Faculty News and Notes for February 2018: Publications, Quotes and More

Fox News KTVU interviewed Assistant Professor Serena Alexander, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, about the planned billion-dollar expansion of the Mineta San Jose International Airport, which Alexander links to the ongoing tech boom. “The relationship between airports and economic growth is self-reinforcing and simultaneous,” she said. In 2017, passenger numbers at the airport increased by 1.7 million, according to an airport spokesperson.

In a Mercury News article, Department of Engineering Lecturer and Guided Pathways Academic Advisor Ahmed Banafa commented on the two chip flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that have put computers and smartphones at risk worldwide, allowing hackers to steal data from the memory of running apps. “Here is the simple truth: every CPU created since 1995 is a victim of these bugs,” Banafa said.

BEAM Media, launched in 2017 to cover “luxury niches,” interviewed Professor Ken Gehrt, Department of Marketing and Decision Sciences, about the market for luxury Japanese fruits. “Fine fruit is part of the elaborately nuanced process of relationship cultivation in Japan,” Gehrt said. In 2016, a “pair of choice Hokkaido rockmelons went for a record $27,240” at auction, the article reported. Read more online.

Department of Music and Dance Lecturer Michael Hernandez, saxophonist and founding member of the Mana Quartet, weighed in on the San Francisco Classical Voice query: “Is Classical Music Getting More Saxy?” Invented in Belgium in the 19th century by Adolph Sax, the instrument was originally considered—and designed to be—an orchestral instrument, the article argues. Read more online.

Professor and Chair Melinda Jackson, Department of Political Science, was among those interviewed by the Mercury News regarding last month’s Women’s Marches in the Bay Area and throughout the nation. Bolstered by the social movements #MeToo and #TimesUp, tens of thousands of U.S. women marched with a focus on mobilizing women voters and encouraging more women to run for public office. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, a record number of women have announced as candidates in the 2018 elections. Read more online.

EdSurge interviewed Associate Professor Roxana Marachi, Department of Teacher Education, on the debate regarding the harmful effects on children’s development and wellbeing from constant access to tech devices. Marachi sides with educators who urge parents to wait until at least 8th grade before buying their children smartphones. Parents should recognize that devices and apps are designed to be addictive and should protect their children accordingly, Marachi said.

Associate Professor Harry Mathias, Department of Film and Theatre, was a featured presenter at the International Cinema Technology Association’s Los Angeles Seminar Series in January. An expert on image and projection quality, Mathias discussed the crossroads of technology and art in a special lecture. The two-day event also offered sessions on moviegoer research and new trends in cinema technology.

Professor Joseph Pesek, Department of Chemistry, has been tapped to receive the American Chemical Society’s 2018 Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. Well known for the development of silica hydride-based stationary phases for liquid chromatography, Pesek has published more than 230 works in his field. The award, sponsored by the Research Corporation of Science Advancement, will be presented on March 20 in conjunction with the 255th ACS national meeting in New Orleans.

Indian Express interviewed Associate Professor Aaron Romanowsky, Department of Physics and Astronomy, about the “supermassive black holes” that determine the lifespan of stars in every galaxy. “There are different ways a black hole can put energy out into the galaxy, and theorists have all kinds of ideas about how quenching (a star formation) happens. There’s more work to be done to fit these new observations in the models,” Romanowsky said.

iSchool Associate Professor Michael Stephens gave the keynote address at the Conference About Libraries and Literacy (C.A.L.L) held earlier this month on the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse campus. The conference focuses on the role of libraries in promoting literacy among kindergarten through college students.



February 2018 Newsletter: Provost Update – RSCA is Central to SJSU Mission

We are only in the second month of the spring semester, but this term has already proven to be busy! On February 9, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee provided an update on our process to date and presented draft goals that were developed from your input during the fall semester. Following our presentation, we held a campus conversation and lunch to discuss our next steps. I encourage you to view the draft goals at the Strategic Planning website. On the site, you can also provide input to the task forces that will be working to define our desired outcomes for each focus area and create strategies for accomplishing them.

Several of the goals focus on our mission of providing excellent educational and academic opportunities. We already have a thriving research, scholarship and creative activities (RSCA) enterprise. According to the most recent SJSU Research Foundation Annual Report, we received $58 million in revenues from RSCA endeavors, with an active grants portfolio of $259 million. In fact, the Chancellor’s Office recently selected SJSU and the Mineta Transportation Institute to lead a CSU research consortium focused on solving transit issues in the state.

We also have many more faculty and students working together on numerous scholarly and creative activities – just take a look at the list of recent publications from our Annual Author and Artist Awards or the list of upcoming events at the Hammer Theatre.

Our RSCA activities rival that of many nationally ranked universities. However, faculty can feel challenged when seeking a balance between their teaching load and their RSCA agendas. We are working with colleagues to develop a sustainable model that will allow us to balance teaching and RSCA pursuits. We have a consultant who has already visited and will be working with us throughout the spring. Joan Ficke, the former dean of the Graduate School at Montclair State University, will provide guidance as we develop a plan. She was instrumentally involved in transitioning her institution to providing a better alignment between RSCA, teaching and service.

Providing an atmosphere where faculty and students can readily engage in RSCA also means celebrating our achievements. I am pleased to support the University Scholar Series that offers an opportunity to learn about the unique and inspiring RSCA conducted by SJSU faculty. This month, we kick off the spring lectures on Feb. 21. Professor Anand Vaidya, director of the Humanities and the Arts Center for Comparative Philosophy, will use his talk to share recent research into Eastern philosophies and critical thinking. Learn more about the upcoming series in a story below. Join us for the lecture and lunch, from noon to 1 p.m. in MLK 225/229. For more details, visit the event page.

Later this semester on April 4, the Celebration of Research offers an opportunity to acknowledge student researchers along with our Early Career Investigator Award winners for 2017-18, Ehsan Khatami and Dave Schuster, whose accomplishments are described in a story below. As you will learn in this month’s newsletter, our RSCA endeavors are innovative and relevant. A few recent projects run the gamut from understanding Silicon Valley culture to studying how sports can lead to social change to determining just how the flu virus is spread.

I would also like to remind staff members that we are accepting applications for the second round of staff professional development grants, with proposals due March 19. The application is open to any staff members who did not receive a grant during the first round of proposals last fall. Find more details online.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein, Athletics Director Marie Tuite,  Director of Strategy, Planning and Business Services for IT Kara Lee, President Mary Papazian and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Willey show their Spartan spirit February 10 at a women's basketball game.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein, Athletics Director Marie Tuite, Director of Strategy, Planning and Business Services for IT Kara Lee, President Mary Papazian and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Willey show their Spartan spirit February 10 at a women’s basketball game.

Before we move onto this month’s stories, I want to thank everyone who attended the Third Annual Interdivisional Competition on Feb. 10. Academic Affairs had more than 270 RSVPs from faculty, staff members and their families with our section of the stands full on game day. We cheered on the Spartans Women’s Basketball team while also competing in some fun activities such as a free throw competition, a relay race and the VP tricycle race. I am especially proud that Academic Affairs brought home the trophy again!

November Newsletter 2017: Provost Update – Countless Reasons to be Thankful

As we return from Thanksgiving break – refreshed and ready for the final weeks of the fall term – I want to take a moment to express gratitude for our students, staff, faculty and alumni. One of my favorite duties as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs is working with inspirational colleagues who are dedicated, hardworking and generous.

Provost Andy Feinstein and the Academic Affairs Leadership team host an appreciation breakfast to say thanks to the 500+ staff members who support faculty and students in the division. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Provost Andy Feinstein and the Academic Affairs Leadership team host an appreciation breakfast to say thanks to the 500+ staff members who support faculty and students in the division. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Earlier this month, I hosted the Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast with the division’s leadership team – a great opportunity to see our staff members come together and to hear from their supervisors about the great work they do each day. This year, we invited peers to share positive stories about their colleagues. The shout-outs, as we called them, highlighted the many great things I see in our hardworking staff – greeting students with grace and enthusiasm; going the extra mile; acting with patience and good humor; seeking ways to help colleagues.

I also had the honor of recognizing some of our longest-serving employees at the 50th Spartan Service Celebration, where 116 Spartan staff members were recognized for service milestones. I was moved by videos during which honorees shared personal memories.

An especially poignant story was Jack Harding’s. Jack began working as a lab technician 35 years ago in the aeronautics department (now Aviation and Technology) and since has moved on to become a telecommunications network analyst in IT.

Jack’s two sons grew up on our campus, regularly attending football games and campus events. Both eventually enrolled here as college students. His oldest son, Jack Jr., joined the Marines after graduation, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He was welcomed back to the campus in 2011 when Jack Sr. and his wife were invited to present his lieutenant stripes in a stirring ceremony.

All of our staff – whether they have served SJSU for months, or decades – deserve our support. That includes professional development opportunities; I am pleased that we have the resources this year to again offer the Staff Professional Development Grant Program. These stipends allow staff members to develop skills that can enhance their capacity to serve our students. We have approved 229 proposals to date, and hope to issue another call for applications in early spring.

Many members of our campus community “pay it forward” by helping those following in their path. This includes our Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (ERFA), which created a research, scholarship and creative activities (RSCA) grant program to help current faculty members advance their professional growth. Last year’s recipients included Anthropology Department Assistant Professor AJ Faas and School of Social Work Assistant Professor Nicole Dubus.

Another reason for gratitude is the many alumni whose financial support helps current and future students achieve their goals. A generous gift from Marion Cilker, ’39, established a scholarship for students interested in infusing arts into education and funded an annual conference. While Ms. Cilker passed away in 2012, her generosity lives on, supporting current and aspiring teachers seeking ways to incorporate art into diverse curricula for K-12 students.

Students also are benefiting from strategic collaborations. A partnership with nonprofit Braven Bay Area fueled a program for first-generation, underrepresented minority students that connects them with community mentors at high-tech companies and nonprofits and develops personal skills for future career searches.

These are just some of the people, programs and connections that are empowering us to power student success. In this season of gratitude, I’m especially mindful of your remarkable contributions. Thank you!

Author and Artist Awards Celebrate New Publications, Pieces and Performances

The Author and Artist Awards on Nov. 3 celebrated the work of 39 Spartans who completed significant publications or performances in 2017. The evening event this year was held in the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Grand Reading Room on the eighth floor with President Mary Papazian offering opening remarks while Provost Andy Feinstein shared some closing thoughts. The annual campus event sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Office of Research, Spartan Bookstore and University Library is designed to recognize faculty and staff who have recently published a book or other major works of general interest and significance.

“As I shared in my fall welcome address, amazing things happen when liberal arts and STEM connect,” Papazian said at the event. “That is evident in the publications we celebrate today with an anthropologist who studies Silicon Valley culture, a librarian who provides a guide to massive open online courses and a composer who uses computers to make music. The work you do that leads to these publications exposes our students to research, scholarship and creative activity. RSCA is uniquely important to a comprehensive university because it is a critical aspect of experiential learning.”

At the celebration, authors and artists from all seven colleges and multiple disciplines were recognized, including Feinstein who is the co-author of a hospitality textbook, Purchasing: Selection and Procurement for the Hospitality Industry, that was updated this year.

“Your work supports our students by providing up-to-date textbooks, by enhancing your disciplines and by generating new creative efforts such as musical recordings, literary collections and live performance art,” Feinstein said. “I have enjoyed learning about all the pieces written, composed or edited by faculty and staff members completed in 2017 and sharing a bit about my updated hospitality textbook.

All publications are now listed in SJSU ScholarWorks. Many are also available at the Spartan Bookstore.More photos can be viewed online.

University Grants Academy Applications Due Nov. 6

Professors applying for grants listen to Amy D'Andrade speak during the start of the University Grants Academy at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Professors applying for grants listen to Amy D’Andrade speak during the start of the University Grants Academy at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Applications for the 2017-18 Universtiy Grants Academy (UGA) are now available and due by Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. The UGA supports faculty members from across the campus through the process of writing a substantial external grant proposal to fund their research, scholarship or creative activity (RSCA). The UGA is a developmental experience designed for faculty members new to external grant-writing. Tenured/tenure track (T/TT) faculty who have not yet received major external grants are eligible to apply. Faculty members developing proposals to fund their research, their scholarly endeavors or their creative activity work will have priority, but those seeking other types of extramural grants (e.g., training grants or program or curriculum development) may be considered if space permits.

Faculty who are accepted into the program receive 0.2 assigned time for T/TT faculty and the resources covering the supporting tools at the disposition of the T/TT faculty during the UGA program:

  • Workshops by campus experts on various asinto of proposal development in fall 2017;
  • A spring program providing technical support, resources and mentoring from campus experts and successful SJSU grant writers in spring 2018;
  • Proposal reviews by senior scholars in the field;
  • $500 in O&E funds if proposal submitted by the first open submission window after UGA completion; and
  • Individualized coaching to support the completion and submission of an external grant proposal.

Applications are due to the Office of Research by November 6, 2017 by 5:00pm.

The UGA application is available via DocuSign. Once the information is completed, it will be sent to department chair and then the College Dean for review/approvals, then sent to the Office of Research once it is completed. If you need assistance with DocuSign, please visit the DocuSign support page. Application Form 2017-18 (PDF) i is also available to be printed and may be submitted via email to the Office of Research (officeofresearch@sjsu.edu)

Proposals must contain the following:

  1. The UGA application form;
  2. A current CV;
  3. A proposal budget and budget justification; and
  4. A draft proposal narrative containing at minimum:
    1. 5-6 pages outlining the scope and methodology of the project to be funded (what you propose to do and how it will be implemented; aka the Research Strategy/Project Description); and
    2. 1-2 pages introducing the problem or issue being targeted and why the problem is important.

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by members of the RSCA Advisory Council. Final participants will be selected by the Office of Research informed by the RSCA Advisory Council recommendations. The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Completeness of application;
  • Strength of application elements and likelihood of potential funding;
  • Evidence of faculty member’s ability to complete a proposal within the UGA timeframe;
  • Fit of faculty interests and needs with the goals of the UGA.

If you have questions about whether your project would be categorized as RSCA, consult with your chair, your college’s Associate Dean for Research (or relevant contact), and/or your college’s RSCA metrics. You may also email the Associate Dean for Research in the Office of Research at SJSU, Gilles Muller (gilles.muller@sjsu.edu) or the Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development, Amy Strage (amy.strage@sjsu.edu).

Additional Information