Lurie College to Host Free Emancipatory Education Speaker Series Starting Feb. 26

The Emancipatory Education Initiative: Redesigning the Future of Learning P20 with a gold upright fist clenching a pencil.

The Emancipatory Education Initiative: Redesigning the Future of Learning P20

San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education is launching the Emancipatory Education Speaker Series on Friday, Feb. 26, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The free series invites educators to join in four online discussions with local and national leaders in education.

Emancipatory education, as defined by the college, is the critical evaluation of the systems and structures of oppression that maintain the status quo in educational institutions.

The series is a product of the Lurie College’s Emancipatory Education Initiative, which promotes community-engaged research and supports the redesign of learning from preschool through post-secondary education. This initiative reflects the college’s commitment to racial equity as outlined in its three-year strategic plan.

“As we stare down a year of COVID, many are looking forward to a time when we can go back to ‘normal,’ but normal didn’t work for too many of our children, youth, families and communities,” said Heather Lattimer, dean of the Lurie College.

“We’re asking educators whose research, advocacy and leadership spans early childhood through post-secondary education to share their vision for post-COVID education through an emancipatory lens and to identify concrete steps to enact that vision.”

In fall 2020, Lurie College students participated in Emancipatory Education Now, a student-led initiative that examined what emancipatory education looks like in today’s society and advocated for the expansion of emancipatory education research, policies and practices. The speaker series is meant to grow this work for the SJSU community and open these conversations to educators beyond San José State.

“The Emancipatory Education Speaker series contributes to an ongoing conversation within the Lurie College—how post-COVID education initiatives learn from and build with educators and scholars who have been agents of change at various levels of our schooling system,” said Rebeca Burciaga, interim chair of SJSU’s department of educational leadership, associate professor of educational leadership and Chicana and Chicano Studies, and founder of the Emancipatory School Leadership master’s program.

“Our return to schools in the context of a global pandemic, challenges to our democracy, a national racial reckoning, and growing inequalities requires a fundamental shift in the way we think about education. We cannot afford to do business as usual. This series is an invitation for educators and community members to partner with us as we look towards new beginnings.”

Confirmed speakers thus far include:

February 26

  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, American pedagogical theorist
  • Jonathan Rosa, associate professor of education, Stanford University

March 5

  • John King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education; CEO, The Education Trust
  • Leslie Gonzales, associate professor of educational administration, Michigan State University

March 12

  • Tara Yosso, professor, UC Riverside Graduate School of Education

Latina School Leaders Panel:

  • Fabiola Bagula, senior director, San Diego County Office of Education’s Equity Department, lecturer of educational leadership, SJSU
  • Rebeca Burciaga, associate professor of educational leadership and Chicana and Chicano Studies, SJSU
  • Melissa Martinez, associate professor of education and community leadership, Texas State University
  • Sylvia Mendez-Morse, professor emeritus of educational leadership, Texas Tech University
  • Ana Tavares, bilingual educator and administrator

March 19

  • E. J. R. David, psychology professor, University of Alaska, Anchorage

Disability Justice Panel

  • Saili Kulkarni, assistant professor of special education, SJSU
  • Leroy Moore, founder of Krip-Hop
  • Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, poverty scholar and revolutionary journalist

The series, co-sponsored by SJSU’s Division of Student Affairs, will be recorded and made available on the Lurie College website. For more information, please visit the Emancipatory Education Speaker Series page.

 

San José State Celebrates Black History Month

Every year, San José State honors Black History Month by offering events, speaker series, workshops and lectures that recognize Black and African-American heritage, cultures and contributions to society. This year’s events will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are hosted by a number of different departments across campus. While these events are held in February, the university remains committed to fostering a culture of anti-racism and addressing systemic racism on and off campus throughout the year. Events this spring include, but are not limited to:


Black History Month Open Mic

Thursday, February 4, 6 p.m.

Join The Black Leadership Opportunity Centre, Student Union, Inc. and Mosaic for the February Open Mic night in honor of Black History Month. For more information, check out Mosaic’s YouTube video stream or contact the center at mosaic@sjsu.edu.


Center for Literary Arts Presents: Kiese Laymon

CLA

The Center for Literary Arts presents Kiese Laymon in conversation with Keenan Norris.

Thursday, February 4, 7 p.m.

The Center for Literary Arts is pleased to present Kiese Laymon, the best-selling author of Heavy: An American Memoir, in a reading and conversation with San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris.


SCARRED JUSTICE: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968

Poster of the three protestors who were killed.

Monday, February 8, noon

Fifty-three years ago, on the campus of South Carolina State University, the South Carolina Highway Patrol opened fire on a group of civil rights protestors, killing three and wounding 28. Join the Department of African American Studies and the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for a special film screening of Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 with discussion to follow.


SJSU Reads: Confession of Copeland Cane with Keenan Norris

SJSU Reads.

Tuesday, February 9, noon

San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris will read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane. Set in East Oakland, California, The Confession of Copeland Cane introduces us to a prescient and startlingly contemporary voice, one that exposes the true dangers of coming of age in America: miseducation, over-medication, radiation and incarceration.

Norris’ 2013 novel, Brother and the Dancer, won the James D. Houston Award. He has also published the chapbook By the Lemon Tree and served as editor for the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. The Confession of Copeland Cane will be published in June 2021.


Teach-In Panel Discussion: Dr. Angela Davis and the Indispensability of Black Feminism and Socialism in 2021

Barbara Ransby, Neferti X.M Tadiar and Bettina Aptheker.

Tuesday, February 9, 3 – 5 p.m.

This second event of the Human Rights Institute Lecture Series will feature a virtual teach-in panel discussion of Black feminism and socialism by internationally-known scholars Barbara Ransby; Neferti X.M. Tadiar; and Bettina Aptheker, ’76 MA Mass Communications. Each guest will present a brief but provocative talk before engaging directly with questions from the viewing audience.


All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series

All-African People's Revolution Party.

Tuesdays, February 9, 16, 23, and March 3

Co-sponsored by the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American (AAACNA) Studies Center, celebrate Black History Month by joining the All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series, featuring short films, speeches, guest presenters, and more covering a variety of contemporary issues with discussion to follow.

  • Feb. 9: Africom and Militarism
  • Feb. 16: #ENDSARS and Police Violence in Africa
  • Feb. 23: Power of Words
  • Mar. 2: Cuba and Sanctions

Spartan Speaker Series: Baratunde Thurston on How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time

Wednesday, February 10, 7 p.m.

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and cleaned bathrooms to pay for his Harvard education. He’s the executive producer and host of We’re Having A Moment, a limited-run podcast series that captures this defining moment of pandemic, policing, and race in the U.S. He’s also the creator and host of Live On Lockdown, has hosted the iHeartMedia podcast Spit, wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black, and serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library.


Shaun Leonardo: ConSortiUm

Thursday, February 11, 5:30 p.m.

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, nonprofit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.

ConSortiUm is a ground-breaking collaborative group that generates opportunities to include artists, curators, students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses in visual arts-based dialogue. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at 23 campuses. Formed in Spring 2020 in response to the distance learning implemented by the CSU during the Covid-19 pandemic, ConSortiUm members are dedicated to responding to current societal issues and the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.


ISSSSC Sport Conversations for Change presents: We are Family – Sport, Politics, Culture and the Black Family

Thursday, February 11, noon

Over the past year, race, racism, and anti-Black racism has been at the forefront of national and international conversations and centered Black people and DEI initiatives in the management and operations of businesses and organizations. This event, hosted by the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, will examine these issues and the experiences of Black athletes, coaches, sport professionals and their families. ISSSSC will celebrate Black History Month 2021 with scholars and leaders to discuss the significance of Black people in sporting spaces, examine the role Black athletes and coaches have played in political conversations, identify the influence and commodification of Black sport figures in cultural spaces, and explain how these experiences are affecting the representation, identity and diversity of the Black family.

Panelists:

  • Travis Boyce, chair and associate professor of African American Studies, SJSU
  • Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, assistant professor of sociology, Virginia Tech
  • Billy Hawkins, interim department chair and professor of health and human performance, University of Houston

Human Rights Institute Lecture Series: Keynote with Dr. Angela Davis

Dr. Angela Davis.

Thursday, February 11, 5 p.m.

The culminating event for the SJSU HRI Human Rights Lecture Series, featuring the 2021 keynote human rights lecture from UC Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor Emerita Angela Davis. Following the lecture, join for a discussion of how these ideas are shaping political struggles in our region and across the country.


Sneaker History IS Black History

Sean Williams showcasing his sneakers on a stand.

Monday, February 15, noon

Sean Williams, a sneaker expert and consultant, will deliver a talk on the history of sneakers and its importance to Black history, with a Q&A session to follow. This event is hosted by the Department of African American Studies.


Department of Economics Provocative Lecture Series: “Why the Study of Economics Neglects Race, and What Can be Done About It?”

Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Gary Hoover, economics professor and the executive director of the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, will speak about strategies for bringing race into the teaching and study of economics. Hoover received his PhD in economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998 and is the co-chair of the American Economic Association Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession. He has also served as the vice president of the Southern Economic Association. He is the founding and current editor of the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy. He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

Hoover is also available on Friday, February 27 to meet with students and faculty members in small groups. Email SJSU Economics Professor Matthew Holian to book a time.


Frederick Douglass: Living History Presentation

Thursday, February 25, 11 a.m.

The San José State History Department is hosting a Chautauqua-style Living History performance, featuring James H. Armstead, Jr. as the iconic abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This event is free and open to the public. The departments of African American Studies, Communication Studies, the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the College of Social Sciences are co-sponsoring this event.

______________________________________________________________________________

Beyond Words: Doing Justice – An Interview with Judge Thelton Henderson

Thursday, February 25, 7 p.m.

The Department of African American Studies co-sponsors an interview with Judge Thelton Henderson, who served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Throughout his career, he has made transformational decisions on affirmative action, environmental protection and police and prison reform. In 1997, he ruled that Proposition 209, California’s anti-affirmative action initiative, was unconstitutional. This event is hosted by the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).


Professional Development Workshop for Writers of Color, featuring Lynette Wanzer

Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.

Join the Diasporic Peoples Writing Collective for a two-day online professional development workshop for writers of color with writer Lynette Wanzer.

The interactive workshop covers finding free and low-cost professional tools that can strengthen your submissions, contest entries, grants and MFA applications, as well as creating a literary submissions calendar, drafting effective personal statements and a literary C.V., identifying trusted submission sites, grants, fellowships and residencies in markets that welcome writers of color.


Super Sunday

President Mary Papazian will provide a Zoom presentation at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Sunday, February 28, as part of California State University’s annual Super Sunday event, an effort to engage and serve underrepresented students. Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day will visit the Maranatha Christian Center, masked and socially distant, on the same day.


For more information about SJSU’s Black History Month events, please contact the Mosaic Cross Cultural Center at mosaic@sjsu.edu or The BLOC at africanamericanblackssc@sjsu.edu.

 

 

Human Rights Lecture Series Features Lectures on Black Feminism, Socialism and the Work of Dr. Angela Davis

Starting February 1, San José State University’s Human Rights Institute is kicking off Black History Month by launching a three-part lecture series focusing on the relevance of Black feminism, socialism, and Dr. Angela Davis’s work facing human rights challenges. Events include a documentary watch party on February 1, a teach-in panel on February 9 featuring renowned academics UC Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor and UC Presidential Co-Chair, Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Bettina Apethker, ’76 MA Mass Communications, historian Barbara Ransby and critical theorist Neferti X.M. Tadiar, and culminate in a keynote address by Dr. Davis on February 11. All events are free to the public and hosted online.

“We want our programming to be meaningful for our students who will be out in the workforce,” said Bill Armaline, director of the Human Rights Institute and associate professor of sociology at SJSU. “That means it needs to speak to real issues that their families and communities face.”

“This is an extraordinary time because we have a woman of color as the vice president of the United States. Our series speaks to this time and connects the deep history of black women as political forces in our country,” said Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, lecturer in journalism and human rights and the journalism coordinator for the Human Rights Institute.

Armaline said that in 2015, the Human Rights Institute (then a “collaborative”) brought together founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, including leaders from organizations like We Charge Genocide (Chicago), M.O.R.E. (Ferguson, MO), and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (Oakland) with long-time movement leaders like renowned sociologist Harry Edwards, ’64 Social Science, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, for two days of organizing and educational workshops on the SJSU campus around anti-racism and criminal justice reform.

“It was our most successful event in terms of students, panelists and organizers coming together—a lot of community organizing happened as a result,” Armaline said. “This year, we thought what better way to launch the Human Rights Institute than to return to some of these issues and invite Dr. Angela Davis to reflect on the last five years. We’ve seen a rise and explosion of white supremacist organizations throughout the country. Now we’re asking, how do Black feminism, socialism and the work of Dr. Davis give us any guidance about how to grapple with the human rights struggles of our day?”

February 1, 3:30 p.m.: Live Watch Party with Q&A with SJSU Alumna Bettina Aptheker

Live Watch Party

This event will kick off Black History Month and the lecture series with a live watch party of the award-winning documentary, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, by Shola Lynch (2012). The film details the early life of Dr. Davis as a scholar, political figure, and temporary fugitive who would defend herself in an epic 1972 trial that became an international stage for revolutionary Black feminism. The live watch party will also feature a live Q&A with UC Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor and UC Presidential Co-Chair, Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Bettina Apethker, ’76 MA Mass Communications, who appears in the film.

February 9, 3 p.m.: Teach-in Panel Discussion: Dr. Angela Davis and the Indispensability of Black Feminism and Socialism in 2021

Teach-In Panel Event
This event features a virtual teach-in panel discussion of Black feminism and socialism by internationally-known scholars, Drs. Barbara Ransby, Bettina Aptheker, ’76 MA Mass Communications, and Neferti X.M. Tadiar. Each guest will present a brief but provocative talk before engaging directly with questions from the viewing audience.

February 11, 5 p.m.: Keynote Address with Dr. Angela Davis

Angela Davis Keynote Address

The culminating event for the SJSU HRI Human Rights Lecture Series features the 2021 keynote human rights lecture from Dr. Angela Davis, distinguished professor emerita of UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Davis spoke at SJSU’s 2015 Annual Lecture, joined by many of the various architects of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Six years later, Dr. Davis returns to discuss the relevance of Black feminism, politics of abolition, and revolutionary praxis to address the human rights challenges of our time. Following the lecture, join for a discussion of how these ideas are shaping political struggles in our region and across the country.


About the Human Rights Institute

The San José State University Human Rights Institute is an organizational research and training unit under the California State University system that specializes in human rights research, journalism, and policy design. HRI students and faculty study pressing social problems and work with community organizations, stakeholders, and policy makers to inform and design solutions according to relevant scholarship, human rights law, and international best practices. Further, the HRI is building the Human Rights News Network—a source of original and relevant human rights reporting from students, faculty, and Institute partners.

Students interested in getting involved with the HRI can do so through enrolling in the Human Rights minor program applying for student internship positions at the HRI, or working with a faculty Human Rights Working Group member on new or ongoing research. To learn more, visit the HRI website.

 

San José State Offers Four Virtual Weeks of Welcome From January 25 – February 26

Students pointing to the SJSU sign on a building while wearing masks.

Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University

Every semester, San José State University hosts Weeks of Welcome programs and events to welcome new and returning students to campus, and provide support for new students as they transition into San José State. This spring, 91 Weeks of Welcome events, hosted by 43 offices and departments, will take place online from January 25 to February 26 to accommodate shelter in place restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs are divided into seven categories: academic, campus community, campus resources, career, social justice, Spartan spirit and wellness. Students can log on via the Weeks of Welcome homepage or through the Sammy application.

There are three main pillars behind the Weeks of Welcome (WOW) that align with event categories.

“We want students to connect with the university and their peers to create that sense of belonging, which will hopefully contribute positively to their success and to retention as well,” said Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement at San José State. “We also want students to be exposed to campus resources; by highlighting those resources and services during Weeks of Welcome, we can provide a foundation for incoming frosh and transfer students who may not know where to look. Finally, we want to focus on student learning, so whether that results in an academic or social justice-themed event, we hope students can engage intellectually, inside and outside of the classroom.”

Following the fall 2020 WOW virtual events, the Weeks of Welcome Working Group disseminated a survey assessment to participating students. Of those surveyed, 83 percent reported that they felt more connected to SJSU, 88 percent learned more about campus resources and 71 percent said that the events encouraged them to stay enrolled. Whether they were engaging in academic panels, career resource workshops or social events, survey data showed that students were hungry for opportunities to interact with their peers, faculty, staff and the greater campus community.

“It’s been really exciting to see the enthusiasm that faculty and staff have when offering these programs, being innovative and creative while figuring out how to shift what they’re doing into the virtual space,” said Jensen-Doray. “We hope that Weeks of Welcome helps students connect with the university and their peers and generates excitement about what it means to be a Spartan.”

“The goal of Weeks of Welcome is always about welcoming our new and returning students to each semester,” said Sonja Daniels, associate vice president of Campus Life. “This fall we were able to launch virtually a very successful program to engage our students and help build that sense of community with others. So whether a social or cultural event, the ability to get academic and resource information or events that support Spartan Pride, we have many events for students to attend virtually. WOW further has become a campus tradition and we are excited for the events we will present this spring!”

The Weeks of Welcome kick off on Monday, January 25, with multiple online events each week through the end of February. While most events are best attended live, some may be available as recordings after they conclude. To register for events and learn more, please visit the Weeks of Welcome website.

Virginia San Fratello’s Teeter Totter Wall Earns Beazley Design of the Year Award

The Teeter Totter Wall, designed by SJSU Design Chair Virginia San Fratello and UC Berkeley Architecture Professor Ronald Rael, in 2019. Photo courtesy of Ronald Rael.

In summer 2019, a design project entitled the “Teeter Totter Wall” created by San José State Design Department Chair Virginia San Fratello and UC Berkeley Architecture Professor Ronald Rael became an international sensation when a video of their pink seesaw went viral. As featured in the spring/summer 2019 edition of Washington Square, the project was a collaborative effort involving communities along the United States-Mexico border. By working together, San Fratello, Rael and a collective of Mexican artists created a pink seesaw that used the border wall as the physical and metaphoric fulcrum. Children on both sides of the wall were invited to play for 40 minutes.

A year and a half later, the project has once again captured the imagination of the world. On January 19, 2021, the Design Museum in London announced that the project had won the prestigious Beazley Design of the Year, an honor that recognizes the most innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design from the previous year, as nominated by public and design experts worldwide. The winning designers’ work will be included in a physical and virtual exhibition alongside the 73 other nominees at the Design Museum in London.

“The Beazley Design of the Year are the Oscars of the design world,” said Razia Iqbal, BBC journalist and chair of the judging committee for the 2020 Beazley Awards. In an award announcement video released on the Design Museum website, Iqbal said that judges were extremely moved by the Teeter Totter Wall. “The project wasn’t just something that felt symbolically important. It talked about the possibility of things. That’s what moved us and made us feel that all kinds of things are possible when people come together with great ideas and determination.”

San Fratello and Rael were surprised and delighted to hear the news of their winning design, a project that had been in progress for nearly a decade and existed as a physical installation for less than an hour, yet whose impact continues to reverberate internationally, more than a year later.

“Great design allows us to see something in a way we could not before,” said Shannon Miller, dean of San José State’s College of Humanities and the Arts. “These seesaws did exactly that—transforming borders from barriers to bridges, and making division instead an opportunity for connection, play and joy.”

While the Teeter Totter Wall is not currently installed on the border, San Fratello welcomes further collaboration with their partner in Mexico, Colectivo Chopeke, who helped fabricate metal for the seesaw in 2019. She hopes that the project will eventually result in actual social change.

“I think this project speaks to the horror of the border wall, it speaks to the fact that this land was once united and is now divided, and it shows the faces of the families, the mothers and children who live at the border,” said San Fratello from her Colorado home, where she has been sheltering in place and teaching remotely since fall 2020. “In terms of a larger picture, the project speaks to trade and balances between our two nations and the way we treat our neighbors, the care that we take for people that we play and work with. We need to bring joy to other people’s life at this time where we’re so disconnected and hungry for meaningful connections.”

 

Lurie College to Host Free K-12 Online Teaching Academy Starting January 8

K-12 Online Teaching Academy

The Lurie College is launching its second K-12 Online Teaching Academy on Jan. 8.

San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education is launching its second K-12 Online Teaching Academy on Friday, January 8, from 3 – 4:30 p.m. PST. The five free sessions are designed to prepare educators to teach online. The webinar series originally launched in summer 2020 in response to the inequities in learning exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and gained media attention for providing high-quality professional development for educators nationwide. The 23 Summer 2020 webinar recordings discussed how to build equity and employ emancipatory pedagogies in an online environment, how to utilize various online platforms, and more. More than 100 participants have already registered for each of the five sessions, which include presentations such as “Decolonizing STEM” and “Providing Students Choice: Engagement and Equity.”

“Initially, our goal was to create an initiative that would support our college’s teaching candidates and teachers in the field as we were all making the transition to remote teaching, learning, and working,” said Lurie College Dean Heather Lattimer. “Since our summer K-12 Academy was online, we decided to also make it available to anybody at no cost and we were amazed by the overall demand for the webinars—over 3,000 people attended our 23 summer webinars and the recordings have over 20,000 views on our YouTube channel. As the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated the many social inequities within education and the movement for racial justice has gained momentum in recent months, we wanted to host another K-12 Academy at the midpoint of the academic year to provide further support to educators as we are navigating this landscape. The presenters for our upcoming webinars on January 8, 15, 22, 29, and February 5 will highlight the intersection of their topics with educational equity, social justice, anti-racism, and/or emancipatory education.”

In an EdSource article published in October, student teacher Erin Enguero, ’16 Kinesiology, stated that the webinars helped “contribute to this very important conversation about what it means to do distance learning.” Most recently, the California Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery identified the webinar series as one of the most helpful distance learning resources for educators and highlighted it on the COVID-19 CA website.

There is still time for educators to register in the webinar series, which occur January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. PST: sjsu.edu/education/community/k12-academy.

 

SJSU Biological Sciences Professor Katie Wilkinson Casts Vote as California Elector

On Monday, December 14, San José State Biological Sciences Professor Katie Wilkinson traveled to Sacramento to cast her vote as an elector for the electoral college—one of only 538 Americans to participate in this democratic process. She live tweeted her experience and agreed to answer some questions about her day.

What does it mean to be selected as an elector for the electoral college? What criteria does one need to meet?

There is one elector for every Congressional district and one for each of the two state Senators. Each party chooses their slate of electors and the party that wins the state seats their slate at the Electoral College. In this case, the Democrat who holds the elected office or ran against the winning Republican got to nominate an elector to represent their district. Typically people nominate elected officials, activists, or party volunteers to the seats. The role is largely ceremonial, as it should be to respect the will of the state’s voters.

How and when did you find out that you were selected as an elector?

In September, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren called me to ask if I would like to be CA-19’s elector. Sadly I was driving and missed the call, but I immediately emailed to accept the position after hearing the message.

How did it make you feel?

It is an incredible honor to have been chosen. As a California elector, I represented about 500,000 voters, so it is honestly unbelievable that Rep. Lofgren chose me out of all the people doing amazing things in our district.

How has your political advocacy overlapped with your career as a scientist and educator? I remember you mentioning that you had taken a previous student to Rep. Lofgren’s office. What was that like?

In 2013, the sequester led to a huge budget cut for the NIH-supported Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) training program. The MARC program provides support for students in groups underrepresented in science to gain a mentored research experience. The cuts meant that students lost about 40 percent of the tuition support they had been given and also that the program had to cut about half of the training slots. At the time, Joy Franco, ’14 Mechanical Engineering, was a MARC student in my lab and we worked together to provide a script for people to call their legislators about the funding cuts. We also hosted Rep. Mike Honda to tour research labs and talk to the MARC students.

After that experience, I decided I want to learn how to more effectively advocate for the issues I cared about so I became a Society for Neuroscience Early Career Advocacy Fellow. In that program I got mentored support in learning how to navigate visits with elected officials and how to structure the meetings. In fact, I first met Rep. Lofgren when I scheduled an in district meeting with her. Usually you talk to Congressional staff, but I was offered a last minute opening with the Congresswoman because her office said she was a big supporter of women in STEM. I brought a research student from my lab, Anusha Allawala, ’15 Biomedical Engineering, with me to give a student’s perspective. Anusha was also supported by the Department of Education’s McNair Fellowship program and did a great job explaining the challenges she faced as a first generation college student and recent immigrant to the United States. Rep. Lofgren was also a first generation college student and they had a great conversation. Rep. Lofgren has also visited SJSU to tour research labs and it was great to see students in the lab explain their projects and illustrate firsthand how important federal investment is for SJSU science.

To stay involved in science policy, I joined the American Physiological Society’s Science Policy Committee and, starting in May 2021, I will chair that committee. This is a very exciting opportunity to help shape the issues that the society advocates for and to provide a non-Research Intensive Institution’s perspective.

Tell me about your day. How many people were at the capital? Was it your first time there? What did it feel like to cast your vote?

This was my first time visiting the Capitol Building. The Capitol was empty except for the 55 Electors and minimal staff to help maintain social distancing. We were all given KN95 masks to wear and had to stay six feet away from each other at all times. The actual Electoral College meeting is fairly scripted. We started by taking the Electoral College Oath. Then we nominated and elected an Electoral College Chairperson, Assemblymember Shirley Weber and Secretary Franklin Lima. A few electors couldn’t make it, so replacement electors were nominated, elected, and given their oaths. Then we cast our ballots for President. We were given official ballots to sign and they were collected and counted by the Secretary.

When the Chairwoman announced the 55 ayes for President-elect Biden, there was a huge round of applause. We did the same thing for Vice President-elect Harris. After that, we all had to sign official documents affirming the accuracy of the vote and then were dismissed. The Chairwoman announced that with our California Electoral College votes Joe Biden had over the 270 needed to be elected. The most special thing about the day for me, though, was getting to cast another ballot for the first female Vice President. Since I was a kid I’ve been disappointed that we’ve never had a woman in the White House, so getting to be part of this election was extra special. I have a five-year-old daughter and I’m so excited that the first presidential administration she will pay attention to has a woman of color as Vice President. Our daughter was really excited to learn that Kamala Harris’s mom was an immigrant from the same part of India as her dad.

What message would you want to share about civic engagement and staying active in local, statewide and national politics?

It is easy to feel like your single vote or call doesn’t matter, but the truth is our elected officials are literally paid to listen to what we have to say. A pretty small percentage of people actively engage with their representatives so you can help educate them on your issues. Politicians want to hear personal stories that they can use when arguing for a position and their offices do tally phone calls and letters. It can also seem intimidating to talk to your elected officials, but once you do it a few times, it gets much easier. It’s especially helpful to go to a meeting with someone who has done it before or a group of people.

 

Patricia McKinney’s $1.8 Million Planned Gift Benefits Future Elementary Educators

Patricia McKinney.

Patricia McKinney has established a scholarship for future elementary teachers. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Robertson.

San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.8 million gift commitment from Patricia McKinney, ’60 General Elementary Education, ‘64 MA Education. The gift will support students majoring in elementary education in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education.

“Ms. McKinney’s gift is significant for our students, our college, and our region,” said Heather Lattimer, dean of the Lurie College. “As our K-12 student population continues to become increasingly diverse, this gift will help our college attract dedicated, talented future teachers from diverse communities who are committed to making a transformative impact in the lives of children and families. Additionally, this award will reduce the cost of enrollment for many of our students and enable them to focus their time and energy on the success of their own K-12 students as they enter professions that don’t typically bring fortune or fame.”

About Patricia McKinney

A native of San José, McKinney was an elementary education teacher her entire career. Upon graduating from San José State, she accepted her first teaching job in the Hillview/Menlo School District, briefly taught at an Air Force base in Germany when her husband was stationed there, and worked for many years in the Laguna Salada Union Elementary school district in Pacifica. She recognized the importance of early education and wants to provide assistance to underserved students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to become a teacher.

“I loved working with kids and going home at night knowing that I’ve made a difference,” said McKinney from her home in San Francisco. She recalls teaching multiple generations of the same families, running into her students’ parents who remembered her fondly from their own elementary school days.

“She thought SJSU had prepared her well and it was important to her to help other people become teachers, especially grade school teachers,” said her friend Priscilla Robertson.

“Ms. McKinney’s gift to San José State exemplifies her commitment to service,” said Theresa Davis, vice president of University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Not only did she teach generations of children across the Bay Area, her scholarship will support future elementary educators. We are grateful for Ms. McKinney’s example.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

San José State University Receives First International Sustainability Ranking and Listed Among Green Colleges Nationally

Photo by David Schmitz.

Once again, San José State University’s sustainability rankings have made headlines.

This fall, San José State was listed as one of the Princeton Review’s Green Colleges for 2021 and one of the Sierra Club’s top 50 2020 Cool Schools. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) named San José State a top overall performer in sustainability, with special recognition of the CSU Single Use Plastics Policy and the Housing Crisis Mitigation Plan. To top it off, this week, SJSU has received its first international ranking in sustainability, listed in the top 15 percent of universities for the 2020 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, an initiative of Universitas Indonesia.

What are the criteria for being “green” or “cool?” Princeton Review surveyed 416 schools on everything from solar-powered dorms to clean energy career preparation. The Sierra Club included SJSU among the top 50 of 312 schools to receive a valid Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating, which provides a framework for understanding sustainability in higher education. The GreenMetric rankings were established in 2010 to establish a way to measure sustainability across universities worldwide, taking into consideration university enrollment and size, campus location and green space, energy use, transport, water use, recycling and waste treatment.

“We follow the United Nations’ sustainability goals, which define it as not just taking care of the planet, but taking care of the people on the planet,” Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering, SJSU senior utilities and sustainability analyst. “People often think of sustainability in terms of science and engineering, but you can really incorporate sustainability in every college, in every discipline.”

Andres collaborated with multiple departments across campus when submitting data for sustainability rankings. She worked with Ben Falter of the SJSU Cares program and senior student affairs case manager, to submit data about the Housing Crisis Mitigation Plan, which includes over $3 million in grants for student housing insecurity and basic needs support from the California State University system, as well as the development of new housing for undergraduate and transfer students. In addition, the State of California transferred a surplus, obsolete building to SJSU, which will be used to develop up to 1,200 housing units for faculty and staff, graduate students, and students with families.

“Yes, we use recycled water, but we are also trying to make it easier for students, faculty and staff to live nearby and go to school,” said Andres.

Andres added that the Princeton Review’s 2020 College Hopes & Worries survey found that 66 percent of nearly 13,000 college applicants consider a school’s environmental commitment when deciding where to go.

“San José State is the oldest CSU, the oldest university west of the Mississippi, and we are also a feeder school for the biggest tech companies on the planet,” said Andres. “It’s really important for us to reflect that we care about the environment and sustainability, just like many companies in Silicon Valley. It’s important that future students know that we are doing things that are very important to you—we are doing what’s right for the environment.”

Andres said that 30 percent of SJSU classes are designated sustainable, though that number could be higher now that courses are being offered online due to the pandemic. She has partnered with resources across campus, including the Gender Equity Center and the Black/African American Student Success Center, to offer sustainability-related programming. Currently enrolled students can visit the Office of Sustainability website to browse courses across all ten colleges that offer topics in sustainability, read the 2020 Sustainability Report and discover easy ways to make their lives a little greener.

Alumna Olive Burata Coauthors Scientific Article on Multidrug-Resistance Transporters

Olive Burata.

Olive Burata.

On November 27, Nature Communications published a scientific article coauthored by Olive Burata, ’14 BS, ’18 MS, Biochemistry. The article, entitled “The structural basis of promiscuity in small multidrug resistance transporters,” studies the small drug resistance (SMR) family, which contain protein drug exporters that help bacteria become resistant to toxic chemicals. Burata, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, said the publication demonstrates how scientists can unlock how SMR proteins work to help bacteria survive in the presence of antibiotics, antiseptics or disinfectant. The study provided the first high-resolution image of one of the protein members of this family that will allow scientists to study the protein in very close detail.

High-resolution structure of Gdx-Clo, a protein member of the small multidrug resistance family that has given bacteria resistance against antibiotics, antiseptics, and disinfectants. Image courtesy of Olive Burata.

“This publication really brought together all the multidisciplinary scientific training I have obtained from my two mentors: Dr. Alberto Rascón from SJSU and Dr. Randy Stockbridge from the University of Michigan,” said Burata. “Both skills and techniques that I have learned from each of their labs have significantly contributed to my rapid understanding of this work. Although early in my career, this work alone has already encompassed skills I have learned as a biochemist, biophysicist, structural biologist, microbiologist and organic chemist.”

Burata said the multidrug-resistance bacteria research could have a big impact on one of the biggest side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—that is, the increasing amounts of resistance bacteria being produced. As people increasingly rely on disinfectants and antiseptic products like hand sanitizers, 70 percent alcohol and Lysol and bleach products, they are not only killing any COVID-19 viral particles but also exposing the bacteria to the products, “giving them ample opportunities to become resistant to them—a double-edged sword.” As a member of Rascón’s lab at San José State, she studied enzymes called proteases that are similar to the ones associated with causing viral pneumonia as a result of COVID-19 infection.

“There are a lot of labs right now trying to find ways to make these enzymes force the virus to be less deadly,” she said, adding that her experience in Rascón’s lab introduced her to enzymology and ignited a passion for learning. “Six years ago, Dr. Rascón first introduced his research work on mosquito protease enzymology during the first day of class in my last semester of undergrad. I fell in love with how amazing enzymology was and its simple application in helping human lives. I had no research experience, my grades were mediocre, nor did I have any plans after graduating, but I immediately reached out to Dr. Rascón on that same day to ask if I could join his lab. I became a different person that day with a strong sense of determination. My pre-undergrad self would have never imagined coming this far (2,000 miles from California) in pursuing my passion and having constant support from my mentors, family and friends.”

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Receives $1.6 Million Gift from the Late Virginia Silveira

Virginia Silveira

Virginia Silveira.

San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.6 million gift from the late Virginia Silveira, ‘36 Business Administration. The gift creates scholarships for undergraduates in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

“Virginia Silveira’s gift to the Lucas College of Business is one of the most impactful donations for scholarships that we have ever received and will benefit generations of students,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

About Virginia Silveira

Born and raised in San José, Silveira was from a Portuguese American family, attended school locally and earned two degrees from San José State before dedicating 30 years as an accounting officer at her alma mater. A cancer survivor, Silveira volunteered at the American Cancer Society for 25 years. Following her retirement in 1976, she traveled the world with her sister Edna. Together they visited 49 countries.

Black and white photo of Virginia Silveira with her sister Edna.

Virginia Silveira (right), pictured with her sister Edna. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Avina.

“Virginia lived for 101 years as a single and childless woman at a time when her independence wasn’t really appreciated,” said her great-niece Sue Fagalde Lick, ’74 Journalism. “She traveled a great deal and was very interested in other cultures.”

Suzanne Avina, ’92 MS Nursing, cared for Silveira, her husband’s aunt, in her later years.

“She always talked about San José State fondly, with lots of respect—the days that she was there as a student and as an employee,” said Avina. “It was her persona. She was a very hard worker in every part of her life.”

“Virginia Silveira epitomized the Spartan spirit: she was dedicated, hard-working and committed to making the world a better place,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Generations of San José State students will benefit from her generosity for years to come.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Hosts Panel on Creating Native and American Indian Studies Programs

A zoom screen of four panalists discussing Native and American Indian Studies.

On Dec. 3, SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. moderated a panel featuring Joely Proudfit from CSU San Marcos (top right), Craig Stone of CSU Long Beach (bottom right), and Cutcha Risling Baldy from Humboldt State (bottom left).

On Thursday, December 3, San José State hosted three leaders of Native and American Indian Studies Programs from across the California State University system: Joely Proudfit from CSU San Marcos, Cutcha Risling Baldy from Humboldt State and Craig Stone of CSU Long Beach. The 90-minute online panel was moderated by Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. More than 100 attendees registered for the webinar.

Joely Proudfit.

Joely Proudfit.

Del Casino opened the event by reading a land acknowledgment in honor of the Thamien Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone tribes, recognizing the ethnohistoric tribal territory and offering a message of gratitude to local Native and American Indian residents who have served in the military. After introducing the three panelists, he asked them to help contextualize the history of Native and American Indian Studies while engaging the realities of building a similar program at San José State.

“Prior to beginning a Native or American Indian Studies department, it’s important for universities to work with local tribal leadership,” said Proudfit, professor and department chair of American Indian Studies and director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center at CSU San Marcos, where she has collaborated with a local tribal advisory council for more than a decade. “The most successful programs have been built alongside tribal communities. They can help determine what it should be named and what its mission should be. What is your campus best situated to do to support tribes in your region?”

“Higher education wasn’t designed for Native American Studies—we had to fight to become a part of this institution,” said Risling Baldy, assistant professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University and founder of Native Women’s Collective, a nonprofit organization that supports the continued revitalization of Native American arts and culture. She pointed out that tribes native to the San José region are not federally recognized, which underscores the importance of working together. “When you are building a department, you need to be done studying Native people. It’s now time to learn from and with Native people.”

Cutcha Risling Baldy.

Cutcha Risling Baldy.

The conversation tackled both the opportunities and challenges of establishing a new department, both from a curriculum perspective, as well as from the faculty point of view. Stone, who recently retired from CSU Long Beach but remains an active advocate and educator within the community, argued how important it is to include local Native and tribal communities not only as faculty members, but as members of the staff. While many Native and American Indian programs partner with scholars of indigenous cultures from other countries, such as the Maori in New Zealand and aboriginal tribes in Australia, all three panelists agreed that it is critical that universities offering Native and American Indian curriculum connect first with the tribes closest to them.

Craig Stone.

Craig Stone.

“We hire people with a sustained interest in supporting Native and American Indian communities,” said Stone. “Who will positively impact the lives of Indian people?”

Del Casino encouraged participants to share questions over the online Q&A, fielding questions about encouraging students of all disciplines to study Native and American Indian studies, as well as how the discipline can help faculty of all areas to decolonize the way they teach. Proudfit shared some additional resources to better clarify the tension between the field and anthropology, English, literature and linguistics, departments that historically have exoticized or alienated Native and American Indian studies and Native scholars.

“It’s important for us to flip the conversation from one of loss and sadness to one of survival, resistance, resurgence and decolonization,” said Risling Baldy. “We need to dismantle, disrupt and remake everything into a better world. It is those big visions of Native people that have made all of this possible. That’s the vision that we need to have.”

 

Sue Howland Gift Creates Scholarship for Nursing Students

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.9 million gift from the late Sue Howland, ’64 Business Administration. The gift creates the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship for single parents and other eligible undergraduate and graduate students at The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and required books for students to earn their nursing degrees.

“The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is grateful for the generous gift provided by the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship,” said Colleen O’Leary-Kelley, director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and nursing professor. “Our student population is diverse, and many are single parents with significant financial need. Scholarship support is vital for students who strive to improve their family’s future while working full time or part time. Their ability to succeed in a rigorous educational program is greatly enhanced. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of people like Sue Howland, who enable students to make their dreams become a reality.”

About Sue Howland

Sue Howland smiling in a bright read embroidered top.

Alumna Sue Howland established a planned gift that will create a scholarship for nursing students who are parents. Photo courtesy of Ana Espejo.

Born in Berkeley and raised in San José, Howland enrolled in a number of nursing courses at San José State before ultimately majoring in business. Ever the caretaker, Howland raised her son Scott while working for the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford University and McWhorter’s stationery in Los Gatos. When her grandmother fell ill, she quit her job to become her full-time caregiver, and later did the same for her mother. While she never became a nurse, Howland was a dedicated friend to many, including Ana Espejo, who she met when she hired Espejo’s husband to help with her garden.

“Sue was very compassionate and she had a lot of integrity and kindness,” said Espejo. “We became very close; she was my adopted mom. She was there for me when I was, at one point, a single mother. She treated my son as her grandson. She wanted to give single parents the resources to go to school, which is why she created the scholarship.”

Howland made arrangements in her trust to donate the proceeds from the sale of her house to create an endowed fund at San José State. The fund provides full-tuition scholarships named after Howland and her mother Julia (Judy) Howland to single parents so they may continue their studies while parenting. In her final years, Howland was grateful for the medical care she received as she was being treated for various illnesses and before she succumbed to cancer in 2019. Espejo said that it was this care that reinforced Howland’s desire to support future nurses.

“Throughout all of her surgeries and treatments, she appreciated that the nurses and medical assistants took such good care of her,” said Espejo. “This is part of why she wanted to support the nursing program at San José State, though she had planned her gift years before.”

“Sue Howland understood the challenges of single parenting while attending college and the impact that a scholarship like this could have. Students receiving this scholarship concentrate on their studies, and still spend valuable time with their children,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are grateful for her thoughtful planning many years ago to leave a meaningful legacy at San José State.”

“I stand in awe of Sue Howland. It is remarkable that she and her family would share with such generosity their treasures with the College of Health and Human Science’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing,” said Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “So many of our students face challenges, working their way through school, often juggling multiple jobs on top of coursework and practicum commitments. Ms. Howland had the insight to recognize that single parents face additional barriers and that they are much more likely to drop out due to all the financial burdens facing them. This gift will change the lives of all the parents who receive it. Beyond this though, the gift will impact the lives of the students’ children. This will lead to intergenerational transformation.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of Planned Giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

$3M Anonymous Gift Will Establish Endowments at SJSU

Three students hover over a laptop while studying together.

An anonymous $3 million planned gift will establish three endowments at SJSU. Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $3 million gift commitment from anonymous donors. The gift will create three $1 million endowments to provide full tuition to eligible students majoring in management information systems (MIS) in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, computer science in the College of Science and computer engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“We believe strongly in the importance of education. It is important to invest in the future by giving back to the educational institute which we attended and to invest and assist future students,” said the donors, a married couple who graduated from San José State. “We hope our gift will help students achieve their academic goals and so serve as our investment in the future.”

“Recognizing the importance of supporting students in areas of study as wide-ranging as business, science, and engineering is quintessentially San José State,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “The donors, both alumni, demonstrate how our Spartan family champions one another’s disparate dreams and vision for the future. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity.”

“With rising inequality, support for student scholarships has never been more important,” said Sheryl Ehrman, dean of the Davidson College of Engineering. “Our society will greatly benefit from the ideas generated by these computer engineering students supported by these scholarships!”

“This gift will expand access to our high-quality computer science degree program—and the outstanding experiential learning, internship, and career opportunities that come with it—regardless of a student’s ability to pay for their education,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “This aligns precisely with SJSU’s role as a transformative institution and the College of Science’s mission of creating knowledge and expanding opportunity. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the donors.

“This incredibly generous gift is truly an investment in our MIS students’ future,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. “These scholarships will significantly reduce financial pressures and allow students to spend more time focusing on their studies and engaging in co-curricular activities that can advance their careers.”

“This wonderful act of generosity will help provide a high-quality education to a new generation of Spartans,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “Investments by donors like these enable us to transform the lives of our students and their families, and for that we are very grateful.”

To learn how you can support the university through a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Days Go Online Nov. 16 – 20

Sammy

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Days from November 16 – 20, 2020. Newly-admitted Spartans are invited to participate in virtual Admitted Spartan Days Nov. 16 – 20.

Approximately 1,800 newly-admitted San José State students are invited to participate in online Admitted Spartan Days November 16 – 20 to learn about pursuing an education at SJSU. Students and parents can attend virtual presentations and workshops on Zoom and get the information they need to enroll in the spring 2021 semester. While Admitted Spartan Day has historically been an in-person event on campus, this fall SJSU is hosting all informational events online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second time that SJSU has had to offer Admitted Spartan Days activities online and the first time offering them in the fall, said Deanna Gonzalez, director of admissions and student outreach. In spring 2020, roughly 25,000 prospective Spartans were invited to participate in Zoom workshops, virtual tours and webinars to orient them to SJSU. By making the resources available online in real time and as recorded videos, Gonzalez said, the university is making it easier for future Spartans to find the information they need to enroll.

Kristell Nunez, ’22 Business Administration, attended the spring 2020 virtual Admitted Spartan Days as a transfer student.

“I can’t express how amazing the College of Business was! They were professional, helpful, and went above and beyond in their panels,” she said. “I was amazed that they did a FAQ Google Spreadsheet with every question answered, even if many were similar. They stayed afterward to help answer more questions which was extremely appreciated. I was very happy with their panels. The panels sealed the deal for me to choose SJSU.”

Nunez is loving her first semester at SJSU. She recommends that new students get involved in clubs.

“I’m involved in the Marketing Association doing consulting for a local company,” she said. “It feels great to apply what you learn in the classroom. I encourage students to step out of your comfort zone and explore; it does wonders.”

This semester’s virtual events will kick off on Monday, November 16, with welcome messages from college deans and videos that introduce students to college life at SJSU. Admitted students can watch content live or view the recorded webinars later at a time that works for their schedule. The week will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations:

Monday, Nov. 16: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans and webinars with colleges. SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day will provide introductory remarks at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Supporting Spartan Success: Campus Resources

Webinars cover key services including career planning, financial aid and scholarship information, writing center services, winter session information, veteran services, international student services and more.

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Discover Spartan Life

Prospective students can learn about on-campus housing options and hear from New Student and Family Programs, Student Involvement and Associated Students, who will highlight student life activities and leadership opportunities at SJSU. Students can also watch a video guide to Spartan life, living on campus and studying abroad, as well as video tours of campus, the International House, the Hammer Theatre, the Student Union.

Thursday, Nov. 19: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

Students can learn about advising resources on campus and how college student success centers and the Academic Advising and Retention Services office can assist them throughout their education. Live webinars will cover the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences (ACCESS), the Engineering Student Success Center, the College of Health and Human Sciences Student Success Center, the Accessible Education Center, the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center and the Lucas College of Business for transfer students.

Friday, Nov. 20: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from incoming freshmen and transfer students about their admission and the intent to enroll process. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.

Bettina Love Lecture on Abolitionist Teaching Draws 800+ Online Participants

Bettina Love poses in front of a mural.

Bettina Love’s lecture attracted 800 participants on Nov. 10.

On Tuesday, November 10, San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education hosted Bettina Love, associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia and one of the founders of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, for an hour-long lecture. The online event included a panel moderated by Saili Kulkarni, assistant professor of special education; psychology and African American Studies Lecturer Leslye Tinson, ’22 EdD; and Jacqueline Lopez Rivas, ’21 Child and Adolescent Development. More than 800 people from around the country registered for the Zoom webinar.

Lurie College Dean Heather Lattimer kicked off the event by explaining how Love’s expertise aligns with the college’s strategic plan, which affirms its commitment to prepare “transformative educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders through an emancipatory approach across teaching, scholarship and service.”

Bradley Porfilio, program director of SJSU’s EdD Leadership Program, originally invited Love to speak in spring 2020, but the event was postponed due to shelter in place orders related to COVID-19. On Tuesday night, Porfilio introduced Love as “a transformative scholar on abolitionist teaching and hip hop education and an inspiration to our students, who are committed to creating a society that is free from hate and free from oppression.”

Love is the author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her writing, research, teaching, and activism meet at the intersection of race, education, abolition, and Black joy. She began her talk by reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on institutional racism and equity gaps in the United States and reinforced the need for abolitionist and anti-racist thought, especially in schools.

“There is a perception that racism only hurts Black, Latinx and indigenous people,” said Love. “What we don’t talk about is what society loses because of racism. Society loses when we don’t teach Black and Brown students to their highest potential. We lose doctors, lawyers, physicians, teachers, everyday people because we do not educate students to their highest potential.”

Love argued that educators need to rethink the ways their curriculum may reinforce racial stereotypes, such as minimizing the Black experience in America to slavery, police brutality or the school-to-prison pipeline. Rather, she encouraged teachers to focus on Black and Brown joy—by depicting the resilience, creativity and ingenuity of people of all races, she said, students can envision themselves succeeding in a variety of ways. She defined the difference between an “ally” and a “co-conspirator” as a reminder to non-Black and non-Brown people to do more than pay lip service to an abolitionist and anti-racist future by taking action to make change. When her talk concluded, she answered questions from the panelists that had been partially sourced from the 800+ registered participants.

“I truly believe that we have to fight racism and injustice, but we also have to believe that Black and Brown children are worthy—full stop,” said Love as the evening was drawing to a close. “Because if you believe that Black and Brown children are worthy, then you won’t fight racism from a deficit mindset. Do you think these people are worthy of their biggest dreams? To fight for them, you must believe that their life has so much value that it makes your life better.”

Daniele LeCesne Joins SJSU as Tower Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Daniele LeCesne

Daniele LeCesne will serve as the COO of the Tower Foundation starting December 7.

For Daniele LeCesne, accepting the job as chief operating officer of San José State University’s Tower Foundation represents a homecoming of sorts. Though LeCesne is originally from southern California, her sister and brother-in-law graduated from SJSU and she has spent decades seeing the campus transform from afar. Now, after dedicating more than 25 years as an accounting and financial officer in various arenas, including 18 years in higher education, LeCesne is excited for the opportunity to oversee Tower Foundation operations beginning December 7.

“I’m all about the mission of higher ed,” said LeCesne from her office at California State University, Fullerton, where for the past three years she has worked dual roles as the executive director of university advancement administration and finance and chief financial officer for the CSF Foundation. “I am a huge proponent of encouraging younger generations to pursue their education, to pursue their dreams. My tagline is ‘engage, encourage, inspire.’ That’s what I try to share with others.”

LeCesne’s expertise includes financial and administrative management, budget management and analysis, human resources and internal controls, as well as nonprofit foundation management. Before joining Cal State Fullerton, LeCesne held positions at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She also serves on the board of OPARC, an organization that serves adults living with developmental disabilities.

For LeCesne, few things matter more than her relationships, both with her family and at work. Her very first boss in the hotel industry became a lifelong mentor, inspiring her to invest in relationships with her colleagues and pay close attention to the nitty-gritty details involved in financial management.

“I’ll never forget the time he made me find a 72 cents-error on a reconciliation,” she said. “I spent hours poring over documents, and finally he let me go, saying that he was trying to teach me the importance of being detail-oriented and putting in the research. That has stuck with me for over 30 years. Having the best mentor in the world reminds me of how I want to be for others.”

LeCesne looks forward to passing on her knowledge to her team and collaborating with the Tower Foundation Board of Directors to reimagine philanthropy in the years to come.

“Daniele’s deep experience in financial management within the CSU and the hospitality industry uniquely positions her for success as our next COO,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “She brings with her the ability to effectively steward foundation resources while also providing a high level of customer service to our campus colleagues who have gift accounts. We are delighted that she is joining the Spartan family.”

 

Master’s Student Katy Jiang Wins 2020 Deepfake Education Competition

 

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, in partnership with the CITRIS Policy Labs at the University of California, Berkeley, announced that Katy Jiang, ’21 MS Software Engineering, won the 2020 Deepfake Education Competition with her three-minute explanatory video. The competition challenged students of all levels to create engaging video content to educate the public on deepfakes, the use of artificial intelligence to manipulate images and video to influence public opinion.

“Deepfake is a form of artificial intelligence. The word deepfake combines deep learning and fake,” said Jiang. “It can produce a persuasive counterfeit by studying photographs and videos of a target person from multiple angles, and then mimicking its behavior and speech patterns. By making this video, I want to educate people about the technology behind their day-to-day entertainment application and raise people’s awareness that deepfakes can also be used in committing crimes such as frauds and scams.”

A 2019 Pew Research study reported that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say made-up news and information cause a great deal of confusion. Associate Chair of the Computer Engineering department Magdalini Eirinaki, who is teaching Jiang’s Web and Big Data Mining course this semester, recommended that Jiang submit her video, originally a class assignment, for the Deepfake Education competition.

“Identification and spread of fake news (whether in text or deepfakes) has been on my radar as a very interesting and critical research problem,” said Eirinaki. “This technology can be very easily weaponized and used to enhance the perceived credibility of fake news and disinformation campaigns. This can have even more devastating effects than current fake news, ranging from politics, to the environment (e.g. global warming), to public health (e.g. spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic). It is therefore more critical than ever for the research community to develop more sophisticated techniques to keep up with the deepfake technology to promptly identify and remove/flag them before too much harm is done.”

Jiang’s video explains how deepfakes can be used to impact how people interpret fake news—especially timely during a hotly contested presidential election and a global health pandemic. Using engaging visuals, music and voiceover to describe the dangers that deepfakes pose to democracy, she encourages viewers to assess content carefully before sharing it on their social media platforms. She demonstrates how many free apps are available to superimpose public images with false or misleading suggestions, inserting her own face over that of celebrities and politicians. Her winning submission will be featured on CITRIS media channels and through the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s media channels. The recognition also includes a $2,500 prize.

“As we are in the pandemic and the election is coming, deepfakes pose a danger to democracy,” said Jiang. “Fake news will influence everything from stock prices to the election. People should be critical about what we see online.”

 

67 New SJSU Faculty Members Hired Since COVID-19 Pandemic Began

As San José State University faces a historic $92 million budget cut, SJSU continues to demonstrate its investment in its educational mission by hiring 65 new faculty members since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Two additional faculty members were recruited during this time period and will be starting in fall 2021. Faculty members span colleges and disciplines, from Justice Studies to Marketing and Business Analytics to members of the newly-formed Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC).

The latest faculty cohort reflects San José State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in more than one way. According to University Personnel, 53 percent of new hires identify as women, 10 percent identify as Latinx, six percent as Black, 25 percent as Asian and 39 percent as white.

Senior Director of Faculty Affairs James Lee provided additional data to demonstrate how the demographics of incoming faculty members have changed since 2015.

*Prior years using PeopleSoft Data. AY 20-21, Interfolio. 2 or more race/ethnicity is not reported.

Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Success and Chicano/a Studies Professor Magdalena Barrera said that new and returning faculty must be cognizant of challenges that students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal is to attract a very diverse pool of faculty applicants—diverse in terms of their training, their areas of expertise, their gender, their ethno-racial identities along multiple axes,” said Barrera. “It’s important that faculty are understanding of issues around diversity and inclusion and are very equity-minded in their approach, using their training and creativity to the best of their abilities to be empathetic towards students. They are helping students get through a very challenging time and it’s important that they keep them motivated to stick with school and make progress toward their degrees.”

Deanna Fassett, assistant vice provost for faculty development at the Center for Faculty Development (CFD) and former chair of SJSU’s Communication Studies department, adapted much of the CFD’s previously face-to-face onboarding activities for remote work. Fassett said the shift to online programming has gone smoothly, with weekly trainings over Zoom ranging from curriculum development for online learning to anti-racist pedagogies. Professional development workshops are recorded and available for members who may not be able to attend in real time.

“This is the most resourced group of [new] faculty” at San José State, Fassett said. “They’re getting the effort and the labor and the drive behind me, eCampus Senior Director Jennifer Redd, our new Equity and Accessibility Educator Valin Jordan and their department chairs. We’re building out guides for how to have more interactive classrooms. There are new Teach Anywhere and Learn Anywhere website resources. Facing new challenges, we leaned in and asked, how can we be better in online mode? The Chancellor’s Office really enabled us to do that.”

“I was really looking forward to getting into the classroom and connecting with students,” said Hillary Hurst, theoretical physicist and newly minted assistant professor of physics and astronomy. She completed some of the activities online while moving from Washington D.C. to California this summer. “I’ve had to rethink some things about how I teach my courses. Jump Start offered an asynchronous onboarding course for faculty members. I started doing sessions before we moved, I continued completing them while we were on our road trip and finished the course in California. I’m looking forward to completing the online teaching certificate this winter. While it’s tough feeling like I’m not quite getting to know the students, I am working on improving my online teaching.”

Fassett also believes that hiring new faculty and updating recruitment and retention practices helps the overall health of the university.

“The better our faculty teach, the more students will come back to us, the better we will retain them, and we will continue to help them advance to their professional goals,” said Fassett. “Our university remains more relevant than ever, and that shows in our enrollments and in the work our faculty do.” ”

Both Fassett and Barrera said that by investing in recruiting, retaining and investing in the continued professional development of faculty, San José State can better address Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious system-wide campaign to increase graduation rates while eliminating equity gaps.

“This is a critical moment for us to observe student needs and not lose focus on Graduation Initiative 2025,” said Barrera. “A lot of historically underrepresented students find online learning challenging because they don’t have regular or reliable Internet access. Many of them have taken on more hours at work to provide economically for their loved ones. Incoming faculty members need to be aware of these challenges. How do we turn these into opportunities to really connect with faculty members in terms of their pedagogical styles? We have to think creatively about building community when we can’t physically be together in the classroom or on campus. We want to not just meet those goals; we want to be a leader among the CSU. We have a bigger mission and together we’re working towards it.”

San José State Hosts Multiple Virtual Career Fairs

Screenshot of the SJSU Career Center webinar showing a slide that says We're Hiring! with three cards that say Explore Internship, University Internship, and Full-Time.

SJSU students had the opportunity to meet with employers like Microsoft during special Employer Insight workshops. Microsoft University Recruiter Brian Cuadra provided information on internship and job opportunities.

How can San José State students connect with potential employers during the COVID-19 health pandemic? In an era when students and recruiters can’t meet for an actual handshake, the San José State Career Center has leveraged the new career fair feature in Handshake, SJSU’s student career management platform, to host virtual career fairs.

More than 2,500 SJSU students have participated in six fairs since the fall 2020 semester began, according to Catherine Voss Plaxton, interim associate vice president of student services. The Career Center first offered virtual career fairs in the 2016-2017 school year. Also in that year, the team established career fairs for five, broad career pathways, offering possibilities for every major.

Handshake dashboard that lists career fair events for students to attend.

SJSU students can register for virtual career fairs using SJSU Handshake.

“By using Handshake, we can easily promote fairs to SJSU’s 9,200 local employers and the over 60 percent of undergraduate students who actively use the system,” said Voss Plaxton. “We were the first Bay Area campus to post a virtual career fair schedule and invite employers to recruit this fall.”

Students can access online resources to prepare for the virtual fairs, including job fair success webinars, individual career counseling appointments and access to VMock, an online resume-building tool. The Career Center also has offered four Employer Insights events with top employers to share advice for getting jobs at their companies. More than 175 students participated in a recent session that featured Microsoft representatives. Two additional Insights events are planned for fall 2020.

Shawn Klein, ’21 Human Resources Management, signed up for a one-on-one online meeting with Stacey Caceres, talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, during the Business, Logistics and Financial Services Virtual Job/Internship Fair on September 29.

“My experience was great,” said Klein, who works as a peer career advisor at SJSU and is looking for a job in HR. “I didn’t have to wait in any lines. I was able to get one-on-one time or a group session with everyone I needed to talk to. In the past, there were some employers I would’ve needed to wait 30 minutes just to speak to. Sometimes I never got the chance. To be able to set when you want to talk to someone and to see their availability helps save so much time. It gives you the ability to get face time with everyone. ”

Virtual fairs can make recruiting more convenient for employers as well. Zuleica Pena, ’15 Business Administration, who works in talent acquisition at the accounting firm PwC, attended a special Meet the Firms virtual event for accounting majors on September 17.

“We had a very positive experience with having Meet the Firms be virtual this semester,” said Pena. “The video platform was great quality and easy to use. The fact that student profiles were easy to access definitely made things run a lot smoother.”

More than 130 employers have participated in SJSU virtual career fairs this fall. According to exit surveys conducted by the SJSU Career Center, 60 percent of student attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the event helped them identify next steps to take in career preparation, while 74 percent recommended the virtual fairs to fellow SJSU students On November 3, Spartans can participate in a Graduate and Professional School Virtual Career Fair, a partnership between the College of Graduate Studies and the Career Center.