Mineta Transportation Institute Receives Community Partnership Recognition Award

On March 2 the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) presented the Mineta Transportation Institute with their Community Partnership Recognition award. Specifically, VTA recognized the efforts of MTI Research associates Dr. Frances Edwards and Mr. Dan Goodrich for the expert training they provided to VTA on emergency management.

“We are recognizing the Mineta Transportation Institute for being a valued community partner,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and VTA Board of Directors Vice Chairperson.  “VTA reached out to MTI to educate VTA on its roles and responsibilities in the event of a wide-scale emergency or disaster. The MTI instructors brought multiple decades of emergency management and security experience to VTA and provided a depth of knowledge of the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. VTA continues to partner with MTI to deliver quality emergency management education to its employees.”

Dr. Edwards, deputy director of MTI’s National Transportation Safety and Security Center, and Mr. Goodrich bring decades of experience in emergency management to their work with transportation agencies. Their most recent research, Emergency Management Training for Transportation Agencies, identifies best practices in providing training courses to adults, with a particular emphasis on the effectiveness of interactive training materials.

At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation’s’ transportation system through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer. We help create a connected world.

MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

CommUniverCity, City of San Jose Recognized by Keep America Beautiful

CommUniverCity volunteers canvass neighborhoods around campus to talk with residents about issues of illegal dumping and to offer alternative resources. (Photo by: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

CommUniverCity volunteers canvass neighborhoods around campus to talk with residents about issues of illegal dumping and to offer alternative resources. (Photo by: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit organization, recognized these efforts by the City of San Jose’s Environmental Services Department and CommUniverCity to decrease blight on city streets and in open areas as a result of comprehensive, innovative and successful efforts to reduce illegal dumping. They awarded the City of San José with its 2016 National Community Improvement award for Litter Prevention. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs, and resources to help people end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities.

Along with a broad public education campaign, partnerships with neighborhood associations, CommUniverCity (an innovative partnership between the City of San José, San José State University, and downtown neighborhoods that works with low-income communities), and the Behavioural Insights Team through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative have helped assess the problem, identify solutions and maximize outreach.

“This is a tremendous honor by a national organization that underscores our collaborative approach to a complex issue,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department, which leads the program. “Because of our strong internal and community partnerships, we’re seeing visible results that are making our community cleaner and greener and engaging our residents to strengthen our neighborhoods.”

As in many large cities, illegal dumping has been a growing problem in San Jose. A 2015 assessment revealed a 50 percent increase in illegal dumping incidents on public property within the last three years.

In response, a citywide task force led by ESD developed a comprehensive program focused on prevention, cleanup, education, and community engagement to provide practical and convenient alternatives to reduce illegal dumping. In addition, it included a coordinated effort to remove items such as abandoned mattresses, furniture, and trash from streets and waterways.

“Our program includes free curbside pickup of large items like furniture and appliances, regular cleanup routes in areas with a high incidence of illegal dumping, and a new full-time illegal dumping rapid response team to address resident cleanup requests,” said Romanow.

Since July 2016, the city’s illegal dumping rapid response team has removed more than 320 tons of dumped materials and trash, including 1,193 mattresses and 620 shopping carts, from San José streets and public areas.

Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards program recognizes the best of the best among their network of community-based affiliates, leading corporate partners, and individual volunteers across the country who have committed to delivering cleaner, greener, and more beautiful communities.

“It’s my privilege to recognize the City of San José for such valuable, mission-based work that helps their community be more socially connected, environmentally healthy, and economically sound,” said Becky Lyons, chief operating officer of Keep America Beautiful.

December 2015 Newsletter: Provost Update: Fostering Community Collaboration

San Jose State is the oldest public institution in California. Our first campus buildings were constructed at a time when much of the valley was still covered in orchards. The city and the university have grown up alongside each other so it’s no surprise that we often find ourselves working together for the betterment of our community.

The partnerships we form are mutually beneficial as CommUniverCity has proven for the last 10 years. CommUniverCity provides research, scholarship and creative activity opportunities for faculty while providing students with engaged learning experiences. Their programs such as College Day and the Records Clearance Project offer our students an opportunity to gain hands-on skills while also benefitting the neighborhoods surrounding SJSU.

The unique CommUniverCity partnership received national accolades in November. I was fortunate to travel to Indianapolis with the program’s Assistant Director Katherine Cushing to receive the
C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award. The award gives merit to the importance of university-community partnerships in providing educational opportunities for students as well as long-lasting, positive support to our campus neighbors. Thank you to Dayana Salazar, the executive director of CommUniverCity, along with her team, for their vision and leadership.
We have many more community collaborations, some that are well established and others that are just getting started. It has been 15 years since we broke ground on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at the corner of Fourth and San Fernando streets. The joint city-university library was the first of its kind and it is truly an example where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Just this month, we finalized an agreement with the city for SJSU to operate the Hammer Theatre Performing Arts Center and I look forward to watching this new connection develop.
As Provost, I always keep an eye out for potential partnerships with city, business and community leaders. As a member of the San Jose Rotary, I and other campus leaders share information about the university while fostering relationships that we hope will lead to even more opportunities to grow together in the future.

In addition to our community partnerships, campus collaborations are also important. As President Sue Martin announced last week, Information Technology Services (ITS) has joined the Academic Affairs Division. ITS managers and employees have long been strong partners in supporting student success. Join me in welcoming them to our division.

I wish you all a wonderful winter break and look forward to seeing you at the start of the spring semester.


Andy Feinstein
Provost and VP for Academic Affairs

December 2015 Newsletter: SJSU Helps ‘Restore Coyote Creek’

When Sarat Lue, an electrical engineering student, arrived at SJSU he said he wanted a way to connect with his new community.

“(Michael Fallon) told me about the Coyote Creek project and I thought it would be a good opportunity to make an impact in my new community,” Lue said. “I feel a sense of belonging to this community because I am making a positive impact and driving this community forward.”

Michael Fallon is the director of the SJSU Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL). He facilitates partnerships between the university and organizations that help students engage in the community while developing leadership skills. In the latest National Survey of Student Engagement, SJSU students reported a higher participation in service learning, compared to their peers in California and the nation.

Lue was one of several group leaders who guided 222 volunteers on a massive cleanup of the South Bay watershed on Oct. 17. Since August 2014, volunteers have removed 62 tons of trash from the creek.

The SJSU Restore Coyote Creek project is one part of the South Bay Creeks Collaborative, which includes SJSU faculty, staff and students; community organizations; the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The group received the Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year Award at the San Francisco Estuary Conference in August for its work.

Deb Kramer has been the program manager for Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful since May, when she was hired through a joint grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Kramer said SJSU has helped the grant go even further through volunteer efforts, “in so many ways.”

“From more hands on the creek to more awareness to student activities to student projects,” she said, the university has provided key resources.

In addition to physical cleanups, students and faculty have also raised awareness about the watershed. Students and faculty were instrumental in hosting the Coyote Creek Howl conference last spring, a one-day summit that focused on the ecology and human issues related to the watershed.

Social Work students have been involved in looking at the homeless population around the creek. CCLL and the Social Work Graduate Student Association hosted a premiere of a documentary, “Exodus from the Jungle,” at SJSU in October with homeless advocacy groups. The documentary looks at several homeless residents who sought new shelter after being removed from an area along Coyote Creek known as “The Jungle” which closed in 2014.

“We are facing obstacles such as homeless people living along the creek,” Lue said. “Unfortunately for them, there is no permanent solution to house them which forces them to rely on quiet spots along the creek to rest their heads.”

December 2015 Newsletter: Hammer Theatre Partnership Moves Forward

SJSU students and other pedestrians walk passed the Hammer Theatre on Paseo de San Antonio. SJSU has signed an agreement with the city to operate the downtown theatre space.

SJSU students and other pedestrians walk passed the Hammer Theatre on Paseo de San Antonio. SJSU has signed an agreement with the city to operate the downtown theatre space.

Education at San Jose State extends beyond the edges of the urban campus and starting in 2016, students will count the Hammer Theatre Center as a learning space and the community can once again count the Hammer among the downtown performing arts centers.

San Jose State and the City of San Jose finalized an agreement for the university to operate the Hammer Theatre for three years on Dec. 1 when council members signed an amended agreement. The space, previously managed and operated by the San Jose Rep, has been closed since June 2014 when the theater company shut down.

“Opportunities such as SJSU’s involvement in Hammer 2.0 with the City of San Jose only come along once in a generation,” said Lisa Vollendorf, the dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts. “This partnership will allow the university, the city and the community to work together to bring the Hammer Theatre Center alive again, bringing diversified, high-quality artistic, cultural, and educational programming to this distinctive venue.”

The city council authorized city staff to negotiate a contract with SJSU in June 2015, when university and city staff members began to assess infrastructure needs for the building. They are in the final stages of making improvements and purchasing equipment to get the building ready for renters. As with all of the other city-owned cultural facilities, there will be an annual city subsidy to offset operating costs.

“Thanks to San Jose State, I think we have something to offer the community that is going to be extraordinary,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, at the Dec. 1 meeting.

Vollendorf said the university is assessing potential SJSU programming that can move into the facility in spring 2016 while also creating an inquiry process and rental agreement forms. The goal is to create a financially sustainable model that provides space for SJSU, nonprofit arts groups and professional performances in the downtown core.

“We are building this model to be responsive to university, community, and financial concerns, so we are asking everybody to be patient while we get staffing in place and build mechanisms for inquiries, rentals and scheduling,” Vollendorf said.

Learn more about Hammer 2.0, sign up for updates or fill out our rental inquiry form online.