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.
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!