Celebrate SJSU Authors on Nov. 7

Attendees of the Annual Author Awards look at the 2015 publications.

Attendees of the Annual Author Awards look at the 2015 publications. Photo by Brandon Chew.

The Annual Author Awards will celebrate 27 San Jose State University faculty who have published a book or other major work in this year on Nov. 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229.

This year’s authors have penned textbooks, directed a young adult film, recorded classical music and more. Authors who wrote scholarly books, works of fiction or non-fiction, poetry, art books, textbooks, anthologies, edited books, plays, video or music published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016 were invited to submit information about their publication and a brief description of their work earlier this year. (Vanity press, self-published books, unpublished manuscripts, pamphlets, brochures, custom-published course anthologies, book chapters and course packs do not qualify.)

The Annual Author Awards is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University Library and the Spartan Bookstore. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or questions, call Library Dean Tracy Elliott at 408-808-2419or Outreach Librarian Elisabeth Thomas at 408-808-2193.

February 2016 Newsletter: Provost Update: A Culture of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

As Provost, I am always excited to learn about the amazing research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA) our students and faculty accomplish. I also understand the dedication that is required to balance teaching, service and RSCA. From my own experience in conducting and publishing research, I know both faculty and students benefit from a campus culture that supports such endeavors.

I am committed to creating an environment that fosters this important aspect of higher education. In the last two years, we have invested $2.2 million to support university-wide workshops and college-specific programs to assist faculty in starting or continuing their RSCA agendas. Annual funding for RSCA has been built into our budget and we are finalizing a plan to ensure it remains a key priority.

My hope is that our current planning efforts will foster more stellar research like that of two faculty members honored at the Celebration of Research this month with Early Career Investigator Awards. Aaron Romanowsky, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, and Virginia San Fratello, from the Department of Design in the College of Humanities and the Arts, both exemplify the Spartan spirit of innovation. Romanowsky and his students are discovering new galaxies while San Fratello is using 3-D printing to create sustainable building materials. Both have been recognized by colleagues in their disciplines and have been successful in securing funding to further their research.

At the Celebration of Research, I was also pleased to highlight our Undergraduate Research Pairs program and see the wide range of projects students are pursuing with faculty mentors, some of which we highlight in this month’s newsletter. High-impact practices, including undergraduate research, improve student learning and support student retention, but faculty also benefit from students as research assistants. I applaud our faculty for their commitment to engaging students in their research along with attracting public and private funding to support regional, national and global collaborations.

The SJSU Research Foundation plays an essential role in sustaining our efforts. In 2014-15, the Research Foundation oversaw more than $63 million in revenues that included resources from grants and contracts with government agencies, corporations and private foundations to support more than 150 RSCA projects. See the full list of contracts and awards along with stories of faculty and student work in the San Jose State University Research Foundation 2014-15 Annual Report published this month. I am dedicated to the continued growth of the SJSU research enterprise and the role of the SJSU Research Foundation in supporting our campus.

Join the ‘Celebration of Research’ on Feb. 10

celebrationofreserachStudents, staff, faculty and members of the public are invited to the SJSU Celebration of Research on Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 4-6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

This year’s event will feature presentations from the 2015 Early Career Investigator Award Winners Aaron Romanowsky and Virginia San Fratello. An assistant professor in the College of Science’s physics and astronomy department, Romanowsky has produced 47 refereed publications in journals such as “The Astrophysical Journal” and recently received $40,718 from the National Science Foundation to continue his research. He and his students are credited with discovering a hypercompact cluster, or one of the densest galaxies.

An assistant professor in the College of Humanities and the Arts design department, San Fratello has successfully secured funding for her work that includes materials and fabrication processes, including 3-D printing. She recently received a $90,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. San Fratello is an active architect who is working with manufacturers and distributors to launch innovative and sustainable building components into the market place.

In addition to the presentation of the faculty awards, student researchers will also be highlighted at the event. Students and faculty involved in the Center for Faculty Development’s Undergraduate Research Pairs program will have their research exhibited at the event and will be available to talk with guests. The program has paired 32 undergraduate students with 20 faculty members. Some of the research topics include:

  • Developing culturally-tailored mental health programs for Vietnamese caregivers
  • Resilence of college students following a failure
  • Developing nanodelivery of insulin to improve diabetes treatment
  • The impact of individuals tracking their own fitness levels
  • The effect of obesity on metabolic markers
  • Outcomes of mentoring first-year, first-generation graduate students of color
  • See the full list of 2015-16 awardees and research topics

Students who competed in the 2015 CSU Research Competition will also be recognized at the event. Light refreshments will be served.

The Celebration of Research is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, SJSU Research Foundation, the Office of Research and the Center for Faculty Development.


November newsletter: Provost update – Spartans give back to campus community

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for the generous Spartan spirit I see expressed throughout the year. Our students, staff and faculty are often developing ways in which they can give back to campus community members.Our theme at the Academic Affairs Staff Appreciation Breakfast has been “Full Circle Giving” for the last few years and the event is one example of the giving spirit at SJSU. This year donations from the staff and administrators supported the SJSU Food for Students Fund.

There are many more instances of our Spartans giving back to SJSU community members. Emeritus and retired faculty are supporting research, scholarship and creative activity through a grant program for current SJSU faculty; a staff member who is also an SJSU alumna created a scholarship for staff members pursuing a degree; and faculty and students tackled a 320-mile bike ride to raise money to teach middle school students about sustainability.

I talk to my own children about the importance of giving back to the community and hope to instill in them a sense that giving is important. My family and I donate to Spartan causes, includingThe Guardian Scholars Program. The Guardian Scholars Program is special to me because I was adopted at a very young age. I was fortunate enough to become part of a loving family that valued education, but I understand the unique challenges our Guardian Scholars face without this support system.

I hope all of you find your own Spartan causes to support through donations, volunteering or staying engaged in our campus community. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

November newsletter: Emeritus and retired faculty aid new faculty

Emily Chan is one of three university librarians who received an Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award to digitize a reference archive.

Emily Chan is one of three university librarians who received an Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award to digitize a reference archive.

On the lower level of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in a back corner, 300 binders and boxes are stored that once belonged to the Pacific Library Partnership’s System Reference Center. The dusty books have been stored for more than a decade and while they are available to the public, few people know they exist.

With an inaugural Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (ERFA) Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, three university librarians are working on digitizing the documents and making them more readily available for research.

Emily Chan, Christina Mune and Kathryn Blackmer Reyes said the ERFA award of $2,500 allowed them to hire an intern to begin scanning the documents that date from 1974 to 2002. Chan said the reference center existed to help public reference librarians in researching questions posed to them by patrons “before so much information was online.”

Questions covered topics ranging from kombucha to hobo signs to biographical information about community members. Chan said much of the information was sought by professionals, including people who were writing books.

“We are dealing with a lot of technological and philosophical questions,” Chan said, of decisions about what documents to keep, in which file type to save them and how to meet accessibility guidelines when posting the archive in ScholarWorks.

The university librarians plan to seek out additional funding to continue the digitizing process and they hope to write an article on the decisions they faced in creating the archive. But Chan also sees multiple research opportunities for faculty and students to pursue in the future, from the change in language over the decades as well as the evolution of tools used to find answers for library users.

Joan Merdinger, a retired professor from the School of Social Work and past president of ERFA, said the association decided to start an award with its dues last year.

“We’ve been ourselves members of the faculty,” Merdinger said, noting that they understand the challenges in keeping a research, scholarship and creative activity agenda going in mid-career.

2015-16 ERFA President Jo Bell Whitlatch said the group has often donated to the university, but two years ago they discussed a new approach to supporting education at SJSU.

“Being able to remain engaged in your field and do research is very important to faculty development,” said Whitlatch, who was a university librarian and part-time lecturer in the School of Information (formerly the School of Library and Information Sciences). “It helps you keep up in the field and stimulates your teaching when you remain engaged in your field.”

Patricia Albers, a professor in Art and Art History, said the $2,500 award from ERFA helped her to gain momentum in researching a biography on André Kertész, a 20th century photographer. The book is due to her publisher in December 2016.

“He was a principal figure,” Albers said. “He mentored and set a path for a lot of photographers.”

Albers had already visited Kertész’ birthplace in Budapest and the city where he first won acclaim, Paris. The proposal allowed her to spend five weeks in New York, where the photographer spent most of his career.

“I did learn so much about who he was and what he meant in the context of photography as it was changing,” she said. “It brought the whole New York part into focus and now I have some command over that.”

Applications are now being accepted for 2016-17.