Sue Howland Gift Creates Scholarship for Nursing Students

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.9 million gift from the late Sue Howland, ’64 Business Administration. The gift creates the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship for single parents and other eligible undergraduate and graduate students at The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and required books for students to earn their nursing degrees.

“The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is grateful for the generous gift provided by the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship,” said Colleen O’Leary-Kelley, director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and nursing professor. “Our student population is diverse, and many are single parents with significant financial need. Scholarship support is vital for students who strive to improve their family’s future while working full time or part time. Their ability to succeed in a rigorous educational program is greatly enhanced. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of people like Sue Howland, who enable students to make their dreams become a reality.”

About Sue Howland

Sue Howland smiling in a bright read embroidered top.

Alumna Sue Howland established a planned gift that will create a scholarship for nursing students who are parents. Photo courtesy of Ana Espejo.

Born in Berkeley and raised in San José, Howland enrolled in a number of nursing courses at San José State before ultimately majoring in business. Ever the caretaker, Howland raised her son Scott while working for the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford University and McWhorter’s stationery in Los Gatos. When her grandmother fell ill, she quit her job to become her full-time caregiver, and later did the same for her mother. While she never became a nurse, Howland was a dedicated friend to many, including Ana Espejo, who she met when she hired Espejo’s husband to help with her garden.

“Sue was very compassionate and she had a lot of integrity and kindness,” said Espejo. “We became very close; she was my adopted mom. She was there for me when I was, at one point, a single mother. She treated my son as her grandson. She wanted to give single parents the resources to go to school, which is why she created the scholarship.”

Howland made arrangements in her trust to donate the proceeds from the sale of her house to create an endowed fund at San José State. The fund provides full-tuition scholarships named after Howland and her mother Julia (Judy) Howland to single parents so they may continue their studies while parenting. In her final years, Howland was grateful for the medical care she received as she was being treated for various illnesses and before she succumbed to cancer in 2019. Espejo said that it was this care that reinforced Howland’s desire to support future nurses.

“Throughout all of her surgeries and treatments, she appreciated that the nurses and medical assistants took such good care of her,” said Espejo. “This is part of why she wanted to support the nursing program at San José State, though she had planned her gift years before.”

“Sue Howland understood the challenges of single parenting while attending college and the impact that a scholarship like this could have. Students receiving this scholarship concentrate on their studies, and still spend valuable time with their children,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are grateful for her thoughtful planning many years ago to leave a meaningful legacy at San José State.”

“I stand in awe of Sue Howland. It is remarkable that she and her family would share with such generosity their treasures with the College of Health and Human Science’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing,” said Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “So many of our students face challenges, working their way through school, often juggling multiple jobs on top of coursework and practicum commitments. Ms. Howland had the insight to recognize that single parents face additional barriers and that they are much more likely to drop out due to all the financial burdens facing them. This gift will change the lives of all the parents who receive it. Beyond this though, the gift will impact the lives of the students’ children. This will lead to intergenerational transformation.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of Planned Giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Chef José Andrés to Receive 2020 John Steinbeck Award

In an iconic passage in The Grapes of Wrath, Tom Joad declares, “Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there.”

John Steinbeck wrote those words, Henry Fonda rendered them, and José Andrés lives them.

For his efforts in providing meals to millions of the hungry and dispossessed, Andrés will receive the John Steinbeck Award in the finale of a virtual event with Sean Penn on Monday, November 30, from 6-7 p.m. (PST). Penn received the Steinbeck Award in 2004.

The event — José Andrés and Sean Penn: A Conversation on Giving Back — is hosted by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco and sponsored by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University. Ticket information and details for this virtual event can be found at www.commonwealthclub.org.

Andrés, a legendary chef and restaurateur, serves as the founder of the World Central Kitchen. Penn, a two-time Oscar winner, serves as co-founder of the Community Organized Relief Effort.

Andrés said, “This is a huge and humbling honor, to be receiving an award in the name of one of my very favorite authors, John Steinbeck – and to be on a list with icons like my friend Sean, the great Dolores Huerta, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen… c’mon man! Thank you to the people of San José State for this amazing award – the words and wisdom of Steinbeck are very close to my heart and the mission of World Central Kitchen, so this is meaningful to the entire team and me.”

Andrés and Penn have collaborated extensively as the World Central Kitchen and CORE confront the COVID-19 crisis. During the pandemic, World Central Kitchen has served nearly 25 million meals in the United States, Spain, and beyond, while CORE has provided tests for COVID-19 to millions of Americans, many in underserved communities.

The Steinbeck Center at San José State has the Steinbeck estate’s authorization to present awards to artists and activists who, through their work, embody the spirit of John Steinbeck’s social engagement.

SJSU professor Nick Taylor, director of the Steinbeck Center, explained the selection of this year’s honoree. “José Andrés is like a character out of a lost Steinbeck novel: a chef whose cuisine is the envy of kings, but who chooses instead to feed the world’s neediest people, wherever they may be. We salute the work of Chef Andrés and the team at World Central Kitchen.”

Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Night shot of the SRAC pool and exterior building.

Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center Photo: Kevin Korczyk

For its energy efficiency and green building sustainability achievements, the Student Union at SJSU Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC) received confirmation of its LEED Gold Certification on October 8.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)—the world standard for green buildings—is a certified rating system offered through the US Green Building Council. SRAC’s LEED Gold certification marks its superior achievement of numerous sustainable and environmental stewardship measures. For example, SRAC met USGBC’s world-class standards for energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, and indoor environmental quality.

Traci Ferdolage, senior associate vice president for Facilities Development and Operations (FD&O), said “SRAC is a beautiful building and an amazing asset for the campus and the community. But it’s always extra special when we can attain a level of sustainability that contributes over time to our goals around having a lighter footprint. Achieving a LEED Gold certification certainly is something we can point to that aligns with campus and CSU goals around achieving carbon neutrality, as we move forward in the future.”

Tamsen Burke, executive director of the Student Union, Inc. at SJSU who oversees SRAC, Provident Credit Union Event Center, and the Campion Diaz Student Union, said, “Leading the industry in sustainability practices, building construction and design allows us to minimize our carbon footprint by reducing energy, lower operating costs, and creating a healthy environment for the recruitment and retention of employees and prospective students to SJSU.

Ashraf Fouad, FD&O senior director of planning, design and construction, said the long process of achieving the distinction was much more complex than is commonly understood. “LEED Gold certification is not as simple as people might think,” Fouad said. His team examined everything from choosing flooring materials that don’t release volatile organic chemicals to planning an efficient HVAC system for cooling large spaces. “I want to highlight that it’s not easy to do,” he emphasized. “Every decision affects the target.”

LEED certification requires not just green design, but meticulous attention at each stage of construction, Fouad said. Even the handling of the building’s waste construction materials—leftover bits of two-by-four or sheet metal, for example—must be precisely accounted for. Details like vehicle miles driven while disposing of construction waste are counted. The LEED certification process tracked sustainability practices from design through construction, Fouad said. “You have to maintain it throughout, with checkpoints every single step of the way.” Fouad credited “the willingness of our design and construction partners” for their persistence during the process. To win LEED Gold, he said, exhaustive documentation of each sustainability measure is essential, “because maybe you’re doing it—but if you’re not documenting it, it’s not counted.”

The interior of the SRAC with curving blue, grey and gold ceiling with workout equipment on the floor.

Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center interior Photo: Kevin Korczyk

Numerous credits toward the Gold certification were awarded in the indoor environmental quality category for SRAC features such as outdoor air delivery monitoring, air circulation, and minimizing dust. Fouad said large gymnasium spaces were challenging because “people generate a lot of heat, playing basketball and so on. We did computer modeling of where that heat is, where you can push and extract air.” Ventilation systems were sited based on the model. Ferdolage said SRAC’s ventilation design efficiently moved warm air away, taking advantage of natural heat flows. Exterior wall vents draw in outside air, and destratification ceiling fans help keep temperature consistent. “It takes a lot of creativity,” she said.

The project received points for its half-mile proximity to public transportation and its accommodations for bicycle parking and storage. Lights activated by motion sensors reduce wasted electricity. Showers and bathroom facilities were designed for water efficiency. To top it off, SRAC’s special roof has a high solar reflectance index—reflecting more than 75 percent of sunshine that hits it—keeping it cooler on the inside. Moreover, Ferdolage said, its roof is an example of how SRAC planners thought carefully about ongoing life cycle costs, with an eye to future savings.

“When they constructed the building, they made it solar ready,” Ferdolage said.  “We just now learned of our LEED certification, but through a separate project we’re already starting to install PV panels. The campus didn’t just think about LEED rating points; we plumbed it for future solar, which also demonstrates our commitment to sustainability overall. It’s a wonderful use of that flat roof to further decrease our carbon footprint.” Ferdolage said she was pleased to pass by recently and see workers “on the roof tugging some panels around.” Sustainability improvements are ongoing.

Fouad said, “Our campus user group, stakeholders from the Student Union and others, were very supportive of making the goal a reality.”

Ferdolage said any new CSU building must now achieve LEED Silver equivalency status—but the SRAC planners aspired for more. By achieving Gold, the team far exceeded the CSU minimum. “It demonstrates a commitment by the campus to ensure that it’s taking steps to achieve our carbon neutrality goals,” Ferdolage said. “Not every project in the CSU ends up LEED Gold. It takes a client and a campus valuing the goal. It took leadership and desire. It’s not easy to achieve these levels of certification while also managing a project that meets the budget. It’s something we’re quite proud of.”

“It’s a healthy building,” Fouad said. “You will be healthier inside that building, using it or breathing the air inside. That’s very important, because you will feel it.”

“As operators and managers of SRAC, one of our main responsibilities once you receive the LEED Gold standard is to continue to maintain the life of the building to that standard,” Burke said. “Moreover, strategically, it is how we complement the overall CSU and university sustainability plan which provides a healthier space for students and for the environment.”

LEED-certified buildings not only save resources, they save money and offer the university many economic benefits. From 2015–2018, LEED-certified buildings worldwide saved an estimated $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.3 million in maintenance savings, and $54.2 million in waste savings. Reduced energy use means green buildings also reduce carbon emissions, to help protect the climate. A USGBC scorecard details each LEED points-winning category the SRAC was awarded.

“My hat’s off to the entire SJSU team that worked on this important project,” Ferdolage said, “and for delivering a facility that not only exceeds the CSU goals but also is sustainable into the future with regard to its operation and maintenance lifecycle.”

Fouad added, “As an educational institution, we’re proud that we’re actually practicing what we’re teaching. We teach students how to do better, more thoughtful engineering—of buildings or roads or what have you. So we’re actually practicing that as well.”

Senior Utilities and Sustainability Analyst Debbie Andres said, “the great thing about LEED certification for any of our buildings is that it allows a broad campus coalition to be involved with implementing sustainability at the facility level. Not only is the building an amazing achievement on its own, but we ensured that the building functions as an integral part of the sustainability mission of the whole campus. For example, shower facilities and bike storage are available to our students, faculty and staff to complement biking to campus efforts. Recycled water usage was expanded to use for irrigation and will be used in toilets. Educational materials and signage will be available for students to learn about environmentally friendly buildings. And construction waste was virtually all diverted, contributing to our zero waste efforts. We even show that green cleaning procedures that are in place for the campus are in place for the SRAC.”

A 128,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility for reaching and maintaining fitness goals, SRAC has three full-court gyms for basketball, volleyball, badminton and more, four fitness studios, an indoor track, a climbing wall and bouldering area, and a 50-meter lap pool. SRAC’s Gold certification recognized not only its electricity savings, water savings and maintenance savings—but also the design innovations that amplify the sensory human experience of using the space.

SJSU Celebrates Dr. Anthony Fauci With William Randolph Hearst Award Virtual Event

 

Public opinion surveys nationwide have consistently reported Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the voices most Americans trust and seek out for timely information during the pandemic. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the annual William Randolph Hearst Award to be held virtually, it was fitting that Dr. Fauci was honored with the award for excellence in mass communication.

San José State University and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC School) presented the award to Dr. Fauci on Tuesday. More than 2,500 SJSU students, faculty, staff and community members took part in the virtual ceremony, which included remarks from Dr. Fauci and a short Q&A session.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be chosen by the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to receive this William Randolph Hearst Award, and I thank you so much for this recognition,” Dr. Fauci said. “Knowing that great communicators have received this award before me, people I have long respected, such as Dan Rather (2019 recipient) and Jim Acosta (2018 recipient), makes this day extra special with me.

“To be honored by your great JMC School and to now be a small part of your long legacy of excellence is very meaningful to me,” Dr. Fauci said.

Dr. Fauci discussed the commonalities he has found between being a renowned public health official and a journalist, including the need to always ask questions and the importance of accurately sharing information. He added that communicating to the country during the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced lessons he learned while managing several public health crises in a career that has spanned six presidential administrations.

“People need to hear the truth as it is, rather than as they might want it to be,” said Dr. Fauci, who has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) since 1984. “Over time, truth telling builds credibility. We must always tell the truth, even if it means ‘I just do not know.’ Consistency in truth telling is critical because consistency means integrity.”

During the virtual ceremony, President Mary A. Papazian also shared remarks, expressing appreciation for Dr. Fauci’s leadership during a time of great stress and pressure.

“We are all thankful to have had you with us throughout this global pandemic, helping us to understand this virus, and explaining how we can best deal with it in a way that keeps us and our loved ones safe,” Papazian said.

The JMC School announced that they are in the early planning stages of an endowed scholarship in Dr. Fauci’s name that would attract students with a strong interest in science, public health and journalism. The school also announced that it is in the beginning stages of developing a new interdisciplinary curriculum between the JMC School and the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Before his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci was best known for his groundbreaking work in HIV-AIDS research, helping to develop effective drugs to scale back its mortality rate. Dr. Fauci has also spearheaded the federal government’s public response to combat West Nile Virus, SARS and Ebola.

“Dr. Fauci’s unparalleled commitment to science, public health and saving human lives has been documented over 40 years of service to his country, and it would be his tireless moonlighting in media that would assure and calm millions of people across generations and secure his legacy in American history,” said Bob Rucker, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and host of the virtual event.

History of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award

In the 1990s, the SJSU Journalism School received a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Endowment for Visiting Professionals. It established the creation of a special honor for outstanding professional media service in journalism, public relations, advertising and mass communications. Each year, an honoree’s work is showcased for students and celebrated for efforts that meet the expectations and high standards for public service by a free press, as provided in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications was founded in 1936 and is the largest of its kind in Northern California. It remains dedicated to the proposition that the free flow of ideas, together with accurate and timely information, is vital to developing and improving democratic societies. Today, the school is recognized worldwide for producing outstanding graduates who become leaders in global communications.

$3M Anonymous Gift Will Establish Endowments at SJSU

Three students hover over a laptop while studying together.

An anonymous $3 million planned gift will establish three endowments at SJSU. Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $3 million gift commitment from anonymous donors. The gift will create three $1 million endowments to provide full tuition to eligible students majoring in management information systems (MIS) in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, computer science in the College of Science and computer engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“We believe strongly in the importance of education. It is important to invest in the future by giving back to the educational institute which we attended and to invest and assist future students,” said the donors, a married couple who graduated from San José State. “We hope our gift will help students achieve their academic goals and so serve as our investment in the future.”

“Recognizing the importance of supporting students in areas of study as wide-ranging as business, science, and engineering is quintessentially San José State,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “The donors, both alumni, demonstrate how our Spartan family champions one another’s disparate dreams and vision for the future. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity.”

“With rising inequality, support for student scholarships has never been more important,” said Sheryl Ehrman, dean of the Davidson College of Engineering. “Our society will greatly benefit from the ideas generated by these computer engineering students supported by these scholarships!”

“This gift will expand access to our high-quality computer science degree program—and the outstanding experiential learning, internship, and career opportunities that come with it—regardless of a student’s ability to pay for their education,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “This aligns precisely with SJSU’s role as a transformative institution and the College of Science’s mission of creating knowledge and expanding opportunity. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the donors.

“This incredibly generous gift is truly an investment in our MIS students’ future,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. “These scholarships will significantly reduce financial pressures and allow students to spend more time focusing on their studies and engaging in co-curricular activities that can advance their careers.”

“This wonderful act of generosity will help provide a high-quality education to a new generation of Spartans,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “Investments by donors like these enable us to transform the lives of our students and their families, and for that we are very grateful.”

To learn how you can support the university through a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Days Go Online Nov. 16 – 20

Sammy

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Days from November 16 – 20, 2020. Newly-admitted Spartans are invited to participate in virtual Admitted Spartan Days Nov. 16 – 20.

Approximately 1,800 newly-admitted San José State students are invited to participate in online Admitted Spartan Days November 16 – 20 to learn about pursuing an education at SJSU. Students and parents can attend virtual presentations and workshops on Zoom and get the information they need to enroll in the spring 2021 semester. While Admitted Spartan Day has historically been an in-person event on campus, this fall SJSU is hosting all informational events online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second time that SJSU has had to offer Admitted Spartan Days activities online and the first time offering them in the fall, said Deanna Gonzalez, director of admissions and student outreach. In spring 2020, roughly 25,000 prospective Spartans were invited to participate in Zoom workshops, virtual tours and webinars to orient them to SJSU. By making the resources available online in real time and as recorded videos, Gonzalez said, the university is making it easier for future Spartans to find the information they need to enroll.

Kristell Nunez, ’22 Business Administration, attended the spring 2020 virtual Admitted Spartan Days as a transfer student.

“I can’t express how amazing the College of Business was! They were professional, helpful, and went above and beyond in their panels,” she said. “I was amazed that they did a FAQ Google Spreadsheet with every question answered, even if many were similar. They stayed afterward to help answer more questions which was extremely appreciated. I was very happy with their panels. The panels sealed the deal for me to choose SJSU.”

Nunez is loving her first semester at SJSU. She recommends that new students get involved in clubs.

“I’m involved in the Marketing Association doing consulting for a local company,” she said. “It feels great to apply what you learn in the classroom. I encourage students to step out of your comfort zone and explore; it does wonders.”

This semester’s virtual events will kick off on Monday, November 16, with welcome messages from college deans and videos that introduce students to college life at SJSU. Admitted students can watch content live or view the recorded webinars later at a time that works for their schedule. The week will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations:

Monday, Nov. 16: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans and webinars with colleges. SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day will provide introductory remarks at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Supporting Spartan Success: Campus Resources

Webinars cover key services including career planning, financial aid and scholarship information, writing center services, winter session information, veteran services, international student services and more.

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Discover Spartan Life

Prospective students can learn about on-campus housing options and hear from New Student and Family Programs, Student Involvement and Associated Students, who will highlight student life activities and leadership opportunities at SJSU. Students can also watch a video guide to Spartan life, living on campus and studying abroad, as well as video tours of campus, the International House, the Hammer Theatre, the Student Union.

Thursday, Nov. 19: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

Students can learn about advising resources on campus and how college student success centers and the Academic Advising and Retention Services office can assist them throughout their education. Live webinars will cover the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences (ACCESS), the Engineering Student Success Center, the College of Health and Human Sciences Student Success Center, the Accessible Education Center, the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center and the Lucas College of Business for transfer students.

Friday, Nov. 20: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from incoming freshmen and transfer students about their admission and the intent to enroll process. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.

Bettina Love Lecture on Abolitionist Teaching Draws 800+ Online Participants

Bettina Love poses in front of a mural.

Bettina Love’s lecture attracted 800 participants on Nov. 10.

On Tuesday, November 10, San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education hosted Bettina Love, associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia and one of the founders of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, for an hour-long lecture. The online event included a panel moderated by Saili Kulkarni, assistant professor of special education; psychology and African American Studies Lecturer Leslye Tinson, ’22 EdD; and Jacqueline Lopez Rivas, ’21 Child and Adolescent Development. More than 800 people from around the country registered for the Zoom webinar.

Lurie College Dean Heather Lattimer kicked off the event by explaining how Love’s expertise aligns with the college’s strategic plan, which affirms its commitment to prepare “transformative educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders through an emancipatory approach across teaching, scholarship and service.”

Bradley Porfilio, program director of SJSU’s EdD Leadership Program, originally invited Love to speak in spring 2020, but the event was postponed due to shelter in place orders related to COVID-19. On Tuesday night, Porfilio introduced Love as “a transformative scholar on abolitionist teaching and hip hop education and an inspiration to our students, who are committed to creating a society that is free from hate and free from oppression.”

Love is the author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her writing, research, teaching, and activism meet at the intersection of race, education, abolition, and Black joy. She began her talk by reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on institutional racism and equity gaps in the United States and reinforced the need for abolitionist and anti-racist thought, especially in schools.

“There is a perception that racism only hurts Black, Latinx and indigenous people,” said Love. “What we don’t talk about is what society loses because of racism. Society loses when we don’t teach Black and Brown students to their highest potential. We lose doctors, lawyers, physicians, teachers, everyday people because we do not educate students to their highest potential.”

Love argued that educators need to rethink the ways their curriculum may reinforce racial stereotypes, such as minimizing the Black experience in America to slavery, police brutality or the school-to-prison pipeline. Rather, she encouraged teachers to focus on Black and Brown joy—by depicting the resilience, creativity and ingenuity of people of all races, she said, students can envision themselves succeeding in a variety of ways. She defined the difference between an “ally” and a “co-conspirator” as a reminder to non-Black and non-Brown people to do more than pay lip service to an abolitionist and anti-racist future by taking action to make change. When her talk concluded, she answered questions from the panelists that had been partially sourced from the 800+ registered participants.

“I truly believe that we have to fight racism and injustice, but we also have to believe that Black and Brown children are worthy—full stop,” said Love as the evening was drawing to a close. “Because if you believe that Black and Brown children are worthy, then you won’t fight racism from a deficit mindset. Do you think these people are worthy of their biggest dreams? To fight for them, you must believe that their life has so much value that it makes your life better.”

Daniele LeCesne Joins SJSU as Tower Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Daniele LeCesne

Daniele LeCesne will serve as the COO of the Tower Foundation starting December 7.

For Daniele LeCesne, accepting the job as chief operating officer of San José State University’s Tower Foundation represents a homecoming of sorts. Though LeCesne is originally from southern California, her sister and brother-in-law graduated from SJSU and she has spent decades seeing the campus transform from afar. Now, after dedicating more than 25 years as an accounting and financial officer in various arenas, including 18 years in higher education, LeCesne is excited for the opportunity to oversee Tower Foundation operations beginning December 7.

“I’m all about the mission of higher ed,” said LeCesne from her office at California State University, Fullerton, where for the past three years she has worked dual roles as the executive director of university advancement administration and finance and chief financial officer for the CSF Foundation. “I am a huge proponent of encouraging younger generations to pursue their education, to pursue their dreams. My tagline is ‘engage, encourage, inspire.’ That’s what I try to share with others.”

LeCesne’s expertise includes financial and administrative management, budget management and analysis, human resources and internal controls, as well as nonprofit foundation management. Before joining Cal State Fullerton, LeCesne held positions at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She also serves on the board of OPARC, an organization that serves adults living with developmental disabilities.

For LeCesne, few things matter more than her relationships, both with her family and at work. Her very first boss in the hotel industry became a lifelong mentor, inspiring her to invest in relationships with her colleagues and pay close attention to the nitty-gritty details involved in financial management.

“I’ll never forget the time he made me find a 72 cents-error on a reconciliation,” she said. “I spent hours poring over documents, and finally he let me go, saying that he was trying to teach me the importance of being detail-oriented and putting in the research. That has stuck with me for over 30 years. Having the best mentor in the world reminds me of how I want to be for others.”

LeCesne looks forward to passing on her knowledge to her team and collaborating with the Tower Foundation Board of Directors to reimagine philanthropy in the years to come.

“Daniele’s deep experience in financial management within the CSU and the hospitality industry uniquely positions her for success as our next COO,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “She brings with her the ability to effectively steward foundation resources while also providing a high level of customer service to our campus colleagues who have gift accounts. We are delighted that she is joining the Spartan family.”

 

Research Shows Lockdowns Did Not Decrease Park Visits

A single white crane stands in the middle of a brownish grassy field with a lake path curving behind.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Ahoura Zandiatashbar scoured publicly available data and found that although we have limited our visits to stores, Americans are still visiting parks and beaches at near pre-pandemic rates.

In the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, Zandiatashbar—a newly hired faculty member in SJSU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the College of Social Sciences—published a study he co-authored with Shima Hamidi, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Using publicly available data, Zandiatashbar and Hamidi looked at millions of trips in 771 counties. Their model studied the period when the COVID-19 pandemic reduced daily visits to grocery stores, pharmacies and transit stations. They found that people visited “essential” destinations such as grocery stores 13 percent less frequently, yet they did not shy away from visiting parks and beaches.

“It gives us a clue that parks are quite important, because people are not reducing their visits,” Zandiatashbar said. “Staying at home increases anxiety. To reduce it, people are relying more and more on park facilities.”

People in more densely populated areas significantly reduced their trips to stores, but not to outdoor spaces—“possibly due to the smaller homes, lack of private yards and the higher level of anxiety amid the pandemic,” the study found. Residents who lived near restaurants may also have more affordable ways to order home delivery online. Reduced in-person shopping leaves time for more frequent park visits, Zandiatashbar said.

Zandiatashbar and Hamidi examined areas based on “compactness”—a measure of four factors: population density, land use, activity centering (how spread out activities are) and walkability. Over the years, compact, dense walkable residential development has been demonstrated to have multiple health benefits. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had some people questioning whether high population densities would be associated with increased viral transmission. “From day one of COVID-19,” Zandiatashbar said, “there was a perception that urban density spreads the virus, but multiple research studies show that urban density was not positively associated with spread of virus, which was interesting.” Residents of less dense areas may consolidate trips, making rarer visits to a single big-box store for grocery, pharmacy and other purchases—but they may also take fewer precautions.

Zandiatashbar and Hamidi surmise why people in denser areas might not necessarily be spreading the virus more widely. “Residents of dense areas have a greater exposure to first-hand information about the susceptibility to the virus,” the study reads. “Knowing people who are being infected is a more powerful force in following social distancing advisories than just hearing about the disease from the media outlets.”

“This finding shows the need for a closer attention to parks,” Zandiatashbar said. During stay-at-home orders, policy should support public use of parks and beaches, while maintaining precautions to prevent them from becoming spreader places, he said. “Local authorities need to be aware that people are going to visit parks more often. Therefore, they have to increase the infrastructure in the parks to make sure that social distancing is being maintained,” Zandiatashbar said.

COVID-19 notwithstanding, he said, “Public parks are a public health resource and great assets in the community. During shelter in place, we saw that park visits are more important than ever and necessary for mental health.”

NPR’s Marketplace reported that steady, intensive public visits to parks now add costs to the strained budgets of the local governments tasked with the additional expense of sanitizing and cleaning them.

“Our policy suggestion includes public education on how to use parks during lockdown or shelter in place. When we saw the results we were happy that people are trying to get some relief from stress. There’s a need for more public education and public information on how to use parks during this time.”

Zandiatashbar is an expert in mining geospatial data, locating patterns such as those found here. The publicly available Google data was based on anonymized mobility information from millions of Android, iPhone and Google Maps users.

Frequently partnering with local communities, Zandiatashbar has published widely on the impact of urban development on the knowledge economy. His research aims to provide data analysis that assists communities with better decision making.
 

Collaborative of CSU Art Museums and Galleries Announces Virtual Event Series

The newly formed ConSortiUm, a ground-breaking collaborative project of art museums and galleries from the California State University (CSU) system, is pleased to announce a virtual event series that actively engages students, faculty and staff members, and communities through visual arts-based dialogue.

The inaugural program, PLATFORM, launched in September 2020, includes six live virtual conversations with contemporary artists, collectives, and curators whose work is critical to current re-imaginings of the art world and the world at large.

“The goal of the PLATFORM speaker series is to be accessible to anyone in any discipline. It is to make sure we address the issues that are going to be at the top of our student’s minds as well as the faculty’s minds at this moment in time,” said Natalie and James Thompson Art Galleries Director and Collections Manager Alena Sauzade.

According to Sauzade, all of the speakers in the series have been hand-chosen to be meaningful during these times, and the talks will not just pique the interest of art historians and designers but it’s meant to cut a broad swath “that could address contemporary topics ranging from the environment to immigration to social justice,” said Sauzade.

The Thompson Gallery is the first of all the ConSortiUm art museums and galleries to transition to a digital format back in April 2020. “We hosted our first webinar lecture at the end of the spring semester. I brought that idea up to the ConSortiUm members as a possibility,” said Sauzade.

The PLATFORM speaker series fits well with the gallery’s Tuesday night lectures and all the other great programming that’s happening in the College of Humanities and the Arts. Most of the gallery’s program has shifted online, including lectures and exhibitions, without impeding content and productivity.

San José State will be co-hosting two lectures next semester. Spring 2021 lectures will feature Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective and multidisciplinary artist Shaun Leonardo.

According to Sauzade, all of the speakers’ sessions will be inspiring for students, especially People’s Kitchen Collective, a group of social activists artists who work with local issues of food insecurity and food poverty in the Bay Area. “It may seem that art is disconnected from something like food, but actually it’s not at all,” said Sauzade.

The final event for 2020 will occur on Thursday, November 12 at noon and includes a presentation by Forensic Architecture founder Eyal Weizman. A London-based artists’ collective, Forensic Architecture undertakes advanced spatial and media investigations into cases of human rights violations, with and on behalf of communities affected by political violence, human rights organizations, international prosecutors, environmental justice groups, and media organizations. The collective’s work often involves open-source investigation, the construction of digital and physical models, 3D animations, virtual reality environments, and cartographic platforms.

ConSortiUm recognizes that CSU students are integral to creating a new future, and is therefore committed to providing access to a multiplicity of voices and inspiration as students discover and nurture their own agency.

All events will be presented live via Zoom with access to all CSU campuses. Recordings of the events will be available for post-live stream viewing and archived by the sponsoring institutions. These events are free and open to the public.

EVENT INFORMATION: 2020

Artist Beatriz Cortez in conversation with Erin Christovale, Associate Curator, Hammer Museum
Thursday, September 24, 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Northridge To register for the Zoom webinar visit: https://www.cpp.edu/platform-csu-art-speaker-series/ .

Postcommodity : A conversation with artists Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist Thursday, October 22, 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by CSU Humboldt, CSU Long Beach and Fresno State

Forensic Architecture: A conversation with founder Eyal Weizman
Thursday, November 12, noon

Hosted by CSU Bakersfield and Sacramento State

The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at 23 campuses. ConSortiUm formed when CSU announced remote teaching would continue through the end of 2020. ConSortiUm members are dedicated to supporting students, artists, and their campuses’ surrounding communities during the pandemic, while also responding to the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.

2020 ISSSSC Sport, Society and Social Change Conference

A single black line morphs midway into a person running with golden wings.

San José State University’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) will host its inaugural Sport, Society and Social Change Conference: Dream With Your Eyes Open: (Re) Imagining Sport in the Age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

The two-day virtual conference takes place on November 12 – 13 from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. (PST).

Thought leaders, scholars, social change organizations, athletic administrators, athletes, and students will discuss the legacy of social activism and ways to promote social change and equity.

ISSSSC Executive Director and Associate Professor of African American Studies Akilah R. Carter-Francique says the inspiration for the conference comes from the musings of C. Wright Mills’ ‘The Sociological Imagination’ (1959). “Mills’ concept of sociological imagination promotes “the awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society.”

The event includes keynote speakers, panel discussions, presentations, and community conversations highlighting personal experiences, on-going challenges and acknowledging people, groups, and organizations’ efforts to promote social change.

“The ISSSSC wanted to create a space that brings a variety of communities together to discuss the state and role of sport locally to globally, to educate, to network, to share ideas, research and innovations, and to support one another in efforts to promote social justice and social change. We especially want to use this space to engage the next generation in the legacy of equity and social justice and to, in the words of Dr. Harry Edwards, ‘ . . . teach our children to dream with their eyes open, Carter-Francique says.

Keynote speakers on November 12

  • Shireen Ahmed, Sports Activist, Public Speaker, Writer, Independent Journalist, CA
  • Dr. Jules Boykoff, Professor and Department Chair, Political Science, Pacific University, USA
  • Dr. Amira Rose Davis, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies, Penn State University, USA
  • Dr. Jamil Northcutt, Vice President, Player Engagement, Major League Soccer, USA

Keynote speakers on November 13

  • Dr. Algerian Hart, Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Kinesiology at Missouri State University and President (2020-2021) North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
  • Dr. Kevin Hylton, Emeritus Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure, and Education, Leeds University, UK and Chair Sheffield Race Equality Commission, UK
  • Dr. Nicole LaVoi, Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Rachelle Patel, Director of Marketing and Events, Laureus Sport for Good, USA

Conference Agenda

The conference will also feature pre-recorded 5-minute lightning talks from SJSU students on topics related to sport and social justice. Students who submitted presentations are eligible for awards ranging from $50.00 to $150.00

Conference Registration

The ISSSSC will continue conversations about the legacy of social justice and equity through its “Sport Conversations for Change” webinar series, internship program and educational collaborations.

Dr. Anthony Fauci to Receive SJSU’s William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award

 

Please note the time for this event has been changed to 2:00 p.m. (PST). The media availability has been changed to 3:30 p.m. (PST)


On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, the faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San José State University will present the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award for excellence in mass communication to Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, public opinion surveys nationwide have consistently reported Dr. Fauci as the medical expert most Americans trust and sought out for timely and reliable information about the deadly virus. 

As Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) since 1984, Dr. Fauci has earned a national reputation for timely and astute professional public communications about developing health threats to the United States. Before his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci was best known for his groundbreaking work in HIV-AIDS research, helping to develop effective drugs to scale back its mortality rate. Dr. Fauci has also spearheaded the federal government’s public responses to combat West Nile Virus, SARS and Ebola.

“Dr. Anthony Fauci was the unanimous choice of our faculty because it was obvious by late spring 2020 that most Americans prioritized knowing what his thoughts were to help them understand the gravity of COVID-19 and determine how to save lives,” says Bob Rucker, professor in the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications and coordinator of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s annual award and national media education top honor. Rucker, a former CNN correspondent in San Francisco who covered the initial outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, said “Dr. Fauci has once again masterfully drawn on his extensive medical training and experiences to educate and advise people while maintaining a calming, reassuring doctor’s tone and bedside manner that inspires confidence.”   

SJSU students, faculty and staff, and community leaders will participate in the celebration of Dr. Anthony Fauci in a virtual ceremony Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. Space is limited, and registration is required

A picture of Dr. Anthony Fauci with the William Randolph Hearst Award text and medallion

History of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award

In the 1990s, the SJSU Journalism School received a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Endowment for Visiting Professionals. It established the creation of a special honor for outstanding professional media service in journalism, public relations, advertising and mass communications. Each year, an honoree’s work is showcased for students and celebrated for efforts that meet the expectations and high standards for public service by a free press, as provided in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) was founded in 1936 and is the largest of its kind in Northern California. It remains dedicated to the proposition that the free flow of ideas, together with accurate and timely information, is vital to developing and improving democratic societies. Today, the JMC School is recognized worldwide for producing outstanding graduates who become leaders in global communications.

Master’s Student Katy Jiang Wins 2020 Deepfake Education Competition

 

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, in partnership with the CITRIS Policy Labs at the University of California, Berkeley, announced that Katy Jiang, ’21 MS Software Engineering, won the 2020 Deepfake Education Competition with her three-minute explanatory video. The competition challenged students of all levels to create engaging video content to educate the public on deepfakes, the use of artificial intelligence to manipulate images and video to influence public opinion.

“Deepfake is a form of artificial intelligence. The word deepfake combines deep learning and fake,” said Jiang. “It can produce a persuasive counterfeit by studying photographs and videos of a target person from multiple angles, and then mimicking its behavior and speech patterns. By making this video, I want to educate people about the technology behind their day-to-day entertainment application and raise people’s awareness that deepfakes can also be used in committing crimes such as frauds and scams.”

A 2019 Pew Research study reported that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say made-up news and information cause a great deal of confusion. Associate Chair of the Computer Engineering department Magdalini Eirinaki, who is teaching Jiang’s Web and Big Data Mining course this semester, recommended that Jiang submit her video, originally a class assignment, for the Deepfake Education competition.

“Identification and spread of fake news (whether in text or deepfakes) has been on my radar as a very interesting and critical research problem,” said Eirinaki. “This technology can be very easily weaponized and used to enhance the perceived credibility of fake news and disinformation campaigns. This can have even more devastating effects than current fake news, ranging from politics, to the environment (e.g. global warming), to public health (e.g. spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic). It is therefore more critical than ever for the research community to develop more sophisticated techniques to keep up with the deepfake technology to promptly identify and remove/flag them before too much harm is done.”

Jiang’s video explains how deepfakes can be used to impact how people interpret fake news—especially timely during a hotly contested presidential election and a global health pandemic. Using engaging visuals, music and voiceover to describe the dangers that deepfakes pose to democracy, she encourages viewers to assess content carefully before sharing it on their social media platforms. She demonstrates how many free apps are available to superimpose public images with false or misleading suggestions, inserting her own face over that of celebrities and politicians. Her winning submission will be featured on CITRIS media channels and through the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s media channels. The recognition also includes a $2,500 prize.

“As we are in the pandemic and the election is coming, deepfakes pose a danger to democracy,” said Jiang. “Fake news will influence everything from stock prices to the election. People should be critical about what we see online.”

 

Bay Area Media Turn to SJSU on Election Night 2020

Four political science professors are lined up on top of a red, white and blue graphic with the SJSU logo and title "2020 Elections."

(L-R) Adjunct Professor Donna Crane, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science Garrick Percival, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Political Science Professor Melinda Jackson, Emeritus Professor Larry Gerston.

San José State University political science professors will share their insights and expertise with millions of Bay Area television and online viewers on election night, November 3, 2020, and beyond.

Political Expertise

For months leading up to the 2020 elections, faculty members in the SJSU Department of Political Science participated in interviews with local, regional, national, and international media outlets. They offered commentary and analysis on the presidential campaign, national, state and Bay Area races and propositions.

“The 2020 elections is one of the most consequential in generations,” said Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department Garrick Percival. “The political science faculty at SJSU has a long tradition of offering our expertise in politics and government to help inform the broader community. We see it as a crucial part of being faculty members at a public university. It’s a great way to give back.”

Where to Watch

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Political Science Professor Melinda Jackson will join NBC Bay Area as it provides continuous election night coverage of local election results on its digital platform, nbcbayarea.com.The online coverage, which runs from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., will also be available on Roku and Apple TV.

Professor Emeritus Larry Gerston will share his political expertise with NBC Bay Area broadcast and online viewers on election night, including an election wrap-up newscast at 11:00 p.m. Professor Gerston has provided expert political analysis to NBC Bay Area viewers for 40 years.

Adjunct Professor Donna Crane will join the news team at KRON-TV election night each hour from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. to discuss national, state and Bay Area election results.

Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science Garrick Percival will appear on the ABC affiliate KGO-TV the morning after the election. As an expert on state and Bay Area politics, he will comment on the 12 state-wide propositions and many Bay Area measures and races.

SJSU’s political science department, established in 1962, is dedicated to educating students and the Bay Area community about political and social issues.

67 New SJSU Faculty Members Hired Since COVID-19 Pandemic Began

As San José State University faces a historic $92 million budget cut, SJSU continues to demonstrate its investment in its educational mission by hiring 65 new faculty members since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Two additional faculty members were recruited during this time period and will be starting in fall 2021. Faculty members span colleges and disciplines, from Justice Studies to Marketing and Business Analytics to members of the newly-formed Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC).

The latest faculty cohort reflects San José State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in more than one way. According to University Personnel, 53 percent of new hires identify as women, 10 percent identify as Latinx, six percent as Black, 25 percent as Asian and 39 percent as white.

Senior Director of Faculty Affairs James Lee provided additional data to demonstrate how the demographics of incoming faculty members have changed since 2015.

*Prior years using PeopleSoft Data. AY 20-21, Interfolio. 2 or more race/ethnicity is not reported.

Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Success and Chicano/a Studies Professor Magdalena Barrera said that new and returning faculty must be cognizant of challenges that students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal is to attract a very diverse pool of faculty applicants—diverse in terms of their training, their areas of expertise, their gender, their ethno-racial identities along multiple axes,” said Barrera. “It’s important that faculty are understanding of issues around diversity and inclusion and are very equity-minded in their approach, using their training and creativity to the best of their abilities to be empathetic towards students. They are helping students get through a very challenging time and it’s important that they keep them motivated to stick with school and make progress toward their degrees.”

Deanna Fassett, assistant vice provost for faculty development at the Center for Faculty Development (CFD) and former chair of SJSU’s Communication Studies department, adapted much of the CFD’s previously face-to-face onboarding activities for remote work. Fassett said the shift to online programming has gone smoothly, with weekly trainings over Zoom ranging from curriculum development for online learning to anti-racist pedagogies. Professional development workshops are recorded and available for members who may not be able to attend in real time.

“This is the most resourced group of [new] faculty” at San José State, Fassett said. “They’re getting the effort and the labor and the drive behind me, eCampus Senior Director Jennifer Redd, our new Equity and Accessibility Educator Valin Jordan and their department chairs. We’re building out guides for how to have more interactive classrooms. There are new Teach Anywhere and Learn Anywhere website resources. Facing new challenges, we leaned in and asked, how can we be better in online mode? The Chancellor’s Office really enabled us to do that.”

“I was really looking forward to getting into the classroom and connecting with students,” said Hillary Hurst, theoretical physicist and newly minted assistant professor of physics and astronomy. She completed some of the activities online while moving from Washington D.C. to California this summer. “I’ve had to rethink some things about how I teach my courses. Jump Start offered an asynchronous onboarding course for faculty members. I started doing sessions before we moved, I continued completing them while we were on our road trip and finished the course in California. I’m looking forward to completing the online teaching certificate this winter. While it’s tough feeling like I’m not quite getting to know the students, I am working on improving my online teaching.”

Fassett also believes that hiring new faculty and updating recruitment and retention practices helps the overall health of the university.

“The better our faculty teach, the more students will come back to us, the better we will retain them, and we will continue to help them advance to their professional goals,” said Fassett. “Our university remains more relevant than ever, and that shows in our enrollments and in the work our faculty do.” ”

Both Fassett and Barrera said that by investing in recruiting, retaining and investing in the continued professional development of faculty, San José State can better address Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious system-wide campaign to increase graduation rates while eliminating equity gaps.

“This is a critical moment for us to observe student needs and not lose focus on Graduation Initiative 2025,” said Barrera. “A lot of historically underrepresented students find online learning challenging because they don’t have regular or reliable Internet access. Many of them have taken on more hours at work to provide economically for their loved ones. Incoming faculty members need to be aware of these challenges. How do we turn these into opportunities to really connect with faculty members in terms of their pedagogical styles? We have to think creatively about building community when we can’t physically be together in the classroom or on campus. We want to not just meet those goals; we want to be a leader among the CSU. We have a bigger mission and together we’re working towards it.”

San José State Hosts Multiple Virtual Career Fairs

Screenshot of the SJSU Career Center webinar showing a slide that says We're Hiring! with three cards that say Explore Internship, University Internship, and Full-Time.

SJSU students had the opportunity to meet with employers like Microsoft during special Employer Insight workshops. Microsoft University Recruiter Brian Cuadra provided information on internship and job opportunities.

How can San José State students connect with potential employers during the COVID-19 health pandemic? In an era when students and recruiters can’t meet for an actual handshake, the San José State Career Center has leveraged the new career fair feature in Handshake, SJSU’s student career management platform, to host virtual career fairs.

More than 2,500 SJSU students have participated in six fairs since the fall 2020 semester began, according to Catherine Voss Plaxton, interim associate vice president of student services. The Career Center first offered virtual career fairs in the 2016-2017 school year. Also in that year, the team established career fairs for five, broad career pathways, offering possibilities for every major.

Handshake dashboard that lists career fair events for students to attend.

SJSU students can register for virtual career fairs using SJSU Handshake.

“By using Handshake, we can easily promote fairs to SJSU’s 9,200 local employers and the over 60 percent of undergraduate students who actively use the system,” said Voss Plaxton. “We were the first Bay Area campus to post a virtual career fair schedule and invite employers to recruit this fall.”

Students can access online resources to prepare for the virtual fairs, including job fair success webinars, individual career counseling appointments and access to VMock, an online resume-building tool. The Career Center also has offered four Employer Insights events with top employers to share advice for getting jobs at their companies. More than 175 students participated in a recent session that featured Microsoft representatives. Two additional Insights events are planned for fall 2020.

Shawn Klein, ’21 Human Resources Management, signed up for a one-on-one online meeting with Stacey Caceres, talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, during the Business, Logistics and Financial Services Virtual Job/Internship Fair on September 29.

“My experience was great,” said Klein, who works as a peer career advisor at SJSU and is looking for a job in HR. “I didn’t have to wait in any lines. I was able to get one-on-one time or a group session with everyone I needed to talk to. In the past, there were some employers I would’ve needed to wait 30 minutes just to speak to. Sometimes I never got the chance. To be able to set when you want to talk to someone and to see their availability helps save so much time. It gives you the ability to get face time with everyone. ”

Virtual fairs can make recruiting more convenient for employers as well. Zuleica Pena, ’15 Business Administration, who works in talent acquisition at the accounting firm PwC, attended a special Meet the Firms virtual event for accounting majors on September 17.

“We had a very positive experience with having Meet the Firms be virtual this semester,” said Pena. “The video platform was great quality and easy to use. The fact that student profiles were easy to access definitely made things run a lot smoother.”

More than 130 employers have participated in SJSU virtual career fairs this fall. According to exit surveys conducted by the SJSU Career Center, 60 percent of student attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the event helped them identify next steps to take in career preparation, while 74 percent recommended the virtual fairs to fellow SJSU students On November 3, Spartans can participate in a Graduate and Professional School Virtual Career Fair, a partnership between the College of Graduate Studies and the Career Center.

Steinbeck Fellow Yalitza Ferreras Earns Rona Jaffe Award

Yalitza Ferreras wearing an orange top and smiling in front of some green hills.

Yalitza Ferreras is the fourth Steinbeck Fellow and seventh Spartan to receive the prestigious Rona Jaffe Award in recognition of her writing. Photo courtesy of Yalitza Ferreras.

On September 17, six woman writers were recognized with 2020 Rona Jaffe Awards by the New York-based Rona Jaffe Foundation. Among this year’s recipients is Yalitza Ferreras, a Dominican American fiction writer and recipient of the 2014-2015 Steinbeck Fellowship. Ferreras is the fourth Steinbeck Fellow and seventh Spartan to receive this award, joining Vanessa Hua, Gabriela Garcia and Dominica Phetteplace. Three other SJSU-affiliated writers have also received this recognition: Assistant Professor of English Selena Anderson, English Lecturer Aamina Ahmad, and former Lurie Visiting Writer ZZ Packer.

The prestigious honor awards $30,000 to emerging woman writers of exceptional promise and includes a reading at New York University. This year’s event was hosted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ferreras read an excerpt of her novel-in-progress, The Four Roses, which follows Altagracia, a Dominican artist who immigrates to Spain in the 1990s to create art while struggling to survive.

“The characters I’m writing about are usually poor people, often people of color and very often women,” said Ferreras, whose work has been published in Kenyon Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, Aster(ix) Journal, and The Colorado Review. Her story “The Letician Age” was included in the 2016 Best American Short Stories, edited by Junot Diaz. “I like to explore everyday, quotidian situations—people trying to work and survive. There’s so much conflict in people’s lives as they go about their days and feed their families. I want readers to truly see my characters, to insert them into the stories that everyone is reading. That is very worthwhile to me.”

Born in New York and raised in both New York and the Dominican Republic, Ferreras identifies with the immigrant experience and sees fiction as an opportunity to “bear witness” to the daily triumphs and challenges of negotiating new places. The first in her family to attend college, Ferreras intended to pursue a career in law before discovering a fiction workshop as an undergraduate at Mills College. At the urging of her professor and 2010 MacArthur Genius Fellow Yiyun Li, Ferreras went on to earn an MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan, where she worked on a short story collection and began writing her novel. She has since received fellowships from Djerassi Resident Artist program, Yaddo, Voices of Our Nations and the Tin House Writing Workshop. She describes San José State’s Steinbeck Fellowship as a turning point in her writing career, which was interrupted in 2011 when she suffered a brain injury in a car accident. The fellowship allowed her to visit Spain and the Dominican Republic, research trips for her novel. It also introduced her to a network of writers, fellows and alumni.

“The Steinbeck Fellowship was really timely for me; it allowed me to really begin working on the project in earnest,” said Ferreras, who has often supported herself as a graphic designer. “I’ve finished a draft of the manuscript and the support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation is going to allow me to finish the novel. I’m really grateful to both organizations for their support because they’re helping me make this happen. It feels really amazing to be a part of these two communities.”

“When a former Steinbeck Fellow wins a major award, or finds a large audience for a new book, I am thrilled for them first of all, but I also feel validated,” said Nick Taylor, professor of English and comparative literature and director of the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. “It demonstrates that our program is good at finding and supporting talent. And these successes aren’t rare anymore. At this point we’ve had 64 Steinbeck Fellows who have received something like $750,000 in support from the program. They’ve gone on to publish 40 books—a number that increases every year without fail. Not every former fellow publishes a book every year, but every year some do, and each of those publications gives us an opportunity to call attention to what we’re doing here at SJSU.”

Current Steinbeck Fellows are Rita Chang-Epigg, Tammy Delatorre, Brice Particelli, Daniel Pearce, Kate Osana Simonian and Anthony Veasna So. Applications open January 2 for the 2021-2022 fellowship.


Watch Ferreras’ Sept. 17 Rona Jaffe reading.

SJSU Center for Community Learning and Leadership Launches Civic Action Fellowship

A young girl with long brown hair hovers over her desk as she works on an electric device.

Photo: David Schmitz / San José State University.

San José, Calif.— San José State University’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership (CCLL) is pleased to announce the launch of the Civic Action Fellowship—a partnership between the California Volunteers within the Office of the Governor, AmeriCorps and a coalition of public and private universities—designed to help students pay for college while addressing regional challenges.

This unique collaboration between federal and state funds will allow 44 San José State undergraduate and graduate students from diverse disciplines to become AmeriCorps Civic Action Fellows and engage in virtual service during a time of great crisis triggered by the COVID-19 global pandemic. CCLL received $75,000 for planning and $480,868 ($136,106, federal funds and $344,762, state funds) for implementation as part of the grants.

The goal of the fellowship is to ensure a new cohort of California citizens committed to addressing local and state challenges, public concerns and a life of public engagement. The students who dedicate time to public service will receive financial support to obtain a college degree designed to position them for success in career and life.

“San José State students will meet some of the highest needs in our country during this time, first, by providing STEM education to underserved youths in surrounding neighborhoods. And second, by contributing to health promotion around COVID-19 through high-impact social media campaigns,” said CCLL Director and SJSU Professor of Psychology Elena Klaw.

The Civic Action Fellows will primarily work with local after-school programs to provide computer programming enrichment for underserved third- and sixth-grade youths. In addition, Civic Action Fellows will participate in the city of San José and Santa Clara County initiatives. For their efforts, the fellows will receive a monthly living allowance and an education award upon completion of the program.

“The Civic Action Fellowship enabled our center to expand upon our Cyber Spartans program. We now have the capacity to increase our partnerships, reach more youths and expand the content the youths are taught from only cybersecurity to civic engagement and health promotion,” said CCLL Assistant Director Andrea Tully.

Since the once completely in-person program is now entirely virtual, Tully said, “Our fellows are learning how to teach computer programming in unplugged ways through interactive kits that have puzzles and other games. They’re learning how to provide social-emotional support virtually to youths who struggled with online learning when the stay at home orders were first issued in spring.”

Joshua Lawson, ’23 Computer Science, who worked earlier on the Cyber Spartans Program said the Civic Action Fellowship program offered him the opportunity to design a lot of the curriculum being used. “I was actually in charge of a lot of the design of the curriculum and had written a lot of programs and units of work that were designed to be either in person or in small groups with mentors,” said Lawson.

Due to COVID-19, the team had to dramatically change the curriculum over the last couple of months to adapt to the online environment. Lawson enjoyed the transition process as it allowed him to build a critically thought out creative project. Now, the virtual program model includes time to interact virtually with San José State fellows, as well as kits that students can work on at home.

Mercedes Mansfield, ’22 MS Occupational Therapy, who is working with the CCLL for the first time, said, “the program is important, as it will help me gain experience in hands-on work with members in underserved communities, as well as help me develop leadership skills.” Mansfield and Lawson both agree that the CCLL weekly seminars have helped to broaden their knowledge on societal issues and what they can do to create a larger change in the communities they serve.

“Our model at the Center for Community Learning and Leadership has always been innovative in that although there are many organizations on campus that provide service, our emphasis is long-standing mutually beneficial relationships that address ongoing community needs,” said Klaw.

CCLL works closely with Campbell Unified School District’s Expanded Learning Program, as well as its long-standing partner, Third Street Community Center, located very close to the SJSU campus.

“The pandemic caused unprecedented challenges to our program launch, as it has for our community partners and for the families of the youths our fellows serve. They are learning patience and resilience that I know will serve them well in their future careers,” Tully added.

SJSU Recognized as Adobe Creative Campus

A female and make student smile while admiring graphic design posters lined up on the wall.

Students look at graphic design posters on the wall prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University.

San José State University has been named an Adobe Creative Campus for its commitment to using technology to provide students with a transformative path to success.

SJSU is among a select group of colleges and universities Adobe identified as higher education innovators actively advancing digital literacy skills across the curriculum. By making Adobe Creative Cloud available to its students, SJSU provides creative and persuasive digital communication tools that will give them an edge in the competitive modern workplace.

“San José State is honored to be recognized by Adobe as a Creative Campus,” said Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. “There is nothing more important in today’s world than creative and digital literacy. By providing our students with access to these creative software tools, we can enable them to do wonderful things in the digital world, but also to gain expertise at productive collaboration. Being named an Adobe Creative Campus is one of the many puzzle pieces we are putting in place to ensure that SJSU students can take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.”

SJSU students have access to all the Adobe Creative Cloud apps and services at no additional cost. Universal access to these industry leading communication tools is part of SJSU’s endeavor to prioritize equity and inclusion, leveling the playing field in the classroom. By becoming proficient in the software used every day by so many employers, SJSU students can gain valuable experience and soft skills to better demonstrate their digital literacy capabilities when entering the job market.

There are more than 20 Adobe Creative Cloud applications that students can practice with every day, including InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Rush and Illustrator—leading industry standard applications across the curriculum used by many employers where SJSU students will be working.

“Digital literacy and fluency are quickly becoming core competencies for employment opportunities on an international scale,” said Sebastian Distefano, director, education strategic development. “One of the most effective ways academic institutions can ensure their students become digitally literate and fluent before they enter the competitive workforce is through early and frequent exposure to creative tools. We are delighted that San José State University has embraced Adobe Creative Cloud, as students will now have the tools they need to seamlessly unlock their creativity and share their stories in more visually compelling ways. As a result, students of all majors can nurture the fundamental soft skills that will be critical to success in their future careers.”

As an Adobe Creative Campus, San Jose State University will also have access to peer-to-peer collaboration with other Adobe Creative Campus institutions, support for driving student adoption in the classroom, and thought leadership opportunities within the global higher education community.

John Delacruz Named as a 2020 Adobe Master Teacher

Professor John Delacruz gestures with his hands while teaching his class.

John Delacruz teaches a course prior to COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University

Associate Professor John Delacruz was included as one of Adobe’s inaugural Master Teachers, one of 35 educators in K-12 and higher education selected from across the globe. The program recognizes pedagogical expertise, educational innovation, and a commitment by “master teachers” to share their best practices, insights, and curricular materials with educators across the globe. The summer program included a professional learning community within the cohort, training on instructional design and professional curriculum writing, and a badge to share on professional profiles.

An experienced educator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Delacruz is responsible for the Creative Track of San José State’s advertising program. The fellowship recognizes his expertise in using Adobe Creative Cloud in his teaching, his ongoing development of industry and education partnerships, and his success guiding student collaborative projects nationally and internationally.

Delacruz said, “The collaboration tools, Adobe Creative Cloud, that I’m using in the classroom now are the collaboration tools that they’re going to be using when they get out into the working world.”

Last spring, in Delacruz’s senior capstone course in design for advertising, students created awareness campaigns for a local business or local nonprofit organization. Using the Adobe Creative Cloud, students make real-world advertising creative projects and pitch them to real clients. Delacruz said the projects his seniors did in class matched how they will work once they start their jobs.

“For a lot of my students, this is such a big taste of the real world,” Delacruz said. “They’re learning a bunch of digital tools they’re going to have to use to move forward. They get to present orally, they ideate and collaborate in teams, and they work through a problem using critical thinking and understanding user groups and people.

“Adobe Creative Cloud is what industries are built on,” he said. “Even in this online moment, our students are learning skills that are really going to help them in the workplace.”

Delacruz has been a campus and statewide leader in using Adobe communication tools to augment his teaching. Last year, SJSU hosted a unique virtual Adobe Creative Jam with participants from seven other California State Universities.

All of these partnering initiatives are part of the connection that becoming an Adobe Creative Campus brings with it. SJSU collaboration with other Adobe Creative Campus institutions is designed to foster the sharing of ideas and innovations that expand digital literacy on the path to student success.

“Closed” Campus? Not San José State

A lifegaurd wearing a mask watches a swimmer doing laps in the SRAC.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University

Abundance of Student Services, Programs Available Even in the Midst of Pandemic

Though it might sometimes seem that SJSU’s campus is “closed” due to COVID-19 and the largely virtual classroom approach the university has adopted, a closer look reveals the extent to which staff, faculty and others have worked to give students the fullest, most meaningful college experience possible.

Sonja Daniels, associate vice president for campus life in the division of student affairs, said a large priority has been placed on delivering services that meet the personal and academic needs of students during what is an unprecedented and atypical period.

Diaz Compean Student Union remains a hub of student life for the more than 850 students (and 55 student staff) who are living in university housing or periodically coming to campus, and the facility is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each weekday. The building houses more services than any other on campus, and several remain available for use—even during the pandemic.

Coffee and other essentials

About half of the eateries located in Diaz Compean Student Union—including Starbucks, for that all-important shot of caffeine students often require—are open, though hours have been adjusted due to a general decrease in traffic.

In addition, the Spartan Food Pantry remains open and available to students; in fact, all SJSU Cares and Case Management operations are still available. SJSU Cares is the university’s “one-stop shop” for a variety of student resources and services—particularly unanticipated financial crises—while the Case Management team provides individualized case managers to help with similar issues and student needs.

Student wearing a mask in the Spartan Bookstore looking through apparel.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

“Access to these services and resources is always important, but even more so given the extraordinarily challenging period this continues to be for our students and their families,” said Daniels.

Recognizing the many routine academic needs that students require, the SJSU Spartan Bookstore is also open and serving students and the campus community. Like other facilities that have modified their operations in light of the pandemic, the bookstore and its staff have implemented a number of safeguards to keep customers safe, including social distancing measures, rigorous cleaning, contactless payment and sneeze shields at checkout.

Study resources and academic services

Student on a zoom call in the Ballroom study area.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Perhaps one of the more innovative uses of space during the pandemic, said Daniels, has been in the ballroom.

With no large presentations or ceremonies occurring there, administrators decided to repurpose the facility and create a “Student Specialized Instructional Support Center ” where students could briefly attend to their studies. The venue has been equipped with computers, tables and chairs, and strong Wi-Fi completes the study space.

Student worker handing some paper to another student behind plastic safety guards at the Printing Services center at SJSU.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Because safety and health remains the campus’s first and foremost priority, students are asked to sign in and complete short surveys upon arrival in the ballroom. Although “lingering” is not permitted for long periods, the space offers a quiet place where students can complete important assignments right on campus rather than remaining “stuck” in their resident hall or apartment.

Other important Associated Students  services are still available, too, such as printing services and Transportation Solutions. Academic advising and even resume preparation services are accessible via the virtual environment.

Recreation, fitness and wellness

Student with a yellow hair cap doing laps in the SRAC pool.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Many students, of course, are eager to return to the full suite of activities typically found in the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC). As the pandemic situation stabilizes and updated guidance from Santa Clara County leads to fewer restrictions, recreational and fitness opportunities will expand, said Daniels.

Even now, however, the swimming pool at SRAC is open for lap swims (at 45-minute intervals). SRAC has also been offering immersive virtual fitness and exercise activities, while virtual classes, at-home workouts, intramural gaming tournaments and outdoor adventure virtual trips are also available.

SJSU’s Student Health Center, said Daniels, has likely been one of the most valuable and needed resources available to students during the pandemic, particularly Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The facility remains open several days per week from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and one-on-one virtual appointments—free of charge for students—can be made online. Regular health visits, such as eye and general medicine appointments, can also be made, with doctors and nurse practitioners remaining available.

Other virtual programming

From the outset of the pandemic, SJSU’s staff members were determined to put together and deliver a range of virtual events and other programs that students could enjoy and learn from right at their desktops. Admitted Spartan Day and Weeks of Welcome for example, developed innovative programming chock full of direct outreach, webinars, videos and other features designed for our newly admitted students and their families as well as returning students, providing superb examples that others around campus have worked hard to match.

Students and other members of the campus community are now able to enjoy virtual programming through the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center and Spartan Speaker Series, for instance, while “Let’s Talk Movies” and “Virtual Music at Noon” events as well as podcasts, “open mic” events and game nights, are being staged by Student Affairs through the fall as a way to bring arts and entertainment directly to students in an online environment.

A variety of other SJSU campus resources remain available to students—including a number of useful apps—and are described in a recent story by Sachi Tolani (’23 Marketing) for the Her Campus™ at SJSU website.

“Everyone continues to work hard to build and expand our capacity for the fullest student experience imaginable,” said Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs. “In the end, that’s what we’re striving for.”