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SJSU’s Ed Cohen to participate in Fulbright grant in 2015-16

March 27th, 2015 by Melissa Anderson

Ed Cohen, an associate professor in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts School of Social Work, has been selected to receive a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to teach in Vietnam during the Spring 2016 semester.

Ed Cohen, far left, works with a group of Vietnamese faculty members as part of the Social Work Education Enhancement Project. He has received a Fulbright grant to work in Vietnam in Spring 2016.

Ed Cohen, far left, works with a group of Vietnamese faculty members as part of the Social Work Education Enhancement Project. He has received a Fulbright grant to work in Vietnam in Spring 2016.

He will teach a course in mental health policy and services, conduct research in the implementation of new legislation in the country to improve community-based mental health services, and provide seminars for faculty in teaching and scholarship. Cohen is Co-Investigator, with Alice Hines, of San José State University’s USAID-funded Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP) aimed at improving social work education, for Vietnam’s newly established social work profession.

As the co-investigator of SWEEP, Cohen has traveled to conferences in Vietnam for the last several years to work with eight partner universities. He has also participated in hosting visitors to SJSU from Vietnam including university administrators and faculty member who attended workshops on improving social work education in Vietnam.

SWEEP is an international consortium which includes USAID, SJSU, eight universities in Vietnam, government ministries, Cisco Systems, Inc., community agencies and stakeholders. The purpose of SWEEP is to assist eight universities in Vietnam with improving their undergraduate social work educational programs. The project, which is funded through September 2015, aims to improve:

  • The administration of social work programs
  • Faculty capabilities in teaching and research
  • Social work curriculum, and
  • Network communication among the universities through the use of improved technology

 

Columbia Law students assist SJSU’s Records Clearance Project

March 26th, 2015 by Melissa Anderson

From March 16-20, eight Columbia Law students visited San José State University to assist the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Justice Studies department’s Records Clearance Project during their spring break. The students are the fourth group that has opted to use their spring break from Columbia Law School to help Santa Clara residents who want to expunge their records.

During the week, the law students worked with SJSU undergraduate students to interview eight clients, prepare petitions to have their records expunged and provided a rap sheet analysis of paths to expungement to 19 women in Elmwood County Jail.

Each law student was partnered with an SJSU undergraduate student for a week of intense work on the project.

“It’s been a great week and it’s been fun for me even though it has been a ton of work,” said Peggy Stevenson, the founder and director of the Records Clearance Project.

Since 2008, Record Clearance Project students and volunteers have provided more than 32,000 hours of service, not including the time put in for the Spring 2015 semester. According to the team’s estimates the market value of RCP services is 10 times the actual cost to run the program.

As of March 2015, the Records Clearance Project volunteers and students have prepared 823 petitions for 242 clients since the start of the program, with 99 percent of the convictions expunged and 94 percent of eligible felonies reduced to misdemeanors.

With luggage filling the corners of the room just before some of the law students flew home on the last day of their spring break, Stevenson asked them for feedback on the week’s work.

“Help us see what worked well and help us see what didn’t,” she said.

Preetha Reddy said she thought the activities were well timed to give them a sense that they had started and completed a project in the short time they had at SJSU.

“It was a good balance of being here, working along and with partners,” she said. “We did a lot of work, but it was well-timed and organized.”

She said that working on preparing petitions for future court hearings and also working with the women in the jail offered the chance to see clients of the Record Clearance Project as they neared the end of their journey while seeing others just beginning their journey.

“We got more than we gave,” Mindy Lin said. “We learned so much…I feel like we could do more.”

Some of the law students commented on how much the undergraduate students knew about the process of expungement while they were learning it on the spot.

“I was really impressed with how much we fit into five days,” Josh Dell said. “It’s more than in two weeks of law school…I lucked out that my client was very forth coming and really deserving.”

All the law students said they felt that their clients were deserving and working to change their lives for the better.

“I learned a lot about other people’s stories and wanting a new life,” Wendy Ren said, noting that her parents were skeptical that someone who had committed a crime would want to start a new life. “I didn’t know until I went through the process. It is a turning point for me as well.”

Some of the law students felt the same way.

“When you look at a client on paper, it’s just work,” Lin said. “It seems like it’s not that bad – it should be straight forward. But it’s not just legal. It (affects) marriages, families and self-esteem.”

The full list of Columbia Law students who participated in the alternative spring break at SJSU includes:

Wendy Ren

Kim Hyo

Mindy Lin

Josh Dell

Bryant Cobb

Joseph Niczky

Bram Schumer

Preetha Reddy

 

 

SWEEP: Fellows learn about social work and technology at SJSU

March 25th, 2015 by Melissa Anderson

The Social Work Education Enhancement Project completed its second Fellows Academy in March, with eight Vietnamese faculty members undergoing an intense three-week training session at San José State University.

After completing an three-week training with the SJSU Social Work Education Enhancement Program, eight Vietnamese professors were presented with certificates on the last day of the Fellows Academy.

After completing an three-week training with the SJSU Social Work Education Enhancement Program, eight Vietnamese professors were presented with certificates on the last day of the Fellows Academy.

Nguyen Thi Thai Lan said she was appointed by her university to attend the SWEEP Fellows Academy in March. She is a faculty member at the University of Labor and Social Affairs in Hanoi, one of eight partner universities that are working to create a model of Social Work education based on best practices in the United States.

“The first thing I learned was a better understanding of competency-based curriculum,” Nguyen said on the last day of the Academy, noting that the field trips to government agencies and nonprofits that provide services directly to the community were especially helpful. “I learned the structure in providing services to people.”

During their visit, the Fellows visited the Mekong Community Center, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, East Side Unified High School, Gardner Family Care Mental Health Services and the California Social Work Education Center.

Many College of Applied Sciences and Arts Social Work faculty were involved in sharing knowledge about how to teach social work for the fellows, but other departments at SJSU also provided support. Other groups involved in leading workshops included the School of Information, the Center for Faculty Development, the SJSU Global Leadership Advancement Center, Academic Technology and the University Library.

Some of the workshops focused on faculty development, creating curriculum and setting a research agenda, among other topics. They used Cisco telepresence equipment in some of their meetings and workshops.

Interim Dean Alice Hines is the director of SWEEP, while Social Work Professor Ed Cohen serves as a co-director. SWEEP is an international consortium which includes USAID, SJSU, eight universities in Vietnam, government ministries, Cisco Systems, Inc., community agencies and stakeholders. The purpose of SWEEP is to assist eight universities in Vietnam with improving their undergraduate social work educational programs. The project, which is funded through September 2015, aims to improve:

  • The administration of social work programs
  • Faculty capabilities in teaching and research
  • Social work curriculum, and
  • Network communication among the universities through the use of improved technology

Pham Tien Dong, a faculty member at Vinh University, said he wanted to attend the Fellows Academy so he can contribute to the development of social work in Vietnam.

Using a translator, Pham said he learned about “new material in social work and accessing modern technology in teaching.”

“They shared a lot of how to instruct students and the use of technology in teaching,” Nguyen said. “I wish we had a wonderful environment like this.”

Nguyen and Pham both commented on how welcoming all the SJSU faculty and staff had been during their visit.

“I appreciate the friendship of the faculty and staff from SJSU, the personal environment and the nice weather,” Pham said.

The members of the SJSU SWEEP Fellows Academy II gather for a group photo with College of Applied Sciences and Arts staff and faculty when they started a three-week training program to enhance social work education in Vietnam.

The members of the SJSU SWEEP Fellows Academy II gather for a group photo with College of Applied Sciences and Arts staff and faculty when they started a three-week training program to enhance social work education in Vietnam.

Other faculty who visited from Vietnam for the second Fellows Academy include:

Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, of Vietnam National University/HCM, University of Social Sciences and Humanities

Nugyen Thi Bich Hung, of Dong Thap University

Bui Quang Dung, of Hue University, College of Sciences

Dang Kim Khanh Ly, of Vietnam National University/Hanoi, University of Social Sciences and Humanities

Vo Thuan, of DaLat University

Nguyen Le Hoai Anh, of Hanoi University of Education

 

A third Fellows Academy is planned for June.

Alumni news: JMC grad publishes book on treatment of natives at CA missions

March 24th, 2015 by Melissa Anderson

San José State University School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate Elias Castillo has recently published a book entitled “A Cross of Thorns: the Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions.”

The cover of Elias Castillo's book.

The cover of Elias Castillo’s book.

Castillo, a three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, describes the Spanish missions in his book as “death camps where more than 60,000 Indian workers died, many as a result of whippings, disease and malnutrition,” according to press release. During his research of the book, he closely examined records kept by the Catholic religious order, the Franciscans, that founded the missions. He asserts that from 1769-1833, indigenous people were held captive and treated brutally, with letters from Father Junipero Serra confirming such treatment.

The book was released in February by publisher Craven Street Books. It is available in hardback or e-book.

Castillo graduated from SJSU in 1962 with a bachelor’s of art, returning to the school to complete a master’s in 1997. He has had a distinguished career in journalism. He has earned three Pulitzer Prize nominations and 13 journalism awards for his work at the San Jose Mercury News, the Santa Barbara News Press, the Reno Gazette and the Associated Press.

Castillo and his wife Cathy Neville Castillo signed an agreement with the San José State University School of Journalism and Mass Communications to give back with a planned gift in 2013 that will establish the Castillo Journalism Technology Fund.

 

Health Science partnership with elementary school earns award

March 10th, 2015 by Melissa Anderson

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Health Science and Recreation department received the Program Excellence Award from the Society for Public Health Education for its “Salud Familiar” program.

San Jose State University students work with kids at McKinley Elementary School as part of the Salud Familiar program, which won a Program Excellence Award from the Society for Public Health Education.

San Jose State University students work with kids at McKinley Elementary School as part of the Salud Familiar program, which won a Program Excellence Award from the Society for Public Health Education.

The program is a partnership between San José State University and McKinley Elementary School to create “cultures, confidence, environments and resources for health and academic success among the McKinley community,” according to the elementary school website. The program allows SJSU students an opportunity to host activities and events at the school that promote healthy lifestyles.

The program was founded by Health Science professor Kathleen Roe and Aurora Garcia. SOPHE will be honoring the 35 award and scholarship recipients at its 66th Annual Meeting April 23-25, in Portland.

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