September 2017 Newsletter: Provost Update: SJSU Faculty Achievements, the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event and Community Conversations, and a Busy Fall 2017

Welcome back.

Fall 2017 is well underway. The campus is energized after the calm summer months. Approximately 4,500 first-time freshmen can be seen between classes admiring the 23-foot statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City or on skateboards darting to the Student Union. Professors head to lecture halls focused on their classes ahead. College Success Centers are abuzz with students seeking support to change majors, see advisors –we’ve added 20 new ones — and to learn about MyGPS, a suite of technology tools that put academic and graduation support in the palms of students’ hands. MyGPS is a great resource for staff, allowing departments increased accessibility to information to excel student success. Advisors and chairs can access the Student Data Warehouse (SDW) to access reports related to enrollment planning and student progress.

As we begin another academic year, the accomplishments of our colleagues since last May leaves me inspired. Dr. Matthew Spangler became the first San José State University faculty member to win the prestigious Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance. At the same time, the 15th production of his stage-adapted version of the novel, “The Kite Runner,” wrapped its eight-month run in London’s famed West End theater district.

Dr. Peg Hughes and Everett Smith worked diligently over the summer to reinstate and prepare the four courses that make up the new Deaf minor on hiatus from San José State University for approximately a decade. Dr. Hughes and Smith talk passionately in their interview about Deaf culture, adapting and creating new curricula for the minor, and the future of special education.

Dr. Essam Marouf, an electrical engineering professor and associate dean of Research, had an emotionally charged September as he gathered with other researchers to witness the last radio signal from the Cassini spacecraft, one of the largest spacecraft ever launched from Earth. Dr. Marouf spent 26 years on the Cassini Radio Science research team interpreting data transmitted via radio signals during Cassini’s 293 orbits of Saturn.

In just five weeks, so much has happened. More than 33,000 students enrolled and began classes. On September 13, 300 faculty, staff, administrators, campus leadership, and students attended the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event. In her opening remarks, President Mary Papazian challenged our campus community to embrace bold visions for our University’s future.

The following week we hosted Campus Conversations and asked tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, staff, and students how they wanted SJSU to evolve. Their answers laid the foundation for this year’s strategic planning process, and, ultimately, our next decade of growth.

We continue our search for new academic deans in the College of Humanities and the Arts, the Lurie College of Education, and the College of Science. Last week brought a visit from the Western Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation team to gather information and monitor our advances in the areas of leadership, organizational climate, shared governance and a campus climate. Upon leaving, they provided a video exit review with their conclusions, the WSCUC Team Special Visit Report.

The world around us is just as busy. We had the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation, only seen as a partial eclipse for San José, and a heat wave where we couldn’t escape the sun’s blaze. Hurricanes struck Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico, and earthquakes devastated Mexico. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas further destabilized our nation’s sense of unity and safety. Political storms continue to divide the country and challenge the very fabric of diversity San José State celebrates and holds dear.

We as Spartans must stay united, remain vigilant, and focus on what great things we may accomplish in the future. The Office of the Provost, University Library, Office of Research and Spartan Bookstore are sponsoring the Annual Author & Artists Awards for 2017 on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 PM in King Library on the 8th floor in the Grand Reading Room. The celebratory event is designed to recognize faculty and staff who have published a book or other major works of general interest and significance in 2017.

The Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association will again award two faculty members the ERFA Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards to support their scholarly and creative activity. Each year since 2014, ERFA has given two faculty members $2,500 to advance their careers.

May we all be a challenged and inspired this semester and may our academic, research, and scholarship pursuits provide us wisdom, knowledge, and achievement.

Sincerely,
Andy Feinstein
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

AVP for Student and Faculty Success Appointed

Dr. Stacy Gleixner has been appointed as the associate vice president for Student and Faculty Success following a thorough search process, effective immediately.

Gleixner started as the interim AVP for Student and Academic Success Services in February 2016 and oversaw the reorganization of units to the Office of Faculty and Student Success in fall 2017. She has been an integral leader in implementing SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success plan. Her appointment will allow us to maintain momentum around our initiatives and make movement toward our 2025 graduation rate targets.

She served as a lecturer at SJSU in the Davidson College of Engineering. She joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering in 1999, and became a full professor in 2011. She served as associate chair of the department from 2008 to 2014; and as chief of staff to the president from 2014 to 2016.

During her tenure on campus, she has been committed to improving student success as well as increasing access to STEM programs for women and underrepresented minority students. As interim AVP, she has worked closely on increasing student average unit load; communicating with faculty about high-impact practices that can increase engagement; and on refining metrics to measure the success of SJSU’s Four Pillars initiatives.

Gleixner, who is herself a first-generation college student, holds a bachelor’s in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a master’s and a doctorate in materials science and engineering, from Stanford University.

Winifred Schultz-Krohn chaired the search and worked with committee members to select a top candidate.

University Scholars Series Continues March 22

SJSU’s University Scholars Series continues March 22, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Room 225/229 with a lecture by Associate Professor Shannon Rose Riley, who will discuss her book “Performing Race and Erasure: Cuba, Haiti, and US Culture, 1898-1940.”

When Riley was a graduate student at the University of California, Davis – with a background in fine arts, performance art and video, among other artistic disciplines – a conversation with a respected colleague more than a decade ago encouraged her to follow her passion for the nations of Cuba and Haiti and their impact on American arts, culture and society.

Riley said the spark that led to her book grew out of a conversation she had with the late Marc Blanchard, a highly regarded UC Davis comparative literature professor, who was impressed with her passion on the subject.

“I was talking about my belief that those countries, which are on opposite sides of the Windward Passage and provide a corridor for travel between the U.S. East Coast and the Panama Canal, have had a major impact on culture in the United States,” Riley said.

The proximity has been significant to the nation’s artistic culture as well as perceptions of race and racial relations in the U.S. Riley’s interest in the Caribbean grew out of a trip she made to Haiti through the Art Institute of Chicago as a young art student.

Sharon Rose Riley poses for a photograph at San Jose State University, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Riley will be participating in the Spring University Scholars Series. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Sharon Rose Riley poses for a photograph at San Jose State University, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Riley will be participating in the Spring University Scholars Series. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Campus Reading Program Author Stevenson to Speak at Hammer Feb. 24

Flier about Stevenson Talk

Flier about Stevenson Talk

Bryan Stevenson, the author of “Just Mercy“, the SJSU Campus Reading book selection for 2016-17, will be speaking on campus Friday, Feb. 24, at noon, at the Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio. Find more information and get free tickets online – students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

Mercy’s book chronicles his years in law school and as a practicing attorney in the South when he worked to defend death row inmates. The book is marked by his personal reflections and descriptions of the people he defended. The book tackles issues of race, poverty and social justice in the United States. The event is sponsored by the Campus Reading Program, Campus Life, the Office of Diversity, the Office of the Provost, the NAACP, the Center for Literary Arts and Silicon Valley Reads

Other upcoming events related to the Campus Reading Program this spring include:

  • DEFAMATION – LIVE COURTROOM DRAMA!

Thursday, Feb. 23, at4:30 p.m.
Student Union Theatre

We are proud to be co-sponsoring this event with our friends at MOSAIC and Justice Studies.  Attend an interactive theatrical drama that explores race and class inequities and injustices in the American judicial system.  DEFAMATION will be performed at the Student Union Theater.  (Then, two days later, come hear Bryan Stevenson address these topics in person at the Hammer Theatre!)

  • A TALK with SHAKA SENGHOR, AUTHOR of “WRITING MY WRONGS”

Thursday, March 23, at 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 225

In collaboration with our partner Silicon Valley Reads, we invite you to a talk by an author on a related subject-one man’s struggle while caught up in America’s mass incarceration epidemic.  Shaka Senghor, author of “Writing My Wrongs”, will appear at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Thursday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. in MLK 225.

  • “A REACTION to BRYAN STEVENSON’S  JUST MERCY”

Tuesday, April 18, at 4 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Room 225

Khalid White from the African American Studies Department will give a presentation, “A Reaction to Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy.

Show Your Spartan Spirit at Feb. 25 Interdivisional Competition

Event flier

Event flier

SJSU staff and faculty are invited to attend the second annual interdivisional competition Feb. 25 at the Spartan Women’s Basketball game against Boise State, in the SJSU Event Center. Doors open at 1 p.m. and the game starts at 2 p.m. RSVP online.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein and Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock launched the event last year when they competed to see which division could fill more seats in the stands during a women’s basketball game. Faculty and staff, along with their families, were invited to attend. The pair provided a meal and lots of entertainment throughout the evening, including a free throw competition, a cheer off and a relay race. At the end of the evening, Academic Affairs was crowned victorious for the evening’s competition and Provost Feinstein accepted a trophy on behalf of the division. This year’s event promises even more fierce competition as invitations have been extended to include University Advancement and Administration and Finance colleagues – all four divisions will compete to take home the trophy and the title of most Spartan Spirit.