Engineering Convocation: “Architects of the Future”

Engineering Convocation: “Be Confident and Dream Big”

Dean Andrew Hsu congratulated the 750 bachelor and master’s candidates for their achievement in one of the “most challenging programs on campus.” (Stan Olszewski photo)

(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers will take a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we can share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

The flash of cameras danced to the rhythm of “Pomp and Circumstance” in SJSU’s Event Center May 24 as family and friends whistled, jumped up and down, and flailed their hands to get the attention of loved one walking to their seats center-arena at the College of Engineering convocation.

Dean Andrew Hsu opened the ceremony by welcoming proud parents, family, faculty and staff members. Before turning the event over to the keynote speaker, Hsu congratulated the 750 bachelor and master’s candidates for their achievement in one of the “most challenging programs on campus.”

Hsu closed by commending graduates on their “abilities and ethics to build a career and make the world a better place” and told them to “be confident and dream big.”

In his address, Animatics Co-Founder and CEO Robert Bigler talked about the challenges he faced turning his SJSU senior project into a motion control and automation company. The key, he said, was his SJSU education and “extracting positive insight from failure.”

Bigler advised graduates to “dedicate yourself to the process and there will be no limits” and reminded them “we are in the middle of a technological renaissance; you will be architects of what will be an extremely new future,” he said.


In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from child and adolescent development majors. More will be shared at Commencement.

Drupa Desai: “I would like to give a shout out to Prof. Avtar Singh who has played a great role in my years at SJSU. He has been great motivation and inspiration.

Elnaz Morad: “Mom, you are the sun of my life, Vahid you are the sunshine of my life and Golnaz you are the joy of my life. Thanks for your support.”

Ian Lopez Aguilar: “To my wife Daisy and daughter Isabella for all the support!”

San Jose Mercury News: Local College Students Design Alternative Vehicles

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News May 12, 2013.

By Elizabeth Devitt

SAN JOSE — When local students took the challenge to design human-powered vehicles, they did more than build a bicycle — they made their futures brighter, too.

Since school started in September, two teams of seniors, majoring in mechanical engineering at San Jose State and Santa Clara universities, worked to create sustainable and practical models of alternative transportation.

“It’s easy to dream up designs that you can’t actually ride,” said Brian Lai, student treasurer of the San Jose State University American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “So this gives us a lot of practical knowledge that can’t be learned from a book.”

ASME created an annual Human Powered Vehicle Contest, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, to give students a practical design experience that’s also socially meaningful, said Dr. Mark Archibald, HPVC committee chair. The students are graded on design innovation, speed and maneuverability through an obstacle course.

The student designs were put to the test at the Human Powered Vehicle Contest held at San Jose State University and Hellyer Park Velodrome last month. Each team sent a male and female driver racing around the banked cycling track to test sprint speed. Then, there was a 21/2 hour endurance race — won by cranking out the most laps around a parking-lot course — with obstacles such as stop signs, tasks to deliver packages to simulate usefulness of vehicle, and six mandatory driver changes. Finally, judges evaluated innovative features of each entry.

Although both teams placed in the middle of the competitive pack — San Jose State came in 10th and Santa Clara placed 11th, out of 29 entries from the western states division — the experience will put all the students ahead of the game when they apply for jobs.

A core crew of three San Jose State University students, Henry Chea, Alex Houlemard and Daniel Kruusmagi, worked straight through spring break to get their steel-framed recumbent bicycle ready for competition. Chea came to the team with experience from the 2011 competition. But the stakes were higher this time, he said. The bike was everyone’s senior project and students get graded on their efforts.

Their finished entry was named Apollo, paying homage to NASA and the Moffett Field site originally slated for the event. The 62-pound bike featured a wraparound fairing made of carbon fiber and a retractable stabilizer to balance the bike during stops and starts. Unlike other recumbent bikes, this one sported a split chain ring for better mechanical advantage and an adaptive headlight system that shines along the driver’s line of vision.

“We knew we wanted a two-wheeled bike for speed,” said Houlemard, “but we studied winning bike models from previous years for successful design tips.”

The Santa Clara University team recruited its own adviser to get its project rolling. Under the guidance of engineering professor and former ASME president Terry Shoup, the nine rookie competitors focused on building an affordable bike that was stable enough to traverse any kind of territory.

Their cherry-red tricycle, dubbed Cerberus after the mythological three-headed dog, earned second place overall among the seven novice teams in the contest. The group spent less than $5,000 to make the 66-pound steel vehicle out of square, easy-to-weld parts.

The team placed eighth, overall, for best innovations. Contest rules gave them five minutes to explain unique design features that included a nonstop lighting system and the ability to store energy generated by a dynamo, a friction based device set against the rear wheel and wired to four AA batteries.

The Santa Clara team also earned an award for a well-used roll bar that protected the driver from injury during speed trials on the banked track at the velodrome. And the SJSU team was recognized for hosting the event when budget cuts forced a last-minute venue change; instead of designing a bike, 12 members of the team scrambled to manage the entire event, said Jonathan Ross, SJSU student president of ASME. The overall winner of the HPVC western division was Rose Hulman Polytechnic Institute from Indiana.

Early Career Investigator Awards

Early Career Investigator Awards

Camille Johnson from the College of Business and Juneseok Lee from the College of Engineering have received the SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2013.  Their selection is made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

“The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, peer-reviewed publications and other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn said.

“Our two recipients are excellent examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.”

The SJSU Research Foundation has established two Early Career Investigator Awards in order to encourage participation beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated. One award goes to a faculty member in the Colleges of Science and Engineering and another is made to a faculty member from all other colleges. Each awardee will receive a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

Faculty Members Receive Early Career Investigator Awards

Camille Johnson

Camille Johnson, in her sixth year at SJSU, has demonstrated an outstanding record of research and scholarship in her field of social psychology. Since joining the Department of Organization and Management, Johnson successfully competed for a three-year National Science Foundation grant totaling $131,204 that has provided funding to furnish a behavioral research lab in the College of Business, furthering the research capabilities and infrastructure of SJSU’s Behavioral and Applied Research Group.  In addition, Johnson has established a strong basis for student mentoring with several of her students currently working as active researchers in industry and graduate school. Johnson has nine peer-reviewed publications, including two in top-tier journals as a first author. She has not only furthered her own research agenda, but has actively participated in the extension and support of the research culture at SJSU by serving as a mentor in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Grants Academy, managing a research participant pool for all faculty, and organizing a series of research development workshops, all which serve to promote collegiality, research partnerships, and research productivity at SJSU.

Faculty Members Receive Early Career Investigator Awards

Juneseok Lee

Juneseok Lee, in his fifth year at SJSU, has been tremendously productive in his field of water resources engineering with major research focus on sustainability issues of water resources and infrastructure management.  Since joining the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, he has secured $385,399 to support his research.  His funding sources include the National Science Foundation, the California Water Service Company and Hewlett-Packard.  As an assistant professor, Lee has published seven journal articles including in The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, The Journal of American Water Works Association, and The International Water Association: Water Supply, all highly respected journals in the area of water resources engineering.  In addition, Lee has made a total of 21 presentations at professional society meetings including the American Society of Civil Engineers conferences of which 10 were published in proceedings, and has delivered five invited talks to various professional research societies. Lee obtained his California Civil Engineering Professional Engineer License in 2011 and was selected as the 2011 ASCE Fellow for Excellence in Civil Engineering Education. Lee is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in his specialized area of sustainable water resources and infrastructure management.

Enrollment Opens for Battery U. Master's Program

Enrollment Opens for Battery U.

Enrollment Opens for Battery U. Master's Program

Course topics will range from the basics of battery technology and manufacturing to overviews of market dynamics and policy considerations.

SANTA CLARA – Silicon Valley’s new “battery university” will begin offering a two-year master’s degree program this fall, a first-of-its-kind graduate degree focused on battery technologies. Enroll today.

The battery university is a collaboration between San Jose State University and CalCharge and seeks to expand the skilled workforce needed by this rapidly growing and changing industry.

“We’re really excited about this groundbreaking new program to prepare leaders in an important emerging industry,” said Ahmed Hambaba, Associate Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State.

“When we first started talking about a ‘battery university,’ it was going to start out as a professional training program. But the response has been so overwhelming, the College of Engineering decided to offer a master’s-level program instead.”

Course topics will range from the basics of battery technology and manufacturing to overviews of market dynamics and policy considerations. Designed to include opportunities for hands-on experience, students will be able to conduct research and market analysis projects with local battery firms. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will contribute instructors to the program.

“Our battery scientists at Berkeley Lab are among the best in the nation,” said Venkat Srinivasan, head of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a founding partner of CalCharge. “As a national lab, training the next generation of scientists is one of our missions. To make better batteries we need innovation at every level. Having a workforce trained in the art and science of making batteries is critical to achieving breakthroughs and expanding the number of companies operating here in the U.S.”

Stackable Certificates

The program will initially accommodate up to 30 students who will take classes through San Jose State University’s Extended Studies program via the College of Engineering. Courses can be taken to complete a series of nested certificate programs or for a full master’s of Science in engineering with an emphasis in battery technology. Working professionals may also elect to take single classes of interest through the program duration as non-matriculated, Open University students. A full list of classes and descriptions is available on SJSU’s Graduate & Extended Studies website.

“Battery technology companies are increasingly confronted by a serious lack of trained professionals to get the job done,” said Jeff Anderson, interim Executive Director of CalCharge and managing director of CalCEF, a group of organizations promoting the development of a clean-energy economy. “The greatest challenge to California’s energy-storage industry is that we don’t have enough skilled workers to take an idea from innovation to infrastructure, which is critical to commercializing, manufacturing, and scaling new technologies.”

Industry experts and investors greeted news of battery university earlier this year with enthusiasm. “Great idea,” tweeted Bill Gates.

About CalCharge

CalCharge, a partnership of CalCEF, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC has been formed to accelerate the development of a thriving energy storage cluster in California. CalCharge brings together emerging and established California based battery technology developers, national labs and universities, major end users, and other stakeholders focused on energy storage applications. Through CalCharge these diverse stakeholders can collaborate, identify barriers to emerging technology success, develop solutions, and gain access to the resources that help clear the path to commercialization. Its programs and initiatives help to accelerate the development of new technologies, address gaps in workforce proficiency, facilitate business strategy and policy innovation, and enhance the community and identity of this growing sector.

About San Jose State University

San Jose State University, the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast, is the number one supplier of education, engineering, computer science and business graduates to Silicon Valley, the world’s high tech capital. SJSU is ranked in the top 15 master’s-level public universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report in its annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges.” Also, the US News and World report recently ranked the College of Engineering third nationally among state schools, and 17th nationally among non-PhD schools (2013).

About Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

About CalCEF

CalCEF works to promote the transition to a clean energy economy by creating institutions and investment vehicles that grow markets for clean energy technologies. CalCEF is a non-profit umbrella organization that pursues statewide and national agendas via 1) CalCEF Innovations, a 501(c)(3) that leads CalCEF’s analysis and product development; and 2) CalCEF Ventures, a 501(c)(4) that executes and scales the CalCEF investment strategy via a fund-of-funds model, partnering with leading investment managers.


New York Times: Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden

Posted by the New York Times April 29, 2013.

By Tamar Lewin

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are now turning to the gritty task of harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in American higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate on time.

Nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States arrive on campus needing remedial work before they can begin regular credit-bearing classes. That early detour can be costly, leading many to drop out, often in heavy debt and with diminished prospects of finding a job.

Meanwhile, shrinking state budgets have taken a heavy toll at public institutions, reducing the number of seats available in classes students must take to graduate. In California alone, higher education cuts have left hundreds of thousands of college students without access to classes they need.

To address both problems and keep students on track to graduation, universities are beginning to experiment with adding the new “massive open online courses,” created to deliver elite college instruction to anyone with an Internet connection, to their offerings.

While the courses, known as MOOCs, have enrolled millions of students around the world, most who enroll never start a single assignment, and very few complete the courses. So to reach students who are not ready for college-level work, or struggling with introductory courses, universities are beginning to add extra supports to the online materials, in hopes of improving success rates.

Here at San Jose State, for example, two pilot programs weave material from the online classes into the instructional mix and allow students to earn credit for them.

“We’re in Silicon Valley, we breathe that entrepreneurial air, so it makes sense that we are the first university to try this,” said Mohammad Qayoumi, the university’s president. “In academia, people are scared to fail, but we know that innovation always comes with the possibility of failure. And if it doesn’t work the first time, we’ll figure out what went wrong and do better.”

In one pilot program, the university is working with Udacity, a company co-founded by a Stanford professor, to see whether round-the-clock online mentors, hired and trained by the company, can help more students make their way through three fully online basic math courses.

The tiny for-credit pilot courses, open to both San Jose State students and local high school and community college students, began in January, so it is too early to draw any conclusions. But early signs are promising, so this summer, Udacity and San Jose State are expanding those classes to 1,000 students, and adding new courses in psychology and computer programming, with tuition of only $150 a course.

San Jose State has already achieved remarkable results with online materials from edX, a nonprofit online provider, in its circuits course, a longstanding hurdle for would-be engineers. Usually, two of every five students earn a grade below C and must retake the course or change career plans. So last spring, Ellen Junn, the provost, visited Anant Agarwal, an M.I.T. professor who taught a free online version of the circuits class, to ask whether San Jose State could become a living lab for his course, the first offering from edX, an online collaboration of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ms. Junn hoped that blending M.I.T.’s online materials with live classroom sessions might help more students succeed. Dr. Agarwal, the president of edX, agreed enthusiastically, and without any formal agreement or exchange of money, he arranged for San Jose State to offer the blended class last fall.

The results were striking: 91 percent of those in the blended section passed, compared with 59 percent in the traditional class.

“We’re engineers, and we check our results, but if this semester is similar, we will not have the traditional version next year,” said Khosrow Ghadiri, who teaches the blended class. “It would be educational malpractice.”

It is hard to say, though, how much the improved results come from the edX online materials, and how much from the shift to classroom sessions focusing on small group projects, rather than lectures.

Finding better ways to move students through the start of college is crucial, said Josh Jarrett, a higher education officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which in the past year has given grants to develop massive open online courses for basic and remedial courses.

“For us, 2012 was all about trying to tilt some of the MOOC attention toward the more novice learner, the low-income and first-generation students,” he said. “And 2013 is about blending MOOCs into college courses where there is additional support, and students can get credit. While some low-income young adults can benefit from what I call the free-range MOOCs, the research suggests that most are going to need more scaffolding, more support.”

Until now, there has been little data on how well the massive online courses work, and for which kinds of students. Blended courses provide valuable research data because outcomes can easily be compared with those from a traditional class. “The results in the San Jose circuits course are probably the most interesting data point in the whole MOOC movement,” Mr. Jarrett said.

Said Dr. Junn, “We want to bring all the hyperbole around MOOCs down to reality, and really see at a granular level that’s never before been available, how well they work for underserved students.”

Online courses are undeniably chipping at the traditional boundaries of higher education. Until now, most of the millions of students who register for them could not earn credit for their work. But that is changing, and not just at San Jose State. The three leading providers, Udacity, EdX and Coursera, are all offering proctored exams, and in some cases, certification for transfer credit through the American Council on Education.

Last month, in a controversial proposal, the president pro tem of the California Senate announced the introduction of legislation allowing students in the state’s public colleges and universities who cannot get a seat in oversubscribed lower-level classes to earn credit for faculty-approved online versions, including those from private vendors like edX and Udacity.

And on Wednesday, San Jose State announced that next fall, it will pay a licensing fee to offer three to five more blended edX courses, probably including Harvard’s “Ancient Greek Heroes” and Berkeley’s”Artificial Intelligence.” And over the summer, it will train 11 other California State campuses to use the blended M.I.T. circuits course.

Dr. Qayoumi favors the blended model for upper-level courses, but fully online courses like Udacity’s for lower-level classes, which could be expanded to serve many more students at low cost. Traditional teaching will be disappearing in five to seven years, he predicts, as more professors come to realize that lectures are not the best route to student engagement, and cash-strapped universities continue to seek cheaper instruction.

“There may still be face-to-face classes, but they would not be in lecture halls,” he said. “And they will have not only course material developed by the instructor, but MOOC materials and labs, and content from public broadcasting or corporate sources. But just as faculty currently decide what textbook to use, they will still have the autonomy to choose what materials to include.”

While San Jose State professors decided what material should be covered in the three Udacity math courses, it was Udacity employees who determined the course look and flow — and, in most cases, appeared on camera.

“We gave them lecture notes and a textbook, and they ‘Udacified’ things, and wrote the script, which we edited,” said Susan McClory, San Jose State’s developmental math coordinator. “We made sure they used our way of finding a common denominator.”

The online mentors work in shifts at Udacity’s offices in nearby Mountain View, Calif., waiting at their laptops for the “bing” that signals a question, and answering immediately.

“We get to hear the ‘aha’ moments, and these all-caps messages ‘THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU,’ ” said Rachel Meltzer, a former clinical research manager at Stanford and mentor who is starting medical school next fall.

The mentors answer about 30 questions a day, like how to type the infinity symbol or add unlike fractions — or, occasionally, whether Ms. Meltzer is interested in a date. The questions appear in a chat box on-screen, but tutoring can move to a whiteboard, or even a live conversation. When many students share confusion, mentors provide feedback to the instructors.

The San Jose State professors were surprised at the speed with which the project came together.

“The first word was in November, and it started in January,” said Ronald Rogers, one of the statistics professors. “Academics usually form a committee for months before anything happens.”

But Udacity’s approach was appealing.

“What attracted us to Udacity was the pedagogy, that they break things into very small segments, then ask students to figure things out, before you’ve told them the answer,” said Dr. Rogers, who spends an hour a day reading comments on the discussion forum for students in the worldwide version of the class.

Results from the pilot for-credit version with the online mentors will not be clear until after the final exams, which will be proctored by webcam.

But one good sign is that, in the pilot statistics course, every student, including a group of high school students from an Oakland charter school, completed the first, unproctored exam.

“We’re approaching this as an empirical question,” Dr. Rogers said. “If the results are good, then we’ll scale it up, which would be very good, given how much unmet demand we have at California public colleges.”

Any wholesale online expansion raises the specter of professors being laid off, turned into glorified teaching assistants or relegated to second-tier status, with only academic stars giving the lectures. Indeed, the faculty unions at all three California higher education systems oppose the legislation requiring credit for MOOCs for students shut out of on-campus classes. The state, they say, should restore state financing for public universities, rather than turning to unaccredited private vendors.

But with so many students lacking access, others say, new alternatives are necessary.

“I’m involved in this not to destroy brick-and-mortar universities, but to increase access for more students,” Dr. Rogers said.

And if short videos and embedded quizzes with instant feedback can improve student outcomes, why should professors go on writing and delivering their own lectures?

“Our ego always runs ahead of us, making us think we can do it better than anyone else in the world,” Dr. Ghadiri said. “But why should we invent the wheel 10,000 times? This is M.I.T., No. 1 school in the nation — why would we not want to use their material?”

There are, he said, two ways of thinking about what the MOOC revolution portends: “One is me, me, me — me comes first. The other is, we are not in this business for ourselves, we are here to educate students.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 30, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the institution from which Rachel Meltzer, a mentor for the online provider Coursera, graduated. It was Washington University in St. Louis, not Stanford (where Ms. Meltzer worked a clinical research manager).

Driver in racecar prepares to drive away as man waves green flag

Spartan Racing Charges Toward 2013 Races

For the dedicated members of Spartan Racing, the SJSU student chapter of  Society of Automotive Engineers International, what drives them is a strong passion as they set their sights on the finish line.

During a 10-month cycle each year, specific teams focus on designing, building, testing and preparing one of three types of vehicles for competitions. New this year is an all-electric vehicle, in addition to a formula race car with a combustion engine and an off-road baja vehicle. Upcoming competitions against other universities will take place within the next few months.

The opportunity to become part of Spartan Racing is what attracted some students to their chosen major or, in the case of senior mechanical engineering major Tom Stroud, the university itself.

“I think the formula team is the biggest reason why I decided to go to San Jose State,” said Stroud, who is team manager of the inaugural electric team. “I got into a few engineering programs, and I chose this one to be on the team, so that was one of the deciding factors for going to this school.”

Formula SAE Unveils 2013 Car 

Formula SAE is hosting a party on April 26 in San Jose where the students will showcase their latest open-wheel car. Interested attendees can register here for the free event. The group will also raise funds at the party for its upcoming races by selling food, drinks and T-shirts.

Vince Donatini, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, heard about Spartan Racing through a welcome barbeque during his first week as a SJSU student. He worked his way up to become the current Formula SAE team manager and has helped organized this event.

“Besides the sponsors, we’re also thanking our friends, family and parents especially for giving us the option to go to college,” Donatini said, “where without San Jose State, without our parents, without anyone else we have in our lives, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do a project that impacts our lives so heavily.”

Gaining Hands-On Experience

In addition to engineering, students from any major can become part of Spartan Racing, bringing their specialized skills and knowledge to these projects. For instance, the non-racing portions of the competitions, known as static events, include creating and pitching a business proposal to market the vehicle, defending design decisions on paper and in front of judges and writing a report about the vehicle’s costs.

“I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to be an engineer to be on the team,” Stroud said. “Everybody is welcome.”

Donatini said they sometimes describe this extracurricular activity to prospective members as “a job or internship that you can’t get fired from.”

“You’ll make your mistakes here, so once you graduate, we’ll hopefully give you the skills that you need in industry,” he said.

Chronicle of Higher Education: The Digital Campus 2013–Learning From Big Business

Posted by the Chronicle of Higher Education April 29, 2013.

The Idea Makers: Ten Tech Innovators 2013

What are the biggest ideas in education technology this year, and who’s driving them? For the second year in a row, The Chronicle has identified a group of key innovators who are rebooting the academy, and we’ve profiled 10 of them on the pages that follow. This is not an endorsement of their projects: In some cases, the subjects of the profiles disagree with one another on how best to change higher education. But all of the people you’ll meet here think technology could break established molds and help students learn more effectively, researchers make discoveries more easily, and colleges operate more efficiently. Earlier this year we invited readers and higher-education leaders to submit their nominations for this project, and we received more than 125 entries. Ultimately, the selections were made by a group of Chronicle editors and reporters, with a goal of considering innovators in various sectors.

By Jeffrey R. Young

Mohammad H. Qayoumi thinks public universities should take a lesson from Wal-Mart—a view that might sound strange coming from a university president.

But Mr. Qayoumi, who leads San Jose State University, is referring to the retail giant’s ability to continually expand both its brick-and-mortar stores and its online services. “It has the biggest stores all over the country, but it is also really active in e-commerce,” he says. “It’s not an either/or, it’s an issue of how we can really bring a blend of the two together.”

Mr. Qayoumi is trying a similar blending on his campus. He is experimenting with using massive open online courses, or MOOCs, both to bring down the cost of delivering classes on his campus and to let high-school students and others get a head start on college—on the cheap.

For his first goal of cutting costs, the university teamed up with edX, the nonprofit MOOC provider started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to offer a “circuits and electronics” course in which students watched free lectures made by MIT professors as homework and attended class discussions with instructors at San Jose State.

The experiment violated a basic premise of college teaching—that every professor should create and deliver his or her own lectures.

“How different is the basic algebra course taught in Boston, or California, or wherever?” asks Mr. Qayoumi.

To help provide a cheaper online-only option, the university forged a partnership with Udacity, a for-profit MOOC provider. In a pilot project, the company worked with professors at the university to create three introductory mathematics classes. The courses are free online, but students who want credit from San Jose State can take them for just $150, far less than the $450 to $750 that students would typically pay for a credit-bearing course.

Both moves are part of Mr. Qayoumi’s plan to “reinvent” public universities. He has laid out that vision in a series of reports that call for public colleges to use technology to produce more graduates while spending less money. In one, he suggests that some high-school students might take a year’s worth of courses as MOOCs before even coming to a college campus.

Some professors question the president’s notion that colleges should look to industry for inspiration. “It almost treats students like they’re industrial products, like ‘How many widgets can we get through those programs?'” said David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media at the University of Texas at Dallas, in an interview this year after San Jose State announced its project with Udacity.

Mr. Qayoumi, though, sees the move to online learning as a way to actually improve the quality of education. In large lecture classes, he says, people romanticize the classroom experience and overstate the effectiveness of the chalk-and-talk format. When professors give monologues to a room of 120 students, few actually interact with the sage on the stage.

So far, data are proving him right. In his experiment with the edX circuits class, 91 percent of the students who watched the lecture videos from MIT passed, while only 55 percent and 59 percent passed in the two traditional sections offered as control groups.

The president compares higher education today to the railroad industry in the 1940s and 50s: Companies that stubbornly clung to the view that they were in the railroad business failed, while those that diversified, considering their mission as transportation in whatever form, thrived.

“How can we really help our students be successful?” he asks. “How can we be this cradle of creativity and an intellectual center of new ideas and new knowledge?”

“We are a learning enterprise,” he says. And he’s willing to abandon the old rails of traditional instruction.

Mr. Qayoumi, 60, grew up in Afghanistan and trained as an engineer at the American University of Beirut. He did his doctoral thesis at the University of Cincinnati on how to rethink electrical systems to make them more efficient.

He worked in industry for several years—as an engineer in the Middle East—which he credits for giving him his business-minded approach to college leadership.

In the mid-80s he became associate vice president for administration at San Jose State, and held administrative positions at two other California institutions before becoming president of California State University-East Bay, in 2006. He took over the top job at San Jose State two years ago.

He has also played a role in the rebuilding of his homeland, serving as senior adviser to the minister of finance of Afghanistan, from 2002 to 2005, and as a board member of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, from 2003 to 2006.

His reports and his experiments with MOOCs have recently brought him into the national spotlight. He has presented his ideas to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Gov. Jerry Brown of California has taken an interest in his projects.

Mr. Qayoumi often talks as if he’s running a start-up technology company rather than a state university. “We would like to move as fast as we can,” he says of his plans. “We want to fail fast, learn from it, and move on.”

What would he say to someone who worries that too much fast failing could undo his esteemed university?

“I don’t see them as radical,” he says of his projects. “It’s not that we’re changing the entire university.”

But he does feel a sense of urgency for his reforms. “Isn’t it about time that something should change?” he asks. “From the day that chalk and a blackboard were invented, how much change has really been made? We need to move far faster than what we have been comfortable” with up to now, he says.


CNBC: Immigration Reform–What’s at Stake for Tech?

CNBC: Immigration Reform: What's at Stake for Tech?

CNBC: Immigration Reform: What’s at Stake for Tech?

Posted by CNBC April 13, 2013.

Spurred by Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s April 10 op-ed in the Washington Post, CNBC produced this story examining immigration reform and the tech sector. “We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world,” Zuckerberg writes. “Why do we kick out the more than 40 percent of math and science graduate students who are not U.S. citizens after educating them?” He goes on to argue for “comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born.” CNBC Technology Correspondent Jon Fortt invites viewers inside an engineering classroom at San Jose State, where students say “a lot of companies would not take them if they are not citizens even though they are well educated.”

SJSU Expands edX Collaboration

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom joined SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi and edX President Anant Agarwal at a news conference on April 10 at King Library announcing a major expansion to the collaboration between SJSU and edX, the not-for-profit online learning enterprise founded by Harvard and MIT. SJSU and edX will establish a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning at SJSU, grow to serve up to 11 more California State University campuses, and add up to five more edX courses. The event featured a panel discussion with SJSU Lecturer Khosrow Ghadiri, student Sara Compton, Newsom, Qayoumi and Agarwal. Professor of Electrical Engineering Ping Hsu served as moderator.

“It’s not the tyranny of OR. It’s the genius of AND,” Newsom said, comparing conventional classes with the “flipped” approach developed by SJSU and edX.

The SJSU-edX collaboration began in fall 2012, when Ghadiri assigned the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics online materials as homework for his EE98 Introduction to Circuits Analysis course.

“When I’m studying for a midterm and there’s one thing I don’t quite understand, I can’t go back to that lecture in a traditional class, but with this class, I can go back and play it again,” Compton said, explaining how she benefits from viewing MITx lecture sequences online.

Classtime was devoted to discussion and group work. Early indicators have been remarkably positive. View the news conference video.

Shruthi Thirumalai

2013 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

President Mohammad Qayoumi will recognize four top graduates at Commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 25 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013 will be eligible to participate. Around 25,000 graduates, family and friends are expected to attend the ceremony.

Maimona Afzal and Travis Lopez have been named SJSU’s 2013 Outstanding Graduating Seniors in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Sarah Swift and Shruthi Thirumalai have received the 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of the exceptional quality of their research.

Maimona Afzal

Maimona Afzal, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Maimona Afzal is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She says that her college experience has given her opportunities to interact, collaborate, and serve her community in many ways. A Kaucher Mitchell Honorable Mention recipient, Afzal is graduating with a 3.98 GPA. She led 15 volunteer tutors as a coordinator for the Homework Club and managed the Reading to Children program. Off campus, Afzal advocated for orphaned children as a volunteer with the GiveLight Foundation and spent her summers as a counselor and troop leader for a youth camp. Graduating at the age of 18, Afzal hopes that her drive will inspire others to act on their dreams. Afzal has accepted a position at Teach for America, where she will be working with special needs children in East San Jose.

Travis Lopez

Travis Lopez, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Travis Lopez is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He says he has enjoyed increasing awareness about globalization while at SJSU. He is graduating with a 3.936 GPA. Lopez served as a leader in the Entrepreneurial Society and the Executive Leadership Council, and still found time to pursue entrepreneurship through the Spartups Incubator and the MIS Association. A Salzburg Scholar, Lopez also worked in Hong Kong through the Thompson Global Internship Program and analyzed mobile applications for the city of San Jose and Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, as part of two honors student programs. Lopez has accepted an offer to work at NetApp, a network storage and cloud computing company, and will continue with his most meaningful contribution, Mobedio, a start-up that uses an online public opinion platform to increase civic participation.

Sarah Swift

Sarah Swift, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Sarah Swift is graduating with a master’s degree in communicative disorders and sciences. For her thesis “Low-tech, Eye-Movement-Accessible AAC and Typical Adults,” Swift studied augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some types of AAC make use of eye movements as a means to communicate wants and needs, engage in social relationships and continue with daily life for those who have lost the ability to speak. Swift focused on low-tech eye-gaze methods in typical adults. Before her study there was not much research on the preference of commonly used eye-movement accessible AAC systems by non-neurologically impaired adults. Her study added to the knowledge in the field by providing a baseline for low-tech eye gaze methods. Swift is currently a speech pathologist in Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s rehabilitation unit.

Shruthi Thirumalai

Shruthi Thirumalai, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Shruthi Thirumalai is graduating with a master’s degree in general engineering. She dreams of continuing research that will help people lead healthy lives. For her thesis, “Opto-Acoustic Interrogation and Ultrasound Imaging Of Acoustically Sensitive Microcapsules,” Thirumalai examined the use of ultrasound to locate and modulate the release of cancer-killing drugs from microcapsules when they are implanted in breast tumors. Her biomedical engineering research crossed the fields of ultrasound, microencapsulation and microfluidics, and has resulted in two conference publications, one journal article, one poster presentation and the San Jose State research award for engineering. Thirumalai says that each class at SJSU has given her different ways to challenge herself. She is currently considering biomedical engineering doctoral programs and hopes to give back as a mentor by becoming a professor one day.


Edx Classroom

SJSU/EdX Adds More Campuses, Courses

SJSU/EdX Expansion

During SJSU’s fall 2012 EE98 Introduction to Circuits Analysis course, SJSU Lecturer Khosrow Ghadiri used the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics materials on the edX platform. (Christina Olivas photo)

SJSU will open a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning. The expanded collaboration follows a successful pilot that increased pass rates.

Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU media relations, 408-656-6999
Dan O’Connell, edX media relations, 617-480-6585

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Thousands more California State University students will benefit from a major expansion to the collaboration between San Jose State University and edX, the not-for-profit online learning enterprise founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SJSU and edX detailed this announcement at a news conference April 10. View the video.

An online engineering course in circuits and electronics — created by MIT as an MITx course for the edX platform and offered to San Jose State students for the first time last fall — will be made available to as many as 11 other CSU campuses. The expansion will benefit thousands of students from nearly half of Cal State’s 23 campuses.

San Jose State will concurrently establish a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning to train faculty members from other campuses interested in offering the engineering course and other blended online courses in the future.

“San Jose State University is thrilled to have the opportunity to grow its groundbreaking collaboration with edX,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “As the public university serving Silicon Valley, San Jose State is the perfect place for a center for excellence in online education. We look forward to helping other California State University campuses make available to thousands of students the innovative, blended approach to learning developed by SJSU and edX.”

Once trained at San Jose State, faculty members from other CSU campuses will be equipped to incorporate the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics course offered on the edX platform into their own blended classroom settings. This means students from participating CSU campuses will have access to the rigorous curricular materials — readings, video and interactive exercises — wherever they study, and then meet in class for in-depth discussions and group work facilitated by local professors.

The agreement also sets the stage for the SJSU-edX collaboration to expand well beyond engineering to the sciences, humanities, business and social sciences. SJSU will pilot additional courses from several edX universities including Harvard, MIT and the University of California, Berkeley.

Building on Success

During SJSU’s fall 2012 EE98 Introduction to Circuits Analysis course, SJSU Lecturer Khosrow Ghadiri used the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics materials on the edX platform. His class, comprised of 87 students, viewed the MITx video lectures and completed MITx problem sets outside of class. During class, Ghadiri facilitated 15 minutes of questions and answers, and then devoted the remainder of the class to peer and team instruction and problem solving using materials developed by SJSU faculty members. Early indicators have been remarkably positive. Although the numbers of students were small and classes differed on many factors, the pass rate in the blended class was 91 percent, and the pass rates in the conventional classes were as low as 55 percent.

This spring, SJSU is repeating the experiment with a second section of the same size, refining an approach that could one day be applied not just to engineering, but to students in all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

“One of the founding principles of edX is to use the power of technology and online learning to improve on-campus education and to innovate in higher education,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Our collaboration with San Jose State University is a strong example of how well-designed blended learning can engage students and substantially improve learning outcomes. We’re excited to expand our model throughout the California State University system and continue to broaden access to a world-class education.”

New Center for Excellence

At the core of these innovations are faculty members trying new ways to infuse technology into teaching and learning. To support faculty members as they embark on this trailblazing work, SJSU will establish a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning.

The center will open this summer with a focus on the MITx circuits and electronics course. Initially, the center will serve faculty members at the 11 participating CSU campuses. Over time, the center could grow to serve all of the nearly 22,000 faculty members and more than 426,000 students of the CSU system.

Under the leadership of SJSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn, the center could also expand to serve other public and private colleges and universities worldwide.

Unbounded Teaching and Learning

The expansion of SJSU’s collaboration with edX is part of a campaign led by President Qayoumi, who argues that educational institutions urgently need new approaches to teaching and assessing learning that are personalized, collaborative, engaging and relate to real-world, 21st-century problems. Join the conversation at Unbounded: Teaching and learning without limits.

“San Jose State’s online initiatives are about far more than a single subject, technique or campus,” Qayoumi said. “Our work is about trying many new approaches, identifying what works and pushing forward a national conversation on effective ways to infuse the opportunities offered by technology into the way we teach and learn.”

About San Jose State University

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,500 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

About edX

EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research. EdX provides inspirational and transformative knowledge to students of all ages, social status, and income who form worldwide communities of learners. EdX uses its open source technology to transcend physical and social borders. We’re focused on people, not profit. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA.

Honorary Degrees Joe and Nicki Parisi

Honorary Doctorates for Joseph and Nicki Parisi

Honorary Degrees Joe and Nicki Parisi

Joseph and Nicki Parisi (Christina Olivas photo).

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – Business and community leaders Joseph and Nicki Parisi will receive honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the San Jose State University Commencement ceremony.

“Joseph and Nicki Parisi are outstanding role models for our students,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “They have achieved great success with their ‘working smart’ and ‘can-do’ attitudes while never losing sight of their roots, giving back to the university and community they call home.”

Joseph and Nicki Parisi founded Therma Corporation in 1967. The business combines Joseph’s academic interests with Nicki’s family history. Joseph studied mechanical engineering at San Jose State, while Nicki comes from three generations in the plumbing and mechanical contracting businesses. Today, Therma is a renowned mechanical contractor serving commercial, industrial and biomedical concerns in Northern California. One of the largest design/build mechanical contracting firms in the Bay Area, Therma has employed more than 1,500 people.

As Therma’s president, Joseph Parisi was inducted into the Junior League Business Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the David Packard Civic Entrepreneur Award. He serves on the boards of the Tower Foundation of San Jose State, the Valley Foundation, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Pacific Valley Bank and the Valley Medical Center Foundation. He is past director of KTEH, past president of the local Sheet Metal Contractors National Association and a founder of the Santa Clara Valley Contractors Association.

As Therma’s chief financial officer, Nicki Parisi developed a computerized accounting system to track customer requirements and provide necessary documentation for corporations, which became the envy of the industry. She is a founding member of The Doves Club, the California chapter of Las Palomas, an organization dedicated to inspiring women to participate in local charities through leadership, volunteerism and giving. She has served on other corporate boards and is on the board of the Nobb Hill Association.

The Parisis have taken leadership roles in fundraising for many local organizations, including the United Way of Santa Clara County (now United Way Silicon Valley), American Cancer Society, Valley Medical Center Foundation, House on the Hill, March of Dimes, Arthritis Foundation, National Kidney Foundation and the American Heart Association.


Commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 25 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013 will be eligible to participate.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.


San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Engineering Students Build Ties to Community

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 16, 2013.

By Ryder Diaz

SAN JOSE — The storage closet was packed with boxes, giant barrels for toy drives and an overflow of nonperishable food. The constant influx of donations and supplies at Sacred Heart Community Service, an organization serving San Jose’s low-income families, had outgrown the shelves.

“I’ll just say, space is at a premium,” said Carol Stephenson, Sacred Heart’s community involvement coordinator.

They needed a smarter way to store their stuff. And who better to help than engineering students from San Jose State University. The students fashioned a sturdy, adjustable storage unit, with large, deep shelves and handles for heaving and pulling — all on wheels.

“It’s the nicest piece of furniture we have,” said Stephenson. “Nothing ever gets built custom for us.”

Although the structure isn’t incredibly complex, the program behind it is intended to introduce SJSU engineering majors to design and construction, all while instilling the students with a sense of community and public service.

Thirty-two incoming freshmen arrived on campus even before the semester began last fall for the new 10-day program in service learning, called EXCEED. University faculty and staff taught math and engineering basics, interspersed with workshops on study skills and time management. EXCEED aims to give students the skills to graduate as engineers.

Many students, especially women and underrepresented students, don’t pursue or stick with engineering because they aren’t aware how it can help people, said Stacy Gleixner, the project’s director and SJSU engineering professor.

“We’re showing them a way engineers make a difference in society,” Gleixner said.

Small groups of students met with five community organizations to discuss the structures they needed, and their specifics — dimensions, weight and flexibility.

One group paired up with the Third Street Community Center, which runs a science-based, after-school program for mostly low-income youth. There, elementary school students craft wheels and other rolling machines. The kids spin their creations down old planks of wood as their instructors teach them about scientific concepts like friction and gravity.

But the wooden board they used was fairly makeshift. “We just kind of propped it up,” said Rosemary Baez, executive director of the Third Street Community Center. “It wasn’t the nicest looking thing, but it was functional.”

The EXCEED engineers wanted to change that.

They scribbled numerous designs, measured and remeasured, and drew up new plans. Many of these aspiring engineers had ever stepped foot in a wood shop or pushed a plank through a table saw.

By the end of 10 days, after hours of sawing, sanding and painting, the students created a colorful, adjustable ramp.

“I was glad to see the theory come into reality,” said Khalif Moore-Stevenson, 19, who worked on the project and hopes to pursue a career in software engineering.

This month, the Third Street youth will be doing some engineering of their own: they’ll design and build cars to race down the new ramp. The fresh track has energized the kids, said Baez: “They take it a little more seriously.”

Other teams of engineering students built a cart to move tables and chairs for community events held at InnVision, a compost bin for a community garden, and a storage unit for an odd-shaped closet at Third Street.

The program has had a transformative effect, showing young engineers that some communities are in need of help. “It was an eye-opener for all of us,” said Allison Rice, 19, who had never seen projects like Sacred Heart where she grew up, in small Maine towns and then Yuba City.

EXCEED has even changed the way community partners see engineers. “It was neat to see that engineering in action, that it can solve problems and that it can make a difference for our work,” said Sacred Heart’s Stephenson.

Applications for the program’s second year should are online this month. And Gleixner hopes to expand the program to more students in the future.

She sees the benefit in the connections students make with faculty and the community. Students that have gone through the program are more confident in their engineering skills, said Gleixner.

Moore-Stevenson hopes to use his software engineering skills to build video games that teach teenagers math or history. After the program he’s got a solid understanding on what engineers can do: “They critically think and they collaborate to build things or products that help people.”

Silicon Valley Business Journal: State’s Cleantech Push Fuels Partnership

Posted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal Feb. 22, 2013.

By Preeti Upadhyaya

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wanted to find a way to attract engineers into the battery industry, which had become short on talent, as graduates stayed in academia rather than moving into the marketplace.

Douglas Davenport, program manager at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the solution came through a partnership.

The Lab decided to partner with nonprofit CalCEF Catalyst, which focuses on clean energy. Together they became CalCharge, which then turned to San Jose State University and Battery University was launched. The partnership sought out SJSU because it has been long known for its engineering talent.

Dr. Ahmed Hambaba, associate dean of the San Jose State University College of Engineering, will spearhead the program.

The battery manufacturing industry has seen a recent slowdown, which Hambaba attributed to the difficulty of finding qualified engineers.

“We all have batteries in our life, especially with all the different devices we carry around. The challenge around batteries today is getting them to charge faster and keep the charge longer. They also need to be much smaller and lightweight,” Hambaba said.

The importance of battery technology is also being fueled by California’s AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. By 2020 the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have to be reduced to 1990 levels. A significant part of that reduction will have to come through the automotive industry and through improvements in energy efficiency.

This means that more engineers will be needed in the battery sector to help achieve these goals.

“This is a big job opportunity for Silicon Valley,” Hambaba said.

Davenport said a school like Battery University is needed because an individual doesn’t just get a degree in batteries.

“You need a very wide and deep knowledge base at a systems level, as well as an understanding of the market,” he said.

He added, “The need for battery technology goes way beyond consumer needs. The future of cars and our power supply is depending on it.”

Hambaba and Davenport pointed to some key areas where demand for sophisticated battery technology is strong, including consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets, powergrids and transportation,

particularly in the electric vehicle sector. Some companies that have shown interest in the SJSU program include Sony and Duracell, as well as automakers that have hybrid and electric cars in production.

The project is already garnering interest from students. Hambaba said he has been receiving up to five inquiries a day.

SJSU Hosts Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference

Students Plan Biomed Conference

SJSU Hosts Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference

The Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference brings together professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, experts, students and faculty members for conversations meant to build connections and inspire innovation (Robert Bain photo).

The rapid growth of the biomedical industry in Silicon Valley has spurred students and their professors to take action. SJSU will once again host the the Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference on March 27. “The conference is totally planned by the students, under the guidance of our faculty advisers,” said Co-Chair Daniel Khuc. The event brings together professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, experts, students and faculty members for conversations meant to build connections and inspire innovation. The conference originates from the SJSU Chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society within the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. Many of the sessions cover technical topics such as transplantable organs, personalized molecular diagnostics and neurally controlled devices. But there’s something here for just about everyone. In the spirit of this year’s conference theme, “Improving the Quality of Life Through Innovation,” panel discussions will include “The Changing Landscape for Medical Devices” and “Healthcare Economics.” Learn more about the event.

SJSU Launches Battery U.

SJSU and CalCharge Launch Battery U.

SJSU Launches Battery U.

There are roughly 40 battery-related companies in California, all working to solve energy storage challenges that are critical to the electric vehicle sector, the solar sector, the wind sector, consumer electronics and more.

New Battery University Program to Train Workforce to Lead Fast-Growing Industry

San Jose State University, CalCharge Launch New Continuing Education Program

Contact for Prospective Students:
Professor Ahmed Hambaba, SJSU, 408-924-3959

Contacts for Members of the Media:
BreAnda Northcutt, CalCharge, 916-446-1955
Sarah Golden, CalCharge, 415-453-0430
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU, 408-656-6999

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Feb. 12, 2013 – CalCharge, an energy storage innovation accelerator, and San Jose State University, the number one supplier of college graduates to Silicon Valley, are teaming up to launch a “battery university” in the high-tech capital of the world.

“As an institution of higher education, we know the challenges in meeting the workplace demand for trained personnel in this rapidly growing and changing field,” said SJSU Vice President for University Advancement Rebecca Dukes. “For this reason, we are very pleased to be partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCharge to meet this critical need of California’s clean energy ecosystem.”

Professional Education

Battery university courses—to be offered through SJSU’s professional education program—will educate a specialty workforce needed now for the rapidly growing battery industry. Classes are expected to start this summer in partnership with SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, which sends more engineering professionals to Silicon Valley than any other university.

Leading scientists, entrepreneurs, industry and policy experts are meeting tonight to provide feedback on the vision and proposed curriculum.

“The fast-emerging energy storage industry is key to the continuing success of the multi-billion dollar global clean energy economy,” said Jeffrey Anderson, interim executive director of CalCharge. “Ceding this important sector to another country would be a tragic and short sighted mistake.”

Currently, most battery manufacturing takes place in China. However, there are roughly 40 battery-related companies in California—working to solve energy storage challenges that are critical to the electric vehicle sector, the solar sector, the wind sector, consumer electronics and more.

Venture Capital Leader

“California is both a patent and a venture capital leader in the battery sector in the United States, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Venkat Srinivasan, head of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources groups at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Our sector is developing at such a rapid clip that if we want to maintain our leadership position, we must constantly innovate—and we need the top minds to do so.”

Today’s battery university launch event and briefing on the state of the California energy storage industry starts 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the SJSU Network Meeting Center, 5201 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a special State of the Union watch party before the official event begins.

Highlighting the importance of tonight’s event, former Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the longtime chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a major champion of clean energy, will be on hand in one of his first appearances since leaving office a few weeks ago.

The event is open to the press and public and free of change.

About CalCharge

CalCharge is a partnership of CalCEF and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. CalCharge will bring together emerging and established California companies, academic and research institutions, government bodies, and financing sources to jumpstart a new era of energy storage technologies for the electric/hybrid vehicle, grid, and consumer electronics markets.

About San Jose State University

San Jose State University is the number one supplier of education, engineering, computer science and business graduates to Silicon Valley, the world’s high tech capital. SJSU is ranked in the top 15 master’s-level public universities in the West by U.S. News and World Report. San Jose State’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering also received top marks, ranking third in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, excluding service academies.

About Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

About CalCEF

CalCEF works to promote the transition to a clean energy economy by creating institutions and investment vehicles that grow markets for clean energy technologies. CalCEF is a non-profit umbrella organization that pursues statewide and national agendas via 1) CalCEF Innovations, a 501(c)(3) that leads CalCEF’s analysis and product development efforts; 2) CalCEF Ventures, a 501(c)(4) that executes and scales the CalCEF investment strategy via a fund-of-funds model, partnering with leading investment managers; and 3) CalCEF Catalyst, a 501(c)(6) a platform for the creation of replicable models for “demand driven innovation” requiring the sustained collective action of stakeholders from across the clean energy sector.

SJSU Selects New Engineering Dean

New Dean of Engineering Named

SJSU Selects New Engineering Dean

Andrew Hsu has been appointed dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering (photo courtesy of Wright State University)

Andrew Hsu, associate vice president for research and dean of the Wright State University Graduate School, has been appointed dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, effective Feb. 18, 2013.  Andrew Hsu replaces former dean Belle Wei, now provost of CSU Chico, and Ping Hsu, who served as interim dean.

Andrew Hsu brings to SJSU strong experience in strategic planning. He implemented major initiatives in the areas of recruitment, retention and completion, administrative efficiency and policies.  The recruitment initiative brought a phenomenal 19.6 percent increase in enrollment for new graduate students at Wright State University.

Additionally, he led an initiative to forge an industry-university partnership with shared personnel, research facilities and intellectual property; the partnership was recognized by the Ohio Board of Regents as a model for future industry-university collaborations for the state of Ohio.

Hsu is also a professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Wright State University, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the American Council on Education. Hsu received his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He started his academic career at the University of Miami in Florida as an associate professor and director of the Aerospace Engineering Program, where he was responsible for undergraduate curriculum development and student recruitment.

Then, he served as associate dean for research and graduate programs for six years at the Purdue School of Engineering of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Hsu’s research interests are in aerodynamics, turbulent combustion and fuel cell technology.  He authored or co-authored over 100 technical publications, supervised graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and mentored numerous undergraduate researchers throughout his career.

KGO7: College of Engineering Helps High Schoolers Explore Tech Careers

KGO7: College of Engineering Helps High Schoolers Explore Tech Careers

KGO7: College of Engineering Helps High Schoolers Explore Tech Careers

Watch the KGO TV news story.

Posted by KGO Nov. 14, 2012.

By David Louie

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — A program to acquaint high school students with future careers in science, technology, and engineering is marking its tenth anniversary and the need for the program has never been greater.

By the time many high school students finish college, an estimated 1.8 million jobs will be waiting for them if they major in science, technology, engineering or math.

“The light is bent and trapped inside the higher index plastic, and again, that’s what fiber optic cable does,” inventor Brian Richardson recently told a class. He is a volunteer teacher at High Tech U, a program sponsored by Semi Foundation and by tech companies like Rambus and KLA-Tencor. The three-day program [held at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering] allows students to make sense of what they’re learning in high school.

“In school, we learn math and science, but you never really think of how you might use it in the future. You just sit through class, do homework. It’s just all lectures and homework, and here, I actually get to apply what I learn and get an insight on my future,” Independence High School senior Kendra Tu said.

They’re learning about LED’s by building flashlights from a kit. They’re learning about teamwork and design engineering by creating a holder for a six-pack of soft drinks. And, they’re suiting up in bunny suits to make silicon wafers in a clean room.

“By visualizing how people work in those environments, they can see themselves doing the same type of work in the future and that’s not something they would necessarily experience in ordinary life either at school or at home,” chip designer John Kent said.

More than 4,000 students have attended High Tech U programs in the U.S. and abroad. The goal is to increase the pool of engineers. Students also benefit from learning about specialties. “I just thought engineering was just one thing, but they showed me eight different things and I had chosen to go into mechanical engineering,” High Tech U alumnus Christoph Skoff said.

Semi Foundation hopes to expand the program with the need for engineers growing and with more global high tech competition. “Doubling the number of programs per year is our goal in the next five years because we feel, and so does the companies that support us right now, that we need to do more of this,” Semi Foundation Vice President Lisa Anderson said.

SJSU Showcases Flipped Class

SAN JOSE, CASan Jose State University invited members of the media Oct. 18 to experience a collaboration with edX, the transformational new online educational initiative founded by MIT and Harvard, resulting in SJSU’s first “flipped class.” View a video of the news conference.

Preliminary results described in The Chronicle of Higher Education suggest this class, which is using an electrical engineering MOOC (the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics Massively Online Open Course), may be an effective way to reinvent and transform the academic experience of electrical engineering students.

“Public higher education needs a new teaching model,” SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “Advances in technology, the expansion of online learning and the needs and expectations of tech-savvy students are changing the role of colleges and universities.”

EdX Collaboration

SJSU’s innovative effort brought together the not-for-profit edX, which offers interactive education wherever there is Internet access, and the only public university serving Silicon Valley.

SJSU serves 30,000 students, including 4,600 engineering students on the threshold of the world’s leading tech companies including Adobe, Apple and Cisco. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering third in the nation among master’s level public universities excluding service academies.

“Here at San Jose State, in the heart of Silicon Valley, there is so much that is happening in terms of innovation and technology,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn. “This is the right time for this institution to really step up and try to utilize some of the new technologies for the purposes of improving student learning.”

This past summer, SJSU faculty members traveled to Cambridge, Mass., to meet and work with the edX team. Their goal was to integrate 6.002x materials into an SJSU course.

SJSU students have been viewing and using online materials as homework, including lectures, quizzes and virtual labs available through the edX platform. Then they go to class to work through problem sets with their instructor, thereby flipping the conventional approach of lectures in class and problem sets at home.

Watching Lectures Anywhere

“The best thing about the class is I can watch the lectures anywhere,” said Jordan Carter, ’14 Mechanical Engineering. “I have watched the videos at my own home. I’ve watched the videos on the light rail train coming to school. It’s really convenient.”

Today, the men and women of SJSU’s first flipped class met their online instructor in person for the first time. The instructor for MITx 6.002x is Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and edX President who is capturing the attention of learners worldwide with his engaging, substantive online lectures.

SJSU faculty members and students shared their experiences, including their midterm exam results. These results represent the first-ever, classroom-based preliminary data assessment of the San Jose State University experiment, designed to see if MOOC material can effectively enhance student learning in a for-credit class at a major university.

“We found that midterm exam scores of students in the flipped class were higher than those in the traditional classes,” SJSU Lecturer of Electrical Engineering Khosrow Ghadiri said. “Although the midterm questions were more difficult for the flipped students, their median score was 10 to 11 points higher than those for two other sections of students who took a traditional version of the course.”

SJSU’s Next Generation Initiative

SJSU recently launched a $28 million initiative to upgrade the campus’ information technology infrastructure while supporting faculty efforts to use and apply these next-generation technologies to better support student learning.

This effort is part of an even larger campaign led by SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, who argues educational institutions urgently need new approaches to teaching and assessing learning that are personalized, collaborative, engaging and that relate to real-world, 21st-century problems.

Learn more via President Qayoumi’s newly published white paper, “Reinventing Higher Education: A Call to Action.”

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,500 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

With NASA support, a team of SJSU aerospace engineering students worked on a cube satellite called TechEdSat, part of a group of cube satellites that were deployed from the International Space Station, October 4. An Expedition 33 crew member aboard the ISS captured this image of deployment.

Posted by NASA Oct. 4, 2012.

NASA engineers, student interns and amateur radio enthusiasts around the world are listening for signals from a small, cube-shaped satellite launched into orbit from the International Space Station Thursday.

The satellite, dubbed “TechEdSat,” was released at 11:44 a.m. EDT from the new Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer aboard the space station.

TechEdSat measures about 4 inches (10 centimeters) on a side and carries a ham radio transmitter. It was developed by a group of student interns from the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering with mentoring and support from staff at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. TechEdSat arrived at the space station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle July 21 and the station’s Expedition 33 crew processed it for launch.

“TechEdSat will evaluate plug-and-play technologies, like avionics designed by commercial providers, and will allow a group of very talented aerospace engineering students from San Jose State University to experience a spaceflight project from formulation through decommission of a small spacecraft,” said Ames Director S. Pete Worden.

TechEdSat’s mission showcases collaboration among NASA, academia and industry to set the standard for future endeavors with small satellites known as Cubesats.

TechEdSat is funded by Ames and NASA’s Space Technology Program. The total cost was less than $30,000 because engineers used only commercial off-the-shelf hardware and simplified the design and mission objectives.

Watch an SJSU video profiling a recent graduate who worked on the project. 

For more about TechEdSat, visit SJSU’s site about the mission.

For more about Ames Research Center.

For more information about NASA education programs.