March Newsletter: Provost Update – Technology and Teaching Intersect

At San Jose State, in the heart of Silicon Valley, we are turning to technology to support student success in many ways. New technology has evolved and expanded the way we teach classes. It is allowing us to use data and predictive analytics to make informed decisions about what resources are needed to improve graduation and retention rates. It is opening up new opportunities for students and faculty to engage together in research.

As Provost, I am encouraged by our staff and faculty who have been early adopters of new technologies and serve as examples for the campus. They have found innovative ways to use the assets we have available to take students beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. We have faculty members who are redesigning their courses to use new applications that increase student engagement and real-time assessment. Others use telepresence and WebEx to connect with long-distance research partners or bring guest lecturers into their classrooms remotely. Still others are incorporating new software tools into their curriculum to ensure students have the skills they need to land internships in their fields.

Academic Technology, IT Services, and the Center for Faculty Development have been integral in supporting students, staff and faculty as we adopt new technologies. They coordinate group workshop and training activities such as the recent Adobe Day, where 50 staff and faculty members learned how to use new software programs at the company’s downtown office. IT Services also hosts IT Open Forums several times a year, where all students, staff and faculty are invited to learn about the ways in which technology and higher education intersect.Dates of upcoming forums are available online.

Academic Technology and ITS staff are collaborating more closely since ITS joined the Academic Affairs Division in the fall. I am enthusiastic that their joint efforts will greatly benefit us all, especially as student success continues to be a top priority on campus.

I encourage those of you who are interested in learning more about the existing technology resources we have on campus to connect with Academic Technology, IT Services and the Center for Faculty Development, or to consult with them when you discover new resources that could benefit the greater campus community. I look forward to seeing the innovative ways we can collaborate to improve student success, support RSCA and educate the future workforce of Silicon Valley.

Faculty resources and workshops for Spring 2016

As the spring semester begins, the Center for Faculty Development will be offering resources for faculty throughout the semester.

Faculty Learning Community

Starting in February, faculty members are invited to join a faculty learning communities that will be focused on “Teaching and Engaging our Students.” Participants will meet monthly and will also have the opportunity to visit each others’ classrooms. Faculty Learning Community #1 will meet on Tuesdays, from 9-10 a.m., in IRC 210 on Feb. 9, March 8, April 5 and May 3. Faculty Learning Community #2 will meet on Wednesdays, from 9-10 a.m. in IRC 210 on Feb. 10, March 9, April 6 and May 4. Sign up for a group online.

Online Resources for Teaching Excellence

Faculty members have shared some insights about teaching excellence on the CFD website including on topics such as Creating Caring and Respectful Teaching and Learning Communities and Teaching Large Classes.  Other resources are available on the Teaching and Learning tab of the CFD webpage.

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity

Webinars and other resources available for free through the university’s Institutional Membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.  Check out their vast Library, under the Member Resources tab.

CSU Teaching and Learning Symposium

SJSU will be hosting the CSU Teaching and Learning Symposium on April 15-16. The theme this year is “Promoting Student Success through Innovation, Creativity, Diversity and Teamwork. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Kathryn Plank, the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Otterbeim University, in Ohio. Conference session topics include high impact initiatives, facilitating active learning and more.

How to Create Effective Surveys workshop

The SJSU Office of Research and CFD will offer a workshop led by Stanford University Professor Jon A. Krosnick on “How to Create Effective Surveys: Cutting Edge Innovations, on Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon in IRC 210. Please RSVP online.

For more on these activities or other resources provided by the Center for Faculty Development, email Amy Strage at

RTP transition website offers info on new policies

San Jose State has new retention, tenure and promotion policies that will go into effect in 2016-17. The Professional Standards Committee members will use the current year to prepare the campus for the transition, with updates available on the RTP Transitions website.

In June 2015, the president signed university policies S15-6, S15-7, and S15-8, which revised the appointment, retention, tenure, and promotion policies for SJSU. The appointments policy, S15-6, went into effect fall 2015. The RTP policy revisions will be effective fall 2016.

In preparation for that transition, the Professional Standards Committee, the Center for Faculty Development and the Office of Faculty Affairs are planning workshops, creating training materials, and developing the new documents and forms needed for the new system of review.

A “Quick Facts” document outlines the major changes in RTP policies and procedures, comparing the old and new policies side-by-side.

Another document shows the regular timelines for RTP reviews under the new policies for all RTP candidates.

October newsletter: Writer’s Help 2.0 offers support to students

A new online tool is available to help students improve their writing.

A new online tool is available to help students improve their writing.

A new tool implemented by faculty in the College of Humanities and the Arts, “Writer’s Help 2.0,” is now available for all faculty and students through Canvas. The online writer’s handbook focuses on all aspects of the writing process, including drafting, revising and editing.

The handbook provides information on what makes “good writing,” an introduction to academic and professional writing, and advice on how to communicate cross-culturally, among other features. The handbook includes assignable modules to allow faculty to integrate lessons into their courses and includes game-like quizzing to help students work through grammar and writing topics.

The Center for Faculty Development and H&A are hosting two workshops for faculty on Monday, Nov. 9, from 1-2:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 10, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in IRC 210. The workshops will allow faculty members to learn about the online tool and how to incorporate it into courses. Lunch will be provided; RSVP required by Nov. 2.