Coffee, Pizza With the President Offer Members of the Campus Community Opportunities for Discussion, Conversation

President Papazian talks with staff members at a "Coffee with the President" event.

SJSU president Mary Papazian participates in a coffee with staff on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

A spate of new initiatives launched by President Mary A. Papazian recently are designed to give members of the campus community more frequent opportunities to engage with the Office of the President in an informal, personal atmosphere that allows for open conversation and a free flow of ideas and concerns.

“Coffee with the President” was conceived as a way for SJSU staff and faculty members to visit with President Papazian over a cup of java. Administration and Finance, IT, and University Personnel were the first units to join the president, and other groups will soon see invitations of their own in their inboxes.

“Most of the SJSU staff doesn’t get a chance to meet and talk with the president in a small, intimate setting like this,” said Harish Chandler, senior programmer and analyst in the Information Technology division who attended the first “Coffee with the President” event. “It provided an opportunity for staff members to do exactly that.”

Chandler said he was able to talk one-on-one with Papazian near the end of the event, so he discussed with her issues such as phone and laptop charging stations for students, the university’s green initiative and possible changes to campus dining and food options.

Tony Cefalu, who works in the University Police parking services group, was equally enthusiastic.

“I had a great time,” he said. “It was wonderful to mingle, socialize, chat, laugh with others and meet the president. I loved it.”

The president herself said the venue offered a different environment than many of the administrative meetings she attends.

“I think I probably get more out of this than the staff members,” said Papazian. “Meeting with university staff members in a relaxed, social setting gives me a welcomed chance to listen directly without any managerial or supervisory filters that staff members might sometimes encounter.”

Another recent outreach event—this one involving pizza, a staple among college students—was similar in nature. “Pizza with the President” gave students an opportunity to talk with their university president about issues important to them. Indeed, issues such as parking and student housing were discussed, while the venue also offered Papazian a chance herself to point out to students some of the positive developments taking place around campus such as the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, the Spartan Food Pantry and recent successes with SJSU’s football team and other athletics programs. Initiated by previous Associated Students President Ariadna Manzo, the event provided such an important opportunity for the president to hear directly from students that at the start of this academic year she looked for an opportunity to host the event again.

President Papazian and AS President Branden Parent talk to students at a "Pizza with the President" event.

Mary Papazian, San José State University president, takes questions from students at a pizza with the president event at Village 2 Nov. 13, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Lisa Millora, the president’s chief of staff, said other plans have moved forward to host office hours during which members of the campus community can sign up for individual meetings with the president. There may even be an opportunity next year to participate in a reading group with the president and other members of the community.

When she arrived last January, Millora explained, some members of the campus community wanted opportunities to meet and chat with the president in a more informal setting.

“The president and I talked about what we could do to create such opportunities and the result was this new set of initiatives,” said Millora.

“The coffees and office hours are intended to provide all members of the community the chance to talk with the president about things that are important to them,” Millora said. “The president cares deeply about members of the campus community, so we will continue to explore different ways to ensure that they feel the president is fully and consistently engaged with them.”

 

SJSU Fall Graduates to be Honored and Celebrated Dec. 18-19

SJSU Fall 2018 Commencement
Photo: Best Grad Photos/San Jose State University

SAN JOSE, CA – More than 2,200 fall graduates of San Jose State University are expected to be in attendance at five separate fall commencement ceremonies, with more than 4,300 total graduates from summer and fall semesters being celebrated and honored.

The events take place Dec. 18 and 19 on the SJSU campus at the Provident Credit Union Event Center:

Wednesday, December 18

Thursday, December 19

A live stream of each of the five ceremonies will be provided.

SJSU’s Class of Fall 2019

There will be 2,226 graduates in attendance at the two days of fall commencement ceremonies. Additional highlights:

  • Of the 1,261 master’s degrees expected to be conferred for summer and fall of this year, 339 will participate in fall commencement ceremonies this week.
  • The university will graduate 513 new business professionals, 130 future educators, 519 new engineers, 276 health and human sciences future professionals, 206 humanities and arts graduates, 168 new scientists and 414 new social scientists.
  • The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ceremony will feature remarks by alumna Sara Macdonald,’04 Accounting, currently a partner in the San Jose office of Ernst and Young and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
  • The speaker at the Connie L. Lurie College of Education ceremony will be Megan Nebesnick, ’17 Liberal Studies, a master’s student graduating this fall from the Lurie College.
  • At the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering ceremony, Michael Grace will be the featured speaker. Grace, ’12 Mechanical Engineering, is currently a research and development mechanical systems engineer at Applied Materials and worked previously at Lockheed Martin Space Systems as a control system hardware engineer.
  • The College of Health and Human Sciences featured speaker will be student Markis Derr, graduating this year in public health.

San Jose State has a total of 4,377 graduates in the class of 2019’s summer and fall semesters.

San Jose State University and County of Santa Clara Renew Multi-Year Agreement for Timpany Center

Interior shot of the Timpany Center therapeutic pool

Photo by David Schmitz/San Jose State University

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF – San Jose State University’s Research Foundation (SJSURF) and The County of Santa Clara (SCC) have reached agreement on a new, multi-year partnership to continue operation of the Timpany Center.

The Timpany Center, a non-profit educational and therapeutic service center, has served community members for 10 years. The center offers a wide range of aquatic and land fitness and training programs, as well as therapeutic and safety courses for individuals of all ages and abilities. Its specialized services and facilities, including a warm water pool and spa, gymnasium, weight room and classroom, are operated by San Jose State University’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Sciences in conjunction with SCC.

“The Timpany Center is a critical health and wellness resource to County residents. I am pleased to confirm a renewed agreement between the County and San Jose State University to keep the Timpany Center open through 2024,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Our County is always committed to exploring the best practices to expand these much-needed services.”

The new agreement, from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2024, is meant to position the facility as an operationally and financially sound service-learning program for our students and an inclusive wellness resource for our community, well into the future, said Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s vice president for research and innovation and president of the board of directors at SJSURF.

“SJSU values the importance of the Timpany Center to our community and greatly appreciates the hard work of its employees,” said Abousalem. “We are grateful for the support and loyal patronage of our community members these past 10 years, and we have every reason to believe that the facility will continue to provide important services for years to come.”

“The County of Santa Clara and San Jose State University Research Foundation (SJSURF) worked together to reach an agreement that will keep resources from the Timpany Center such as the pool, gym and other services open for business,” added  Jeff Draper,  director of County of Santa Clara Facilities and Fleet Department. “We are appreciative of SJSURF for working with us and their dedication to assisting the community.”

Today’s Tech Revolution Requires Some Humanity, Papazian Tells Sacramento Bee Readers in Opinion Piece

President Mary A. Papazain is a strong proponent of the value of the humanities, liberal arts and social sciences in higher education. Here, she served as a featured guest for the Frankenstein Bicentennial Monster Discussion Panel in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz.

An op-ed by San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian published in the October 29 edition of the Sacramento Bee asserts that “the liberal arts must remain a vital part of higher education for the sake of the future of our students, our economy, and our society.”

Drawing largely on her academic background and expertise on the English Renaissance era, Papazian writes that “Just as the Renaissance opened mankind’s eyes to the reality that we do not sit at the center of the universe, today’s technology age has expanded our capabilities beyond the imaginations of only decades ago.” She goes on to note how Renaissance figures such as John Donne and Leonardo di Vinci exemplified many of the humanist principles lacking in today’s technology innovators.

Papazian said the messages conveyed in her op-ed piece are more vital than ever, particularly given the perils of technology and social media that have manifested in attacks on elections and the democratic process.

“It is vital that we understand the true impact of the technology-driven world in which we now live,” she said. “We need to be able to guard our global society against the dangers of this digital age. How we ensure that the next generation interacts more responsibility with technology than we have done this far is critical, and refocusing on the talents of humanists and liberal arts is an excellent place to start.”

In July, Papazian delivered a well-received speech at the Council of Graduate Schools Summer Workshop titled “Humanities for the 21st Century: Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” There, she pointed out that “the hard skills learned from STEM programs are essential, but employers actually are desperate for candidates who have balanced their personal portfolios with both digital capabilities and human understanding.”

The partnering of STEM disciplines with the liberal arts, she asserted, can lead to true academic impact at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

“Students will work in groups all their professional lives, and they must be able to collaborate effectively with people from a broad array of backgrounds and working styles,” said Papazian. “They must be able to communicate in a variety of ways, using digital tools that we know are evolving with stunning rapidity. And they will be required to be creative and confident.

“Where better to learn all of this than in our labs and studios on our campuses? Where better to learn the capacity for these things than in our classrooms and our community-based projects?” she asks.

Developing the tools and the ability to talk about ethics, unconscious bias and the complexity of emotions within individuals and cultures, Papazian said, can help students recognize the choices that lead to collaboration rather than conflict.

“The liberal arts need to be a vital part of the education spectrum if we are to have any hope of addressing the problems we are seeing and reading about on almost a daily basis,” she said.

“Our challenge—and our opportunity—is to seize the moment to influence and shape history meaningfully in this, our present Renaissance.”

 

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian named to 2019 “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose State University president Dr. Mary A. Papazian, was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal's 2019 Women of Influence list. (Photo: Josie Lepe, '03 BFA Photography )

San Jose State University president Dr. Mary A. Papazian, was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2019 Women of Influence list. (Photo: Josie Lepe, ’03 BFA Photography )

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has been named one of 100 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Each year, the SVBJ honors and celebrates the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley. Honorees have been selected from the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

“It is gratifying to earn this distinction, but it really is the students, faculty, staff and alumni of San Jose State who are our brightest stars,” said SJSU President Papazian. “When they succeed, we all win. This honor reflects the hard work and dedication that are hallmarks of everyone associated with our university and supportive of our mission.”

The SVBJ will honor its 2019 Women of Influence award-winners at a May 16 dinner event and will feature recipients in its May 17 edition.

Papazian joined San Jose State University as its 30th president on July 1, 2016. As the leader of the founding campus of the California State University and Silicon Valley’s only public university, she is firmly committed to student success; open, transparent and inclusive leadership; fostering a culture of curiosity and discovery; and building enduring campus and community partnerships.

In addition to Papazian, six SJSU alumni are also 2019 “Women of Influence” awardees:

  • Carla Bohnett, ’91 Social Science, Lead Photographer and graphic designer, CB Photo Design Studio, Co-owner and President, Women’s Networking Alliance and Associate Director, Artful Journeys
  • Franca Cozzitorto, ’91 Psychology, Head of Enterprise Risk Management, Technology Credit Union
  • Denise Miles, ’99 Political Science, Senior Vice President, Community Relations Senior Consultant in Philanthropy Wells Fargo Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations
  • Larissa Robideaux, ’08 MPA, Executive Director, Center for Excellence in Nonprofits
  • Andrea Urton, ’98 Psychology, ’01 MS Clinical Psychology, CEO, HomeFirst Services of Santa Clara County
  • Jie Zhu, ’98 Accounting, Partner, Petrinovich Pugh and Co.

Karen Philbrick, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, was a past SVBJ Women of Influence award-winner.