November 2017 Newsletter: Cilker Conference and Scholarship Promotes Arts in Education

Photo: Luisa Morco San Jose State University students and community members participate in the 2017 Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education in a session where they learn to incorporate music into class lessons.

Photo: Luisa Morco
San Jose State University students and community members participate in the 2017 Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education in a session where they learn to incorporate music into class lessons.

By Melissa Anderson

Marion Cilker, a 1939 alumna of the College of Humanities and the Arts, had a lifelong passion for arts in education that she wanted to share with future generations of teachers. 70 years after her own degree completion, she donated to the Connie L. Lurie College of Education to establish a scholarship and conference to foster the same ideals in prospective and current educators.

Cilker was both an artist and an educator who worked at Turlock High School in California’s central valley for many years – teaching stagecraft and art. But her love of the arts was born long before that, even before she attended what was then known as San Jose State College. She discovered art in high school, and it led her to her college major, a career and travels around the world, including a first trip to Europe after high school to see art masterpieces.

Sarah Henderson, ’18 Child and Adolescent Development MA, is one of three recipients of the Marion Cilker Scholarship for Infusing Art into Education, who shares the same passion for arts in education as Cilker.

“I applied (for the scholarship) because my research interests involve arts in education and arts as a means for higher positive outcomes for children in schools,” she said, noting that the scholarship is helping her complete her education as well as prepare for her future goal to continue research in that area. “I would like to obtain a PhD, possibly become a professor, and work in advocacy with nonprofits or policy-influencing organizations in order to shift public perception on the arts.

Katelyn Palmer, who will complete her single-subject credential in spring 2018 for teaching art, is another of the scholarship recipients. After she graduates, she hopes to get a position as an art teacher at a high school or middle school with a high special-needs population.

“I think making art collaboratively can be synonymous with making connections so I hope to give students more tools to communicate and advocate for themselves and others which they can learn inside the classroom community and bring out into the world,” she said.

Henderson and Palmer both volunteered at the 2017 Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education, co-sponsored by the College of Education and the Santa Clara County Office of Education. The Nov. 3-4 conference brought together students, teachers and parents with local artists and arts organizations to share the joy of teaching through the arts. The conference included a half-day session on Nov. 3 that was free for SJSU students with about 200 in attendance and a half-day session on Nov. 4 for teachers, parents, administrators and interested community members. About 80 people participated in the Saturday sessions held at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Children’s Discovery Museum, Movimiento do Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and Works/San Jose where artists and arts organizations gave presentations and planned activities.

“The best part of participating was attending sessions and exploring the Children’s Discovery Museum,” Henderson said.

She led a group of attendees to presentations and participated in activities on Saturday that included creating a nature journal and creating instruments out of recycled objects as well as writing lyrics to the tune of any children’s song.

Palmer met with presenters and on Saturday participated in a workshop called “String it Up Recyclable Art.”

“I loved getting to interact with teachers who are at different points in their careers,” she said. “I talked to a lot of teachers about why they were attending the conference and they talked about how much they valued art which gets me really excited to be in a school and collaborate with teachers in other subject areas.”

Henderson agreed that the artistic activities benefit students well beyond art class.

“The developmental outcomes for children who have consistent education in a variety of arts (music, fine art, sculpture, sewing, theatre, dance) are much higher than for those who do not,” Henderson said, noting that arts education requirements across the nation are inconsistent. “We are robbing our children of access to creative thinking and self-expression by cutting arts programs and undervaluing the importance of the arts.”

During welcome remarks at the Friday morning session, SJSU President Mary Papazian shared her own thoughts about arts in education.

“The arts open up a world of creativity and curiosity, of innovation and collaboration,” Papazian said. “I want this to expand. I am encouraging our campus community to see all academic disciplines as complementary—humanities and the arts; the sciences and technology; social sciences and business; health and other applied disciplines. It is at these intersections where magic happens.”

Henderson reiterated that thought.

“It is important to understand that no field can exist without the arts—engineers need to use CAD software to imagine their creations; programmers need to work with designers to create an attractive product; all companies need advertisers to sell their products using imagery,” she said.

November 2017 Newsletter: Braven Prepares Students for Careers After College

Photo: Brandon Chew Students in the Braven Accelerator network with industry and nonprofit leaders who teach them valuable skills that will help them search for their first job post graduation.

Photo: Brandon Chew
Students in the Braven Accelerator network with industry and nonprofit leaders who teach them valuable skills that will help them search for their first job post graduation.

By David Goll

At the age of 19, San Jose State University junior Nasheli Arce can already visualize how her business career could look.

The young woman who spent part of her childhood in a town near Mexico City with her eyes on a global career spends one night a week at Facebook Inc. as part of a course she is taking through SJSU’s College of Science and nonprofit Braven. The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business management information systems major is enrolled in the three-unit Braven Accelerator course, a program created to help underrepresented students attain skills that will help them succeed in their career searches after graduation.

Taught both online and in person, one of the main features of the Braven course is small-group work, pairing six to eight students with career coaches from a variety of Silicon Valley high-tech companies and nonprofit organizations. Tianna Hall, a project manager at Facebook, leads Arce’s group. Her group meets at the Menlo Park-based social networking giant.

“She really pushes us to go above and beyond,” Arce said of Hall, one of 20 career coaches working in the program, who volunteer 60 hours per semester. “As humans, we tend to settle into our comfort zones. One of the best things about this class is that it teaches us to put the extra into the ordinary. We have to break those habits and patterns. We have to keep challenging ourselves.”

Arce is one of 127 students in this fall’s cohort of the local Braven Accelerator. SJSU is one of only two universities nationwide to form a collaboration with the four-year-old Chicago-based nonprofit along with Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. San Jose State joined with Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley as part of an initial 10-week pilot program for Braven in spring 2014.

After the pilot, Braven officials decided to focus resources solely at SJSU where they felt they could have the biggest impact. The program expanded to a 15-week credit course in fall 2015, according to Andrea Schwartz Boone, executive director of Braven Bay Area. Dr. Melanie A. McNeil, professor of chemical engineering, is teaching the course this fall.

“Parts of the course are online, and then students meet in person to practice their skills,” Schwartz Boone said of the class format.

Classes are held Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with sessions held both in Washington Square Hall on campus and scattered about Silicon Valley at the job sites of career coaches such as Arce’s group leader Hall. In addition to Facebook, other coaches work at Google Inc., LinkedIn Corp., eBay Inc., Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and Teach for America.

Schwartz Boone said she and other members of her Braven Bay Area team began their research for the program by going directly to employers.

“We asked what it takes to get hired and what it takes to get promoted at their companies,” she said.

In talking with employers, five areas of career-searching competency emerged: the ability to network and communicate, operate and manage, solve problems, work as part of a team and development of self-driven leadership, or softer skills, such as being able to learn from both successes and failures.

By the end of the 2017-18 academic year, 600 SJSU students will have completed the Braven program. So far, Schwartz Boone said 96 percent of the students have either graduated or continue to make progress toward their degrees, while 76 percent have had at least one internship as compared to 49 percent of first-generation students at large state schools nationwide.

Perhaps most importantly, 75 percent of Braven’s SJSU alumni who have already graduated have secured what Schwartz Boone calls a “strong job” within six months of finishing college. “Strong” jobs are based on salary amounts, health benefits and whether the position requires a four-year college degree.

“We are seeing some exciting outcomes,” she said.

Dr. Elaine Collins, associate dean of the College of Science, is proud to show off another exciting outcome: two awards recently bestowed upon Braven’s SJSU course. During October, a committee of the CSU/CCC/UC 2017 California Higher Education collaborative Conference recognized the Braven course with its Focus on Efficiency award, while the University of South Carolina’s National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition gave the program its Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition Award.

During the on-site classes, students receive instruction and feedback on their skills not only from the coaches but also from one another, Collins said. The Braven program is geared primarily to sophomores and junior transfer students new to campus, in hopes of helping shape their academic, internship and career trajectory. Collins said team-building exercises help students to develop “stories” about themselves to create an identity and give them a sense of purpose at college.

“Often, first-generation college students feel at some point like they don’t belong,” Collins said. “In this course, we help them not only develop stories about themselves but progress to developing their own personal professional story, too.”

View Braven’s recent Bay Area Report.

Faculty Matter Tip #29: Helping students pull things together – Writing a letter to a future student   

One of the themes running through many of our Faculty Matter Teaching Tips is the notion of setting up one’s courses so as to enable students to be intentional about their approach to their academic work. The goal is to lead them to “engage” more thoughtfully and actively, to reflect constructively on challenges they encounter, and to “own” their academic trajectory.

As you set the stage for the end-of-semester push, it can be useful to include opportunities for students to think about your course content overall, as well as what they have done to succeed in mastering it. One activity that has been implemented by at least two SJSU colleagues I know of is to have students write anonymous letters to hypothetical future students in the course. Prompts might include the following – or other questions you think might be helpful:

  • What, in a nutshell, was this course about?
  • What was the most interesting part, for you (the letter-writer)?  Why?
  • What did you learn about yourself, from taking this course? (About you as a student?  About your interests?)
  • How might what you learned in this course apply, to your future studies or to your life outside of SJSU?
  • What advice do you have for someone about to embark on this course? Be specific here – why have you selected these recommendations?

Both faculty members mentioned above have compiled the letters they have gathered over several semesters. They frequently share some of them with students at the start of each semester, to get the new cohorts off to an informed and inspired start.

You can read all previous tips on the Faculty Matter Tips page of the CFD website, and share your own thoughts and ideas on the comment link below.

Download a PDF version of the tip: FMTT29

Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #28 – Revisiting the plan for the last few weeks of the term: What to do if we’ve fallen a bit behind.

As we get closer to the end of the semester, many of us realize that we have fallen a bit behind, and the “something will have to give” if we are to get through everything we’d planned to cover.  This Teaching Tip is designed to help you think through how to handle such a turn of events in your classes, should it arise.

 

Clearly, there is no single “right answer” to the question of what we should do. Strategies we entertain will need to:

  • consider how critical remaining topics are to achieving the learning objectives of the course and to preparing students for courses that build on its content; and
  • maintain the coherent threads that have lent coherence and structure to the course.

In a recent study of students’ perceptions of the “ideal” professor, the authors report that their respondents placed the greatest value on instructor clarity. Ability to communicate the relevance of the material, command of the subject matter and responsiveness to students and their needs and a sense of humor were next in importance.[1] Findings such as these caution us to be careful that we do not sacrifice those elements of our teaching that permit students to find what we are saying and doing clear and easy to follow, as we speed up or omit treatment of our course content.

Speeding up and spending less time on remaining material than we had initially intended may, indeed, enable us to at least touch on everything. And omitting topics or time-intensive instructional activities may enable us to make up time. However, such solutions often result in fewer opportunities for discussion and student-centered in-class activities, and less time spent on preview and review of material. In so doing, we may be cutting out precisely those elements of our teaching that permit students

  • to reflect on what we are teaching,
  • to monitor their understanding (or points of confusion), and
  • to engage with the material in ways that are meaningful and effective for them.

So what should we do? First, reassess our plan for the course intentionally, weighing the likely impact of the changes we are about to implement and create a revised course plan. Second, be sure to follow through with students – making sure class notes, study guides and other learning supports we may have already shared with students reflect the revised agenda. Third, make a note for ourselves about why our initial time estimates were off, and whether circumstances were special this semester, or whether we should bear this in mind as we plan for the next time we teach the course.

Please add your own strategies using the comment link on the Provost’s Academic Spotlight blog under the category “Faculty Matter.” We also invite you to peruse other Faculty Matter Teaching Tips at your leisure.

[1] Goldman, Z. , Cranmer, G., Sollitto, M., Labelle, S., & Lancaster, A. (2017) What do college students want? A prioritization of instructional behaviors and characteristics. Communication Education, 66:3, 280-298.

Download a PDF version of the tip: FMTT 28

College of Business Student Wins Top Award in Competition

Tiana Khong, right, a 2017 business administration graduate, won a student paper competition in September.

Tiana Khong, right, a 2017 business administration graduate, won a student paper competition in September. Photo courtesy of Stanley Olszewski, SOSKIphoto

Recent San Jose State University graduate Tiana Khong, ’17 Business Administration with a management concentration, won first place in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) student paper competition in September.

For this year’s competition, students were charged with submitting papers that exemplify the theme “The World in 2050.” In her paper, Khong envisioned a future in which international governments and technology companies have created safety-by-design service standards. The ANSI summarizes the main preface of her paper: the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) will lead to innovative intelligence buildings, autonomous vehicles and smart roads – and these systems will increasingly rely on service safety standards to ensure optimal security for consumers and the public.

As a student, Khong worked with Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Associate Professor Nitin Aggarwal and former Associate Dean Stephen Kwan. She was recognized for her paper at an awards banquet Oct. 18 in Washington D.C. and received $2,000 prize from ANSI.

Read Khong’s paper online.

Since graduating in spring 2017, Khong has been working as a product support analyst for a start-up company called TeemWurk that offers software as a service-based solutions for human capital management with a special focus on employee benefits administration.

In her position, she has traveled overseas, including a month-long trip to India. She works with the implementation and support services team and acts as a point of contact between the client teams and the offshore IT team, among other duties.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that is engaged in enhancing U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems.