Provost Releases Report on Why Students Leave SJSU

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Dec. 11, 2015.

Dear campus community,

As we work toward increasing graduation and retention rates at San Jose State, we have a new report that offers some insights into why some students leave before completing their degrees. The report, “Why Do Students Leave? A Study of Student Departure from San Jose State University,” was conducted during summer and fall 2015 by Dr. Michael Cheers, Dr. Rona Halualani, Dr. Lisa Oliver and Dr. Marcos Pizzaro.

I would like to thank these four professors for their work on this valuable report, the first of its kind on our campus.  The goal of this study was to learn more about the experiences of SJSU first-time freshmen who have either stopped out (meaning they left SJSU with the intention of returning in the future), dropped out or are persisting at a different institution.

The percentage of first-generation students, underrepresented minorities in particular, who left SJSU after attending for just one year was significantly higher than the overall population.  Using telephone and online surveys, and online focus groups, the researchers discovered four recurring factors that influenced students when they made the decision to leave. These factors include:

  • Difficulty in attaining classes
  • Precipitating event or crisis point in a student’s life, and a perceived lack of assistance from staff, faculty or advisors
  • Feeling no connection to the campus
  • Difficult encounters with advisors

A summary of the study and the full report are available online. I encourage you to review the data now and attend forums in the spring when the team will further discuss the results of the study.

I invite you to work with us as Academic Affairs continues to collaborate with the campus community to develop a student success strategic plan. The information from this study and your input will be integral in addressing the needs of all of our students.

Sincerely,

Andy Feinstein
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Provost Releases Graduation Rate Report

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Nov. 20, 2015.

Dear campus community,

I am pleased to announce that graduation rates of SJSU undergraduates continue to improve. As you will see, we have both good news and challenges to address. Your input will be important as we move forward.

Six-year and four-year graduation rates

The six-year baccalaureate rate reached 56.8 percent for our fall 2009 freshmen cohort, up five percentage points over last year’s rate.

As with other campuses in the CSU system, graduation within four years remains the exception rather than the norm. Only 10 percent of the freshmen who started in fall 2011 graduated within four years. Few students enter college ready or, for a variety of reasons, cannot take the course load required to graduate within four years. Going forward, summer programming will allow more students to start the fall semester on an even footing with their college-ready peers. In addition, the campus has plans to support all undergraduates by allowing students to increase their average unit load so they can take courses needed to complete their degree.

Transfer graduation rates

At the same time, the three-year rate for transfers from California Community Colleges rose to 58.4 percent this year from 56.9 percent last year, while the four-year rate for transfers held steady at 69.6 percent. Among both freshmen and transfers, SJSU is well on its way toward surpassing the 2025 graduation goals set forth for the campus by the CSU Chancellor’s Office earlier this year.

Underrepresented minority (URM) graduation rates

While we continue to improve graduation rates for underrepresented minority (URM) students (specifically African-American, Hispanic and Native American) with rates up nearly 2 percent from last year, the new data tells us we still have significant work ahead. Although both URM and non-URM graduation rates improved, the rate of improvement was much higher among non-URM students, increasing the graduation difference for URM students from 12 percent last year to 17 percent this year.

Student Success Task Forces

The news about our growing underrepresented minority achievement gap is disheartening. We must work together to reverse this. As a start, the African American Student Success Task Force and Chicano/Latino Student Success Task Force have introduced a number of community-building events and academic activities, including group study sessions with opportunities to meet with an academic advisor, graduate school workshops, and resiliency workshops. This semester, Student Academic Success Services has expanded its early alert system to all underrepresented students to identify and assist those who are struggling in their classes.

Also happening this year, members of the task forces and other researchers at SJSU are studying factors that influence persistence of URM students to better understand why some leave. This in-depth research will help to inform the actions SJSU must take to retain and graduate our underrepresented minority students.

Moving forward

We need to do much more. As a start, we are developing a strategic plan to support student success broadly across the campus. All of the colleges have also developed ambitious graduation rate goals, including enhancements in URM degree attainment rates. The deputy provost has inventoried our existing student support programs, with the inventory available on a Graduation Rate Strategic Plan website, and completed a preliminary degree completion needs assessment. In the spring, we will be presenting findings broadly and will be soliciting feedback through a variety of venues from students, staff and faculty to inform our strategic plan for student success.

As we develop our strategic plan, I welcome your engagement and feedback through the website, where you can share input and review up-to-date information on our progress. We each have an essential role to play in fostering a sense of belonging and empowering our students to succeed. I look forward to our continued work together.

Sincerely,

​Andy Feinstein
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

“The Blue & the Beyond” Captures Film Festival Audiences

A film produced by Animation/Illustration students–on their own time outside the classroom–has succeeded in capturing the attention of film festivals across the United States and Canada.

Youri Dekker, ’15 Animation/Illustration, originally proposed “The Blue & the Beyond” as a capstone class project for his bachelor’s of fine arts program.

When his instructors took a different route, Dekker hunkered down in an empty classroom with nine classmates, re-worked the story, and began sketching.

“There was a level of excitement because this project was so big and no one in our program had ever done anything like this before, to this scale, and with so many characters,” Dekker said.

Help from 117 classmates

Photo: Courtesy of Youri Dekker

Photo: Courtesy of Youri Dekker

Part way through, Dekker went back to his instructors for advice on the story, production process and managing everyone coming on board, including a good portion of the Shrunkenheadman club.

One year and one day later, in August 2015, they completed the 9.5-minute animated short, with help from 117 classmates total, inspired by Dekker’s vision.

Described as “the story of a young, imaginative man named Charlie, who is searching to find someone like him in a world where he is different in every way,” the film was shown at the Barrie Film Festival Oct. 17 in Ontario and SPARK Animation 2015 Oct. 25 in Vancouver.

Bay Area audiences will get their chance at the Pictoclik film festival and Bay Area Women in Film & Media 2015 Shorts Showcase this November in San Francisco.

Gratitude

Photo: Courtesy of Youri Dekker

Photo: Courtesy of Youri Dekker

Kimberly Mucha and Samia Khalaf, who also graduated with BFAs in Animation/Illustration this past May, served as producers.

A Netherlands native raised near Fresno, Dekker plans to pursue a career in animation. He interned with Pixar on “The Good Dinosaur.”

But for now, this recent graduate’s just feeling grateful for this dream come true, made possible by his friends at San Jose State.

“I told our crew, ‘We’re making this for an audience,’” Dekker said. “‘We’re making this so not only we can enjoy the film, but so other people can enjoy what we created and made.’”

 

SJSU Students to Receive Full-Tuition Scholarships funded by $1 Million Samsung Gift

Photo: Orbie Pullen

Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, SJSU President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (photo: Orbie Pullen).

Samsung presented San Jose State University Interim President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo with a $50,000 gift on Sept. 24, making SJSU the first recipient of $1 million in scholarships to be awarded to California’s public universities.

“San Jose State wishes to thank Samsung for supporting our efforts to prepare students for careers in the tech industry,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “SJSU sends more graduates to work in Silicon Valley companies than any other university, and this gift is an excellent example of SJSU’s collaboration with area employers.”

The company made the gift to the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, with the intention of covering tuition and living expenses for two students this year. Details on the selection process are in the works.

The announcement came as Samsung celebrated the grand-opening of its 1.1-million-square foot headquarters in North San Jose for its U.S. semiconductor operations.

Read the Samsung news release.

Top Technologists Speak at SJSU

Michael Schroepfer (photo courtesy of Facebook)

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer will visit campus for the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium (courtesy of Facebook).

SJSU Media Relations contacts:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Ten of the world’s leading tech experts are coming to San Jose State this fall for the 13th annual Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium, beginning Sept. 10.

Google Director of Research Peter Norvig

Google Director of Research Peter Norvig

The speakers include Facebook Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer and Google Director of Research Peter Norvig, who are “exploring completely new things that will change the way we live,” according to The New York Times.

Schroepfer is connected to many Facebook innovations including, most recently, solar powered drones beaming Internet access. Norvig literally wrote the book on artificial intelligence.

The Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium takes place every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in ENG 189. Also on the agenda are executives from LinkedIn, Intel, Qool Therapeutics, Splunk, NetApp, Greentech, and Twitter.

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has been hosting the series since 2002. The symposium brings industry and government leaders to campus to discuss business, technology, the competitive global economy and hiring trends.

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Ahmed Hambaba conceived the series and has been its champion since its inception.

“It’s more than just a lecture series—it’s a networking and relationship-building partnership with organizations that will hopefully hire our graduates down the road,” he said.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Los Angeles Times: Uber’s Driver Screening Practices Fuel Political Debate on Rider Safety

Posted by the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 20, 2015.

By Laura J. Nelson and Emily Alpert Reyes

The ride-hailing revolution holds the potential to radically change the way people get around. But the political battle over Uber and Lyft in California has focused on something more obscure: fingerprints.

Uber is facing some of the fiercest challenges to its business practices from an array of California officials who claim the Silicon Valley-based company does not adequately screen its rapidly expanding pool of tens of thousands of drivers…

A number of other issues such as insurance coverage and liability have swirled around the rise of Uber and similar services. But for both elected officials and their constituents, questions of criminal histories are “a much more immediate concern if you’re deciding whether to use one of these services rather than a traditional taxi,” said Melinda Jackson, an associate professor of political science at San Jose State University.

Read the full story.

Inspiring Student Receives Top CSU Honor

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor's Office

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor’s Office

SJSU Media Relations contacts:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1789, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – Melissa Ortiz, ’17 Computer Engineering, has faced more adversity in her young life than most people do in a lifetime. After her father died, she became homeless, lived in extreme poverty, and dealt with physical and mental abuse.

Overcoming Odds

But Ortiz managed to overcome those obstacles. She started her own company and secured an internship at Intel to support herself so she could go to college. She is the first in her family to do so.

That’s why Ortiz has been named a recipient of the 2015 CSU Trustees’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The awards are given to 23 students who overcome adversity and demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. She will fly to the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach on Sept. 8 to pick up her award.

Love of Engineering

Ortiz is majoring in computer engineering with an emphasis on embedded systems. She maintains a 3.3 GPA. She’s also a member of several campus organizations, but it’s computer engineering that intrigues her the most.

 “Engineering brings out the kid in me, I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I work on a project,” Ortiz says.

 

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor's Office

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor’s Office

After completing her undergraduate degree, Ortiz plans to earn a master’s degree in computer science and business administration, with the hopes of one day, running her own engineering firm. She also wants to inspire young women to be independent and take an interest in STEM fields.

Ortiz was named the William Hauck scholar. The Hauck endowment will provide $6,000 to this year’s CSU Trustee Award recipient. The late William Hauck, ’63 Social Studies, served as deputy chief of staff to Governor Pete Wilson and chief of staff to Assembly speakers Bob Morretti and Willie L. Brown, Jr.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Student Journalists to Stream Taco Eating Contest

Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

San Jose State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications will stream the second Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship on Aug. 15 at St. James Park in downtown San Jose. The stream will be available on South Bay Pulse, an app built by students.

Co-anchors Jonathan Wold and Brenda Norrie will go live at 4:15 p.m. Expect behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with top-ranked competitive eaters Matthew Stonie and Miki Sudo. As contestants gobble up the tacos, commentator Abraham Rodriguez will follow the action.

All three students are journalism majors or recent graduates. More than a dozen Spartans are involved, in front of the camera, behind the camera, and online. They’re collaborating with the goal of producing a high-caliber program on a shoe-string budget thanks to the power of the Internet and their own ingenuity.

The project is an excellent example of the cutting edge efforts underway at SJSU’s journalism school. Students built the South Bay Pulse app (Apple iPad, Android, Kindle Fire) using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Adobe provided mentors, straight from corporate headquarters just a few blocks from campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.

In fact, the entire project grew from a synergy that could only happen here. The students and the taco contest’s producer met at a business event. David Ocampo, ’89 BS Advertising, ’92 MA Mexican American Studies, is creative director at Milagro Marketing. The event was sponsored by Content magazine, which covers the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley.

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Alumnus Photographs Veterans

SJSU alumnus Tom Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography, is on a 24-city photographic journey. At each stop he takes photos of World War II veterans.

“The goal of this assignment is to create a greater appreciation for all veterans and soldiers,” Sanders said. “The veterans get the opportunity to tell their story and be honored before they pass away, to preserve their stories and images for future generations.”

Sanders got the idea for the veteran photo project after snapping photos of a World War II vet for a senior project at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During the shoot, the vet told him a spine-chilling story that he says put his life into perspective.

Continue reading

SJSU’s Accreditation Reaffirmed

WASC noted SJSU presented "a detailed and organized approach to describe assessment" of five core competencies, with a special focus on information literacy and writing (photo by Christina Olivas).

In a letter reaffirming the university’s accreditation, WASC noted SJSU presented a detailed and organized approach to describing assessment of five core competencies, with a special focus on information literacy and writing.

Media contact:
Pat Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has reaffirmed San Jose State University’s accreditation for seven years.

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California Teachers Summit

teachers at a professional development meeting

The Connie L. Lurie College of Education, which will host the San Jose site for the California Teachers Summit, is committed to teacher preparation (photo by Robert Bain).

Approximately 500 teachers and aspiring teachers, from preschool through high school, will meet on July 31 at San Jose State as part of an unprecedented effort to concurrently assemble 20,000 teachers at 33 locations statewide.

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CyberGirlz Find Friends at Facebook

Photo: David Schmitz

SJSU CyberGirlz program participants at Facebook (photos by David Schmitz).

Thirty-eight middle school girls from San Jose State University’s CyberGirlz program took part in a unique experience this summer that may ultimately be a life changing experience for them. They went to cybersecurity camp at Facebook. For months, students from SJSU’s Jay Pinson STEM Education program taught the girls basic coding and cybersecurity skills in after-school programs made possible through funding from Symantec, Intel, AT&T and Facebook.

At Facebook, the girls advanced those skills and learned more about malware, firewalls and cyber-ethics. They also heard from Facebook’s chief security officer, and a panel of female employees who shared their personal career stories and advice on getting into the cybersecurity field.

Schmitz

Facebook gave each girl a new laptop computer to make sure they continue to hone their cyber sleuthing skills.

Facebook, along with the Jay Pinson STEM Education program and several non-profit groups  are working together to get young girls interested in STEM fields, especially computer science.

They hope to pique their interest early on since some researchers believe girls loose interest in STEM subjects around 12 or 13 years of age. Facebook hopes to keep the interest going. They gave each girl a new laptop computer to make sure they continue to hone their cyber sleuthing skills.

The Jay Pinson STEM Education program is also gearing up for a new year of providing classroom instruction to elementary and middle school students in the San Jose area.

“We feel there’s a need to provide a safe space for girls to explore their curiosity and skills in cybersecurity, so in ten years we see a workforce that resembles our community with at least 50 percent men and 50 percent women participating,” said Virginia Lehmkuhl-Dakhwe, director of the Jay Pinson STEM Education program.

Spartan Racing driver

Spartan Racing Scores First Place at National Meet

Spartan Racing at Formula SAE Lincoln, Nebraska (courtesy of Spartan Racing).

Spartan Racing at Formula SAE Lincoln, Nebraska (photo by Michael Favuzzi).

San Jose State’s Spartan Racing team took first place overall at the nation’s leading collegiate race car competition, held June 17-20 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This is the first time in the contest’s 35-year history that a California crew topped the field. Ninety teams attended this year’s meeting.

Spartan Racing develops its cars in a workshop at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. The group is the student chapter of SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) International.

Spartan Racing

Spartan Racing’s vehicle (photo by Michael Favuzzi).

Formula SAE encourages students to design and build race cars based on regulations and standards like those used by professional teams. The experience is considered excellent job training for work in the automotive industry.

What’s next for Spartan Racing? Europe! The group is making plans to attend the world’s most competitive meets, held in Austria and Germany.

 

 

Chevron STEM ZONE

SJSU, A’s, Chevron Share the Science of Sports

Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering, helps a Richmond Little League baseball player with a hands-on exercise illuminating the science of sports (image courtesy of Chevron).

Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering, helps a Richmond Little League baseball player with a hands-on exercise illuminating the science of sports (image courtesy of Chevron).

SJSU, the Oakland A’s and Chevron collaborated on a summer clinic June 30 designed to inspire Little League baseball players to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The SJSU students served as volunteer mentors, through the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program. The clinic featured Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, pitching great Vida Blue, and more than 100 Richmond Little League players at the O.co Coliseum.

Spartans helped youngsters with hands-on activities and instruction in the Chevron STEM ZONE. The project is part of Chevron’s commitment to equipping youth with the critical skills they will need to succeed in jobs of the future.

SJSU with Tony La Russa 530

SJSU student volunteers, from left to right: Puyun Yen, ’17 Mechanical Engineering; Kennis Ko, ’16 Chemical Engineering; Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa; Alex Zavala, ’17 Computer Engineering; AmeriCorps volunteer Philip Ye; and Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering. Photo courtesy of the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program.

OfficialWhiteHousePhotobyPeteSouza

President Obama Honors Professor

President Barack Obama meets with the 2013 winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) in the Oval Office, June 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with the 2013 winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in the Oval Office, June 17, 2015. Professor Soto is on the far right (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Professor of Biological Sciences Julio Soto met President Barack Obama at a White House reception on June 16 recognizing recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

The award honors individuals who have made extraordinary efforts to engage students from communities that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The National Science Foundation organized the event.

Soto served as the principal investigator on two groundbreaking grants at San Jose State. Under HHMI-SCRIBE, Soto and colleagues transformed the core curriculum for biology majors. With NSF-RUMBA, Soto coordinates summer research opportunities for under-represented students.

Together, the programs equip students with the academic and applied opportunities they need to excel in graduate school and beyond, reflecting the department’s emphasis on hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities at the bench and in the field.

Kellogg Foundation Award

Kellogg Foundation Award

CommUniverCity

CommUniverCity San Jose engages local residents, SJSU faculty members and students, and city officials in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals (David Schmitz photo).

Media contacts:
David Edelson, APLU, 202-478-6072
Pat Harris, SJSU, 408-924-1748

In recognition of its extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, including San Jose State, have been selected as regional recipients of the 2015 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.

As regional winners, SJSU, Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of New Hampshire will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be presented during the APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three regional winners not chosen for the Magrath award will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Award history

Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities.

The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.

The Magrath Awards reward the significant impact our universities make in their communities, states, and across the nation as well as the world,” said APLU President Peter McPherson.

“This year’s regional award winners exemplify the broad principles of community-based outreach and engagement embraced by the public university community. We salute each of these model programs that feature students, faculty and administrators working in their community to improve the quality of life for all.”

A team of community engagement specialists judged this round of the award.  A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2015 National Engagement Scholarship Conference in September.

About CommUniverCity San Jose

CommUniverCity San Jose is a unique community-university-city partnership that engages local residents with faculty members and students at San Jose State and city staff members in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals. With nearly one million residents, San Jose is characterized by vast economic inequality and profound challenges with respect to poverty, unemployment, homelessness, gang violence, and low educational attainment.

To address these needs, CommUniverCity creates and supports 50 community action projects annually. Projects range from after-school tutoring and nutrition education to adult financial literacy classes. CommUniverCity’s structure can be described as three legs of a stable stool, with SJSU, the city of San Jose, and local organizations and residents each providing equal support for project identification and implementation.

SJSU’s role in this “town-gown” (city-university) partnership is threefold. First, faculty members apply subject-matter expertise to solve real-world problems. Second, students participate in community-engaged learning projects. Third, SJSU provides financial and administrative support. Over the past decade, this consistent engagement of faculty and students has generated a multitude of short-term studies and longer-term research, including a five-year comparison of social capital indicators within the service area.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU theatrical production

Hammer Theatre Discussions

SJSU theatrical production

SJSU programming, co-productions and a rental program are among the parameters for operating Hammer Theatre (photo by Christina Olivas).

Media contact: Pat Harris, Media Relations, 408-924-1748

San Jose City Council has unanimously approved a recommendation that the city manager negotiate and execute an agreement with San Jose State University for operations and maintenance of the Hammer Theatre for three years.

This is the latest step in a nine-month process that has included input from the campus community, discussions with the Hammer Theatre Advisory Committee, and several public presentations, including today’s.

I am excited about the potential of a city/university partnership to provide new, engaging learning opportunities for our students in a variety of disciplines and contribute to vitalizing San Jose’s downtown corridor,” President Mo Qayoumi said.

“It was heartening to hear such strong support from elected officials, community members and arts advocates. I agree with the many speakers who cited other “town gown” collaborations as evidence that this new partnership can thrive.”

Next steps

As the negotiations between SJSU and the city move forward, SJSU will:

  • assess needed facility maintenance and upgrades
  • review other models for university-operated performing arts venues
  • develop a financial model including a tiered rate structure for market-rate theater groups, nonprofits, co-productions by professional theaters collaborating with SJSU, SJSU’s own educational purposes, and a city subsidy

While it is premature to predict when the theatre will reopen, the intent is to have it ready for use as soon as possible. This will be based on time needed for renovations and related operational issues.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Green Ninja stickers

Pedaling for the Planet

Green Ninja team

The Green Ninja Climate Ride Team (courtesy of The Green Ninja Project).

Green Ninja in the classroom.

In the classroom (courtesy of The Green Ninja Project).

After months of training and fundraising, the Green Ninja Climate Ride Team is set to take off in the Northern California Climate Ride. The ride starts in Eureka on May 17, and ends five days later in San Francisco on May 21.

The eight team members will bike 320-miles along the Northern California coastline to raise awareness about climate change and support environmental non-profit organizations like the Green Nina Project — an SJSU environmental outreach program that teaches middle school students about climate change and inspires them to take action.

300 ninja

A custom-designed jersey (courtesy of The Green Ninja Project).

We are excited about the ride, but also a little nervous,” says Professor Eugene Cordero, a climate scientist in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.

The team is made up of two professors, one alumna, one staff member and three students. Some are avid cyclists, while others are beginning bicyclists. Even though their skill level varies, they all share a common goal — a commitment to maintaining a healthy planet and reducing climate change.

Follow the team

You can follow the team and encourage them on via SJSU’s official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #SJSUclimateride.

honors-convocation-dschmitz-042415-81-02

SJSU Celebrates Honors Convocation

By Melissa Anderson, Executive Communications Specialist

Photo: David Schmitz

Family, friends, faculty and staff packed the San Jose State University Event Center April 24 to recognize the academic achievements of 3,977 undergraduate students at the 53rd Annual Honors Convocation.

The event started promptly at 6 p.m., with the faculty processional into the Event Center to the sound of a brass ensemble conducted by Associate Professor Kathryn Adduci. The ensemble accompanied Associate Professor Layna Chianakas, a mezzo-soprano, who performed the National Anthem.

The atmosphere was jovial as the students all competed to cheer the loudest when each college dean stood up at the podium to read out the names of their departments or degrees. Each dean asked all the Dean’s Scholars present to stand to be recognized while saying a few words about their programs. This year, 3,557 students earned the distinction of being a Dean’s Scholar by maintaining a 3.65 GPA in two contiguous semesters of the last three semesters.

4.0 GPAs

The group of President’s Scholars who maintained a 4.0 GPA in two contiguous semesters of the last three were invited to come up on stage to state their name and major. President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andy Feinstein shook hands with each student to offer a personal congratulation. This year, 420 students earned the distinction of being a President’s Scholar.

The two speakers for the evening included Robert Foster, ’69 Public Administration, who received an honorary doctorate of Humane Studies, and Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Communication Studies Anne Marie Todd, who received the 2014-15 Outstanding Professor Award. Each of them discussed the importance of connections.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Foster, who is former mayor of Long Beach, a former president of Southern California Edison, and a former CSU trustee, said his mother was in the audience.

“She can finally tell her friends her son is a doctor,” he joked, after President Qayoumi and Provost Feinstein conferred his honorary degree.

Foster told students to remember those who set the stage for their success.

Staying Connected

“Remember the sacrifices of your family, spouses and friends,” he said. “Never forget you stand in the place of so many who came before you. Stay connected and engaged – and supportive to this university.”

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Todd spoke about the way in which students can connect to the world and each other.

“Your SJSU network will be invaluable to you,” Todd told students, noting the ease of staying connected via social media and online resources.

But she noted the amount of screen time may be to the detriment of connecting in more personal ways to others and to the environment.

“The natural world around us is undergoing drastic, catastrophic change,” she said.

She encouraged students to think of ways to work together to implement positive changes, with a suggestion for one easy way to start.

“Rethink screen time,” she said. “Spend an hour a week where you live. Just take a walk and see what it means to be connected.”