SJSU and IBM Announce New Collaboration—First of its Kind on the West Coast

Preparing Students for high tech jobs of the future

Photo by Francisco Mendoza, ’21 Photography/San Jose State University

On October 18, 2019, San Jose State University and IBM announced a strategic collaboration designed to provide today’s students with advanced skills needed for high tech jobs of the future.

The use of emerging technologies such as the Internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, security, and blockchain are growing. AI is expected to contribute $15.7T to the global economy by 2030* as the U.S. skills gap widens. Over 11.5 million workers in the United States alone may need to be retrained or reskilled as a result of AI and intelligent automation alone in the next three years.**

“It makes perfect sense for Silicon Valley’s public university to collaborate with IBM, a giant in the tech world,” said San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian. “Growing our research and scholarship is a priority of ours and ties directly to our student success goals. This collaboration will help San Jose State students gain the skills they need to compete in tomorrow’s workforce, and it will solidify SJSU as the top provider of talent to Silicon Valley companies.”    

The strategic skills-based collaboration, the first of its kind on the west coast, will feature three key components on campus: IBM Academic Initiative, SJSU Technology Office, and IBM Skills Academy.  

  • IBM Academic Initiative. IBM will provide a unique, customized portal for SJSU students, staff, and faculty to access IBM Academic Initiatives resources for teaching and research purposes. The Academic Initiative also provides faculty and researchers with IBM’s cloud technology and software in fast-growing fields such as AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, data science, high-performance computing, and quantum computing. 
  • SJSU Technology Office. IBM will help SJSU establish a technology office to support faculty research, student growth, and campus-wide innovation through regular workshops and training. A cybersecurity training center will also be developed and located on the SJSU campus in the future.
  • IBM Skills Academy. This Skills Academy will offer practical curriculum, learning tools, and labs created by IBM subject experts. Courses will cover a variety of advanced skills, and SJSU’s Information Technology department will evaluate pilot programs in data science, AI, data engineering and cybersecurity. IBM’s new AI tools and related education initiatives are drawn from methods and technologies IBM developed in-house to drive its own workforce transformation. The IBM Skills Academy transforms how cultures and people will operate with digital technology including ethics and human bias in coding.

“Skills are the most important issue of our time and we need to fully equip students with the right skills to participate in the digital economy,” said Naguib Attia, vice president, IBM Global University Programs. “Through this new collaboration, we will work closely with San Jose State University to ensure curricula aligns with industry needs and trends so both students and faculty can earn digital badges and develop the skills they need today, for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The collaboration between San Jose State University and IBM takes effect immediately.

**PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study: Exploiting the AI Revolution

**IBM Institute of Business Value, “The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap”, September 2019.






Update: Campus Food Eateries Gradually Re-opening – October 10, 2019

Campus Message on food eateries at Diaz Compean Student Union on Oct. 10

Editor’s note: The following update was posted on October 10, 2019, at 1:15 p.m.

As Facilities, Development and Operations (FDO) has been able to quickly address unexpected facilities maintenance at the Diaz Compean Student Union today, hot food items are gradually re-opening at this time in the following sequence

  • Panda Express
  • Steak ‘n Shake
  • Taco Bell
  • Japanese Kitchen 

Alternative Options Remain the Same: The following eateries also continue to be open at this time:

  • The Commons dining hall (between Washburn and Joe West Hall)
    • For today, there is a special promotion of an “All You Care To Eat” buffet for $7 per person. 
  • Paseo Fresh (Student Union)
  • Student Union Market (Student Union)
  • Starbucks (Student Union)
  • Subway (Student Union)
  • Tea Degree (Student Union)
  • Jamba Juice (Student Union)
  • Fresh on Fourth (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library)
  • Village Market (Campus Village Building B)
    • Options include pizza, chicken strips, and a variety of grab-n-go items. 
  • Ginger Market  (MacQuarrie Hall)
    • Options include sushi and banh mi sandwiches

We will continue to provide updates when additional information is available.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on October 10, 2019  at 12:02 p.m. from Charlie Faas, vice president of administration and finance. 

Dear Campus Community,

Due to unexpected facilities maintenance at the Diaz Compean Student Union today, hot food items cannot be offered. The following eateries will be closed until further notice

  • Panda Express
  • Steak ‘n Shake
  • Taco Bell
  • Japanese Kitchen 

Alternative Options: The following eateries will remain open at this time:

  • The Commons Dining Hall (between Washburn and Joe West Hall)
    • For today, there is a special promotion of an “All You Care To Eat” buffet for $7 per person
  • Paseo Fresh (Student Union)
  • Student Union Market (Student Union)
  • Starbucks (Student Union)
  • Subway (Student Union)
  • Tea Degree (Student Union)
  • Jamba Juice (Student Union)
  • Fresh on Fourth (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library)
  • Village Market (Campus Village Building B)
    • Options include pizza, chicken strips and a variety of grab-n-go items
  • Ginger Market  (MacQuarrie Hall)
    • Options include sushi and banh mi sandwiches

We will provide updates when additional information is available.

SJSU Cares Housing and Homeless Resources Explained

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’18 Photojournalism/ San Jose State University

Media Contacts:
Christine Hutchins, 408-924-1141, 650-644-9329,
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, 408-799-3373,

SJSU Cares Housing and Homeless Resources Explained

100 Percent of SJSU Students Who Requested Housing and Homeless Resources and Remained Engaged with SJSU Cares Received Assistance

SAN JOSE, CA–Housing insecurity is a nationwide crisis affecting too many college students. A complex issue that is often interconnected with other concerns, including economic hardship, it can range from short-term to ongoing need.

To add to this complex issue, “housing insecurity” can be described as a spectrum. Housing insecurity could mean a student sleeps on her friend’s couch before the semester starts, a family that has been displaced by a landlord selling its property, or a person with longer-term needs related to job loss, divorce or separation, illness, addiction or mental health issues.

At San Jose State University, SJSU Cares was established as a resource and service to assist students who are confronted with situations and issues outside of the classroom that may negatively impact their academic success. Some of those services include housing/homeless resources, food insecurity, mentoring, counseling, health and wellness, and public safety assistance. There is a range of housing/homeless resources, including temporary emergency housing, financial assistance for housing, assistance with landlord issues and help to search for an apartment.

Not every student who is in need of temporary emergency housing wants or seeks on-campus living assistance. Temporary emergency housing assistance is not approached as a “one size fits all” service model. Every student matters and each student has unique housing needs. SJSU Cares begins services by assessing each student’s unique needs to understand the best approach toward sustainable housing and a comprehensive solution—rather than providing just “a bed.” It’s important to note that not all students facing housing insecurity utilize SJSU Cares. Many seek other resources outside of the university.

During the 2018-19 academic year, SJSU Cares received requests for various types of assistance from 189 students. Forty-four percent of the 189 SJSU Cares requests were for housing/homeless resources.

In each of these cases, SJSU Cares responses were aligned with the unique needs of students, as there is no single, uniform response to housing assistance needs. In cases when a student has revealed historical and ongoing financial hardships that affect their housing needs, SJSU Cares has provided solutions that involve more comprehensive interventions. The goal is to ensure students gain the necessary skills and resources to develop financial self-sufficiency and resilience.

By the Numbers

Among the actual services provided to the 189 students who contacted SJSU Cares during the 2018-19 academic year:

  • 53 students were granted additional financial aid grants through SJSU Cares with an average award amount of $1,107.
  • 21 students were awarded financial aid loans through SJSU Cares and 12 students accepted an average loan amount of $3,329.
  • 18 students were granted emergency assistance funds with an average award amount of $789.
  • 6 students received temporary emergency housing on campus with an average stay of 17.8 days.

In spring 2019, President Papazian stated that any student who is in need of temporary housing will not be turned away.

However, not every student who contacted SJSU Cares accepted services or resources. SJSU Cares strives for housing stability based on each student’s unique needs and their personal decision to utilize the services or resources offered. While SJSU Cares delivered temporary housing to some students based on immediate, short-term needs, they worked with other students to arrange loans or grants in an effort to facilitate long-term financial and housing stability.

Going Forward

As SJSU comes to understand the emergent challenges of student housing insecurity, the university is continually scaling its services and housing resources and is working to deliver those services as quickly as possible. The university also is expanding promotion of SJSU Cares so students are aware of it.

Anyone affiliated with SJSU who recognizes that a student is experiencing housing insecurity or other forms of economic crisis is encouraged to contact SJSU Cares directly by email at or by filling out the Request for Assistance online form. The SJSU Cares team is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to resolving students’ economic crises while building their financial efficacy and resilience.

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, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations — offered through its eight colleges.

With approximately 36,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University 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.

Vigil for Tree of Life Synagogue

Photo: Muhamed Causevic

Dear campus community,

The SJSU Jewish Student Union, Students Supporting Israel, AEPi, Chabad of SJSU, and Hillel of Silicon Valley will be holding a vigil for the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh this evening at the César Chávez Arch by the Diaz Compean Student Union.

The vigil is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The entire campus community is invited to attend.



President’s Message on Campus Safety

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 23, 2018.

Dear All,

I want to update you on an incident that occurred near campus yesterday involving one of our students.  As Alert SJSU subscribers know, a student reported he was held at gunpoint and forced to withdraw cash from several ATM machines. The ordeal began at the 7-Eleven store on East San Salvador Street. The suspect has been described as a male in his twenties with a dark complexion and hair dyed yellow. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black sweat pants with a white stripe, and a JAMZ-brand gray backpack.

The student returned to his residence, where his roommate suggested he call police. I would like to commend both individuals for enabling the San Jose Police Department to launch an investigation immediately, with assistance from the University Police Department. The suspect remains at large. Anyone with tips or information is asked to contact SJPD’s robbery unit at 408-277-4166 or UPD at 408-924-2222.

In the meantime, our Student Affairs team has been in contact with the student, who is understandably shaken but otherwise physically unharmed. I know this report has left many of you shaken as well, whether you are a student or a faculty member or a staff member. UPD is asking all of us to remain on alert and aware of our surroundings. Confronted with a similar situation, police urge us to call 9-1-1 and leave the line open.

We are committed to keeping you safe and informed. This is why we frequently send Alert SJSU messages. We recently installed additional indoor and outdoor security cameras on both the main and south campuses. As classes begin this fall, you should see increased police presence on and around SJSU.

So please, be sure to report all crimes to the police, use our blue light phones and connect with our safety escort program.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President

Our Crazy Winter Weather

Our Crazy Winter Weather

Spartans have had few opportunities to break out their umbrellas this year, unlike back in 2009, when storms pelted campus (Stefan Armijo photo).

Still nearly no rain in San Jose! Meanwhile, storms have socked the rest of the country. What gives?

Our Crazy Winter Weather

A weather map showing wind patterns worldwide, with the North Pole in the center. Note the ridge parked off the West Coast, resulting in just four inches of rain this year (SJSU Department of Meteorology and Climate Science).

The Polar Vortex hovering over the Midwest and East Coast is linked to a stubborn ridge parked off the West Coast, yielding mostly sunny skies here and record lows elsewhere, says Professor Alison Bridger, chair of the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.

Why is this happening? Could it be global warming? Graduate students and faculty members here are studying  underlying factors.

This is an excellent example of applied weather research which would have direct applications to we citizens in that it would explain and demystify extreme weather phenomena,” Bridger writes.

Learn more from the California State University system’s only meteorology department.


Spartans at Work: Great America

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series begins with recreation alumnus Ryan Davies.)

Taking clients on Gold Striker, Great America’s newest ride, and pricing and promoting the amusement park’s Halloween Haunt are a few of the many projects Ryan Davies, ’07 Recreation, is working on this summer.

As group sales area manager, Davies develops print and sales collateral, coupon programs and signage for the park. He also oversees corporate accounts, the call center and the park’s ticketing system.

“My favorite part about my job is that I get to get out from behind my desk and go into the park and see people have fun,” Davies said.

Davies started in 2003 as a ride operator for Xtreme Skyflyer and worked his way up to seasonal managerial roles. Once he graduated from SJSU, his bosses suggested he interview for an administrative role.

This summer, Davies is helping market the new Gold Striker, Northern California’s tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster, standing 108 feet high and soaring at 53.7 MPH.

Davies’ time at Great America taught him about the ins and outs of the amusement park industry and about his potential.

“I just try to push myself to the next level and try to learn everything I can,” Davies said.

A recently added marketing role is helping him grow professionally.

“It’s really important that you work somewhere you want to be and you enjoy what you do,” Davies said.

As an SJSU student, Davies learned about time management and multitasking. He encourages students to take advantage of opportunities made available to students and to get involved on campus.

“I truly attribute where I am to some of the activities I joined,” Davies said.


SJSU Statement: Campus Safety

San Jose State University has released the following statement:

“SJSU cares about and is firmly committed to providing a safe environment for everyone in the campus community. We strive to implement timely and appropriate actions to protect our community members, including promptly, carefully and thoroughly investigating all complaints, followed by appropriate responses and actions. If there is any reason to believe a crime has occurred or safety is at risk, the University Police Department is contacted and, as appropriate, the matter is referred to the Santa Clara County District Attorney.”


New York Times: Professors at San Jose State Criticize Online Courses

Published by the New York Times May 2, 2013.

By Tamar Lewin

San Jose State University has publicly committed to using online courses to bring in more students — and bring down costs — but its philosophy department is balking. Faculty members issued a blistering statement this week about why they will not use materials from an online course called Justice, taught by Michael Sandel of Harvard, an academic superstar.

Mohammad H. Qayoumi, the president of San Jose State, has pushed his university to experiment with new online technologies through pilot projects with both edX, the nonprofit Harvard-M.I.T. online collaboration that offers Dr. Sandel’s course, and Udacity, a company producing the massive open online courses, known as MOOCs.

But this week, the philosophy department sent Dr. Sandel an open letter asserting that such courses, designed by elite universities and widely licensed by others, would compromise the quality of education, stifle diverse viewpoints and lead to the dismantling of public universities.

“The thought of the exact same social justice course being taught in various philosophy depts. across the country is downright scary,” the letter said.

The letter came as a surprise to the provost, Ellen Junn, because, she said, no one had demanded that the philosophy department use the Sandel course. “All we ever did was let the deans know that these courses were available, and if they were interested in integrating any of the edX materials into their courses, they should let us know,” Dr. Junn said. “We’re never telling faculty what to use. They control the content of their courses.”

Several philosophy professors, however, said that there was administrative pressure to offer the Justice course. Indeed, the department chairman, Peter J. Hadreas, said that administrators had now arranged to offer it through the English department, reinforcing his concerns that it would be taught by professors who are not trained in philosophy and would be especially reliant on the edX materials.

Dr. Junn said she had e-mailed the philosophy department on Wednesday, the day she learned of the letter, to ask whether anyone wanted to discuss it, but was told there was no need, since the letter was mainly meant to raise the level of discussion.

The letter echoed concerns of many university faculties across the nation as MOOCs have spread rapidly. It emphasized the importance of individual interaction with students, and the fear that the courses would widen the gap between the education that elite universities can offer, and what is available to students at most other institutions.

“The move to MOOCs comes at great peril to our university,” the letter said, “We regard such courses as a serious compromise of quality of education and, ironically for a social justice course, a case of social injustice.”

While expressing respect for Dr. Sandel’s scholarship and teaching, it also chided him, saying, “Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments and provide a diminished education for student in public universities.”

“My goal is simply to make an educational resource freely available — a resource that faculty colleagues should be free to use in whole or in part, or not at all, as they see fit,” Dr. Sandel said in a statement responding to the letter. “The worry that the widespread use of online courses will damage departments in public universities facing budgetary pressures is a legitimate concern that deserves serious debate, at edX and throughout higher education. The last thing I want is for my online lectures to be used to undermine faculty colleagues at other institutions.”

San Jose State philosophy professors said there were no dissenters from the letter. “We don’t have any illusions that we’ll change the world,” said Prof. Tom Leddy. “But our position needs to be heard. It’s been amazing to us how quickly we’ve moved to MOOCs, without faculty consultation. And now the state government’s pushing it. It’s great to have Professor Sandel’s lectures available free online, to use if we want. But if we buy them from edX as the basis for our classes, we would suddenly be second-class citizens. I would basically be a teaching assistant, and my students, unlike those at Harvard, could not question their professor.”

Anant Agarwal, the M.I.T. professor who heads edX, had a different view. “Really, we can think of MOOCs as the next-generation textbook, and just as it doesn’t take away from a professor to use a chapter of someone else’s textbook,” he said, “I don’t think it takes away from them to use as much or as little of our materials as they want. I really believe it frees them to interact more with their students.”

Faculty backlash against online courses has spread in recent weeks, as the Amherst College faculty voted against joining edX, and the Duke faculty voted down participation in Semester Online, offered by a consortium of universities.

Most faculty objections arise out of concerns about how online courses impinge on the professor-student relationship — and how they may lead to the privatization of public universities, and the loss of faculty jobs. “I started out very enthusiastic about the democratization of higher education through the global MOOCs, but I’ve gotten more cautious as my colleagues talk about what it might mean for jobs, at public universities,” said one professor, who taught a popular MOOC, but asked not to be named because he said he had not decided whether he would continue to teach them.

Many college presidents, too, are MOOC skeptics. In a Gallup poll released Thursday, most of the 889 presidents surveyed said they did not expect online education to solve colleges’ financial challenges or improve all students’ learning.


Chronicle of Higher Education: As MOOC Debate Simmers at San Jose State, American U. Calls a Halt

Published by the Chronicle of Higher Education May 9, 2013.

By Steve Kolowich

In the latest salvo in a debate over MOOCs that has drawn national attention, the San Jose State University chapter of the California Faculty Association has thrown its weight behind recent criticisms of the university’s partnerships with outside providers of massive open online courses—specifically, edX and Udacity.

Meantime, on the opposite side of the country, American University has announced a “moratorium on MOOCs.”

The California faculty union, which represents more than 2,000 professors on the San Jose State campus, has written a memorandum sharply criticizing the university’s president, Mohammad H. Qayoumi, for what the union sees as a preference for “private rather than public solutions” when it comes to online tools and content.

San Jose State has pushed various academic departments to use content from edX and Udacity—private entities that build MOOCs with materials from professors around the country—in their own courses.

But the university’s philosophy department last week said it would refuse to use content from an edX course led by a Harvard University professor. In an open letter, the professors declared a deep distrust of the San Jose State administration’s intentions in its partnerships with MOOC providers. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” they wrote. “Administrators at the CSU are beginning a process of replacing faculty with cheap online education.”

The faculty union echoed that distrust in the new memo, which was provided to The Chronicle in advance of its publication on the association’s Web site.

In the memo the union representatives write that Mr. Qayoumi, in his efforts to publicize the university’s collaborations with the MOOC providers, has been reluctant to defend professors against “a stereotype of classroom teaching based on some hackneyed Hollywood script of a teacher writing on a blackboard while his students sleep in boredom.”

Instead, the president has been all too eager to “celebrate private enterprise at the expense of the university and its collegial form of government,” the memo asserts.

Pat L. Harris, media-relations director at San Jose State, reiterated that professors have not been forced to use any materials from edX or Udacity. “In both cases, we have our faculty members behind the online efforts that the world is seeing,” said Ms. Harris. “We haven’t cut them out of it; in fact they’re at the core of what we’re doing.”

Regarding the professors’ deeper concerns—that the partnerships with outside companies will, in the long run, lead to the elimination of some faculty jobs and encroachment on the academic freedom of those who remain—Ms. Harris said she had not been part of any such discussions, though she is “leery to predict the far future.”

A ‘Moratorium on MOOCs’

Meanwhile, at American University, the provost sent a memo on Wednesday to the entire faculty and staff reiterating a “moratorium on MOOCs” while the university, in Washington, D.C., continues to draft a policy on how the massive courses would operate there.

The university is taking its time in deciding whether it wants to pursue institutional partnerships with edX or Coursera, another MOOC provider; or whether it wants to allow professors to teach MOOCs on their own, through Udacity or some other platform.

Contrary to institutions that have eagerly embraced MOOCs, American is purposely avoiding experimentation before it decides exactly how it wants to relate to the new breed of online courses. “I need a policy before we jump into something,” said Scott A. Bass, the provost, in an interview.

In his memo, Mr. Bass assures the faculty that American will not pursue MOOCs before addressing issues such as faculty oversight and release time. In the interview, Mr. Bass also mentioned unresolved issues like how MOOC teaching gigs might fit into decisions about promotion and tenure.

“There are serious questions to be asked, and answered, before we rush ahead,” the provost said.

In the memo, the provost lays out a series of proscriptions—formulated in consultation with the Faculty Senate—that limit how professors at American may teach online on a freelance basis.

For example, professors may not teach full courses online; they may not engage in any online teaching that costs students money or results in a certificate or course credit; they may not engage in any grading or assessment activities; and they must tell their deans about any freelance online teaching job, even if it falls within the rules.

“The university wanted reassurance,” said Barlow Burke, a professor of law and chair of the Faculty Senate, that American University “would be the primary employer of the faculty.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad MOOC?

Posted by the Chronicle of Higher Education May 6, 2013.

By Andrew Valls

Are MOOCs and other online materials a threat to quality public higher education, and to our role as professors? The members of the philosophy department at San Jose State University think so. They recently issued an open letter to Michael Sandel, of Harvard University, objecting to his role in encouraging the use of MOOCs at public universities. The controversy stems from San Jose State’s contract with edX, a company that provides MOOCs, including one based on Sandel’s course on justice at Harvard. San Jose State has agreed to use materials provided by edX, but the philosophy department has refused to use Sandel’s online lectures in its courses.

I am a political theorist at a large public university, and this term, for the first time, I am teaching my course, “Introduction to Political Theory,” as a hybrid. I am using Sandel’s course on justice—not the MOOC, but essentially the same materials that are publicly available at—to provide much of the online portion of the course.  Though this is still an experiment, many of the arguments presented by the San Jose State philosophy professors do not ring true in light of my experience.

We should begin by distinguishing two issues. The philosophy professors state that they have felt pressured by their administration to use the materials from Sandel’s course. The administration denies exerting any such pressure. Whatever the truth of the matter, that is an issue of academic freedom, and not about the pedagogical merits of using MOOCs and other online materials.  I certainly agree that professors should be responsible for the content and pedagogy in their own courses.

The real issue, then, is whether the availability and use of online materials, whether through MOOCs or through other channels, is a threat to quality education, especially at public universities. Many of the arguments presented in the letter presuppose an either/or, all-or-nothing approach when it comes to face-to-face versus online teaching.  But the whole point of a hybrid, or blended, course is that it combines both. And it is difficult to see why it makes a great deal of difference whether the online content is delivered via a MOOC or not.

Nothing will ever replace the face-to-face discussions that occur in the classroom. But in many traditional, on-campus courses, little discussion occurs. In a lecture course with hundreds, or even just scores, of students, much of the time in the classroom is inevitably spent with the professor lecturing and the students (hopefully) taking notes—or at least listening attentively. In courses with a significant lecture component, the advantages of using online lectures are undeniable. I know from my own experience that, if my attention wanes for a few moments, it is very convenient to simply go back and play a portion again.  One can do the same if one doesn’t quite understand something the first time. And one need not miss material to take a bathroom break.

The availability of high-quality online lectures is an opportunity to rethink how we spend our time in the classroom. If an online lecture presents the material, or walks students through an argument, we are freed to spend more time discussing the aspects of the material that are most difficult—or most interesting. We can do other kinds of activities that we might not have time for if we felt obliged to present the material in the traditional way. Yes, hybrid courses usually involve less face-to-face time, but that time can be better and more effectively spent.

The philosophy professors also seem to assume that only professors at elite universities can provide online lectures and other materials, and that public-university professors will inevitably be reduced to being “consumers” of this material. But why should that be the case? Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can produce and make publicly available material that others might find helpful. A great deal already exists on YouTube and elsewhere. And as MOOCs become more commonplace, some enterprising computer programmer can be counted on to offer software or a Web site that makes it easier for individual professors, or institutions with modest means, to produce MOOCs.

I believe that at some point each of us, the experts in our respective fields, should be providing online lectures, if not entire MOOCs, that the rest of us can use. We should look upon online lectures and similar materials as a way to draw on others’ expertise. As it is, I read some of the secondary literature on a theorist whose work I teach. Why not let the students hear a lecture on that thinker by a colleague at another university whose work I find so helpful in preparing my own lectures? Why not give students direct access to the deep knowledge of the genuine specialists on each of the works or thinkers that we cover?  Yes, the students could read the secondary literature too, but surely there are advantages to lectures. Otherwise, why do we provide them in the classroom?

One should hope that eventually there would be a wide variety of lectures available online from which professors and students could choose. These might be available through a MOOC, or YouTube, or both. The “downright scary” prospect envisioned by the San Jose State professors of the exact same course being taught in various departments across the country need not come to pass. That depends on whether others provide alternative material, and whether professors uniformly choose the same materials. The scary prospect can be avoided if each of us picks and chooses among a wide array of alternatives, crafting our own distinctive combination of materials.

Using a MOOC for a hybrid course is like adopting a textbook. You can use all of it, or just parts. You can use its exercises and tests, or not. You can still choose what to emphasize in the classroom, and still make your own assignments.

In the end, the crucial thing is that the instructor remains in the driver’s seat—and that takes us back to academic freedom. As long as individual professors are choosing what material to assign or recommend, running their in-class discussions and adding material that they think is not adequately covered in the online lectures, choosing the assignments and tests, and grading those tests, there is no threat to the professoriate, or to the quality of education at universities, public or otherwise.

Andrew Valls is an associate professor of political science at Oregon State University.



Chronicle of Higher Education: Why Professors at San Jose State Won’t Use a Harvard Professor’s MOOC

Posted by the Chronicle of Higher Education May 2, 2013.

By Steve Kolowich

Professors in the philosophy department at San Jose State University are refusing to teach a philosophy course developed by edX, saying they do not want to enable what they see as a push to “replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.”

The San Jose State professors also called out Michael Sandel, the Harvard government professor who developed the course for edX, suggesting that professors who develop MOOCs are complicit in how public universities might use them.

In an open letter this week addressed to Mr. Sandel, the philosophy professors decried a dean’s request that the department integrate a MOOC version of “Justice,” the Harvard professor’s famous survey course, into the curriculum at San Jose State.

“In spite of our admiration for your ability to lecture in such an engaging way to such a large audience,” the letter’s authors write, “we believe that having a scholar teach and engage with his or her own students is far superior to having those students watch a video of another scholar engaging his or her students.”

The letter is part of a brewing debate about how MOOCs might deepen the divide between wealthy universities, which produce MOOCs, and less wealthy ones, which buy licenses to use those MOOCs from providers like edX.

The authors say they fear “that two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of videotaped lectures and interact, if indeed any interaction is available on their home campuses, with a professor that this model of education has turned into a glorified teaching assistant.”

San Jose State’s Experiment

Under Mohammad H. Qayoumi, the university’s president, San Jose State has cast itself as a proving ground for the licensing model. In a pilot program, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one section of an introductory course in electrical engineering last fall drew heavily on recorded lectures and other materials from “Circuits & Electronics,” a MOOC from edX.

Students in that section passed at a much higher rate than those in the traditional sections. In April, Mr. Qayoumi doubled down on the experiment, announcing that San Jose State would road-test more edX courses on its campus, including courses in the humanities. The California State University system said it would push for similar experimentation with edX materials on 11 other campuses.

Like other faculty groups that have resisted outside providers of online courses in recent weeks, the San Jose State philosophy professors said they are not opposed to online and “blended” courses. But the professors fear that maintaining high quality might not be a top priority as university and system administrators navigate the current budget crisis.

In a statement to The Chronicle, San Jose State said it intends to leave faculty members in control of their courses, even where it is encouraging experimentation with edX materials like Mr. Sandel’s course.

“In the interest of clarity, our collaboration with edX does indeed locate the responsibility for the course solely with our faculty members, who will determine how much, or how little, of the edX course materials they will incorporate into their blended courses,” wrote Ellen Junn, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“The administration would never impose or mandate these teaching methods on faculty members,” Ms. Junn continued.

But the authors of the philosophy-department letter are nonetheless worried about what could happen in the future. “Let’s not kid ourselves; administrators at the CSU are beginning a process of replacing faculty with cheap online education.”

Peter J. Hadreas, chair of the philosophy department, said he believes that appealing to Mr. Sandel directly is the best way to spark a public conversation about the possible unintended consequences of superstar professors’ working with edX and other MOOC providers.

“I think he will answer it in good faith,” said Mr. Hadreas. “I don’t know if it will change his mind, but I would be interested to hear his response, and it might bring about some reconsideration.”

In a statement to The Chronicle, Mr. Sandel said he knows little about the arrangement between edX and San Jose State, but he hopes the university does not force professors there to use any more material from his MOOC than they wish to use.

“The worry that the widespread use of online courses will damage departments in public universities facing budgetary pressures is a legitimate concern that deserves serious debate, at edX and throughout higher education,” wrote Mr. Sandel. “The last thing I want is for my online lectures to be used to undermine faculty colleagues at other institutions.” He declined to comment further.

Frosh and Transfer Applications Surge

Fall 2013 Frosh and Transfer Applications Surge

How crowded will campus be next fall? Expect the same as this fall, given strong applicant interest in SJSU (Christina Olivas photo).

Demand for an SJSU degree remains super strong, with more than 43,000 students applying for admission in fall 2013 as freshmen, transfers or credential candidates by the Nov. 30 deadline.

This number will grow given SJSU is still accepting applications from international, graduate and doctorate of nursing practice candidates. Apply now.

So far, more than 27,000 students have applied for admission as freshmen, a nearly 10 percent increase over last year. More than 15,300 students have applied as transfers, jumping nearly 22 percent over last year.

This was likely driven by pent up demand from community college students given SJSU was forced to close for spring 2013 admissions due to the state budget crunch, a situation the passage of Proposition 30 could alleviate.

How many fall 2013 freshmen and transfer applicants will end up enrolling? In fall 2012, SJSU enrolled nearly 7,000 freshmen and transfers.

Also notable was the surge in credential applicants. More than 1,300 people applied for admission to SJSU’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education credential programs, up more than 12 percent from last year.

Many factors may be contributing to the overall surge in applications, including demographics, the value of a college degree, relatively low tuition and fees, the online application process through CSU Mentor and, for SJSU, a superb location in Silicon Valley and near all Northern California has to offer.

Read a related CSU news release.

Twitter bird with text "#SJSU Tweets of the Week"

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, November 5

London Eye ferris wheel at night with red lights and blue beacons of light

“In love with #london,” tweets @JorgeR690, who took this photo of the London Eye while currently studying abroad.

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see a sample of the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@peterkabai: #downtown #city #sanjose #sjsu #california #instagood #tweegram #photooftheday #instamood #tbt #iphonesia #i

@sarahhhvictoria: Good morning #sjsu

@MicrosoftSV: Go @SJSU! RT @theanilsson: Fun Fact: The majority of Silicon Valley engineers are San Jose State grads. — @RepZoeLofgren

@TheAimerson: A little Halloween whimsy is brought to SJSU… Passed by a zombie, penguin, pirate, TMNT, hippy, and foxy fox just to get to my next class!

@rizalinoantonio: cloudy day at downtown san jose #sjsu #timelapse

@drew_thoughts: #rockthevote #sjsu #prop30 #prop31#prop32 #prop33 #prop34 #prop35#prop36 #prop37 #prop38 #prop39#prop40 #

@harishvc: Walking thru the Science Bldg @sjsu stumbled on an interesting quote that is right on!

@SamuelYLam: If you were watching the @Warriors game last night, did you guys see@SJSU during the opening video montage? Yeah. Represent!

@SpearsNBAYahoo: Congrats to @SJSU football for improving to 7-2 with win today! Go@SJSUAthletics! Where is the love @YahooForde @YahooDrSaturday?

@Sarynrorie: If the bowl game happens & where ever the #SJSU Bowl Game is…….. I AM GOING!!!! #Spartans #WeAreONE

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.

Twitter bird with text "#SJSU Tweets of the Week"

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, October 29

Silhouette of Tower Hall and palm trees with cloudy, blue sky

@sjsu_kinglib shared this cool photo of Tower Hall taken from King Library by one of our librarians, @jausel.

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see a sample of the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@Benwik_CHOSEN1: Practice @ 7am but still up finishing this school work. Student comes before athlete in Student-Athlete #SJSU

@sjsulift: Currently my view from the library. How could you not want to be an @SJSU #Spartan?? #sjsu #YES

@no_tacos: Nailing a biopsychology presentation and professor says that I should consider teaching as a career. #SJSU

@DandyDior: #sjsu #officebirthdays taking the office from #drabtofab EXCITED to surprise My coworker tomorrow #cubical #decor

@platinumtim: Just arrived at my Alma Mater, @SJSU. It feels good to be home! #sjsualum

@CollegeInvent: Congratulations to the @SJSU team of Henry Li, Andrew Parmar, and Max Ratner being named finalists in the Competition. #CIC #USPTO

@JTFdocumentary: RT @sjsu: RT @camillediem: I spoke to the @SJSU alumni behind the film #JourneyThroughFire. Read about it here:

@conorgrennan: Can’t wait for this Thurs, speaking at San Jose State U at 4 p.m.- #LittlePrinces is the Common Read. Come Join! @sjsu

@atqueamemus07: Meeting Little Princes author @conorgrennan yesterday made my day (: Not only is he an amazing writer, but he’s do

@rtgleeson: Helluva weekend. Mercury News debut Sat. morning, #SJSU football story on @CSNAuthentic Sat. evening — topped by a #SFGiants WS Championship

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.

Twitter bird with text "#SJSU Tweets of the Week"

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, October 15

panoramic photo of Spartan Stadium on a sunny day during the Homecoming Game

@SoniaTyding captured this panoramic photo from the sidelines of Spartan Stadium during the Homecoming Game. Click on the photo for a closer look!

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see a sample of the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@LParada11: Happy Homecoming Week @SJSU #freecookie #freepin #sjsu @ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

@BarnabyDallas: Free tic all over @sjsu campus

@misotina: Dia de los Muertos display @ MLKlibrary. #SJSU #ProudSpartan #culture

@KevinFrandsen: @SJSU @sjsubaseball always out to support my school wherever, whenever

@ReekstheGeeekz: Loving everything about San Jose, the culture, the people, the hiphop scene, and the university. #SanJose #SJSU #SpartanPride #Homecoming

@Martidamus: Honored at the SJSU halftime!

@TsquaredC: #SJSU spartan for life. Win or Lose


@jayycole_: Reping San Jose all day! #SJSU #LittleBrother #Birthday

@lkimura789: Honored that an #sjsu alumni @coastw won the PRSA professional of the year award. Congrats!

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.

SJSU Hosts Edward Oates Symposium on Security in the Cyber Age

SJSU Hosts Edward Oates Symposium on Security in the Cyber Age

A discussion panel of industry professionals are sitting in chairs at a table on a stage

Speakers in the The Employment Landscape (left to right): Mark Iwanowski, Vice President Cognizant Technology; John Serafini, Director of National Labs at Allied Minds; Tami Gallupe, Director, Global Privacy & North America Information Security at Oracle, Nathan Nayman, Head of State & Local Relations at VISA, and Stephanie Sparks, Business & Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer for Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel Law (Robert Bain photo).

By: Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Are you interested in entering a field that has zero unemployment and endless opportunity? In a new effort to highlight a huge shortage of skilled workers in IT security, SJSU hosted the Edward Oates Symposium on Security in the Cyber Age Sept. 14 at the Student Union.

The one-day forum, sponsored by the College of Science and Ed Oates, alumnus and co-founder of Oracle, was intended to bring to light how SJSU can play a significant role in workforce development and educational training for cybersecurity.

“With this symposium, we hoped to achieve an increased awareness and sense of urgency in how important our role at SJSU is in preparing students in this critical STEM and interdisciplinary curricula and program,” said Director of Development Carol Beattie, who helped organize the event.

The event’s 300 participants included SJSU students, faculty, staff, and administrators, in addition to representatives from the private sector, government and higher education.

Panel discussions focused on the threats and roles of cybersecurity, as well as higher education’s contributions and employment opportunities in this emerging field.

Employment Landscape Panel Discussion

The symposium concluded with an employment landscape panel discussion probing insightful questions from the audience including: Who benefits from policy risks? What kinds of expertise and training are needed?  What are the first steps in setting curriculum for a discipline in cyber security?

President Mohammad Qayoumi provided closing comments, focusing on SJSU efforts to develop a program for cybersecurity training and certification in Silicon Valley. Qayoumi listed the corporate environment, the law, psychology, education and licensing as just a few aspects of an interdisciplinary approach to workforce development.

“We have to be a part of providing basic knowledge to kids down to the K-6 grade levels,” Qayoumi said. “Cybersecurity hygiene will become one of those survival skills that each and everyone of us needs to have.”

Qayoumi is working with the Bay Area Council on implementing infrastructure for SJSU’s planned Center for Security in the Cyber Age. Programs would include high school camps and community colleges programs, as well as graduate degrees and partnerships with corporations in Silicon Valley.

SJSU Remembers Professor Sally Veregge: “A Loved and Respected Teacher”

SJSU Remembers Professor Sally Veregge: “A Loved and Respected Teacher”

Professor Sally Veregge

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

SJSU lost an outstanding teacher and true believer in mentoring all students, especially young women scientists, when Professor of Biology Sally Ann Veregge lost her battle against cancer Sept. 22. She was 66.

Services will be held 10 a.m. Sept. 26, at the Wesley United Methodist Church, 566 N. Fifth St, San Jose. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations to the First United Methodist Church of San Jose or the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State.

Donate online or send checks to the Tower Foundation of San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA, 95192-0183. Please note the purpose of the gift: “Department of Biological Sciences, in memory of Professor Veregge.”

Many Contributions

An obituary published by the San Jose Mercury News notes Professor Veregge’s many contributions to the university community:

“Sally thoroughly immersed herself in education and the integration of education within the world … She brought her strong educational background and eclectic working background to the Department of Biological Sciences … in 1984, where she taught a wide variety of courses rose to the rank of professor and chair …

“Quietly innovative as a professor, Sally collaborated with others to create interdisciplinary curricula such as one of the first Professional Science Masters in the country, a master’s in biotechnology, providing students strong internship opportunities in the valley, and working closely with the hospitals and clinics in the area to build and support a Clinical Laboratory Science program.

“Sally was a loved and respected teacher. She treated every student as if he or she was her only student. She spread the ability to learn and the love of learning to thousands of students. She engaged students in her research laboratory as well. Students from high school, undergraduate and graduate students worked collaboratively to tackle the impact of gonadal steroids on the brain including estrogen’s impact on epilepsy.

Encouraging Girls to Study Science

“Sally was also a longstanding organizer and contributor to Expanding Your Horizons which served over 800 young girls every year to encourage them to pursue studies and work in science and engineering. She was a ‘Teacher-Scholar’ at SJSU and was named 2002 ‘Woman of Achievement’ award at the 28th Annual Women’s Fund of Silicon Valley among many academic honors …

“Sally always saw the positives in people and situations. Beyond words, this was often expressed by her trademark smile that she used frequently. We will keep Sally in our hearts and minds by remembering how she enjoyed life and respected and helped others; how she was always strong in spirit and conviction, lived life to the fullest, and cherished her family and friends.”

blue background with white bird

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, September 24

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, September 24

@paviddark found this note on an Engineering building door. September is Post-It-Positivity Month at SJSU.

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see a sample of the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@JarronG: @kirkmorrison @SJSpartans SJSU vs. SDSU this week. Saturday looks like a bad day to be an Aztec. Go #SJSU #SPARTANS

@RoyGeorgeChen: Look at how cute this little Spartan is!!! Her 1 year birthday present finally fits! #sjsu #spartans

@KINGLEE_Brody: Finished my paper, still got an hour left till my next class. Just admiring the art around #SJSU #Campus. #M

@loveedre #SJSU has the best professors in the world! They all try interacting with their students. Keep hiring professors like them!!! #thankful

@websterlincoln: 3d map of @SJSU and San Jose City Hall #iOS6 #Maps

@jmaltura: Culture, swag and class. @SJSU has it all! #spartanpride #SJSU #ballroomdance #culturaldances #stepping #strolling

@jessicafrank: Good times at the @SJSUalumni event in LA tonight! Always nice to see @ProfBob54 and hear about the great things @SJSU is doing!

@SJSUalumni: Spartans win! 38-34 over SDSU!!!!

@SpearsNBAYahoo: Yes sir @SJSU now 3-1 after 38-34 win at San Diego State! Only @SJSUloss to Stanford by 3. @YahooForde you paying attention? @BA_TurnerHA!

@kirkmorrison: This is what happens when San Diego State loses to San Jose State. @jgilly90 is making wear this ugly Blue &

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.

blue background with white bird

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, September 17

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

Panoramic photo of San Jose State campus with 7th Street Fountain and Event Center. Photo by @pdparticle

@pdparticle took this awesome panoramic photo of our campus, using his iPhone. Click to view larger image.

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see a sample of the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@howtolovenicole: Aww one of the pilots from 9/11 was an SJSU alumni! #RIPJasonDahl

@sancheezy08: First time beating Santa Clara at their home in 27 years! #sjsu #spartans#teamwork #captain #senioryear #ju

@bevmo510: Random plane making a circle in the air with the entire number for Pi haha #3.14#pi#math#sjsu

@arun_erd: Go #Spartans !! U.S. News Rankings 2013: #SJSU 9th Overall Among the West’s Top Public Universities.

@NachoLyfe: Clay Matthews got four sacks…he out there trying to be like Travis Johnson from San Jose State. #NCAA active leading sack man with 23

@garvinthomas: Gotta love Red! RT @SJSU: Man honors late wife w/ #SJSU #nursingscholarship: Sweet love story!

@fliaway09: Getting ready for #Zero1….#sjsu #wired #cadre @ sjsu 

@helenator23: Grand canyon swag@SJSUWSoccer @SJSUAthletics @SJSU #wishyouwerehere

@Jimmy_Durkin: Chew on this: #SJSU scored more points vs.#Stanford than #USC did and also allowed fewer points.

@sganim: Hanging out with students at the @SJSU @SpartanDaily newsroom.

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.