Seven professors prepare for 2014-15 sabbaticals

During the 2014-15 academic year, seven professors within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San José State University were awarded a sabbatical to conduct research related to their fields. Here are summaries of some of the work those on sabbatical will be conducting this year.

School of Social Work

Amy D’Andrade, the Associate Dean of Research for the College and Director for the CASA Center for Applied Research on Human Services, will be on sabbatical for Fall 2014. She is planning to use the time to focus on several projects related to her ongoing research focused on reunification between parents and children who have been removed from the home due to maltreatment, with an emphasis on the role fathers play in the reunification process. Her projects include a secondary analysis and journal manuscript on parent constellations and parent-specific outcomes in child welfare reunification and a grant proposal to fund a research study using dyadic analysis to understand fathers’ contributions to reunification outcomes.

Dr. D’Andrade received her MSW and PhD in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. She is an Associate Professor in the SJSU School of Social Work, teaching graduate courses on social welfare policy and research. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Applied Research in Human Services (CARHS), and the faculty Associate Dean for Research for the College. Her research interests focus on the public child welfare system, particularly issues affecting parental reunification with children removed for maltreatment. She has conducted studies on reunification service delivery, reunification for incarcerated parents, and California’s reduction of reunification timeframes for parents of children under three. She received the 2010 Early Career Investigator Award from the San Jose State University Research Foundation. Prior to her academic career, Dr. D’Andrade was a child welfare services social worker in San Diego County for over six years, working in a variety of programs including Residential Services, Independent Living Services, and data systems administration.

Meekyung Han, of the School of Social Work, will be on a two-semester, half-pay sabbatical during which she will work on two projects that will expand the depth and breadth of her professional and academic experiences.  For one of her projects, Han will be the principal investigator who will look at “long-term effects of parental interpersonal violence and child maltreatment on internalizing and externalizing mental health problems with Asian college students: The role of social support.” For this project, she will be working with professors from four Asian countries including Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea, along with a collaborator at SJSU. For her second project, Han and a collaborator received the Silberman Fund Faculty Grant to study “Vicarious trauma and its impact on well-being among family caregivers of persons with mental illness: A Comparative Exploration of self-care practices among Asians and Caucasians.” At the end of the study, Han and her colleague will submit a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and she will develop a grant proposal for external funding.

Han said her first project will help to build a strong international scholarly partnership that will benefit SJSU and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts by building a global academic community. The second project will build upon her existing knowledge of the well-being of people with mental illness in general and with Asians in particular.

Soma Sen, a professor in the School of Social Work, received a grant along with a colleague from the department of Health Science and Recreation to explore the impact of HIV-related stigma on HIV testing behavior among Asian American Pacific Islander populations with community partner Asian Americans for Community Involvement. During her sabbatical, Sen plans to complete a manuscript for submission in a peer-reviewed journal and prepare for external funding from the National Institute of Health to support research to characterize and reduce the stigma to improve health.

Justice Studies

Dr. Steven Lee, the director of the Forensic Science Program, will use his sabbatical to conduct empirical research at the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University with next generation sequencing to uncover forensically significant, age and tissue specific genetic markers and with newly developed, inhibitor resistant enzymes for expanding and enhancing rapid 25 minute, direct DNA typing of samples.

Lee said his research will provide data for presentation and publication, future collaborative external grants and significant potential improvements in accuracy and speed of DNA typing.  He will also complete the analysis of a three-year program of research on PCR enhancers, leading to the resubmission of a peer-reviewed manuscript. He will develop a new course on Forensic Science in Human Rights Investigations, leading to a new permanent course at SJSU.

Valley Foundation School of Nursing

Lori Rodriguez will be taking a sabbatical leave in Spring 2015 to conduct surveys and interviews with the graduates of the DNP class of 2014 to determine the degree to which the program prepared the graduates to be faculty, advanced practice clinicians, and/or leaders. Beyond this basic required information, she will capitalize on her background as a qualitative researcher and hold interviews and/or focus groups with graduates to discuss their role change, and allow them to reflect on their experience. Rodriguez has been one of the integral faculty members involved in the pilot DNP program at SJSU, which is a joint effort with California State University, Fresno.

Sabbaticals were also granted to the following professors:

Kathy Lemon – School of Social Work

Tamar Semerjian – Kinesiology

Social Workers in the Library program gets high marks

Peter Allen Lee, a professor with the School of Social Work and Lili Luo, a professor with the School of Library and Information Sciences, received a College of Applied Sciences and Arts Incentive Grant for 2011-12 to evaluate a program created in 2007 that connects residents with social workers at public libraries. The San José State University professors’ evaluation of the program has been published as a journal article


Lee and Luo set out to look at the efficacy of the program started in 2007 by local Librarian Deborah Estreicher and Lee. The goal of the program is to seek ways to increase access to information about social service programs and to look for ways the program can be improved. For the last few years, professional social workers, with the support of the National Association of Social Workers, have been volunteering to meet one-on-one twice a month with those seeking information about social services.  The program is not intended to provide an ongoing relationship between the patrons and social workers, but to help connect patrons with services in the community.

In questionnaires from those using the services, Lee and Luo found that they reported the service to be helpful or very helpful. The main areas in which people sought advice was in finding services for housing, food, health and mental  health services, and employment. In 20-minute sessions, social workers offered referral information to patrons to connect them with such services. Other services patrons sought included grief support, family counseling and legal advice.  The evaluation found that seeing patrons in the library, which included a waiting area and private room was rated well. Patrons also liked the undivided attention in the private session as well as the system of screening and appointment scheduling.

For a longer summary of the evaluation of the Social Work in the Libraries, see the attached PDF Social Workers in the Library. For the journal article, visit