“Closed” Campus? Not San José State

A lifegaurd wearing a mask watches a swimmer doing laps in the SRAC.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University

Abundance of Student Services, Programs Available Even in the Midst of Pandemic

Though it might sometimes seem that SJSU’s campus is “closed” due to COVID-19 and the largely virtual classroom approach the university has adopted, a closer look reveals the extent to which staff, faculty and others have worked to give students the fullest, most meaningful college experience possible.

Sonja Daniels, associate vice president for campus life in the division of student affairs, said a large priority has been placed on delivering services that meet the personal and academic needs of students during what is an unprecedented and atypical period.

Diaz Compean Student Union remains a hub of student life for the more than 850 students (and 55 student staff) who are living in university housing or periodically coming to campus, and the facility is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each weekday. The building houses more services than any other on campus, and several remain available for use—even during the pandemic.

Coffee and other essentials

About half of the eateries located in Diaz Compean Student Union—including Starbucks, for that all-important shot of caffeine students often require—are open, though hours have been adjusted due to a general decrease in traffic.

In addition, the Spartan Food Pantry remains open and available to students; in fact, all SJSU Cares and Case Management operations are still available. SJSU Cares is the university’s “one-stop shop” for a variety of student resources and services—particularly unanticipated financial crises—while the Case Management team provides individualized case managers to help with similar issues and student needs.

Student wearing a mask in the Spartan Bookstore looking through apparel.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

“Access to these services and resources is always important, but even more so given the extraordinarily challenging period this continues to be for our students and their families,” said Daniels.

Recognizing the many routine academic needs that students require, the SJSU Spartan Bookstore is also open and serving students and the campus community. Like other facilities that have modified their operations in light of the pandemic, the bookstore and its staff have implemented a number of safeguards to keep customers safe, including social distancing measures, rigorous cleaning, contactless payment and sneeze shields at checkout.

Study resources and academic services

Student on a zoom call in the Ballroom study area.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Perhaps one of the more innovative uses of space during the pandemic, said Daniels, has been in the ballroom.

With no large presentations or ceremonies occurring there, administrators decided to repurpose the facility and create a “Student Specialized Instructional Support Center ” where students could briefly attend to their studies. The venue has been equipped with computers, tables and chairs, and strong Wi-Fi completes the study space.

Student worker handing some paper to another student behind plastic safety guards at the Printing Services center at SJSU.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Because safety and health remains the campus’s first and foremost priority, students are asked to sign in and complete short surveys upon arrival in the ballroom. Although “lingering” is not permitted for long periods, the space offers a quiet place where students can complete important assignments right on campus rather than remaining “stuck” in their resident hall or apartment.

Other important Associated Students  services are still available, too, such as printing services and Transportation Solutions. Academic advising and even resume preparation services are accessible via the virtual environment.

Recreation, fitness and wellness

Student with a yellow hair cap doing laps in the SRAC pool.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Many students, of course, are eager to return to the full suite of activities typically found in the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC). As the pandemic situation stabilizes and updated guidance from Santa Clara County leads to fewer restrictions, recreational and fitness opportunities will expand, said Daniels.

Even now, however, the swimming pool at SRAC is open for lap swims (at 45-minute intervals). SRAC has also been offering immersive virtual fitness and exercise activities, while virtual classes, at-home workouts, intramural gaming tournaments and outdoor adventure virtual trips are also available.

SJSU’s Student Health Center, said Daniels, has likely been one of the most valuable and needed resources available to students during the pandemic, particularly Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The facility remains open several days per week from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and one-on-one virtual appointments—free of charge for students—can be made online. Regular health visits, such as eye and general medicine appointments, can also be made, with doctors and nurse practitioners remaining available.

Other virtual programming

From the outset of the pandemic, SJSU’s staff members were determined to put together and deliver a range of virtual events and other programs that students could enjoy and learn from right at their desktops. Admitted Spartan Day and Weeks of Welcome for example, developed innovative programming chock full of direct outreach, webinars, videos and other features designed for our newly admitted students and their families as well as returning students, providing superb examples that others around campus have worked hard to match.

Students and other members of the campus community are now able to enjoy virtual programming through the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center and Spartan Speaker Series, for instance, while “Let’s Talk Movies” and “Virtual Music at Noon” events as well as podcasts, “open mic” events and game nights, are being staged by Student Affairs through the fall as a way to bring arts and entertainment directly to students in an online environment.

A variety of other SJSU campus resources remain available to students—including a number of useful apps—and are described in a recent story by Sachi Tolani (’23 Marketing) for the Her Campus™ at SJSU website.

“Everyone continues to work hard to build and expand our capacity for the fullest student experience imaginable,” said Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs. “In the end, that’s what we’re striving for.”

SJSU ranked #1 “Most Transformative College” in the nation by Money

SJSU graduates jumping in the air to celebrate their graduation

San José State University ranks No. 1 in Money’s Most Transformative Colleges list for 2020. Photo: David Schmitz

San José State University is the most transformative college in the United States for 2020-2021, according to rankings announced by Money magazine.

“While likely not surprising to the countless students whose lives and families have been improved and changed forever by the academic and personal journey they have undertaken at San José State, this tremendous honor brings pride to every member of Spartan Nation,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

SJSU also was ranked number 24 on Money’s list of Best Colleges, ranked by value, up from its No. 104 ranking last year. Rankings are determined by more than 20,000 data points, including tuition fees, family borrowing, and career earnings. More than 700 universities are analyzed for Money’s rankings.

Other national rankings featuring SJSU were:

“As the nation continues to become more and more diverse, we know that education remains key to the American Dream and the social mobility of our residents,” said Papazian. “We see this every day at San José State, with stories of determination, aspiration and success, and could not be more delighted to be recognized by Money for our efforts to help our diverse students achieve a college degree and develop the tools they need for lifelong learning.”

Adding Value by Beating the Odds

“It’s not surprising that elite schools report high graduation rates or alumni success,” Money said. “What’s impressive is when students beat the odds by doing better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds. We call this a college’s value add.”

For the Most Transformative schools list, Money ranked colleges based on their exclusive value-added scores for graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment.

Money estimated a graduation rate of 65 percent for SJSU, a rate that is 31 percent higher than at universities with similar student demographics.

Affordability in a high-cost region

The publication estimates 62 percent of San Jose State students receive grants, and the estimated price of attendance for students who receive aid is $15,200. The publication adds that 86 percent of student need is met.

“For the fall 2020 semester alone, San José State awarded aid to nearly 20,000 students, which is absolutely critical given the current budgetary climate,” said Papazian. “We will continue the important work to make college affordable and help alleviate the heavy financial burden felt by so many students and their families.”

Papazian Named California Campus Compact Executive Board Chair

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has been selected as chair of the California Campus Compact (CACC) executive board.

“I have enormous respect for Mary and know that California Campus Compact will benefit immensely from the vision and wisdom she will bring to her new role as chair of the executive board,” said Leroy M. Morishita, outgoing board chair and president of Cal State-East Bay, in a CACC press release.

President Mary A. Papazian speaks at a SJSU commencement ceremony

The CACC executive board supports and promotes the mission of California Campus Compact throughout the state, recommends programs, plans and budgets that sustain and promote the vision and mission of the organization, and exercises oversight and stewardship of the resources of the organization.

CACC is a coalition of leading colleges and universities that works to build the collective commitment and capacity of colleges, universities and communities throughout California to advance civic and community engagement for a healthy, just and democratic society.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the state to support student engagement in civic life, something that has never been more important,” said Papazian, a CACC board member since 2017, who was also involved in Campus Compact during her years as a higher education administrator and leader in Connecticut.

“I believe CACC’s focus on students and connection to community is central to our educational mission,” she said. “SJSU has a long and rich history of such engagement, as evidenced by our partnership with the city of San Jose, our Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL) and our CommUniverCity program. SJSU’s CCLL team, in fact, manages all service-learning and Campus Compact activities for our faculty and students. I could not be more proud than to represent San Jose State in this leadership position.”

Papazian praised the strong leadership of Morishita and characterized the work of CACC Executive Director Elaine Ikeda as “the glue that makes California Campus Compact a model for the nation.”

Joining Papazian on the 2020-2021 CACC executive board is its newest member, California State University, Dominguez Hills President Thomas A. Parham. Other board members include:

  • William A. Covino, president, California State University, Los Angeles
  • James A. Donahue, president, St. Mary’s College of California
  • James T. Harris, president, University of San Diego
  • Leroy M. Morishita, president, California State University, East Bay
  • Linda Oubré, president, Whittier College
  • Rowena Tomaneng, president, San Jose City College

Through innovative programs and initiatives, grant funding, training and technical assistance, professional development and powerful research studies and publications, California Campus Compact each year invests in and champions students, faculty members, administrators and community members involved in diverse and groundbreaking activities that support and expand civic and community engagement throughout California.

Papazian joined San Jose State as its 30th president on July 1, 2016. Notable milestones since her appointment include the groundbreaking for the Interdisciplinary Science Building and approval of plans to build a Science Park; development of the East Side Promise program to support talented local students; and working collaboratively with the university community to launch a ten-year strategic plan, Transformation 2030, that positions SJSU for long-term excellence in the 21st century in the nation’s tenth largest city.

SJSU’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite Named 2020 “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose State University’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite have been named to the 2020 list of 100 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Millora serves as chief of staff in SJSU’s Office of the President and acting vice president of university advancement, while Tuite is the university’s director of intercollegiate athletics.

“Lisa and Marie are extraordinary women and leaders,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, herself a SVBJ “Woman of Influence” in 2019. “San Jose State is a better institution because of them, and I am grateful they are part of our leadership team.”

Each year, the SVBJ honors and celebrates the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley. Honorees have been selected from the private, public and nonprofit sectors and include leaders in corporations, startups, small businesses, nonprofits, healthcare, education and community services. The SVBJ will honor its 2020 Women of Influence award-winners at an October 15 dinner event.

Lisa Millora, SJSU chief of staff

Lisa Millora, SJSU’s Chief of Staff, Office of the President.

“While I’m honored to be recognized in this fashion, the real ‘influencers’ at San Jose State are the faculty and staff who work each day—often unnoticed—to provide our students with the best education imaginable while helping them to become educated citizens and the next generation of leaders,” said Millora. “They, along with our students, are the true inspiration.”

As chief of staff, Millora works with the president’s cabinet to oversee the day-to-day operations of the university and its 40,000 students, faculty and staff. She drives progress on strategic priorities and promotes operational effectiveness across the top levels of leadership, through oversight of the Office of the President, Strategic Communications and Marketing, Community and Government Relations, University Personnel and, for a period of time, the Division of University Advancement. The values she learned during her days at an all-girls Catholic school, said Millora, led to a career path that would let her work toward social justice outcomes.

“Through Catholic social teaching, I learned that justice meant caring for the most marginalized in society,” she said. Working for a university early in her career, Millora said, helped her discover “the connection between the values I embraced as a child and the path I wanted to pursue professionally.”

Marie Tuite, SJSU athletics director

Marie Tuite, SJSU’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Photo by: Thomas Sanders/San Jose State University.

Tuite, a two-sport student-athlete and Athletics Hall of Fame inductee at Central Michigan University, leads and manages a college athletics program with a $34 million budget that supports 22 sports programs, 490 student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff members. She is one of only 11 women nationally with the responsibilities of athletics director at a NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution, that organization’s highest level of college athletics competition among 130 colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, she is the only woman with the athletics director leadership position among the seven NCAA Division I FBS schools in California.

“When I read the names of the other honorees and noticed the footprint of their professional work, I was so honored to be included with these extraordinary and influential women,” said Tuite, who leads a program that has earned 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles over the years. Tuite oversees a population of student-athletes, coaches and staff members who collectively participate in more than 10,000 hours of community service and campus engagement activities annually.

“I imagine the professional journey for many of them may not always be an easy path to navigate,” said Tuite. “So this wonderful acknowledgement serves as a positive beacon for all women—from every imaginable background—and a reminder to believe in and listen to our inner spirit that speaks to us every day. It’s a privilege to stand with and be included among these women of Silicon Valley.”

In addition to Papazian, Millora and Tuite join Karen Philbrick, executive director of SJSU’s Mineta Transportation Institute, and Stacy Gleixner, former associate vice president for student and faculty success, as past SVBJ Women of Influence award winners from San Jose State.

SJSU Appoints Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation

New Vice President of University Advancement, Theresa Davis.

New Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation, Theresa Davis.

Theresa Davis has been appointed vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. She will join the San Jose State campus community on July 1, 2020.

“Theresa joins us at a pivotal moment in SJSU history, and we are delighted to have her on board,” said President Mary A. Papazian.

Davis brings an abundance of relevant experience to the position, including more than 25 years of management and fundraising work. Her background is broad and diverse, with campaign management, major gifts, corporate and foundation relations and annual giving among her areas of expertise.

Most recently, Davis has been serving as the assistant vice president of engagement and annual programs at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In that role, she has had responsibility for Alumni Relations, the Caltech Associates, the Caltech Fund and Parents Program, and Campus Programs—which engages its local community in campus life.

Prior to working at Caltech, Davis was the associate vice president of college and program development at Cal State Fullerton. She had responsibility for the directors of development, who spearheaded fundraising efforts for each of the campus’s eight colleges and athletics department.

Davis previously served as the associate vice president of major and planned gifts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where she and her team secured financial support for medical specialties. Prior to that, she was campaign director for the California Science Center, served as senior director of development for the UCLA College, was director of development for the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UC Riverside and held the roles of associate director of corporate relations and director of the alumni fund, both at Caltech.

Davis has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California.

SJSU’s Top Academic Achievers Recognized

Students jumping up in the air and cheering with pom poms.

Photo by David Schmitz.

San Jose State University’s top academic achievers—including 1,582 President’s Scholars who obtained a 4.0 grade point average in spring or fall 2019—are being honored and celebrated this month for the hard work, determination and dedication that earned them a place at the top of their class.

“It is always a pleasure to recognize and celebrate the academic excellence of our students,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “They’ve spent hours on end in the library. They’ve asked penetrating questions in the classroom. They’ve been industrious and unflagging in pursuit of knowledge. In short, they represent the best of our Spartan student community, and we are very proud of them.”

Ranked against an average undergraduate enrollment of 26,518 during spring and fall 2019, President’s Scholars rank in the top six percent of the undergraduate population.

In addition to the President’s Scholars, 5,783 students made the Dean’s Scholars list for achieving a 3.65 GPA in spring or fall 2019. All Dean’s Scholars will be recognized with certificates from their college deans.

“These students clearly have a limitless future in front of them,” said Provost Vincent Del Casino. “They are tomorrow’s leaders of Silicon Valley, the State of California and beyond. On behalf of our faculty and staff, I congratulate each of them.”

“The student scholars we recognize this spring have reached this level of excellence through their own individual sacrifice and through the support of their families, friends and our faculty and staff,” said Papazian. “Their grades are more than letters; they represent an unwavering commitment to academic excellence that have earned them our admiration and respect.”

The academic success and scholastic performance of San Jose State’s top students, said Del Casino, is demonstrable proof that they have high standards of achievement and are capable of attaining lofty goals.

“I truly commend each of these students for their accomplishments and their future promise,” he said. “Their academic success is just a prelude to the significant contributions to society they will make after they graduate.”

Papazian said it was also important to acknowledge the people behind the scenes who work hard to guide and support students.

“Parents, spouses, significant others, children, relatives and friends make crucial contributions that help to support these scholars on their educational journey,” she said. “They couldn’t do it without those important people in their lives.”

Papazian also notes that with recognition comes responsibility.

“We expect much from these gifted and hard-working students,” she said. “I am confident that their academic success will translate into meaningful civic engagement, career success and other positive outcomes that will make our world a better place.”

SJSU Emergency Management Expert Frannie Edwards Offers Webinar On COVID-19

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar on April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems. Photo courtesy of Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar this Thursday, April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems.

Edwards, who also teaches emergency management and serves as the deputy director of the National Transportation Security Center at the university’s Mineta Transportation Institute, served for 14 years as director of the Office of Emergency Services in San Jose and as director of the city’s Metropolitan Medical Task Force.

Edwards developed her expertise through an impressive array of academic work, research and classroom teaching.

“Teaching is my passion, and I really want my students to learn the things they’ll need to know in order to be successful and creative servants of their community,” she said. “But it’s the research and my own constant learning that fuel my ability to teach effectively and give students the tools they need.”

Edwards’s emergency management background draws on lessons learned while living in Japan, serving as a police budget officer for the City of Irvine and developing emergency plans for earthquakes, floods and other disasters.

Hired into her current role at SJSU in 2005 to teach public administration, Edwards was brought into MTI’s fold as a research associate to help with the Institute’s fast-growing anti-terrorism work. Transit organizations nationwide had been persuaded to take such threats seriously after the 1995 sarin gas attack on a subway system in Tokyo and other high-profile events.

Edwards and a small group of colleagues became MTI’s de facto emergency preparedness brain trust, giving presentations and briefings via a “traveling road show” of sorts around the state. She and her research partner Dan Goodrich are co-authors on more than a dozen MTI publications on emergency preparedness.

In a profession that uses a lot of acronyms, Edwards refers a great deal to one in particular—COOP. A COOP plan, or, “continuity of operations” effort, is a collection of resources, actions, procedures and information that is developed and used to maintain critical operations after a disaster or emergency. Edwards characterizes COOP as the “next level” of emergency management.

“An emergency operations plan outlines what you should do when something really bad happens, and it typically lays out all the resources at your disposal,” she explained. “A continuity of operations plan outlines what to do when there are no resources, but still a lot of people who need help.” An essential concept behind COOPs, she explained, is that organizations must identify those activities that are the most essential in order to execute the mission—while ceasing all other activities.

SJSU, she points out, essentially put a COOP into operation in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic when it hit the pause button on athletics activities, large events and public gatherings in general. Instead, university leadership asked itself, What do we need to do in order to keep educating our students, finish the semester and keep everyone on track to earn credits and graduate on time? That, Edwards explained, is COOP in a nutshell: narrowing one’s world to just the essentials.

Edwards said, in fact, that the current crisis is the only one she has seen in more than 30 years of emergency management that represents “a true COOP situation.” The geographic impact of other crises, such as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Northridge (Los Angeles County) earthquake in 1994 and the 1998 El Niño floods in the Bay Area, have been relatively small compared to COVID-19. The shortage of available pumps during the floods were a precursor to today’s shortage of ventilators and other personal protective equipment, though at a much smaller scale.

Edwards remains optimistic during the current crisis and chooses to focus on the “inspiring things going on.”

Mobilizing two large naval hospital ships to assist overwhelmed hospitals amid the pandemic was a smart use of resources, she said, while the work of the nation’s medical community and caregivers has been nothing short of heroic. In addition, she points to the number of companies, including many in Silicon Valley, who have contributed large sums of money to the overall effort. “We are seeing a wonderful charitable spirit that is helping people in our communities who are struggling,” she said.

To help get through the crisis, Edwards emphasizes the need for people to find creative ways to stay connected and remain true to their own passions and needs, whether it is through a religious community they may be part of, online museums and music or even just regular calls or emails to friends.

“Whatever it is that feeds your soul, brings you happiness and hope and helps you see a brighter future—those are the things we all must continue to do.”

Those interested in the 4/9 webinar can register to receive an email reminder. The webinar takes place from 10-10:30am and will be conducted via Zoom.

President Mary A. Papazian Joins Council of Graduate Schools’ Humanities Coalition Advisory Committee

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian speaks at a 2018 Frankenstein Bicentennial event at San Jose’s Hammer Theatre. The event was one of several that SJSU’s College of Humanities and the Arts sponsored that year to explore the ethical, artistic and imaginative impacts of Mary Shelley’s literary masterpiece. Photo: David Schmitz.

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has agreed to serve on the Council of Graduate Schools‘ (CGS) Humanities Advisory Committee for The Humanities Coalition, a new effort that will expand CGS’s work to understand and support the careers of PhDs.

The endeavor seeks to further enhance CGS’s understanding of humanities PhDs and their careers, and to refine humanities-specific strategies for curricular change and program improvement. One component of the new initiative is additional research to better understand the nature of early career transitions for humanists.

A scholar of the 17th century metaphysical poets and English Renaissance era, Papazian has long been a staunch advocate of the arts, humanities and creative disciplines in higher education.

In an op-ed published in the October 29 edition of the Sacramento Bee, she asserted that “the liberal arts must remain a vital part of higher education for the sake of the future of our students, our economy and our society.” The partnering of STEM disciplines with the liberal arts, she writes, can lead to true academic impact at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Last summer, Papazian delivered a well-received speech at the CGS Summer Workshop titled “Humanities for the 21st Century: Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” There, she pointed out that “the hard skills learned from STEM programs are essential, but employers actually are desperate for candidates who have balanced their personal portfolios with both digital capabilities and human understanding.”

In a CGS press release announcing grant funding for The Humanities Coalition, CGS President Suzanne Ortega said, “We hope to learn more about the kinds of transitions humanities PhDs face as they move from graduate school to career. Humanities PhDs have a wide variety of career pathways in front of them. We need to make sure they know what they are and how to access them.”

Over the course of the five-year project, the advisory committee is expected to guide CGS’s efforts to increase the impact and reach of The Humanities Coalition and provide insights for addressing challenges and opportunities specific to various humanities disciplines.

CGS will issue a Request-For-Proposals (RFP) to CGS member institutions to participate in the project as funded partners and will continue to work with its current partners to collect data in both STEM and humanities fields.

Joining Papazian as Advisory Committee members are a distinguished group of educators and academics, including Carlos Alonso, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University; Susan Carvalho, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Alabama; and Patricia Easton, executive vice president and provost at The Claremont Graduate University.

Coffee, Pizza With the President Offer Members of the Campus Community Opportunities for Discussion, Conversation

President Papazian talks with staff members at a "Coffee with the President" event.

SJSU president Mary Papazian participates in a coffee with staff on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

A spate of new initiatives launched by President Mary A. Papazian recently are designed to give members of the campus community more frequent opportunities to engage with the Office of the President in an informal, personal atmosphere that allows for open conversation and a free flow of ideas and concerns.

“Coffee with the President” was conceived as a way for SJSU staff and faculty members to visit with President Papazian over a cup of java. Administration and Finance, IT, and University Personnel were the first units to join the president, and other groups will soon see invitations of their own in their inboxes.

“Most of the SJSU staff doesn’t get a chance to meet and talk with the president in a small, intimate setting like this,” said Harish Chandler, senior programmer and analyst in the Information Technology division who attended the first “Coffee with the President” event. “It provided an opportunity for staff members to do exactly that.”

Chandler said he was able to talk one-on-one with Papazian near the end of the event, so he discussed with her issues such as phone and laptop charging stations for students, the university’s green initiative and possible changes to campus dining and food options.

Tony Cefalu, who works in the University Police parking services group, was equally enthusiastic.

“I had a great time,” he said. “It was wonderful to mingle, socialize, chat, laugh with others and meet the president. I loved it.”

The president herself said the venue offered a different environment than many of the administrative meetings she attends.

“I think I probably get more out of this than the staff members,” said Papazian. “Meeting with university staff members in a relaxed, social setting gives me a welcomed chance to listen directly without any managerial or supervisory filters that staff members might sometimes encounter.”

Another recent outreach event—this one involving pizza, a staple among college students—was similar in nature. “Pizza with the President” gave students an opportunity to talk with their university president about issues important to them. Indeed, issues such as parking and student housing were discussed, while the venue also offered Papazian a chance herself to point out to students some of the positive developments taking place around campus such as the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, the Spartan Food Pantry and recent successes with SJSU’s football team and other athletics programs. Initiated by previous Associated Students President Ariadna Manzo, the event provided such an important opportunity for the president to hear directly from students that at the start of this academic year she looked for an opportunity to host the event again.

President Papazian and AS President Branden Parent talk to students at a "Pizza with the President" event.

Mary Papazian, San José State University president, takes questions from students at a pizza with the president event at Village 2 Nov. 13, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Lisa Millora, the president’s chief of staff, said other plans have moved forward to host office hours during which members of the campus community can sign up for individual meetings with the president. There may even be an opportunity next year to participate in a reading group with the president and other members of the community.

When she arrived last January, Millora explained, some members of the campus community wanted opportunities to meet and chat with the president in a more informal setting.

“The president and I talked about what we could do to create such opportunities and the result was this new set of initiatives,” said Millora.

“The coffees and office hours are intended to provide all members of the community the chance to talk with the president about things that are important to them,” Millora said. “The president cares deeply about members of the campus community, so we will continue to explore different ways to ensure that they feel the president is fully and consistently engaged with them.”

 

SJSU Fall Graduates to be Honored and Celebrated Dec. 18-19

SJSU Fall 2018 Commencement
Photo: Best Grad Photos/San Jose State University

SAN JOSE, CA – More than 2,200 fall graduates of San Jose State University are expected to be in attendance at five separate fall commencement ceremonies, with more than 4,300 total graduates from summer and fall semesters being celebrated and honored.

The events take place Dec. 18 and 19 on the SJSU campus at the Provident Credit Union Event Center:

Wednesday, December 18

Thursday, December 19

A live stream of each of the five ceremonies will be provided.

SJSU’s Class of Fall 2019

There will be 2,226 graduates in attendance at the two days of fall commencement ceremonies. Additional highlights:

  • Of the 1,261 master’s degrees expected to be conferred for summer and fall of this year, 339 will participate in fall commencement ceremonies this week.
  • The university will graduate 513 new business professionals, 130 future educators, 519 new engineers, 276 health and human sciences future professionals, 206 humanities and arts graduates, 168 new scientists and 414 new social scientists.
  • The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ceremony will feature remarks by alumna Sara Macdonald,’04 Accounting, currently a partner in the San Jose office of Ernst and Young and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
  • The speaker at the Connie L. Lurie College of Education ceremony will be Megan Nebesnick, ’17 Liberal Studies, a master’s student graduating this fall from the Lurie College.
  • At the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering ceremony, Michael Grace will be the featured speaker. Grace, ’12 Mechanical Engineering, is currently a research and development mechanical systems engineer at Applied Materials and worked previously at Lockheed Martin Space Systems as a control system hardware engineer.
  • The College of Health and Human Sciences featured speaker will be student Markis Derr, graduating this year in public health.

San Jose State has a total of 4,377 graduates in the class of 2019’s summer and fall semesters.

San Jose State University and County of Santa Clara Renew Multi-Year Agreement for Timpany Center

Interior shot of the Timpany Center therapeutic pool

Photo by David Schmitz/San Jose State University

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF – San Jose State University’s Research Foundation (SJSURF) and The County of Santa Clara (SCC) have reached agreement on a new, multi-year partnership to continue operation of the Timpany Center.

The Timpany Center, a non-profit educational and therapeutic service center, has served community members for 10 years. The center offers a wide range of aquatic and land fitness and training programs, as well as therapeutic and safety courses for individuals of all ages and abilities. Its specialized services and facilities, including a warm water pool and spa, gymnasium, weight room and classroom, are operated by San Jose State University’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Sciences in conjunction with SCC.

“The Timpany Center is a critical health and wellness resource to County residents. I am pleased to confirm a renewed agreement between the County and San Jose State University to keep the Timpany Center open through 2024,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Our County is always committed to exploring the best practices to expand these much-needed services.”

The new agreement, from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2024, is meant to position the facility as an operationally and financially sound service-learning program for our students and an inclusive wellness resource for our community, well into the future, said Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s vice president for research and innovation and president of the board of directors at SJSURF.

“SJSU values the importance of the Timpany Center to our community and greatly appreciates the hard work of its employees,” said Abousalem. “We are grateful for the support and loyal patronage of our community members these past 10 years, and we have every reason to believe that the facility will continue to provide important services for years to come.”

“The County of Santa Clara and San Jose State University Research Foundation (SJSURF) worked together to reach an agreement that will keep resources from the Timpany Center such as the pool, gym and other services open for business,” added  Jeff Draper,  director of County of Santa Clara Facilities and Fleet Department. “We are appreciative of SJSURF for working with us and their dedication to assisting the community.”

Today’s Tech Revolution Requires Some Humanity, Papazian Tells Sacramento Bee Readers in Opinion Piece

President Mary A. Papazain is a strong proponent of the value of the humanities, liberal arts and social sciences in higher education. Here, she served as a featured guest for the Frankenstein Bicentennial Monster Discussion Panel in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz.

An op-ed by San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian published in the October 29 edition of the Sacramento Bee asserts that “the liberal arts must remain a vital part of higher education for the sake of the future of our students, our economy, and our society.”

Drawing largely on her academic background and expertise on the English Renaissance era, Papazian writes that “Just as the Renaissance opened mankind’s eyes to the reality that we do not sit at the center of the universe, today’s technology age has expanded our capabilities beyond the imaginations of only decades ago.” She goes on to note how Renaissance figures such as John Donne and Leonardo di Vinci exemplified many of the humanist principles lacking in today’s technology innovators.

Papazian said the messages conveyed in her op-ed piece are more vital than ever, particularly given the perils of technology and social media that have manifested in attacks on elections and the democratic process.

“It is vital that we understand the true impact of the technology-driven world in which we now live,” she said. “We need to be able to guard our global society against the dangers of this digital age. How we ensure that the next generation interacts more responsibility with technology than we have done this far is critical, and refocusing on the talents of humanists and liberal arts is an excellent place to start.”

In July, Papazian delivered a well-received speech at the Council of Graduate Schools Summer Workshop titled “Humanities for the 21st Century: Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” There, she pointed out that “the hard skills learned from STEM programs are essential, but employers actually are desperate for candidates who have balanced their personal portfolios with both digital capabilities and human understanding.”

The partnering of STEM disciplines with the liberal arts, she asserted, can lead to true academic impact at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

“Students will work in groups all their professional lives, and they must be able to collaborate effectively with people from a broad array of backgrounds and working styles,” said Papazian. “They must be able to communicate in a variety of ways, using digital tools that we know are evolving with stunning rapidity. And they will be required to be creative and confident.

“Where better to learn all of this than in our labs and studios on our campuses? Where better to learn the capacity for these things than in our classrooms and our community-based projects?” she asks.

Developing the tools and the ability to talk about ethics, unconscious bias and the complexity of emotions within individuals and cultures, Papazian said, can help students recognize the choices that lead to collaboration rather than conflict.

“The liberal arts need to be a vital part of the education spectrum if we are to have any hope of addressing the problems we are seeing and reading about on almost a daily basis,” she said.

“Our challenge—and our opportunity—is to seize the moment to influence and shape history meaningfully in this, our present Renaissance.”

 

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian named to 2019 “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose State University president Dr. Mary A. Papazian, was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal's 2019 Women of Influence list. (Photo: Josie Lepe, '03 BFA Photography )

San Jose State University president Dr. Mary A. Papazian, was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2019 Women of Influence list. (Photo: Josie Lepe, ’03 BFA Photography )

San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has been named one of 100 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Each year, the SVBJ honors and celebrates the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley. Honorees have been selected from the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

“It is gratifying to earn this distinction, but it really is the students, faculty, staff and alumni of San Jose State who are our brightest stars,” said SJSU President Papazian. “When they succeed, we all win. This honor reflects the hard work and dedication that are hallmarks of everyone associated with our university and supportive of our mission.”

The SVBJ will honor its 2019 Women of Influence award-winners at a May 16 dinner event and will feature recipients in its May 17 edition.

Papazian joined San Jose State University as its 30th president on July 1, 2016. As the leader of the founding campus of the California State University and Silicon Valley’s only public university, she is firmly committed to student success; open, transparent and inclusive leadership; fostering a culture of curiosity and discovery; and building enduring campus and community partnerships.

In addition to Papazian, six SJSU alumni are also 2019 “Women of Influence” awardees:

  • Carla Bohnett, ’91 Social Science, Lead Photographer and graphic designer, CB Photo Design Studio, Co-owner and President, Women’s Networking Alliance and Associate Director, Artful Journeys
  • Franca Cozzitorto, ’91 Psychology, Head of Enterprise Risk Management, Technology Credit Union
  • Denise Miles, ’99 Political Science, Senior Vice President, Community Relations Senior Consultant in Philanthropy Wells Fargo Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations
  • Larissa Robideaux, ’08 MPA, Executive Director, Center for Excellence in Nonprofits
  • Andrea Urton, ’98 Psychology, ’01 MS Clinical Psychology, CEO, HomeFirst Services of Santa Clara County
  • Jie Zhu, ’98 Accounting, Partner, Petrinovich Pugh and Co.

Karen Philbrick, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, was a past SVBJ Women of Influence award-winner.