SJSU’s Response to Student and Exchange Visitor Program Modifications

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the SJSU campus community on July 7, 2020.

Dear campus community,

The recent development from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) regarding the status of international students is troubling. The COVID-19 pandemic has already put added pressure on all students, with many international students having to navigate the uncertainty several thousand miles away from their homes and families. We know the recent changes to SEVP produces additional stress and uncertainty that has rippled across our campus community, affecting international students who are part of our Spartan family. I share in the great concern of our faculty, staff and student peers who care deeply about our international students. 

SJSU will continue to search for and implement solutions that meet this new criteria presented by SEVP. Our International Student and Scholar Services Office in the College of Professional and Global Education is among the many campus departments that are gathering information on the new guidelines and connecting with our international students to assist them with questions and concerns. 

It is particularly crucial to remind the campus community that SJSU is implementing a hybrid course offering (in-person and online) in the fall as we adhere to public health guidelines that will keep our campus community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our university housing will operate around 50 percent capacity and several campus services will be open for students, faculty and staff who will be on campus. International students and their pursuit of a higher education degree should not be hampered by the circumstances caused by COVID-19, especially when there are opportunities for student life available on campus in the fall. 

I firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a degree in higher education, and given that we are all members of the San José State University community, I know this is a shared belief that unites us. As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the bonds created and shared while on campus and online with classmates, colleagues and friends are as important as those we make virtually. 

Sincerely,

Mary A. Papazian

President

Supreme Court Ruling on DACA; SJSU Town Hall on June 24

Editor’s Note: Below is a message President Mary A. Papazian shared with the campus community on June 18, 2020.

Dear campus community,

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today, June 18, preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ensures that current DACA recipients at SJSU and across the country can continue to pursue their higher education dreams and goals. This ruling will provide some relief to many in our community who have awaited the decision with tremendous anxiety and fear. Today’s decision is very good news, but we must remain vigilant over the long term.

The ruling was about the process used to terminate the DACA program and not about the merits of the program itself. There remains much work to be done to provide long-term solutions for DACA recipients. SJSU will continue to partner with county and local community agencies as well as the CSU system to provide access to support students, faculty and staff. Support will continue to span a range of needs, such as renewal and applications for DACA, connection to services provided by legal non-profits and information-sharing about accessing and applying for funding to cover application and renewal fees. And, of course, SJSU’s UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center will continue to provide resources for all undocumented students, including DACA students and employees.

In an effort to provide clarity on the impact of this ruling for our students and employees, SJSU will host a virtual town hall on Wednesday, June 24, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. During the first half of the meeting, speakers will provide more detailed explanation about what the decision means for our campus. During the second half, participants who wish to do so are invited to share their experiences and ask questions.

Today is an important moment for DACA recipients and higher education. San José State University values the continued success of all of its students and employees.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian
President


A reminder to all: SJSU will not assist federal, state, or local agencies with requests about a campus member’s immigration status. Any inquiries from ICE or other agencies about a campus member’s immigration status should be directed to our University Police Department at (408) 924-2222.

SJSU Athletes Leading The Battle For Change

SJSU women’s soccer players Natasha Harris and Darrian Reed and men’s basketball player Caleb Simmons recently joined together to form Athletes4CHNGES, a group dedicated to raising awareness within and beyond the athletic community. CHNGES stands for Community, Humanity, News, Gender, Equality and Solidarity. The group raised nearly $80,000 in their initial fundraiser.

Read the full story from Matt Penland here: https://sjsuspartans.com/news/2020/6/11/general-spartans-leading-the-battle-for-change.aspx.

SJSU Faculty Prepare for Fall 2020

More than 1,000 faculty members hone their skills to improve student experience in online courses

With the California State University system recently deciding on a shift to mostly virtual classes for the fall 2020 semester, SJSU faculty members are taking part in the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program. The program is being supported by a partnership that features the SJSU Center for Faculty Development, eCampus, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), and the outside organization Online Learning Consortium (OLC).

More than 1,000 faculty members have signed up for the three-week online program, which will support them in inclusive, accessible and well-designed online and hybrid instruction for Fall courses.

“I’m excited by the response from our faculty members, who recognize the importance of this opportunity to create the best learning experiences for our students for fall 2020 and beyond,” said Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino Jr.

Screengrab of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program

Jennifer Redd, Director of eCampus, presents during the first session of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program on June 8, 2020.

Faculty members must complete seven modules to earn a certificate, badge and stipend. The program is led by experienced online instructors from a wide range of disciplines who will provide guidance and support. To establish a strong benchmark for everyone participating in the institute, 33 faculty members will be participating in a “train-the-trainer” workshop to serve as program mentors.

“The spring semester prompted a rapid shift in teaching and learning for students, faculty and staff alike,” said eCampus Director Jennifer Redd. “That we can invest in helping faculty members create quality teaching experiences for the fall that represent their dedication is critical to our campus’ long-term success.”

The program begins with a two-hour synchronous session, where faculty members will be introduced to hybrid options for curriculum and how to ensure equity in online teaching.

After the online session, participants will have three weeks to complete seven modules. Four modules are required to be completed by every faculty member:

  • Mastering Online Teaching Essentials,
  • Supporting Universal Design for Learning,
  • Analyzing Assessment Strategies and
  • Equity and Inclusion Frameworks in Design in Online Settings
Screenshot of a lesson from the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program

Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau) leads a discussion during the first session of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program on June 8, 2020.

“I am grateful that ODEI could create a research-informed module on best practices and resources that attend to equity and inclusion in online course design, facilitation, and materials,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau). “Working with this team of campus collaborators has been fantastic.” The additional three modules are selected from a group of optional modules on topics that include how to integrate support services for students, create robust online labs and simulations, and use Adobe’s Creative Cloud solutions in the classroom.

“Experts from across the campus have designed a program that will help any instructor strengthen their teaching, no matter how experienced they are to start,” said Center for Faculty Development Director Deanna Fassett.

Given the overwhelming interest, faculty members have been assigned to cohorts. The first cohort started June 8, with the other two sessions beginning June 29 and July 20.

Along with this program, faculty members are also pursuing opportunities through the CSU Chancellor’s Office, SJSU’s Center for Faculty Development, eCampus, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

 

SJSU Appoints New Dean of College of Health and Human Sciences

Audrey Mengwasser Shillington has been appointed dean of SJSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS), effective July 1.

Shillington joins SJSU from Colorado State University, where she has held the positions of Director of the School of Social Work, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Interim Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health and Human Sciences. She will be replacing Pamela Richardson, who served as interim dean of CHHS for the past year.

“Dr. Shillington brings an energy, creativity and background that will allow her to facilitate the larger strategic conversation in CHHS and on the campus in academic affairs,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. “More importantly, Dr. Shillington has a clear commitment to the mission of the California State University system and SJSU.”

New dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences Audrey Mengwasser Shillington

Audrey Mengwasser Shillington has been appointed dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, effective July 1.

Prior to her leadership roles at Colorado State University, Shillington was a professor at San Diego State University’s School of Social Work, where she helped create and co-led the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services. She also served as Senior Investigator at SDSU’s School of Public Health Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health. Upon arriving at Colorado State University, Shillington helped develop an interdisciplinary Cannabis Research Group.

“I am excited to join the SJSU team — my work has always been interdisciplinary and collaborative throughout my training, research and leadership — and I look forward to working with leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni, industry, and community partners to build the College of Health and Human Sciences,” Shillington said. “In light of recent COVID-19 impacts, there has been no other time in recent history when the call and need to better understand and address health disparities has been stronger. SJSU’s CHHS is poised to be at the forefront of this important work.”

Shillington is currently a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and also Fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior — both preeminent national organizations for disciplinary researchers and practitioners.

Shillington earned her MSW and PhD in social work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and her undergraduate degrees at Drury University in Springfield, MO. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Benin, West Africa, where she was involved in projects on energy conservation and food insecurity for rural communities. She was a NIH National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow for three years and received a master’s in psychiatric epidemiology from the Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. Shillington also spent two years as a National Institute of Drug Abuse trainee for the Hispanic Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS Research Training through the Yale University School of Medicine.

Shillington’s research has focused on the prevention and intervention of substance use behaviors among youth and young adults. She has over 70 publications and been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator for $16 million in NIH and state grants and contracts. Her research focused on addressing disparities that exist in the nosology and measurement of mental and behavioral health. Shillington has also led work aimed at reducing problematic alcohol use and issues related to the legalization of recreational marijuana use among young adults.

President Papazian’s Statement Addressing Article in USA Today Regarding an Investigation Reopened in December 2019

In December of 2019, I was made aware of a ten-year-old case in which an athletic trainer was accused of inappropriate touching while treating student-athletes. The notification came in the form of a packet of emails and notes that was circulated to the NCAA and Mountain West Conference by an SJSU coach.  

Having not been at the University at the time of the allegation, and given the seriousness of the allegations, I checked with our Title IX office and human resources department about the 2009-10 investigation and was told that the inquiry by SJSU human resources department found no wrongdoing. 

However, the packet gave me pause and I wanted to know more about what transpired in 2009-10, so I reopened the matter in December. In January 2020, an independent investigator was hired to conduct the investigation.

I want the student-athletes who have expressed concern to know they have my empathy and commitment to ensure their voices are heard. I also want all involved in this investigation to be assured of our commitment to a process of integrity, fairness and thoroughness. 

My promise is to continue to be transparent about the process. SJSU will provide an update at the completion of the investigation. To make it abundantly clear, SJSU will take appropriate action if any misconduct has taken place, regardless of the timeframe.

 

Associated Students Holding Virtual Election for Board of Directors

Editor’s Note: Updated as of April 14, 2020. Voting closes at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 17 instead of Thursday, April 16. Election results will now be shared via Zoom on Friday, April 17, starting at 12 p.m.

Casting a ballot for the newest Associated Student (A.S.) representatives is a spring tradition at SJSU, and because most students are away from campus because of COVID-19, it is going virtual for the first time.

On Monday, April 13, from 5-7 p.m., students can watch candidate debates via Zoom. Information on how to watch the debate is available on the A.S. website.

Immediately after the debate ends, SJSU students can cast their vote for 12 A.S. Board of Directors positions. Voting closes at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 16. The election results will be shared via Zoom on Thursday, April 16, starting at 12 p.m.

Cynthia Fernandez-Rios, ’21 Business Administration, serves as the Chief Elections Officer and led the charge in transitioning the A.S. election to a virtual format alongside Student Elections Commission (SEC) Advisor and A.S. Leadership and Government Coordinator, Samantha Quiambao.

“In order to help normalize the situation, we constantly communicate and update all candidates via email,” Fernandez-Rios said. “In the past A.S. has not publicized candidates, however, this year, we have made a tremendous effort to promote all candidates running for all positions.”

Fernandez-Rios said the hardest part about the transition to a virtual election was altering the A.S. Election requirement of attending pre-election events. The SEC team used social media to share candidates’ responses to the question “What is the biggest change you want to see at SJSU?” The candidates also submitted a video discussing their platform and what they would do if they were elected.

“Using social media as much as we have has been very exciting,” Fernandez-Rios said. “The videos created by each candidate were a great idea and will be a continued expectation fornext year.”

Students who vote are automatically entered into a random drawing, with A.S. swag bags and major and minor prizes up for grabs. The prizes will be mailed to the students or shipped to the closest Amazon lockbox.

“Cynthia and her team worked so hard to get students interested in running for positions, and it was difficult to deal with the current situation knowing that they needed to cancel all their plans,” said A.S. Executive Director Carole Dowell. “I hope for a great voter turnout as a recognition of their efforts and motivation.”

SJSU Launches Health Advisory Website

Homepage of the Health Advisories website.

Homepage of the Health Advisories website.

In an effort to ensure campus messaging and resources around Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are easily accessible, SJSU has launched the Health Advisories website. This site will serve as the headquarters for COVID-19 information, including advisories, FAQs, resources, and travel information.

This site will replace the Updates and Advisories and FAQ pages on the SJSU Newsroom site. These two pages will be sunsetted now that the Health Advisories site has launched.

SJSU Gauging Campus Climate Temperature Through Anonymous Survey

 

In an effort to understand the concerns of students, faculty and staff at San Jose State University, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion appointed a Campus Climate and Belonging Committee (CCBC) to help develop the SJSU Campus Climate and Diversity Survey.

The 20-minute survey launches Tuesday, February 25 and runs through May 8. The campus climate and diversity survey is confidential and provides an opportunity to describe personal experiences and observations, while also offering suggestions for change to help enhance the campus climate at SJSU.

The survey, conducted by Rankin & Associates Consulting, must be completed without exiting the webpage and does not ask for name, Tower ID or any other identifying information. In order for the results of the survey to provide an accurate representation of the campus climate at SJSU, the goal is for at least 30% of the campus population to participate.

“Most campuses rollout climate surveys every three to five years,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau). “This is not a kumbaya survey. We really want people to be honest, so in order for people to feel like they belong, we need to be able to understand what is causing problems for them or why they are having negative experiences. We can’t address concerns strategically if we don’t know what is going on.”

Wong(Lau) and the CCBC made up of students, faculty and staff spent months working with Rankin & Associates Consulting on the questions and answer options to ensure inclusivity for everyone on campus. Focus groups featuring a diverse group of students, faculty and staff provided feedback on areas of concern that the survey should address. The survey covers a variety of topics, including transportation, interpersonal interactions on campus, online classes, and assessment of resources.

“We’ve been working on this since last summer to make sure it is inclusive to everybody,” said Melissa Marston, a sociology graduate student and member of the CCBC. “The questions needed to represent everyone in the community. It’s for everybody and is questioned in a way where anyone can answer and share, and it’s confidential.”

Wong(Lau) said it was imperative for a third-party organization, like Rankin & Associates Consulting, to conduct the survey to ensure confidentiality for the survey. Everyone on campus, including the administration, will learn of the results of the study at the same time at a public event during the fall 2020 semester.

Rankin & Associates Consulting has conducted more than 200 similar studies at other institutions across the nation.

“We want people to feel comfortable, we don’t want people to feel like someone is tracking them,” said Wong(Lau). It’s on an independent website, you aren’t sharing any of your information—no ID numbers, no names. We want people to have confidence in the outcomes of the survey.”

A survey kickoff will be held on Tuesday at noon in the Diaz Compean Student Union Theater. Food will be provided and free SJSU swag will be given to those who complete the survey during the kickoff. Members of the CCBC will be in attendance to share information on the survey process and answer questions.

SJSU’s last campus climate survey was in 2015. Among the action items created from the results of the survey was the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

 

SJSU Welcomes Secretary of State Padilla, Other Elected Officials for Election Security Town Hall

President Papazian served as the moderator for the election security town hall panel discussion featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla and U.S Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren and Anna G. Eshoo. Photo: Jim Gensheimer.

President Papazian led off the election security town hall with remarks about the importance of participation in the voting process. Photo: Jim Gensheimer.

San Jose State University will play a major role in the upcoming California primary, and with this month’s Iowa Caucus raising questions about election security, the university hosted a town hall on the topic.

President Mary A. Papazian moderated the election security town hall featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) Thursday at Hammer Theater. Before answering questions from the crowd, Padilla, Eshoo and Lofgren discussed legislation they are working on to stop voter suppression and why it is important for voters to feel like their vote matters.

“Voting may be, in fact, the most fundamental expression of our civic engagement. Educating our students on their civic responsibility and helping to equip them to be engaged in their communities is part of our public mission as educators,” Papazian said. “No matter the topic, San Jose State takes pride in its role as a regional convener of important issues, as a public square and venue where debate and discussion takes place.”

“We all remember what we were feeling on election day and election night in 2016. It was the first time we started hearing consistently words like ‘cyberthreats’ or ‘foreign interference.’ That single election year fundamentally changed, in my mind, the job of a secretary of state,” Padilla said. “I’m so proud of Californians because it would have been easy to give up hope, easy to say ‘well, if the election is going to be hacked, why should I vote anyway.’ How will we respond in 2020? Record registration yet again, and with your help, I am anticipating record turnout. That’s how we resist.”

President Papazian is assisted in cutting the ribbon by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. The first voting center in SJSU history will open Saturday, February 22. Photo: Robert Bain.

Before the town hall, Papazian, Padilla, Eshoo and Lofgren were joined by Assemblyman Ash Kalra and Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey in celebrating the opening of the voting center on campus with a ribbon cutting. This is the first time SJSU will serve as a voting center.

The center, located on the first floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, will be open from February 22 to March 3. Santa Clara County residents can cast their primary votes in the voting center. SJSU will serve as one of 21 11-day voting center locations in the county.

“This is an exciting year for voter engagement and an important chance to continue the momentum we have seen with increases in youth voter turnout, especially as we take part in a presidential election and transition into a Voter’s Choice Act county,” Kalra said. “It is imperative that we continue to empower and engage young people, which will in turn decrease the disproportional representation in voter turnout and move us toward a more active democracy.”

The voting center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 22 to Monday, March 2. On Election Day, March 3, the voting center will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

San Jose State also has two 24-hour ballot drop boxes on campus, with one in front of Clark Hall and the other located at Campus Village.

Watch the Election Security Town Hall

 

Interdisciplinary Science Building Marks Major Milestone With Topping Out Event

SJSU students sign their names for the topping out event.

SJSU students sign their names for the topping out event. Photo: Robert Bain

Editor’s Note: Story was updated on Tuesday, February 11, after the hoisting of the beam. Additional images and video from the topping out will be added soon.

Some were scribbled while others were written in perfect penmanship. Regardless of how they signed their name at today’s topping out event, hundreds of San Jose State University students, faculty and staff will forever be connected to the Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB).

Attendees signed the final structural beam for the building before it was hoisted into place shortly after noon on Tuesday, February 11. This ceremonial event marks the latest milestone for the first new academic building on campus in more than 30 years and the first new science facility in nearly 50 years.

“It brings me great joy to see so many members of the campus community taking part in this milestone for an innovative and forward-looking facility that will blend teaching and research, allowing us to explore the intersection between pure learning, application and impact,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “On top of interdisciplinary STEM education, this new building will serve as a beacon of opportunity for our students and faculty members to collaborate with our Silicon Valley industry partners and beyond.”

The eight-story, $181 million ISB is funded using California State University systemwide revenue bonds, and is the first phase of a planned Science Park. The ISB will house chemistry and biology teaching and research lab spaces, an interdisciplinary Center for High-Performance Computing and a data science information lab for the College of Professional and Global Education.

The College of Science serves 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics and statistics, marine science, meteorology and climate science, physics and astronomy, and science education. The ISB will have “collaboratories” that allow student research teams to gather away from instrument setups and chemicals to present and discuss results. In addition, the building will have collaborative hubs on every floor for students and faculty members to work together.

“The topping out of the Interdisciplinary Science Building brings us one step closer to a new era of science at San Jose State University,” said College of Science Dean Michael Kaufman. “Having a building designed to carry out 21st century science will be transformative for the College of Science. It will provide opportunities for students and faculty members to approach scientific questions in ways that will propel the university to new heights.”

The building is slated to open in January 2022 and will provide the College of Science a space that can keep up with their research needs. The three buildings housing science on campus—Science Building, MacQuarrie Hall and Duncan Hall—opened their doors between 1957 and 1972.

“The Interdisciplinary Science Building will quickly become one of the most iconic buildings on our campus and, potentially, in downtown San Jose. It will not only serve as a vital place of scientific collaboration and research, but also a personification of the university’s strategic plan, Transformation 2030,” said Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Charlie Faas. “The Interdisciplinary Science Building’s campus location makes it a natural fit to further connect the campus to the downtown San Jose community.”

SJSU Hosts More Than 50 Higher Ed Leaders for Presidential Experience Lab

More than 50 college presidents and chancellors attended the second day of the Presidential Experience Lab at San Jose State University. Photo: Robert Bain

San Jose State University served as the epicenter of higher education Friday, as more than 50 university presidents and chancellors from across the country gathered to discuss how to better prepare students for jobs of the future.

The visit was part of the two-day Presidential Experience Lab, presented by education firm EAB, which included a private tour of LinkedIn headquarters on Thursday.

From left: Ron Rogers, Dan Moshavi and Catherine Voss Plaxton discussed how the innovative partnership between SJSU and LinkedIn is reimagining higher education workforce development. Photo: Robert Bain

During the SJSU campus visit Friday, Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, Ron Rogers, associate dean of the College of Social Sciences and Catherine Voss Plaxton, interim associate vice president of Student Services and director of the Career Center, presented on how the innovative partnership between the university and LinkedIn is reimagining higher education workforce development. Topics included how to use customized insight from LinkedIn to inform curriculum development, match students’ skills to jobs, identify skill gaps in the student body and track career outcomes.

“Education—both higher education and pre-college education—must adapt to the new realities of today’s workplace and enable today’s students to master the foundational digital skills needed for success in our 21st century economy,” President Mary A. Papazian said. “For us here at San Jose State, industry partnerships like this one are helping us to achieve these goals. This strategy leverages our competitive advantage—which, for us, is our regional location here in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

On the first day of the event, participants toured LinkedIn’s facility in Sunnyvale, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s professional network and perspectives on the ever-changing workforce and future of work.

EAB’s Higher Education Strategy Forum partners with presidents and chancellors at more than 175 colleges and universities to address the challenges of setting institution-wide strategy in a fast-changing higher education landscape.

“EAB, on behalf of our university president and chancellor partners, has been exploring key questions as to how we must prepare our students for the future workplace and career paths that are non-linear,” said EAB Chief Partner Officer Sally Amoruso. “LinkedIn’s data insights and SJSU’s application of those insights served as a great launchpad for deepening our understanding.”