Faculty Notes for March 2016: Publications, Quotes and More

Associate Professor Michael Cheers, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is part of a team leading an immersive journalism program for 25 high school and college students this summer in Washington, D.C. During “Newsroom U: A White House Student Press Briefing and Multimedia Weekend,” students will focus on the election year issues affecting Washington metro-area millennials and post stories on an interactive website that will also be shared with other media outlets, including USA Today. George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication are also institutional sponsors.

Don Beall Dean of Engineering Andrew Hsu will become the University of Toledo’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs on July 1. Hsu is no stranger to Ohio. From 2010 to 2013, he held the position of associate vice president for research at Wright State University in Dayton and, earlier in his career, worked as a senior research engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

College of Social Science Dean Walt Jacobs revisited his first published article in February, a piece about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, when he interacted with AP English students who were studying the text at their high school in Iowa. The students read the book and Jacobs’ article, then posted questions to a blog to which Jacobs responded. He has coordinated with the AP English teacher in the past on a similar activity. “It was a lot of fun, and the students learned a lot, I hope,” Jacobs said, via his own blog.

Earlier this month, Professor Anne Lawrence, Department of Organization and Management, gave a public lecture at the University of Cape Coast on the topic “Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility in the Global Supply Chain,” stressing the need for multinational companies operating in Ghana and other regions of Africa to protect natural resources.

Lecturer Marc Privitera, Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, was appointed to the technical advisory board of Canadian International Minerals. Principal engineer and co-founder of PreProcess in San Ramon, he holds numerous U.S. patents in the area of chemical process design.

School of Information Lecturer Scott Walker, finalist for the dean of libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, gave a presentation to that campus community on March 8. His topic: “Vision of Academic Research Libraries for the Next Five Years.”

Professor Mary Warner, Department of English and co-editor of Teaching Writing Grades 7-12 in an Era of Assessment: Passion and Practice (Pearson Academic Computing, 2013), was interviewed by LifeZette.com about the importance of encouraging kids to read books in our “shorter, quicker” world of texts and tablets.

Project Director James Wayman, Information Technology Services, was interviewed by livescience.com about Amazon’s pending patent to have customers pay for purchases by means of a facial recognition system that would, in theory, stop fraud.  As reported, Wayman pointed out that governmental attempts to create security systems based on facial recognition have run into difficulties because “faces are not hard to fake.” In May, Wayman will lead a session on biometrics at the 2016 IEE International Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security in Massachusetts.

Faculty Notes for February 2016: Publications, Quotes and More

Aaron Romanowsky

Aaron Romanowsky has been named a 2016 Cottrell Scholar.

Department of English and Comparative Literature Lecturer Sally Ashton and Professor Persis Karim were among the featured poets reading at a reception on Feb. 7 for the San Jose Quilt Museum’s “Earth, Water, Air, Fire” show. Ashton and Karim read ekphrastic poems specifically created for the exhibition and inspired by the fiber art on display. Ashton’s most recent poetry collection is Some Odd Afternoon (BlazeVOX 2010). Karim is co-editor of and contributor to Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers (University of Arkansas Press 2013).

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Professor Emeritus Alvin Beckett, who taught at SJSU for more than 30 years, celebrated his 100th birthday on Feb. 10. His daughter, UC Davis Professor Dr. Laurel Beckett, reports: “Dad was a feminist and fighter for social justice for students and colleagues of color. Just one story: in the late 1950s, one of his top students got married and became pregnant and was going to drop out of college. My dad told her she needed to stay in school and helped her work out finances and childcare. She went on to graduate, get her master’s and have a very successful career. The baby boy grew up to be a doctor and he and his wife (also a doctor) are colleagues of mine here at UC Davis Medical School. Our families have stayed friends all these years.”

Professor Alison Bridger, chair of the meteorology and climate science, assured CBS SF Bay Area reporters that, despite a run of dry and warm weather this month, El Niño is still influencing weather patterns on the West Coast. The rain will return and, once it does, it will continue into April, Bridger explained. Regarding February’s mild spell, Bridger said she’s “telling all my friends: ‘Enjoy it while you can.’”

Professor Richard Craig, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, appeared on KGO Radio’s “Ronn Owens Show” to talk about the presidential primaries and his most recent book, Polls, Expectations and Elections: TV News Making in U.S. Presidential Campaigns (Lexington Books 2014). In researching the book, Craig analyzed transcripts of “CBS Evening News” broadcasts during the presidential election campaigns, 1968-2012.

Professor Emeritus Larry Gerston, political science, was guest speaker at Los Altos’s Morning Forum lecture series this month. His topic: “The 2016 Election: Why We should Care (and Why Few People Do).” Morning Forum series subscriptions are available to all. The lectures take place at Los Altos United Methodist Church on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

Chair and Professor of Anthropology Roberto Gonzalez was featured on BBC’s Radio 4 on “From Savage to Self: Anthropology Goes to War,” on Feb. 1. Gonzalez discussed Cold War anthropology. “These areas were battlegrounds for ideas and the hearts and minds of people during the Cold War,” said Gonzalez, of Latin America, the Middle East and South East Asia, during the interview.

School of Information Associate Professor Lili Luo received the 2016 Association for Library and Information Science Education’s Best Methodology Paper award for a paper she co-authored titled “Vignettes: Implications for LIS Research.” The award carries a $500 honorarium and the opportunity to present a summary of the paper’s findings at the annual ALISE conference.

In January, former Assistant Professor Ralph McLaughlin, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, was promoted to chief economist of Trulia’s Housing Economics Research Team. He left academia in 2014 to join the company, an online home shopping marketplace. “As an economist and long-time house hunter, I understand what buyers, sellers and renters care about and why they need to know to successfully navigate today’s polarized housing market,” McLaughlin said. “Under my leadership, Trulia will continue to explore the growing divide between the ‘Costly Coasts’ in the booming West and Northeast markets versus the ‘Bargain Belt’ in the sluggish South and Midwest markets. It’s a trend that has important ramifications for the U.S. economy and housing policy.”

Professor Aaron Romanowsky, from the physics and astronomy department, has been selected as one of 24 scientists to be recognized as a 2016 Cottrell Scholars by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. He will receive a $100,000 to support his research and teaching. He is one of two CSU professor to receive the distinction since its inception in 1994. His most recent research article “Satellite accretion in action: a tidally disrupting dwarf of spheroidal around the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 253” was published in December 2015 in

Associate Professor Ryan Skinnell, who joined the faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature last fall, received the Theresa J. Enos Anniversary Award for the best essay published in Rhetoric Review in the preceding year. His essay, “Who Cares if Rhetoricians Landed on the Moon? Or, a Plea for Reviving the Politics of Historiography,” appeared in the journal’s April 2015 issue. His new book, Conceding Composition: A Crooked History of Composition’s Institutional Fortunes, will be published in September by Utah State University Press.

Communications Studies Professor Matthew Spangler received the top paper award in performance studies from the Western States Communication Association in San Diego in Feb. 28. He presented his paper, “Fall and Recover: The Making of Modern Dance with Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Dublin, Ireland” about refugees who are working in the performing arts in Ireland, and specifically, are making live performances inspired by their migration experiences.

Faculty Notes for January 2016: Publications, quotes and more

By Kat Meads

Associate Professor Michael Cheers was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News at the unveiling of a downtown mural.

Associate Professor Michael Cheers was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News at the unveiling of a downtown mural.

The San Jose Mercury News interviewed Associate Professor Michael Cheers, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, regarding the December unveiling of a multicultural mural in downtown San Jose that depicts six barbers of Barbers, Inc. styling the locks of six icons, including Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Johnny Cash and poet Maya Angelou. “Imagine kids leaving here and seeking out Maya’s books of poetry,” Cheers said. The mural is located near the corner of Eighth and Santa Clara streets.

Department of Physics and Astronomy Lecturer Friedemann Freund, a senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, was a presenter at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. He shared his research on predicting earthquakes via electromagnetic anomalies that appear in the Earth’s crust minutes to days before an earthquake occurs.

This month, iSchool Assistant Professor Christine Hagar presented at the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Science and Technology Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Hagar shared research on her specialty, crisis informatics, concerning the role of information professionals and public libraries in disasters and collaborations with disaster and emergency management agencies.

In December, Professor of Art and Art History and Director of the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery Jo Farb Hernandez presented her book “Singular Spaces: From Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments” at the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain. Hernandez’ book was presented along with books by three other women who have recently published on the theme of art brut/art environments in Spain, Cuba and Italy.

Last month Lecturer Sharmin Khan, Department of Computer Science and Department of Linguistics and Language Development, published “A Muslim call to fight radical Islam” in the San Jose Mercury News, calling on “all progressive Muslims to wake up to the peril within our midst.” Read the article online.

Assistant Professor Ellen Middaugh, Department of Child and Adolescent Development, was interviewed by NBCBayArea.com on how to discuss the recent Paris terrorist attacks with children. Most critically, parents should emphasize that the actions of Islamic extremists do not reflect the beliefs and actions of all Muslims, Middaugh stressed. Read more online.

Professor Scott Myers-Lipton, Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, is leading a San Jose business tax initiative. The proposed ballot measure would establish a gross-receipts tax, taxing businesses based on income. The proposal will go before voters in November if 20,000 signatures can be gathered in six months. Myers-Lipton, who also led the successful 2012 campaign to raise the city’s minimum wage, is the author of “Ending Extreme Inequality” (Paradigm 2015).

Assistant Professor Dustin Mulvaney, Department of Environmental Studies, published an article in the San Jose Mercury News on climate change and the importance of preserving desert habitats. “Permanently protecting large swaths of the California desert, such as Mojave Trails National Monument, will ensure that these landscapes continue doing the important work of sequestering carbon pollution,” he wrote. Read the article online.

New Scientist interviewed Assistant Professor Aaron Romanowsky, Department of Physics and Astronomy, about his team’s discovery of a dwarf spheroidal galaxy “in distress, orbiting NGC 253, a giant spiral galaxy 11 million light years from Earth,” the article reported. “It looks like it’s being ripped apart by the larger galaxy,” Romanowsky said. Read more online.

Lecturer Edward Webb, Department of Accounting and Finance, was promoted to partner at Burr Pilger Mayer, one of the largest California-based accounting and consulting firms. Webb leads the firm’s Consulting Practice Group. At SJSU, he teaches corporate finance and accounting.

Professor Elizabeth Weiss, Department of Anthropology, recently spoke at the Milpitas Public Library on the links among modern health problems, lifestyle and evolutionary history. Weiss teaches physical anthropology courses at SJSU and has presented her research findings at annual meetings of, among others, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Canadian Association of Physical Anthropology and the Paleopathology Association.

The December issue of Nature Neuroscience featured an article co-authored by Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Katie Wilkinson on the discovery of a protein related to proprioception – a sense that allows humans and animals to tell where their body parts are relative to each other and the environment. Read more online.

College newsletters published throughout the year

The University Library has published the Fall 2015 edition of “Academic Gateway,” a newsletter about the University Library. Contents include an article on a grant to digitize World War II Japanese Internment items, a letter from Dean Ruth Kifer and more. It is available for download from ScholarWorks.

Current and archived newsletters from other academic units and colleges are also available online:

College of Applied Sciences and Arts

Lucas College of Business and Graduate School

Connie L. Lurie College of Education

Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

College of Humanities and the Arts

College of Science

College of Social Sciences

SJSU Research Foundation Office of Sponsored Programs Bulletin 12.15 (2)


Campus community thanks Dean Steele for service

Provost Andy Feinstein, left, presented Dean David Steele with a plaque commemorating his service to San Jose State at a farewell reception Nov. 13.

Provost Andy Feinstein, left, presented Dean David Steele with a plaque commemorating his service to San Jose State at a farewell reception Nov. 13.

More than 100 members of the San Jose State community, alumni and donors stopped by the Boccardo Business Center on Nov. 13 to say goodbye to Lucas College of Business and Graduate School Dean David Steele. Provost Feinstein hosted a farewell reception in which he recognized Steele’s seven exemplary years of service to the College of Business and San Jose State.Steele departed SJSU to assume the presidency of Woodbury University in Burbank.

During his seven years with the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, Steele strengthened the global and local reputation of his programs by branding them as the Silicon Valley Experience. Under his tenure, eight major annual conferences launched such as the Global Speakers Series and the Economic Summit. The college consistently ranks as a top business school in “US News and World Report,” most recently as one of the top three business schools in the Bay Area and the seventh among California public/private institutions for first-time pass rates for the CPA exam.

Steele fostered connections between industry leaders for his students and faculty, specifically through the creation of six Executives-in-Residence positions along with the development of five new centers or institutions. More than 130 industry members serve on the boards of the centers and institutes, allowing students and faculty to connect with professionals in their fields. At least 4,500 students, alumni and members of the public attend events sponsored by the college each year.

Beyond these achievements, he focused on student success and faculty recruitment. He shepherded the development of the Jack Holland Student Success Center and oversaw the implementation of an experimental first-year program that provides incoming freshman in the college with an iPad. In the last seven years, he has recruited 34 excellent tenure/tenure-track faculty members and his professors were lauded in a review by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Dr. Marlene Turner will serve as interim dean until a permanent dean is selected via a national search.