CSU May Require Ethnic Studies Course to Graduate

Mural of Cesar E. Chavez.

The César E. Chávez Monument: Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice, designed by Judith F. Baca.

A bill that moved forward in the California legislature on June 18 would require all CSU students in the class of 2025 and those beyond to complete a three-unit course in ethnic studies. If signed into law, the graduation requirement would begin in fall 2021.

College of Social Sciences Dean Walt Jacobs said that SJSU’s readiness to respond to an incoming mandate along these lines stems from the years of preparation. Several steps have already been taken to strengthen ethnic studies. One is the College of Social Sciences’ Ethnic Studies Collaborative, established in 2018.

“A collaborative is a more informal way of getting people together,” Jacobs said.

Yvonne Kwan, an assistant professor of Asian American studies, who joined the program in 2017, is director of the collaborative.

“The collaborative was a way for us to bring together the various ethnic studies programs and departments that we already have,” Kwan said. Chicana and Chicano studies and African American studies are departments, whereas Asian American studies and Native American studies programs are smaller. One thing the collaborative helps do, Kwan said, is to make them more equal and balanced. “The collaborative is a way in which we can come together to have these difficult conversations.”

Kwan said that an ethnic studies graduation requirement would help students understand what is going on in our world. “It’s important to know because K-12 education tends to have a very Eurocentric basis.” She distinguished her field from the fields of history and purely studying a culture. “It’s about a critical interdisciplinary way we understand racial and ethnic relations and how it shapes power dynamics in the United States.”

New Faculty Hires and a New Minor

Another weighty step taken, Jacobs said, is new hiring in all four of these fields.

“Three new faculty members in African American studies are starting this year, including a new department chair,” Jacobs said. “We’ve also had two recent hires in Chicana and Chicano studies, and a new faculty member in sociology who also does Native American studies is coming in this year. We also have two recent hires in Asian American studies, including Yvonne Kwan, who is doing a fabulous job leading the Ethnic Studies Collaborative. She followed inaugural director Magdalena Barrera, who will soon step down as chair of Chicana and Chicano studies to become SJSU’s vice provost for faculty success.”

In the fall, SJSU will offer a minor in comparative U.S. race and ethnic relations for undergraduates who want to pursue this topic alongside another course of study.

Kwan explained that some students already enroll in ethnic studies classes to fulfill a general education requirement. Two of her Asian American studies classes, for example, are heavily populated by students not focused intensively on ethnic studies.

Concerns that adding a three-unit ethnic studies graduation requirement might slow progress to graduation were unfounded, Kwan said. “We’re often worried about how AB 1460 could delay students’ time to graduation. But if students take an ethnic studies class, it’s not going to, because many of our existing courses already fulfill several GE requirements.”

She said students complete her classes with new skills and tools for looking at history, culture, comparative thinking and especially how power structures work.

She described one student who, at the beginning of the semester, told her that ethnic studies fosters divisive thinking. “But by the end of the semester—and especially with COVID and the proliferation of anti-Asian racism,” she said, the student’s understanding and analysis changed. The student said, “Many minority communities still do not have full human rights. People fought for ethnic studies courses because ethnic minorities have been politically oppressed for a really long time, and no one wanted to talk about it.”

Kwan added that sometimes ethnic studies classes serve other purposes—like engaging students and building skills that help them in whatever other course of study they are pursuing. “The research shows that it doesn’t matter what race you are. It benefits students academically and socially,” she said. “Also for students of color in particular, ethnic studies increases retention and graduation rates.”

About AB 1460

According to the language of the bill, AB 1460, “It is the intent of the Legislature that students of the California State University acquire the knowledge and skills that will help them comprehend the diversity and social justice history of the United States and of the society in which they live to enable them to contribute to that society as responsible and constructive citizens.”

Kwan described how the bill had moved forward in 2020. “As a collaborative, we’d been having this conversation [about the issues in the bill] for a very long time. The recent reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement, spurred on by continued proliferation of police brutality and the murder of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson—and the list goes on—made it ever so clear that this is what we need at this moment. Because AB 1460 passed with a great majority, 30 to 5, it’s clear that ethnic studies is important.”

Although no ethnic studies graduation requirement is in place yet, if a CSU-wide ethnic studies requirement is coming, Jacobs said, “We’re ready to go.”

SJSU Alumnus and Artist Titus Kaphar’s Work Featured on Time Magazine Cover

A Black mother with her eyes closed and eyebrows furrowed, holds a white cut out of her baby. Her hand below the baby is blue.

Cover of June 15, 2020, issue of Time, featuring Analogous Colors (2020) by Titus Kaphar. Artwork © Titus Kaphar.

For its June 15, 2020, cover on the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, Time turned to Titus Kaphar, ’01 BFA Art/Pictorial Arts. The cover features Analogous Colors (2020).

To accompany the cover, Kaphar wrote “I Cannot Sell You This Painting,” which also appeared in Time.

A 2018 MacArthur Fellow, Kaphar says art can be used to shift perspectives and sees painting as a language that offers diverse perspectives on history, justice and change.

Read a Spring/Summer 2019 Washington Square alumni profile on Kaphar.

 

Papazian Named California Campus Compact Executive Board Chair

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has been selected as chair of the California Campus Compact (CACC) executive board.

“I have enormous respect for Mary and know that California Campus Compact will benefit immensely from the vision and wisdom she will bring to her new role as chair of the executive board,” said Leroy M. Morishita, outgoing board chair and president of Cal State-East Bay, in a CACC press release.

President Mary A. Papazian speaks at a SJSU commencement ceremony

The CACC executive board supports and promotes the mission of California Campus Compact throughout the state, recommends programs, plans and budgets that sustain and promote the vision and mission of the organization, and exercises oversight and stewardship of the resources of the organization.

CACC is a coalition of leading colleges and universities that works to build the collective commitment and capacity of colleges, universities and communities throughout California to advance civic and community engagement for a healthy, just and democratic society.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the state to support student engagement in civic life, something that has never been more important,” said Papazian, a CACC board member since 2017, who was also involved in Campus Compact during her years as a higher education administrator and leader in Connecticut.

“I believe CACC’s focus on students and connection to community is central to our educational mission,” she said. “SJSU has a long and rich history of such engagement, as evidenced by our partnership with the city of San Jose, our Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL) and our CommUniverCity program. SJSU’s CCLL team, in fact, manages all service-learning and Campus Compact activities for our faculty and students. I could not be more proud than to represent San Jose State in this leadership position.”

Papazian praised the strong leadership of Morishita and characterized the work of CACC Executive Director Elaine Ikeda as “the glue that makes California Campus Compact a model for the nation.”

Joining Papazian on the 2020-2021 CACC executive board is its newest member, California State University, Dominguez Hills President Thomas A. Parham. Other board members include:

  • William A. Covino, president, California State University, Los Angeles
  • James A. Donahue, president, St. Mary’s College of California
  • James T. Harris, president, University of San Diego
  • Leroy M. Morishita, president, California State University, East Bay
  • Linda Oubré, president, Whittier College
  • Rowena Tomaneng, president, San Jose City College

Through innovative programs and initiatives, grant funding, training and technical assistance, professional development and powerful research studies and publications, California Campus Compact each year invests in and champions students, faculty members, administrators and community members involved in diverse and groundbreaking activities that support and expand civic and community engagement throughout California.

Papazian joined San Jose State as its 30th president on July 1, 2016. Notable milestones since her appointment include the groundbreaking for the Interdisciplinary Science Building and approval of plans to build a Science Park; development of the East Side Promise program to support talented local students; and working collaboratively with the university community to launch a ten-year strategic plan, Transformation 2030, that positions SJSU for long-term excellence in the 21st century in the nation’s tenth largest city.

San José State University and the City of San José Extend Operating Agreement of Hammer Theatre Center for 35-Year Period

Editors note: This media advisory was distributed on June 25, 2020.

Corner view of the Hammer Theatre Center Box Office entrance.

Hammer Theatre Center. Photo: Christina Olivas.

Media Contacts:
Robin McElhatton, San José State University
O: 408-924-1749
E: robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Steph Keay, Carla Befera & Co
O: 650-327-1200
E: steph@cb-pr.com

SAN JOSÉ, CA – June 25, 2020– The city of San José and San José State University have agreed to a new contract that allows the university to continue operating the Hammer Theatre Center for up to 35 years. The theatre, which is owned by the city of San José, is a state-of-the-art performance venue located in the heart of downtown San José at 101 Paseo De San Antonio.

In March, San City Council voted unanimously to proceed with the contract, which builds on a successful partnership initiated in 2016. San José Director of Cultural Affairs Kerry Adams Hapner told the council, “This has been such a successful model in so many ways.” She says, “We are looking forward to continuing a fruitful partnership that increases the cultural vibrancy of the downtown and brings long-lasting benefits to the city and SJSU.”

San José State has signed the agreement, which allows SJSU to operate the Hammer for the next fifteen years with additional options to renew through the year 2055. “This contract allows the Hammer Theatre to bring high-quality arts programming to San José for decades to come,” said College of Humanities and the Arts Dean Shannon Miller. “It also gives our music, theater, and dance students the opportunity to perform on the Hammer’s professional stage, and connects our campus community to the cultural and economic corridors throughout the downtown area.”

Formerly the home of San José Repertory Theatre, the architecturally striking, bright blue building sat vacant from June 2014 until SJSU took the helm in early 2016, investing approximately $2 million to renovate the facilities. “One of the hallmarks of the Hammer has been the diversity of our programming,” said Hammer Executive Director Christopher Burrill. “We have been attracting new audiences with a wide range of interests—not only theatre lovers, but also fans of dance, music, film, live talks, and much more, with programs that speak to all sectors of our multicultural community.”

For the past four years, the 528-seat theatre has presented an array of offerings including outstanding professional productions, community-based works, SJSU shows, and concerts, as well as dance, music, talks, film screenings—even live aerial performances with dancers suspended outside, scaling the sides of the iconic blue building. In addition to a complete renovation of the stage, and updated audio and lighting equipment to reflect the latest technology, an upstairs rehearsal space was transformed into Hammer 4, a black box theatre space designed for intimate productions such as Hammer’s “Black Cab Jazz” collaboration with San José Jazz.

In the last season, the Hammer presented nearly 200 events, drawing more than 57,000 audience members. From jazz performances to mariachi extravaganzas, the popular National Geographic Live! speaker series to the acclaimed National Theatre Live film screenings, Cinequest film festival presentations, ballet and modern dance shows, kid-friendly performances, live art and more, the Hammer’s mission is to serve the community through artistic and educational programming that express the unique characteristics and diverse cultures of Silicon Valley. The Mercury News raved, “It’s safe to say San José State has exceeded anyone’s expectations for the reactivation of the theater and have kept it as a vital community asset. That is certainly worth applauding.”

On June 15, 2020, the Hammer announced its plan to invest in additional technology to create a studio-quality, high-definition, multi-camera video environment that will allow the theatre to offer its audiences live stream events to view from home. These tech upgrades provide the Hammer the opportunity to offer high-quality alternatives for the short term—while large public gatherings are prohibited by COVID-19—and long term—for those who may not be able to attend a live event in person for accessibility reasons. To help with the effort, the Hammer has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to pay for the refit of the theatre and to offer live stream content from its stage. For more information visit: power.sjsu.edu/hammertheatre.

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 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations—offered through its nine colleges.

With approximately 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 more than 7,000 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.

NOAA Selects Moss Landing Marine Labs For New CIMEAS Institute

A boat on the water with partial view of being underwater with seaweed.

Photo credit: Scott Gabara, ’14 MS Phycology

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has selected San José State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) to be a founding member of the agency’s new Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems (CIMEAS).

The CIMEAS will conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research on climate, ocean and ecosystems. Its goal is to advance the regional, national, and global understanding of natural and human-caused impacts on our ecosystems and develop sustainable ways to strengthen our environmental and economic well-being.

“Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) is excited to join the new CIMEAS organization because it provides extraordinary opportunities for our students and researchers to collaborate on important marine research and aquaculture issues,” said MLML Director Jim Harvey. “Our graduate students will benefit greatly by collaborating with NOAA scientists and others to investigate relevant oceanographic problems and to gain important skills as they become the leaders and researchers of the future.”

In partnership with NOAA and other agencies, CIMEAS will conduct research in four main areas focusing on the western U.S., California Current System and the Pacific and Southern oceans. The science will support:

  • ecosystem-based management of living marine resources
  • research, development, and technology innovation for global ocean observations and monitoring
  • coastal and oceanic observations, analysis, and prediction
  • weather, water, and climate research

The institute, led by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is comprised of a consortium of graduate degree-granting institutions, including MLML, Humboldt State University, Cal State University Los Angeles, Farallon Institute, University of California Davis, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Santa Barbara, and University of California Santa Cruz.

“MLML and SJSU have an excellent reputation for research and education globally, and MLML students have moved on to different levels of research and management that serve the needs of California and the nation,” said MLML Director Jim Harvey. “There are many pressing issues associated with the oceans and coastlines, and MLML is excited to be joining an Institute that will partner with NOAA to understand and help solve these important problems.”

Editors Note:  To learn more about Moss Landing Marine Labs go to Washington Square Magazine

Message from Chief Diversity Officer about Upcoming DACA Ruling

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on June 2, 2020

The Cesar E. Chavez Monument: Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice on the grounds of SJSU.

The Cesar E. Chavez Monument: Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice on the grounds of San Jose State. Photo: David Schmitz.

Dear campus community,

We are living in a time when our values for community, social justice and denouncement of racist police brutality is foremost in our minds. Yet, I must write to you to remind you of another urgent matter that continues to impact members of our campus community.

President Papazian shared a message on May 8, 2020, regarding the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—a decision that could negatively impact DACA recipients’ ability to live, study and work in the United States. San José State’s commitment to rights for undocumented students, including those with DACA, AB540 or non-DACA, non-AB540 students, faculty and staff remains unwavering, and we will continue to support them to the fullest degree possible, irrespective of the ruling. The ruling that will come out sometime this month will have an immediate impact whether it is to preserve, limit or eliminate the DACA program. Students, staff and their families who are directly affected have been experiencing incredible stress and fear waiting for this ruling to be released.

Our mission to provide an equitable, inclusive and caring environment and to help students complete their education is especially critical now with the potential earth-shattering change to the immigration status of a significant number of students and some of our staff. Members of our campus community must be informed and able to refer individuals to various resources.

There are some things to remember that may provide assistance to you as you support our affected students, faculty and staff.

The best source of current information about AB540 eligibility and the implications of one’s immigration status is our own UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center. It serves as a point of contact for individuals who are seeking guidance and resources. The Center remains fully staffed remotely Monday through Friday during regular business hours and reachable via email during and outside of business hours.

You can also become familiar with and reference reliable sources of information about services, resources, and rights for undocumented students regardless of DACA or AB540 eligibility.

Understand that we operate within the California State University system. The Chancellor’s Office posted information and answers to frequently asked questions about DACA and undocumented status on these websites.

Finally, as you work with students, please respect their rights to privacy in terms of their immigration status, health status and other identities. Resist making assumptions about the immigration status of students, staff and faculty based on appearance. But do offer information and help to connect those students, staff or faculty who indicate they are experiencing distress, housing, food, or economic insecurity, or the inability to complete their studies or work because of the impact of a potential ruling terminating the DACA program. And remember that even those who are not DACA recipients themselves may experience anxiety because they may come from a mixed immigration status household or may themselves feel a magnification of distress about their own undocumented status. Support services are available through the following two groups.

After the Supreme Court issues its decision, SJSU will hold a virtual town hall on the Wednesday following the decision, and Immigrant Legal Defense, (ILD) will hold a webinar the day after the decision is issued to answer questions.

In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the mode and nature of our daily interactions drastically, we ask members of our campus community to remain steadfast in their support and professionalism to educate and work with all members of our campus community. Please share the resources in this message with others so everyone can experience an equitable, inclusive and caring environment at San José State.

I am conscious of the fact so many members of our community are experiencing so much pain, anger and fear. We have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has separated us physically and drastically altered lives. We are angered by systemic racist police brutality. In the midst of this, the ongoing fear of losing DACA has been ever-present and its existence is now coming to an important inflection point. This is an unprecedented time in our nation. Please know that our administration and campus leaders are here to support you and are committed to inclusion, equity, fairness, acceptance and respect for all members of the SJSU community.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Wong(Lau), PhD
Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
 

SJSU’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite Named 2020 “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose State University’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite have been named to the 2020 list of 100 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Millora serves as chief of staff in SJSU’s Office of the President and acting vice president of university advancement, while Tuite is the university’s director of intercollegiate athletics.

“Lisa and Marie are extraordinary women and leaders,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, herself a SVBJ “Woman of Influence” in 2019. “San Jose State is a better institution because of them, and I am grateful they are part of our leadership team.”

Each year, the SVBJ honors and celebrates the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley. Honorees have been selected from the private, public and nonprofit sectors and include leaders in corporations, startups, small businesses, nonprofits, healthcare, education and community services. The SVBJ will honor its 2020 Women of Influence award-winners at an October 15 dinner event.

Lisa Millora, SJSU chief of staff

Lisa Millora, SJSU’s Chief of Staff, Office of the President.

“While I’m honored to be recognized in this fashion, the real ‘influencers’ at San Jose State are the faculty and staff who work each day—often unnoticed—to provide our students with the best education imaginable while helping them to become educated citizens and the next generation of leaders,” said Millora. “They, along with our students, are the true inspiration.”

As chief of staff, Millora works with the president’s cabinet to oversee the day-to-day operations of the university and its 40,000 students, faculty and staff. She drives progress on strategic priorities and promotes operational effectiveness across the top levels of leadership, through oversight of the Office of the President, Strategic Communications and Marketing, Community and Government Relations, University Personnel and, for a period of time, the Division of University Advancement. The values she learned during her days at an all-girls Catholic school, said Millora, led to a career path that would let her work toward social justice outcomes.

“Through Catholic social teaching, I learned that justice meant caring for the most marginalized in society,” she said. Working for a university early in her career, Millora said, helped her discover “the connection between the values I embraced as a child and the path I wanted to pursue professionally.”

Marie Tuite, SJSU athletics director

Marie Tuite, SJSU’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Photo by: Thomas Sanders/San Jose State University.

Tuite, a two-sport student-athlete and Athletics Hall of Fame inductee at Central Michigan University, leads and manages a college athletics program with a $34 million budget that supports 22 sports programs, 490 student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff members. She is one of only 11 women nationally with the responsibilities of athletics director at a NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution, that organization’s highest level of college athletics competition among 130 colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, she is the only woman with the athletics director leadership position among the seven NCAA Division I FBS schools in California.

“When I read the names of the other honorees and noticed the footprint of their professional work, I was so honored to be included with these extraordinary and influential women,” said Tuite, who leads a program that has earned 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles over the years. Tuite oversees a population of student-athletes, coaches and staff members who collectively participate in more than 10,000 hours of community service and campus engagement activities annually.

“I imagine the professional journey for many of them may not always be an easy path to navigate,” said Tuite. “So this wonderful acknowledgement serves as a positive beacon for all women—from every imaginable background—and a reminder to believe in and listen to our inner spirit that speaks to us every day. It’s a privilege to stand with and be included among these women of Silicon Valley.”

In addition to Papazian, Millora and Tuite join Karen Philbrick, executive director of SJSU’s Mineta Transportation Institute, and Stacy Gleixner, former associate vice president for student and faculty success, as past SVBJ Women of Influence award winners from San Jose State.

2020 Graduates Reflect on their Time at SJSU

As the unique and challenging spring 2020 semester comes to a close, some of the resilient members of SJSU’s graduating class reflect on their time at SJSU, achievements and plans for the future.

Tram Phan, ’20 Chemical Engineering

Tram PhanTram Phan’s family in Vietnam was about to fly to a different city to get visas sponsored when they learned the SJSU spring commencement ceremony is postponed for the graduating class of 2020. The news broke their hearts, as well as Phan’s.

“I know a lot of people get a degree in the U.S., but for international students, it’s a big event, much bigger,” Phan said.

During four years away from home, Phan has grown out of her shyness. She credits the San Jose State’s diverse community for helping her open up to the unknown. Today, she has more friends than she could imagine, but regrets not being able to share the culminating moments of the journey together in person.

“They are all nerdy and funny, and I like that about them. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my friends; I didn’t realize I’d miss them that much,” Phan said, her eyes gleaming through the computer screen.

But Phan has been quick to measure the positive side of the picture. She appreciates the university offering graduates a choice to be a part of a future live commencement ceremony. The COVID-19-dominated spring semester has been an eye opener for her in terms of adapting to new skills and challenging environments. The transition from in-person classes to online instruction proved to be a harmonious experience for her.

“The online settings encouraged people to talk more freely in class. Even folks who were inherently shy shed their inhibitions and became more approachable,” Phan said.

The resilience Phan demonstrated during the global pandemic paid off for her. She received an unexpected job offer that has made her optimistic about the future.

“I wouldn’t have gotten to this point unless I believed in myself,” she said. “SJSU made me believe everything is possible.”

Eric Ortiz, ’20 MA History

Eric OrtizEric Ortiz went to school sporadically following his 1985 high school graduation. Three decades later, the war veteran has earned a master’s degree.

“In the military, if you quit, you die,” said Ortiz. “Even though it’s been difficult for me to go back to school at my age, I never gave up.”

Since Ortiz found it difficult to relate to students half his age, he viewed school as a place to attain a goal. But the department professors, he said, made his journey worthwhile. “I learned so much from all of them. I had the opportunity to study subjects like the French revolution, ancient Greek society in depth,” said Ortiz. “Professors Pickering, Roth and Hilde, and others brought them to life.”

Ortiz served the nation on three battlefields, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he’s reticent about broadcasting his Army experiences, Ortiz attributes his ability to cope with the ongoing stress of the global health pandemic to his military background.

“I found it easier to deal with the isolation surrounding COVID-19 than many of my fellow Spartans,” he said. The school’s move to online teaching didn’t bother Ortiz either. “It’s nothing new to me, having to do everything from a distance,” he said. “It didn’t bother me one bit.”

Channeling the Army principle of “hurry up and wait,” Ortiz focused his energy on research, developing arguments and preparing papers as the final semester drew to a close. Passionate about learning, Ortiz hopes his degree will open opportunities to teach history someday. His resilience shines through: “Yesterday is gone. We should work toward the future.”

Rachel Lee, ’20 BFA Graphic Design

Rachel LeeRachel Lee doesn’t dwell on the strangeness of her final SJSU semester. As online classes began to set in, seeing everyone on the screen became a routine she looked forward to. Looking back at her time at SJSU, Lee said there are two high points: a summer 2019 trip to Europe and her first design job.

During a three-week trip with her graphic design class, Lee traveled to eight countries including the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. “We explored many cultures, visited art museums and historic landmarks, and we participated in workshops where we exhibited our work in Katowice and Warsaw, Poland,” said Lee.

The first design job in the College of Humanities and the Arts also remains her most cherished memory from her four years at SJSU. Lee’s work was featured in The Metro, on SJSU’s North Garage, and distributed across San Jose.

“I had the pleasure of working for H&A Marketing as a graphic designer,” said Lee. “It was a great experience working with other students, faculty and staff at Hammer Theatre.”

Originally from Vancouver, Washington, Lee was glad to hear the news about SJSU’s graduate recognition websites. She was also excited about her virtual, live senior exhibition show. Along with her friends, her family virtually took part in the celebrations.

Lee wants to touch people’s lives through her design. “I’ll try to incorporate social messaging into the work I do.” Spreading positivity, helping people, volunteering for a cause is what keeps this Spartan powered up.

Ezequiel Ramirez, ’20 Justice Studies

Ezequiel RamirezHaving lived his entire life in San Jose, Ezequiel Ramirez thought he knew all about his city until he joined San Jose State. The cultural perspectives of the people he met and interacted with at school were an awakening experience for him.

“I enjoyed meeting and interacting with people from different nationalities and also people who came from different walks of life,” said Ramirez. “The school brought in everything for me. Vocabulary, education, people, habits. I love it. I love the experience right now.”

Having worked in a nonprofit as part of an internship program helping at-risk youths, Ramirez now wants to continue working with community-based organizations and to use his degree for social change.

“I’m a first-generation graduate student, and I understand the struggle of people starting from the bottom and reaching to the top,” he said. “I worked countless hours without sleep on a lot of occasions, slept in my car from long days of work and school, also was homeless at a time, but made it, and I’m still making it. I’m about to graduate.”

Not only is Ramirez the first in his family to graduate from college, he’s also the first in his family to graduate from high school on time. Having lost his father at age 11, Ramirez’s determination and strength came from watching his mother raise three kids, his fraternal twin brother and an older sister.

“My mom has always put her ambitions on the back burner while putting us first,” he said. “With me graduating college this week, I want her to know all of her sacrifices and hard work have not been in vain.”

Ramirez had dreams of decorating his graduation cap as an honor to his mom, grandmother and the rest of his family—the Ramirez, Rodriguez and Garcia households. He calms himself with his take on the COVID-19 situation: “From pressure, diamonds are made.”

Saadatou Ahmad, ’20 Accounting and Information Systems

Saadatou AhmadIn Saadatou Ahmad’s home country of Cameroon, West Africa, education is a luxury. When she came to the United States with her husband 12 years ago, she set out to chart a new course.

“Back home education is not for the poor, but here it is so encouraging,” said Ahmad. “Here, I have the support system to be a first-generation student. ”

After a stint at a beauty school and working in a salon for four years, Ahmad transferred from a community college to San Jose State as she dreamed about the future for herself and her family. Wanting to set an example for her three children–between the ages five and ten–Ahmad brought her kids to school so often “they are now used to the school environment.”

Even when she was pregnant with her third child, Ahmad continued to make it to all classes, she said, because “I always feel if I miss a lecture, I will fall behind.”

The online spring semester at SJSU was troubling for Ahmad, who loves in-person classes. While she missed seeing and talking to her classmates and professors in person, Ahmad is not someone who gives up easily. She channeled all of her time and effort to carve out a better life for her family. She recently received a full-time job offer, but she also wants to pursue more education, possibly an MBA. Right now, Ahmad is overjoyed. Her bachelor’s degree has been a long time coming. And, she said, her daughter wants to go to San Jose State when she grows up.

SJSU Celebrates Spring 2020 Graduates

SJSU graduates smile while taking a selfie.

Photo: David Schmitz.

San Jose State University is honoring and celebrating the spring class of 2020 in a new way. On May 22, San Jose State will launch the Spring Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites—one site for eight of the colleges. Now, no matter where they are, grads can share their pride and excitement about earning their degree from SJSU with friends, family and loved ones anywhere in the world.

The traditional in-person commencement ceremony was made impossible this year due to the mandatory shelter-in-place order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“No matter the circumstances, this truly is a time of celebration, a time of pride and a time of joy,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “All of the Spartans who are a part of this resilient and historic graduating class are now part of San Jose State’s celebrated legacy. They will never be forgotten, and we are so proud of what they have achieved.”

The Spring Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites are not a virtual commencement ceremony or replacement for a live commencement ceremony. Instead, each college website will showcase the accomplishments of SJSU’s more than 7,000 spring 2020 graduates. Each college site will have searchable, shareable content, including personalized graduate slides that include their names, degrees, and applicable latin honors for all Spartans completing undergraduate and graduate degrees and those earning certificates from the Connie L. Lurie College of Education. Graduates will be able to share their personalized slides with family, friends and fellow students. They will also see congratulatory messages from President Papazian, Provost Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. and the deans of eight colleges.

Spring 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas, diploma covers and commencement books in the mail and are invited to return to campus to walk across the stage in-person at a future commencement ceremony: fall 2020 is scheduled for the week of December 14, 2020, or spring 2021, scheduled for the week of May 24, 2021.

“The beginning of 2020 will be a year to remember for many reasons, but I will remember it as the time we overcame adversity,” said Associated Students President Branden Parent. “I have seen students support others, triumph over obstacles and finish their last semester strong. I am glad to be graduating with such a resilient and diverse group of students who can face any odds. I look forward to seeing fellow grads on the new graduate recognition websites.”

The Spring Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites will remain on the SJSU homepage and commencement website throughout the summer.

SJSU Appoints Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation

New Vice President of University Advancement, Theresa Davis.

New Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation, Theresa Davis.

Theresa Davis has been appointed vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. She will join the San Jose State campus community on July 1, 2020.

“Theresa joins us at a pivotal moment in SJSU history, and we are delighted to have her on board,” said President Mary A. Papazian.

Davis brings an abundance of relevant experience to the position, including more than 25 years of management and fundraising work. Her background is broad and diverse, with campaign management, major gifts, corporate and foundation relations and annual giving among her areas of expertise.

Most recently, Davis has been serving as the assistant vice president of engagement and annual programs at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In that role, she has had responsibility for Alumni Relations, the Caltech Associates, the Caltech Fund and Parents Program, and Campus Programs—which engages its local community in campus life.

Prior to working at Caltech, Davis was the associate vice president of college and program development at Cal State Fullerton. She had responsibility for the directors of development, who spearheaded fundraising efforts for each of the campus’s eight colleges and athletics department.

Davis previously served as the associate vice president of major and planned gifts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where she and her team secured financial support for medical specialties. Prior to that, she was campaign director for the California Science Center, served as senior director of development for the UCLA College, was director of development for the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UC Riverside and held the roles of associate director of corporate relations and director of the alumni fund, both at Caltech.

Davis has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California.

SJSU Receives $28M in Federal Funds To Help Cope With COVID-19 Hardship

San Jose State University has received more than $28.7 million dollars from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help students and the campus deal with COVID-19 related hardships.

Half of the funding, or approximately $14.4 million, will go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include a student’s cost of attending college, food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare. The funding can not be used to pay tuition or registration fees.

CARES Act SJSU Grant

“This is an unprecedented time and many of our students are dealing with unexpected hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day. “We want our students to continue on their educational journey and get their degrees. This emergency federal funding will help them do that.”

Eligible students can apply for an emergency aid grant through SJSU Cares and the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and. The amount of individual grants will be determined by the number and scope of the requests that are received. All grant money will be distributed by the end of the spring semester.

Although the CARES Act requires recipients to meet certain qualifications related to enrollment, citizenship, residency and how they are impacted by COVID-19, SJSU Cares distributes funds from a variety of other sources.  Any student in need of emergency funding is encouraged to contact SJSU Cares.

San Jose State will use the remaining funds to enhance distance learning programs and other critical needs to meet the university’s core mission.

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27, 2020, is a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history.

SJSU’s Top Academic Achievers Recognized

Students jumping up in the air and cheering with pom poms.

Photo by David Schmitz.

San Jose State University’s top academic achievers—including 1,582 President’s Scholars who obtained a 4.0 grade point average in spring or fall 2019—are being honored and celebrated this month for the hard work, determination and dedication that earned them a place at the top of their class.

“It is always a pleasure to recognize and celebrate the academic excellence of our students,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “They’ve spent hours on end in the library. They’ve asked penetrating questions in the classroom. They’ve been industrious and unflagging in pursuit of knowledge. In short, they represent the best of our Spartan student community, and we are very proud of them.”

Ranked against an average undergraduate enrollment of 26,518 during spring and fall 2019, President’s Scholars rank in the top six percent of the undergraduate population.

In addition to the President’s Scholars, 5,783 students made the Dean’s Scholars list for achieving a 3.65 GPA in spring or fall 2019. All Dean’s Scholars will be recognized with certificates from their college deans.

“These students clearly have a limitless future in front of them,” said Provost Vincent Del Casino. “They are tomorrow’s leaders of Silicon Valley, the State of California and beyond. On behalf of our faculty and staff, I congratulate each of them.”

“The student scholars we recognize this spring have reached this level of excellence through their own individual sacrifice and through the support of their families, friends and our faculty and staff,” said Papazian. “Their grades are more than letters; they represent an unwavering commitment to academic excellence that have earned them our admiration and respect.”

The academic success and scholastic performance of San Jose State’s top students, said Del Casino, is demonstrable proof that they have high standards of achievement and are capable of attaining lofty goals.

“I truly commend each of these students for their accomplishments and their future promise,” he said. “Their academic success is just a prelude to the significant contributions to society they will make after they graduate.”

Papazian said it was also important to acknowledge the people behind the scenes who work hard to guide and support students.

“Parents, spouses, significant others, children, relatives and friends make crucial contributions that help to support these scholars on their educational journey,” she said. “They couldn’t do it without those important people in their lives.”

Papazian also notes that with recognition comes responsibility.

“We expect much from these gifted and hard-working students,” she said. “I am confident that their academic success will translate into meaningful civic engagement, career success and other positive outcomes that will make our world a better place.”

Earth Month 2020 Goes Online

Student on the tower lawn doing a yoga pose.

Yoga on the Tower Lawn, one of many resource fair activities for Earth Week 2019. Photo by David Schmitz.

Fifty years ago, on April 22, Gaylord Nelson created history by choosing to commemorate the legacy of the only home we know, Earth.

Affected by the devastating oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast in 1969, the former U.S. Senator and Wisconsin governor led a grassroots movement with the hope that the day would inspire people to listen to the environment and collectively share the responsibilities that humans owe to the planet.

The founder of Earth Day, Nelson, ’39 Political Science, was an SJSU alumnus. Despite COVID-19 derailing full-scale campus events and activities, San Jose State remains committed to Nelson’s story.

This year, Earth Month has moved online. A good benefit to having an online celebration such as this, is “that not many people are driving, and that’s way less air pollution already,” said Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering, SJSU senior utilities and sustainability analyst.

This April, the SJSU Office of Sustainability is running a robust social media campaign, the Earth Day Eco Challenge, in collaboration with campus Environmental Resource Center (ERC) and Cesar Chavez Community Action Center (CCCAC). In addition, there are a host of exciting educational events and activities in the form of virtual teach-ins, reading assignments, workshops, green career panels, and discussions, all of which will offer an opportunity for students to join in the environmental conversations.

Earth Day was founded on the spirit of teach-in—an activity Nelson designed to educate people about the environment. According to Katherine Cushing, professor of environmental studies, “there are many sources out there that discuss possible linkages between large scale environmental issues, such as climate change, air pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Earth Day assignment, “COVID-19, Climate Change, and the Environment,” that Cushing built for her students will help put many different factors surrounding these issues in perspective.

Cushing has been spearheading the effort to provide the faculty with resources for incorporating a sustainability component in their courses this month. Six different assignments are available that are applicable to majors from a wide range of academic disciplines, ranging from business to biology.

A plaque in front of a tree which says planted in honor of Gaylord Nelson.

Every year, students plant a tree on campus. Photo by David Schmitz.

April Events:

Menstruation, Stigma, Zero Waste Period

Tune into this pre-recorded event posted on both the Sustainability Office’s and Gender Equity Center’s YouTube channel. Get to know about the taboos, misconceptions, and sustainable methods for a greener world. This event is brought to you by the Gender Equity Center and the Office of Sustainability. All genders welcome.

April 16: Being the Change: Book discussion

Noon–1 p.m.

This one-hour discussion on climate change will run with Eugene Cordero, SJSU meteorology and climate change professor. The group will be reviewing Chapters 1-6 of Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed. Register to attend Being the Change.

April 21 and 23: Sustainable Designs and Buildings on the SJSU Campus

April 21: 9–10: 15 a.m. and 1:30–2:45 p.m.
April 23: 9–10:15 a.m. and 1:30–2:45 p.m.

Join Art History Professor Molly Hankwitz and her students as they present a series of brief presentations on sustainable design materials and resources on the SJSU campus. Featured buildings include the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, the Student Recreation and Aquatic Center, and the Diaz Campion Student Union. Original posters designed by students will also be previewed in honor of Earth Day. Register in advance for this meeting.

April 22: The Climate Reality Project

12 p.m

The climate crisis is already affecting ecosystems and communities across the globe, but it is not too late to take action. This climate reality presentation will show you how. The presentation is non-partisan, from the perspective of science. The presentation is broken into three parts—”Must We Change,” “Can We Change” and “Will We Change.” Engage with Emeritus Professor and Director of Sbona Honors Program & Thompson Global Internship Program Bill DeVincenzi and ask any questions you may have. Register for The Climate Crisis: What you need to know.

April 29: Green Career Panel

Noon–2 p.m.

The Green Career Panel will be hosted in partnership with the Career Center, followed by networking opportunities. Learn from and engage with panelists from the California Water Efficiency Partnership, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, The City of San Jose, Rising Sun Power. Register for SJSU Green Career Panel Registration.

April 30:

Participate in the SJSU Earth Month Instagram Giveaway! Learn more at @sjsugreencampus via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Learn more about the university’s sustainability practices by reviewing the 2017-2020 SJSU Sustainability Report.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Day Goes Online, April 18 – 24

Admitted Spartan Day

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Day from April 18 – 24, 2020.

Every spring, after San Jose State has notified admitted students of their acceptance for the following year, the university hosts a special event, Admitted Spartan Day, to welcome potential Spartans to campus. While the preference is always to show incoming freshmen and transfer students the SJSU campus in person, the Coronavirus health pandemic prevents the university from hosting students and their families on campus at this time. Instead, SJSU has expanded this year’s Admitted Spartan Day to a weeklong virtual event to ensure that prospective students have all the information they need to choose San Jose State.

“This is a first for us to offer this campus-wide event online. We usually host more than 10,000 people for Admitted Spartan Day,” said SJSU Senior Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Sharon Willey. “Each day will feature live webinars and video content so students and family members can choose which sessions are of interest to them. We are working diligently to personalize our SJSU Virtual Open House for each admitted undergraduate student with a variety of opportunities to interact with current students, faculty and staff. We hope to ensure that students see the many benefits of attending SJSU. The top three reasons admitted students choose SJSU is the quality of academic programs, cost and location.”

This year’s virtual event will kick off on Saturday, April 18, 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:

Saturday, April 18: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans, webinars with colleges and/or departments, as well as webinars on campus life, orientation and student involvement.

Sunday, April 19: Virtual Tours

This includes virtual campus tours (general, Student Union, Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, South Campus and the Hammer Theatre) as well as a student panel live webinar and parent panel.

Monday, April 20: All About Finances

Video content will include webinars by the Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid and the Career Center, including information on how to get a job on campus.

Tuesday, April 21: University Housing

The International House and on-campus residence halls will be featured, including tours and live webinars.

Wednesday, April 22: Campus Resources

Virtual content includes videos on the Latinx/Chicanx Student Success Center, the African-American/Black Student Success Center, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi (South Asian) American (APIDA) task force, the Veterans Resource Center, the UndocuSpartan Resource Center, the Career Center and many more campus resources.

Thursday, April 23: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

College student success centers and Academic Advising and Retention Services will host presentations and webinars to share how advising works and respond to admitted student inquiries online.

Friday, April 24: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from students about their admission and the intent to enroll process.

SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs, Patrick Day, provides further details:

 
Admitted students are encouraged to fill out an interest form to inform SJSU which topics they would like to learn more about during the week of online activities. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.

SJSU Emergency Management Expert Frannie Edwards Offers Webinar On COVID-19

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar on April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems. Photo courtesy of Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar this Thursday, April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems.

Edwards, who also teaches emergency management and serves as the deputy director of the National Transportation Security Center at the university’s Mineta Transportation Institute, served for 14 years as director of the Office of Emergency Services in San Jose and as director of the city’s Metropolitan Medical Task Force.

Edwards developed her expertise through an impressive array of academic work, research and classroom teaching.

“Teaching is my passion, and I really want my students to learn the things they’ll need to know in order to be successful and creative servants of their community,” she said. “But it’s the research and my own constant learning that fuel my ability to teach effectively and give students the tools they need.”

Edwards’s emergency management background draws on lessons learned while living in Japan, serving as a police budget officer for the City of Irvine and developing emergency plans for earthquakes, floods and other disasters.

Hired into her current role at SJSU in 2005 to teach public administration, Edwards was brought into MTI’s fold as a research associate to help with the Institute’s fast-growing anti-terrorism work. Transit organizations nationwide had been persuaded to take such threats seriously after the 1995 sarin gas attack on a subway system in Tokyo and other high-profile events.

Edwards and a small group of colleagues became MTI’s de facto emergency preparedness brain trust, giving presentations and briefings via a “traveling road show” of sorts around the state. She and her research partner Dan Goodrich are co-authors on more than a dozen MTI publications on emergency preparedness.

In a profession that uses a lot of acronyms, Edwards refers a great deal to one in particular—COOP. A COOP plan, or, “continuity of operations” effort, is a collection of resources, actions, procedures and information that is developed and used to maintain critical operations after a disaster or emergency. Edwards characterizes COOP as the “next level” of emergency management.

“An emergency operations plan outlines what you should do when something really bad happens, and it typically lays out all the resources at your disposal,” she explained. “A continuity of operations plan outlines what to do when there are no resources, but still a lot of people who need help.” An essential concept behind COOPs, she explained, is that organizations must identify those activities that are the most essential in order to execute the mission—while ceasing all other activities.

SJSU, she points out, essentially put a COOP into operation in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic when it hit the pause button on athletics activities, large events and public gatherings in general. Instead, university leadership asked itself, What do we need to do in order to keep educating our students, finish the semester and keep everyone on track to earn credits and graduate on time? That, Edwards explained, is COOP in a nutshell: narrowing one’s world to just the essentials.

Edwards said, in fact, that the current crisis is the only one she has seen in more than 30 years of emergency management that represents “a true COOP situation.” The geographic impact of other crises, such as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Northridge (Los Angeles County) earthquake in 1994 and the 1998 El Niño floods in the Bay Area, have been relatively small compared to COVID-19. The shortage of available pumps during the floods were a precursor to today’s shortage of ventilators and other personal protective equipment, though at a much smaller scale.

Edwards remains optimistic during the current crisis and chooses to focus on the “inspiring things going on.”

Mobilizing two large naval hospital ships to assist overwhelmed hospitals amid the pandemic was a smart use of resources, she said, while the work of the nation’s medical community and caregivers has been nothing short of heroic. In addition, she points to the number of companies, including many in Silicon Valley, who have contributed large sums of money to the overall effort. “We are seeing a wonderful charitable spirit that is helping people in our communities who are struggling,” she said.

To help get through the crisis, Edwards emphasizes the need for people to find creative ways to stay connected and remain true to their own passions and needs, whether it is through a religious community they may be part of, online museums and music or even just regular calls or emails to friends.

“Whatever it is that feeds your soul, brings you happiness and hope and helps you see a brighter future—those are the things we all must continue to do.”

Those interested in the 4/9 webinar can register to receive an email reminder. The webinar takes place from 10-10:30am and will be conducted via Zoom.

#SJSUCounts: The 2020 Census Guide

Starting this spring, the U.S. Census Bureau is collecting data on the number of people living in households across the country. San Jose State encourages all SJSU students to participate in the census for a variety of reasons. Please see below for frequently asked questions about the Census.

Fill out your 2020 Census

#SJSUCounts Complete the California 2020 census today!

SJSU students who complete the 2020 U.S. Census and complete an SJSU form are entered into a prize drawing.

Download #SJSUCounts: Representation, Rewards, and a Drawing [pdf]

Download #SJSUCounts: The 2020 Census Guide FAQ [pdf]

2020 Census Guide FAQ

What is the 2020 Census?

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts every person living in the U.S. as mandated in the Constitution. The count begins in mid-March and lasts through the summer.

Why does the 2020 Census matter?

For every person left uncounted, California could lose up to $1,000 per person each year for the next ten years. Completing your Census form helps ensure California receives funding for healthcare services, parks and roads that support your local community.

What questions are on the 2020 Census?

The Census is a simple and confidential 9-question survey that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Questions include your name, address, gender, race, and age. The 2020 Census does not ask about your citizenship status or for your social security number, bank details, payment, or a donation.

How should I complete the questions on residence?

In general, count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.

Tips on the Residence Question for Students

  • Students who usually live in University Housing. Count yourself at SJSU, even if you are temporarily living elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • International and undocumented students. Count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.
  • Students enrolled in study-abroad programs. If you are living outside the U.S. on Census Day, April 1, 2020, do not count yourself in the stateside census. If you are back in the U.S., count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.
  • Students who are homeless or housing insecure. If you do not have a usual residence, count yourself where you are at the time of taking the census.
  • More information available in the SJSU Counts Overview Slides.

2020 Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) Conference Will Convene Entirely Online On March 14

Graphic of 2020 Silicon Valley WiE Conference announcing a switch to a virtual conference.
The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has moved its annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) conference scheduled on March 14, 2020 entirely to an online format as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 as the virus continues to pose a risk to the well-being of the community. WiE 2020 is still happening with all the amazing programming that was promised as the Women in Engineering Conference team has succeeded in creating a virtual conference.

Live streaming of the event, which is now free and open to all, will start at 8:30 a.m. with welcome and keynote addresses that will be delivered by Kate Gordon, director and senior adviser to the California governor on climate, and Meagan Pi, vice president of Google. While Gordon will shed light on the cutting edge of sustainable Smart City innovations, Pi will share her journey from China to Silicon Valley. Isaura S. Gaeta, vice president of security research and general manager of Intel Product Assurance and Security, will deliver the lunch keynote.

Every year the event draws the best of tech industry experts, aspiring engineers and a large section of the student community from the engineering department, local community colleges and high schools. This year, the virtual conference is centered on the theme of “vision for a better future.” Engineers and scientists will gather to discuss a range of issues from the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) to the current global health crisis to impacts of climate change.

WiE 2020 is an avenue for aspiring engineers to network with trailblazing scientists who are breaking gender stereotypes and designing creative solutions to counter the world’s pressing problems. It will also help students visualize a career arc, learn about emerging technologies as well as understand the extent of impact engineers have on shaping the world.

Registered students will receive an email by Friday, March 13 with instructions as to how to participate online for the entire conference, including keynotes, technical and professional development sessions, career panels, and even the innovation showcase. More information will soon be available on 2020.siliconvalleywie.org.

In her message to the community on the conference website, Stacy Gleixner, SJSU professor and conference chair, said that industry leaders at this year’s conference are creating a better future by designing greener construction and energy solutions, developing life-saving diagnostics and medicine, and inventing tools that promote inclusion and security while revolutionizing the way we interact and work.

Industry leaders from some of the top Silicon Valley companies such as Netflix, Facebook, Accenture, IBM, NASA, LinkedIn, Amazon Labs, Marvel Semiconductor, Shockwave Medical, Xilinx and others will be speaking throughout the day on topics that include sustainable development and construction, medicine and diagnostics, space travel, virtual reality, the future of blockchain, AI, machine learning and wearable devices.

Sheryl Ehrman, SJSU

Sheryl Ehrman, dean of SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, speaking at the 2018 Women in Engineering Conference at SJSU. Photo: David Schmitz.

One of the technical tracks will focus on the ethical aspects of AI, starting with those related to models and algorithms such as bias, fairness and explainability to examine how they influence the end outcomes concerning privacy and safety. The panel will also discuss the impacts AI has on humans. For example, it will explore how automation will change the nature of some jobs, what effect it would have on democracy, human-to-human, and human-to-AI interaction, etc.

Computer Engineering Professor Magdalini Eirinaki said AI users should be conscious of its implications, especially in terms of sharing their personal data. With less information, manipulation chances for targeted advertising or propaganda purposes reduce. “I’m now more mindful about doing online quizzes, for instance,” she said.

She added that deep learning has allowed many interesting applications. “AI has allowed us to visualize how we will look when we get old and add funny headpieces to our selfies, but also fight cyberbullying and diagnose cancer in the early stages,” said Eirinaki. “However, it can also discriminate against underrepresented groups, or become a tool of propaganda and warfare.”

Several of these ethical questions that go beyond the design of the underlying algorithms and technologies will feature in the discussion as AI continues to impact our everyday lives.

Interested candidates can still join the virtual conference by entering their names in a signup sheet on the main page of http://2020.siliconvalleywie.org/ Once they sign up, they will receive the instructions and the pdf schedule with log-in links in their email.

The committee has refunded all fees and setting up pick up hours/locations for the swag (bags, t-shirts) at SJSU and also sending them to all schools that pre-registered as a group.

Visit Silicon Valley Women in Engineering to participate in the 2020 conference.

President Mary A. Papazian Joins Council of Graduate Schools’ Humanities Coalition Advisory Committee

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian speaks at a 2018 Frankenstein Bicentennial event at San Jose’s Hammer Theatre. The event was one of several that SJSU’s College of Humanities and the Arts sponsored that year to explore the ethical, artistic and imaginative impacts of Mary Shelley’s literary masterpiece. Photo: David Schmitz.

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has agreed to serve on the Council of Graduate Schools‘ (CGS) Humanities Advisory Committee for The Humanities Coalition, a new effort that will expand CGS’s work to understand and support the careers of PhDs.

The endeavor seeks to further enhance CGS’s understanding of humanities PhDs and their careers, and to refine humanities-specific strategies for curricular change and program improvement. One component of the new initiative is additional research to better understand the nature of early career transitions for humanists.

A scholar of the 17th century metaphysical poets and English Renaissance era, Papazian has long been a staunch advocate of the arts, humanities and creative disciplines in higher education.

In an op-ed published in the October 29 edition of the Sacramento Bee, she asserted that “the liberal arts must remain a vital part of higher education for the sake of the future of our students, our economy and our society.” The partnering of STEM disciplines with the liberal arts, she writes, can lead to true academic impact at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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

In a CGS press release announcing grant funding for The Humanities Coalition, CGS President Suzanne Ortega said, “We hope to learn more about the kinds of transitions humanities PhDs face as they move from graduate school to career. Humanities PhDs have a wide variety of career pathways in front of them. We need to make sure they know what they are and how to access them.”

Over the course of the five-year project, the advisory committee is expected to guide CGS’s efforts to increase the impact and reach of The Humanities Coalition and provide insights for addressing challenges and opportunities specific to various humanities disciplines.

CGS will issue a Request-For-Proposals (RFP) to CGS member institutions to participate in the project as funded partners and will continue to work with its current partners to collect data in both STEM and humanities fields.

Joining Papazian as Advisory Committee members are a distinguished group of educators and academics, including Carlos Alonso, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University; Susan Carvalho, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Alabama; and Patricia Easton, executive vice president and provost at The Claremont Graduate University.

FAQ – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

**This page is no longer being updated. Visit the FAQ section on the SJSU Health Advisories website for more information.**

 

Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


New FAQ (March 8, 2020)

Editor’s Note: The FAQ section has been updated as of March 9, 2020 to reflect new content.

Will campus remain open?

Faculty and staff should continue to report to campus for work and carry out their normal responsibilities. For faculty and staff on campus who may have conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, we take this very seriously. Please contact your supervisor and/or the following offices immediately if you need accommodations, sick/medical or other leave, or wish to discuss other options or concerns:

  • Employment Accommodations Resource Center: Cindy Marota: x4-6003
  • University Personnel, Leaves Manager: Josh Etherington: x4-2155
  • University Personnel, Employee Relations: Stacey Elsibai: x4-2142, Julie Paisant: x4-2255, Joanne Wright: x4-2458

Faculty and staff who have fevers or respiratory infections should stay home. We will ensure that sick time is applied so that you will not lose pay or applicable benefits and will work with you if you have exhausted your sick time balance.

What will happen if SJSU closes?

The President will notify the campus by email. The information will also be announced through Twitter and the SJSU Newsroom. In the event we need to close campus, “essential personnel” will still provide on-campus services that relate directly to the health, safety, and welfare of the university, ensure continuity of key operations, and maintain and protect university properties. When appropriate and feasible, these responsibilities may be carried out remotely. Guidance for essential personnel will be distributed this week.

Will classes be moved online?

We have a number of resources already available for faculty to adapt their courses to a “remote teaching” modality, either distributed or online. We encourage faculty to begin to engage this process in case it becomes necessary. In addition to these resources, this week, the division of Academic Affairs will begin providing additional support and training to assist faculty and teaching associates, as applicable, with moving their in-person classes to distributed or fully online modalities. Where fully online means that all course material is delivered through an online format, a distributed class may include aspects, such as synchronous live lectures delivered from one’s office or distributed materials that are returned to the instructor via a variety of modalities. This provides maximum flexibility to each instructor within the confines of this very challenging public health care environment.

If our campus has a reported case of COVID-19, we will activate a plan to move in-person classes to either a distributed or fully-online model. We will notify the campus community when the decision has been made.

What are the guidelines for travel?

Effective immediately, San Jose State University and its auxiliary organizations will suspend all international and non-essential domestic travel from now through the end of the spring semester (May 31, 2020). This includes suspension of travel approved prior to March 8, 2020.

  • If you have upcoming travel that was approved before March 8, 2020, you will be contacted with information on how to request reauthorization.
  • Many conference organizers and airlines are issuing full refunds. In the event that a traveler is unable to obtain a refund, expenses for approved travel incurred prior to March 8, 2020 are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Future travel, including summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Will upcoming events continue as planned?

We are evaluating meetings, gatherings, and events through the end of spring break. The President’s Leadership Council, in consultation with faculty, staff, and student groups responsible for the events, will make decisions that will best serve our mission and our community’s health, safety, and well-being. More information and guidance will be distributed this week.

How should I handle information about others’ health?

As stated above, certain members of our campus community are charged with providing guidance and assistance concerning individuals who may need accommodation or leave, have returned from international travel, or have possibly come in contact, either through acquaintance/relationship or work in health care, to individuals exposed to COVID-19.

As part of our community responsibility, I ask that you respect the privacy of all members of our community and refrain from sharing information outside appropriate reporting channels about the identity or identifying characteristics (e.g., staff position, undergraduate/graduate status, faculty position, department, unit) of individuals in our community who may have been asked to self-quarantine, seek testing, or may themselves, at some point, be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Exercise caution so as not to contribute to unintended consequences of speculation, unfounded fear, stigmatization, or behavior that may increase the likelihood of individuals not self-reporting their possible risk of exposure to COVID-19.

How do we address the stigma that often emerges with such diseases?

It is very important to remember that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups. So, although people are understandably worried about the spread of COVID-19, we want to avoid fear and anxiety turning to social stigma. Unfortunately, we have already seen some of this reported anecdotally on campus, as some people show concerns about Chinese or other Asian Americans, international students generally, people wearing protective masks, or those who were in quarantine.


Editor’s Note: The FAQ section was last updated March 5, 2020 to reflect new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).



Medical Questions

How is COVID-19 spread?

According to the CDC, as of March 5, there are 148 identified cases of COVID-19 in the United States out of the more than 93,000 worldwide (WHO, March 4 report). This includes confirmed cases, cases under investigation and cases among people expatriated to the U.S. There have been 10 deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

How do I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Guide on how to stop the spread of germs.

CDC guide on how to stop the spread of germs. Graphic courtesy of CDC.

  • Treat Yourself Well
    • Maintain good sleep habits.
    • Manage stress.
    • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Make It Hard for Viruses to Spread
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Check with your heath-care provider whether obtaining the influenza vaccine is advisable for you.
  • Think of Others
    • If you feel ill, call or email a health provider for advice.
    • Stay home or reduce contact with others until your symptoms subside.

As with all communicable diseases, employees should stay home when sick and practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. See also the CDC guidelines on their website.

As stated on the CDC website, to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described on the website to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available here.

What do I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19 (but have no symptoms and feel well)?

The CDC strongly recommends that you self-quarantine. Students should contact your faculty instructors to discuss how you can continue to make progress on your coursework. Staff and faculty who may self-quarantine and can fulfill their responsibilities without physically reporting to campus should contact their supervisors to make arrangements to work remotely. For those who may need to self-quarantine but cannot work remotely—sick, vacation and/or personal holidays as well as leave programs may be applied.

What do I do if I believe members of my household or myself have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

Stay home if you have any concerns or symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Do not come to work until you are free of fever (100.4°F), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours. Notify your supervisor and stay home if you are sick. As with other communicable diseases such as the flu, supervisors should send home employees who become sick during the day to prevent others from becoming ill. Call your healthcare professional for guidance on whether to be tested and what to do.

Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?

The first COVID-19 case in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The first confirmed instance of person-to-person infection of this virus in the U.S. was reported on January 30, 2020. See the current U.S. case count of COVID-19.


Monitoring and Managing

Who is in charge of monitoring the ongoing outbreak and managing SJSU’s response?

SJSU is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and managing the university’s response via the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which includes campus leaders from the Academic Affairs, University Police Department, Student Affairs, Facilities Development and Operations, and other groups. The EOC consults regularly with the President and her staff who will make large-scale policy decisions.


Classes, Work, and Campus Closure

Is there a plan to conduct some classes by teleconference such as Zoom?

With no reported cases on campus, we will continue to operate the campus and its classes as normal. If a case is reported, and there is concern that coming to campus can put our community at risk, we will ask that faculty provide alternative access to course content – this could take place through Zoom (we have a campus-wide site license) or alternative assignments.

Under what circumstances will classes be cancelled or the campus closed? How will I be notified?

The EOC will continue to monitor and assess the situation. They will also manage any operations necessary to respond to or address an outbreak. One case, with no identifiable route of contagion (exposure) may be enough to trigger closure, while one case with a clear epidemiology and low exposure on campus may not trigger a closure.
Ultimately, the President, in consultation with her Cabinet, will determine whether to cancel classes or close campus. This information will be distributed by the following communication channels: Email, Twitter, Facebook, and the SJSU Newsroom.


Potential Outbreak on Campus

What will happen if an SJSU student, faculty, or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?

The campus community will be notified through email, Twitter, Facebook, and the SJSU Newsroom about potential class cancellation or campus closure.

What will happen if students, faculty, or staff living in the residence halls are diagnosed with COVID-19?

The EOC and University Housing Services will initially coordinate with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department on the most appropriate response that protects the safety of individual students and the larger campus community. University Housing is currently preparing for multiple response scenarios and will communicate with students, families, and the university community in the event of an emergency situation.

Whom should I contact with questions?

  • Students should contact their faculty instructors for questions about specific classes.
  • Employees should contact their healthcare providers. Students may contact the SJSU Student Health Center at (408) 924-6122 with questions about symptoms.
  • Faculty should contact their department chairs with questions about their classes.
  • Staff should contact their supervisors with questions about working remotely in the case of self quarantine.
  • Faculty and staff should contact University Personnel (408) 924-2250 with questions about sick time and leave programs.

 

2020 State of the University Address

Media contacts:
Ken Mashinchi, Senior Director of Media Relations, 408-924-1167, ken.mashinchi@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

 
San Jose State will live stream President Mary Papazian’s second annual State of the University address from 2–3 p.m. Monday, March 9, 2020.