University Grants Academy Applications Due Nov. 6

Professors applying for grants listen to Amy D'Andrade speak during the start of the University Grants Academy at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Professors applying for grants listen to Amy D’Andrade speak during the start of the University Grants Academy at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Applications for the 2017-18 Universtiy Grants Academy (UGA) are now available and due by Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. The UGA supports faculty members from across the campus through the process of writing a substantial external grant proposal to fund their research, scholarship or creative activity (RSCA). The UGA is a developmental experience designed for faculty members new to external grant-writing. Tenured/tenure track (T/TT) faculty who have not yet received major external grants are eligible to apply. Faculty members developing proposals to fund their research, their scholarly endeavors or their creative activity work will have priority, but those seeking other types of extramural grants (e.g., training grants or program or curriculum development) may be considered if space permits.

Faculty who are accepted into the program receive 0.2 assigned time for T/TT faculty and the resources covering the supporting tools at the disposition of the T/TT faculty during the UGA program:

  • Workshops by campus experts on various asinto of proposal development in fall 2017;
  • A spring program providing technical support, resources and mentoring from campus experts and successful SJSU grant writers in spring 2018;
  • Proposal reviews by senior scholars in the field;
  • $500 in O&E funds if proposal submitted by the first open submission window after UGA completion; and
  • Individualized coaching to support the completion and submission of an external grant proposal.

Applications are due to the Office of Research by November 6, 2017 by 5:00pm.

The UGA application is available via DocuSign. Once the information is completed, it will be sent to department chair and then the College Dean for review/approvals, then sent to the Office of Research once it is completed. If you need assistance with DocuSign, please visit the DocuSign support page. Application Form 2017-18 (PDF) i is also available to be printed and may be submitted via email to the Office of Research (

Proposals must contain the following:

  1. The UGA application form;
  2. A current CV;
  3. A proposal budget and budget justification; and
  4. A draft proposal narrative containing at minimum:
    1. 5-6 pages outlining the scope and methodology of the project to be funded (what you propose to do and how it will be implemented; aka the Research Strategy/Project Description); and
    2. 1-2 pages introducing the problem or issue being targeted and why the problem is important.

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by members of the RSCA Advisory Council. Final participants will be selected by the Office of Research informed by the RSCA Advisory Council recommendations. The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Completeness of application;
  • Strength of application elements and likelihood of potential funding;
  • Evidence of faculty member’s ability to complete a proposal within the UGA timeframe;
  • Fit of faculty interests and needs with the goals of the UGA.

If you have questions about whether your project would be categorized as RSCA, consult with your chair, your college’s Associate Dean for Research (or relevant contact), and/or your college’s RSCA metrics. You may also email the Associate Dean for Research in the Office of Research at SJSU, Gilles Muller ( or the Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development, Amy Strage (

Additional Information

SJSU Professor Peter Beyersdorf Associated with 2017 Nobel Prize Winners

Peter Beyersdorf

Peter Beyersdorf

San Jose State Astronomy and Physics Associate Professor Peter Beyersdorf had a long association with two of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics winners and their Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Science Collaboration. Beyersdorf was a member of the LIGO organization from its inception until 2014, first as a graduate student at Stanford, then as a post-doctorate at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan, and then as a faculty member at SJSU.

“During my 14 years working on gravitational wave detection, I primarily developed and tested small-scale prototypes of the large interferometer configurations used in the detectors that recently observed gravitational waves for the first time,” he said, noting that his graduate thesis, “The Sagnac Interferometer for gravitational wave detection,” was the first comprehensive analysis of an interferometer configuration first proposed by Rai Weiss, one of this year’s Nobel Laureates. Barry Barish, another of this year’s Laureates, founded LIGO in 1997.

Beyersdorf has authored or co-authored 76 journal articles related to gravitational wave detection. He has supervised research for more than a dozen students, including two SJSU students, Adnan Alam and Mark Cordier, who worked at the LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory in Hanford, Wash.

Read more about the Nobel Prize in Physics online.

Univeristy Scholars Series Continues Oct. 11

Early Career Investigator Award Winner Miranda Worthen poses for a photograph at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Early Career Investigator Award Winner Miranda Worthen poses for a photograph at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

The Fall 2017 University Scholar Series continues Oct. 11, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 225/229. Dr. Miranda Worthen, an associate professor in the Department of Health Science and Recreation in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts and coordinator of the undergraduate Public Health Program, will present a lecture on “Risk and Protective Factors for Anger and Violent Behavior in U.S. Military Service Members.”

Worthen received San Jose State University’s Early Career Investigator Award in 2016 for her strong publication track record. Her research examines the psychosocial experiences of vulnerable populations that have undergone high levels of trauma, with an emphasis on those who have participated in armed forces or have been impacted by exposure to war.

At the lecture, she will discuss the findings of her recent mixed-methods study that aims to increase understanding of the reintegration challenges that U.S. Veterans and members of service face.

The last lecture for the fall series will be Nov. 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 225/229 when Dr. Randall Stross, a professor in the School of Management in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, presents on his latest book “A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees.”

The University Scholars Series is supported by University Library, the Spartan Bookstore, RSCA Advisory Council, the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost.

SJSU Professor Publishes ‘Intriguing’ Findings on Ultracold Atoms

In a paper published Sept. 29 in the journal of Science, experimentalists at Princeton, led by Prof. Waseem Bakr, and several theorists, including Ehsan Khatami, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy atSJSU, report their direct observation of an exotic magnetic phase of matter that could help explain how high-temperature superconductivity — the complete loss of resistance to electric flow— works.

In their experiment, Bakr and the group used lithium atoms cooled down to billionths of a degree above absolute zero (< -273 degrees Celsius), a temperature at which quantum mechanical effects dominate, and used lasers to trap atoms in a small region of space, only a few tens of micrometers across. They also used lasers to create a virtual 2D crystal, resembling an empty egg-tray, known as the optical lattice. An atomic microscope was then used to image atoms that were loaded on this lattice.

Researchers found that applying a large magnetic field — the effect that causes bar magnets to attract or repel each other — to these atoms causes their intrinsic magnetic fields to alternate in alignment in a checkerboard pattern while slightly leaning away from each other, a state termed “canted antiferromagnetism”.

The experiment is designed so that atoms can hop from one site to the neighboring sites of the “egg-tray”, while mostly avoiding each other on the same site. If we “look” at these particles at high temperatures, they have so much energy they will be moving around and bouncing off each other randomly. If the temperature is low, however, a completely different picture emerges. What we will see under the microscope would be exotic behaviors we are not used to through our everyday experiences with classical particles. Atoms start to “collaborate” to try to optimize the use of the little energy they have left.

The collaboration between atoms becomes a lot more fascinating when there are two types of them mixed in on the optical lattice, such as in the Princeton experiment. Each atom can be thought of as bar magnet that can point its north pole either up or down. With an equal population of “up” and “down” atoms, they settle into a situation where their alignment alternates from one site to the neighboring site at low temperatures. In the experiment carried out at Princeton, a magnetic field resulted in an imbalance in the population of atoms and caused them to settle instead into an unusual magnetic state in which the anti-alignment of ups and downs is pushed to the plane perpendicular to the magnetic field but canted slightly in the direction of the field.

This study is an important step towards better understanding electronic properties of solids. The system simulated in this study is a near perfect realization of a theoretical model known as the Fermi-Hubbard model, widely believed to have the ingredients for describing high-temperature superconductivity in copper-oxide materials known as cuprates. Understanding the underlying quantum mechanism driving exotic behaviors such as superconductivity or the magnetic state observed in this study can help us design better materials with specific properties we can harness in technology, energy and industry applications.

Khatami used a state-of-the-art numerical technique he had helped develop to obtain exact results for the Fermi-Hubbard model with parameters relevant to the experiment. Comparisons of numerical results with the experimental measurements was crucial in guiding the experiments and allowed the team to obtain an estimate for the system’s temperature, verify how the population imbalance changes the correlations in the system, and characterize the new phase of atoms using those correlations.

Similar experiments, albeit in the absence of a magnetic field, were performed last year at Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Khatami was also a part of the MIT study, which was published in Science last year.


Faculty Notes for May 2017: Publications, Quotes and More

Associate Professor Andrea Bechert, Department of Television, Radio, Film & Theatre, designed the sets for the Center Repertory Theatre’s April production of Sisters Matsumoto, a play by Philip Kan Gotanda exploring the return of three sisters to their Stockton farm post-World War II. Bechert’s scenic design talents are currently on display at The Mountain Play’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Performances run until June 18 at Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre in Marin.

Associate Professor Christine Hagie, chair of the Department of Special Education, joined the board of Second Start Learning Disabilities Programs. Founded in San Jose in 1974, the organization provides individualized learning programs for students diagnosed on the autism spectrum and those with similar learning disorders.

Lecturer Michael Hernandez, School of Music and Dance, soprano saxophonist and founder of the Mana Quartet, performed at Jamestown Community College’s Scharmann Theatre on April 12. The concert featured works by Quantz, Singelée, Brahms and Piazzolla. Hernandez, who as been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today,” is also a D’Addario Performing Artist.

Released this month: “Chapter Five” (OA2 Records) by the Bicoastal Collective, one half of which is School of Music and Dance Professor Aaron Lington, a baritone saxophonist. Lington shares writing and arranging credits with trumpeter and long-time collaborator Paul Tynan, who is based in Nova Scotia, hence the name of their duo. The two met in the master’s program at the University of North Texas. This, their fifth album together, was recorded with an 18-piece big band. “It’s always been our dream to do a big-band record, and we were finally able to make this happen,” Lington said. Read more online.

Center for Literary Arts Director and Department of English Associate Professor Cathleen Miller received a 2017 Silicon Valley Artist Laureate award in recognition of her creative accomplishments and community arts involvement. She is the author of The Birdhouse Chronicles: Survivng the Joys of Country Life and Champion of Choice, a biography of UN leader Nafis Sadik, named by Booklist as one of the top ten biographies of 2013. Miller also serves as editor-in-chief of SJSU’s Reed Magazine. Read more online.

“A landmark day for San Jose State University and Armenian people,” reported The Armenian Mirror-Spectator on the occasion of President Mary Papazian’s inauguration this month as the university’s 30th president. Papazian is the first Armenian woman president of a California State University campus and only the third woman president of SJSU. Read more online.