September 2017 Newsletter: Provost Update: SJSU Faculty Achievements, the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event and Community Conversations, and a Busy Fall 2017

Welcome back.

Fall 2017 is well underway. The campus is energized after the calm summer months. Approximately 4,500 first-time freshmen can be seen between classes admiring the 23-foot statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City or on skateboards darting to the Student Union. Professors head to lecture halls focused on their classes ahead. College Success Centers are abuzz with students seeking support to change majors, see advisors –we’ve added 20 new ones — and to learn about MyGPS, a suite of technology tools that put academic and graduation support in the palms of students’ hands. MyGPS is a great resource for staff, allowing departments increased accessibility to information to excel student success. Advisors and chairs can access the Student Data Warehouse (SDW) to access reports related to enrollment planning and student progress.

As we begin another academic year, the accomplishments of our colleagues since last May leaves me inspired. Dr. Matthew Spangler became the first San José State University faculty member to win the prestigious Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance. At the same time, the 15th production of his stage-adapted version of the novel, “The Kite Runner,” wrapped its eight-month run in London’s famed West End theater district.

Dr. Peg Hughes and Everett Smith worked diligently over the summer to reinstate and prepare the four courses that make up the new Deaf minor on hiatus from San José State University for approximately a decade. Dr. Hughes and Smith talk passionately in their interview about Deaf culture, adapting and creating new curricula for the minor, and the future of special education.

Dr. Essam Marouf, an electrical engineering professor and associate dean of Research, had an emotionally charged September as he gathered with other researchers to witness the last radio signal from the Cassini spacecraft, one of the largest spacecraft ever launched from Earth. Dr. Marouf spent 26 years on the Cassini Radio Science research team interpreting data transmitted via radio signals during Cassini’s 293 orbits of Saturn.

In just five weeks, so much has happened. More than 33,000 students enrolled and began classes. On September 13, 300 faculty, staff, administrators, campus leadership, and students attended the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event. In her opening remarks, President Mary Papazian challenged our campus community to embrace bold visions for our University’s future.

The following week we hosted Campus Conversations and asked tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, staff, and students how they wanted SJSU to evolve. Their answers laid the foundation for this year’s strategic planning process, and, ultimately, our next decade of growth.

We continue our search for new academic deans in the College of Humanities and the Arts, the Lurie College of Education, and the College of Science. Last week brought a visit from the Western Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation team to gather information and monitor our advances in the areas of leadership, organizational climate, shared governance and a campus climate. Upon leaving, they provided a video exit review with their conclusions, the WSCUC Team Special Visit Report.

The world around us is just as busy. We had the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation, only seen as a partial eclipse for San José, and a heat wave where we couldn’t escape the sun’s blaze. Hurricanes struck Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico, and earthquakes devastated Mexico. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas further destabilized our nation’s sense of unity and safety. Political storms continue to divide the country and challenge the very fabric of diversity San José State celebrates and holds dear.

We as Spartans must stay united, remain vigilant, and focus on what great things we may accomplish in the future. The Office of the Provost, University Library, Office of Research and Spartan Bookstore are sponsoring the Annual Author & Artists Awards for 2017 on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 PM in King Library on the 8th floor in the Grand Reading Room. The celebratory event is designed to recognize faculty and staff who have published a book or other major works of general interest and significance in 2017.

The Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association will again award two faculty members the ERFA Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards to support their scholarly and creative activity. Each year since 2014, ERFA has given two faculty members $2,500 to advance their careers.

May we all be a challenged and inspired this semester and may our academic, research, and scholarship pursuits provide us wisdom, knowledge, and achievement.

Andy Feinstein
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

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.

October newsletter: Provost update – Powering professional growth

One of the best things about being involved in a university is that I continually have the opportunity to engage with people and learn new things. Just this month, I attended the Homecoming football game, a celebration of the CIES’ International Gateway’s 40th anniversary, the Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast, and the Faculty Diversity Committee’s Fall Fling, among many other events. This busy month has been a reminder for me that one of my important roles as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs is fostering a culture of engagement and continual learning for all of you.I am proud that the Academic Affairs Leadership Team has come together to develop new opportunities for professional growth. Two new programs have been developed to help members of our community acclimate to the culture at San Jose State. With University 101 and an administrator on-boarding program, faculty and administrators are learning about how each division on campus works together to support student success. These programs are about showing people what it is like to be a Spartan while also providing opportunities for growth.

We are also focused on providing resources to our staff. I am pleased to share the news that 48 groups and individuals received a staff professional development grant to use by May 30, 2016 A second call for applications is open now, with applications due Nov. 13. For faculty, a new slate of research, scholarship, and creative activity support services launched this fall, including the University Grants Academy. See a full list of upcoming events online.

We continue to support the Academic Affairs Leadership Discovery Group.  In its third year, Social Work Professor Peter Allen Lee is now facilitating the program. It provides faculty and staff members a chance to evaluate their readiness to take on new responsibilities while also creating an action plan to attain their career goals. Dean Lisa Vollendorf, from the College of Humanities and the Arts, is also leading the Dean’s Leadership Academy. The program focuses on faculty who want to take on more responsibilities and learn about pathways to leadership positions in the Academy. The program is sponsored and paid for by the deans and is currently supporting 17 faculty members.

I look forward to hearing suggestions from you on ways we can continue to support your professional growth.

Andy Feinstein
Provost and VP for Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs raises money for Food for Students fund

The theme for the 2015 Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast is 'Full Circle Giving.'

The theme for the 2015 Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast is ‘Full Circle Giving.’

This fall, members of the Academic Affairs Division are raising money for the SJSU Food for Students Fund. The theme for the breakfast is “Full Circle Giving.” Each year, the colleges and departments within the division compete to see which group can collect the most resources in support of a food drive leading up to the Academic Affairs Division Staff Appreciation Breakfast. The winner of the competition will be announced at the Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast on Oct. 23, to which all staff within the division are invited. Visit the events page to see weekly totals for each college or department.

In a recent Student Affairs survey, nearly 12 percent of SJSU students reported they often had to skip a meal or cut the size of a meal because they did not have enough money. The SJSU Food for Students Fund supports a variety of resources for students including more than a dozen student food cupboards on campus where students can stop in to take items as needed. The fund also supports the Student Wellness Center in providing programs for students and connecting them with other resources off-campus that may help them.

For more on how the fund came into existence and to learn about the Student Hunger Committee, read a story on “Addressing Food Insecurity Among Students.”

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