Recognizing SJSU’s COVID-19 Campus Heroes

Many in the Spartan community have not set foot on campus for more than a year. But during the pandemic, the university remained open, and some reported to work on campus every day to keep it clean and beautiful for when SJSU students, faculty and staff would return. Meet Lila Garcia and David Johnson, two of SJSU’s COVID-19 heroes who cared for the campus during the pandemic.

Valerie Coleman Morris Receives Honorary Doctorate from SJSU

 

SJSU conferred an honorary doctorate degree to alumna and trailblazing journalist Valerie D. Coleman Morris, ‘68 Journalism, as part of the university’s celebration of the Class of 2021 on Wednesday, May 26. 

Coleman Morris served as a reporter for the university student newspaper “Spartan Daily” during her time at SJSU, covering significant campus events such as the Dow Chemical protests and the Black Power salute by Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games.

Coleman Morris went on to become a broadcast journalist in San Francisco and Los Angeles and also created and narrated the CBS network radio show “With the Family in Mind.” In 1996, Coleman Morris joined CNN, and in 2011, she published the book “It’s Your Money So Take It Personally.” 

Coleman Morris has three California Emmy awards and was a major contributor to KCBS radio’s Peabody Award team coverage as co-anchor following the 1989 Loma Prieto earthquake. Other awards she’s received include Black Woman of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting from American Woman in Radio and TV. 

During her speech to the graduating class, Coleman Morris spoke about her love of threes and how it has played a role continuously throughout her life before imparting this wisdom on SJSU’s newest alumni:

“Congratulations to each member of the class of 2021. I leave with this thought: My late father and his regularly repeated lesson about looking in the rear view mirror. It’s important to do, he’d tell me. Glancing in the rearview mirror reminds you where you’ve come from. 

“And then dad would pose the question, and then he would also pose the answer and say, ‘What happens if you look in the rearview mirror for too long or too often?’ The answer: You won’t know what you run into. I need to explain, my dad was not talking about having an accident. He was talking about running past opportunities that were right in front of you. 

“Graduates, for each of your rearview mirror memories or realities, always hear you say, I am looking forward.”

View Coleman Morris’ entire speech above.

Spartan Gold Standard: Remembering Lee Evans (1947-2021)

Above: Watch NBC’s TODAY segment “A Life Well Lived” on Lee Evans that aired Sunday, May 23, 2021.

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran on the SJSU Athletics website.

Best known as a 1968 two-time Mexico City Olympic Games track and field champion, Lee Evans, ’70 Physical Education (1947-2021) died at age 74 in Nigeria.

At 21 years old, the Madera, Calif., native was a pillar of San José State’s world-renowned brand known as “Speed City.” As a slender 158-pound college student by his own admission, he won gold medals in the men’s 400 meters and the men’s 4×400 meter relay at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games in world and Olympic Games record-setting times. Mr. Evans is the university’s first and only two-time Olympic Games gold medal winner.

Lee Evans was the first person to run 400 meters under 44.0 seconds with his winning time of 43.86. And, Mr. Evans ran the anchor leg of the victorious USA 4×400 relay team that crossed the finish line with a clocking of 2:56.16. The gold-medal winning 400-meter time remained a world record until 1988 and the 4×400 relay world mark stood until 1992.

Lee Evans with coach Bud Winter

Lee Evans (right) with coach Lloyd (Bud) Winter. Courtesy: SJSU Athletics

The winning performances were in the shadow of controversy. Evans had considered withdrawing from Olympic competition following San José State and USA teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Olympic Village. After Smith won the men’s 200-meter dash with Carlos finishing third, both athletes raised a clenched fist in the air during the victory stand ceremony. Approaching the victory stand following his 400-meter victory, Mr. Evans, silver medalist Larry James and bronze medalist Ron Freeman wore black berets as their sign of support for the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

For his gold medal-winning performances, he was named Track & Field News’ U.S. College Athlete of the Year. From 1966 through 1968 and again in 1970, he was ranked #1 in the world in the 400 meters by Track & Field News. Mr. Evans also was ranked in the top-10 in the 400 by Track and Field News in 1969 (second), 1971 (ninth) and 1972 (third).

The 1970 San José State graduate was captain of the Spartans’ 1969 team that won the NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track and Field championship in Knoxville, Tenn. While at San José State, Mr. Evans also was a member of the Spartans’ 1967 world-record-setting 880-yard relay team that included Tommie Smith, Ken Shackelford and Bob Talmadge.

Editor’s Note: Watch SJSU’s profile of the SJSU Speed City legacy

“Social Justice Advocate”

His track and field notoriety runs parallel to his humanitarian contributions in the United States and, particularly, in the African continent.

According to Dr. Harry Edwards, the founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and San José State graduate, “Lee Evans was one of the greatest athletes and social justice advocates in an era that produced a generation of such courageous, committed, and contributing athlete-activists.

“He was an originating founder and advocate of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and what evolved in the late 1960’s into an all-out revolt among Black athletes over issues of injustice and inequality both within and beyond the sports arena. In no small measure, today’s athletes can stand taller, see farther and more clearly, and reach higher in pursuit of achievement and change in both sport and society because they stand on the shoulders of GIANTS such as Lee Evans.”

From left to right: Ken Noel, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Harry Edwards, San José State student body president James Edwards.

1967 – The Olympic Project for Human Rights first/organizing meeting. From left to right: Ken Noel, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Harry Edwards, San José State student body president James Edwards. Courtesy: Dr. Harry Edwards

Mr. Evans shared his knowledge and experiences in track and field with interested parties of all ages domestically and internationally.  There were college coaching appointments at San José State, the University of Washington, and the University of South Alabama.

He served as the director of athletics for Special Olympics International from 1988 to 1990. Evans provided technical assistance to Special Olympics programs in the United States, its territories and 90 countries around the world.

The United States Information Service (U.S.I.S.) agency appointed Mr. Evans as a track and field clinician for Sports America as a leader of coaching clinics throughout the world, particularly, in developing countries.

Editor’s Note: Read the 2018 Washington Square feature on Lee Evans

The Humanitarian – Nelson Mandela Award Recipient

A Fulbright Scholar, Mr. Evans spent much of his post-competitive life on the African continent as a track and field coach and a humanitarian. He was a professor of biomechanics at the Cameroon National Institute of Youth and Sports and an associate professor of physical education at the University of Ife in Nigeria.

Mr. Evans coached the national track and field teams of Qatar, Cameroon and Nigeria.

In 1991, he was a recipient of a Nelson Mandela Award given to those who “…stood for the values of equality and friendship and respect of human rights, against apartheid and any form of racism.” In the 1980’s, Mr. Evans was focused on the Madagascar Project which included providing a fresh water supply, power, and electricity; creating economic self-sufficiency through profitable cash crop farming; improving the transportation system; and access to medical care.

Lee Evans in 2016

Lee Evans at a Hall of Fame banquet in 2016. Evans won two gold medals at the 1968 Olympics. Courtesy: SJSU Athletics

More Honors

A member of the San José State Hall of Fame, he also is enshrined in the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, U.S.A. Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the city of San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, and the African American Athletes Hall of Fame. Mr. Evans also was a 1994 recipient of a NCAA Silver Anniversary Award honoring exceptional student-athletes for their life’s work 25 years after completing a college career.

“The first time I walked into the old gym at SJSU as an undergraduate, I learned of the legend of Lee Evans,” said Marcos Breton (Class of 1986, journalism) and a Sacramento Bee columnist. “The records of Mr. Evans were emblazoned on the wall along with Tommie Smith, John Carlos and other world class sprinters and Olympic champions who were Spartans. His Olympic gold medal will always be a source of pride for all Spartans. I’m honored to have met a kind and truly humble man and like many, I’ll never forget the grace with which Lee Evans represented his country and our university.”

SJSU Recognizes Outstanding Spartans at 10th Annual Student Leadership Gala

10th Annual Student Leadership Gala.

San José State is home to over 350 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, academic and honorary societies, cultural and religious groups, special interest organizations and club sports. On Tuesday, May 4, outstanding student organizations and individual leaders were recognized in the 10th Annual Student Leadership Gala.

The yearly event is a collaboration between SJSU’s Campus Life departments, including Associated Students, Student Involvement and the Solidarity Network, which is composed of the César E. Chávez Community Action Center, the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center (The BLOC, formerly the African American/Black Student Success Center), El Centro (formerly the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center), the Gender Equity Center, the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, the PRIDE Center, the UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center, and Wellness and Health Promotion.

“The Student Leadership Gala is a great way to bring together the greater campus community because there’s so much to do here at SJSU, and it’s great to hear the stories of students who are doing amazing work,” said Student Engagement Coordinator for Recognized Student Organizations Jordan Webb.

The virtual event recognized 112 individuals or organizations in several categories such as organization awards, operation awards, program awards and individual awards. Fraternity and Sorority Life honored four exemplary Greek life groups as well.

Each year, Associated Students also honors unsung heroes who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the university and have given back to the campus or local communities with the AS 55 leadership award. This year, A.S. awarded 11 students the AS 55 award and recognized 13 additional individuals in other categories as well.

“Educating our students on their civic responsibility, developing their leadership skills, and helping to equip them to be engaged in their communities are vitally important aspects of our public mission at San José State,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian at the May 4 gala.

“We know that our student leaders can become transformative agents for positive change in their communities, and that is why I am so proud of organizations like Associated Students, Student Involvement, the Solidarity Network and many others here on campus that are working so hard on this aspect of the higher education experience.”

Patrick Day, vice president of student affairs, also recognizes students with exceptional promise with a special VPSA award.

In addition to the awards recognized by Campus Life, 63 students who completed the Career Center’s Leadership and Career Certificate Program received their certificates of completion. The program offers students opportunities to enhance and develop their existing leadership and career skills in an online format.

“I love taking the time each year to intentionally honor and recognize student leadership,” said Dylan Mazelis, leadership development coordinator and co-chair of the program. “Over the past 10 years, the gala has become more intentionally collaborative, recognizing the intersectionality of our students and the all-encompassing leadership that they exhibit.

“It’s not just about recognizing specific titles or roles but rather recognizing all of the work that these students are doing every day in their many different spaces and communities — as well as the impact they have on San José and Silicon Valley.”

Visit the Student Involvement website to learn more about the 2021 awardees.

Updates on SJSU Athletics Department and Investigations

Editor’s Note: This transparency news feed includes updates on relevant matters in SJSU Athletics Department, including personnel information, university action steps, frequently asked questions, timelines, and pertinent information regarding former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.

June 12, 2021

San José State University President Mary Papazian has named Jeffrey (Jeff) Konya the university’s fifteenth director of athletics. Konya will be responsible for athletics department stewardship, effective July 12. Konya succeeds former Athletics Director Marie Tuite.  

“Jeff brings over two decades of leadership and award-winning collegiate athletics administrator experience,” stated President Papazian. “We are confident that Jeff’s commitment to student success, integrity, and innovation will continue to increase our students’ academic accomplishments, cement an inclusive and equitable culture, and position Spartan Athletics as a leading department known for creativity and excellence.”

“I am incredibly honored to be selected to lead the Spartans. I want to express my sincere appreciation to President Papazian, the SJSU search committee, and TurnkeyZRG for being given this wonderful opportunity,” stated Konya. “I am truly inspired by President Papazian’s vision for San José State University. I am excited by the role athletics can play in furthering that vision.” 

Konya comes to SJSU from Northeastern University in Boston, where he was a two-time Under Armour NACDA Athletics Director of the Year (2016-17, 2020-21) making him one of just four Athletic Directors in DI-AAA in the history of the award to earn AD of the Year twice in a four-year span. Under Konya’s leadership, Northeastern Athletics worked with the student-athletes to form the first-ever Black Athlete Caucus. The NUBAC was established to represent the voice of and bring exposure to the Black Athletic community on campus. 

Konya also served on the first-ever college hockey National Social Justice Committee and oversaw the Huskies entry into Esports as a varsity program. As the first New England area Division I institution to join the Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC), the Huskies competed in four games – Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone – and the Hearthstone team finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country.

Traditional collegiate programs at Northeastern also benefited with Konya at the helm. The ice hockey programs maintained their national relevance, men’s basketball earned its fourth CAA regular-season championship in 2020-21, men’s cross country won its first-ever CAA title in 2021, and women’s basketball made its first-ever appearance in the WNIT in 2019. 

Konya achieved great success in competition and in the classroom while athletic director at Oakland University. During his tenure there, the university was a three-peat winner of the Horizon League’s McCafferty Trophy (2015, 2016 & 2017), amassed 22 Horizon League championships since 2014, including a men’s basketball title in 2017 and led the Horizon League in Academic All-League and Honor Roll selections from 2014 to 2017, with his student-athletes posting a record 3.30 collective grade point average in 2017.

Further, he spurred innovation across the athletic department by increasing external financial support by 60 percent and sponsorship support by 90 percent, introducing new digital media packages for fans, increasing attendance at men’s basketball game attendance to set new ticket revenue records, and launching a branded all-sports rivalry with the University of Detroit-Mercy, called the Metro Series. The Rochester Area Chamber recognized the athletic department with its Innovative Culture award in 2016.

In addition to his duties at Oakland, Konya served as chair of the Horizon League Executive Council and is a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.

As athletic director at California State University, Bakersfield, a member of the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference, Konya spearheaded fundraising efforts for multi-million-dollar facility additions and improvements, including a year ranked No. 1 nationally in fundraising compared to peer I-AAA institutions. Konya orchestrated a rebranding of the athletic department and, under his direction, the university’s athletic marketing team was named a NACMA Division I Marketing Team of the Year finalist. During his tenure at CSU Bakersfield, men’s and women’s basketball programs both earned postseason bids, baseball twice ranked in the top 25 nationally, and the volleyball and men’s basketball teams earned perfect NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores.

As senior associate athletic director at Southern Methodist University, Konya served as sport administrator for the men’s and women’s basketball programs, supervised all marketing efforts and game-day activities, and managed NCAA compliance. During his SMU tenure, the women’s basketball team won the Conference USA tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Konya began his athletic administration career in 1996 at the University of Iowa, and worked in positions of increasing responsibility at the University of South Dakota, Bucknell University, the University of Texas San Antonio, and the University of Memphis.

He received his juris doctorate with honors from the University of Iowa College of Law and earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University, where he was a member of the football team.

Konya’s hiring marks the conclusion of an extensive nationwide search led by President Papazian, who named a search committee to research, interview, and evaluate a diverse and innovative group of collegiate athletics administrators. The search committee was chaired by Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff Lisa Millora and included Faculty Athletics Representative and chair of the kinesiology department Tamar Semerjian; Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, NFL Network Analyst, and SJSU alumnus James Jones; and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas.

TurnkeyZRG was retained to help President Papazian and the search committee in strategic search planning and management areas, including application, evaluation and review processes, background checks on potential candidates, and vital SJSU internal and external stakeholder and constituent information gathering. TurnkeyZRG Managing Director Chad Chatlos led the collaborative effort. Chatlos specializes in senior executive searches across the sports industry with a focus on roles in the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

# # #

Quotes from College Athletics on the SJSU Hire of Jeffrey Konya as AD

“I have worked with and known Jeff for many, many years. I can tell you he will instantaneously make any athletics program better in the way he thinks, acts and leads. The coaches will love him. This is a fantastic hire for the Spartans.”

John Calipari, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Kentucky

Congratulations to Jeff Konya on being named Director of Athletics at San Jose State University. Jeff is dedicated to the student-athlete experience, understand the needs of coaches, and he values the important role college athletics plays in higher education. He is an outstanding leader and communicator that values relationships with all. I am so very happy for the Spartans on an outstanding hire.

Jeff Capel, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Pittsburgh

“Jeff is an experienced and transformational leader who will inspire excellence for San Jose State athletics. He is well respected for his ability to hire excellent coaches, innovate, build community and provide a first-class experience for student-athletes. His vision will take the Spartans to the next level.”

Jen Cohen, Athletics Director at the University of Washington

“San Jose St. has aligned itself with one of the most energetic forward-thinking leaders in intercollegiate athletics. Jeff is a true difference maker that has consistently overseen and implemented impactful change. His transformative ambition will be a true asset to the Spartan’s athletic department as well as the entire San Jose St. community.”

Joe D’Antonio, Commissioner, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)

“Jeff Konya is a terrific hire for SJSU. He was instrumental to our success at SMU and understands the ins and outs of the game. Coaches and student-athletes will love working with him and there’s no better person to lead the Spartans into the future.”

June Jones, Former NFL Head Coach, Former Head Football Coach at the University of Hawaii and SMU

“This is great news for San Jose State University. Jeff is a strong and dynamic leader and a phenomenal person who has a proven ability to build programs to new levels of excellence. I especially appreciate his focus on student-athlete well-being. He’s one of the good guys in the business and I know he’ll accomplish great things in San Jose.”

Candace Storey Lee, Athletics Director at Vanderbilt University


May 22, 2021

San José State University President Mary Papazian has named CFO and Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas as its interim director of athletics. Faas will be responsible for stewarding the athletics department until the university names its 15th Director of Athletics.

“Charlie Faas is a strong leader with professional integrity,” stated President Papazian. “His sports and business acumen will help us maintain forward progression during this transition. We are grateful for his teamwork.”

Faas has working knowledge of the athletics department, playing instrumental roles in the development of the Spartan Athletics Center and South Campus renovations. As CFO, Faas leads SJSU’s financial, administrative and business functions. This includes Administration and Finance, Facilities Development and Operations, the University Police Department, and Spartan Shops. Faas is the chair of the Board of Directors of the San Jose Sports Authority. He served as executive vice president and CFO for Sharks Sports & Entertainment and CEO of the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano. In addition, he has held senior roles with numerous entities in Silicon Valley and New York, including IBM.

President Papazian has also formed a search committee chaired by Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff Lisa Millora, Faculty Athletics Representative and chair of the kinesiology department Tamar Semerjian, Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, NFL Network Analyst and SJSU alumnus James Jones, and Faas. The President and search committee will work collaboratively with TurnkeyZRG, led by Managing Director Chad Chatlos, in a national search for its next Director of Athletics. Chatlos specializes in senior executive searches across the sports industry with a focus on roles in the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

“I am confident in this diverse group of leaders who represent our cabinet, faculty, alumni, and collegiate athletics to evaluate the finest candidate to lead the Spartans,” stated President Papazian. “Together we will identify an athletics director who will continue to build competitive programs, increase academic success, positively represent our community, and build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable culture for our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

TurnkeyZRG will support the President and the search committee in strategic search planning and management areas, including application, evaluation and review processes, background checks on potential candidates, and vital SJSU internal and external stakeholder and constituent information gathering.


May 21, 2021

San José State University President Mary Papazian has met with Director of Athletics, Marie Tuite, about the future leadership of the Athletics Department and agreed that Ms. Tuite will step down from her current role.

“My tenure as the Athletics Director at SJSU has been one of my greatest joys and accomplishments,” stated Ms. Tuite. “I am proud to have worked alongside many incredible coaches, administrators and educators as we built world-class facilities and won conference championships, but nothing will ever compare to seeing the success of thousands of student-athletes who have competed and graduated as Spartans.”

Effective immediately, Ms. Tuite will transition to the role of special director of external relations and capital project development. Her responsibilities will include increasing financial support for the athletics department, with an emphasis on a variety of facilities on the South Campus.

“I love San José State University and I am committed to its mission. My new role allows me to continue this important work, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so,” stated Ms. Tuite.

In 2019, President Papazian requested an external investigation into allegations of misconduct in 2009 by Scott Shaw, SJSU’s former director of sports medicine. The 2009 allegations of improper touching during physical therapy were substantiated, as were more recent allegations raised in the course of the investigation.  The investigator concluded that the conduct at issue violated the university’s policies in effect at the time of the conduct. The investigation was conducted by an external attorney investigator and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer. The findings are now final.

In response to the finding Ms. Tuite stated, “As a leader, I am deeply sorry our student-athletes were impacted by Scott Shaw. I will continue to fully cooperate with any and all investigations. My key objective here is to let our community heal.”

In 2020, President Papazian requested an external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation to answer questions about the original 2009 investigation and how the university responded to the findings. At the conclusion of that investigation, President Papazian pledged to, “hold ourselves accountable, make necessary changes, and continue to share our progress with the SJSU community.  She added, “accountability, action, and transparency are critical to rebuilding trust.”

Ms. Tuite began her tenure at San José State University in 2010, shortly after the conclusion of the initial Shaw investigation. Following seven years of university service in several executive athletics administration positions, she was promoted to the position of director of athletics. As of May 21, 2021, Ms. Tuite was one of 13 women athletics directors at an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution.

San José State University has made many strides in the department of athletics over the past several years, including increasing competitiveness in all sports both in conference play and nationally. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the football and women’s tennis teams won their conference championships. Several other teams, such as women’s and men’s water polo and men’s soccer, finished with high national or conference rankings. The department’s overall Academic Progress Rate (APR) has grown with a 65% increase in the number of student-athletes who earned President’s Scholar and Dean’s Scholar honors. The department also received some of the largest philanthropic gifts over the last several years.

Read President Papazian’s open letter to the campus community on April 15, 2021.

Read a detailed document with frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the investigation into Scott Shaw, former director of sports medicine. The FAQ will be updated as necessary.

Read a summary of the results of the 2019 external investigation into Scott Shaw, former director of sports medicine.


May 4, 2021

The university and President Papazian will continue to provide the SJSU community ongoing factual information regarding former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw, and the action steps SJSU is taking to keep our community safe.

  1. On April 15, 2021 President Papazian announced the results of an investigation into the 2009 allegations of improper touching by SJSU’s former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw. That investigation substantiated the allegations and confirmed more recent allegations raised in the course of the investigation.
  2. As a result of the investigation into Scott Shaw, President Papazian announced a new investigation known as the Title IX Procedural Response Investigation to determine why the matter was not addressed sooner.
  3. On May 4, 2021 President Papazian released a detailed document with frequently asked questions (FAQ). There are currently 20 questions with detailed and factual responses. The FAQ will be updated as necessary.

As President Papazian stated in her open letter, “Accountability, action, and transparency are critical to rebuilding trust in the face of troubling events like these. You have my promise that as we go through this difficult process and move forward together, we will hold ourselves accountable, make necessary changes, and consistently share our progress with the SJSU community. I am determined that we will learn from the past and never repeat it.”

SJSU FAQ Update Regarding Athletics Department and Investigations

Editor’s Note: The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) is also available on the SJSU FYI site.

2009-10 INVESTIGATION: FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW, AND THE SJSU ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

Q: What do we know about the 2009-2010 investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: The following timeline reflects our current understanding.

December 2009: SJSU Women’s Head Swimming and Diving Coach Sage Hopkins reported to SJSU administrators that students on his team had reported to him that during physical therapy sessions [then] SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw sometimes touched their breasts (under the bra) when treating shoulder injuries and/or touched their bikini line when treating back or hip injuries.

December 2009: Coach Hopkins reported what he learned to his supervisor, Jody Smith, assistant athletics director for events and facilities, and to Athletics Director Tom Bowen.

December 2009: Tom Bowen requested Sage Hopkins report the facts to Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager.

December 2009: Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager, initiated an internal investigation. The investigation included interviews with 14 female student-athletes, one male student-athlete, two SJSU trainers, and Scott Shaw.

December 2009: The SJSU Police Department received a report regarding inappropriate touching during physical therapy sessions by then SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw and conducted interviews regarding the allegations. No charges were filed against Scott Shaw.

May 2010: Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager, concluded the investigation. The investigation found no violation of university policy because the alleged improper touching was determined by Arthur Dunklin to be a form of pressure or trigger point therapy which is “a bona fide” means of treating muscle injury.

TIMELINE REGARDING PRESIDENT PAPAZIAN’S ACTIONS REGARDING FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW, AND THE SJSU ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT 

Q: When did President Papazian hear about the 2009 allegations involving former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: In December of 2019, President Papazian learned of a nearly 300-page packet of emails and notes that was circulated to the NCAA and Mountain West Conference by an SJSU coach concerning alleged misconduct by Shaw in 2009. Although President Papazian had been told in 2016 by Human Resources that the allegations had been investigated and not substantiated, she had many unanswered questions, so she promptly reopened the matter. In January, SJSU hired an independent investigator, and President Papazian asked the California State University systemwide Title IX Coordinator to oversee the investigation.

In connection with that investigation, President Papazian reviewed materials, including a 2016 email, that she had received her first week on campus from outgoing Interim SJSU President Sue Martin. Sue Martin’s email noted a variety of workplace employment concerns about the athletics department and referred to a complaint about Shaw that had been investigated years before. President Papazian did not recall that reference to Shaw until she reviewed Martin’s 2016 email.

Q: What did President Papazian do in response to Sue Martin’s 2016 email about the athletics department?

A: In response to Interim SJSU President Sue Martin’s email describing the employee conduct and workplace concerns, President Papazian called for a review of the athletics department by Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Beth Pugliese. Beth Pugliese was the administrator responsible for responding to employee conduct and workplace concerns, and she conducted a climate review of the athletics department.

Q: What were the results of the climate review conducted by Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Beth Pugliese?

A: In 2017, following the conclusion of the climate review:

  • Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier’s five-year contract was set to conclude in June 2017. In February 2017 his management duties were reassigned to focus primarily on capital fundraising for the remainder of his time at SJSU.
  • The University offered training for coaches and athletics staff on a variety of topics including compliance, academics, unconscious bias, and Title IX. These trainings focused on improving climate and reporting on Title IX and general overall equity issues in athletics and within the athletics department.
  • 2017: The university conducted a national search for a new athletics director. The search was chaired by Annette Nellen, professor of accounting and finance, and long-term chair of the Athletics Board. Other members of the committee included Stefan Frazier, then associate professor of linguistics and language development, and vice chair of the SJSU Academic Senate; Walt Jacobs, dean of the College of Social Sciences; Jaye Bailey, then vice president for organizational development and chief of staff; Paul Lanning, then vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation board of directors; and Andy Feinstein, then provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
  • 2017: Marie Tuite served as interim athletics director from February 9, 2017 until May 17, 2017, when she was named as the new director of athletics.

Q: After the conclusion of the 2009-2010 investigation, Sage Hopkins continued to address concerns about Scott Shaw to multiple SJSU administrators. Why did it take 10 years to reopen the 2009-2010 investigation?

A: When the original 2009-2010 investigation concluded, in accordance with policy and privacy considerations, the complainant – a student-athlete at SJSU, the respondent – then SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw, and the administrators with a need to know, were informed of the findings. No appeals were filed.

To the best of SJSU’s current leadership’s knowledge, prior to 2019, neither Coach Hopkins nor any other person reported allegations of additional instances of inappropriate touching of student-athletes by the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw. As the 2009-2010 investigation into the 2009 allegations was completed and closed, there was no additional investigation between 2009-2019.

PRESIDENT PAPAZIAN LAUNCHES 2019 EXTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW

Q: Why did President Papazian reopen the investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: From 2009 to 2019, during the tenures of five SJSU presidents and three directors of athletics, the 2009-2010 investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw, which had been concluded consistent with university policy and process, therefore remained closed.

It was not until December 2019 that President Papazian understood there were concerns that the previous investigation may have been inadequate. For that reason, President Papazian launched a new external investigation into the allegations that former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw had inappropriately touched student-athletes during physical therapy.

Q: Who conducted the 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw?

A: The 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw was conducted by an external attorney investigator Marilou Mirkovich and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer Linda Hoos.

Q: What did SJSU learn from the 2019 external investigation into former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: The 2019 external investigation into former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw disagreed with the original investigation’s findings that the touching was consistent with “bona fide” physical therapy techniques, and validated the allegations made by the original complainant, a student-athlete at SJSU in 2009.

The 2019 external investigation also substantiated claims made by 10 other student-athletes, nearly all of whom have graduated, alleging inappropriate touching by the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.

The 10 complainants in the 2019 external investigation included seven student-athletes who had been interviewed in the 2009-2010 investigation and three other student-athletes who came forward for the first time with similar allegations during the 2019 process.

The 2019 external investigator concluded that the conduct violated the university’s policies in effect at the time of the conduct at issue. The findings are now final.

Q: Where are the findings of the 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw and how can I review them? 

A: A summary of the findings for the 2019 external investigation is available on the SJSU FYI site.

Q: Does the university plan to release the full results of its 2019 investigation into the Shaw allegations?

A: A summary of the findings of the 2019 external investigation is available on the SJSU FYI site. Given the very personal and private subject matter of the reports involving students, the university does not intend to voluntarily release the findings in their entirety.

Q: Knowing what SJSU knows now, would Scott Shaw be terminated if he was still an employee?

A: Yes.

STUDENT SAFETY AND TITLE IX REPORTING

Q: What is SJSU doing to help students stay safe and report Title IX violations?

A:  In response to the findings of the 2019 external investigation, the campus is enacting many changes immediately or no later than the start of the Fall 2021 semester, including, but not limited to:

Accountability & Facts

  • An external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings.
  • Anyone with relevant information is encouraged to share their concerns with the external investigator, Elizabeth V. McNulty, who can be reached directly at 949-399-5026.
  • Individuals with Title IX questions, concerns and a need to report a Title IX violation (such as sexual misconduct or other discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender or gender identity) should contact the Title IX Office at 408-924-7290 or titleix@sjsu.edu.

 Policy & Staffing

  • The Athletics Department, in conjunction with the Student Health Center and the Title IX Office, is finalizing a new sports medicine chaperone policy, which will be implemented no later than the start of the Fall 2021 semester.
  • SJSU is adding resources to and restructuring the Title IX Office.
  • SJSU is increasing confidential support resources, including a full-time campus survivor advocate, before the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Training & Education

  • SJSU will enhance education and orientation programs focused on sexual assault prevention, reporting options, and resources for survivors, witnesses, and bystanders.
  • Education will be provided to student-athletes, practitioners, and chaperones to ensure all persons involved in medical, physical therapy, and training sessions share a common understanding of what is expected.

Culture & Communication

  • SJSU is responding to findings related to Title IX from the 2020 Belong@SJSU campus climate survey, geared towards improving awareness of resources, reporting options and empowering students to come forward.
  • SJSU is initiating an awareness and information campaign to encourage student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the Athletics Department to use Spartan Speaks, SJSU Athletics’ anonymous reporting tool.
  • SJSU is providing user-friendly access to information about student rights and resources.
  • SJSU will communicate updates and next steps across campus and throughout the San José State community.

Q: What should individuals with Title IX questions, concerns or a need to report a Title IX violation do?

A: Individuals with Title IX questions, concerns or a need to report a Title IX violation (such as sexual misconduct or other discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender or gender identity) should contact the Title IX Office at 408-924-7290 or titleix@sjsu.edu.

EXTERNAL TITLE IX PROCEDURAL RESPONSE INVESTIGATION

Q: It was announced that there is an external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation. Why is there a new investigation?

A: We all need answers to questions about the original 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings, which is why President Papazian launched the 2019 external investigation and has requested a further external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation. As a campus, we will learn from the past, so we never repeat it.

Q: What is the scope of the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation?

A: The Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns about the original investigation.  

Q: How can I share information with the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation?

A: Anyone with information relevant to the Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is encouraged to share their concerns with the external investigator, Elizabeth V. McNulty, who can be reached directly at 949-399-5026.

Q: Is there a timetable for the next phase of the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation.

A: SJSU hopes that the investigation will conclude as soon as possible.  However, this is a complicated external investigation that may involve many witnesses which makes it very hard to estimate timetables.

Q: What is SJSU’s plan should the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation conclude wrongdoing?

A: The university, President Papazian, and our community need answers to questions about the original 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns, which is why President Papazian has requested a further external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation.

Appropriate action will be taken once we have the answers to these questions.

ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP UPDATES

Q: Was the decision for Ms. Tuite to step down from her role as athletics director a joint decision by Tuite and President Papazian or an executive decision by the president?

A: As mentioned in the university’s news release, President Mary Papazian met with Director of Athletics, Marie Tuite, about the future leadership of the Athletics Department and agreed that Ms. Tuite will step down from her current role. This was a decision that was agreed to by both parties.

Q: Will there be an interim athletic director? Are there any candidates being considered to fill Tuite’s former position?

A: San José State University President Mary Papazian has named CFO and Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas as its interim director of athletics. Faas will be responsible for stewarding the athletics department until the university names its 15th Director of Athletics.

President Papazian has also formed a search committee chaired by Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff Lisa Millora, Faculty Athletics Representative and chair of the kinesiology department Tamar Semerjian, Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, NFL Network Analyst and SJSU alumnus James Jones, and Faas.

The President and search committee will work collaboratively with TurnkeyZRG, led by Managing Director Chad Chatlos, in a national search for its next Director of Athletics. Chatlos specializes in senior executive searches across the sports industry with a focus on roles in the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

Q: Was the position of special director of external relations and capital project development newly created?

A: Periodically the university appoints executives to positions such as this. This reassignment allows Ms. Tuite to continue supporting the university’s mission through her fundraising efforts while participating in the investigations.

Q: Was the position created to keep Ms. Tuite in the athletics department?

A: Ms. Tuite’s role is not based in the athletics department.

Q: Was Ms. Tuite investigated as part of the 2019 external investigation regarding Scott Shaw?

A: No. The 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw was conducted by an external attorney investigator Marilou Mirkovich and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer Linda Hoos.

That investigation focused primarily on the 2009-2010 investigation into Scott Shaw’s conduct and disagreed with the original investigation’s findings that the touching was consistent with “bona fide” physical therapy techniques, and validated the allegations made by the original complainant, a student-athlete at SJSU in 2009.

The 2019 external investigation also substantiated claims made by 10 other student-athletes, nearly all of whom have graduated, alleging inappropriate touching by the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.

The Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns about the original investigation.

Q: How is the university responding to retaliation claims made by current or former employees?

A: The university does not typically comment on details of pending litigation or other complaints by or against employees (including complaints of retaliation).

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATIONS

Q: It was reported that there is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and/or Department of Justice Investigation (DOJ) involving SJSU. What is that investigation?

A: There are two federal investigations that the university is aware of. One is a criminal investigation into sexual misconduct and the other is a civil review of the university’s Title IX compliance.

SJSU is fully cooperating with all government investigations, and we encourage all members of our community to do so.

Q: How can I share information with federal investigators?

A: Anyone with relevant information regarding the government investigations are encouraged to share their information at community.sjsu@usdoj.gov.

Q: What is SJSU’s plan should the federal investigations conclude wrongdoing?

A: The federal government, the university, President Papazian, and our community need answers to allegations. Appropriate action will be taken by the university once we have the answers to these questions.

SJSU Among Top Universities in U.S. in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

A picture of Tower Hall

San José State University’s streak of impressive showings in national and international rankings continues with today’s release of the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. SJSU finished in the top 30 among U.S. institutions and top 500 worldwide.

The third edition of the worldwide rankings — which measure university progress around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — included SJSU for the first time. SDGs were adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2015 in an effort to establish a global partnership to end poverty and other deprivations while also preserving the planet. Universities can participate in some or all of the 17 SDGs.

SJSU participated in five SDGs: Good Health and Wellbeing; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Life Below Water; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the Goals — a mandatory category for all 1,115 institutions across the globe who participated in the rankings.

“Sustainability and equity remain two of the big priorities of our time, not only here at our campus but also around the world,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. 

“Our good showing in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings reflects how SJSU has become an innovative leader in these areas. It is a tribute to our interdisciplinary approach and commitment on the part of so many in our campus community.”

Along with continued progress in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion — including action steps the university is taking to address systemic racismPapazian said SJSU is striving toward a future whereby all students graduate with a firm understanding of what it means to be sustainable. This entails students learning through curricular, and co-curricular, activities how their actions and choices can have a positive or negative impact on the sustainability of our environment. 

The university is also working to help faculty members incorporate sustainability into their curricula, she added.

The results

SJSU’s best showing was in the Life Below Water SDG, finishing in the top 10 in the U.S. and #62 in the world. In this category, THE focuses on how “universities are protecting and enhancing aquatic ecosystems like lakes, ponds, streams, wetlands, rivers, estuaries and the open ocean.” SJSU’s scores in water-sensitive waste disposal and research — led primarily by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories — helped elevate the university high in the rankings.

“SJSU is truly transformative for students, faculty and staff, not only in the classroom but also for our communities and the environments we live in,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr., who, along with SJSU’s Office of Institutional Research, led the charge in submission of materials for the ranking. 

“This ranking is a testament to the partnerships we continue to foster and grow and the impact we are leaving behind for not only this generation, but future generations as well.”

San José State finished in the top 15 in the U.S. in Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and top 25 in Sustainable Cities and Communities. Among participants worldwide, SJSU was in the top 200 in both categories.

According to THE, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions focused on “universities’ research on law and international relations, their participation as advisers for government and their policies on academic freedom.” 

SJSU’s university governance measures and work with local, state and national governments played a role in the top 15 U.S. ranking.

Sustainable Cities and Communities, according to THE, highlights the “interaction between universities and their communities, urban and rural” and how higher education institutions must “act as custodians of heritage and environment in their communities, a sustainable community must have access to its history and culture in order to thrive.” 

SJSU’s expenditures and support in the arts and heritage were the strongest factors in the ranking.

This is the first major ranking for SJSU in 2021. Last year, SJSU was named the #1 Most Transformative University by Money magazine based on the magazine’s exclusive value-added scores for graduation rates, post-graduation earnings and student loan repayment.

New SJSU Performance “Alone Together” Explores Life During the COVID-Era at the Hammer Theatre April 24

 
When Elisha Miranda, chair of San José State’s Film and Theatre Department, saw Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Kirsten Brandt at the Hammer Theatre Center for the first time in more than a year, she felt like crying. Though they had collaborated closely on many creative projects over the past year, they had yet to work together face-to-face. 

They came together in person in March 2021 to collaborate on “Alone Together,” a series of plays and monologues written during and about the pandemic. The production is the department’s first in-person performance on the Hammer stage, which will be performed by SJSU actors and livestreamed by Film and Theatre Lecturer Christine Guzzetta, ’86 Radio, Television, Video and Film (RTVF). 

“COVID is a universal issue, though it has impacted different communities in different ways,” said Miranda, who is the show’s co-producer with Barnaby Dallas, SJSU’s director of production for film and theatre.

“Even with our students in “Alone Together,” COVID has become the universal fulcrum that ties us all together and makes us stronger storytellers, more accountable educators and artists.” 

"Alone Together" at the Hammer Theater.

SJSU students rehearse “Alone Together” on the Hammer Theatre Center stage. Photo by Oluchi Nwokocha.

Film and Theatre Lecturer Oluchi Nwokocha, ’12 Theatre Arts, is directing the evening, which features eight short plays and monologues written by professional and distinguished playwrights who were commissioned by UC Santa Barbara’s LAUNCH PAD program in spring 2020: Jami Brandi, Anne García-Romero, Lynn Rosen, Enid Graham, Brian Otaño and Arlene Hutton.

“‘Alone Together’ deals with all the emotions that we have been going through during this time, either with our partners or with ourselves, friends or family,” said Nwokocha. 

“It’s very funny. I think it’s actually pretty cathartic.” 

“With so much death and so much decay happening in the world, knowing that we can create art out of this has been really important,” said Brandt, who is the play’s artistic director. 

Because the plays were written during the pandemic, stage directions recognize the need for actors to socially distance themselves on stage. Most of the pieces are performed by one or two actors to allow them to stay six feet apart. 

In addition, cast and crew are required to comply with strict COVID-19 protocols inside the theater. 

Performing pandemic challenges in real time

Nayeli Roman in "Alone Together"

Nayeli Roman is one of the SJSU students performing in “Alone Together” on April 24.

For Nayeli Roman, ’24 RTVF, “Alone Together” is her first time performing at the Hammer—and her first time performing beyond the confines of her computer screen in over a year. 

During her first semester at SJSU, she performed in “Betty’s Garage,” a radio play adapted by Miranda, and co-wrote a play inspired by folk tales that was produced remotely as part of Brandt’s fall show, “Mementos: Tales for a New Century.” The first time she approached the Hammer Theatre Center in person to buzz inside and rehearse, Roman filmed her entrance on her cell phone—it was that surreal, she recalled.

“All of our creativity is heightened because we are trying to recreate how we perform theater,” said Roman, who plays lead characters in two of the short plays. 

“It was wonderful to see how the sets were built, how our director Oluchi has directed our movements. It almost feels like we’re not doing it all on purpose to keep each other safe. After a year of not being able to perform in person, it reminded me of how much I love theater—the lighting, the excitement, the collaboration. It’s almost indescribable.”

The monologues and vignettes tackle the plight of essential workers, the anxiety and angst of living through a pandemic and even the humor of the unexpected. For example, in “Neither Here Nor There,” Roman plays Katie, an undergraduate in Florida who tries to catch up with her college roommate over Zoom and discovers just how different their lives are. 

The magic of “Alone Together,” Roman said, is the opportunity to inhabit characters who are living through many of the same experiences that she has as a college freshman making the most of school during a global pandemic. 

“‘Alone Together’ not only expresses how the pandemic has become a setback to society but how it is opening new doors to the future,” said Roman. 

“It is teaching us important lessons—reminding us not to take things for granted. This is the beginning of our new normal.”

“Alone Together” is being livestreamed from the Hammer at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24. 

Tickets are free for students and $10 for general admission. 

To learn more, visit hammertheatre.com/events-list.

President Papazian’s Update Regarding Independent Investigation Opened in December 2019 and Action Steps

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the campus community on Thursday, April 15. To view on the web, visit the SJSU FYI site.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

The safety and well-being of our community are of paramount importance at SJSU. These are obligations we owe to each and every one of our students. Unfortunately, we have not always lived up to those expectations.

As many of you know, in December 2019, I requested an external investigation into allegations of misconduct in 2009 by Scott Shaw, SJSU’s former director of sports medicine. Today, I am sharing the results of that investigation with you. The 2009 allegations of improper touching during physical therapy were substantiated, as were more recent allegations raised in the course of the investigation. The investigator concluded that the conduct at issue violated the university’s policies in effect at the time of the conduct. The investigation was conducted by an external attorney investigator and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer. The findings are now final. More information about the findings can be found on the SJSU FYI site [pdf].

To the affected student-athletes and their families, I apologize for this breach of trust. I am determined that we will learn from the past and never repeat it. We all need answers to questions about the original 2009 investigation and whether the university properly responded to subsequent concerns about that process. A new investigation, described below, will help us identify issues that must be addressed and improvements that should be made. This new investigation will be conducted by an external investigator and overseen by Systemwide Human Resources in the Chancellor’s Office. We will not, however, wait for that process to conclude before taking action. To that end, we are taking the following steps effective immediately:

Accountability & Facts

  • The new investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009 investigation and whether the university properly responded to subsequent concerns about that original investigation. I encourage anyone with relevant information to share their concerns with the external investigator, Elizabeth V. McNulty, who can be reached directly at 949-399-5026.
  • Individuals with questions, concerns or reports about any Title IX issues (such as sexual misconduct or other discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender or gender identity) should contact Wendi Liss at 408-924-7289 or Jenny Harper at 408-924-7288 in the Title IX Office or titleix@sjsu.edu.

Policy & Staffing

  • The Athletics Department, in conjunction with the Student Health Center and the Title IX Office, is finalizing a new sports medicine chaperone policy, which will be implemented no later than Fall 2021.
  • We are adding resources to and restructuring the Title IX Office.
  • We are increasing confidential support resources, including a full-time campus survivor advocate, before the start of the fall semester.

Training & Education

  • We will enhance education and orientation programs focused on sexual assault prevention, reporting options, and resources for survivors, witnesses, and bystanders.
  • Education will be provided to student-athletes, practitioners, and chaperones to ensure all persons involved in medical, physical therapy, and training sessions share a common understanding of what is expected.

Culture & Communication

  • We are responding to findings related to Title IX from the 2020 Belong@SJSU campus climate survey, geared towards improving awareness of resources, reporting options and empowering our students to come forward.
  • We will initiate an awareness and information campaign to encourage our student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the Department of Athletics to use Spartan Speaks – SJSU Athletics’ anonymous reporting tool.
  • We will provide user-friendly access to information about student rights and resources.
  • We will communicate updates and next steps across campus and throughout the San José State community.

Accountability, action, and transparency are critical to rebuilding trust in the face of troubling events like these. You have my promise that as we go through this difficult process and move forward together, we will hold ourselves accountable, make necessary changes, and consistently share our progress with the SJSU community.

Mary A. Papazian, Ph.D.
President

Virtual Admitted Spartan Days Provide an In-Depth Preview of the SJSU Experience

Admitted Spartan Days

Admitted Spartan Days launches online on April 10.

While the pandemic has shifted much of the college search for prospective students online, San José State University has excelled at creating virtual experiences to showcase all that SJSU has to offer. Starting April 10, newly admitted students can choose from more than 100 virtual presentations and workshops to get the information they need to enroll in fall 2021. 

By making resources available online in both real time and pre-recorded videos, future Spartans can navigate the offerings at their own pace and determine if SJSU is the best fit for them. Cathy Hernandez, ’24 Software Engineering, attended the virtual Admitted Spartan Days in spring 2020—and the experience sealed the deal for the Los Angeles native.

“Everywhere else I applied, I had seen or visited in person,” said Hernandez. “But I realized that SJSU was a really solid option for me after I followed SJSU social media and attended the online Admitted Spartan activities. It was really nice attending all the online events with my parents in our living room.”

Hernandez signed up for virtual campus tours, Q&As with her college and department, and a few other informational sessions. An aspiring software engineer, Hernandez was impressed with the Charles Davidson College of Engineering’s offerings, as well as the benefit of the university’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

She searched for fellow Spartans using the hashtag #SJSU on Instagram to find other engineering majors and ask student ambassadors questions about life on and off campus. By late spring, she was convinced that San José State was a good fit, even though her start at SJSU would be atypical due to the pandemic.

“I know this isn’t the college experience I had been anticipating, but I still feel like I am getting a good education, one where I enjoy learning,” said Hernandez.

This year’s Admitted Spartan Days virtual events will kick off with welcome sessions  from college deans and videos that introduce students to life at SJSU. The two-week event will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations. Additional webinars will highlight student success centers, athletics, university housing, financial aid and scholarships, career planning, student advising and more. 

To access the full list of virtual Admitted Spartan Days events, visit sjsu.edu/admittedspartandays. 

SJSU Looks Ahead to Fall Semester at Recent Adapt Town Halls

An infinity symbol with SJSU Adapt inside the inner circles

The recent town halls are part of the SJSU Adapt plan, a four-phase approach for the continuation of campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past week, San José State outlined how the university plans to adapt to an expected increase of students, faculty and staff on campus in the fall. In December, the California State University announced an anticipated return to delivering courses primarily in person during the fall 2021 semester. 

The SJSU Adapt Town Halls on March 10 and March 16 featured short presentations by President Mary A. Papazian, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr., and Dr. Barbara Fu, acting medical director of the Student Wellness Center, before shifting to a Q&A format. The Q&A featured questions submitted by attendees prior to the event as well as during the town hall.  

Most of the discussion was focused on fall 2021 courses and repopulation of campus for employees and students, with an emphasis on how the continued progression of the COVID-19 vaccination process plays a role in SJSU’s planning for the fall. 

“We live in a time of flux and fluidity, and we are doing the best we can to plan for fall while also understanding that a lot could change between now and August,” Del Casino said.

Del Casino added that he expects more face-to-face opportunities for learning in the fall while also remaining flexible for students who like learning in an online or hybrid environment. SJSU will continue to closely follow Santa Clara County and state of California public health guidelines as it finalizes the course schedule. 

Joanne Wright, senior associate vice president for University Personnel, said SJSU will not require the COVID-19 vaccination for students, faculty and staff. She added that departments will spend the coming weeks finalizing repopulation plans for employees. 

“Our mission is to educate our students, so as we repopulate, that will be foremost in our minds,” said Wright. “For individual units, the question will be: ‘How do we need to staff to best support our mission given that we anticipate a larger campus population for fall semester?’”

Wright added that some positions may continue telecommuting. SJSU currently has employees working on campus to support the limited on-campus population for the spring 2021 semester. 

To view the town halls in their entirety, visit the SJSU Adapt Town Halls page

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.

______________________________________________________________________________

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.”