SJSU News SJSU Today offers the latest news and shares the stories of the people at San Jose State University. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:13:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Honors Convocation April 25 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:12:31 +0000 Charles W. Davidson

Charles W. Davidson

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

SAN JOSE, CA – Distinguished alumnus, business leader and philanthropist Charles W. Davidson will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the San Jose State University Honors Convocation on April 25 at the Event Center.

We believe Charles Davidson’s exemplary achievements, his exceptional philanthropic spirit, and his positive impact on San Jose State University and the Silicon Valley as a whole merit this significant honorary degree,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi.

A self-made man

A native of Oklahoma, Charles W. Davidson came to California in 1952 and has been a resident of San Jose ever since. Attending classes at San Jose State by day and working in the railroad yards by night, Davidson graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1957.

After several years of employment with the city, Davidson struck out on his own, eventually becoming one of the largest and most successful real estate developers in the Bay Area. Through their support of education, the arts, social and human services and medical research activities, Davidson and his wife Anita, ’51 Education, have greatly impacted the university and the region.

Charles W. Davidson is the founder of the Tower Foundation, SJSU’s auxiliary philanthropic organization. In March 2007, he made a $15 million gift to the College of Engineering, the largest private individual gift to SJSU ever at the time. He has also supported scholarships, an endowed professorship, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Library and SJSU Athletics. 

San Jose State is grateful for more than Charles Davidson’s giving: We consider him a caring friend and advisor with wisdom and keen insight into humanity, traits that have made him a success in all areas of life,” President Qayoumi said.

Honors Convocation

Over 3,545 undergraduates who earned a GPA of 3.65 or higher in at least two contiguous semesters of the three prior semesters will be honored at this year’s ceremony at 6 p.m. April 25 in the Event Center.

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.



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2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:45:47 +0000 San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi will recognize this year’s top graduates at Commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 24, 2014. Isra Ahmad and Terri McBride have been named SJSU’s 2014 Outstanding Graduating Seniors for their leadership roles on and off campus, contributions to the community, and personal contributions as undergraduates. Karen Parker and Danielle Crawford are the 2014 Outstanding Thesis Award recipients, in recognition of their quality level of research.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Isra Ahmad volunteers at a local food bank.

Isra Ahmad graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health science and recreation in December 2013. With a final GPA of 3.805, she believes her real-world experience as a health advocate enhanced her education in the classroom. She graduates with a 3.805 GPA. On campus, she focused on tobacco-use issues as a leader for Campuses Organized and United for Good Health (COUGH). For the Northern California Society for Public Health Educators, she distributed more than 2,000 campus surveys and organized a public forum on the campus’ smoking policy. Ahmad says her most memorable contribution took place off campus, educating mothers about healthy food choices at a local Second Harvest Food Bank. Ahmad will start a master’s in public health, with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics, at UC Berkeley in the fall. She plans to teach at the university level.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Danielle Crawford reads Joy Kogawa’s Obasan.

Danielle Crawford graduated in May 2013 with a master’s degree in English. For her thesis, “A Girlhood of Myth, Dreams, and Trauma: Redefining the Asian North American Female Bildungroman,” she studied how three novels, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (1991), Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge (1997), and Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981), challenged the conventions of European coming-of-age novels through the factors of myth, dreams, and trauma. Crawford says her research is important beyond academics, providing insight on historical trauma. She says she is grateful to her department at SJSU for giving her the opportunity to teach, which reconfirmed her long-term goals of becoming a professor. Crawford is currently a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz.

Terri McBride at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) with professor and MARC director Leslee Parr and MARC peer Yolanda Hunt.

Terri McBride at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) with professor and MARC director Leslee Parr and MARC peer Yolanda Hunt.

Terri McBride will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biological science (molecular biology). She was working toward a nutrition degree, before switching majors to biological science, which she’ll complete with a 3.948 GPA. At SJSU, she served as a leader of the Nutrition and Food Science Club and as a tutor for College of Science and Advising Center and Learning Assistance Resource Center. Off campus, she is a petty officer first class in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and has volunteered at youth outreach events with TechGYRLS, the Bay Area Science Festival and the San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons Conference. She is currently studying for the MCAT and hopes to attend a post-baccalaureate program at Stanford. Her goal is to be a physician scientist and continue her research in oncology, while bringing care to low-income and disadvantaged people.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Karen Parker built a computer model of alga.

Karen Parker graduated with a master’s in marine science in December 2013. Parker has combined her new degree with 10 years of experience in the semiconductor industry to create a new career: biological oceanography. For her thesis, “Metabolic Network Construction Based on the Genome of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira Pseudonana and the Analysis of Genome-Wide Transcriptome Data to Investigate Triacylglyceride Accumulation,” Parker used genomic data to build a computer model of a marine diatom—microscopic alga that converts light from the sun into chemical energy, which can be used as biofuel for cars and jets. Her research may have implications for the future of carbon-neutral fuels and for reducing greenhouse gases associated with climate change. She says her educational experience at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories has given her the skills to successfully pursue her goal of working on a computational system biology research and development team.

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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.”

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Spartans Supporting Spartans Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:58:44 +0000
 Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

“I’m inspired by work that happens on campus in areas that are very different from my own,” says Eugene Cordero, professor of meteorology and climate science. “Having the opportunity to support work others are doing allows you to feel as though you are helping.”

As regular donors and committee members for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Cordero and his wife Clare, a lecturer in the engineering department, are passionate about helping. For Cordero, this campaign offers an opportunity for the campus community to come together and feel good about the university.

“You can give money to scholarships or to an outreach program that helps kids learn about science, or the library. Those are things that everyone can feel good about supporting,” says Eugene Cordero. “Our university is not just the administration; it’s the faculty, the staff, the programs, the students. I’m inspired by our students. That’s why I’m here.”

Cordero encourages his colleagues to consider what keeps them here, too. He offers this advice to fellow faculty members: “Keep using that positive energy to inspire students to learn and be creative and do great things!”

Make a gift through Spartans Supporting Spartans.



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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.

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Legacy of Poetry Day April 24 Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:17:57 +0000 Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez

Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez

Contact: Alan Soldofsky, 408-924-4432;

In celebration of National Poetry Month, San Jose State University will once again host its annual Legacy of Poetry Day 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 24 at Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

“SJSU’s Legacy of Diversity Through Poetry: All Kinds, All Colors.”

The theme of this year’s eighth annual Legacy of Poetry Day is “SJSU’s Legacy of Diversity Through Poetry: All Kinds, All Colors.” which will feature readings by former California Poet Laureate Al Young, new Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez, recent Santa Clara County Poet Laureates Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson, Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss, poet/musician and memoirist Joy Harjo. The program’s co-MC will be “Mighty” Mike McGee, San Jose’s Individual World Poetry Slam Champion (2006).

former California Poet Laureate Al Young

Former California Poet Laureate Al Young

There will also be readings in remembrance of California poet Wanda Coleman, the unofficial Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Coleman who died in November, over the decades was one of California’s most well-known and popular poets. Her career began among the Beat poets in Venice West in the early sixties and ended with her successfully writing poetry while working as a staff writer for the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” (1975-76) for which she won an Emmy Award.

An afternoon of readings

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day will continue through the afternoon with readings by students, SJSU faculty members, emeriti, and alumni. There will be readings by a number of SJSU faculty poets including Alan Soldofsky, Persis Karim, Samuel Maio, Gloria Collins, Neli Moody, and Linda Lappin among others. President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein will offer opening remarks and readings for the event. Professors Alan Soldofsky (English & Comparative Literature) and Annette Nellen (Accounting and Finance) organize the annual gathering, which is sponsored by the SJSU Poets and Writers Coalition, with co-sponsorship support from the SJSU President’s Office, Academic Senate, the MLK Library, the Creative Writing Program, Department of English and Comparative Literature, SJSU Associated Students, and Poetry Center San Jose.

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day is celebrated annually as part of National Poetry Month, on the Thursday closest to San Jose’s first nationally renowned poet, Edwin Markham’s, birthday (April 23, 1852). Markham is best known for writing “A Man With A Hoe,” a poem embodying the oppressed suffering of farm laborers.

Pocket-sized poems 

Lit Factory booth

Last year’s Lit Factory booth (Christina Olivas).

Also, at this year’s event the students of the Poets and Writers Coalition will staff the Lit Factory booth, which provides typewriters for poets to write short pocket-sized poems on the spot to be given away to those attending the day’s events. Submit your poem’s desired elements and characteristics to the Lit Factory, and see what interesting poem comes out. The Lit Factory is SJSU’s way of participating in the Poetry In-Your-Pocket Day, a national event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets on April 24, during National Poetry Month. National Poetry Month is held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Legacy of Poetry Day is sponsored by the SJSU President’s Office, the Faculty Senate, the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English & Comparative Literature, and SJSU Associated Students.


Legacy of Poetry Day 2014

11:45 a.m. – noon
Opening remarks and readings by President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein. Readings in honor San Jose State’s first major poet, Edwin Markham (April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940), and Henry Meade Bland (1863 – 1931), California’s second Poet Laureate.

Noon – 1 p.m.
Featured keynote readings by former California Poet Laureate Al Young, Santa Clara County’s newest poet Laureate David Perez, former Santa Clara County poet Laureates Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson.

1 – 1:30 p.m.
Commemorative reading and tribute to poet Wanda Coleman.

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
SJSU faculty reading featuring Gloria Collins, Persis Karim, Linda Lappin, Samuel Maio, Neli Moody, Sweeney Schragg, Alan Soldofsky, and other poets.

2:15 – 3:30 p.m.
Readings by SJSU students, staff, and alumni. Featuring Metro Newspaper’s Silicon Alley’s columnist Gary Singh, Mark Heinlein, Darrell Dela Cruz, Stephanie Chan, Vuong Vu, Max Goodwin and winners of the James Phelan, Dorrit Sibley, and Viriginia de Araujo/Academy of American Poets student poetry awards. Hosted by the Poets & Writers Coalition.

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“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.


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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.


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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.”

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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.

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