President Papazian’s Message on the Las Vegas Shootings

Dear Spartans,

Like all of you, I am deeply saddened by news of yet another tragic shooting at what should have been a safe event. Please join me in sending your thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas.

While all members of the San Jose State football team, cheer team and marching band returned safely after our game Saturday night at UNLV, my heart goes out to our friends there. A college campus so close to the site of an event like this one is undoubtedly struggling to come to terms with it.

I am mindful of those on our campus who may be personally impacted. This morning, our Student Affairs team reached out to each of SJSU’s 48 students from Nevada, including 20 from Las Vegas. Please remember that counseling is available at no cost to all students and to all faculty and staff members.

It is my hope that all of you will reach out to your loved ones and friends today. The Spartan family is large, with more than 250,000 alumni, 33,000 students, and 5,000 faculty and staff members. We will provide updates as appropriate.

Kindest regards,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian



President Papazian’s September Blog

President Mary Papazian meets with Student Advocates for Higher Education as she visited clubs tabling outside Tower Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (James Tensuan/San Jose State University)

President Papazian visits the Student Advocates for Higher Education table at the Fall Student Organization Fair (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Photojournalism).

Each fall our campus brims with a sense of optimism, energy and hope, energized by the presence of thousands of new students—more than 11,000 this year, a record high—and more than 40,000 students, faculty and staff members engaged in myriad activities in classrooms, labs, performance venues, offices, playing fields and recreational spaces.

The energy and intensity of activity is a vivid reminder that truly, we are a “city within a city.” This reality was brought home for me while strolling the campus in recent weeks greeting students, faculty and staff members, neighbors, and other visitors.

Uncustomary start to year

My September blog has updates on various new initiatives, celebrates several points of pride, and highlights important upcoming opportunities to impact and influence the future direction of our university.

These are the sorts of updates that would be anticipated at the beginning of the academic year. Yet, as we know, this has begun as anything but a “customary” year.

Devastating hurricanes have pummeled Southeastern states and the Caribbean. Deadly terror attacks in Europe rattled nerves worldwide. And partisan divisiveness and political rancor have opened new racial, ethnic and cultural wounds while testing the boundaries of free speech and tearing at the fabric of communities near and far.

On our campus, we know that the Trump Administration’s recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has heightened anxiety for our immigrant students and others. Although there are suggestions of a possible compromise that could lead to legislation protecting DACA students, its fate—and the future of these students and employees—remains uncertain.

As I observed two weeks ago, my administration stands with the leadership of the California State University (CSU) in its unwavering commitment to our DACA students and employees. We will continue to offer them our support while keeping a close eye on policy developments out of Washington, D.C.

Additionally, we are watchfully observing how neighboring campuses are managing potentially incendiary public events.

Let me be clear that it is not my intent to paint a bleak portrait of the year ahead. Far from it; as I observed during last month’s Fall Welcome Address, I am excited about the year ahead and beyond. There is much about which to be optimistic. Based on what I am hearing and seeing, I sense that many of you agree.

So, while we should take stock of circumstances around us, I am confident that sticking to our core values—a commitment to the success of our students and our legacy as a community that celebrates equity, diversity and inclusion—will keep us focused and on track.

I believe it is important to keep this essential truth in mind, especially as we begin our year-long strategic planning effort and welcome an accreditation team to campus later this month.

I’ll share more on these and other campus news items later in this blog.

Providing expertise as severe weather tests communities

But before turning to those items, I want to acknowledge the important contributions SJSU faculty and staff members and students have made in elevating the public’s understanding of climatic conditions that, in recent weeks, have devastated communities.

Last month, efforts by SJSU’s Fire Weather Research Laboratory to better understanding the behavior of natural wildfires were the subject of a major story in the Mercury News.

The story explored efforts by Professor Craig Clements, faculty colleagues and graduate students to uncover clues they believe can predict the potential spread of future wildfires and save lives.

At the heart of their work is an innovative application of traditional Doppler technology. As the Mercury News reported, “Craig is doing something that’s a little different,” said Chris Waters, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

Meanwhile, climate scientist Professor Alison Bridger has been providing periodic commentary on severe weather as a contributor to Her latest installment, published online last Friday, was an update on Hurricane Irma in the wake of its destructive course through the Caribbean and Florida.

Professors Clements and Bridger are well-established experts in their respective disciplines, and they are joined by many of their campus colleagues in sharing their expertise while elevating SJSU’s national profile. I want to thank all of our subject-matter experts for contributing their time and expertise to this important public service.

Our strategic journey begins

At my investiture last spring and during last month’s Fall Welcome Address, I stressed the importance of openness to embracing change if we are fully to leverage opportunities to serve students and our region as Silicon Valley’s public university.

Thursday’s official launch of our strategic planning initiative started this journey. It is clearer than ever to me that this university is capable of wonderful things. And I am confident that the work we collectively will do through next fall—strategic dreaming, as I’ve characterized it—will point us in the right direction.

We have structured the process—dialogue and study this semester; a solid draft plan developed by next spring and ready for review in May; further review and formal adoption by next December—to ensure ample time for inclusive input. During the week of Sept. 18, you will be able to attend one of many guided in-person and online conversations for various campus stakeholders.

Academic leadership searches

Searches for two key academic leadership positions—deans of the College of Humanities and the Arts and the Lurie College of Education—are underway. A third, seeking candidates to lead our College of Science as it matures plans for a science and innovation complex, will be underway very soon. We also will be preparing to launch a national search for a vice president for Student Affairs.

Updates on all searches will be published throughout the fall, and I will share key developments in future blog posts.

Accreditation follow-up

Over the last several years, our campus community engaged in discussions, data gathering and self-reflection in preparation for a routine accreditation review by the Western Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

These efforts culminated in an institutional self-study report that was submitted to the commission in August 2014. WSCUC representatives reviewed that report, visited our campus in April 2015, and submitted a report to the commission in May 2015. After consideration of the visiting team’s report, the commission reaffirmed SJSU’s accreditation for seven years (this is more fully summarized in its findings in a July 2015 letter.)

Special Visit by the accreditation team is scheduled Sept. 26 and 27 to follow up on developments in the areas of leadership, organizational climate, shared governance, and campus climate. Two open forums—one for students and another for faculty and staff members—have been scheduled for Sept. 27. Details on these forums and other background has been published online.

I am grateful for the considerable work that has gone into our accreditation review and preparations for this follow up visit. I particularly want to thank Kathleen McConnell, associate professor of rhetorical studies, who took on this important work when Professor Cami Johnson transitioned into the provost’s office and has seamlessly moved it forward.

An important note: Our accreditors understand that not everyone who may wish to participate can attend these meetings, and therefore they have established a confidential email account to give everyone the opportunity to communicate with the team.

To write to the team, please address your email to This email account was created by a WSCUC staff member and only authorized WSCUC staff and team members have access to it. The emails will not be viewed by any representative of SJSU.

Building relationships with parents, families

An eclectic mix of informative, engaging campus and social programming has been created for our second annual SJSU’s Parent and Family Weekend, Thur.-Sun., Sept. 21-24.

This year’s program includes a Friday evening reception, Saturday breakfast and conversation with members of the SJSU administration, pre-game tailgate at CEFCU Stadium and tickets to SJSU’s Mountain West Conference opening game against Utah State. Optional programming includes San Jose Sharks and San Francisco 49ers home contests, both on Thursday.

Meaningfully engaging parents and families of students is an easily-overlooked, yet important contributor to student success. When families are connected to and proud of their student’s choice of school, that pride extends to students and those around them. And, parent and family engagement fosters relationships that can deepen long after graduation.

If you are a parent or family member of a current student, please take part! And please pass along this information to others.

Community building

As we seek strategically to engage students’ families, we also continue to build bridges with partners that share our commitment to this region’s future.

Earlier this month we hosted the Knight Foundation’s national board of directors and staff for a lunch meeting in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Knight’s representatives were in San Jose for a two-day site visit to explore ways to help vitalize our city; our library—a great example of civic/university collaboration—was the perfect venue.

Knight’s local program manager Danny Harris was instrumental to bringing our institutions together; I am grateful for his commitment and efforts.

Wednesday evening, in partnership with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we hosted a dinner for a small group of Silicon Valley CEOs at the president’s residence. This was an important opportunity to serve as a convener of meaningful dialogue among key regional leaders.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate Muhammed Chaudhry ’04 Finance as he transitions away from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) after serving for 16 years as its founding CEO.

A proud Spartan, his story is San Jose State’s story. Chaudhry transformed SVEF from a fledgling non-profit into a thriving, dynamic enterprise supporting college access for K-12 students from underserved areas.  Under his leadership, the foundation became especially known for innovative approaches to STEM education, especially math readiness.

The Spartan East Side Promise is another byproduct of Chaudhry’s efforts. And, well beyond education reform, he has emerged as a leading national voice on issues affecting American Muslims.

I join other Silicon Valley leaders and the SJSU community in wishing Muhammed Chaudhry all the best as he moves forward.

Healthier campus: stronger campus

Health and wellness are top-of-mind issues for our campus.  We were an early adopter of tobacco-free policies; we have taken meaningful steps toward becoming bike-friendly; we boast a state-of-the-art Student Health Center.

SJSU has taken another step, joining Healthy Campus 2020, a growing cohort of colleges and universities nationally in a movement aimed at supporting better health among students, faculty and staff members.

The national affiliation provides to us a broad strategy and practical framework for developing wellness programs uniquely suited to our community’s interests and needs. Locally, our steering committee has adopted SJSU—Treat Yourself Well! as its launch theme.

This fall, the campaign was softly launched during Weeks of Welcome with booth presence and flyers promoting “10 Ways to Treat Yourself Well.” Healthy campus information also is available on the SJSU Sammy mobile app for Android or Apple devices. A website is in the process of being developed. The steering committee eventually hopes to create a searchable inventory of existing and planned health-related resources, programs and initiatives.

There also are plans to incorporate Healthy Campus 2020 into appropriate curriculum. Commitments already have been secured from faculty teaching two health-related courses (HS 1 and HS 104); the Center for Faculty Development is planning lunch and learn sessions; and health-related messaging is planned for faculty communications this year.

Much appreciation is owed to our steering committee and its co-chairs Kathleen Roe, chair of the Department of Health Science and Recreation; Romando Nash, associate vice president for Student Services; and Christine Wong Mineta, assistant director, Wellness and Health Promotion.

Here’s to a healthy year!

SJSU among nation’s “coolest” schools

In addition to abiding commitments to personal health and wellness, SJSU has actively promoted community health and global sustainability through meaningful creative activities and productive community partnerships.

This work—performed by our faculty and staff members and students with supreme dedication and little fanfare—was rewarded last month when the Sierra Club’s annual “Cool School” rankings placed SJSU among the nation’s 50 most sustainable colleges and universities and first among 23 CSU campuses.

This top-50 national ranking was buttressed by successes in sustainability outreach and events; waste management; and innovation.

Programs like the Spartan Superway Solar-Powered Automated Transit Network, Green Ninja, and CommUniverCity’s efforts to combat illegal dumping in partnership with the City of San Jose have established SJSU as a model for sustainability leadership among higher education institutions.

I would like to take a moment to thank all who have made this recognition possible—students engaged in community activism; faculty engaged in creative classroom and field activities; and our committed staff members in facilities development and operations. All share in this hard-earned, well-deserved recognition.

U.S. News: SJSU regionally strong; nationally recognized for supporting veterans

In U.S. News’ just-released 2017 rankings of colleges and universities, SJSU maintains its strong #6 ranking among regional public comprehensive universities.

More notably, we for the first time appear among the nation’s top veterans-serving academic institutions, ranking 20th overall and fourth among public universities. Helping veterans transition from military service into academic and career opportunities long has been a campus priority and point of pride; our latest U.S. News ranking affirms this.

Congratulations to all those in our community who support this important work and helped garner this national recognition.

Spartan Athletics: tournament success, and respect

With fall Spartan athletics squads in action all over the country, a few recent highlights deserve special mention.

Our volleyball team has opened 8-3, with a signature victory over Pepperdine and winning the Drake Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa. They defeated local rival Santa Clara Saturday for the first time since 2001, and open conference play at Nevada Tuesday.

Women’s cross country last weekend dominated the Fresno Invitational, sweeping all three podium spots and winning the team competition.

It often is said that intercollegiate athletics is about character as much as it is about wins and losses. Sometimes, that sounds very cliché; on other occasions, it rings very true.

At the SJSU/Texas football game in Austin earlier this month, Head Coach Brent Brennan and his entire staff wore “Houston Strong” t-shirts in in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Texas fans took note. I wanted to share with you two especially poignant messages:

“As a Texas Longhorn football fan, I’d like to commend Coach Brennan and the entire football staff/team on their class. Wearing the Houston strong shirts was greatness. Not many football coaches would even consider that. Please let the coaching staff, team, and entire athletic department know it was greatly appreciated. I am now a San Jose State University sports fan…”

“I am a lifelong Texas fan and Texas native and think that was one of the classiest things I have seen in College football.”

Spartan pride, indeed.

I hope that the coming weeks of fall bring our community inspiration and hope.


President Papazian’s 9/11 Remembrance

Captain Jason Dahl, an SJSU alumnus, and his crew are memorialized at The National September 11 Memorial Museum (Photo: InSapphoWeTrust, Wikimedia Commons).

Capt. Jason Dahl, an SJSU alumnus, and his crew are memorialized at The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York (Photo: skinnylawyer, Wikimedia Commons).

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11, 2017.

Dear Campus Community,

As we watch with deep concern the devastating hurricanes pummeling the southeastern United States and Caribbean, we pause this morning to remember the acts of terror on American soil 16 years ago today that stunned and forever changed our nation.

Many of our students were so young at the time that it is unlikely they recall the chilling details. Dennis and I were working and living in Michigan at the time, but I subsequently served for twelve years on campuses in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut and repeatedly encountered the painful, personal aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Capt. Jason Dahl

Capt. Jason Dahl

That pain was no stranger to the San Jose State community. Captain Jason Dahl, ’80 Aeronautics Operations, was at the helm of United Flight 93 when it crashed in western Pennsylvania after passengers and crew fought back against terrorists’ efforts to commandeer the plane.

Aviation program faculty, students and staff have paused each September 11 to remember Captain Dahl. Today, in honoring the memory of all who lost their lives on that fateful day, we especially remember one of our own for his heroism and bravery.

It also would serve us well in these times to recall what his widow, Sandy, said the following year: “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

Dr. Mary A. Papazian

A San Jose elementary school was renamed in Capt. Dahl's honor (Photo: Sugimura Finney Architects).

A San Jose elementary school was renamed in Capt. Dahl’s honor (Photo: Sugimura Finney Architects).

President Papazian’s Message on Title IX

Editor’s note: The following message is being emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 8, 2017.

Dear Campus Community,

In the time that I have been president, I have made clear—both in our words and our actions—our commitment to supporting gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Among many things, this means honoring the principles and policies enumerated in federal Title IX regulations and Executive Orders promulgated by the California State University. Our values demand nothing less. I also have acknowledged that we would learn from past actions and apply what we have learned moving forward.

Establishing and maturing an Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to lead diversity and equity programming and training was a seminal step. Growing our pool of trained Title IX investigators and other community members was another. Together, this has enabled us to offer expertise, support and guidance to students, faculty and staff members; adhere consistently to all rules governing how we investigate and resolve complaints under Title IX and other regulations; and ensure that all parties—complainants, respondents and witnesses—are treated fairly.

Progress to date includes:

  • Hiring four Title IX officers and training 20 “divisional liaisons” able to interpret Title IX processes for faculty and staff members across the university;
  • Investing in an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including new personnel and expanded programming;
  • Training more than 1,100 faculty and staff members to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities to recognize and report Title IX violations;
  • Implementing equity and diversity programming for new students and faculty in the on-boarding processes, and;
  • Delivering face-to-face training to 9,000 new freshmen, transfer and graduate students during summer orientation, as well as to continuing students, faculty and staff members.

While considerable progress is being made, there is much more to be done. I will update you throughout the year on our efforts. Meanwhile, we will be monitoring closely the developments from the U.S. Department of Education as it unveils any new directives regarding Title IX guidelines relating to sexual assault investigations. At the same time, I want to assure our community that we will continue to be guided by policies and protocols established by CSU Executive Orders, which themselves conform to California law and require swift and thorough action by our university in all cases.  We will continue to uphold all standards of due process and maintain unwavering commitment to the requirements of these laws and policies.

I will be in touch as we learn more about the latest federal regulatory actions and how they might impact our community.

Dr. Mary A. Papazian


President Papazian’s Message on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 5, 2017. California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White shared a message on the same topic with the CSU community. Five of the state’s top educational leaders shared a message with California’s congressional delegation.

Dear campus community,

The phase out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program just announced by the attorney general will impact many members of our community—those with DACA status as well as the many who work, live, and learn alongside them—while heightening fear and anxiety.

As I previously have observed, ensuring access to a quality education is neither a partisan nor political issue; it is our mission. Since its adoption in 2012, DACA has provided stability and opportunity to many students and some of the faculty and staff members who serve them. Every one of these individuals is intrinsic to the fabric of our uniquely diverse community. Viewed through this lens, today’s news is deeply disappointing.

It would be imprudent of me to speculate about the scope or speed of changes that may be coming our way. But I want to offer this assurance: my administration stands with the leadership of the California State University (CSU) in its unwavering commitment to DACA students.

Some students who may be affected by changes to DACA also receive state financial aid under AB 540. That support is not affected by today’s action.

I also want to assure you that I will lend my voice and influence, as I have been doing, to urging that all of our students continue to enjoy the freedom, safety and security to lift themselves and their communities through the pursuit of knowledge.

In the meantime, we are continuing to collaborate with student organizations and other campus partners to ensure that emotional, academic and other forms of support are available to students and who need them.

The CSU has created and is continuing to update an FAQ with updates on many DACA-related issues. As new information becomes available, we will be sure to share it.

Mary A. Papazian

SJSU Welcomes 33,000 Students to Fall 2017

Students return as classes begin (Photo: David Schmitz).

Students return as fall 2017 classes begin (Photo: David Schmitz).

San Jose State University is pleased to welcome 33,000 students to campus for fall semester 2017. Classes begin Aug. 23

New to SJSU are more than 4,500 frosh—that’s our largest freshman class ever—as well as more than 4,500 transfer students.

Join us in extending a warm Spartan welcome to these students plus the 60 tenure-track faculty members and 30 academic advisers who begin work here this week.

Faculty members and students began flooding campus on Monday, many donning eclipse glasses to view this rare celestial occurrence.

A group of SJSU student researchers were among the first in the nation to study the event. The meteorology majors traveled to Oregon to measure the eclipse’s impact on the weather.

Back on campus, the changes are many. More than 4,000 students moved into the residence halls Aug. 19 and 20.

A recent study shows that these days, approximately 15,000 students live within three miles of SJSU, a commuter campus no more.

Welcome events began Monday for faculty members in all the colleges, and for various student groups, including Educational Opportunity Program juniors or seniors.

They received a pep talk from Peter Khoury, ’03 Civil Engineering. First in his family to graduate and now a successful businessman, he emphasized the value of a college degree.

New banners line the road to CEFCU Stadium (Photo: David Schmitz).

New banners line the road to CEFCU Stadium (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Mary A. Papazian will deliver her second annual Fall Welcome Address at noon Aug. 24 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Papazian shared her views on current events in a recent message to campus. On Thursday, she will offer a vision for SJSU’s future, embracing liberal arts in an innovation based-economy.

Among the many other changes over the summer are major progress on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, and have you seen the park-and-ride shuttle buses?

How about the new street banners running from the main campus to South Campus? Check them out on your way to the first football game 4:30 p.m. Aug. 26 against USF.

President Papazian Delivers 2017 Fall Welcome Address

Media Contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748,
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749,

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary A. Papazian delivered the 2017 Fall Welcome Address to the university community at noon Aug. 24 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Papazian invited the audience to reimagine how San Jose State prepares Silicon Valley’s workforce and embraces the role of the liberal arts in an innovation-based economy. Read her prepared remarks.

President Papazian delivers the Fall Welcome Address Aug. 24 at the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Photojournalism).

President Papazian delivers the Fall Welcome Address Aug. 24 at the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom (Photos: James Tensuan, ’15 Photojournalism).

Academic Senate Chair Stefan Frazier opened the event and welcome attendees. The speech is an annual tradition marking the start of the academic year.

Stefan Frazier addresses faculty and students before President Papazian's Fall Welcome Address.

Academic Senate Chair Stefan Frazier addresses the crowd.

All students, faculty, staff, community members and the news media were invited to attend. The event was streamed live.

About San Jose 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 eight colleges.

With more than 33,000 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 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

President Papazian’s Pre-Semester Reflections

Dear Campus Community,

In the days preceding the start of each academic year, our focus ordinarily is on welcoming resident students during move-in weekend, preparing for the beginning of fall classes, and readying our campus for the return of all students and faculty.

It should be a time of optimism and excitement—and we are busily engaged in this important work. Yet this is no ordinary year, as recent incidents at home and abroad have starkly reminded us.

The deadly violence, racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism on display recently at the University of Virginia were an affront to our sensibilities. I was sickened by what I observed, and can imagine there may be concerns about similar activity occurring closer to home—or even on our own campus.

Meanwhile, in just the last 48 hours, we have been jolted by several deadly terrorist acts throughout western Europe.

As a civilized, caring community, we condemn this outrageous, indefensible behavior while affirming our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and respect for individual differences.

All of these incidents understandably may make it harder to focus on all that we have to look forward to this year. It is important to acknowledge our concern for the victims of these attacks, as well as our own feelings of sadness and outrage. I encourage you to take advantage of the counseling services available to students, faculty and staff members.

In the meantime, much effort has gone into making move-in weekend memorable and as smooth as possible. If you are among our resident students arriving over the next few days, be assured that you can expect a warm Spartan welcome from the many members of the campus community there to lend a hand.


Mary A. Papazian

President Papazian’s Mid-Summer Blog

In one of her popular novels, Along for the Ride, author Sarah Dessen writes that “… in the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”

Things are on pause for many students and faculty members, although some faculty members are teaching and many more are conducting research or otherwise participating in university service, while many students are working or taking summer courses. I hope some of you also are finding time to travel, spend time with family and friends, or simply to rest!

For our staff, while the summer months somewhat alter the rhythm and tenor of daily campus life, much important work is happening. I doubt that many would say things have slowed down!

Much is happening and, as Ms. Dessen observes, anything is possible. I have updates on several summer priorities later in this blog. But first, I want briefly to reflect on the Commencement season and its meaning for our community.

2017 Commencement: Institutional, personal milestones reached

As I noted in my last blog, the opportunity to confer degrees and celebrate with graduates and their families is a signature moment of each academic year. This year’s Commencement celebration at CEFCU Stadium was noteworthy in several respects.

Record degrees awarded

A record number of degrees—slightly under 10,000—was conferred this spring, including the first-ever doctoral degrees awarded by SJSU to graduates of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program. (The Doctor of Nursing Practice, or D.N.P. degree, is offered in collaboration with Fresno State.)

With 2017 graduates added to the existing living alumni population, Spartan Nation has now grown to nearly 270,000, a significant majority of whom live and work in the Bay Area. This is a powerful reminder of the enormous contribution Spartans make to the rich diversity, intellectual vibrancy and economic vitality of our region and state.

It also is a reminder of the importance of forming and sustaining connections with recent—and all—graduates through alumni, athletics and other university programming. Ensuring our long-term institutional impact depends on it.

Spartans honored

Two Spartans were honored at the May Commencement ceremony: SJSU alumna Ysabel Duron, ’70 Journalism, delivered an impassioned Commencement address, and Phil Boyce, ’66 Business Administration, was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters. I had the opportunity to spend time with both Ysabel and Phil and was impressed by their Spartan pride and the honor each felt at being invited to participate meaningfully in such a signature university event.

Deferred celebration

Speaking of pride, one of our graduates and his family celebrated some 44 years after he wrapped up his studies. I encourage you to read this wonderful story of Spartan grit and determination.

Directional shift

Meanwhile, a tweak in this year’s stadium Commencement ceremony moved the platform ninety degrees from its traditional location, with field seating for graduates and faculty members facing south instead of west.

As a result, access to the field and visual sight lines for guests improved. These were small, yet important shifts intended to improve the Commencement experience for all participants. Feedback from participants and others generally was positive; we also received helpful suggestions for further refinements.

We all know how important Commencement is to graduates, their families and friends, and our community. And we surely appreciate its centrality to our mission.

With this in mind, throughout the year I have solicited input from campus stakeholders and others on how we might further enhance the planning and staging of this seminal campus ceremony. I have received much heartfelt, substantive input. There are several oft-repeated points:

  • There appears to be strong desire to find ways to increase participation among students and faculty in the official degree-conferring Commencement ceremony.
  • While there are many opinions about the factors contributing to generally low student and faculty participation, some have wondered if scheduling Commencement over Memorial Day weekend, as well as staging many smaller celebrations in advance of the formal Commencement, are prominent factors.
  • There is an openness to rethinking how Commencement is staged. Some have asked if we might hold several smaller Commencement ceremonies (perhaps organized by college) in lieu of one large-scale stadium event. There also is sentiment for moving the official ceremony away from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, perhaps to a mid-week day before the holiday.

I want to express appreciation to all members of our community whose dedication to student success made it possible to confer a record number of degrees this spring and to all who make Commencement itself the memorable, celebratory moment we all desire.

I also am grateful for the interest many of you have expressed in further improving the Commencement experience, and for the specific ideas and suggestions that have been offered. This conversation surely will continue into the forthcoming academic year!

Meantime, much is happening

In the wake of a very active and consequential year, we now are regrouping and looking forward, with, I hope, a bit of time for reflection and rest.

There are many reasons to be excited. Among them:

Spartan student-athletes honored for academic success

We all can celebrate a record number of SJSU student-athletes garnering academic all-conference recognition this year. Seventy-seven Spartans from nine spring sports squads were honored by the Mountain West conference, while 158 student-athletes throughout the 2016-17 academic year were recognized by the four conferences with which SJSU is affiliated.

Each of these students maintained at least a 3.00 grade point average while competing in at least half of their team’s competitions—no easy feat. Congratulations to each of these stellar Spartans!

Facility construction and upgrades

Work is completed, underway or planned in many areas of campus. Among them: safety upgrades in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and several residence halls; construction of the recreation and aquatics center; the recent opening of the south campus golf practice facility and ongoing planning for a second phase of upgrades on our South Campus; modernization of Morris Dailey Auditorium; and the return to campus of our College of International and Extended Studies (CIES) to the first floor of the Diaz Compean Student Union.

Administration and Finance will continue to offer updates on these and other ongoing efforts to make our campus more hospitable to students, employees and visitors.

Campus strategic planning

Under the shared leadership of Provost and Senior Vice President Andy Feinstein and Academic Senate Chair Professor Stefan Frazier, a roadmap for developing a long-term campus strategic plan is being constructed while a comprehensive report summarizing the impacts of Vision 2017 is finalized. We will publish that closing report in August.

I am pleased to see such collaborative progress in developing a rubric for future planning. At present, the tentative plan calls for us to kick off our strategic planning process with a campus event on September 14, followed shortly thereafter by a series of facilitated input-gathering conversations for all campus and community stakeholders.

The insights from those initial conversations will form the basis for further campus analysis and study during the 2017-18 academic year, culminating in a draft plan for us to review and discuss next spring.

How we go about developing our long-range plans is every bit as important as the plans that will evolve from this work. I am fully committed to involving campus and community stakeholders in thoughtful, transparent dialogue. Developing a long-range strategic plan for propelling SJSU to the forefront of urban public universities will be as important as anything we undertake this year. I am counting on and look forward to your active engagement in this conversation.

The president’s cabinet also will devote considerable time this summer—including a multi-day retreat—to long-range strategic issues. I will update you on those conversations in future blog posts.

Strengthening our capacity for excellence

As SJSU continues to evolve into a first-choice destination for many prospective students, we also are focusing on addressing the implications of enrollment growth. This fall, we anticipate that undergraduate enrollment will exceed earlier projections by several hundred students, as we welcome more than 4,300 new freshmen and another 4,300 transfer students to our campus community. This will create multiple impacts, including our ability to offer campus housing to all interested students.

The pace of activity on campus recently has picked up as new first-year students and family members began arriving for the first of sixteen summer orientation sessions taking place between July 7 and August 16. Our last graduate student orientation will take place on August 17.

Summer orientation and related programming for new students demands considerable planning and effort. I am grateful to the many campus community members who contribute to this important work and help prepare students for the rigors of university life.

When students do arrive each fall, faculty are central to their university experience. Added financial support from the state has permitted us to hire 130 new tenure-track faculty members in the last two years. We hope to continue this pace of hiring in the coming budget year.

We have strengthened our capacity to act strategically, hiring Bob Lim as SJSU’s vice president for IT and CIO. Bob, who started work on June 30, brings deep academic and technology industry expertise, abiding passion for the mission of the public university—himself a graduate of San Francisco State University—and a track record for student and faculty-focused innovation. I know you will enjoy getting to know him.

We also are strengthening our academic leadership. Our new dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, Dr. Sheryl Ehrman, joined us earlier this month. I want to take this opportunity to welcome Sheryl to campus and to express gratitude to Professor Ping Hsu for his interim leadership. Recruitments for deans to lead the Lurie College of Education, College of Science, and College of Humanities and the Arts all will be active this fall.

I also am pleased to welcome several faculty members to new administrative roles for the coming academic year. Dr. Michael Kimbarow, long-time faculty member in Communication Sciences and Disorders and recent chair of the Academic Senate, has been named interim AVP for Faculty Affairs; Dr. Michael Kaufman, chair of Physics and Astronomy, has been named interim Dean of the College of Science; and Dr. Shannon Miller, chair of English and Comparative Literature, has been named interim Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts.  Thanks to all of our colleagues for agreeing to take on these new roles!

Mixed news from Washington

We’ve seen both positive and unsettling news out of Washington.

On a positive note, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that summer Pell Grants will be available to eligible students beginning July 1. I was in Washington D.C. for meetings with university and federal policy leaders, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, when this long over-due news was announced.

This is an important policy change, helping eligible students shorten their time to degrees by allowing them to enroll in summer coursework without incurring additional personal debt. This also could meaningfully impact the utilization of our campus during the summer months; it may be a worthwhile topic for campus consideration in strategic planning.

Students with questions about the Pell Grant program may contact our Financial Aid office.

At the same time, the United States Supreme Court last month authorized the federal government temporarily to implement certain provisions from the international travel ban, originally proposed last winter but on hold pending multiple judicial challenges. The high court also agreed to take up the broad executive order this fall.

We have been seeking clarity as to how these developments may impact current or prospective international students and others. But, as I observed in January when efforts to restrict international travel to the U.S. from specified countries were first proposed, we have been and will remain focused on supporting all students, faculty and staff members impacted by travel or other immigration restrictions.

As soon as we are better informed about the potential impacts of these actions, we will be sure to offer additional guidance.

Encouraging development(s) in downtown San Jose

Many of you have heard me observe that great universities and great cities are inextricably connected.

Two downtown development opportunities have been announced in the last month; each would help revitalize our city’s downtown core and offer intriguing opportunities for SJSU students, faculty and community members.

In early June, city leaders announced that they had entered discussions with Google about building a mixed-use development near the Diridon transit hub and SAP Center that could bring up to 20,000 jobs and millions of square feet of office and R&D space to the center of our city. And late last week, Adobe Systems disclosed plans to expand its downtown headquarters by acquiring adjacent property that could house 3,000 additional workers, more than twice its local workforce presence.

With a daytime population exceeding 40,000 (combining students, employees and visitors), SJSU is downtown San Jose’s oldest, largest and busiest epicenter of activity. The addition of a Google “village” and expansion of Adobe’s presence would add dynamism to the western edge of downtown San Jose even as we remain its easternmost anchor.

This poses interesting questions for city and regional planners as they sort out related infrastructure issues, including the strategic placement of downtown BART stations and access to affordable housing. And as Silicon Valley’s go-to provider of talent across many disciplines, SJSU naturally will look to forge deeper ties with Google and Adobe benefiting our students and faculty.

Stay tuned!

Putting SJSU on the map

The colorful banners adorning the perimeter of our main campus and adjacent to Hammer Theatre were part of a limited, internally-focused rollout of a new SJSU visual identity and brand platform.

Other iterations of this work include profiles of Spartans showcased on banners along campus paseos and a companion website; various creative treatments throughout the interior of the Diaz Compean Student Union; and selected Spartan apparel and other merchandise.

As the fall semester gets underway, our branding campaign will expand to include SJSU banners flying along several additional downtown streets, around the entire perimeter of our South Campus, and inside CEFCU Stadium.

You also will see several buses running through portions of downtown between the South Campus park-and-ride lot and main campus. These “roving billboards” will help amplify SJSU’s presence and, I believe, further enhance Spartan pride.

In the meantime, I hope that you are able to enjoy summer’s longer, warmer days, and I look forward to resuming monthly blog posts as we approach the start of the fall term.

President Papazian’s May Blog

I want to begin this month’s blog by expressing heartfelt concern for the victims of Monday’s terror attack in Manchester, U.K., their families and friends, and all those who are impacted by this senseless act of violence.

Six SJSU students have been studying abroad in England; I’m able to report that all six have been contacted since the attack and we have confirmed that they are safe and sound.

Closer to home, we are at long last enjoying some of the fruits of spring—sunnier skies; blossoming trees; a sense of new possibilities. It is about time!

April was National Poetry Month, established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.

As a student and scholar of literature I long have found unique inspiration from poetry, ranging from the works of such classic poets as John Donne—the subject of my own scholarly efforts—to contemporary, less heralded writers such as British poet Angela Wybrow.

Wybrow observes in a poem called Spring: New Beginnings that “…the season heralds a bright new dawn,” and “…there’s a sense of hope at this time of year.”

This indeed is a hopeful and bright season, dawning with possibilities. On our campus, it is a time to celebrate SJSU’s legacy as we prepare to plan for our future; to bid farewell to this year’s graduates; and to continue to deepen our relationships with community partners.

Inaugural Week Reflections

The many events and activities that preceded the May 4 inaugural ceremony celebrated our campus’s remarkable legacy and promise, showcased the creative, academic and operational excellence of our students, faculty and staff, and illuminated issues of global significance.

Ours is a community of uncommon cultural, intellectual and personal diversity. These attributes were revealed in the array of lectures, exhibits, concerts and other pre-inaugural events that were held on campus and in our community. As I observed on several occasions throughout the week, these moments afforded us a unique opportunity to celebrate our storied past and reflect a bit on the grand promise that awaits us. It is my hope that you were able to enjoy some or all of them.


The investiture ceremony itself brought together members of our campus community; professional colleagues who have profoundly influenced my career and life; leaders from the CSU and numerous sister campuses; elected and community leaders; and members of my immediate and extended family and friends.

While mindful of the important ceremonial and symbolic nature of this moment, the investiture—taken from the term “investment”—affirmed my commitment to the campus and to you. This is a promise that I take very seriously, and which I attempted to convey in my inaugural address while also reflecting on SJSU’s legacy and promise and the personal and professional journey that brought me here.

I am deeply grateful for the trust that has been placed in me by CSU trustees, Chancellor White, the individuals who served on the presidential search advisory committee and our community. My first year here has fully affirmed my belief that together, we can fulfill our extraordinary potential.

Many of you have heard me say that coming to SJSU was a “homecoming” after nearly three decades of service to public universities in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Dennis and I indeed feel very much “at home,” and we deeply appreciate the extraordinary effort that went into planning the investiture and all of its accompanying activities. Select news coverage and social media content and a video of the ceremony are available online.

Gala Celebration

The Inspiration to Innovation gala in our Event Center beautifully capped the week. SJSU alumnus Luis Valdez, ’64 English, the acclaimed playwright, activist and father of Chicano theater, received the 2017 Tower Award. Joe Pinto, a senior vice president at Cisco Systems and collaborator in several nascent academic initiatives, received a community partner award.

Luis’ spellbinding remarks truly embodied the meaning of “inspiration.” He spoke lovingly and passionately about his experience as an SJSU student, declaring that “…I learned diversity, I learned multi-versity in this university.”

The resumption in 2016 of an annual gala celebration at SJSU, benefiting students through individual and institutional philanthropy, is an important building block in broader efforts to attract private support.

Building on this momentum, the 2017 gala attracted a diverse array of sponsors. The support of these partners reflects growing respect for and belief in SJSU’s role in powering Silicon Valley.

Please bookmark October 18, 2018 for the next Inspiration to Innovation gala. I promise you, it will be special!

Commencement Season

Among the most powerful of our celebrations this spring are those that showcase the success of our students. Commencement season  culminates this Saturday, May 27 with the official campus commencement ceremony at CEFCU Stadium.

I was thrilled to see the large number of students who achieved President’s Scholar or Dean’s Scholar status and were recognized in front of a capacity Event Center crowd at this year’s Honors Convocation on April 28. It truly was a pleasure to participate in honoring these outstanding graduating seniors and to witness the immense pride and excitement among family members, friends and campus community members there to celebrate with them.

In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of the entire Class of 2017, this Saturday’s commencement ceremony will confer doctoral degrees on SJSU’s first cohort to complete the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership; hear what I know will be an inspiring commencement address from Spartan alumna, legendary journalist, cancer survivor and Latina leader Ysabel Duron ’70 Journalism; and confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Tower Foundation Board member and long-time Silicon Valley business leader Phil Boyce.

I strongly encourage you to join us the morning of May 27 for what I truly believe is the signature moment of our academic year.

Fall 2017 Admissions

As we prepare to bid farewell to the graduating Class of 2017, we also are preparing to welcome a highly diverse and large—potentially, the largest ever—cohort of new students this fall.

Throughout the spring, Student Affairs worked strategically and diligently on outreach to this year’s admitted applicants. Admitted Spartan Day in early April attracted a spirited crowd of ten thousand prospective students, families and friends to campus for a day of programming and personal engagement.

I want personally to thank the many members of the SJSU community—450 volunteers from all over campus—who ensured that this important annual outreach event was welcoming and successful.

Although we will not know the precise size or composition of the new class until late summer—some students inevitably withdraw their commitments prior to the first day of the fall term—we should be proud of the very strong response from this year’s admitted first-year and transfer students. San José State clearly has become a “first choice” institution!

Key Leadership Recruitments

A strong institution depends on strong leadership, and I am pleased to report that we are nearing completion of recruitments for several key academic and administrative leaders, each of whom will play an important role in strengthening our leadership and enhancing our capacity to serve students and all members of our campus community. Here is an update on each:

Dean, Lurie College of Education

Campus visits by finalists for this important academic leadership role concluded on May 8.  Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein and I are grateful to search committee chair Professor Michael Kimbarow and other members of the committee for their efforts to date.

We also have been conducting two cabinet-level positions:

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

As I have shared in previous communications, the successful candidate will play an integral role in developing university-wide strategies and action plans to enhance the use of technology in support of our strategic goals. Given our presence in Silicon Valley and proximity to the world’s most innovative technology companies, SJSU should be a leader in the deployment of technology to support student and institutional success. The addition of an experienced technology executive will help enable us to fulfill this vision.

Several finalists recently visited campus. We will update you as soon as we have determined next steps.

Director of Athletics

Last Friday we announced the appointment of Marie Tuite as SJSU’s next director of Athletics. Marie stood out among a group of excellent candidates, demonstrating the unique mix of experience, expertise and commitment to educational values needed to ensure that intercollegiate athletics is deeply woven into the fabric of campus life.

We already are seeing evidence of momentum in Spartan athletics in the wake of the hiring of Brent Brennan as head football coach, a comprehensive sponsorship agreement with Adidas, and philanthropic support that is fueling a comprehensive renovation of our South Campus facilities.

I am convinced that Marie can sustain this energy while providing strategic leadership and direction for a program placing a priority on student success through academic achievement and athletic excellence.

Congratulations, Marie!

Community Engagement

My last blog included some reflections on SJSU’s role in shaping policies that meaningfully will impact the future of central San Jose and the broader region. In particular, I focused on looming decisions about transportation enhancements including the extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) into San Jose’s downtown.

This is only one among numerous policy issues in which SJSU, as the downtown’s top employer and landowner, should meaningfully be involved. With 10,000 students living within four miles of our campus, a total student and employee population exceeding 40,000, and more than 200,000 average monthly visitors to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. library, we have an important role to play in housing, public safety, economic development and transportation planning.

Last month, I was invited to share some of our long-range thinking about these issues at a breakfast meeting convened by SPUR San Jose. My presentation included a campus update as well as historical perspective on SJSU’s enduring role in shaping—literally and otherwise—the character of downtown San Jose over the past century-and-a-half.

This is a conversation that we should continue to have, both within and beyond our campus community, and we will be seeking opportunities to do so in coming months. I look forward to engaging campus urban planning experts and others as we evolve and broaden this dialogue.

In Pursuit of Equity, Locally and Globally

I believe we should help remove barriers to success for everyone. No identity characteristic—including one’s gender—should impede or limit educational or career opportunities.

The third annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference, hosted in late March by our Davidson College of Engineering, was designed with this aspiration in mind.

Professor Belle Wei, who as Guidry Chair for Engineering Education spearheads efforts to broaden opportunities for all SJSU engineering students, shared a startling statistic: women account for less than twenty percent of engineering and computing graduates while representing close to sixty percent of all college graduates.

More than 80 SJSU faculty members joined presenters from Silicon Valley technology companies—some of them Spartan alumni—in a day of programs focused on emerging technologies and personal and professional development.

I am heartened to see this type of creativity and resourcefulness in preparing our students for future workplace opportunities and challenges.

Barriers to personal and professional growth—particularly for women—are not confined to Silicon Valley. In late April, I attended a conference hosted by the American University of Armenia (AUA) on the Empowerment of Girls and Women, where I served as the opening plenary speaker.

This was a meaningful opportunity for me professionally and personally, bringing me to my ancestral home—a fledgling republic established 25 years ago after the breakup of the former Soviet Union—just days before the April 25 anniversary of the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide.

In my remarks, I highlighted unique issues facing women in Armenia and the extent to which, to the surprise of some attendees, they are similar to conditions confronting women in America and all over the world. These synergies form the basis for opportunities for a global academic and cultural partnership between AUA and SJSU, and other higher education institutions in Armenia and globally, which we will explore in the coming months.

Telling SJSU’s Story

Throughout the spring, SJSU has garnered a steady stream of national and local news coverage highlighting the expertise and accomplishments of students, faculty and staff. Faculty experts commented on reaction to the U.S. military strike on Syria; deliberations in the U.S. Senate on the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; cutting edge research projects involving fire weather science and vehicles of the future; Facebook’s response to live crimes and fake news; and reputation challenges facing major U.S. companies and the White House.

Closer to home, there were features on the Paseo Prototyping Challenge and Festival at the Hammer Theatre; a creative potential solution to local homelessness; a Money Magazine feature ranking SJSU favorably among public universities delivering the strongest “rate of return” for humanities graduates, and a study ranking SJSU ahead of all Ivy League schools for placing graduates in Silicon Valley’s 25 largest technology companies.

And, as a strong dose of Spartan pride, I encourage you to view the video of assistant football coach Alonzo Carter’s “dance moves” that inspired players and fellow coaches. Upon going viral, it was featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show and ESPN and attracted at least fourteen million online views on social media.

I also am very proud to share this video profile of our own Dr. Debra Griffith, winner of this year’s CSU Wang Family Excellence Award in the Outstanding Administrator category.

Dr. Griffith’s work as associate vice president, Transition and Retention Services and director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is a stellar example of our institutional commitment to student success. Congratulations, Debra! You are an inspiration to all Spartans.

Athletics Update

Hearty congratulations to our Spartan softball squad, which qualified for the NCAA tournament after winning the Mountain West Conference championship. Over last weekend in Los Angeles, the team opened with a victory over CSU Fullerton—the first NCAA win in program history—before being eliminated in a 1-0 loss to Fullerton on Saturday night.

This accomplishment is all the more impressive considering that they spent the entire 2017 season away from their home field due to ongoing renovations to South Campus athletic facilities.

Speaking of those renovations, we will celebrate the official opening of the South Campus golf complex at a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1.

I wish everyone the very best in these final days of spring term as we prepare to celebrate commencement and the beginning of summer.

And, I look forward to seeing many of you at Saturday’s commencement ceremonies at CEFCU Stadium as well as other end-of-semester celebrations taking place on and around campus.


SJSU Names Seasoned Administrator and Committed Spartan Marie Tuite to Serve as Athletics Director

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748,
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217,

San Jose, Calif. — President Mary A. Papazian announced today that she has appointed Marie Tuite to serve as the university’s next athletics director. A seasoned administrator and committed Spartan who had been heading Spartan Athletics on an interim basis, Tuite brings to the office a lifetime of professional experience in athletics leadership that she began as an aspiring teacher and outstanding collegiate basketball and field hockey player.

“We searched nationally for the best athletics director we could find—and we found her, right here,” President Papazian said. “Marie Tuite has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the success of all students, to our university’s mission, and to the principle that athletics should be woven into the fabric of the university.”

As the search committee found (members listed below), Tuite’s accomplishments are many. She spent five years working in the NCAA head office. She has served in leadership roles on six college campuses including the past seven years at San Jose State. She played an integral role in major initiatives such as securing SJSU’s membership in the Mountain West, cultivating new revenue sources, recruiting and supporting key personnel, and the planning and implementation of a massive update to SJSU’s athletics facilities.

“I am delighted that we have found in Marie Tuite an outstanding leader who has so clearly and amply demonstrated what we were seeking: an enthusiastic, committed, hardworking, forward thinking athletics director firmly focused on the success of all our students during their time here and after graduation,” said Annette Nellen, search committee chair, SJSU Athletics Board chair, and professor of accounting and finance.

Accomplished collegiate sports leader

Tuite will also leave her mark in SJSU history as the first woman to serve as athletics director since San Jose State combined its men’s and women’s programs in 1987 and one of just a handful of women to lead an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program. At a news conference announcing her appointment, she thanked colleagues, mentors, family and friends for their support, and she vowed to make the same opportunities available to everyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m excited to take on these new responsibilities as San Jose State’s next athletics director. I’m looking forward to working with our campus and community partners, donors, and most importantly, our student athletes, coaches and Athletics Department staff,” Tuite said. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work closely with President Papazian, and I’m elated with the new opportunity.”

During her tenure, the Spartans played in and won two football bowl games and won 11 conference championships in seven sports, including incredible performances this year by tennis and softball, earning both teams NCAA tournament berths.

Tuite’s many contributions since arriving at SJSU in 2010 include:

  • administering the athletics department’s $26 million budget in support of 450 student athletes, 110 staff members and 20 sports;
  • helping cinch a naming rights agreement for CEFCU Stadium, the Home of the Spartans, and an all-sports apparel partnership with Adidas;
  • eliminating a $2.3 million department deficit while bringing five new sports to campus: men’s water polo, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, beach volleyball, men’s track and field;
  • serving as the administrative lead for the football, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s golf programs.

Committed teacher and mentor

Previous to San Jose State, Tuite served as senior associate athletics director for sports programs at the University of Washington, assistant women’s athletics director at UC Berkeley, assistant director of championships for the NCAA, and special assistant to the athletics director at Seattle University. She began her career as a physical education instructor at primary and secondary schools before moving on to coaching and teaching at Alma College, all in her home state of Michigan.

Tuite remains committed to teaching and mentoring, serving as an adjunct professor for the University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership master’s program. She earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in athletics administration from Central Michigan University, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Tuite holds memberships in the National Association of College Directors of Athletics, Women Leaders in College Sports, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is the proud mother of two grown sons.

Search committee members

  • Annette Nellen, Search Committee Chair, SJSU Athletics Board Chair, and Professor of Accounting and Finance
  • Stefan Frazier, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Language Development and Academic Senate Vice Chair
  • Brandon Clarke and Nicole Iloanya, Students
  • Wayne Wright, Women’s Gymnastics Head Coach
  • Steve Caplan, Alumnus and Tower Board Member
  • Walt Jacobs, Dean of the College of Social Sciences
  • Jaye Bailey, Vice President for Organizational Development and Chief of Staff
  • Paul Lanning, Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Board CEO
  • Andy Feinstein, Provost and Senior Vice President

About San Jose 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 eight 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

About San Jose State University Athletics

San Jose State University’s athletics program sponsors 20 NCAA Division I sports (7 men’s and 13 women’s) and offers an intercollegiate athletics experience to at least 450 student-athletes annually. The Spartans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football. San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West — a conference of 12 football-playing schools in the Pacific, Mountain and Hawaiian time zones.


Mary A. Papazian Inaugurated as SJSU’s 30th President

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shortly after her formal investiture ceremony (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Photojournalism).

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shortly after her formal investiture ceremony (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Photojournalism).

At her inauguration May 4 as San Jose State University’s 30th president, Mary A. Papazian brought her father and brothers to tears when she took to the podium to describe her late mother as a teacher who inspired generations of students to excel.

“A mentor strongly encouraged my mom to pursue her doctoral degree in education at Stanford,” Papazian said in her inaugural address. “But she had already met my father at UCLA, and they married young—which is what you did in those days—and my three brothers and I were born in short order. So rather than pursue her doctoral degree, my mom earned a teaching credential.”

She said her mother prepared all her students—her own children included—for college. Papazian followed through with her mother’s dream of completing a doctorate and has eclipsed it by becoming the first woman of Armenian descent to become president of a major public university.

Spartans, educational leaders, local and state officials, faith leaders and community members gathered at 9:30 a.m. on Tower Lawn for the festivities. A recording of the event is available on the SJSU website.

Association of American Colleges and Universities President Lynn Pasquerella lauds Papazian's commitment to education (Photo: David Schmitz).

Association of American Colleges and Universities President Lynn Pasquerella lauds Papazian’s commitment to education (Photo: David Schmitz).

Chancellor Tim White secures a medallion President Papazian received to mark the occasion (Photo: David Schmitz).

Chancellor Tim White secures a medallion President Papazian received to mark the occasion (Photo: David Schmitz).

The ceremony started off with a procession of visiting honorees and SJSU community members decked out in a rainbow of regalia colors. Papazian was the last one to enter the ceremony, aptly dressed in robes of Spartan blue and gold.

“It is with enormous gratitude and deep humility that I embrace the opportunity to lead this storied institution,” she said.

Hundreds of people gathered on the sunny morning, with President Papazian’s husband Dennis, her two daughters, and extended family who traveled from as far as Taiwan and Switzerland, present to celebrate the momentous occasion. Papazian, who joined SJSU in July, was officially invested as university president in the moment when CSU Chancellor Timothy White placed a ceremonial gold medallion around her neck after dozens of campus and community members lauded her.

The theme for the morning’s festivities included the legacy of SJSU as the founding CSU campus and the promise that the university holds for the future, especially as a leader in the community.

Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow, a professor of communicative disorders and sciences, and Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged the important connection between the campus and the neighboring community.

“A great city like San Jose is even greater for having a world-class university in its midst,” Liccardo said.

When Liccardo presented Papazian with a resolution from the city, he mentioned the exuberance and joy she expresses when she talks about the university. He touted the institution’s importance to driving innovation in the most technologically-advanced region in the world. He also noted the sense of community she has built since joining the campus.

“It’s more than just Mary’s 30 family members here today,” Liccardo said. “It’s Mary’s 35,000 family members.”

CSU Fullerton Mildred Garcia, who has known Papazian for many years, remarked on her accomplishments through the years.

“There are shards of glass on her shoulders because of all the glass ceilings she had to crash through to be here,” Garcia said, adding that Papazian joins 10 other female CSU presidents. “Welcome to the CSU, Sister Mary Papazian.”

After the event, President Papazian receives hugs from daughters Ani and Marie Papazian (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Papazian's father, Hagop Arshagouni, was among 30 family members who attended the inauguration (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Papazian’s father, Hagop Arshagouni, was among 30 family members who attended the inauguration (Photo: David Schmitz).

Papazian weaved in personal anecdotes about her background as the daughter of immigrants, as a scholar of Renaissance literature and as a mother of two with thoughts on the university’s future during her inaugural address.

She mused about how she came to lead a university in the middle of Silicon Valley that is best known for its science, technology, engineering and math programs.

“The Renaissance was a transformative moment in human history,” she said. “And we now are in the midst of another period of transformative change.”

Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and a long-time friend of Papazian’s, offered some personal reflections during the morning ceremony and lauded her commitment to education.

“It is a dedication informed by her profound empathy, moral imagination, her own lived experience and her Armenian heritage,” Pasquerella said. “She understands the link between liberal education and civic engagement….Her leadership holds a potential for the re-envisioning of the landscape of higher education because of her moral courage, intellect and commitment to the community.”

Papazian closed the ceremony with a reflection on the greatest asset of the university.

“The true greatness of San Jose State University is revealed in its people,” Papazian said during her inaugural address. “In each of you. Our people are our legacy. And they are our promise.”


Mary A. Papazian to be Inaugurated as San Jose State University’s 30th President

Dr. Mary A. Papazian (Photo by: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Dr. Mary A. Papazian (Photo by: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Media contacts:
Pat Harris,, 408-924-1748
Robin McElhatton,, 408-924-1749

SAN JOSE, CA — In accordance with academic tradition, Dr. Mary A. Papazian will be inaugurated as San José State University’s 30th president at the end of her first academic year in office. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 4 on Tower Lawn.

The ceremony will be enriched by Papazian’s personal history and journey as the descendant of Armenian immigrants, as an English literature professor, as one of 11 women to serve as presidents of Cal State campuses.

SJSU asks members of the media to RSVP now so that arrangements can be made for parking and reserved seating.

Distinguished speakers

She will be joined by Cal State and San José State leaders, and friends and family including her husband and daughters. Confirmed speakers are listed below.

Among the symbols of office to be bestowed upon her is a bronze and glass medallion designed and forged at San José State, reflecting her ethnic heritage and her love for learning and the poetry of John Donne.

Papazian and Pasquerella each will deliver a major address. Papazian will describe her dreams of leveraging San José State’s legacy and Silicon Valley location to transform the university into the world-class urban college campus. Pasquerella will speak about demonstrating the value of the humanities at public universities like SJSU and in this time of science and technology.

Inauguration Week events

During the evening after the inauguration, the university community will gather for “Inspiration to Innovation,” a gala that this year will honor Papazian and world-renowned playwright and alumnus Luis Valdez, who will receive the 2017 Tower Award. Through his work, Valdez elevated the real-life experiences of the Chicano community while exploring universal themes of social justice and human rights.

The inauguration and gala will be preceded by a related series of events including Legacy of Poetry Day featuring acclaimed author and poet Maxine Hong Kingston and two films on Armenian history, the documentary “They Shall Not Perish” and the historical drama “The Promise.”

More information on the inauguration and gala is available on the SJSU website.


  • Mary A. Papazian, President, San José State University
  • Sam Liccardo, Mayor, City of San Jose
  • Timothy P. White, Chancellor, California State University
  • Debra S. Farar, Member, CSU Board of Trustees
  • Lynn Pasquerella, President, American Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Mildred Garcia, President, California State University, Fullerton
  • Michael Kimbarow, Professor and Chair, SJSU Academic Senate
  • Hector Perea, ’17 Business Administration, President, Associated Students of SJSU
  • Coleetta McElroy, ’97 Public Administration, President, SJSU Alumni Association
  • Edward A. Oates, ’68 Mathematics, Chair, Tower Foundation of SJSU
  • Archpriest Father Datev Harutyunian, The Reverend Jethroe Moore II and a cross-denominational group of Bay Area faith leaders

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 eight 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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



President Papazian’s March Blog

This week’s break has been memorable for 16 SJSU students spending the week in Washington, D.C., and New York city on an alternative spring break trip led by Associate Professor Michael Cheers. Among the trip’s highlights was a meeting with U.S. Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis (photo courtesy of Professor Michael Cheers).

This week’s break has been memorable for 16 SJSU students spending the week in Washington, D.C., and New York city on an alternative spring break trip led by Associate Professor Michael Cheers. Among the trip’s highlights was a meeting with U.S. Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis (photo courtesy of Professor Michael Cheers).

As we approach the midpoint of the Spring Semester and the rainy winter turns into a beautiful spring, I hope we all take a moment to enjoy the quiet of Spring Recess and to recharge before entering the final weeks of the academic year and the many celebratory activities of Commencement season.

It is my hope that this week brings to students and faculty members some well-deserved restorative time, and that our hard-working staff also can take a bit of a breath during the extended weekend afforded us by the celebration of Cesar Chavez Day this Friday, March 31.

SJSU students meet civil rights icon

This week’s break has been memorable for 16 SJSU students spending the week in Washington, D.C., and New York city on an alternative spring break trip led by Associate Professor Michael Cheers. Among the trip’s highlights was a meeting with U.S. Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis.

The students also were scheduled to tour the African American Museum of History and Culture (an incredible telling of our collective American story that I had the chance to visit earlier this year); visit Howard University’s Graduate School Admission’s Office; tour the Studio Museum in Harlem; and meet with high school students from Satellite Academy “alternative” High School in Manhattan, where three of our students who participated in a study abroad trip to Cuba are sharing their experience.

This remarkable experiential learning opportunity is the result of Professor Cheer’s vision and persistence—the meeting with Rep. Lewis was months in the making—and the support and collaboration of many campus and community partners. I look forward to sharing some of their stories in future blogs.


As many of you likely have heard, CSU Trustees last Wednesday approved a $270 increase in undergraduate tuition for California resident students, bringing the annual tuition rate in 2017-2018 for full-time in-state undergraduates to $5,742.

This action was taken reluctantly after many months of public discussion and deliberation. While the additional funding will make it possible for us to enhance our capacity to serve students, I understand that for many, this was disappointing and frustrating.

Set to take effect this fall, the system-wide increase will provide $77.5 million to the CSU for additional investment in student success initiatives that benefit all students by enabling campuses to hire more tenure-track faculty and add course sections, and it will help address inequities impacting students from low-income backgrounds and underserved communities.

As we digest this news, there are several important things to keep in mind.

Impacts minimized by financial aid

First, for the more than sixty percent of CSU undergraduates already receiving full financial aid, the increase will be fully covered. (In all, eighty percent of CSU students received more than $4 billion in financial aid in 2015-16 from various sources.) I encourage any student concerned about how this increase may impact them to seek help from our financial aid office.

Second, the preliminary budget proposal issued by the governor in January provided to the CSU no additional funding for enrollment growth, new student success initiatives or deferred maintenance needs. All of us in the CSU—from the Chancellor’s Office, to our faculty, staff, and students here at San Jose State and throughout our sister campuses—are continuing to encourage lawmakers in Sacramento to fully fund the 2017-18 operating budget previously adopted by trustees.

Making the case for stronger public support

I traveled to Sacramento earlier this month for meetings with lawmakers and legislative staff and was joined there by many of my fellow campus presidents, Chancellor White and others.

Our message to lawmakers was straightforward and simple: although California’s investment in public higher education is just about back to pre-recession levels, we are educating tens of thousands more students; our facilities are years older; our costs are materially higher.

And, we know there are obstacles that stand in the way of students who are motivated and would otherwise be able to complete their degrees within four years. We want to remove as many of these obstacles as we can.

Doing so, however, will require innovation, a steadfast commitment to making decisions with student needs at the center, and additional resources strategically allocated. I am pleased to say that members of our local legislative delegation with whom I have met regularly since arriving last summer, want to help. There are other legislative proposals under consideration that, if enacted, would generate additional new revenue. We will learn and share more as budget deliberations continue this spring.

In the meantime, we also will continue to work with area lawmakers and local education leaders on creative ways better to enable high school graduates to navigate successfully the transition from high school to college and to ensure that they thrive once they arrive here.

From words to action

Finally, on this topic, I know of no one who wants students to pay more for their education. I want to acknowledge the students and other members of our community who have been and continue to be engaged in advocacy and other forms of expressive action seeking stronger public support for the CSU.

A group of our Associated Student “lobby corps” traveled to Sacramento days before my recent visit; others organized campus informational activities or attended the recent meeting of CSU trustees. Their persistence, eloquence and energetic activism are Spartan trademarks, and they embody what it means to turn words into action.

Philanthropy: helping us reach our potential

State support and revenues from tuition and fees can only take us so far. To achieve true excellence, we also depend on the support of individual and institutional private partners.

Preliminary conversations have begun in anticipation of a major comprehensive fundraising campaign, which would be just the second in SJSU’s history. I recently joined a planning retreat organized by Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Foundation CEO Paul Lanning for the foundation’s board of directors. I was inspired by their enthusiasm and commitment to moving this important work forward.

Additional philanthropic support will allow us to strengthen our student success efforts, improve our support for faculty members in research, scholarship and the creative activity, and continue to improve our physical infrastructure. I especially am pleased with our ongoing conversations with our Bay Area business community, and its interest in developing deeper partnerships with San Jose State University.  I am confident that these early conversations will lead to greater opportunities for our students and faculty, as we continue to invest in the success of our city, region, and state.

Tangible impact

There are reminders of the power of private philanthropy—some of them visible, others less so—all over our campus.

Thanks in part to a transformative $15 million gift, the Diaz Compean Student Union is now a thriving hub of campus life. Students in our School of Journalism and Mass Communications have access to a state-of-the art, technologically advanced campus broadcast studio that was funded through an $8.7 million endowment. And our long-neglected South Campus facilities are now beginning to be renovated as the result of significant private gifts and a multi-year partnership with CEFCU.

Faculty, staff contributions matter

Less obvious, but no less significant, are individual philanthropic contributions from SJSU faculty and staff members.

Your support makes a big difference in the lives of students. Our annual faculty/staff giving campaign Spartans Supporting Spartans —now in its sixth year—fuels many campus programs including a fund that provides critical short-term support to students facing economic emergencies.

This fund was a vital lifeline for students impacted by last month’s San Jose floods. One student described the fund to a local news outlet as “…life-changing. It allows me to stay in school and not to have to drop out.”

Last year’s staff/faculty campaign attracted gifts and pledges for a mix of specific programs and general discretionary use from several hundred individuals. Our highest participation rate came, as it has in prior years, from our colleagues in the Facilities Development and Operations office.

Giving can be arranged automatically through payroll deduction, and your gifts can be designated to any of a wide array of programs. A series of special campus events are scheduled through April 13; I hope you’ll attend one and explore ways to support this year’s campaign.

Toward a better, stronger community

Securing the financial resources we need to support our mission is an essential aspect of our daily work. So is finding ways to collaborate with local partners in imaginatively and actively addressing local and regional quality-of-life issues.

Both as a major employer and a source of significant intellectual expertise, SJSU should be meaningfully involved in community building efforts.

CommUniverCity is a nationally recognized leader in building community-based partnerships that afford experiential teaching and learning opportunities to faculty members and students while also delivering meaningful benefits to San Jose neighborhoods. SJSU invests meaningfully in this city/university/community collaborative.

In April, SJSU’s Community Engagement Collaborative and Center for Community Learning & Leadership will welcome the Santa Clara County Office of Education to campus to display a “tiny house” constructed by local K-12 students in an effort to raise awareness of possible short-term solutions for housing the homeless.

Community engagement

As downtown San Jose’s largest employer and property owner, and with a daytime population of 40,000 students, employees and visitors, SJSU has a responsibility to engage actively with local and regional leaders on major quality of life issues. We want to ensure that our city grows and prospers along with us.

This means taking opportunities to contribute ideas and solutions to our region’s complex housing and transportation challenges, and this has been a priority for my administration since I arrived last summer.

At a macro level, we are actively engaging and collaborating with many local and regional organizations including SPUR, the Silicon Valley Organization, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, San Jose Downtown Association, Bay Area Council and others. We also are meeting regularly with local and regional political and community leaders to advance SJSU and its critical and deepening partnership with our city and region.

BART Phase II: Major decisions ahead for downtown SJ

Housing and transportation issues are inextricably linked; the high cost of living in this area obliges many of our employees and students to commute to campus from long distances. And transportation issues—fighting freeway and street traffic, inadequate parking, and uneven transit options—represent barriers to student success.

Our desire to remove these barriers—as well as our commitment to sustainability and the environment—make the extension of BART into downtown San Jose a critically important issue for all of us.

BART has served the Bay Area since 1972; when its so-called Phase II expansion into our downtown core is finally completed, the cities of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco will for the first time be accessible via a single transit system. This will be an enormous potential benefit to the SJSU students, faculty and staff members living along BART’s route system, as well as the countless visitors who come to campus throughout the year.

For this reason as well as others, the location of the downtown San Jose station and related plans for the corridors along which pedestrians will travel throughout the downtown and to and from our campus are critically important choices that ultimately will be made by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board at its Sept 7 board meeting.

It is no exaggeration to call these “100-year choices.” And we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that decision-makers consider all of the impacts of station locations and related variables. Earlier this month SJSU submitted comments to VTA as part of the BART project’s environmental review (CEQA) process.

There are two locations under consideration for the downtown station—the West option, near Market and Santa Clara streets, and the East option, on Santa Clara between Third and Sixth streets. I encourage you to review our submission, which articulates our view that the diverse interests of all downtown community members would be better served by the East Station option.

I will be sure to keep you updated as the approval process continues to unfold.

Let me conclude this month’s blog with a few informational updates:

London attack: SJSU students, faculty safe

Our hearts are with the people of London in the wake of last week’s frightening terror attack that claimed several lives and injured dozens of others. We are aware of one SJSU faculty-led program from Humanities and the Arts taking place in London, and we have confirmed that the faculty and students are safe. The Humanities and Arts dean’s office is staying in touch with faculty there.

Our study abroad office also has confirmed the safety of all SJSU students known to be studying in London and other European cities.

Investiture/Inaugural events

I am very much looking forward to a spirited, joyous celebration of our university’s remarkable legacy and bright future during a weeklong series of inaugural events during the week of May 1 – 5. The investiture ceremony, on May 4 at 9:30 a.m., is an opportunity for reflection and vision-setting.

I hope you will join me on the Tower Lawn for my investiture ceremony as we celebrate the history and promise that is San Jose State. If you are interested in participating in the academic procession, please register online by April 13.

Inauguration week will be filled with many wonderful celebrations—from an exhibition on the Near East Foundation’s Near East Relief efforts a century ago on display in the lower level of the Diaz Compean Student Union (from April 21 through May 5), to a variety of musical performances, to a celebration of poetry in the Hammer Theater—that speak to the heart and soul of our values and commitment to social justice, human rights, inclusion and the arts. I hope you take a moment to enjoy these wonderful events!

On the evening of May 4, our Tower Foundation will host the Inspiration to Innovation gala celebration during which we will confer the coveted Tower Award on SJSU alumnus, noted playwright and National Medal of Arts recipient Luis Valdez, ’64 English, ’88 Honorary Doctorate.

Luis is considered the father of Chicano theater; his decades of noteworthy artistic contributions reflect his deep commitment to social justice and human rights. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of our university’s highest honor.

This will be a joyous celebration of what makes us Spartans. Tickets are now available on the Inspiration to Innovations website.

Welcome to Dean Dan Moshavi

Dr. Dan Moshavi, our new dean of SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, joined us at the outset of the month and is settling in. He is an engaging, outstanding, and experienced leader who has returned to SJSU (he began his academic career here as an assistant professor in the late 1990s) after serving in academic leadership roles at two other institutions. I hope you have the opportunity to meet him soon. Welcome home, Dan!

Athletics: team and individual excellence

And, finally, it has been an impressive month for Spartan athletics.

My congratulations to the SJSU women’s gymnastics team for claiming the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s team championship and to student-athletes Haleigh Shepard (vault) and Taylor Chan (floor) on being named individual event champions.

We have nationally-ranked softball and women’s golf teams and nationally ranked competitors in women’s golf and women’s tennis. Ten Spartans earned all-conference honors in men’s basketball and several women’s sports: basketball, swimming and diving, and gymnastics.

The San Jose State men’s and women’s judo teams repeated as national champions, and the cheerleading team placed second at its national championship.

Be sure to check out the Spartan Athletics website for scheduled athletics event, and support our student-athletes as they continue a busy season of spring competition. San Jose State faculty, staff and students are admitted free to home events with a valid Tower ID card.

I hope that Spring break is affording you the opportunity to rest and recharge. Thanks for all you are doing on behalf of SJSU.


President Papazian’s February Blog

I have always thought that February is the most unpredictable month. It sits at the gateway between winter and spring and, as we wait patiently for the gifts of the warm weather, February often takes the opportunity to remind us to pay attention. This past week has been a perfect example of February’s strength.

Extreme weather

We witnessed the shocking development of nearly unprecedented flooding in portions of downtown San Jose and surrounding communities, extensive damage to residences and personal property, and many road closures. SJSU students and employees were among the 14,000 local residents displaced from their homes as of Wednesday morning. Many more have been impacted in other ways.

In the wake of this extraordinary weather pattern, we immediately reached out to our local officials with offers of assistance and began coordinating efforts to identify students in greatest need and ensure that they receive emergency assistance. We have provided temporary housing for a number of displaced students, and Student Affairs continues to reach out with information for our students who are experiencing hardship as a result of the storm damage.

Students financially impacted by the floods can visit the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office in the Student Services Center (8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday) or submit a request form online, where information on local evacuation centers and shelters also is available.

We realize that a number of our faculty and staff members also may be experiencing hardship during this time. We will attempt to provide as much support as possible while this situation persists. If any members of our faculty and staff are experiencing difficulty getting to work or must be absent as a result of the situation, I am asking all our supervisors and administrators to be flexible and supportive.

With more rain forecast in the coming days and the possibility of additional flooding, we all must pay extra attention to the needs of those around us. I am grateful for the caring, supportive spirit across campus and throughout our community. As just one example of our commitment to our community, CommUniverCity is accepting donations on behalf of neighborhoods affected by the flooding. They will pass along proceeds to grassroots groups who can distribute them to those who most need help.

If you are interested in helping, please designate your gifts to: CommUniverCity – Flood Relief here or contact executive director Dayana Salazar.

Immigrant and undocumented students

This year, February also brought many changes on the national level, as federal policies have developed and rapidly changed, including federal immigration enforcement measures and travel restrictions. The latest developments have replaced recent policies that have stalled amid multiple legal challenges. Although early indications are that “dreamer” students will be unaffected, these new policies, like those that preceded them, are certain to provoke mixed reactions—especially in regions with large, diverse immigrant populations like San Jose.

On Wednesday, Chancellor White issued a statement speaking to this rapidly changing area and reaffirming the CSU’s commitment to fulfilling its mission in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. My own message offered important details related to the chancellor’s statement.

I realize that the changing developments in this area have unsettled many in our community and I thus reaffirm our commitment to sharing information as soon as possible. We also will continue to provide information on all available support services and make it as easy as possible to take advantage of those services. To this end, information about campus and community resources has been aggregated, updated and posted on a single website. University staff members are monitoring these issues closely, and this site will be updated as new information emerges.

SJSU’s rich diversity is intentional and a part of each student’s learning experience. We are particularly sensitive to the challenges facing our transgender students in the current political climate. Indeed, in this vibrant community of learners, we all benefit daily from the amazing tapestry of friends and colleagues that continue to be woven at San Jose State. We wear our diversity with extraordinary pride, and we will continue to make every lawful effort to provide a safe, welcoming and open campus for all our students, faculty, staff and members of our larger community.

Celebrating social justice, activism

In spite of the many challenges we have faced these past weeks, February also has provided us with opportunities to celebrate SJSU’s legacy of activism in pursuit of social justice, personal equity and human rights. I would like to share several highlights.

Noted author, writer and activist Kevin Powell visited SJSU last week as part of the Spartan Speaker Series, presenting History is a People’s Memory: Celebrating the Past, Celebrating Us. Kevin’s book is a powerful statement on the importance of reclaiming African-American history and culture, not only for the African-American community but for all of humanity.  I encourage you to read it.

This past Saturday, Feb. 25, the Hammer Theatre Center hosted the Black Legend Awards, honoring the regional contributions of 16 African-American community leaders, several of whom have ties to SJSU:

  • Active faculty members D. Michael Cheers and Charles “Buddy” Butler, and emeritus faculty member Dr. Ethel Pitts-Walker.
  • Alumnae Florene Poyadue BA ’75 and Debra Watkins MA ’98.
  • Retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge and former City of San Jose Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell, who led an independent special task force on racial discrimination after an SJSU student was subjected to race-based abuse in 2013.

Event proceeds will help establish a Black History Museum in Silicon Valley. I am proud to see SJSU so well represented in this important effort.

Last week, acclaimed journalist and philanthropist Bob Woodruff was here to receive the 2017 Steinbeck Award and participate in a conversation with local news anchor Dan Ashley. Woodruff was severely injured in 2006 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Iraq while reporting for ABC News.

His wife Lee subsequently formed the Bob Woodruff Foundation to support the needs of returning U.S. military veterans. This event raised funds for our new Veterans Resource Center, an important element in our efforts to support the academic and personal needs of those returning from active U.S. military service.

Narrowing the graduation gap – integrated efforts

Earlier this month the CSU Academic Senate sponsored a retreat at our sister campus, San Diego State University, for representatives from throughout our system to share and discuss strategies for enhancing student success. Participants included Chancellor White and members of his team; many campus presidents; academic, senate, student affairs and student leaders (including ours); and CSU trustees.

Framed around the primary goal of shortening the time to a degree, I found this to be a rich, eye-opening conversation. In particular, the importance of increasing the number of course units taken each semester (so-called “Average Unit Load”) stood out as a critical variable.

We already have seen a recent, modest uptick in this metric at SJSU, and I am confident that we have the will and focus needed to move the needle further on this and many other fronts. We soon will launch a search for a permanent Associate Vice President for Student and Faculty Success to help guide these efforts.

In addition, SJSU recently staged its second Student Success Summit, a collaboration involving SJSU, Assemblymembers Evan Low and Ash Kalra, community and K-12 education leaders and others. This effort is aimed at identifying ways to ensure that students are ready to transition successfully to the first-year college experience.

Our first summit, held this past September, brought together representatives from K-12 schools and districts, community colleges, local foundations and the legislature and involved broad discussion and information sharing. The most recent meeting was a working session for a group of SJSU, K-12 and elected representatives to conceive ideas for pilot programs.

I am grateful to our local legislators, staff in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and University Advancement, and community education leaders for collaborating on such an important initiative. Together, we are placing our region at the forefront of efforts to improve college readiness—a priority for our campus, the CSU and our state. This work will help inform and strengthen spring state budget advocacy efforts in Sacramento.

Recruitment for new campus leaders

As I announced recently, we have launched our search for a Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer. The search committee, chaired by Prof. Michael Kaufman, met last Friday to receive its charge and discuss its plans. The search is on pace to bring finalists to campus prior to the conclusion of the spring semester.

The search for a permanent dean to lead the Connie L. Lurie College of Education has now officially opened and is being led by Prof. Michael Kimbarow. I encourage you to share the position prospectus with potential candidates. Updates will be posted online as this important recruitment continues.

We are also fortunate to be able to continue growing our faculty ranks. Last year, 68 new tenure-track appointments were made; this year, we are working to add 68 more.


As a campus committed to accessibility and sustainability, we must pay special attention to the transportation infrastructure serving our campus community. In this context, we recently learned that the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which operates our regional public transit network, is planning changes to its service network.

As many of you are aware, VTA’s preliminary plan calls for the elimination of the free DASH downtown shuttle service between the Diridon transit hub and SJSU. (The shuttle also makes intermediate stops at several downtown locations.) SJSU has helped pay for the cost of operating these shuttles for many years. If approved by the VTA board, these changes likely would take effect this fall.

We recognize that many of our campus community rely on this and other transportation services, and thus we are communicating with VTA officials about this and other important regional transportation issues. I want to assure you that SJSU is fully committed to maintaining a shuttle service in the downtown San Jose corridor for members of our campus community—whether through VTA or other options.

Safety update

In last month’s blog, I mentioned that a comprehensive set of safety initiatives was in the works and that Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas soon would provide a detailed update.  The safety report has been completed and is now available. It includes background information, updates on various plans to enhance campus safety and security, links to various compliance reports and other data. I encourage you to review it.

Spartan Pride

I talk often about the relationship between great cities and great public universities, and as I indicated in my address to the campus community at the opening of this academic year, I believe strongly that San Jose State can—and should—be our nation’s premier metropolitan public university.

Our place among the great public universities in the country is supported by a recent report from U.S. News & World Report that ranked the San Jose area as the third best place to live among the top 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S.  In summarizing the report, U.S. News’ executive editor said “…the metro areas that do well are the ones with strong job markets and high quality of life.”

We know that our city and region depend on SJSU for the talent needed to sustain its strong innovation economy. And we should be proud to see San Jose earn long-overdue recognition as a great place to learn and live.

In addition to being an integral part of one of America’s most livable cities, SJSU is, as I shared last month, considered one of America’s top 10 universities for fostering students’ upward social mobility. This impressive ranking, which affirms that we are living our mission, is based on a social mobility index that based its rankings on each institution’s cost of attendance, graduation rates, median early career salaries and percentage of students coming from low-income households.

Top coders start at SJSU

Speaking of great places to live and learn, CodinGame (a computer programming support network) last month ranked SJSU second among U.S. colleges and universities, and 15th worldwide, for the quality of its computer programmers.

Congratulations to all our Spartan programmers!

Infrastructure building

Structural problems at California’s Oroville Dam in early February and storm damage throughout our region—including this past week’s flooding in downtown San Jose—remind us of the importance of national infrastructure investment.

SJSU faculty members are contributing important insight to this issue. Professor of Sociology Scott Myers-Lipton, who authored Rebuild America: Solving the Economic Crisis Through Civic Works, was interviewed for and featured in a recent story on U.S. infrastructure needs.

It is wonderful (and important) to see SJSU experts featured in news coverage of contemporary events; this exposure is integral to raising institutional visibility, building pride and appreciation for who we are and what we do, and attracting public and private support. I want to commend faculty and staff experts for devoting their time and knowledge to these efforts.


Spartan men’s basketball is rising under fourth-year head coach Dave Wojcik. With seven wins in the Mountain West conference—including a sweep of conference and CSU rival San Diego State and breakthrough wins over UNLV and New Mexico, the program clearly has turned a corner.

Coach Wojcik has led this resurgence while coping with the loss of his father in late January. I am immensely proud of him, as well as his staff, student-athletes and others for rallying around such an inspirational leader. A recent Mercury News story adds great context to his inspiring and moving story.

After securing their third straight road victory at Air Force earlier this month, our women’s hoops team delivered head coach Jamie Craighead’s 100th career win. Seniors Dezz Ramos—who scored 1, 000-career points faster than any player in the history of SJSU women’s basketball—and Jasmine Smith have been instrumental contributors all season.

Saturday’s home women’s basketball game against Boise State attracted nearly 400 faculty and staff members and their families to an annual inter-divisional spirit celebration. It was terrific to see so many youth (many, we hope, future Spartans!) in attendance. Student Affairs was recognized as “most spirited” and Provost and Senior Vice President Andy Feinstein and Vice President Reggie Blaylock surprised me at the half with a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

I also am proud to report that 47 Spartan student-athletes from five sports were named to the Fall 2016 Academic All-Mountain West team. Eligibility for this honor is limited to student-athletes with a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade-point average who competed in at least half of their team’s contests.

This has been a month of transition—in some ways positive, in other respects leaving us searching for answers and paths forward amid adversity.

I want to conclude this month’s blog by sharing this short video, produced by our Strategic Communications team, capturing key moments and insights from the January 24 launch of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change. The NFL Network also has begun airing an hour-long documentary, portions of which were filmed at SJSU during and after the institute launch, on the role of the professional athlete in social activism.

This institute, through the unique synergies of interdisciplinary education, scholarship and service, is poised to impact meaningfully the pursuit of social justice, gender equity and human rights. It is just this kind of thought, scholarship and activism that makes San Jose State a remarkable place to live and learn. I am truly excited for our future, and I look forward to sharing it with each of you.


President Papazian’s Message on Flood Relief

Editor’s note: This was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Feb. 24, 2017.

Dear Campus Community,

This week brought news of flooding in downtown San Jose neighborhoods and surrounding communities, dislocating thousands of residents and causing extensive damage.

SJSU students and employees are among those who have been most severely impacted. Some of you have been in touch with my office offering information and assistance. I wanted to update you briefly on what we are doing to support members of our community and let you know how you can help.

Student Affairs has arranged temporary campus housing for some displaced students while ensuring that many more have access to information about emergency financial and emotional support.

Any student impacted by the floods can visit the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office in the Student Services Center or submit an online request form and learn about other local support services, including evacuation centers and shelters. Students in need of emergency assistance this weekend can contact University Police at (408) 924-2222; dispatchers will be prepared to connect students with on-call Student Affairs staff.

Flooding and other weather impacts also have been felt by our faculty and staff members. Emergency shelter and other services through the City of San Jose and local relief organizations can be found here.  Those needing assistance with the trauma often associated with this kind of event should reach out to the Employee Assistance Plan.

SJU students and employees still displaced from their neighborhoods will be permitted to park their vehicles in the South Campus Garage at 7th and San Salvador this Saturday and Sunday, February 25 – 26. Parking enforcement will resume Monday, February 27. If neighborhoods remain inaccessible into next week, affected SJSU students and employees will be allowed to park in the south campus Park & Ride lot on S. 7th St. between Humboldt and Alma.

We have reached out to city and community leaders to express concern and offer our help. There are numerous ways you can get involved:

  • CommUniverCity is accepting donations on behalf of neighborhoods affected by flooding. You can designate gifts to: CommUniverCity – Flood Relief here or contact executive director Dayana Salazar.
  • If you would like to participate in neighborhood cleanup and recovery efforts, the City of San Jose has launched a volunteer effort that will continue through Saturday. Learn more or sign up here.

I am grateful for the caring, supportive Spartan spirit on display across campus and throughout our community. I hope you will broadly share the information provided here and encourage others to get involved.

President Papazian’s Message on National Immigration Policies

Editor’s note: This was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Feb. 22, 2017.

Dear Campus Community,

I’m writing to share a statement released this afternoon from CSU Chancellor Timothy White addressing new developments regarding national immigration policies.

On February 21, 2017, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued two memoranda to his department providing direction regarding implementation of President Trump’s recent executive orders on increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

While the memoranda deal with many immigration issues, they do not affect the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy – which remains in full effect. DACA status is applicable to many, but not all of our students who lack immigration documentation.

Clearly, this emerging federal immigration policy is complex. At this time, the CSU is carefully examining these federal directives and reviewing their potential impact on CSU campuses.

We do not have information indicating that stepped up enforcement will focus on our campuses. We do advise any member of our CSU community – students, faculty and staff – who is approached while on campus by federal, state or local officials asking for information or documentation regarding immigration status, to immediately contact the University Police Department. The University Police Department will act as a liaison with the on-site officials, and will coordinate with the Office of General Counsel to provide guidance, references and resources as available.

As I have emphasized in the past, the California State University is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming institution of higher education that is enhanced by our global community. As such, we will continue to make every lawful effort to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment for all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of our community.

As I announced previously last summer, CSU’s flexible systemwide set of policy guidelines are intended to remove the CSU from the enforcement of federal immigration laws. CSU’s policy is that, unless otherwise required by law, we will not enter into agreements with law enforcement agencies for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws. Our university police departments will not honor immigration hold requests, and our university police will not contact, detain, question, or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being – or suspected of being – a person who lacks documentation. This important CSU policy has not changed and is not impacted by Secretary Kelly’s memoranda, and these memoranda do not affect the policies or practice of the CSU and our university police departments.

We remain deeply committed to fulfilling the educational and public mission of the California State
University in a safe and welcoming environment.

For campus assistance with issues referenced in Chancellor White’s message, please contact University Police at (408) 924-2222.  I also encourage you to be acquainted with campus and community resources available to undocumented students.

We will share additional information as it becomes available.

Mary A. Papazian

President Papazian’s Message on Library Closure

Editor’s note: This was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Feb. 1, 2017.

Dear Campus Community,

Shortly before 11 a.m. today (Feb. 1), an individual died after falling from an upper floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. library. Our hearts go out to the decedent, his family and friends.

The library has closed for the day. We expect that it will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday. In the interim, Ballrooms B and C on the second floor of the Diaz Compean Student Union have been opened as temporary study space.

The victim was not an SJSU student or employee. According to university police, all available evidence suggests that this was a suicide. The medical examiner will release additional details once its investigation is completed and next of kin are notified.

Our thoughts are also with the library staff, patrons and others who witnessed this tragedy. We are closely collaborating with our partners from the city of San Jose to ensure that library staff, students and others have access to counseling and other forms of emotional support.

Free counseling support is available to SJSU students, faculty and staff members. Students can contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 408-924-5910; faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program, offered through SJSU Human Resources, at 800-367-7474.

Mary A. Papazian

President Papazian’s January Blog

We’re a month into the new calendar year and just days into the spring term—traditionally a time of renewed energy and hope. In spite of the tensions that are in play around the world and close to home, I hope this month’s blog post reflects SJSU’s energy and hope and our collective ability to influence our community, region and beyond.

Acknowledging uncertainties

We can’t, however, ignore the uncertainties that I know are on many of our minds and will influence our efforts moving forward.

Yesterday afternoon I commented on a recent federal order that indefinitely bars entry to the U.S. by Syrian refugees, bars all refugees for 120 days and individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

Late Monday, the office of the CSU Chancellor released a joint statement from Chancellor White, campus presidents and leaders of the CSU Academic Senate and California State Students Association expressing deep concerns about this action and its potential impact on our mission and our community.

We are—and we will remain—focused on serving the needs of our students, faculty and staff members, and broader community. Ensuring that every deserving student has access to a quality education is neither a political nor partisan issue; it is essential to our mission. And it cuts to the heart of who we are, what we stand for and what we value.

In that vein, I was proud to join thousands of community members two Saturdays ago in my capacity as a citizen, a parent, and a descendant of Armenian immigrants, marching to express my love for our country and its values. And I am proud of all Spartans—from all political perspectives—who exercise their constitutional right to protected free speech.

Supporting international, Dream Act students

With immigration policies in flux, we are working to engage, communicate with and support international students as well as students who are here thanks to the federal Dream Act, California’s AB 540 and related state laws.

Late last year I joined hundreds of leaders from public and private higher education in supporting federal policies aimed at protecting these students, and I renewed my support during visits in early January with lawmakers and other government officials in Washington D.C.

These visits were heartening, and we hope to welcome some members of our delegation to San Jose this spring to meet our students and see first-hand how important it is that we preserve educational opportunities for all who have earned them.

Supporting a safe environment

In last month’s blog I referenced several unsettling reports of sexual misconduct and our commitment to studying ways to enhance student and community safety.

Progress is being made on multiple fronts.

Informed by an inclusive group of campus stakeholders, Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas has developed a comprehensive set of safety initiatives including the hiring of more university police officers, additional campus surveillance cameras and enhanced lighting.

A detailed report outlining these plans will be available soon.

Efforts in support of Title IX, under the auspices of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, are also expanding:

  • Title IX staff are closely coordinating their efforts with University Police, reviewing all reported incidents that may be subject to Title IX regulations to determine if crime alerts should be issued. (This may increase the overall number of alerts.)
  • Communication with complainants and respondents in Title IX cases is intensifying with the goal of more regular and consistent case updates and check-ins to ensure that the needs of these individuals are being met.
  • More frequent campus dialogue; two campus conversations took place last fall; a third is planned for February and others will follow. A commitment has been made to greater transparency, including publishing a comprehensive report of reported Title IX incidents from fiscal year 2015-2016.
  • Enhanced training opportunities for designated confidential-level university community members, to increase the number of individuals eligible and available to support Title IX related processes.

While the outcome of criminal complaints is not within the university’s control or purview, these measures should enhance our ability to respond to Title IX incidents and support the needs of all affected parties. Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Wong(Lau) will share more details on these efforts in coming weeks.

Celebrating our values

I’m very proud to share several initiatives and activities that reflect our values and demonstrate a commitment to social justice and student success:

Student Research

In early January, Associate Professor of Photojournalism Michael Cheers led a small group of students to an international conference on education to present research in which the students had participated in summer 2016. (Dr. Ruth Wilson co-led this project, which brought the students to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban culture.)

The project was structured to evaluate opportunities to close the achievement gap among underrepresented students by combining culturally relevant content and teaching methods. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs contributed support to this endeavor, enabling undergraduates to present research to more than 1300 participants representing at least 36 countries.

Upward Mobility

Earlier this month, SJSU was named one of America’s top ten universities for fostering students’ upward social mobility. The Social Mobility Index considered cost of attendance, graduation rates, median early career salaries and the percentage of students coming to campuses from low-income households.

According to the report, “…The SMI measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students (with family incomes below the national median) at lower tuition, so they can graduate and obtain good paying jobs. The new SMI rankings show that through wise policy-making, colleges and universities can be part of improving both economic opportunity and social stability in our country.”

We can all be proud to see SJSU ranked among leading American universities described in the New York Times as “…deeply impressive institutions that continue to push many Americans into the middle class and beyond — many    more, in fact, than elite colleges that receive far more attention.” This recognition is the result of everything our faculty and staff members, alumni, donors, and elected and community leaders have done and are doing on behalf of our students, our campus, and the CSU.

From Words to Action

Last Tuesday we celebrated the launch of the nascent Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at SJSU with a morning symposium, From Words to Action, filling the Hammer Theatre Center and bringing together a luminous group of Spartans and other change agents from sports and the media. Panelists included NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, Olympic champion Tommie Smith, several active or recently retired professional athletes, and many influential national and local sports journalists.

We are grateful to these individuals for lending their voices to an important conversation, and to institutional partners including the San Francisco 49ers and the York family; San Jose Earthquakes; Golden State Warriors; and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) for their contributions and active involvement.

The institute, guided by an advisory board now being formed, will facilitate educational offerings developed by SJSU faculty from multiple academic disciplines; stimulate research at the intersection of sports and society; and host ongoing community programming. (A panel conversation featuring women in sports media is now under consideration.)

Last week’s symposium—which attracted a large outpouring of national and local news media—and the institute itself bear the heart and soul of Dr. Harry Edwards, a proud Spartan whose commitments to human rights and social equity are well known and well documented.

Thanks to the efforts of many members of our campus community and others, and augmented by Dr. Edwards vision, SJSU is poised to influence and be at the epicenter of the national conversation about race relations, gender equity and human rights. A recent Mercury News editorial affirmed this, declaring that “…the time is right for San Jose State University’s new Institute…and so is the place.”

Personal commitment

We believe that as Spartans, what powers us changes our world. I want to acknowledge SJSU nursing student Annie Ho, whose quick reaction and selflessness helped save a life last November.

Annie helped administer CPR to a runner who fell ill while competing in last year’s annual Thanksgiving Silicon Valley Turkey trot. The Mercury News reported in mid-January on an informal “reunion” of the victim and his emergency caregivers at the race site.

Annie, Spartan nation is proud of you!

A look ahead

  • Efforts to engage and inform state lawmakers about the possibility of a tuition increase and advocate for additional investment in the CSU began last week, with a visit by Chancellor White and campus presidents to the state Capitol and meeting with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. (While there, I met with several lawmakers and administration officials.) This activity will continue throughout the spring.
  • We are continuing to engage local elected, transportation and community leaders in conversations about the future of BART’s downtown San Jose stations and associated regional planning issues. As a hub of downtown activity (more than 40,000 students, faculty and staff members on campus, many of whom also travel to and from nearby destinations, plus daily visitors to MLK Library and other campus destinations), SJSU’s voice and input are important to decisions that will eventually be made by the VTA board.
  • Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will co-host the second Student Success Summit this Friday, Feb. 3 in partnership with California Assemblymembers Evan Low and Ash Kalra. The focus of this working session will be identifying ways to enhance college readiness.
  • Many campus groups are engaged in strategic planning. Work continues on preparing for closure of the Vision 2017 strategic plan, and the Academic Senate last Friday held its winter planning retreat. I look forward to receiving and sharing updates on these and other planning efforts.

As a reminder, please share suggestions for these monthly posts by writing to I hope you find them informative and useful.

Here’s to a productive month!


President Papazian’s Message on International Travel Bans

Editor’s note: SJSU President Mary Papazian emailed the following to all SJSU students, faculty and staff on Jan. 30, 2017.

In addition, California State University Chancellor Tim White, California State Student Association President David Lopez, CSU Academic Senate Chair Christine Miller and the presidents of all 23 CSU campuses have issued a statement.

Dear Campus Community,

The latest federal executive order imposing specific immigration and international travel restrictions has intensified anxieties and concerns for many on our campus and throughout Silicon Valley.

This may be because so many of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came to the United States in pursuit of freedom and opportunity. Seen through this lens, these are neither political nor partisan issues; they reflect our American values.

San Jose State University has a rich legacy in the fight for equity, social justice and human rights. Given this, and the fact that we serve a diverse student population fueling our valley’s workforce needs, caring so much about these issues is both understandable and appropriate.

Over the weekend, federal judges in four states issued orders temporarily delaying the implementation of certain policy provisions. And it appeared yesterday that a ban on reentry to the United States by those possessing green cards might be lifted.

I want to assure you that no matter how these policies unfold, SJSU will continue to seek ways to support any student, faculty or staff member potentially impacted by travel or immigration restrictions. We also are developing plans to ensure ample opportunities for constructive dialogue.

As new information becomes available, we will be sure to get it to you as quickly as possible.

Mary A. Papazian