College of Science Dean Appointment

Editor’s Note: This message was emailed to faculty and staff on April 9, 2018

Dear SJSU Community,

Following a comprehensive national search, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Kaufman has accepted the position of dean of the College of Science, effective April 16.

Michael has provided enthusiastic interim leadership to the college since July 1, 2017. During his brief tenure, he expanded support for research-active faculty by increasing assigned time; collaborated with internal and external stakeholders to move forward progress on the Interdisciplinary Science Building; worked to highlight the many ways that faculty and staff contribute to student success; and facilitated the Deans’ Leadership Academy, a year-long program focused on developing future university leaders. He has proven himself to be a skilled leader who will remain focused on supporting student success as he continues to grow the thriving research enterprise in the College of Science through collaboration with the Research Foundation, Tower Foundation and external partners.

In addition to his time as interim dean, Michael has more than 20 years of experience at SJSU and has served in multiple leadership roles, including a term as Academic Senate chair and six years as chair for the Department of Physics and Astronomy. As department chair, he coordinated the hiring of eight tenure-track faculty members, worked collaboratively on redesigning of introductory physics courses to increase student success, and garnered internal and external funds to facilitate space upgrades.

Michael joined SJSU as a lecturer in 1997 while completing a post-doctoral fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center and became a tenure-track faculty member in 1998. Through the years, he has been actively involved in supporting student research opportunities and has received more than $3 million in external funding to pursue the study of young stars and their natal environments, achieving the distinction of President’s Scholar in 2012.

He received his bachelor’s in physics from Middlebury College before attending Johns Hopkins University, where he completed a master’s in physics and a doctorate in astrophysics. Michael also completed the Management Development Program in Higher Education Leadership at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 2016.

I am confident that students, faculty, staff, alumni and other university stakeholders will be as enthusiastic as I am to have Michael at the helm of the College of Science and will find him to be a dedicated leader.


Andy Feinstein

College of Science Releases “The Scientist” Newsletter

Biological sciences majors Bianca Opara, left, and Dania Abid share their findings at the College of Science Student Research Day.

Biological sciences majors Bianca Opara, left, and Dania Abid share their findings at the College of Science Student Research Day.

The College of Science released the 2016 edition of its “The Scientist – Science in Our World and Beyond” newsletter. The newsletter includes articles on student, faculty and staff activities in each of its departments as well as news about research grants, faculty awards and progress on a new interdisciplinary science building.

Read the full newsletter online: The Scientist 2016 (PDF)

College newsletters published throughout the year

The University Library has published the Fall 2015 edition of “Academic Gateway,” a newsletter about the University Library. Contents include an article on a grant to digitize World War II Japanese Internment items, a letter from Dean Ruth Kifer and more. It is available for download from ScholarWorks.

Current and archived newsletters from other academic units and colleges are also available online:

College of Applied Sciences and Arts

Lucas College of Business and Graduate School

Connie L. Lurie College of Education

Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

College of Humanities and the Arts

College of Science

College of Social Sciences

SJSU Research Foundation Office of Sponsored Programs Bulletin 12.15 (2)


Alumni: Recent grads published in astrophysical journal

Richard Vo, a recent graduate of SJSU, had a discovery he made as an undergraduate published in a journal of astrophysics in Summer 2015.

Richard Vo, a recent graduate of SJSU, had a discovery he made as an undergraduate published in a journal of astrophysics in Summer 2015.

Recent San Jose State graduates Michael Sandoval and Richard Vo, with Assistant Professor Aaron Romanowsky, had their discovery of a “hypercompact cluster,” or a dense galaxy, published over the summer in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The two students are graduates of the College of Science physics department.

As undergraduate students, Sandoval and Vo were working with Romanowsky to search for new galaxies by poring through public data sets obtained from a number of major observatories including the Hubble Space Telescope. During this study, Vo discovered one galaxy, named M59-UCD3, that turned out to be the densest ever discovered. Shortly thereafter, Sandoval discovered an even denser object, which was so unusual that it was put in a class of its own, a “hypercompact cluster.” The students also went to Hawaii to participate in follow-up of their discoveries using the world’s largest telescope, Keck.

Both have now gone on to graduate school to study astrophysics. Vo was also featured in an SJSU Today story in May 2014.