SJSU Judo Championships and honoring Uchida Sensei

By Michael Dao

San José State University Judo is one of the most renowned judo programs in the nation, having garnered international acclaim. Judokas (judo athletes) that come through the program often train with the aspiration of becoming Olympic athletes. Recently, SJSU judokas such as Colton Brown and Marti Malloy have represented Team USA at the Olympic level. The success of the program continues to this day.

In light of the programs well deserved reputation, the National Collegiate Judo Association (NCJA) held the college and high school national championships on April 1 and 2 in Yoshihiro Uchida Hall on the SJSU campus. Judokas from all over the nation – from universities such as Texas A&M, UC Davis, and Stanford – all came to SJSU to compete for a national championship. With a huge turnout, the competition was high; however, both of Spartan’s  Mens and Womens teams, came home with team gold! The championship is especially exciting for the Women’s Judo Team, who successfully defended their title for the sixth time in a row. The Men’s team was able to climb back up the mountain to their rightful position in the USA Judo world. There were also many individual competitors and winners in their respective divisions:

  • Conor Uyekawa (-60kg Gold)
  • Anakin Mendoza (-60kg Bronze)
  • Colby Hanley Jr. (-66 KG)
  • Matthew Bata (-66 KG Bronze)
  • Weston Uyekawa (-73 kg Gold)
  • Kristian Espinoza (-73 kg Silver)
  • Eli Elvira (-73 kg)
  • Ryan Kuratani (-81 kg)
  • Nina Seoane (-63 kg Silver)
  • Nancy Nguyen (-70 kg gold)

The legacy of SJSU continues with the tremendous resiliency and effort espoused by the amazing Spartan Judoka. I was able to briefly sit down with Head Judo Coach, Sensei Kosuke Tanaka about the success of both teams. Tanaka Sensei expressed, “…the positive experience of having both teams winning the championship was much needed as we have not had many team competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Tanaka also highlighted how “this year, it really feels like the team is going in the right direction, and I feel confident in how the team is moving forward.” A primary goal of the SJSU Judo team is to win championships, and this year both teams showed that they are competing at a high level.

The success of the SJSU Judo teams this year comes with Yoshihiro Uchida being recognized for his 75 years of service at SJSU and for him celebrating his 103 birthday. As the first head coach of the SJSU Judo team and founder of USA Judo, Uchida Sensei was celebrated by a ballroom full of people and standing ovations at the faculty luncheon on April 5. Everyone in that room understood the importance that Uchida Sensei plays at SJSU. His legacy continues, and SJSU Judo lives as a firm fixture on our campus.

Congratulations to SJSU Judo and another Happy Birthday to Uchida Sensei!

Kinesiology Faculty and Students Attend CAHPERD

By: Dr. David Daum

The Department of Kinesiology faculty and students were busy this spring attending the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) state convention in Los Angeles.

CAHPERD is the premier state-wide professional development and advocacy organization for K-12 health and physical educators. It was a vibrant occasion, as attendees were excited to be part of an in-person event for the first time in two years. Conferences are always busy, and this year was no exception.

Assistant Professor Dr. David Daum, attended the conference along with two undergraduate Kinesiology-preparation for teaching majors and two Physical Education Single Subject Credential candidates. In addition to several presentations at the conference, Dr. Daum was on the ballot and elected as a member-at-large to the board of directors for CAHPERD. Dr. Daum will begin a three-year term starting summer 2022 continuing his leadership in the organization.

Additional conference highlights include: 1) Molly Sheridan, who is a current Kinesiology – Preparation for Teaching undergraduate student, was on the ballot and elected as the chair-elect for the Future Professional’s Council. She will be active in assisting the organization over the next year or so planning for all the pre-professional sessions and events at next year’s conference, and 2) a former SJSU department of Kinesiology faculty member, Dr. Robert Schmidlein, was recognized as the 2022 CAHPERD California High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. When Dr. Schmidlein left SJSU, he returned to the K-12 schools and is doing amazing things with his students in Los Angeles. Dr. Schmidlein is now eligible to receive teacher of year recognition at the National level.

Congratulations to all current and former SJSU KIN members who are doing amazing things with CAHPERD.

CHHS DEI Profile – Dr. Michael Dao

Dr. Michael DaoMichael Dao – Department of Kinesiology

What is your role in your department/school?

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology

What would you identify as one of the most significant actions you have taken to advance the cause for diversity either in the classroom, your community or your profession?

Probably my attention to include readings from different authorities that represent the diverse classrooms at SJSU. I am attentive to including writers of color, indigenous writers, and women in my syllabus to ensure that students are engaging with a wide variety of voices.

How have you integrated topics of DEI into hiring new faculty and/or admitting students?

I think from the Department of Kinesiology we are very conscious to ensure that our hiring practices are underpinned by DEI initiatives such as highlighting DEI research and teaching from potential candidates and also making sure or job postings are posted on DEI websites

Tell us about how you and why you became attentive to DEI topics. What prompted this change in your department/school?  What did the process look like?

I became attentive as I grew up and became more engaged with critical discussions. I just came to the conclusion that there were historical, social, and systemic reasons for the inequities people face. As such, the university is a good place to start having more conversations to better dismantle these unjust institutions that we work and exist. I find that more departments are slowly realizing our role in the inequities that people face so it’s down to us to start pushing the needle a little. The process is an ongoing one but at least we have more awareness and pay more attention to the topics.

What support did you need to make it happen?  Did you draw on existing resources or examples that were helpful in guiding your change?

Institutional support is key. Having support from your department chair makes it easy to bring up difficult conversations that not all people are ready to engage with. I didn’t really draw from existing resources but I have drawn from the CEED committee and people in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Tell us one book, one article, one documentary, or one movie you’ve read or watched that you would like to suggest to others that helped shape your thinking about DEI work.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

University and Community Collaboration: The People’s Budget of San Jose Research Project

By: Dr. Michael Dao

People's Budget of San Jose

The San José State University Human Rights Institute (SJSU HRI) is a university “organizational research and training unit” under the California State University system that specifically focuses on human rights research, journalism, and policy design. The SJSU HRI studies pressing social problems and works with community-based organizations, stakeholders and policymakers to inform and enact progressive social change. In Spring 2021, I was awarded the inaugural SJSU HRI Summer Faculty Research Grant. The grant provided me the opportunity to work on a cross-campus, multi and interdisciplinary research team. As a tenure-track faculty member, joining the SJSU HRI as a working group member is the epitome of scholarship and service to the San José community and broader Silicon Valley that this university aspires to.

With that in mind, during the Summer and continuing into the Fall semester, I have been working on the People’s Budget of San José (PBSJ) research project. The PBSJ project was inspired by persistent public protests and testimony in San José coming at a time that reflected the global Black Lives Matter movement following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more by police. For the PBSJ Project, the SJSU HRI, in partnership with Sacred Heart Community Services (SHCS) and members of the REAL Coalition, designed a mixed-method study to determine the interests, needs, and perspectives of community members concerning public spending for the provision of “public safety” or “community safety.” Considering the ongoing discussion of police reform and public safety, the findings of the PBSJ project will inform the new “Re-imagining Public Safety and Community Advisory Committee,” a committee tasked to re-envision criminal justice and police reform in San José.

Dr. Michael Dao, Kinesiology

Dr. Michael Dao, Department of Kinesiology

Working alongside Dr. Miranda Worthen (Public Health and Recreation), Dr. Soma de Bourbon (Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies), Professor Melissa McClure Fuller (Public Health and Recreation), and Dr. William Armaline (Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies), we spent the summer analyzing focus group data collected by the HRI and SHCS to determine how communities in San José perceived and experienced community safety. As a team with different academic backgrounds, we worked all summer, having intense discussions about what the data meant. These conversations were important as we wanted to represent the communities honestly and respectfully. I must say, these discussions were invigorating as we learned from each other and all brought our own disciplines to the forefront. Ultimately, we developed an analysis and wrote a report that spoke to the participants’ ideals of community safety and policing. In the spirit of collaboration and promoting cross-campus connections, the PBSJ project certainly provided space for critical and thoughtful discussion.

At this time, we are still soliciting participants for the survey portion of the study. For those reading this, please consider taking the PBSJ survey to contextualize better the re-imagining of public safety in San José. And for those wanting to expand their SJSU community, please consider joining the SJSU HRI. It is worthwhile to think about how your research and service can align with human rights and address systemic societal issues.

Timpany Center: Addressing Community Health Needs

By: Dr. Jennifer Schachner and Dr. Cole Armstrong

As the College of Health and Human Sciences embarks on new initiatives to address the newly developed mission and vision, a lesser known part of the college continues to make a difference at San Jose State University and in the heart of Santa Clara County. The Timpany Center, which is an accessible physical activity and therapeutic recreation center, looks to continue its legacy of serving Santa Clara County communities and the students of SJSU for years to come.

In the Fall of 2009, the SJSU Kinesiology Department along with support from The Research Foundation, entered a partnership with Santa Clara County to manage the Timpany Center.  Located behind Valley Medical Center, the Timpany Center was originally designed to cater to the unique needs of children with disabilities and was the vision of Russell Timpany, a superintendent at the County office of education in the later 1970’s.

Housing a 100,000 gallon warm water, zero entry therapy pool, adapted land fitness center, full sized basketball court, a classroom and large locker rooms, the Timpany Center now caters to a wide variety of residents from Santa Clara County and beyond.  All of the programs focus on providing access to individuals who may be experiencing disability, mobility issues, advanced age or other health conditions that would require specialized equipment, facilities and staff. “The Timpany Center offers programming across the lifespan, and across a range of ability levels. There are no other centers that offer what the Timpany Center offers in Santa Clara County. The services provided demonstrate SJSU’s commitment to serving our community. They also are a place where our students learn, ensuring that we have qualified professionals who can continue to give back to the community once they have graduated,” says Department of Kinesiology Chair, Dr. Tamar Semerjian.

With swim lessons for all ages, land and water fitness classes, personal training, on site physical therapy (managed by Imotion Physical Therapy) and open pool and adapted fitness programs, the center has become not only a place for the community to gather, but an integral part of the Kinesiology program at SJSU and CHHS. Each semester, the center hosts interns from departments such as Kinesiology and Recreation and partners with Nutrition, Nursing,  Occupational Therapy and others to support student and faculty research.  Interns work one on one and in group settings to facilitate programs that provide in the field experiences while the community benefits from the knowledge and expertise that these various students can provide. According to Kathryn Dayharsh, a student intern stated,”As an intern, I have felt especially privileged to be able to work on my own course curriculum, and with the help of Dr. Jenn, I have seen that course become a reality that I am now able to teach to our members at the Timpany Center. I truly believe my knowledge and future career have benefitted from having this wonderful opportunity, and I encourage anyone interested in learning teaching skills to apply!”

Dr. Jennifer Schachner

As the center continues to adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic, the opportunity exists to rebuild and grow new programs.  With the availability of online fitness and wellness classes such as Stretching, Falls Prevention, Seated Fitness, Seated Kickboxing, Aerobics, Tai Chi, Seated Yoga, Band exercise, and Arthritis, the center can reach further into the community bringing wellness and fitness classes into peoples homes along with providing the traditional in person programs the community has become accustomed to. Program and Operations Director, Dr. Jennifer Schachner stated, “We have such a potential for growth with the further inclusion of online community programs, no longer are we limited to class sizes or classroom spaces.  We can run concurrent programs in multiple areas of wellness not just through Kinesiology, but with our continued partnerships with Nutrition, Occupation Therapy, Recreation, Nursing etc. and have the opportunities to branch out with other programs across the campus.  If we have learned anything from this pandemic it is that we are no longer constrained by what can happen inside the walls of the center.” Upon reopening (post COVID)  the Timpany Center has plans for a dedicated teaching space for online classes using the newest technologies in video and audio equipment to continue to reach those in need. New innovations in fitness equipment that promote activity for all abilities and ages will allow Timpany Center to grow in new directions not only for the members, but help to enrich the education of students from various SJSU programs.