February 2016 Newsletter: Provost Update: A Culture of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

As Provost, I am always excited to learn about the amazing research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA) our students and faculty accomplish. I also understand the dedication that is required to balance teaching, service and RSCA. From my own experience in conducting and publishing research, I know both faculty and students benefit from a campus culture that supports such endeavors.

I am committed to creating an environment that fosters this important aspect of higher education. In the last two years, we have invested $2.2 million to support university-wide workshops and college-specific programs to assist faculty in starting or continuing their RSCA agendas. Annual funding for RSCA has been built into our budget and we are finalizing a plan to ensure it remains a key priority.

My hope is that our current planning efforts will foster more stellar research like that of two faculty members honored at the Celebration of Research this month with Early Career Investigator Awards. Aaron Romanowsky, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, and Virginia San Fratello, from the Department of Design in the College of Humanities and the Arts, both exemplify the Spartan spirit of innovation. Romanowsky and his students are discovering new galaxies while San Fratello is using 3-D printing to create sustainable building materials. Both have been recognized by colleagues in their disciplines and have been successful in securing funding to further their research.

At the Celebration of Research, I was also pleased to highlight our Undergraduate Research Pairs program and see the wide range of projects students are pursuing with faculty mentors, some of which we highlight in this month’s newsletter. High-impact practices, including undergraduate research, improve student learning and support student retention, but faculty also benefit from students as research assistants. I applaud our faculty for their commitment to engaging students in their research along with attracting public and private funding to support regional, national and global collaborations.

The SJSU Research Foundation plays an essential role in sustaining our efforts. In 2014-15, the Research Foundation oversaw more than $63 million in revenues that included resources from grants and contracts with government agencies, corporations and private foundations to support more than 150 RSCA projects. See the full list of contracts and awards along with stories of faculty and student work in the San Jose State University Research Foundation 2014-15 Annual Report published this month. I am dedicated to the continued growth of the SJSU research enterprise and the role of the SJSU Research Foundation in supporting our campus.

November newsletter: Academic division helps Food for Students fund

A volunteer stocks a student food shelf on campus. The Academic Affairs Division raised $7,000 for the SJSU Food for Students fund to support this and other efforts to help students with food insecurities.

A volunteer stocks a student food shelf on campus. The Academic Affairs Division raised $7,000 for the SJSU Food for Students fund to support this and other efforts to help students with food insecurities.

As part of the Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast each year, administrators and staff compete in a donation challenge to support members of the community who face food insecurity. Provost Andy Feinstein volunteers a half-day of work with the unit that brings in the most donations. This year, members of the division raised money for the SJSU Food for Students Fund to support students in need.

Provost Feinstein announced at the October breakfast that $7,000 had been donated by staff and administrators in the division. Staff and administrators from the Connie L. Lurie College of Education gave the highest dollar amount.

Food insecurity is a real issue at San Jose State. SJSU Associated Student President LooLoo Amante shared her story this summer about struggling when she first arrived on campus.

According to Tovah Feldmanstern, who works in Counseling and Psychological Services at SJSU, one in three SJSU students say that it is often or sometimes true that they were hungry but didn’t eat because there wasn’t enough money for food and one in three SJSU students also say that it is often or sometimes true that they had to choose between food and living expenses such as rent, transportation or utilities.

Learn more about free and low-cost food sources on and off campus.

Academic Spotlight blog launches

Provost Andy Feinstein and his staff members are excited to launch a new blog focused on the Academic Affairs Division, “Academic Spotlight.” The blog will feature announcements from the Office of the Provost and updates on the division. The blog will also be a venue for faculty, staff and students to share their accomplishments with the campus community.

We look forward to offering more frequent updates on all the great things happening in Academic Affairs. We encourage students, faculty and staff to share stories for consideration in the blog with Melissa Anderson, the executive communications specialist. She can be reached via email at melissa.anderson@sjsu.edu.