California Governor Gavin Newsom Approves Assembly Bill 829 to Pave the Way for Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree

The College of Health and Human Sciences is pleased to announce that Governor Gavin Newsom approved Assembly Bill 829 Aug. 30, clearing the way for San Jose State University to offer a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. “The next step will be for the Chancellor’s Office to approve an executive order that will set the scope and guidelines for the new degree,” says Pamela Richardson, Interim Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences.

In anticipation of the approval of this bill and pending approval by the Chancellor’s Office, faculty in the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) Department of Occupational Therapy have already begun work on developing curriculum for a doctoral degree.

“They started about a year ago in anticipation of this going through,” said Richardson. “We are looking at what the balance will be between the master’s and doctoral programs.”

The college anticipates admitting the first cohort in 2022-23.

“The OTD gives graduates additional training in research and evidence, more coursework in program evaluation and program development, and will have a capstone project and experience,” Richardson said. “They will have more potential for leadership opportunities.”

A doctoral program also will build a pipeline for future educators.

“Most academic programs hire OTDs as faculty so it creates opportunities for teaching as well,” Richardson said.

The College of Health and Human Sciences already offers one doctoral program with another in development. This year marks the first year SJSU is offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice on its own following six years of offering a joint program with Fresno State University. The College is also working on the final stages of a  doctoral degree in its newly created Department of Audiology. Faculty are in the final stages of developing the curriculum, gaining conditional accreditation and recruiting audiology students for the first cohort to begin Fall 2020.

“These are certainly elevated health degrees and there will be lots of opportunity for interprofessional education,” Richardson said. “It will increase the visibility of our College as producing healthcare leaders across a variety of disciplines.”

She noted that accrediting boards in most healthcare disciplines require programs to provide interprofessional education so that graduates are prepared to work effectively on healthcare teams.

“This gives us an opportunity to build robust doctoral programs and ramp up the amount of collaborative research opportunities for faculty and students,” she said. “It takes research active faculty to appropriately train and mentor doctoral students.”

Occupational Therapy Students Work with Vietnam’s Children’s Hope in Action Clients

While Occupational Students were studying in Vietnam this summer they had the opportunity to work with Children’s Hope in Action (CHIA) a Vietnam non- profit. Professors Gigi Smith and Alison George led a Faculty Led Program to Vietnam this past summer that allowed OT students to become a regular part of working with children with disabilities.

Here is what CHIA had to say about SJSU’s OT students:

“Having OT and PT students attending CHIA is now a regular part of our programming. CHIA is now busy on Monday and Friday every week, and is happy to have the OT and/or PT students
from GGC volunteers come along and work with our staff and the kids at CHIA. This is a great time for the GGC students as well as our staff and children at CHIA. The children are always excited about their activities with the students and the staff are eager to share what the problems the children have and the students are thrilled to find suitable methods or exercises to work with each child’s health condition.”

In June, CHIA was happy to have visit of OT students and teachers from San Jose State University. This is the 3rd year that San Jose State University visited us and worked with our children. Besides working with children with disabilities at CHIA, each year, they come and were humble to join at least one different project to learn about our work within the rural communities. This time we were happy that the group was so excited with “a beach day out” for the kids. All the children, staff and volunteers were so thrilled to have a morning out at Hidden Beach, Hoian.

School of Information News

The Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) board of directors is pleased to announce Sandra Hirsh, Professor and Director, School of Information has been elected as its 2019 President Elect.

Congratulations to Bill Fisher, Professor Emeritus who will be inducted into the Special Libraries Association (SLA ) Hall of Fame at the SLA conference in June in Cleveland.  This award is in recognition of Bill’s tremendous contributions to SLA throughout his career.  Fisher is a professor emeritus at San Jose State University’s School of Information, where he joined the faculty in 1988 after a teaching stint at UCLA. He was named a Fellow of SLA in 1998, served as president of SLA in 2002-2003, and received the John Cotton Dana Award in 2008. He served as president of the SLA Southern California Chapter in 1986-1987, as president of the San Andreas Chapter in 1996-1997, and as chair of the Leadership and Management Division in 2010.

Dr. Michele Villagran’s publication, Celebrating Diversity: A Legacy of Minority Leadership in the American Association of Law Libraries, 2nd edition, is one of the recipients of the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award.

In addition, Dr. Villagran received a grant from Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (AALL) to continue her work with cultural intelligence in law libraries. Dr. Villagran spoke about this topic in the recent faculty research committee meet-up.

Public Health Students Visit the State Capitol

2019 SJSU Public Health Students meet Evan Low in the California State Assembly Chamber

Thirteen students from the undergraduate and graduate public health programs in the Health Science Department attended the 7th Annual CSU Health Policy Conference in Sacramento in late April.

The event brings together students and faculty throughout the CSU to the Capitol for a two-day conference on health policy and careers in state government. This annual conference draws high profile, dedicated state leaders, legislators, lobbyists, public health professionals, and student interns as invited speakers. Student participants learn about state history, observe legislative hearings, hear from fellow students about undergraduate and graduate programs in public health throughout the CSU, and engage in conversations with public health and policy professionals about careers in public health and state government.

Following two days of listening and observing, each school presents a one-minute summary of their experience and this is where everyone in the audience can hear and feel the dedication and the passion of public health students in their visions for improvement, equity, and justice.  Intermixed throughout these testimonials are commitments for continued engagement in health policy and a clear understanding of the power and impact of policy in our lives.

Each of the participating CSU Public Health programs continue to support this event because of what our students tell us about the experience. The event is meaningful and important to all who attend. Here are some overarching thoughts that this year’s group of SJSU students shared about their experience.

“This conference was inspiring. Being exposed to the state policy makers – I thought – wow – this is where things really happen!”

“Being there was really impactful. It made me re-evaluate my own life and the choices that I am making to better myself and my own knowledge.”

“The trip is really important because we learn a lot, but also because of the scale of the event. We are up there with students from other campus and seeing the ways in which the discipline and the profession spans so many topics and we are all working together for social justice. Wherever we all are, we have to come together and advocate for health and justice for all.”

“I was honored to be part of SJSU and it made me feel really proud to be a student here.  I felt it first when we had our picture taken with State Assembly member Evan Low. I felt so good about my decision to be a SJSU student.”

“Policy influences every facet of our life and regardless of our careers, policy will affect us and we all need to be engaged. Engagement might look different to different people, but it means we have to vote – at the very least – we have to read and we have to pay attention.”

“The system is for us and it is our job to hold our policy makers accountable for representing us.”

Student Leadership Awards Winner – PRSSA

The Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at SJSU was presented Executive Board of the Year at the 2019 Student Leadership Gala Awards on May 7, 2019. The group is comprised of nine board members who serve to connect students to public relations and mass communications professional development opportunities.

In the photo left to right, Nayelli Lopez, Elsabete Kebede, Sierra Fatlowitz, and Oscar Acevedo.

Notably, the board facilitated weekly meetings with over 60 members, organized career fairs and partnered with local Bay Area organizations for workshops, panels and company tours. PRSSA SJSU has a strong relationship with its internal alumni network and their Public Relations Society of America parent chapter in Silicon Valley.

Through networking and building professional relationships, PRSSA partnered with communications leaders from organizations for tours and speaking engagements, including Alaska Airlines, Apple, eBay, Dropbox, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit and Juniper Networks. The student organization also collaborated with local communications firms and PR agencies to place students at internships and entry-level job opportunities, including Connext, Edelman PR, Finn Partners, Hoffman Agency, Ink House PR, Lumina Communications, Praytell, Sterling PR, Weber Shandwick and more.

This student organization is dedicated to enhancing the “future of the profession” and attended conferences in 2018-2019 in Austin, Fullerton, Portland, Sacramento and Scottsdale. PRSSA SJSU relies on fundraisers and charitable giving from donors collected by University Advancement at to fund these exciting professional development experiences in order to make them accessible and equitable to all members. They are looking forward to the 2019 PRSSA International Conference this October and connecting students to more opportunities. More information about PRSSA SJSU and their university involvement can be found at and on social media at @PRSSASJSU.