April 2018 Newsletter: Provost Update – Recognizing Excellence at San Jose State

As many of you know, my time here is nearing its end, as I will be leaving for a new role as president of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) at the end of June. The reason I was first drawn to SJSU as deputy provost in 2013 was because I saw tremendous potential in every student, every faculty and staff member, and the university as a whole. I have worked during the past five years with many Spartans who have exceeded my expectations and shown me what we can achieve when we work collaboratively toward the same vision. I am fortunate, too, that you saw potential in me when I was selected to be provost less than a year into my tenure.

Together, we have made great strides in improving graduation rates and expanding support for research, scholarship and creative activity. We have started professional development and onboarding programs and established student success centers in every college. We have created an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as student centers to support underrepresented minority and undocumented students.

While I am pleased with our collective accomplishments, I am also proud of the individual achievements of our students, faculty and staff. During my time as provost, I have especially enjoyed the regular notes I receive from deans, chairs and others sharing accolades for our talented and distinguished people who constitute our university community.

Whether I am meeting with people in person, checking email on my cell phone or looking through messages on a laptop, hearing about good news is a highlight of my day. Here are just a few of the items shared with me in recent weeks.

Alumna and former Spartan Daily reporter and city editor Mary Callahan made the list of 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners — she was part of the news team at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that received the award for breaking news reporting for coverage of the Sonoma wildfires. Assistant Professor Minghui Diao was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study ice supersaturation and its role on climate. Amy Strage, the director of our Center for Faculty Development, was named a faculty fellow with the Transforming STEM Teaching Faculty Learning Program. Professor and Director of the Burdick Military History Project Jonathan Roth coordinated a symposium on culture and WWI.

This month’s newsletter highlights more students, faculty and staff who excel in their fields and enhance the reputation of our great university. Read on to learn about an associate professor of English who received a Fulbright Award; students who will represent SJSU at the CSU Student Research Competition in May; a team of educators who are tackling ways to promote online civic literacy; two staff members who are co-chairing the Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign; a graduate student who was invited to participate in a panel on gentrification at the Chicago Ethnography Conference in March; and view photos from our April 20th Honors Convocation.

These and many other Spartans are what I will miss most about San Jose State University. The relationships I have built since my arrival are the thing I hold most dear about my time here. I want to reiterate that I have learned so much from all of you, and I am honored to have been part of your journey.

I know I will connect with many of you during my final months at SJSU and I hope to see many of you at my farewell reception that President Papazian will host from 3 to 5 p.m. May 7 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

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