SJSU News SJSU Today offers the latest news and shares the stories of the people at San Jose State University. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:49:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 An Evening with a Leader Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:44:08 +0000 An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

President Qayoumi welcomes Hillary Clinton to the Event Center (Brandon Chew photo).

Women must dare to compete. Hillary Clinton faced thousands of community members and students in the San Jose State Event Center the evening of April 10, challenging women to break down the glass ceilings and messages projecting self-doubt and perfectionism that often stifle them in the workforce.

Haters and lovers

Despite crowds of more than 75 people from the Constitution party chanting “open your eyes, poor guide,” trying to bring awareness about Clinton and the Benghazi “scandal” in 2012, guests said their excitement to see one of their “favorite” politicians couldn’t be suppressed. The audience ranged from people young and old, male and female, families and singles.

In section 2 of the Event Center, where one had a clear side view of Clinton, sat a father and his son. Ian Sills, 13, said he is an aspiring politician, and he’s always admired the issues on which Clinton has worked. Eric, his father, and a Justice Studies lecturer at SJSU, said he too has always been impressed by her political stance and knew this was one event he wanted to make sure he and his son attended.  “I think she’s been through a lot, gone through a lot, but I think she’s got a lot still to do,” Eric Sills said referring to Clinton’s possible run for the presidency in 2016.

An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

As Clinton walked onto the stage, she greeted the standing, cheering crowd (Brandon Chew photo).

Expectancy of Clinton’s candidacy filled the room as one student, Maddy Ferrito, ‘15 European Studies, said  “it’s about time,” that America has such a promising possibility in a woman candidate for president.

Sitting next to Ferrito was Andrew Johnson, ‘14 American Studies, who said he too is a Clinton supporter and though many politicians don’t boast about their knowledge of Washington, he said he admires that Clinton has been part of the politics in Washington for many years yet doesn’t fall into the “disgusting overtone of the capital right now.” So when he heard that Clinton was speaking, he said he “definitely didn’t want to miss this.”

An intimate chat

The stage was set up in such a way as to resemble an afternoon tea with two chairs and a small table. Larry Stone, Santa Clara County assessor and good friend to the Clinton family, was the Q&A moderator. Though he joked about Clinton making the presidential announcement the audience had been waiting for, he wanted the evening to be one in which the audience would gain more than politics.  “She’s vilified a lot,” Stone said. “I wanted the audience to know Hillary like I know her. She’s a warm, interesting, nice individual.”

The evening began with university President Mohammad Qayoumi introducing Clinton. “So tonight, Madam Secretary, you are an honorary Spartan,” he said. As Clinton walked onto the stage, she greeted the standing, cheering crowd with a smile, waving her hands and saying “thank you” as the audience responded with I love yous.

Competing for your dreams

As the audience gazed at Clinton, she urged the audience to take a look at women’s rights in America and the world. She hit on an issue close to home at SJSU. Though the university has a thriving engineering program and other science and math programs, the percentage of women in those career paths is modest. “Women account for just 11 percent of directors on technology boards. That’s a problem right here in this region,” Clinton said.  As a woman in a male dominated field, she said she’s always had to compete.

An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

“All most women need is a fighting chance to prove themselves,” Clinton said. (Brandon Chew photo)

Recalling her own story, Clinton said “starting from the time when I was a little girl, I always was told by my parents that I had the same opportunities as my brothers. I had a responsibility to make the most of myself and that I would, if I did work hard, be able to do those things in life that were of interest to me.”

She said though women have abilities to succeed in male dominated careers, “All most women need is a fighting chance to prove themselves.”

Great women inspire great women

Stone wanted to emphasize Clinton’s inspirations to be the woman she is today. With two women in mind, Clinton shared how her mother Dorothy Rodham and Eleanor Roosevelt were her instrumental inspirations.

Clinton’s mother was orphaned as a young girl, lived a very poor life but desired to go to high school. She said her mother worked as a young girl taking care of a neighborhood woman’s children. During that time, Rodman’s neighbor told her that if she continued to watch the children, she could go to school. “Her story is not my story but it influenced who I became and it really gave me an appreciation for how important it is that we take care of each other.” Though Rodham was abandoned by her parents and grandparents, Clinton said those who stepped in to care for her mother made all the difference.

The event was no more than an hour and a half, yet audience member Erin Roby said she could’ve listened to Clinton longer and she was “more than impressed by what she said.”

Kelly Patterson, a senior at Palo Alto High School, said she received tickets as a birthday present and Clinton’s speech was “really motivating because she’s such a good role model. I’ve heard her speak before, but in person, it’s so different. It gives you chills.”

]]> 0
SJSU Appoints Provost Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:04:33 +0000 Andy Feinstein

Andrew (Andy) Hale Feinstein

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

Dr. Andrew (Andy) Hale Feinstein has been appointed provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, effective April 21.

“Please join me and the members of my cabinet in welcoming Dr. Andy Feinstein as our provost and vice president for Academic Affairs,”  President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “I would like to extend my gratitude to all the members of the search committee, who worked tirelessly to review an applicant pool of more than 70 highly qualified candidates.”

Upon learning of the appointment, search committee chair and Professor of Accounting and Finance Annette Nellen said she was pleased to hear SJSU’s interim provost would have the opportunity to serve the SJSU community on a permanent basis. Feinstein was appointed deputy provost in July 2013 and interim provost in January 2014.

“I am humbled to serve this great institution. My family and I are happy to be here, and look forward to further engaging with the university community,” Feinstein said.

At SJSU, Feinstein focused on improving retention and graduation rates; addressing diversity and campus climate issues; streamlining the transfer process for community college students; creating a new budget model that will be implemented for the 2014/15 academic year; developing new resource allocation and reporting methods for self-support programs; and establishing a new divisional enrollment planning model.  

Throughout this time, Dr. Feinstein has worked collaboratively across the campus and earned the respect of his colleagues,” President Qayoumi said.

Professional Experience

Prior to SJSU, Feinstein was dean and James A. Collins Distinguished Chair of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. Cal Poly Pomona ranks among the top public universities in the western United States and serves approximately 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students who reflect the diversity of Southern California. The Collins College is the first and largest hospitality program in California and ranked as one of the best programs in the country. During his time at the college, Feinstein implemented a strategic plan resulting in the elevation of the program to a college, the development of a successful self-supported Masters of Science program currently ranked among the top 10 in the nation, the raising of more than $14 million in gifts, and the design and oversight of a $10 million facility expansion expected to open in 2015.

In 2008, the chancellor of the California State University appointed Feinstein as the system-wide director of Hospitality Management Education. The CSU is the largest university system in the country and graduates 94 percent of all California hospitality management students from its programs. Feinstein provided support for 14 hospitality programs and managed two advisory boards. He has engaged in successful lobbying efforts on behalf of the CSU, created outreach programs targeting underrepresented groups, and expedited the approval of more than 200 articulation agreements between the CSU and community colleges throughout California.

Scholarly Achievements

Prior to becoming dean, Feinstein served as senior adviser to the president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This cabinet-level position managed the president’s relationship with internal and external constituents. In this role, Feinstein oversaw the awarding and funding of several presidential research grants, participated in Board of Regents meetings, and coordinated presidential advancement activities. Previously, Feinstein was associate dean for strategic initiatives at the UNLV’s Harrah Hotel College. He also served on launch and steering committees for a successful $500 million comprehensive campaign and was a member of the Biomedical Institutional Review Board.

Feinstein holds a B.S. and M.S. in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He received his doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University, where he held an Academic Computing Fellowship. He has published more than 30 refereed journal articles and presented at dozens of meetings and conferences. Areas of focus have included instructional systems, simulation modeling, and food service operations. Feinstein is a fellow and past president of the Association of Business Simulation and Experiential Learning. He is the co-author of two hospitality purchasing textbooks, one of which is currently adopted at more than 250 colleges and universities worldwide.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

]]> 0
“Cultural Showcase” Displays Diversity Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:36:46 +0000 Students Plan "Cultural Showcase"

Kris Delacruz of Pilipino Vocal rehearses (Codi Mills photo).

An international kaleidoscope of the visual and performing arts is planned for “The First Annual Cultural Showcase,” to be held 6 to 9 p.m. April 17 at the Student Union Barrett Ballroom.

Students Plan "Cultural Showcase"

Salzburg Scholars are collaborating with student artists and Spartan Shops on this “Cultural Showcase.”

The event is free and open to all SJSU community members. Even the refreshments will be on theme; Spartan Shops’ Street Eats will sell fusion tacos. 

We have students who will be performing traditional dances from China, Mexico and Eritrea, and students showcasing modern ballet, traditional Filipino music, German, Italian and French opera, and so much more,” said Mary Okin, ’15 Art History and Visual Culture, and a Salzburg Scholar.

San Jose State selects approximately a dozen students annually for the SJSU Salzburg Program. Scholars spend a week over the summer in Austria, where they attend an intensive global citizenship program. 

All scholars commit to promoting global citizenship right here on campus, and the 2013-2014 cohort is making good on its promise by collaborating to produce what the group hopes will become an annual event.

The showcase is a fabulous opportunity to learn about diversity at SJSU and celebrate our multicultural campus identity,” Okin said. “Everything in this event has been a collaborative effort by students and every student working on this project is a volunteer.”

The lead organizer is Erin Enguero, a kinesiology major, Salzburg Scholar and recipient of the 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Contact the organizers.

Follow this event on Facebook.


]]> 0
Spartans Supporting Spartans Wed, 09 Apr 2014 20:36:27 +0000 Spartans Supporting Spartans: Sami Monsur’s Staff Scholarship

SJSU staff member Sami Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship after earning a degree in Spanish while working at San Jose State.

“I am a strong believer in volunteering and giving back,” says Sami Monsur, resource analyst in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education—and she’s got the scholarship to prove it. In 2012, Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship, an annual $500 scholarship that provides financial support for staff members working toward a degree at San Jose State.

The impetus for the gift was her own experience: Monsur was simultaneously a student and staff member while working toward her degree in Spanish, which she completed in 2011. “My dean, Elaine Chin, offers professional development money to every staff member. It has helped many, including me, pay for books and other costs related to our studies,” Monsur says. “As a student, I really saw how much the funds helped.”

The Support Our Staff Scholarship extends similar support to staff members university-wide who are matriculated students, whether they’re employees of the university, Research Foundation or Tower Foundation.

“You can always better yourself and try to move up in the world. Staff members don’t always make a lot of money, but we do have an opportunity to get a degree,” says Monsur. “Even with the tuition fee waiver [that state employees receive], school materials like books and a laptop are expensive—especially if someone is supporting a family.”

Last year the scholarship was awarded for the first time, and now, it’s growing. As one of the gift options for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Monsur’s annual contribution has already been bolstered by more than a dozen new gifts from other staff and faculty members. “As it continues to grow, hopefully we’ll be able to award two or three scholarships a year,” she says.

“There is a really strong team of staff members that keeps this university going,” says Monsur. “I’m proud of that. I’m proud of our staff.”

Make a gift to the Support Our Staff Scholarship or an area of your choice through Spartans Supporting Spartans by April 18.


]]> 0
Lieutenant Governor Addresses Education Forum Wed, 09 Apr 2014 19:17:02 +0000 Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the keynote address at a Committee for Economic Development event held at King Library (JP Tran photo).

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the keynote address at a Committee for Economic Development event held at King Library (JP Tran photo).

When Gavin Newsom visited San Jose State one year ago, he discussed how public universities must evolve. His March 28 visit was much the same.

As the keynote speaker at a King Library luncheon organized by the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., the lieutenant governor told business and education leaders that California’s public university systems are “selling an industrial version of education in a communications age.”

Citing unemployment rates as high as 25 percent in Colusa County, in comparison with seven percent in Santa Clara County, Newsom urged both systems to develop “action plans” addressing “this Gatsby Curve that now exists quite acutely.”

What used to be a moral thing to do,” CED Executive Vice President Michael Petro said of public education, “is now an economic imperative.”

Investing in Education

The Committee for Economic Development hosted the event to discuss its recent report, “Boosting California’s Postsecondary Education Performance.” The study focuses on “broad-access” institutions, “where the vast majority of the workers will be educated,” Petro said.

Lieutenant Governor Addresses Education Forum

A panel discussion included Lenny Mendonca, Elaine Chin, Jay Banfield and David F. Welch (JP Tran photo).

During a panel discussion, Elaine Chin, dean of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, noted “decades of dis-investment,” have eroded efforts to make good on philosopher John Dewey’s vision:

“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children.”

An Inflection Point

Jay Banfield, founding executive director of Year Up, agreed that the country had hit an inflection point, where “companies are struggling to find talent” yet “talented young people are struggling to find opportunities.”

This connected to a question from moderator Lenny Mendonca, director emeritus of McKinsey & Company and a CED trustee to ask: What do CEOs look for when hiring?

“The ability to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, the ability to change, and the ability to participate in a team,” said David F. Welch, co-founder and president of Infinera.

They need to have the perspective that it’s going to be a wild ride,” Welch added, “so accept it.”

]]> 0
Silicon Valley Business Journal: “SJSU’s Answer to Gender Disparity” Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:15:02 +0000 Posted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal April 8, 2014.

By Jon Xavier

The solution to the tech industry’s gender problem must start with schools. After all, it’s hard to hire more women for tech jobs if there aren’t enough female applicants entering the job market. But faculty and administrators are fighting a hard battle. They have to smash stereotypes that prevent women from applying to science and engineering schools to begin with.

Melanie McNeil is a chemical engineering professor at San Jose State University and the head of the College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering program, which seeks to provide mentorship, outreach and events to bring more women into engineering majors and increase their leadership opportunities.

In this interview, McNeil outlines what schools are doing to close the gender gap.

Read the full story.

]]> 0
Persian Studies Hosts “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora” Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:26:32 +0000
Media Contact:
Persis Karim, Director of Persian Studies,, 408-924-4476

Persian Studies Program Hosts First-Ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora Conference”

Various scholars, acclaimed artists and filmmakers from across the country will present at this conference.

SAN JOSE, Calif.- The Persian Studies Program at San Jose State, with support from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and the College of Humanities and the Arts, will hold the first-ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora” conference on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, at SJSU.

This conference brings together visual artists, writers, filmmakers and cultural activists who have been making art and representing the experiences, perspectives and sentiments of a diverse community of Iranians in the United Since over the past three decades.

Panels and discussions will convene in the Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. Library, rooms 225/229 and 255 , on Friday morning. Registration for the conference for both days including lunch is $60 for the general public and $50 for students. Advanced registration is required. 

Various scholars, acclaimed artists and filmmakers from across the country will present at this conference while representing institutions including the University of Southern California, Boston University, California College of Arts, UCLA, California Institute of Integral Studies and UC Irvine. Participants will provide a multi-dimensional exploration of how art has helped shape a conversation about Iran, migration to the West and the unique culture of Iranian Americans and the Iranian diaspora.

Iranian American Life

“As we read daily headlines about the tension between Iran and the United States, it is important to recognize the significant presence of Iranian-Americans and the ways that their experiences and contributions are often overshadowed,” said Dr. Persis Karim, director of Persian Studies at SJSU. “This conference is an occasion to reflect on and share the arts and humanity of Iran and its diaspora communities in the context of North America.”

Persian Studies Program Hosts First-Ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora Conference”

The play “Inja o Oonja: Stories from Iranian American Life,” featuring Kyle Swany, Mehrzad Karimabadi and Sara Mashayekh, will premiere at the “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora” conference (photo courtesy of Persis Karim).

The conference also features a play titled, “Inja o Oonja—Here and There: Stories from Iranian American Life,” adapted by SJSU Theater Arts Professor Dr. Matthew Spangler from three short stories by Iranian American writers on Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Le Petit Trianon Theatre (72 N. Fifth St., San Jose).

To conclude the conference events, a film-screening and discussion of two films by SJSU Professor Babak Sarrafan (Radio, Television, Film and Theater) and San Jose native Mo Gorjestani will be held on Saturday, April 12, in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. Both of these evening events are free and open to the public.

SJSU’s Persian Studies Program was established in March 2011 with funding from a grant from PARSA Community Foundation and received a generous three-year grant from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute  to continue the work of educating the SJSU community about the rich culture, history and heritage of the Persianate world, including the Iranian diaspora.

Evolution of a Community

Since 2011, Persian Studies at SJSU has offered courses in beginning Persian through the World Languages department and has hosted numerous lectures with scholars, film-screenings, musical events and book readings. This year’s events commenced with lectures “Jews of Iran” featuring Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar of UC Berkeley as well as “Days of the Revolution” presented by Dr. Mary Hegland of Santa Clara University. Celebration of Norouz, the Persian New Year and the spring equinox, has also become a tradition of the Persian Studies Program with the third annual concert of classical and folk Persian music on March 9.

“We hope people will see how art can help shape a different conversation about a people, their heritage and the evolution of that community right here in the United States,” said Karim. “We’re grateful that the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is making that conversation possible in the heart of one of the largest populations of Iranian Americans in this country.”

More information for this conference, play and film-screening can be found at SJSU’s Persian Studies Program website.

Also, like Persian Studies at SJSU on Facebook for event news and updates.


]]> 0
Ronstadt Retrospective Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:50:58 +0000 Imagery, words and performance illuminated the career of one of the leading vocalists of a generation when Linda Ronstadt came to Morris Dailey Auditorium on March 12. With a slideshow flickering in the background and students performing in the foreground, Professor Maria Luisa Alaniz and Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center Director Maribel Martinez took Ronstadt through a retrospective of her life’s work. The result was a sensational lesson in the Mexican American experience, as well as an inspirational dialogue about the power we all can draw from our roots and her experiences. “She has a lot to say to young women about resiliency,” Alaniz said. “She negotiated the music industry’s corporate world as a woman and for the most part a single woman. She really had to be courageous in creating her own eclectic career.”

]]> 0
Campus Collaboration Leads to New SJSU Identity System Thu, 03 Apr 2014 23:38:52 +0000 Chang Kim and students

Professor Chang Kim and his students collaborated with Marketing and Communications to create SJSU’s new identity system. (Rachel Poage Photo)

This month, a new San Jose State identity system will replace the current university logo. But wasn’t the logo just updated?

This time is different. Really. For the first time in SJSU’s history, the university is rolling out a brand platform that is bringing the campus community together—and the new visual identity system is just one part of the platform.

“We are determined to develop SJSU’s brand identity efficiently, authentically and collaboratively,” said Barry Shiller, associate vice president for marketing and communications, who is leading the university’s branding effort.

To reimagine the university’s identity system, SJSU’s Office of Marketing and Communications sponsored a project with the Department of Graphic Design. Associate Professor Chang Kim, a team of students and other faculty members worked together to design the set of identity marks and graphic elements that capture both the tradition and spirit of the university. In addition, the new visual identity system includes a typeface that Kim created just for San Jose State.

The collaboration for SJSU’s new identity system was the brainchild of University Art Director Michelle Frey, the design lead for the Marketing and Communications team. She believes in relying on campus talent for creative projects whenever possible—which fulfills SJSU’s promise to provide hands-on experience and exposure for students.

“San Jose State has an incredible graphic design program,” Frey said. “And the best way to present an authentic SJSU brand is to create it within the university.”

Among the changes to expect: a new brand platform that focuses on San Jose State’s people and a visual identity system that relies on what makes the university unique. Hint: San Jose State is the only institution with the initials “SJSU.”

“We’ve been very intentional about updating colleges and other campus units, including Associated Students and our Alumni Association board, seeking and listening to campus input,” said Shiller. “We’ve probably done more than 40 presentations, and the work reflects what we’ve heard.”

In use since 2008, the “bricks,” as people call the current logo, has been likened to a microchip or a soccer ball. The new identity system, however, is more meaningful, especially since Spartans created it. “It’s less institutional and more personal,” explained Shiller. “As one student aptly said, ‘You can’t hug a brick.’”

The first set of guides and resources will be available on the Marketing and Communications website at the end of April. Sign up to receive email updates and to participate in the development of the brand effort.

]]> 0
San Jose Mercury News: San Jose Conference Held to Boost Latino College Graduation Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:48:02 +0000 Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 15, 2014.

By Steve Johnson

SAN JOSE — Joining hundreds of other Latinos, Robert and Robyn Rodriguez hustled through San Jose State‘s sprawling campus early Saturday morning with their 10-year-old son, Ceasar, so they could find a seat at a conference intended to boost Latino college attendance and graduation rates.

Ceasar, a student at Horace Mann Elementary in San Jose, is doing well in school. He said he wants a college degree “to get a good job.” And his parents share his enthusiasm.

Noting that neither he nor his wife went to college, Robert Rodriguez said, “We’re real excited about him having a chance.”

Latinos make up 38 percent of California’s population and are expected this year to surpass non-Hispanic whites as the state’s biggest ethnic or racial group, yet they lag worrisomely behind many other racial and ethnic groups in higher education.

Although seven out of 10 Latino high school graduates enroll in college, according to the nonprofit Campaign for College Opportunity, they are less likely than whites and people of Asian descent to get into top schools, attend full time and earn a bachelor’s degree.

Indeed, a 2011 study by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley found that just 14 percent of local Latinos have a bachelor’s degree compared with 52 percent of non-Latinos.

That’s a costly educational gap. By some estimates, people with college degrees over their lifetimes on average earn at least $1 million more than those with just a high-school diploma.

“Education offers a golden opportunity for each and every one of you,” San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi told the crowd at the university’s event center. “Education is the passport for your future.”

Read the full story. 

]]> 0