Faculty Early Tenure and Promotion: A.J. Faas

A.J. Faas

A.J. Faas
(Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

A.J. Faas

Early Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

Years at SJSU: 4

Department: Anthropology

RSCA focus: Disasters, environmental crises, and displacement and resettlement, with a focus on the historical production of vulnerability, postcolonial practice, social memory, and community organizing and social support. His research has primarily been in Latin America, with some work conducted in the American northwest and the San Jose area.

Associate Professor A.J. Faas’s work in post-disaster resettlements in highland Ecuador has led to several recent publications including a study on reciprocity and vernacular statecraft and one on  the conversion of peasants into “entrepreneurs.” Closer to home, he has studied wildfire responses in the Pacific Northwest.

In his time at San Jose State University, Faas has also enjoyed planning and organizing his department’s annual AnthROX! event.  It is one part party with refreshments and live music, one part expo of the best of Applied Anthropology at SJSU, with multimedia exhibits and “Ignite Talks” by graduate students, alumni, and emeritus faculty.

As a first-generation student himself, he encourages anthropology majors to get involved beyond their classrooms.

“My entire career began nearly two decades ago when I shyly walked into my department chair’s office and asked if there was a way for me to get experience working on a real study,” Faas recalls. “He got me working that day, and I’ve never looked back.”

Note: Congratulations to the 43 faculty members who received tenure and/or promotion for 2017-18. We have invited each faculty member to participate in a series of posts profiling their teaching, service, and research, scholarship and creativity activities. Those faculty who opted to participate will be featured throughout the fall semester on the Academic Spotlight blog and the digital sign in the Administration Building lobby.

Faculty Promotion: Colleen Haight

Colleen Haight

Colleen Haight

Colleen Haight

Promotion to full professor

Years at SJSU: 12

Department: Economics

RSCA focus: Economics regulation and economics of religion

Dr. Colleen Haight is currently the chair of the Department of Economics, has served as the acting chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and recently headed the search committee for the vice president of Student Affairs.

“I love our students. Working at SJSU, you have the very real opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life,” Haight said. “Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and often are the first in their families to attend university. Helping our students find their paths is extremely rewarding.”

Haight suggests students follow their passion and fall in love with their careers.

“If you haven’t found love yet, don’t stop looking,” she said. “It’s out there waiting for you.”

When she is not teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, she is actively engaged in research on the business regulatory environment, taxation, the economics of religion and Fair Trade. She has published articles on Fair Trade coffee, government intervention in the champagne market, and regulation of automobiles.

Note: Congratulations to the 43 faculty members who received tenure and/or promotion for 2017-18. We have invited each faculty member to participate in a series of posts profiling their research, scholarship and creativity activities. Those faculty who opted to participate will be featured throughout the fall semester on the Academic Spotlight blog and the digital sign in the Administration Building lobby.

 

New Study Recognizes Marine Animals as ‘Global Citizens’

Professor Scott A. Shaffer, from the Department of Biological Sciences, and his co-authors from other universities, research centers and nonprofits, have published a new study this month in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution that highlights how marine animals are global citizens. These animals such as seabirds, turtles, sharks, tuna, and marine mammals migrate through seas and coastlines belonging to multiple countries around the Pacific Ocean. With the aid of tracking tags attached to the animals, scientists have been able to establish the year-round movements and distribution of these animals. This information was used to determine how much time and space a given species resided in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of each Pacific Rim country.

This information is critical for the future protection of marine animals because stakeholder countries do not always agree on the most effectual policies, measures, or responsibilities to protect marine animals that reside in or simply travel through their EEZ. The results published in this current study reveal the proportion of time spent by each species within a given countries EEZ, thus providing greater insight on the jurisdictional responsibilities of each Pacific rim nation versus a shared governance of the high seas.

“This study really sheds light on the complexities of shared governance for species protection because the animals we tracked range so widely across the Pacific. For example, policies that protect a seabird when traveling through one country’s jurisdiction may do little to protect the same individual when flying through the jurisdiction of another country with different (or no) policies.”

Read the full paper: Harrison2018NatureEcolEvol

Frankenstein Bicentennial Continues with Roundtable on Sept. 18

The College of Humanities and the Arts served Frankenstein cookies at its fall welcome event.

The College of Humanities and the Arts served Frankenstein cookies at its fall welcome event.

San Jose State University continues to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein this fall. The first event of the semester will include a panel in which speakers will present three perspectives of the fictional creature on Sept. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m., in the Hammer Theatre. The event is open and free to the public.

The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Gill, with panelists to include SJSU President Mary Papazian on “Creating a Monster with Paradise lost”, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Adrienne Eastwood on “Queering the Monster,” and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy Anand Vaidya on “What’s in Your Head? – the Moral Zombie.”

Launched last spring by SJSU’s Katherine D. Harris in collaboration with project manager Jonathan Gill and colleagues at Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco, the series of events aims to facilitate discussions relating to technology, humanity, and ethics and how they affect our current world. The College of Humanities the Arts included a playful nod to the project at its fall welcome on Aug. 20 with Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein cookies.

Visit the project website for more details.

See the full list of upcoming events that will run through December online.

Kinesiology Lab Connects Students with Cerebral Palsy Patients and Research Skills

Assistant Professor Areum Jensen works with a clinical research participant in her kinesiology lab.(Photo: Brandon Chew)

Assistant Professor Areum Jensen works with a clinical research participant in her kinesiology lab. (Photo: Brandon Chew)

Areum Jensen first learned about the field of kinesiology from an English teacher. She was completing a bachelor’s in biology at Sangmyung University in Seoul, Korea, and had long been interested in understanding how exercise can improve health. As a child, her mother had often been ill and suffered from severe asthma. However, once her mother began a regiment of exercise – starting with one minute a day and building up to being able to compete in an amateur tennis tournament years later – Jensen became a believer that exercise could be medicine.

“I tried to figure out what I wanted to learn next,” said Jensen, who is an assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Department of Kinesiology. “I had an English teacher who had been a sports medicine doctor in Canada. He said I had to go to America or Canada to study kinesiology.”

Jensen applied and was admitted to a master’s of exercise physiology program at San Francisco State University. After finishing her degree, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in medical physiology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine so that she could learn the knowledge and techniques needed to conduct clinical research. There, she first became involved with studies of individuals with neurological disorders such as autism.

At San Jose State University, she is continuing her clinical research agenda through internal grants from her college and the university, as well as the support of student researchers. Through the Undergraduate Research Grant Program, coordinated by SJSU’s Office of Research and the Center for Faculty Development, she was able to work with three students in 2017-18 and has four students engaging with her for 2018-19.

“I couldn’t do my research alone,” she said. “The clinical nature of my work means I need students and assistants. It is amazing to work together and see how motivated my students are. I am very proud.”

Jensen is quick to point out the successes and accomplishments of last year’s research team — Rachel Christensen, ’17 Kinesiology, Pooja Pal, ’18 Kinesiology, and Cory Low, ’18 Kinesiology. The students were president and dean’s scholars; received scholarships; and were recognized for scholar and service scholarships by the Department of Kinesiology and the American Kinesiology Association. The high point for Jensen as a mentor — all were accepted to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs immediately following graduation while most candidates take much longer to complete the requirements to apply for such programs.

“We were all very fortunate to have Dr. Jensen as our lab instructor in our physiological assessment course,” Christensen said. “It was easy to see her passion for exercise physiology.”

Areum Jensen, an assistant professor of Kinesiology, works with students on clinical research that will compare physiological function of control participants and participants with autism.

Areum Jensen, an assistant professor of Kinesiology, works with students on clinical research that will compare physiological function of control participants and participants with autism.

Working under Jensen’s leadership, the students explored the relationship between muscular strength, bone mineral density and balance in adults with cerebral palsy, among other relationships between physiology and function in the population. Jensen’s ultimate goal is to help populations with neurological disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy to reap the benefits of exercise. The students presented their work at the national meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in May 2018.

“It was an opportunity we all couldn’t pass up,” Christensen said, noting that Jensen served as a mentor through the undergraduate research grant application process. “I feel so much closer to my peers, and I’ve gained such a tremendous mentor in Dr. Jensen throughout this process…I love that it provided a gateway to attend conferences as well.”

Pal said she was looking to engage in research to develop skills she would need to enter a physical therapy program, but she discovered the best part of the research was working with the participants involved in the study.

“Whenever the cerebral palsy research team would go to Ability Now Bay Area in Oakland to train the research participants, they would be super enthusiastic every morning to exercise,” Pal said. “Their high spirits on most days gave all of us a happy boost.”

Christensen is attending California State University Fresno’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, while Pal started this fall at the University of the Pacific.

“This research opportunity helped me understand a patient-focused career in physical therapy,” Pal said. “I was able to enhance my communication and teamwork skills.”

Both graduates agreed that they made meaningful connections with professors and fellow classmates.

“The Kinesiology Department is truly an incredible department filled with faculty and staff that really want great things for their students and are willing to go above and beyond to help us reach our goals,” Christensen said. “I am extremely happy that I got to be a part of such a wonderful community at San Jose State, and I am sure I will be back.”

Jensen, who teaches clinical physiology classes, said that the research has made her more aware of including an array of information in her classes about different disorders that affect the body including neurological disorders that can strike diverse individuals.

“Before I spent a lot of time in class on cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and cancer,” she said. “Having done research on populations with neurological disorders, I can see that those disorders were neglected and I am bringing them into the classroom and giving them a little more time.”