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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos To Be Inducted into U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame

John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the Olympic Statues on the San Jose State University campus during the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. (Photo: Josie Lepe/San Jose State University)

San Jose, CA – Fifty-one years after San Jose State University alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos were removed from the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) is awarding Smith and Carlos their highest honor. On November 1, 2019, the Olympic sprinters will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame.

“The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame represents the pinnacle of competitive excellence in our nation, and its inspiring members are champions who have transcended sport through the legacy they leave both on and off the field of play,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “It’s an honor to welcome the class of 2019 into this prestigious and celebrated honor roll. We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans.”

Tommie Smith, ‘69 Social Science, ‘05 Honorary Doctorate, and John Carlos, ‘05 Honorary Doctorate, were SJSU track and field team members when they qualified to compete in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. After earning gold and bronze medals, respectively, they bowed their heads and raised gloved fists on the medal stand while the national anthem was playing. In doing so, they created an iconic moment in athlete activism

“It is never too late to do what is right—especially regarding those who have sacrificed so much for so long—not to benefit themselves, but in defense of human rights. Congratulations Tommie and John—two extraordinary athletes and human rights advocates who will be remembered and treasured as heroes as long as the Olympic Games shall exist. Never has induction into this prestigious Hall Of Fame been more deserved,” stated Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, and Kenneth Noel, ’66 BA, ’68 MA, Sociology, co-founders of SJSU’s Olympic Project for Human Rights.

Smith and Carlos become the second and third San Jose State athletes inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. They join fellow Spartan teammate and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Lee Evans, ‘70 Physical Education, who was inducted in 1989.

“I cannot say enough about the sacrifices John and Tommie have made and the rich tradition of student activism they both represent for our university,” said Mary A. Papazian, president of San Jose State. “More than 50 years after Mexico City, they are still working to improve people’s lives. We are very proud that John and Tommie got their starts as San Jose State Spartans, and I am delighted to see them honored by the USOPC for the work they did and continue to do on behalf of others.”


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations — offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 36,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State Tobacco, Vaping Ban Takes Effect

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News on Aug. 23, 2015.

By Sophie Mattson

SAN JOSE — When students returned to classes last week, San Jose State students were greeted by baby blue banners and posters advertising the campus’s new smoking ban rather than throngs of students and teachers puffing away.

Effective Aug. 1, all tobacco products and e-cigarettes were banned at SJSU following years of efforts to gauge student opinions of on-campus tobacco use and come up with a comprehensive smoking policy.”The biggest change for me is that I now have the confidence to approach someone who is smoking and let them know about the policy,” said Bradyn Miller, an SJSU graduate student studying public administration. The issue of secondhand smoke in public places is personal to Miller because her father, a nonsmoker, has developed lung cancer.

Read the full story.

 

Los Angeles Times: Uber’s Driver Screening Practices Fuel Political Debate on Rider Safety

Posted by the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 20, 2015.

By Laura J. Nelson and Emily Alpert Reyes

The ride-hailing revolution holds the potential to radically change the way people get around. But the political battle over Uber and Lyft in California has focused on something more obscure: fingerprints.

Uber is facing some of the fiercest challenges to its business practices from an array of California officials who claim the Silicon Valley-based company does not adequately screen its rapidly expanding pool of tens of thousands of drivers…

A number of other issues such as insurance coverage and liability have swirled around the rise of Uber and similar services. But for both elected officials and their constituents, questions of criminal histories are “a much more immediate concern if you’re deciding whether to use one of these services rather than a traditional taxi,” said Melinda Jackson, an associate professor of political science at San Jose State University.

Read the full story.

ABC 7: Dr. Qayoumi Leaves San Jose State for Advisory Role in Afghanistan

Posted by ABC 7 on Aug. 17, 2015.

By Cheryl Jennings

San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State, Give Susan Martin a Chance

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News on Aug. 14, 2015.

Mercury News Editorial

There’s been a rush to judgment on Susan Martin’s appointment as the interim president of San Jose State University upon Mohammad Qayoumi’s departure. As she settles into the campus this week, we hope the faculty and community leaders will look at her overall record, not just the flash point of Eastern Michigan University’s Huron logo controversy.

And we hope they’ll talk to her. It will be easy. Communication was not Qayoumi’s strong point, but it is Martin’s.

A number of factors combined to turn local sentiment against Martin. The CSU chancellor appointed her quickly without consulting local faculty, who had expected someone within the CSU system. But opponents mainly have focused on her decision in 2012 to include an old Indian-head Huron logo as one of two historic logos on an inside flap of the university’s band uniforms.

Read the full story.

 

NBC Bay Area: San Jose State University is Top School for Most Silicon Valley Hires

Posted by NBC Bay Area on July 16, 2015.

By Scott Budman

According to a recent survey by Jobvite, San Jose State University is the top school in the nation pushing for tech talent.

The Jobvite survey shows that SJSU has the most students hired by top tech companies in the Silicon Valley.

The career center at SJSU helps students bridge the gap between school and work.

“We promote and advocate internships and having that real-world experience while you’re in school, so that when you walk out of here with a degree, you also have years of experience as an intern,” said Daniel Newell, Program Manager of Workforce and Economic Development.

View the full story. 

San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State’s Japanese Internment Camp Archives to be Digitized

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News on July 2, 2015.

SAN JOSE — Jimi Yamaichi was 19 when he and his family were torn away from their farm in San Jose and incarcerated in a desolate, treeless internment camp in northern Wyoming with thousands of other Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“When we were leaving home and going to the camps, I saw Mom and Dad with tears in their eyes, looking at the green fields ready to be harvested, and they had to leave,” said Yamaichi, a 92-year-old San Jose resident and the curator of the San Jose Japanese-American Museum. “After 20 years of work, their investment had gone down the tubes.”

For Yamaichi and the dwindling number of surviving Japanese-Americans who were forced into the camps, this dark period of American history is an indelible part of their own stories.

But before their recollections fade with the passing generations, a new project is under way to preserve the family letters, photographs and government documents connected to the World War II internment camps.

Over the next two years, San Jose State and 14 other campuses in the California State University system will be digitizing 10,000 documents into a searchable database called the CSU Japanese American History Digitization Project. A $320,000 grant from the National Park Service will soon make these pieces of history available to the public online.

KGO-TV: Malala Yousafzai Visits San Jose, Talks with Khaled Hosseini

Posted by KGO-TV on June 26,2015.

By Cheryl Jennings, Weekday Co-Anchor

“The terrorists came did not believe in the freedom of women, they did not believe in women’s rights, to get an education,” Malala said to the crowd.

View the full story. 

San Francisco Chronicle: San Jose Crowd Cheers Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Posted by the San Francisco Chronicle on June 26, 2015.

By Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Reporter

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, told hundreds of people in San Jose on Friday that “education is every child’s right” and urged support for widespread efforts to guarantee secondary schooling for children around the world.

Malala, the 17-year-old Pakistani human rights activist, issued the call during comments at San Jose State University, where she was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation by an enthralled audience packed with girls and women, many clutching her best-selling memoir, “I Am Malala.”

Read the full story. 

San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State in the Spotlight for July 4 Parade

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News on June 24, 2016.

By Sal Pizarro

San Jose State University will be in the spotlight at this year’s Rose, White & Blue Parade, which will wind its way through San Jose’s Shasta Hanchett neighborhood on July 4.

When I first heard about the theme, I wondered who would be grand marshal. President Mo Qayoumi? Maybe one of the university’s many distinguished alumni? The answer floored me, and in a good way: Krazy George. The inventor of “the Wave” and the best drum-banging cheerleader the Spartans ever had, will be one of the guys leading the parade and trying for the world’s longest “wave.”Read the full story.

Ho Chi Minh City

40th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

San Jose State changed forever when Saigon fell 40 years ago today. Refugees who settled in the neighborhoods near campus grew into one the nation’s largest Vietnamese American communities. These days, many of these immigrants and their descendants are SJSU students, faculty and staff members, and alumni.

SJSU Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Science Hien Duc Do fled Vietnam at age 14 just days before the fall. Drawing from his research on the Vietnamese American experience, Do appears as an expert commentator in many news accounts of the lasting impact of the war. These include special reports by the San Jose Mercury News, KPIX TV, KGO radio, KCBS radio and KLIV radio.

Prominent Vietnamese American writer and journalist Andrew Lam, who left his homeland at age 11, is teaching this term at San Jose State. He shares his views on Vietnam then and now with the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera AmericaSan Jose Mercury News, KPIX TVKQED radio, and KLIV radio.

In a cover story on the Fall of Saigon, the Spartan Daily student newspaper profiles four local Vietnamese Americans. Accompanying the report online is a video documentary featuring, among others, a pastor, poet, and city council member. The student videographers discuss their work with NBC Bay AreaSouth Bay Pulse, an iPad app created by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, features the video and full-length profiles.

“The war created ripples that span generations,” the Spartan Daily says. “But despite the conflict, people have been able to start anew.”

 

Al Jazeera America: A Look at the U.S. Future with Afghanistan

Posted by Al Jazeera America March 23, 2015.

SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi discusses the future of U.S.-Afghan relations on the occasion of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s first state visit to this country. Qayoumi was born and raised in Afghanistan, and is active in efforts to rebuild his homeland. He and Ghani were college roommates. Watch the video.

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera

View the full story. 

San Jose Mercury News: Downtown College Prep Engineering Students Make Finals of Samsung Contest

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 14, 2015.

By Sal Pizarro

The Engineering Club at Downtown College Prep Alum Rock is leaving for a big adventure next week, and the school — which shares a campus with Independence High School in East San Jose — cheered them on at an assembly Friday.

The club is one of 15 national finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Competition and are leaving Tuesday for the finals in New York City, where they hope to be selected as one of five national winners that will receive a $120,000 technology grant (the public can vote online through March 25 for one of the winners). Luis Ruelas, the engineering and geometry teacher who advises the club, encouraged students they could succeed on the timely project, a household system to recycle water from washing machines and showers for use in toilets and garden irrigation.

He said it not a surprise to see high-achieving schools from high-income parts of the Bay Area succeed in contests like this one, which just makes the scrappy effort by the DCP team resound even more. The team of freshmen and sophomores is mostly Latino and includes several girls, both groups Ruelas says need more representation in engineering fields.

“It tells society that our students might have the talent but don’t necessarily have the resources,” said Ruelas, an engineer who graduated from Independence High and San Jose State.

Read the full story.

San Jose Mercury News: Grade Colleges On How Well They Teach Teachers? Universities Balk

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 4, 2015.

By Sharon Noguchi

With fresh credentials in hand, enthusiastic and energetic teachers charge into classrooms hoping to change young lives. But in the first year they often end up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and unprepared to teach and manage classes.

Now the Obama administration wants to improve teacher training so that newly minted teachers arrive prepared and able to deliver high-quality instruction. Too many teacher credential programs focus on theory, critics say, and devote too little time to instructing teachers on how to teach. And reformers say too many teachers — 40 percent — leave the profession in the first five years, in part because they’re unable to handle a complex, tough job…

While California colleges may dismiss rankings of their programs, proof of success shows up in school superintendents’ recruitment. The Franklin-McKinley School District finds its best recruits in Midwestern universities, Superintendent John Porter said, and also in a San Jose State program that provides a yearlong residency, longer than other schools.

“We get superstars out of that program,” said Porter, who believes quality training is critical.

Read the full story.

San Jose Mercury News: Animated Winners

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Feb. 27, 2015.

By Sal Pizarro

ANIMATED WINNERS: When Disney’s “Big Hero 6” was announced as the Best Animated Feature at Sunday’s Academy Awards, there was some cheering at San Jose State. Three Spartans alums were involved in the film’s production: Scott Watanabe was the lead art director, Kendelle Hoyer worked as a story artist and Lauren Brown was a publicist.

Read the full story.

San Jose Mercury News: East San Jose’s Montes de Oca Advocated for Latino Youth, Community

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Feb. 2, 2015.

By Bruce Newman

SAN JOSE — When his son was born 40 years ago, Jose Montes de Oca was running a magazine that covered the Chicano movement at San Jose State University — a movement Montes de Oca had been breathing life into since he arrived on campus.

“There were not that many Chicanos at San Jose State at that time,” recalled Montes de Oca’s longtime friend, Macario Ortiz, “so when you saw a brown face it was a good thing.”

There also weren’t that many single dads in those days, and fewer still who were doggedly attempting to raise a child in a 3-bedroom apartment, where he was living with five college roommates — including Ortiz.

“He was the first single parent that I ever met,” said Ortiz. “Jose was always taking that baby to meetings, going everyplace with his son.”

The six young Latino bachelors who raised Jose Junior called themselves “the Roommates,” and were planning to watch the Super Bowl together Sunday, until word came last week that Montes de Oca had died on Jan. 28, at age 61, from complications of liver cancer. Last June, he revealed his grim diagnosis to a wide network of family and friends on Facebook.

Read the full story.

KTVU: Raider Pays Back San Jose Homeless Shelter That Helped Him as a Child

Posted Jan. 28, 2015 by KTVU.

By Amber Lee

AN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) — Oakland Raider James Jones has won a Super Bowl, but what makes the wide receiver stand out is how he gives back to the San Jose community that once helped him when he and his mother struggled with homelessness.

Since Jones signed with the Raiders last March, he has paid several visits to Family Supportive Housing, a shelter in San Jose that housed him when he was growing up.

Visiting the shelter for families is like coming home for Jones.

“When I was growing up, I was in and out of shelters for 15 years,” explained Jones.

At the shelter, he spoke with a man who recently lost his job and a place to live.

“Been in the same situation. Everything is temporary,” Jones told the homeless father.

Being at a homeless shelter was actually comforting for Jones while growing up, because he says it meant stability for a while.

“There were times where me and my mom slept on a park bench. At times, we were in and out of motels. That was probably the hardest time,” said Jones.

Jones credits determination and hard work first at Gunderson High School and later at San Jose State for helping him succeed.

View the full story.