characters emigrating to the East Bay city of Fremont.

Two graduate students working towards Master’s degrees in Communication Studies, Jenni Perez and Abigail Nuno, were among a small group of San José State students who made the trip to London last December to view the production.

“Being given the opportunity to see Dr. Spangler’s play in London was without a doubt one of my favorite experiences during my time in the graduate program,” Perez said. “…I was introduced to the cast of the play and had the chance to hang out with them afterward. They wanted to ask our opinions of their American accents.”

Describing it as one of her favorite novels, Perez said she was transfixed seeing the book turned into a stage play.

“Though I always hoped to watch ‘The Kite Runner’ play in person, I never imagined my first time would be in London of all places,” she said.

Nuno said other than losing feeling in her toes from the December chill of London; she has great memories of the trip to Europe.

“The theater was gorgeous and the play was a great representation of the book,” she said. “It was awesome to see a crowd of people just as passionate about the story as we were. My father also came to London with us and went to the play. He had never read the book and still enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Both Nuno and Perez said they’re inspired by their professor.

“Dr. Spangler is an instructor who is very passionate about immigration,” Nuno said. “He has many accomplishments in the field, so he likes to tie them into our class.”

After the London productions, which drew audiences of about 100,000 from December to August, Dr. Spangler said that “The Kite Runner” is touring the U.K. until June.

It was a busy summer—Dr. Spangler also presided over his third National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for School Teachers, from June 25 to July 9, since 2014. This year’s event for 25 K-12 teachers from throughout the nation, titled “The Immigrant Experience in California Through Literature and Theatre”, featured talks by well-known academics and such authors and playwrights as Khaled Hosseini, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Luis Valdez. Also included were field trips around the Bay Area, including to Angel Island—known as the Ellis Island of the West—because of its immigration station operating from 1910 to 1940 that processed 500,000 immigrants.

Dr. Spangler and his former colleague, Dr. David Kahn, professor emeritus from the SJSU Television, Radio, Film & Theatre department, received a $168,000 grant from the NEH to stage the Institute. Participants’ airfare was covered, as well as lodging at the Fairmont San José hotel and a small food allowance. It was one of about two dozen such gatherings sponsored by the NEH.

“We get 150 applications for 25 spots,” said Dr. Spangler, who also teaches courses on immigration. “All of the instructors are teaching immigration issues in their classes, in a variety of subject areas.”

Luis Valdez, writer and director of such acclaimed films as “Zoot Suit” and “La Bamba,” is considered the founder of modern Chicano theater and film. A former SJSU student, Valdez was joined as a speaker at the Institute by his son, Kinan Valdez. The elder Valdez is the founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, the renowned San Juan Bautista theater company, where his son is also an actor and director.