Academic Spotlight November 2018: Health and Wellness Week

 

The College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) hosted a week-long celebration of health and wellness in October to highlight San Jose State University’s commitment to creating a culture of wellness through its community connections. The second annual Health and Wellness Week was held Oct. 22-26, with booths set up daily to help students and community members learn about hygiene during flu season; handling stress; and managing heart health as well as special events throughout the week such as an SJSU Fitness Challenge, a workshop on bike and scooter safety, and cooking demonstrations.

The week of events aligns with both the mission of CHHS to intentionally promote health, global awareness, social justice and innovation as well as the university’s participation in the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Campus 2020 initiative.

“The opportunity to leverage this initiative with a celebration of health-based community partnerships that focuses both on internal as well as external wellness initiatives is exciting,” said Mary Schutten, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, “And this is really what the college is seeking to do, positively impact the health and wellness of our communities. It was a great week of collaboration and fun.

October 2018 Newsletter: Provost Update – Building Scholarship Through RSCA

Dear University Community,

As we approach the midpoint of the fall semester, there are many exciting events that will highlight the extraordinary research, scholarship and creative activities of our faculty and students. First, the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, with support from our Campus Reading Program, will host its inaugural Student Research Fair on Oct. 15. As a former student-athlete and women’s basketball coach myself, I know the interrelatedness that provides interdisciplinary possibilities for the exploration of ideas.

Additionally, this month we continue our University Scholar Series on Oct. 24 with a lecture by Nursing Professor Deepika Goyal, who will share new findings on postpartum depression in Asian American women. On Nov. 2, we will celebrate the scholarly works of dozens of faculty members at the Annual Author and Artist Awards. Read more in this newsletter about these and other recent events that elevate our reputation and our scholarly work.

I am pleased to share that we have made considerable progress toward implementing our new Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Reassigned Time program and will do so officially in January 2019. This program represents our best efforts to align the scholarly expectations of tenure-track faculty with the expectations of the Academy; to increase recognition that students are, and will be, prepared successfully by successful teacher-scholars; and to honor our evolving relationship with our surrounding community and Silicon Valley.

Eligible and interested tenured and tenure-track faculty submitted their applications to their Dean’s Office at the end of September. I look forward to receiving college submissions later this month and announcing selected candidates for our first five-year cycle in November.

I also would like to note that we have 43 faculty members who received tenure and/or promotion this year based on their dedicated teaching, exemplary RSCA work and strong record of service. This fall we invited them to share some notes about themselves for profile stories on the Academic Spotlight blog. You can read the first of these profiles online now. Look for more throughout this semester.

I continue to look forward to our work together.

Sincerely,

Joan C. Ficke
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

October 2018 Newsletter: Student Researchers Look at Sport and Social Change

Students Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen will present their analysis of content on ESPN and ESPNW at a Student Research Fair October 15. Photo: Melissa Anderson

Students Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen will present their analysis of content on ESPN and ESPNW at a Student Research Fair October 15. Photo: Melissa Anderson

As San Jose State University’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Spartans Tommie Smith and John Carlos taking a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics, a new crop of students will be sharing their own research and ideas around how sports and athletes can change the world. The inaugural Institute for the Study of Sports, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair will feature the research and scholarly work of more than 50 students from several departments across campus, according to Interim Director of the Institute and Professor of Sport Sociology and Sport Psychology Ted Butryn.

The Student Research Fair will be Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. It will kick off with a keynote address by Marques Dexter, a third-year PhD student from the University of Georgia. Dexter is studying sports management and policy with a research focused on the racial, athletic and academic identities of African-American male athletes.

“There are three central pillars for the Institute—research, programming and education,” Butryn said. “This ties into all three. Monday morning on the 15th (of October) will be the kick off of an incredible week of events.”

The students involved in the research fair fall into three categories: some will be presenting proposals for future research studies, others will be presenting posters related to the subject of this year’s Campus Reading Program book The John Carlos Story, and several teams of students have completed research and analyzed data.

Many of the student research teams worked on their projects over the summer, not for course credit, but for the experience of participating in important scholarly work. Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen, all kinesiology undergraduates who plan to graduate in 2019, were encouraged by Professor Bethany Shifflett to work on a research project. They all were enrolled in Shifflett’s Measurement and Evaluation course, where they formed a study group.

“I thought, ‘Yes, it’s finally my first chance to do research,’” said Ancheta, who also shared that the experience has opened her to the possibility of pursuing a career in research.

The students set about analyzing the content on ESPN and ESPNW, a spin-off site that targets female readers, to see how much coverage each provided of female athletes. They will represent their findings from analyzing the content on both sites for three weeks over the summer at the Student Research Fair.

Abuyen found working as part of a team to be the most rewarding part of the experience.

“We all have school, work and exams, but if I wasn’t there I felt like I was letting them down,” he said.

Ancheta estimated the team spent well over 160 hours setting up their hypothesis, creating a method for collecting data, reviewing articles and analyzing their findings.

“I learned hard work and dedication is important to answer the questions that we need to answer,” said Peet, who wants to become an adaptive physical education teacher after she graduates. “Even with more awareness of female sports since Title IX started, women athletes are still underrepresented. In Sports Illustrated only two percent of the coverage consists of women. We are fighting for more female representation.”

Butryn said his department has taken the first step toward creating a new interdisciplinary minor in sports and social change that will broaden the opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in research in the coming years. The proposed minor is being reviewed at the College of Health and Human Sciences Curriculum Committee. After any revisions, if it the minor is approved at the college level, it will go to the University level for review.

“We look forward to making any necessary modifications so that, if all goes well, a year from now the research fair is one of the central experiences of all students in the minor,” Butryn said.

For a full list of events and activities, including tickets to the Oct. 17 Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism Town Hall, visit the Institute website.

SJSU Professor’s Design work Sets Stage for Fun Home

A scene from the musical Fun Home shows the set design of SJSU Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert.

A scene from the musical Fun Home shows the set design of SJSU Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert.

Andrea Bechert, an assistant professor and designer in the Department of Film and Theatre, will have her scenic design on display during an October run of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts. The show, presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, is based on MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel that details her experience growing up in a loving yet dysfunctional family that owns a funeral home.

The set design was an especially challenging project as the storyline is based on Bechdel’s memories—it moves back and forth between the author’s childhood, college years and present life—sometimes with three actresses playing Alison at different ages on stage at once. Rather than building fully realist sets, she played with filing the stage with elements to suggest a home, such as a couch, a chair, with windowpanes and curtains in the background.

Bechert talked about her work on Fun Home in a recent San Jose Mercury News article, and noted that she felt an especially personal connection to Bechdel’s story.

“When I was an undergrad, I feel like I went through a lot of the same things that Alison Bechdel did,” Bechert said. “I was coming out and trying to come to grips with my sexuality, and it was still something that wasn’t talked about too much. People were starting to be okay with it.”

Fun Home will be presented October 3 – October 28 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For more information, visit TheatreWorks.org.

October 2018 Newsletter: Nursing Professor’s Research on Postpartum Depression Offers Advice to Clinicians

Deepika Goyal

Deepika Goyal

Deepika Goyal, a professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences Valley Foundation School of Nursing, will present the second University Scholar Series lecture on Oct. 24, from noon to 1 p.m., in MLK 225/229. During the event, she will share her research about Asian American women and postpartum depression. Her research suggests stigma, shame and lack of knowledge regarding postpartum depression symptoms may prevent this group from receiving timely treatment. Her findings provide information for clinicians on how to provide culturally-informed care and promote optimal maternal-child well-being outcomes.

In addition, Goyal has co-authored a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine Postpartum Health special issue Sept. 27 that suggests a link between perinatal depression and the season in which a woman gives birth. Goyal worked with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco to analyze information from 293 first-time mothers who had been involved in a randomized clinical trial on sleep before and after pregnancy.

The researchers found an overall risk of depression of 30 percent, with the lowest incidences when a woman’s final trimester coincided with longer daylight hours when the risk dropped to 26 percent. For the women who gave birth from August through early November when days are shortening, the risk was the highest at 35 percent.

“Among first-time mothers, the length of day in the third trimester, specifically the day lengths that are shortening compared to day lengths that are short, long or lengthening, were associated with concurrent depressive symptom severity,” Goyal said.

Based on these findings, the team has suggested that clinicians could suggest light therapy, outdoor activity during daylight hours and vitamin D as measures to minimize postpartum depressive symptoms.

“Women should be encouraged to get frequent exposure to daylight throughout their pregnancies to enhance their vitamin D levels and to suppress the hormone melatonin,” added Goyal, who said that clinicians should also advise their patients to get more exercise outdoors when weather and safety permit. “Daily walks during daylight hours may be more effective in improving mood than walking inside a shopping mall or using a treadmill in a gym. Likewise, early morning or late evening walks may be relaxing but would be less effective in increasing vitamin D exposure or suppressing melatonin.”

For more on the University Scholars Series, visit the events page online.