Faculty News and Notes for March 2018: Publications, Quotes and More

The Mercury News interviewed Department of Journalism and Mass Communications Associate Professor Richard Craig and Department of Engineering Lecturer Ahmed Banafa about how “internet giants” are “scrambling to contain” the “misinformation and abuse” appearing on their platforms in the wake of the Florida school shooting. Tech companies are increasingly “having to make editorial judgments, although they prefer to stay out of it,” said Craig. Read more.

Led by Associate Professor Duane Michael Cheers, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, 45 students, educators and activists spent four days in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, photographing the changes being brought about by gentrification. The result, a 100-image exhibit titled “Harlem Reimagined,” is on display at the King Library until March 31, when it will move to NYC.

Grammy-winning saxophonist and Department of Music and Dance Professor Aaron Lington performed with the Southern Utah University Jazz Ensemble on February 17 at the Heritage Center Theatre in Cedar City, Utah. Lington also taught a jazz improvisation session following the afternoon concert.

Department of Economics Professor Lydia Ortega, a Republican, announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor of California last month, pledging to make college affordable and to “restore dignity to the halls of our state Capitol.” The announcement was covered by multiple news outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Mercury News. “It’s time for an academic, an economist, to be in the state government,” Ortega said. A member of SJSU’s faculty for 29 years, Ortega chaired the Department of Economics for 15 years.

Professor Matthew Spangler, Department of Communication Studies, delivered the inaugural Mary Power Lecture in Irish Studies at the University of New Mexico on February 22. An acclaimed playwright and director, Spangler has published extensively on Irish and intercultural theatre. His lecture, “Between the Idealized and the Undeserving: Representing Refugees in Irish and American Theatre,” focused on recent initiatives in the performing arts that represent refugee and asylum seeker experiences in Ireland and the United States.

Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Chair Ashwini Wagle was interviewed by the Mercury News about the recent Stanford study that compared low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. The findings—each of the two groups lost roughly the same amount of weight—came as a surprise to many. But people who practice “mindful eating and eat more healthfully” often lose more weight than those who merely “follow a trend,” Wagle said. The study, which focused on encouraging healthier food choices, received $8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health along with other health- and wellness-focused organizations.

Faculty News and Notes for February 2018: Publications, Quotes and More

Fox News KTVU interviewed Assistant Professor Serena Alexander, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, about the planned billion-dollar expansion of the Mineta San Jose International Airport, which Alexander links to the ongoing tech boom. “The relationship between airports and economic growth is self-reinforcing and simultaneous,” she said. In 2017, passenger numbers at the airport increased by 1.7 million, according to an airport spokesperson.

In a Mercury News article, Department of Engineering Lecturer and Guided Pathways Academic Advisor Ahmed Banafa commented on the two chip flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that have put computers and smartphones at risk worldwide, allowing hackers to steal data from the memory of running apps. “Here is the simple truth: every CPU created since 1995 is a victim of these bugs,” Banafa said.

BEAM Media, launched in 2017 to cover “luxury niches,” interviewed Professor Ken Gehrt, Department of Marketing and Decision Sciences, about the market for luxury Japanese fruits. “Fine fruit is part of the elaborately nuanced process of relationship cultivation in Japan,” Gehrt said. In 2016, a “pair of choice Hokkaido rockmelons went for a record $27,240” at auction, the article reported. Read more online.

Department of Music and Dance Lecturer Michael Hernandez, saxophonist and founding member of the Mana Quartet, weighed in on the San Francisco Classical Voice query: “Is Classical Music Getting More Saxy?” Invented in Belgium in the 19th century by Adolph Sax, the instrument was originally considered—and designed to be—an orchestral instrument, the article argues. Read more online.

Professor and Chair Melinda Jackson, Department of Political Science, was among those interviewed by the Mercury News regarding last month’s Women’s Marches in the Bay Area and throughout the nation. Bolstered by the social movements #MeToo and #TimesUp, tens of thousands of U.S. women marched with a focus on mobilizing women voters and encouraging more women to run for public office. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, a record number of women have announced as candidates in the 2018 elections. Read more online.

EdSurge interviewed Associate Professor Roxana Marachi, Department of Teacher Education, on the debate regarding the harmful effects on children’s development and wellbeing from constant access to tech devices. Marachi sides with educators who urge parents to wait until at least 8th grade before buying their children smartphones. Parents should recognize that devices and apps are designed to be addictive and should protect their children accordingly, Marachi said.

Associate Professor Harry Mathias, Department of Film and Theatre, was a featured presenter at the International Cinema Technology Association’s Los Angeles Seminar Series in January. An expert on image and projection quality, Mathias discussed the crossroads of technology and art in a special lecture. The two-day event also offered sessions on moviegoer research and new trends in cinema technology.

Professor Joseph Pesek, Department of Chemistry, has been tapped to receive the American Chemical Society’s 2018 Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. Well known for the development of silica hydride-based stationary phases for liquid chromatography, Pesek has published more than 230 works in his field. The award, sponsored by the Research Corporation of Science Advancement, will be presented on March 20 in conjunction with the 255th ACS national meeting in New Orleans.

Indian Express interviewed Associate Professor Aaron Romanowsky, Department of Physics and Astronomy, about the “supermassive black holes” that determine the lifespan of stars in every galaxy. “There are different ways a black hole can put energy out into the galaxy, and theorists have all kinds of ideas about how quenching (a star formation) happens. There’s more work to be done to fit these new observations in the models,” Romanowsky said.

iSchool Associate Professor Michael Stephens gave the keynote address at the Conference About Libraries and Literacy (C.A.L.L) held earlier this month on the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse campus. The conference focuses on the role of libraries in promoting literacy among kindergarten through college students.



Faculty Notes for January 2018: Publications, Quotes and more

Former SJSU President John H. Bunzel’s op-ed on U.S.-Korean political tensions, “Take first strike off table to prevent a nuclear showdown,” appeared in The Post and Courier. From 1983-1986, Bunzel served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and in 1990 received the Hubert Humphrey Award as an outstanding public policy practitioner. “Like it or not, President Trump is the key player in keeping the Korean peninsula free of nuclear war,” Bunzel wrote. Read more online.

Assistant Professor Ben Carter, Department of Biological Science, is part of a team of botanists who have discovered plants not previously seen on California’s Channel Islands. Carter discovered an additional two dozen mosses (non-flowering plants) beyond the 10 types previously catalogued. Learn more online.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Lecturer Frank Freedman, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, in an article about tracking smoke caused by wildfires. Freedman is working with NASA to help build pollution maps with satellite data for neighborhoods. Read more online.

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Arts (SJICA) mounted a retrospective of the work of the late Steve French, retired associate dean, College of Humanities and the Arts. “Overture: The Art of Steve French” includes paintings and assemblages from French’s early career in the 1960s until his death in 2014 and runs through February 4. Learn more online.

MovieVine interviewed Department of Film and Theatre Professor Amy Glazer about her movie Kepler’s Dream, the story of a “city girl” who spends the summer at her grandmother’s ranch in New Mexico. “At this point in my life, my love affair is with film. And more than anything else, I want a shot at the next one!” Glazer also serves as the San Francisco Playhouse’s associate artistic director. Read more online.

iSchool instructor Colleen Greene gave a presentation on “Researching African-American Family History” at CSU Fullerton’s Pollak Library in November. Greene stressed the importance of census records in genealogy research and shared her techniques for uncovering information about the Wesley Grubb family.

Yahoo News interviewed Assistant Professor Dina Izenstark, Department of Child and Adolescent Development, on her research into nature’s effect on family interactions and the benefits of sharing a “quick walk in nature” to “tune out distractions” and improve family relations. “We know that nature has a powerful effect on individuals because it helps (reduce) mental fatigue,” Izenstark said. “When family members are less mentally fatigued, they have the potential to get along better with one another.” Read more online.

Assistant Professor Raymond March, Department of Economics, recently posted an op-ed about “right to try laws” for the terminally ill at The Hill. “Right to try laws were enacted to provide hope,” March wrote. “Such legislation provides dying patients with more treatment options, albeit risky ones. Without right to try, there is no hope for these patients.” Read more online.

To celebrate Redwood City’s 150th anniversary, Redwood City Parks and Foundation will unveil Department of Art and Art History Professor Brian Taylor’s public art installation at the downtown library on February 8. Taylor also serves as executive director of the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel. Read more online.

Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News interviewed Assistant Professor Kamran Türkoğlu, Department of Aerospace Engineering, about the driverless electric car he designed that has broken a U.S. speed record for autonomous vehicles, reaching 256 kilometers per hour. “Smarter and more ergonomic vehicles will focus on making human life easier and give back time lost in traffic,” he said. Read more online.

Facutly News & Notes November 2017

Department of Music and Dance Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities Jeffrey Benson directed a Prince William County high school choir at a concert held at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia, in October. Benson also serves as artistic director of Peninsula Cantare, a community chorus in Palo Alto.

The Mercury News interviewed Assistant Professor Caroline Chen, Department of Accounting and Finance, about whether the GOP tax plan could lead Silicon Valley companies bringing “overseas cash home” during a proposed tax “holiday.” According to Moody’s report, U.S. companies held $1.3 trillion overseas at the end of 2016. “If the company isn’t in need of the cash to, say, build a new plant, I don’t see them wanting to pay even 12 percent on their cash,” Chen said. “Just because you lower the repatriation rates doesn’t mean we’ll see barges of cash from offshore coming into the Port of Oakland.”

Department of Political Science Assistant Professor Mary Currin-Percival, Associate Professor Garrick Percival and Professor and Chair Melinda Jackson collaborated on an op-ed article for the Mercury News: “Opinion: Hold elections for San José mayor, county DA, sheriff only in presidential years.” Since “low voter participation weakens…core tenets of democracy” and contributes to policies that are “often unrepresentative,” one solution would be moving key elections to coincide with presidential elections when voter turnout rates are higher, the trio proposed. Read more at: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/27/opinion-hold-elections-for-san-jose-mayor-county-da-sheriff-only-in-presidential-years

iSchool Associate Professor Christine Hagar was among an international group of presenters at the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience: Dealing with Disasters conference held at England’s Durham University in September. Hagar’s paper, “Strengthening Community Engagement and Resilience Efforts in Climate Change: Public Program Strategies,” discussed the crises informatics model she created for the Public Libraries Advancing Community Engagement (PLACE) project. “Disasters are often essentially local events and local organizations, such as public libraries, are critical in responding to them,” she said.

Associate Professor Roxana Marachi, Department of Elementary Education, delivered a keynote address at the Network for Public Education’s national conference in Oakland last month. In her presentation, Marachi, whose research encompasses students’ social and emotional wellbeing and the effects of technology on students’ health, criticized the “headlong dash to adopt devices and software without fully understanding their potential and limitation.” Read more at: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-10-16-at-public-education-conference-educators-share-fall-outs-on-personalized-learning-privatization-and-edtech

The Mercury News consulted Department of Economics Professor and Chair Lydia Ortega for an article about delayed insurance reimbursements in the wake of tens of thousands of claims filed as a result of wildfires in California and hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Ortega warned that this year’s series of natural disasters “may pinch the reserves of even major insurers. No insurance company could have imagined something of this magnitude…they might not be able to pay fully.” Read more at: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/19/thousands-of-wine-country-wildfire-claims-jolt-insurers-pose-thorny-challenges-for-homeowners

Upcoming are staged readings of two of Department of Film and Theatre Professor Scott Sublett’s new plays. The Repeating Arms of Sarah Winchester, which explores Winchester’s response to spiritualism as a young widow in Connecticut, will be presented in the Hammer Theatre Center’s black box space, the Hammer 4, on December 4. “This is not the fictional, kooky Sarah of the tourist attraction house,” Sublett clarified. Charleston Harbor, a musical about Civil War hero and slave Robert Smalls, will be presented at Manhattan’s Amas Musical Theatre on November 30 and December 1. “Smalls was forgotten by history,” Sublett said. “It’s my hope that the play revives interest in Smalls by other artists, by scholars and particularly by historians.”

Faculty News & Notes October 2017

The Mercury News interviewed Lecturer Fred Foldvary, Department of Economics, about the advantageous effects President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts would have for Apple and other Silicon Valley tech companies. Read more at: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/27/trump-tax-cuts-could-be-big-for-apple-and-other-tech-companies

iSchool Director Sandra Hirsh participated in a “Collaborators of the Future: Libraries, Communities and Information” forum sponsored by Friends of the Palo Alto Library. She was joined by Dan Russell, a research scientists at Google, and Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries.

In the wake of the devastating Santa Rosa and wine country fires, Assistant Professor Neil Lareau and Lecturer Jan Null, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, were interviewed by several news outlets, including the Mercury News, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. “October is always a tough month for fires in California,” Null told the Los Angeles Times. “We get these dry, desiccating, downslope winds.”

Professor Essam Marouf, College of Engineering, joined his Cassini Radio Science Team colleagues at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to witness the “flatlining” of the space probe named after 17th century Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini. The Cassini probe has spun around Saturn for the past 13 years and provided invaluable information to NASA scientists. Marouf has been a member of the Cassini team for more than two decades. “I am at peace with the fact that the mission has to end,” Marouf told the Mercury News. “But I feel very emotional.” Read more at: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/13/requiem-for-a-space-probe

Professor Tom Means, Department of Economics, authored a September report, “An Analysis of the Pacifica Community Reservation, Rent Stabilization and Renter’s Rights Act,” also known as Measure C, for the Coalition for Housing Equality. Means also serves on Mountain View’s Rental Housing Committee. Read the full report at: http://www.samcar.org/userfiles/file/Pacifica-Coalition_TomMeans_201709.pdf

Governor Jerry Brown appointed Professor Romey Sabalius, Department of World Languages and Literatures, to the California State University Board of Trustees. A member of SJSU’s Academic Senate and the CSU Academic Senate, Sabalius holds a doctorate in German literature from USC and joined SJSU’s faculty in 1995. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

Despite the stereotype, liberal arts majors make excellent employees, argues Professor Randall Stross, School of Management, in A Practical Education (Stanford University Press). Published last month, the book examines the successes of “multi-capable” humanities graduates in “engineering-centric” Silicon Valley. Stross is the author of numerous books about Silicon Valley companies and culture, including The Launch Pad (Portfolio, 2012).

The Mercury News interviewed Professor Kate Sullivan, Department of Hospitality Management, regarding the need for hotel security overhauls in the aftermath of the Las Vegas concert shooting. “It’s a new awakening for this industry,” Sullivan said. Read more at: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/03/las-vegas-shooting-big-hotels-need-security-overhaul-experts-say

Last month, KQED’s “California Report” ran a feature on political activism in San Jose during the Vietnam War years, profiling former School of Social Work Lecturer Gil Villagran and Department of Sociology Professor Emeritus Robert (Bob) Gliner. “Some people say, ‘Oh, (the activists) grew up.’ But if we want to have a vibrant democracy, it’s not something you grow out of,” Gliner said. “It’s something you integrate into your day to day life, to be conscious of world events and to do something about problems that really bother you.”