Spartan Speaker Series to Focus on Racism, Mental Health, Gender and More, Kicks Off Feb. 10

This semester, the San José State community can take a deep dive into topics such as racism, activism, mental health, gender and identity. The Spring 2021 Spartan Speaker Series at SJSU kicks off virtually on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with comedian, host and producer Baratunde Thurston. The entire series is free and open to the public.

Baratunde Thurston
Deconstructing Racism with Baratunde Thurston

Thurston will give his talk, “How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time,” at 7 p.m. via Zoom. An Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show and even advised the Obama White House, Thurston is the author of the New York Times bestseller “How to Be Black.” He’s also the executive producer and host of “We’re Having a Moment”—a podcast examining the intersection of the global pandemic, the fight for racial justice and the spotlight on policing in the U.S—as well as “How to Citizen with Baratunde,” which offers different perspectives on how to improve society collectively.

Student Affairs, who produces the series in collaboration with the César E. Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC), received requests for speakers focusing on racial justice, journalism and the media. “Baratunde Thurston is a wonderful choice to represent these topics,” says Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement. “He addresses the social and political landscape in the U.S., as well as trauma and healing. He also provides perspectives on life as an entrepreneur and a podcaster—two topics of interest to many of our students.”

When planning the series as a whole, Jensen-Doray says themes such as “racial justice and mental health and wellness were critical, given the needs and interest of our students and current events. We also considered heritage months, such as Black History Month, Women Herstory Month and Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month.”

Thurston will conclude his presentation with a Q&A.

Alok Menon

Exploring Gender and Identity with ALOK

Later in the month, Alok Vaid-Menon (ALOK) will serve as the keynote speaker for the 15th anniversary of the CCCAC. In “Beyond the Binary,” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., ALOK, a gender non-conforming writer, performance artist and mixed-media artist, will explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging. They are the author of “Femme in Public” and “Beyond the Gender Binary.” In 2019, they were honored as one of NBC’s Pride 50 and Out Magazine’s OUT 100.

Since its inception in 2006, the CCCAC has sought to connect SJSU students with civic engagement opportunities that deepen educational experience while promoting a lifelong commitment to activism and social justice, which are at the heart of the legacy of César Chávez.

“As we move into thinking about the next 15 years for the CCCAC and the world, it’s important we bring a keynote speaker that represents a community not often given the platform to influence the next generation of social justice leaders,” explains Diana Victa, department manager of the CCCAC. “ALOK is the best fit because of their leadership in spreading awareness of gender identities, specifically gender non-conforming folx.”

Thea Monyee

Bridging Mental Health and Activism with Thea Monyee

The CCCAC will also present the “A Conversation with Thea Monyee: Sustaining Joy in the Midst of Social Change: Bridging Mental Health and Activism,” on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Monyee, a poet and marriage and family therapist, self identifies as a “Black Woman Creative.” She has appeared on HBO, BET, Spectrum, OWN, Fox Soul and TV One, and her work stems from her commitment to healing, which she believes can only occur in a liberated and non-oppressive society.

“It was very important to us to address mental health this semester,” says Jensen-Doray. “Monyee does this through an activist lens, which we hope will resonate with students.”

Simon Tam

Making Trouble with Simon Tam

Finally, the series will conclude on Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m. with a talk by Simon Tam. In “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court,” Tam will share how he helped expand civil liberties for minorities through the unanimous victory of the U.S. Supreme Court case, Matal v. Tam, in 2017. “He offers a unique perspective on identity and justice, as well as the intersection of arts and activism,” says Jensen-Doray.

Tam is the founder and bassist of The Slants, an all-Asian American dance rock band. He also leads the nonprofit The Slants Foundation, which supports arts and activism projects for underrepresented communities. Tam’s talk will include a musical performance, and he will take questions from participants after his talk.


Attendees of any of the talks should register ahead of time in order to receive a Zoom link.

“I hope those who attend multiple events in this series notice the commonalities and prevalence of specific advice—whether it is about forging your own path, building resilience or mentorship and the role mentors have played in our speakers’ lives,” says Jensen-Doray.

She also adds that Student Involvement seeks input from SJSU students, faculty and staff to identify pertinent themes and speakers-of-interest for the 2021-2022 series. Those interested can provide feedback here.

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.

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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.

 

 

College of Engineering Celebrates 75 Years with Events All Semester Long

Collage of the College of Engineering with a 75th Anniversary badge

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San José State University is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021.

“A special mission of this celebration is to let our students know that they are part of a historic college community, and they can be proud of our heritage of innovation,” said Dr. Sheryl Ehrman, the Don Beall Dean of Engineering. “Accordingly, we’re creating opportunities to educate them and the public about some of our key engineering alumni who are shaping the world now, and to share our pride in this global and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff.”

Dr. Ehrman added, “While it has admittedly been difficult to plan festivities during the pandemic, we believe we have enough offerings to sustain engagement with our students and alumni even while everyone is online in the spring, and we are hoping for more in-person celebrations in the fall.”

The College will debut new web pages this semester, with a robust timeline and historic photos, some contributed by alumni.

During January and February, students are participating in a college-wide student video competition with the theme: “My club/my major/my department is the best because…” Students can be as creative as they like in their submissions. Students, faculty and staff will vote for their favorite entries and five winners will be announced in late February during National Engineers Week.

Multiple speaker series focusing on engineering careers, the industry landscape of Silicon Valley, and engineering activism for social justice will be featured February through May.

For late April, the college plans to publish a double issue of its alumni magazine, Engineering at San José State, with a feature from every department.

A student clubs showcase, with breakout rooms, will be a new feature of the virtual Annual Engineering Awards ceremony in May. Other plans for the year include engineering movie nights and special lapel pins for graduating seniors. Visit the College’s website to read about more developments.

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.

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.

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.”

SJSU Recognized as Adobe Creative Campus

A female and make student smile while admiring graphic design posters lined up on the wall.

Students look at graphic design posters on the wall prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University.

San José State University has been named an Adobe Creative Campus for its commitment to using technology to provide students with a transformative path to success.

SJSU is among a select group of colleges and universities Adobe identified as higher education innovators actively advancing digital literacy skills across the curriculum. By making Adobe Creative Cloud available to its students, SJSU provides creative and persuasive digital communication tools that will give them an edge in the competitive modern workplace.

“San José State is honored to be recognized by Adobe as a Creative Campus,” said Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. “There is nothing more important in today’s world than creative and digital literacy. By providing our students with access to these creative software tools, we can enable them to do wonderful things in the digital world, but also to gain expertise at productive collaboration. Being named an Adobe Creative Campus is one of the many puzzle pieces we are putting in place to ensure that SJSU students can take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.”

SJSU students have access to all the Adobe Creative Cloud apps and services at no additional cost. Universal access to these industry leading communication tools is part of SJSU’s endeavor to prioritize equity and inclusion, leveling the playing field in the classroom. By becoming proficient in the software used every day by so many employers, SJSU students can gain valuable experience and soft skills to better demonstrate their digital literacy capabilities when entering the job market.

There are more than 20 Adobe Creative Cloud applications that students can practice with every day, including InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Rush and Illustrator—leading industry standard applications across the curriculum used by many employers where SJSU students will be working.

“Digital literacy and fluency are quickly becoming core competencies for employment opportunities on an international scale,” said Sebastian Distefano, director, education strategic development. “One of the most effective ways academic institutions can ensure their students become digitally literate and fluent before they enter the competitive workforce is through early and frequent exposure to creative tools. We are delighted that San José State University has embraced Adobe Creative Cloud, as students will now have the tools they need to seamlessly unlock their creativity and share their stories in more visually compelling ways. As a result, students of all majors can nurture the fundamental soft skills that will be critical to success in their future careers.”

As an Adobe Creative Campus, San Jose State University will also have access to peer-to-peer collaboration with other Adobe Creative Campus institutions, support for driving student adoption in the classroom, and thought leadership opportunities within the global higher education community.

John Delacruz Named as a 2020 Adobe Master Teacher

Professor John Delacruz gestures with his hands while teaching his class.

John Delacruz teaches a course prior to COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University

Associate Professor John Delacruz was included as one of Adobe’s inaugural Master Teachers, one of 35 educators in K-12 and higher education selected from across the globe. The program recognizes pedagogical expertise, educational innovation, and a commitment by “master teachers” to share their best practices, insights, and curricular materials with educators across the globe. The summer program included a professional learning community within the cohort, training on instructional design and professional curriculum writing, and a badge to share on professional profiles.

An experienced educator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Delacruz is responsible for the Creative Track of San José State’s advertising program. The fellowship recognizes his expertise in using Adobe Creative Cloud in his teaching, his ongoing development of industry and education partnerships, and his success guiding student collaborative projects nationally and internationally.

Delacruz said, “The collaboration tools, Adobe Creative Cloud, that I’m using in the classroom now are the collaboration tools that they’re going to be using when they get out into the working world.”

Last spring, in Delacruz’s senior capstone course in design for advertising, students created awareness campaigns for a local business or local nonprofit organization. Using the Adobe Creative Cloud, students make real-world advertising creative projects and pitch them to real clients. Delacruz said the projects his seniors did in class matched how they will work once they start their jobs.

“For a lot of my students, this is such a big taste of the real world,” Delacruz said. “They’re learning a bunch of digital tools they’re going to have to use to move forward. They get to present orally, they ideate and collaborate in teams, and they work through a problem using critical thinking and understanding user groups and people.

“Adobe Creative Cloud is what industries are built on,” he said. “Even in this online moment, our students are learning skills that are really going to help them in the workplace.”

Delacruz has been a campus and statewide leader in using Adobe communication tools to augment his teaching. Last year, SJSU hosted a unique virtual Adobe Creative Jam with participants from seven other California State Universities.

All of these partnering initiatives are part of the connection that becoming an Adobe Creative Campus brings with it. SJSU collaboration with other Adobe Creative Campus institutions is designed to foster the sharing of ideas and innovations that expand digital literacy on the path to student success.

“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.”

COVID-19 Playing Major Role in SJSU’s 2020-2021 Fiscal Year Budget

The university is leveraging reserves in effort to prevent layoffs and continue Transformation 2030 strategic plan.

 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, San José State University (SJSU) is in the process of releasing its budget for the current academic year. SJSU is scheduled to release its budget for the current academic year by the end of September.

With the California State University (CSU) system facing a $299 million budget reduction from the state of California due to COVID-19’s impact on the state’s overall budget, SJSU’s $377 million budget — down $26 million from last year — has been affected significantly by the state’s reductions and the economic impact of the pandemic. 

SJSU estimates a financial shortfall of more than $92 million from lost revenue and COVID-related expenses tied to the state’s budget reduction and university-specific revenue streams, most notably housing, which accounts for nearly half of the university-specific losses, parking, dining, concerts and events, athletics revenues and international student enrollment. Although SJSU’s total enrollment number is on track to mirror the 2019-2020 academic year, the loss of an estimated 500 international and out of state students this fall factors into the revenue reduction.

“On top of being a major health concern, the pandemic has created a financial impact on higher education that will hurt universities like SJSU for some time to come,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “The recovery from this will be long and arduous. I have and will continue to call upon Congress and others to support institutions like SJSU to ensure a well-educated workforce vital for our state’s future.”

The projected deficit is nearly six times the original estimate of $16 million in losses the university estimated during the spring semester after the county’s shelter-in-place order went into effect March 16. The federal government’s CARES Act, distributed in April, provided more than $30 million to SJSU, with nearly half of it earmarked and distributed as direct student aid. The remaining $16 million funded faculty training through the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program, enabled the purchase of much needed student and faculty IT equipment, and provided some relief to enterprises, including housing and parking services. The remaining funds from the CARES Act were used to support COVID-related infrastructure expenses, such as cleaning supplies and other uses by Facilities Development and Operations, and expenditures in Academic Affairs.

Options for this year and beyond

In July 2020, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White shared a message emphasizing that the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt by the CSU for at least the next three years. Chancellor White described the CSU’s plan to reduce expenses, including instituting a systemwide hiring slowdown, halting most travel for all campuses and the Chancellor’s Office, and the consideration of a furlough program beginning in the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Chancellor White has delegated to each campus president the responsibility and accountability for implementing local campus layoff plans, as determined by the campus and consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements. 

“Layoffs are the least preferred option for SJSU, and we continue to look at the budget to find creative solutions to the looming financial challenges we face,” Papazian said. “We are committed to exhausting all avenues before resorting to layoffs. We will continue to find ways to ensure the university can maintain courses and services for students and keep our faculty and staff employed in the midst of a global crisis.”

While SJSU has continued to hire faculty and key strategic positions, the university has significantly slowed hiring and backfilling positions, resulting in budget savings.

Despite the expected financial shortfall over the next three years, SJSU is committed to continuing the work necessary to achieve goals of the Transformation 2030 strategic plan — including graduation rate increases, tenure-track faculty hiring and start-up, research growth, safety and growth of graduate studies. 

“Despite what feels like insurmountable challenges, we will continue the progress we have already made toward these vital goals for the growth of San José State University,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Charlie Faas. 

In his July message, Chancellor White also wrote that use of reserves will be vital to protecting our institutions from financial exigency over the next three years. Campuses and the Chancellor’s Office will be measured in drawing on these funds to ensure they do not “zero out” their reserves. Funds from reserves intended for a specific need or priority will only be used to fund those particular areas.

Drawing from reserves

SJSU will utilize a significant portion of its reserves — currently $161 million from the general fund and enterprise reserves which amount to a little less than five months of funding to support all university operations. Given the long-term impacts of COVID-19, SJSU looks to draw on about 60 percent of its reserves in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The remaining reserves will be largely expended in the next two fiscal years.

SJSU is also working closely with its auxiliary organizations to determine how they can best partner with the university. The university is prepared for several years where the state budget could be significantly decreased and additional state funding is not available. 

“Getting through the pandemic and its lasting financial impact will be a team effort, and potential support from divisions, enterprises and auxiliaries will allow SJSU to continue to adapt in crucial areas across campus and emerge from the pandemic on solid ground,” said Faas. “Together, we will continue to fulfill our academic mission and support graduation initiatives that have made San José State University a world-class institution that is the most transformative university in the country.”

SJSU One of the Best in the West in Newest U.S. News Rankings

College of Engineering remains #3 in the nation among public universities, and university ranks top 3 in Social Mobility, top 10 in Undergraduate Teaching in the West

San José State University’s impressive showing in recent top colleges and universities rankings continued Monday with the release of the 2021 U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings.

In regional rankings featuring universities in the West, SJSU ranked #7 in Top Public Schools. SJSU also rose several spots from last year’s West rankings in four key areas:

  • #3 in Top Performers in Social Mobility
  • #8 in Most Innovative School
  • #10 in Best Undergraduate Teaching
  • #22 in Best Regional University

Fifteen states make up the U.S. News and World Report’s West region. SJSU also ranked in the top 15 in the West for Best Colleges for Veterans. 

“As the reputation of San José State continues to grow nationally, students and families are coming to the realization that a Spartan education is one worth pursuing, even in—perhaps especially in—challenging times,” said President Mary A. Papazian.

“These latest rankings are a tribute to the exceptional faculty, staff and others here on our campus whose dedication and hard work are matched only by their strong commitment to learning and discovery across a wide span of disciplines,” said Papazian. “Their devotion to our students’ personal and academic growth is the engine that powers our university’s promise and mission.”

Nationally, SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering again ranked #3 among public universities — and #17 overall — in Best Undergraduate Engineering Program – Non-Doctorate.

“We are honored to be recognized again as one of the top engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report,” Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Dean Sheryl Ehrman said. “As the largest supplier of engineering talent to Silicon Valley, we remain committed to deliver hands-on learning — safely, even during the pandemic — from experienced and engaged faculty.” 

U.S. News and World Report’s rankings focus on academic excellence, with institutions ranked on 17 measures of academic quality, including graduation and retention rates, social mobility and undergraduate academic reputation.

These rankings come on the heels of SJSU being named the #1 Most Transformative College in the nation by Money. The university also rose 80 spots from last year’s rankings to rank #24 on Money’s list of Best Colleges.

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

*Editor’s Note: This story was updated on October 30, 2020, to reflect SJSU”s #5 ranking in Best Colleges Where More Than Half of Applicants Get In.

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.”

Updates on Air Quality and Campus Impact: Fall 2020

October 4, 2020 9:24 a.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on October 4, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

Air quality levels around San José State University have improved over the past 24 hours and are expected to continue to improve throughout today, October 4. Based on these improvements, effective immediately, the SJSU campus is REOPENED. 

In-person classes and services will resume Monday, October 5. The Moss Landing Marine Laboratories are also reopened. 

Please note that as wildfires continue to rage north of San José, we may need to close the physical campus if the air quality changes. If this becomes the case, an update will be communicated by email, the SJSU Newsroom site and SJSU’s Twitter

Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and kindness as we continue to navigate this fall semester.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


October 2, 2020 10:52 a.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on October 2, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

With wildfires raging north of San José, unhealthy air quality levels have returned on and around the campus, and likely will remain through the weekend. Effective immediately, the San José State University campus is CLOSED. Online classes and services will continue as scheduled. The campus will remain closed until further notice as we continue to assess the air quality.

As a result of the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons

Note that the Student Health Center is closed, but access to Student Health Center services and personnel is available Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. by calling 408-924-6122. For assistance after hours, visit the Student Health Center website

The Moss Landing Marine Laboratories are also closed. 

If you are working on campus and your presence is not deemed essential by your supervisor, you are asked to leave the campus as soon as possible. 

We will update the campus community by email, Twitter and on the SJSU Newsroom site late Sunday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


September 15, 2020 5:37 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on September 15, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

As we continue to closely monitor the air quality levels around San José State University, we have noticed an improvement in the past 24 hours. Based on current conditions and predicted air quality levels for Wednesday (September 16), the SJSU campus will REOPEN tomorrow. 

In-person classes and services will resume as well. Although we are hopeful for favorable air quality levels tomorrow, please note that we may need to close the physical campus if the air quality changes. If this becomes the case, an update will be communicated by email, the SJSU Newsroom site and SJSU’s Twitter

The continued toll of COVID-19 and the poor air quality caused by wildfires across the state can lead to mental and emotional stress. Please remember SJSU is here to help. Students can access counseling through Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and employees can utilize the confidential Employee Assistance Program. The SJSU Cares Program is also available to address any unforeseen financial crises, including housing or food needs.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


September 14, 2020 6:23 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on September 14, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

After reviewing monitoring station observations throughout the day and the air quality forecast from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the San José State University campus will remain CLOSED Tuesday, September 15. Online classes and services will continue as scheduled. In-person classes are canceled.

Due to the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons and Village Market
  • Student Health Center (8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Spartan Food Pantry (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

The Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will remain closed. 

Only those whose presence is deemed essential by your supervisor should be on campus on Tuesday.

We will update the campus community by email, Twitter and on the SJSU Newsroom site late Tuesday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality in the area. 

We must continue to practice patience, flexibility and kindness as our fall semester has been interrupted again. Continue to keep all first responders and those directly affected by the fires in your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


September 13, 2020 6:28 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on September 13, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

With unhealthy air quality levels expected to continue around the campus, the San José State University campus will remain CLOSED Monday, September 14. Online classes and services will continue as scheduled. 

Due to the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons
  • Student Health Center (8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Spartan Food Pantry (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

The Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will also remain closed. 

Only those whose presence is deemed essential by your supervisor should be on campus on Monday.

Current projections indicate that it may be safe to reopen campus on Tuesday. We will update the campus community by email, Twitter and on the SJSU Newsroom site late Monday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality in the area. 

Please continue to keep the firefighters, first responders and our fellow Spartans who may be affected by these fires in your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


September 11, 2020 9:56 a.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on September 11, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

Due to a recent spike of unhealthy air quality levels on and around the campus caused by wildfires north of San José, effective immediately, the San José State University campus is CLOSED. Online classes and services will continue as scheduled. 

As a result of the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons

Note that the Student Health Center is closed, but access to Student Health Center services and personnel is available Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. by calling 408-924-6122. For assistance after hours, visit the Student Health Center website

The Moss Landing Marine Laboratories are also closed. 

If you are working on campus and your presence is not deemed essential by your supervisor, you are asked to leave the campus as soon as possible. 

The campus will remain closed through the weekend as we continue to assess the air quality. When it is safe to reopen the campus, we will notify the campus community by email, Twitter and on the SJSU Newsroom site

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


August 26, 2020 6:22 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 26, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

Air quality levels appear to have stabilized at a level where campus can reopen as previously outlined in the SJSU Adapt plan, including in-person classes, which can continue as scheduled. 

A reminder for students, faculty and staff: We understand that you may be directly impacted by the fires. I encourage you to reach out to your professor, students or supervisor if you are unable to attend class or conduct your work duties. We must continue to practice patience, kindness and flexibility as campus community members care for their safety, health and well-being.

Student Specialized Instructional Support Center

SJSU has converted Ballroom A/B in the Diaz Compean Student Union into a Student Specialized Instructional Support Center. The area will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students may enter the Student Union using their Tower ID cards at the West Entrance (7th Street Paseo) and must complete the self-check requirements. 

FEMA Assistance

For those affected by the wildfires, FEMA recently activated its Individual Assistance program for residents in Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties. Eligible individuals and families have 60 days to apply for direct grants from FEMA for damages that are not covered by insurance. Contact FEMA by visiting their website, downloading the FEMA app and registering on your smartphone or tablet, or by calling 800-621-3362.

At this time, we encourage you to continue to follow the running blog on the SJSU Newsroom site. We will email the campus community again if air quality concerns worsen to the point where we would need to close campus again.

We continue to keep those affected and our firefighters and first responders in our thoughts. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


August 25, 2020 5:08 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 25, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

As we continue to closely monitor the air quality levels around San José State University, we have noticed an improvement in the past 24 hours. Based on current conditions and predicted fire and wind conditions for Wednesday (August 26), the SJSU campus will reopen tomorrow. 

In-person classes will resume as well. Although we are hopeful for favorable air quality levels tomorrow, please note that we may need to close the physical campus if the air quality changes. If this becomes the case, an update will be communicated during the day via email and SJSU’s Twitter

For students: Even though we are making in-person courses available, you should check with your faculty member before class, as we know some faculty, staff, and students have been directly impacted by the fires. Thank you for continuing to be patient as our campus community members focus on addressing their personal health, safety, and well-being.

For Faculty and Staff: We know that you may be directly impacted by the fires. If you can’t make it to class or work, please advise your supervisor and, if needed, students as well. Please remember that students may also be directly impacted by the fires. Please make sure that we are being flexible in completing early assignments and course requirements. If students are not present in either an online or in-person class, please give them time to get in contact with you. 

The limited services on campus include:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons
  • Spartan Food Pantry
  • Spartan Bookstore
  • Diaz Compean Student Union

An update will be provided to the campus community late Wednesday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area. 

The continued toll of COVID-19 and the wildfires can lead to mental and emotional stress. Please remember SJSU is here to help. Students can access counseling through Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and employees can utilize the confidential Employee Assistance Program. The SJSU Cares Program is also available to address any unforeseen financial crises, including housing or food needs.

Kindness, patience and flexibility continue to be the attributes we need the most during this time. Our Spartan family remains strong, and we will continue to look out for one another.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


August 23, 2020 5:24 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 23, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

We continue to experience unhealthy levels of air quality around the SJSU campus. Because of this, the physical campus will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday (August 24-25). Online classes and services will continue as scheduled. In-person classes are canceled. Only essential personnel who have been cleared by their supervisor to work on campus will be allowed on campus. Faculty and students who are approved to come to campus for research-related purposes are also allowed on campus. 

Our current decisions are based on data from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Cal Fire concerning air quality, fire incident information, evacuation orders, and our understanding of where our community members live. SJSU’s leadership team is actively monitoring weather and air quality forecasts, evacuation orders and warnings for these areas. 

We will update the campus community late Tuesday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area. Please continue to monitor the running blog on the SJSU Newsroom site should conditions change rapidly and a decision on the campus’ status for later in the week is made sooner than Tuesday afternoon. 

Consistent with our decisions last week, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

Note that the Student Health Center is closed, but access to Student Health Center services and personnel is available Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. by calling 408-924-6122. For assistance after hours, visit the Student Health Center website

Please continue to keep the firefighters, first responders and our fellow Spartans who are affected by these fires in your thoughts. It is important that we show patience, kindness and flexibility to one another during this trying time. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


August 22, 2020 6:00 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 22, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

We continue to experience unhealthy levels of air quality around the SJSU campus. Because of this, campus will remain closed Sunday, August 23. Only essential personnel who have been cleared by their supervisor to work on campus Sunday will be allowed on campus.

As a result of the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons
  • Student Health Center 

An update will be provided to the campus community late Sunday afternoon as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area ahead of the start of the first full week of the fall semester. Sunday’s update will include the status of in-person classes for Monday, August 24. At this time, all online classes and services should expect to continue as scheduled on Monday.

Please keep the firefighters, first responders and our fellow Spartans who are affected by these fires in your thoughts. It is important that we continue to show patience, kindness and flexibility to one another during this trying time. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


August 21, 2020 3:23 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 21, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

Due to a recent spike to unhealthy levels of air quality on and around the campus, effective immediately, San José State University is CLOSED for the remainder of the day and Saturday. Online classes and services can continue as scheduled. 

As a result of the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons
  • Student Health Center 

If you are working on campus and your presence is not deemed essential by your supervisor, you are asked to leave the campus as soon as possible. 

An update will be provided to the campus community late tomorrow afternoon in regards to the status of the campus for Sunday as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area. 

Our thoughts continue to be with our fellow Spartans and others who are affected by these fires. We must continue to be supportive of one another during this time of uncertainty and anxiety.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


August 20, 2020 6:54 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 20, 2020.

Dear Spartan Community,

As California and the surrounding Bay Area is grappling with numerous forest fires, San José State University is thinking of your safety and wellness. If you have been impacted by evacuation orders or the effects of fires, staying focused on academics may be challenging amid worries about personal, family, and community needs. Please know that SJSU is ready to help. As we realize that many people are being displaced by the fires that surround our community, we have listed below some immediate resources available to members of our community. 

Support Services Available

For Students: 

  • SJSU Cares Program: To address unforeseen financial crises, including those related to housing or food needs, contact the SJSU Cares Program.
  • Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS): To address social or emotional impacts, contact the CAPS office at 408-924-5910 (after hours assistance available via phone).
  • Please reach out to your faculty should you need help making connections to any of these support services noted. 

For Faculty/Staff:

Status of Campus Operations and Classes

SJSU will re-open the campus tomorrow for limited services. This includes the work of essential personnel as well as faculty and students who are approved to come to campus for research-related purposes. The Air Quality Index around campus has remained at a “moderate” level. Because of this, we will have restricted access to campus, but we are no longer at an emergency status caused by the wildfires and air quality concerns. 

Online classes will continue to operate under the same principles as today, with the continued understanding that we will excuse those who cannot attend because of the fires. In-person classes will not be offered because we will only have limited services available on campus. 

Normal campus activity will resume Saturday, and we hope to start in-person courses on Monday, August 24. An update will be provided to the campus community over the weekend as we continue to assess the air quality and wildfires in the area. 

These are trying times, and the health and well-being of ourselves and our campus community members are always the top priority. Let us continue to show kindness, patience and flexibility to one another as we navigate this unsettling period of time.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Patrick K. Day

Vice President for Student Affairs


August 19, 2020 6:24 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 19, 2020. 

Editor’s note 2: All buildings will be closed with the exception of University Housing, Dining Commons and the Student Health Center.

Dear SJSU Campus Community,

We have been monitoring the wildfire situation closely and it is predicted that the air quality for tomorrow will remain at an unhealthy level. Therefore, operations on the physical campus will remain closed for Thursday and Friday (August 20-21). This means that no in-person courses or services will take place on campus. And, only essential personnel, as officially notified by their supervisors, will be on the campus. 

As context, we closed campus today because the Air Quality Index was at an “unhealthy” level and large numbers of students, faculty, and staff live in areas affected by the wildfires. These current wildfires, in fact, are much closer to San José State than recent ones. Given this, and knowing that many in our campus community live in evacuation zones, we wanted everyone to have ample opportunity to prepare should they have to relocate at a moment’s notice. We hope that with anticipated shifts in the winds and some level of containment, more students, faculty, and staff can find the time and space to engage in their education and work tomorrow. 

So, given that the majority of our courses and services are already planned for remote delivery, we have decided to hold online classes and resume support services beginning tomorrow morning (August 20). 

There are some caveats. If you are directly impacted by the fires (e.g., you might be evacuated tomorrow or over the weekend) or rolling power outages and:

  • You are Faculty: If you cannot find a way to teach your class tomorrow, you may cancel the class by notifying your department chair and messaging students in your class. Please note, because the physical campus is closed, faculty cannot come to campus to teach remote classes. 
  • You are a Student: If you are unable to make the assigned class time, you must do your best to notify your instructor as soon as possible.
  • You are Staff: If you are unable to perform your responsibilities remotely, please contact your supervisor. Otherwise, you are expected to resume your responsibilities remotely tomorrow morning, holding meetings, answering calls and questions, and managing the day-to-day operations of our offices.

We have to be patient, thoughtful, and supportive when and if classes are not able to meet or office staff are not available. We also have to be cognizant of our students and colleagues and their current situations. We can’t penalize each other for circumstances that are beyond the control of any one individual. Someone recently asked me, “are we going to have a policy if there are fires or rolling blackouts?” My answer, “kindness.” That stands. It’s a simple policy.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep everyone informed about next steps. We hope that those in our community who are directly impacted by the fires remain safe. We are here to support you. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


August 19, 2020 11:41 a.m.

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on August 19, 2020.

SJSU campus community,

Today, August 19, San José State University is CLOSED and cancelling all in person and online classes for the remainder of the day. This decision is based on air quality levels that are expected to rise to unhealthy levels throughout the day and health concerns already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic for our SJSU community, including for those who are facing evacuations due to fires near their homes. With wildfires raging directly east and west of San José, we are monitoring air quality on and around the San José State University campus. 

As a result of the campus closure, all buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • Residence halls and University Housing Services
  • Dining Commons
  • Student Health Center 

Other than offices necessary for essential work, all operational- and service-related offices will also be closed today. Meetings, including those that are being held remotely, are canceled because no one should be working other than those officially identified as essential by their supervisors. We recognize that our campus community is dispersed throughout the Bay Area, and we want to ensure that we are not creating a disadvantage for those who are located in areas more impacted by the air quality, wildfires, or power outages. 

Our thoughts are with those who are having to evacuate their homes and the fire crews who are tirelessly working to put out the fires. 

By 6 p.m. today, we will re-evaluate air quality levels and update you on campus closure status through email and SJSU Twitter.

The expected weather conditions in the Bay Area for the rest of the week will likely cause the air quality to remain unhealthy. Precautions we can all consider include:

  • Limiting outdoor activities
  • Setting air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate (to prevent outside air from moving inside)
  • Reducing exposure to smoky air by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed, if possible

A good resource to refer to is the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website. The site offers current information on “Spare the Air” alerts, environmental news, and other advisories. Another good resource is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Now Index

We understand this is not an ideal start to an already unprecedented fall semester. The health and safety of the campus community is always the top priority, especially when it comes to discussions of campus closure. We will continue to post updates at http://go.sjsu.edu/air-quality-2020.

Sincerely,

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

New Federally Mandated Title IX Regulations Take Effect August 14

*Editor’s Note: This message from Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Wong(Lau) was shared with the SJSU campus community on Friday, August 14, 2020. 

Dear campus community,

Last week, I wrote to inform you about the U.S. Department of Education’s new regulations relating to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Federal Regulations). The Federal Regulations include key changes to provisions addressing scope, questioning at live hearings, review of evidence, appeals, and training, among others. All educational institutions which receive federal funding, including San José State University (SJSU) and the other 22 California State University (CSU) campuses, must comply with these regulations as of August 14, 2020, or risk loss of federal funding. 

Effective today, the Chancellor’s Office has issued Addendum B: Federal Mandated Hearing Addendum, which accompanies CSU Executive Orders 1096 and 1097, and which outlines the policy and procedures required under the Title IX Federal Regulations. Please note that regardless of the Federal Regulations, our policies governing sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sex- and gender-based discrimation, as stated in Executive Orders 1095, 1096 and 1097, still remain fully in effect. The U.S. Department of Education acknowledges that SJSU and other universities may address misconduct through their policies and through state law, and SJSU is firmly committed to responding to and addressing sexual harassment and sexual misconduct that affects the CSU community. In the case of California law and CSU policy, policies are more expansive than the conduct prohibited by the Federal Regulations. 

The Changes

All formal complaints submitted to the Title IX Office will be first assessed under Addendum B to determine whether those procedures apply. If a formal complaint does not meet the criteria to be processed under Addendum B, the complaint may be processed under EO 1096 or 1097 (our current single-investigator model) or Addendum A (our current hearing-model for student cases). 

Two significant aspects of Addendum B:

  • Under Addendum B, alleged incidents can be considered for investigation only if they occur within the United States, and only if they occur in university sanctioned programs or activities, or on properties owned or controlled by the university or recognized student organizations. If these criteria are not met, the allegations may be evaluated under EOs 1096 and 1097, or Addendum A, which apply much more broadly to alleged violations involving any university student, staff, or faculty member, including in non-SJSU locations and outside of the United States
  • All Addendum B investigations, which apply the Federal Regulations, will involve live hearings with mandatory Hearing Advisors who will conduct the cross-examination of the Parties. The hearing will be facilitated by a Hearing Officer, who will monitor decorum and assess the appropriateness of the questions. The CSU will provide trained Hearing Advisors if either complainant or respondent do not have one available.
  • Other regulation details are available at Addendum B and FAQs. Please note that FAQs will be forthcoming. Any inquiries can be directed to diversityoffice@sjsu.edu.

What has NOT changed:

  • Employees still have a duty to report potential incidents of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence and stalking to the Title IX Office, unless they are specifically exempt under CSU policy.
  • Executive Orders 1096 and 1097 and Addendum A are still in effect but only after consideration whether allegations are governed by Addendum B, based on specifically defined criteria.
  • Regardless of which process, or whether a case meets criteria for an investigation, our Title IX team continues to provide supportive measures and other services, conduct intakes relating to reports and complaints of sex- and gender-based misconduct, and coordinate with other campus offices on Title IX issues of misconduct, harassment, stalking, and gender equity.

All current active investigations as well as intakes regarding alleged incidents that occurred prior to August 14, 2020, will still go through the process under EO 1096 and 1097 or Addendum A. Incidents occurring on or after August 14 will be subject to the new process described above, including determining whether they are governed by procedures stated in Addendum B.

San José State University remains committed to supporting a safe and equitable campus environment as we move forward with these new regulations issued by the federal government. Title IX will continue to work and collaborate to provide supportive measures and other services in our processes for our campus community.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

SJSU Launches SJSU Adapt Plan for Fall 2020

Note: The following message from President Mary A. Papazian was shared with the SJSU campus community on Monday, July 13, 2020.

SJSU campus community, 

I’m sure we can all agree the past few months adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 has tested us physically, emotionally, psychologically and, for some, spiritually. Although every one of us has been affected by the pandemic in their own way, as Spartans, we have shown strength in taking on whatever has come our way, while continuing to show compassion, care and a helping hand for others. 

The SJSU Adapt plan is now available after months of planning and responding to constantly evolving external guidelines. I want to thank everyone who played an integral part ensuring this plan addresses the needs of the entire campus community. I also want to thank the campus community for their patience as we developed the plan and obtained needed approvals from the California State University Chancellor’s Office.The SJSU Adapt logo, an infinity symbol with blue and gold colors The multi-phased approach of the SJSU Adapt plan purposely aligns with health orders of Santa Clara County and California Department of Public Health Departments. This plan serves as a roadmap for us to navigate the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust to the continued gradual reopening or potential future closing of Santa Clara County and the state of California.

The new website features an explanation of the four phases of the plan, FAQs, and health and safety guidelines. SJSU is currently in “Phase 2: Modified Campus” of the SJSU Adapt plan.

A depiction of the four phases of the SJSU Adapt plan, with Phase 2 of the picture being highlighted to signify that SJSU is in Phase 2.

SJSU could move backwards or forwards in phases if it is deemed necessary, due to new or revised health ordinances from local and state public health departments. 

The following information from SJSU Adapt has been posted:

The icons for information that is available in the SJSU Adapt plan.

Please note that the fall plan for Athletics is still being reviewed by the California State University Chancellor’s Office. When information has been approved to share, the site will be updated and a follow up message will alert you to the update. 

After the community has had some time to review the details of the SJSU Adapt plan, there will be an opportunity to discuss parts of the plan and answer questions in one of two virtual town halls in late July. Details will be communicated soon.

Thank you again for your flexibility and patience during these last several trying months. I look forward to the time we can all be together, once again.

Sincerely,

Mary A. Papazian

President

A Gold Star for Sustainability, and a How-to Series for Viewers at Home

Water fountain with a recycled water sign next to it.

Water fountain on El Paseo De César E. Chávez. Photo: David Schmitz.

Improving sustainability demands more than a string of individual actions. It requires partnerships.

That’s why the SJSU Office of Sustainability is working with a long list of campus partners to continue making the campus cleaner and greener.

Its achievements were rewarded last March when SJSU received a Gold rating from STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. STARS is a “transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance,” awarded San José State its level Gold ranking this spring, with a score of 71.91.

The Gold ranking is not merely a measure of good recycling or energy-efficient buildings but evaluates numerous efforts: academics, campus and public engagement, facilities, transportation, waste management, and energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The Gold ranking recognizes not only the buildings, but what’s happening inside and outside them–the web of partnerships geared toward improving sustainability on campus.

Senior Utilities and Sustainability Analyst Debbie Andres said that the challenge of a three-year campus-wide audit was important in helping to infuse sustainability practices throughout campus. “In 2016, we were the first CSU to get the Gold ranking,” she said. “That was really exciting.”

This summer, together with a list of partners, the Office of Sustainability is hosting a Summer Workshop Series, short videos offering tips on using public transportation, reducing food waste–even “conscious closet cleaning.”

The first offering in the video series, in partnership with the Women’s Wellness Center, was Conscious Closet Cleaning Part 1. Soozy Zerbe, zero waste student intern at the Office of Sustainability, explained much more than shared ideas about how to reduce unwanted clothing. Zerbe said the global fashion industry has a higher carbon impact than airlines or shipping. Student president and co-founder of the Women and Wellness Club Guadalupe Moreno said in the video that in addition to reducing waste, “cleaning out your closet is great for your well-being and a method of self-care.” The video contains a tidy closetful of highly informed data about how much clothing we unthinkingly send to the landfill. “Cluttering takes up space, and decluttering can make you feel calm and relaxed,” Moreno said.

Andres said the idea for the topic originated with Moreno, who noticed how often students are posting questions and sharing information via videos on sites like Instagram. The summer video series evolved from an initiative dreamed up by students into a broader way to help the campus community think about sustainability at a time when regular modes of outreach can’t happen.

“It’s on YouTube, so people can access these videos any time. I thought there was so much information we could share out there.” Students pay attention to and learn through media like Instagram videos, Andres said—and all the more so now, when they aren’t crossing campus or dropping in the sustainability office, which they have always done frequently in the past.

The workshop series, Andres said, was formed during events earlier this summer, with the goal of offering people at home a set of “how-to” guides in an easy to watch format. “For me, and for my office, sustainability isn’t just about environmental sustainability. It’s about people. If we’re not protecting people on the planet, we’re not protecting the planet.”

More tips on keeping sustainability in mind in the home and office will appear in three more videos throughout July. Videos coming in August include gardening at home in small containers (with AS Community Garden), public transportation tips (with AS Transportation Solutions), and cooking tips when shifting to a plant-based diet, with the Spartan Veg Club. Spartan Eats partnered on a video about how to reduce food waste when on campus, and how SJSU incorporates sustainability in food options. The last video in September, made with SJSU’s Spartan Food Pantry and SJSU Cares, will discuss how to apply for Cal Fresh benefits, and how to access the Spartan Food Pantry and other basic needs resources on campus.

“It just started morphing into ‘What else would students be interested in learning about?’ It was a team effort with my students to reach out to organizations that were doing awesome things that tied in with sustainability.”

Follow @sjsugreencampus on Twitter to get the full schedule of videos and their release dates.

Supreme Court Ruling on DACA; SJSU Town Hall on June 24

Editor’s Note: Below is a message President Mary A. Papazian shared with the campus community on June 18, 2020.

Dear campus community,

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today, June 18, preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ensures that current DACA recipients at SJSU and across the country can continue to pursue their higher education dreams and goals. This ruling will provide some relief to many in our community who have awaited the decision with tremendous anxiety and fear. Today’s decision is very good news, but we must remain vigilant over the long term.

The ruling was about the process used to terminate the DACA program and not about the merits of the program itself. There remains much work to be done to provide long-term solutions for DACA recipients. SJSU will continue to partner with county and local community agencies as well as the CSU system to provide access to support students, faculty and staff. Support will continue to span a range of needs, such as renewal and applications for DACA, connection to services provided by legal non-profits and information-sharing about accessing and applying for funding to cover application and renewal fees. And, of course, SJSU’s UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center will continue to provide resources for all undocumented students, including DACA students and employees.

In an effort to provide clarity on the impact of this ruling for our students and employees, SJSU will host a virtual town hall on Wednesday, June 24, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. During the first half of the meeting, speakers will provide more detailed explanation about what the decision means for our campus. During the second half, participants who wish to do so are invited to share their experiences and ask questions.

Today is an important moment for DACA recipients and higher education. San José State University values the continued success of all of its students and employees.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian
President


A reminder to all: SJSU will not assist federal, state, or local agencies with requests about a campus member’s immigration status. Any inquiries from ICE or other agencies about a campus member’s immigration status should be directed to our University Police Department at (408) 924-2222.

SJSU Faculty Prepare for Fall 2020

More than 1,000 faculty members hone their skills to improve student experience in online courses

With the California State University system recently deciding on a shift to mostly virtual classes for the fall 2020 semester, SJSU faculty members are taking part in the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program. The program is being supported by a partnership that features the SJSU Center for Faculty Development, eCampus, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), and the outside organization Online Learning Consortium (OLC).

More than 1,000 faculty members have signed up for the three-week online program, which will support them in inclusive, accessible and well-designed online and hybrid instruction for Fall courses.

“I’m excited by the response from our faculty members, who recognize the importance of this opportunity to create the best learning experiences for our students for fall 2020 and beyond,” said Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino Jr.

Screengrab of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program

Jennifer Redd, Director of eCampus, presents during the first session of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program on June 8, 2020.

Faculty members must complete seven modules to earn a certificate, badge and stipend. The program is led by experienced online instructors from a wide range of disciplines who will provide guidance and support. To establish a strong benchmark for everyone participating in the institute, 33 faculty members will be participating in a “train-the-trainer” workshop to serve as program mentors.

“The spring semester prompted a rapid shift in teaching and learning for students, faculty and staff alike,” said eCampus Director Jennifer Redd. “That we can invest in helping faculty members create quality teaching experiences for the fall that represent their dedication is critical to our campus’ long-term success.”

The program begins with a two-hour synchronous session, where faculty members will be introduced to hybrid options for curriculum and how to ensure equity in online teaching.

After the online session, participants will have three weeks to complete seven modules. Four modules are required to be completed by every faculty member:

  • Mastering Online Teaching Essentials,
  • Supporting Universal Design for Learning,
  • Analyzing Assessment Strategies and
  • Equity and Inclusion Frameworks in Design in Online Settings
Screenshot of a lesson from the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program

Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau) leads a discussion during the first session of the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program on June 8, 2020.

“I am grateful that ODEI could create a research-informed module on best practices and resources that attend to equity and inclusion in online course design, facilitation, and materials,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau). “Working with this team of campus collaborators has been fantastic.” The additional three modules are selected from a group of optional modules on topics that include how to integrate support services for students, create robust online labs and simulations, and use Adobe’s Creative Cloud solutions in the classroom.

“Experts from across the campus have designed a program that will help any instructor strengthen their teaching, no matter how experienced they are to start,” said Center for Faculty Development Director Deanna Fassett.

Given the overwhelming interest, faculty members have been assigned to cohorts. The first cohort started June 8, with the other two sessions beginning June 29 and July 20.

Along with this program, faculty members are also pursuing opportunities through the CSU Chancellor’s Office, SJSU’s Center for Faculty Development, eCampus, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

 

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.

Earth Month 2020 Goes Online

Student on the tower lawn doing a yoga pose.

Yoga on the Tower Lawn, one of many resource fair activities for Earth Week 2019. Photo by David Schmitz.

Fifty years ago, on April 22, Gaylord Nelson created history by choosing to commemorate the legacy of the only home we know, Earth.

Affected by the devastating oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast in 1969, the former U.S. Senator and Wisconsin governor led a grassroots movement with the hope that the day would inspire people to listen to the environment and collectively share the responsibilities that humans owe to the planet.

The founder of Earth Day, Nelson, ’39 Political Science, was an SJSU alumnus. Despite COVID-19 derailing full-scale campus events and activities, San Jose State remains committed to Nelson’s story.

This year, Earth Month has moved online. A good benefit to having an online celebration such as this, is “that not many people are driving, and that’s way less air pollution already,” said Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering, SJSU senior utilities and sustainability analyst.

This April, the SJSU Office of Sustainability is running a robust social media campaign, the Earth Day Eco Challenge, in collaboration with campus Environmental Resource Center (ERC) and Cesar Chavez Community Action Center (CCCAC). In addition, there are a host of exciting educational events and activities in the form of virtual teach-ins, reading assignments, workshops, green career panels, and discussions, all of which will offer an opportunity for students to join in the environmental conversations.

Earth Day was founded on the spirit of teach-in—an activity Nelson designed to educate people about the environment. According to Katherine Cushing, professor of environmental studies, “there are many sources out there that discuss possible linkages between large scale environmental issues, such as climate change, air pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Earth Day assignment, “COVID-19, Climate Change, and the Environment,” that Cushing built for her students will help put many different factors surrounding these issues in perspective.

Cushing has been spearheading the effort to provide the faculty with resources for incorporating a sustainability component in their courses this month. Six different assignments are available that are applicable to majors from a wide range of academic disciplines, ranging from business to biology.

A plaque in front of a tree which says planted in honor of Gaylord Nelson.

Every year, students plant a tree on campus. Photo by David Schmitz.

April Events:

Menstruation, Stigma, Zero Waste Period

Tune into this pre-recorded event posted on both the Sustainability Office’s and Gender Equity Center’s YouTube channel. Get to know about the taboos, misconceptions, and sustainable methods for a greener world. This event is brought to you by the Gender Equity Center and the Office of Sustainability. All genders welcome.

April 16: Being the Change: Book discussion

Noon–1 p.m.

This one-hour discussion on climate change will run with Eugene Cordero, SJSU meteorology and climate change professor. The group will be reviewing Chapters 1-6 of Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed. Register to attend Being the Change.

April 21 and 23: Sustainable Designs and Buildings on the SJSU Campus

April 21: 9–10: 15 a.m. and 1:30–2:45 p.m.
April 23: 9–10:15 a.m. and 1:30–2:45 p.m.

Join Art History Professor Molly Hankwitz and her students as they present a series of brief presentations on sustainable design materials and resources on the SJSU campus. Featured buildings include the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, the Student Recreation and Aquatic Center, and the Diaz Campion Student Union. Original posters designed by students will also be previewed in honor of Earth Day. Register in advance for this meeting.

April 22: The Climate Reality Project

12 p.m

The climate crisis is already affecting ecosystems and communities across the globe, but it is not too late to take action. This climate reality presentation will show you how. The presentation is non-partisan, from the perspective of science. The presentation is broken into three parts—”Must We Change,” “Can We Change” and “Will We Change.” Engage with Emeritus Professor and Director of Sbona Honors Program & Thompson Global Internship Program Bill DeVincenzi and ask any questions you may have. Register for The Climate Crisis: What you need to know.

April 29: Green Career Panel

Noon–2 p.m.

The Green Career Panel will be hosted in partnership with the Career Center, followed by networking opportunities. Learn from and engage with panelists from the California Water Efficiency Partnership, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, The City of San Jose, Rising Sun Power. Register for SJSU Green Career Panel Registration.

April 30:

Participate in the SJSU Earth Month Instagram Giveaway! Learn more at @sjsugreencampus via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Learn more about the university’s sustainability practices by reviewing the 2017-2020 SJSU Sustainability Report.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Day Goes Online, April 18 – 24

Admitted Spartan Day

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Day from April 18 – 24, 2020.

Every spring, after San Jose State has notified admitted students of their acceptance for the following year, the university hosts a special event, Admitted Spartan Day, to welcome potential Spartans to campus. While the preference is always to show incoming freshmen and transfer students the SJSU campus in person, the Coronavirus health pandemic prevents the university from hosting students and their families on campus at this time. Instead, SJSU has expanded this year’s Admitted Spartan Day to a weeklong virtual event to ensure that prospective students have all the information they need to choose San Jose State.

“This is a first for us to offer this campus-wide event online. We usually host more than 10,000 people for Admitted Spartan Day,” said SJSU Senior Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Sharon Willey. “Each day will feature live webinars and video content so students and family members can choose which sessions are of interest to them. We are working diligently to personalize our SJSU Virtual Open House for each admitted undergraduate student with a variety of opportunities to interact with current students, faculty and staff. We hope to ensure that students see the many benefits of attending SJSU. The top three reasons admitted students choose SJSU is the quality of academic programs, cost and location.”

This year’s virtual event will kick off on Saturday, April 18, 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:

Saturday, April 18: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans, webinars with colleges and/or departments, as well as webinars on campus life, orientation and student involvement.

Sunday, April 19: Virtual Tours

This includes virtual campus tours (general, Student Union, Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, South Campus and the Hammer Theatre) as well as a student panel live webinar and parent panel.

Monday, April 20: All About Finances

Video content will include webinars by the Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid and the Career Center, including information on how to get a job on campus.

Tuesday, April 21: University Housing

The International House and on-campus residence halls will be featured, including tours and live webinars.

Wednesday, April 22: Campus Resources

Virtual content includes videos on the Latinx/Chicanx Student Success Center, the African-American/Black Student Success Center, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi (South Asian) American (APIDA) task force, the Veterans Resource Center, the UndocuSpartan Resource Center, the Career Center and many more campus resources.

Thursday, April 23: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

College student success centers and Academic Advising and Retention Services will host presentations and webinars to share how advising works and respond to admitted student inquiries online.

Friday, April 24: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from students about their admission and the intent to enroll process.

SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs, Patrick Day, provides further details:

 
Admitted students are encouraged to fill out an interest form to inform SJSU which topics they would like to learn more about during the week of online activities. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.