Next Steps in Strategic Planning: Share Thoughts on our Draft Desired Outcomes

Editor’s Note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on April 11, 2018.

Dear colleagues,

The university’s Strategic Planning Committee has been hard at work in the process of creating our new 10-year plan. In February, we shared with the campus five goals derived from conversations held during the fall with the university and community. Since then, five task forces, consisting of staff, students, administrators and faculty, have developed outcomes associated with each goal and proposed some action items for achieving each outcome.

As we continue to refine and develop these outcomes and action items, we would appreciate your assistance. The link below will take you to the Strategic Planning website where you can read this draft document and provide your input. Please take some time now – it shouldn’t be more than 15-20 minutes – to provide feedback.

View the draft desired outcomes and give your feedback here.

It remains very important to the President and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee that this be a campus-driven effort, and that all voices be heard. Please provide your input, if possible, by Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Please also save the date for our next all-campus discussion on Monday, May 7th at 10 a.m. located in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.  More details to follow.

Thank you,

Andy Feinstein
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stefan Frazier
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Chair of the Academic Senate

February 2018 Newsletter: Provost Update – RSCA is Central to SJSU Mission

We are only in the second month of the spring semester, but this term has already proven to be busy! On February 9, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee provided an update on our process to date and presented draft goals that were developed from your input during the fall semester. Following our presentation, we held a campus conversation and lunch to discuss our next steps. I encourage you to view the draft goals at the Strategic Planning website. On the site, you can also provide input to the task forces that will be working to define our desired outcomes for each focus area and create strategies for accomplishing them.

Several of the goals focus on our mission of providing excellent educational and academic opportunities. We already have a thriving research, scholarship and creative activities (RSCA) enterprise. According to the most recent SJSU Research Foundation Annual Report, we received $58 million in revenues from RSCA endeavors, with an active grants portfolio of $259 million. In fact, the Chancellor’s Office recently selected SJSU and the Mineta Transportation Institute to lead a CSU research consortium focused on solving transit issues in the state.

We also have many more faculty and students working together on numerous scholarly and creative activities – just take a look at the list of recent publications from our Annual Author and Artist Awards or the list of upcoming events at the Hammer Theatre.

Our RSCA activities rival that of many nationally ranked universities. However, faculty can feel challenged when seeking a balance between their teaching load and their RSCA agendas. We are working with colleagues to develop a sustainable model that will allow us to balance teaching and RSCA pursuits. We have a consultant who has already visited and will be working with us throughout the spring. Joan Ficke, the former dean of the Graduate School at Montclair State University, will provide guidance as we develop a plan. She was instrumentally involved in transitioning her institution to providing a better alignment between RSCA, teaching and service.

Providing an atmosphere where faculty and students can readily engage in RSCA also means celebrating our achievements. I am pleased to support the University Scholar Series that offers an opportunity to learn about the unique and inspiring RSCA conducted by SJSU faculty. This month, we kick off the spring lectures on Feb. 21. Professor Anand Vaidya, director of the Humanities and the Arts Center for Comparative Philosophy, will use his talk to share recent research into Eastern philosophies and critical thinking. Learn more about the upcoming series in a story below. Join us for the lecture and lunch, from noon to 1 p.m. in MLK 225/229. For more details, visit the event page.

Later this semester on April 4, the Celebration of Research offers an opportunity to acknowledge student researchers along with our Early Career Investigator Award winners for 2017-18, Ehsan Khatami and Dave Schuster, whose accomplishments are described in a story below. As you will learn in this month’s newsletter, our RSCA endeavors are innovative and relevant. A few recent projects run the gamut from understanding Silicon Valley culture to studying how sports can lead to social change to determining just how the flu virus is spread.

I would also like to remind staff members that we are accepting applications for the second round of staff professional development grants, with proposals due March 19. The application is open to any staff members who did not receive a grant during the first round of proposals last fall. Find more details online.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein, Athletics Director Marie Tuite,  Director of Strategy, Planning and Business Services for IT Kara Lee, President Mary Papazian and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Willey show their Spartan spirit February 10 at a women's basketball game.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein, Athletics Director Marie Tuite, Director of Strategy, Planning and Business Services for IT Kara Lee, President Mary Papazian and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Willey show their Spartan spirit February 10 at a women’s basketball game.

Before we move onto this month’s stories, I want to thank everyone who attended the Third Annual Interdivisional Competition on Feb. 10. Academic Affairs had more than 270 RSVPs from faculty, staff members and their families with our section of the stands full on game day. We cheered on the Spartans Women’s Basketball team while also competing in some fun activities such as a free throw competition, a relay race and the VP tricycle race. I am especially proud that Academic Affairs brought home the trophy again!

SJSU Strategic Planning: Dreams, Plans, and the Future.

Photo: James Tensuan Faculty, staff, and student participants of Campus Conversations, held on campus between September 20-22, as part of the strategic planning process.

Photo: James Tensuan
Faculty, staff, and student participants of Campus Conversations, held on campus between September 20-22, as part of the strategic planning process.

By Jason McMonagle

San José State University President Mary Papazian set a tone of inspiration at The Strategic Planning Kickoff Event held on September 14. The on-campus event, meant to motivate participation in this year’s strategic planning sessions, gathered more than 300 faculty, staff, administrators, campus leadership, and students. In her opening remarks, President Papazian suggested attendees consider the process to be one of strategic dreaming.

“Whatever we spend our days doing—teaching; managing; coaching; building; communicating; serving—the future of our university depends on our collective openness to dreaming,” President Papazian said then added, “And planning.”

As the President emphasized the shared importance of vision and pragmatism in strategic planning, she reflected the sentiment, “Our Journey,” currently displayed across campus on banners. She said, “This plan will not be my plan…It will be our plan.”

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Andy Feinstein, reinforced the President’s remarks and likened the process ahead to the scholar Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey.

“The hero’s journey offers an inspiring metaphor and insight into what we may encounter over the next weeks, months, and years. As we plan, finalize, and bring ideas into action, we will certainly be tested,” Provost Feinstein said. “New ideas and strategies will be identified, analyzed, and discussed. Some may have great merit while other ideas will be born and exist only as possibilities and then set aside. All hold value.”

The “hero” Provost Feinstein referred to was not singular, but rather the “collective hero” that represents the entire SJSU community. Ariadna Manzo, Associated Student President, emboldened President Papazian’s and Provost Feinstein’s message of teamwork and unity further and motivated attendees—including 25 department chairs, 50 tenured and 15 tenure-track faculty, and 113 MPP’s—when she led the led the room in a Spartan cheer. “Whose University? Our University!”

The kickoff event was followed the next day, September 14, with the Leadership Forum.  Approximately 80 participants made up of cabinet members, deans, AVPs, seven staff representatives, three representatives of the Academic Senate, three students, 23 chairs, and three Alumni Association members gathered to bring President Papazian’s message of dreaming and planning to action.

The following week’s Campus Conversations, held from September 20-22, invited SJSU lecturers, tenure-track and tenured faculty, MPP, staff, and students to participate in initial brainstorming sessions. Ann Agee, Librarian and Professor from the School of Information, described the structure of the tenure-track/probationary faculty session she attended, “There were about 35 to 40 faculty members. At our table of eight, we focused on three of the questions we were given.”

One question Professor Agee and her colleagues discussed was: You have the opportunity to talk with a donor. What ideas would you pitch?

“I think it was compelling to talk about the university’s potential with faculty who offered so many different perspectives,” Professor Agee went on to say. “Some of the ideas included having a Research Hub to support faculty involved in large research projects; creating campus-subsidized housing for faculty and staff; promoting research that directly benefited the San José community; and actively promoting interdisciplinary research.”

At the session for tenured faculty on Wednesday, September 20, President of the California Faculty Association and Professor in the College of Social Science, Dr. Preston Rudy, pointed out the general desire to support student achievement that informed his session’s vision of the future.

“A majority of those attending spoke of their enthusiasm and dedication to working with students,” Dr. Rudy said. “Most of us wanted more resources to improve our ability to work with students, including better facilities and support for that work and smaller class sizes to interact more effectively with students.”

In total, 76 MPPs, three chairs/tenured faculty, 14 lecturers, 101 Staff, 21 tenured and 15 tenure-track faculty members attended Campus Conversations. Overwhelmingly, participants credited campus leadership for the invitation and its inclusive gesture and were confident that President Papazian and Provost Feinstein would ensure the strategic planning process was transparent and authentic.

Emily Bruce, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, who attended one faculty session said, “The other wonderful thing about SJSU, is that it is a University where a member of the faculty can exercise their creativity and have that effort supported and mentored.  This also is the case for students; the campus is a place that allows for dreams to come true.  We are connected to the community and thus function as an economic engine for this corner of California in ways that are different from the other Universities in the area – and this is a critical role.”

Students also showed their Spartan Pride at the student Campus Conversations over 100 RA’s and 40 other, largely undergraduate, students attended.

The next steps for the strategic planning process include the creation of an online survey, asking faculty, students, and staff six questions designed to replicate the information presented at the Campus Conversation sessions and to recruit up to three GE courses in which to conduct the same strategic planning exercises which occurred in the session. Additionally, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee would especially like further input from the lower division, graduate-level, and commuter students.

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