Spring University Scholar Series Launches with Meniketti lecture

Dr. Marco Meniketti works with a then-graduate student Chris Keith, '15 MA Applied Anthropology, on excavating a burial site.

Dr. Marco Meniketti, left, works with a then-graduate student Chris Keith, ’15 MA Applied Anthropology, on excavating a burial site.

Dr. Marco Meniketti, a professor of archaeology in the College of Social Sciences’ anthropology department, will launch the Spring 2016 University Scholar Series (USS) on Feb. 24, from noon to 1 p.m. in MLK 225/229, with a lecture about the intersection of environmental change and the ascendancy of capitalism from the age of exploration through the late Industrial Revolution.

Meniketti has built a robust research portfolio since he attended his first field school in Jamaica at the start of his career when he helped excavate the sunken city of Port Royal, which had been destroyed in 1692 by an earthquake. From there, he participated in a search for the last two ships commanded by Columbus, followed by research in the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean.

“I began to branch out into the study of early colonial systems, slavery and environmental change,” he said.

Meniketti sees archaeological research as providing important lessons from the past about environmental change, labor and economics. His recently published book, Sugar Cane Capitalism and Environmental Transformation (The University of Alabama Press, 2016) explores these themes.

“While the outcomes of the current practices and environmental change may be uncertain in the present, we do know what the outcomes were in the past and, therefore, we may be able to influence the future outcomes or better comprehend the directions we are headed,” he said.

Meniketti actively engages students in field school projects through SJSU’s Faculty-Led Programs, where they are able to gain academic credit while participating in authentic data collection, mapping, artifact analysis, and other related activities in the Caribbean. Meniketti is also engaging students in a field project in Santa Cruz in partnership with the California Department of Parks and Recreation. He regularly attends conferences to report on student findings and the students who have participated in the field schools often continue onto graduate school.

“Archaeology is more than just digging up artifacts,” Meniketti said. “It is a means of exploring our past cultures, behaviors, patterns of settlement and industry, and environment. It is a science that can address everything from ancient technology to issues of social justice.”

Upcoming lectures:

Dr. Ivano Aiello, a professor of geological oceanography with the College of Science Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, on his research of microfossil-rich marine sediments and the information it provides about past climate conditions.

March 23, from noon to 1 p.m., in MLK 225/229

Dr. Janet Stemwedel, a professor and chair of the philosophy department in the College of Humanities and the Arts, will explore the ethical dimensions of being a good scientist that extend beyond avoiding or responding to scientific misconduct in her lecture.

April 20, from noon to 1 p.m., in MLK 255/257

The University Scholars Series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the University Library and the Spartan Bookstore.

Library study room updates

As part of the Academic Affairs 21st Century Teaching and Learning Spaces priority group work, new furniture and updated equipment were installed in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library study rooms. The pictures below show before and after images of space.

CAPS offers suicide and mental health crisis intervention training this spring

Learn How You can Save a LifeSJSU students, staff, faculty and administrators are invited to attend suicide and mental health crisis intervention training this spring semester.

Programs offered this spring include:

Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR), an hour and a half session that will help participants recognize signs of suicide, provide support and provide “Suicide First Aid.” Offered on Feb. 12, noon to 1:15 p.m.; March 10, 12:30-1:45 p.m.;  April 6, 4-5:15 p.m.; and May 3, from noon to 1:15 p.m.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), an eight-hour training course designed to teach individuals methods for assisting someone who may be in the early stages of developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The course provides useful information on how to assist individuals who have a history of mental disorders, longer-term mental health problems, or help identify those developing serious mental health difficulties. Offered as a full-day session on March 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (for faculty and staff only) or as two half-day sessions on Feb. 26 and March 4, from 1-5 p.m. or April 15 and 22, from 8 a.m. to noon.

A Thousand Stars, a seven hour suicide awareness and prevention training, and a component of the SJSU Suicide Prevention and Resilience Network. This up-to-date and multiculturally-informed training on suicide awareness provides education and skills to SJSU student volunteers (who become “Stars”) in order to help provide fellow students and community members in distress with vital resources. Offered on March 18, from 8:30-4:50 p.m.

Applied Suicide Intervention skills Training, is a comprehensive, 15-hour training to help participants in recognizing signs of suicide, and to apply skills and knowledge to help people who are struggle with suicide. Offered as two-full day sessions on June 6 and 7.

The sessions are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a department within the Division of Student Affairs. All meetings are wheelchair accessible. If you need other accommodations, please contact CAPS at (408)924-5910. Sign up online to participate in any of the programs.

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.