SJSU Honors its Faculty Members

Seventy faculty members stepped into the spotlight at the 16th annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon, and were honored for their work at San Jose State University.

“It is an honor for me to take part in this annual event, recognizing our faculty members for their years of service to San Jose State University and acknowledging the special achievements and contributions of this year’s four faculty awardees,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi in his prepared remarks.

2014-2015 Faculty Awards

“I have devoted my career to training students in order to develop the next generation of scientists who will tackle the next generation of tough issues in human system integration.  It is very gratifying to see that the university places such high value on those activities.”

With that said, Kevin Jordan, professor of Psychology in the College of Social Sciences, accepted the President’s Scholar Award. His 30-year career at the university is impressive. He’s authored or co-authored approximately 80 academic papers and presentations, supervised some 80 master’s theses, and secured nearly $200 million in research funding.

The Student Union ballroom erupted with applause as President Qayoumi presented the Distinguished Service Award to Scott Guenter, professor of Humanities in the College of Humanities and Arts. Guenter also received an award for his 25 years of service to the university.

Outstanding Professor Anne Marie Todd of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Social Sciences and Outstanding Lecturer Cynthia Baer of the Department of English and Comparative Literature in the College of Humanities and the Arts also received a warm reception.

Yearly Service Awards

The university gave awards to faculty members with 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 years of service. William McCraw, professor emeritus of Political Science and a Humanities lecturer, was the only person at this year’s luncheon to receive an SJSU Tower frame for 50 years of service.  As he walked to the stage, everyone in the ballroom rose to their feet and applauded.

“I feel a lot of pride for being associated with this vibrant campus,” said McCraw.  “It seems just like yesterday that I stepped foot on campus.”

More than 350 people turned out to honor the faculty members for their inspiring work and dedication to SJSU.


Anne Lawrence today.

Faculty Notes: A Family Tradition of Excellence and Service

530 Lawrence

In 1998, Paul Lawrence received the Distinguished Contributor Award from the North American Case Research Association. At the same meeting, Anne (pictured with her father and mother, Martha) received an outstanding case award. Now a professor at SJSU, Anne has received the same award as her father, an honor bestowed just 15 times in 56 years (photo courtesy of the Lawrence family).

Professor of Design Alice Carter, founder of the Animation/Illustration Program, lectured on “The Illustrator and the Hero: Inventing a Mythology in Pictures” at the Haggin Museum in Stockton on Nov. 6. The presentation explored America’s fascination with superheroes, “very much an American invention,” Carter noted.

Music Lecturer and Director of Orchestra and Opera Theater Michael DiGiacinto is Winchester Orchestra of San Jose’s new music director, succeeding Henry Mollicone who held the post for more than 25 years. DiGiacinto made his debut with the orchestra at San Jose’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and Saratoga’s West Valley College in concerts featuring the works of Jean Sibelius, Wolfgang Mozart and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Anne Lawrence today.

Anne Lawrence today (photo by Jane Richey).

Professor of Management Anne Lawrence received the North American Case Research Association’s Distinguished Contributor Award in recognition of her leadership as the organization’s president, her two-time guest editorship of Case Research Journal, her case publications and mentorship. In addition, she founded and currently serves as chair of the Case Research Foundation, whose mission is to provide scholarships to young case writers and researchers. The Distinguished Contributor Award is NACRA’s highest honor and has been awarded only 15 times in the group’s 56-year history. Because her father received the award in 1998, the honor “was especially meaningful,” Lawrence said. “My father was my first case teacher.”

Environmental Studies Lecturer Pat Ferraro, whose expertise is water law, water policy and water resources management, is a member of the Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee’s review panel. His article about Santa Cruz’s “smart approach” to water conservation appeared in San Jose Inside last month.

After 35 years at SJSU, Jeanne Linsdell retired as General Engineering lecturer and director of the College of Engineering’s Technical Communication. “Life is full of new beginnings and new opportunities,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a new chapter.” An educator and consultant in American Samoa for more than 20 years and former Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Ukraine, Linsdell received Outstanding Lecturer awards from the university and the College of Engineering during her career at SJSU.

SJSU’s Collaborative for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, directed by Elementary Education Professor Nancy Markowitz, received a $100,000 Packard Foundation / Ashoka Changemaker Award in recognition of the collaborative’s efforts to build vibrant communities and equip young people to become leaders of change. The collaborative will use the award to develop a model for integrating social and emotional learning in K-12 schools and educator training.

Humanities Lecturer Victoria Rue delivered the Kappen Memorial lecture in Bengaluru, India, sponsored by Visthar, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating women, children and other marginalized groups about their rights. Rue spoke on “Rehearsing Justice: Theatre, Sexuality and the Sacred,” a discourse on the cultural and religious taboos imposed on gender and sexuality.

Playwright and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Matthew Spangler’s stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel “The Kite Runner” is currently on tour in the UK, co-produced by the Nottingham Playhouse and the Liverpool Playhouse. An earlier version of the play was performed on campus in 2007. “The book has a huge following and people who come to see the play are going to notice the changes,” Spangler acknowledged. “You have to be faithful to its essence, but you can’t put everything in. Fortunately, Khaled Hosseini is a very generous person.”

scott's cover

Scott Sublett’s “Screenwriting for Neurotics”

Professor  of Screenwriting and Film Studies Scott Sublett published “Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish” (University of Iowa Press). (SJSU students previously made do with the dog-eared, photocopied course reader version of the book.) “It’s the only screenwriting text on the market that also addresses the psychology of the screenwriter,” said Sublett’s editor, Elisabeth Chretien. Sublett is also an independent filmmaker whose films include “Generic Thriller” and “Bye-Bye Bin Laden!,” which satirizes the build-up to the Iraqi War.

SJSU Research Foundation senior research scientist Grant Taylor, whose work supports the Aviation and Missile Research Development Center, received the 2014 Jerome H. Ely Human Factors Article Award at the annual meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in Chicago. His applied research focuses on the impact of new technologies on U.S. Army users, specifically the interfaces used to control unmanned aerial systems.

Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000 to Support Youth STEM Network


Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

SJSU students collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in after school programs (CommUniverCity San Jose photo).

Motorola Solutions Foundation joins Intel as a lead sponsor of the Youth STEM Network (YSN) program. YSN is a partnership that is substantially increasing opportunities for San Jose’s youth to engage in activities related to disciplines of local significance and projected growth: solar energy and cybersecurity.

The Jay Pinson STEM Education Program is collaborating with the CORAL after school program of the Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, CommUniverCity San Jose, the Department of Communication Studies and the Scientists for Tomorrow and CyberWatch programs to implement the exciting initiative.

Students in the Communication Studies 157 course collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in these critical STEM areas. Program instructors recently participated in a CyberSTEM Program professional development session instructed by the director and senior researcher at CyberWatch.

Starting in early October 2013, 100 youth in CORAL afterschool programs will participate in 25 hours of YSN programming aimed at increasing their content and procedural knowledge and understanding of career opportunities in solar energy and cybersecurity.

photo of Kurt Garrett

Spartan in Need: Student Raises Funds for Liver Transplant

(Editor’s note: The text below is from the National Foundation for Transplants. Kurt Garrett is an SJSU senior majoring in communications studies. Kurt’s brother posted the video on YouTube.)

In 2009, Kurt was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) after experiencing jaundice and losing a great deal of weight. PSC has caused scarring and inflammation in the bile ducts of his liver, and doctors say a liver transplant is critical to his survival. Kurt was added to the transplant waiting list at Stanford Hospital in 2010, and he is in the process of being listed at a second hospital.

Despite his illness, Kurt is extremely active and determined to overcome this health battle. He’s been working toward his bachelor’s degree and was on track to graduate in the spring; however, his declining health has forced him to put his education on hold. He is extremely hard working and still works 30 hours a week in the public relations department for an international electronics company.

When he feels well enough, he loves spending time with his family, friends and girlfriend. After receiving his transplant, Kurt looks forward to enjoying his favorite activities of softball, basketball, snowboarding and wakeboarding. But right now, he needs your help.

A liver transplant costs approximately $575,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health coverage, he faces significant expenses related to the surgery. For the rest of his life, Kurt will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. Post-transplant medications are very costly, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

Depending on where he receives his transplant, Kurt may have to travel a long distance from his home, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food and lodging during the recovery process.

You can help.

To make a tax-deductible donation to NFT in honor of Kurt, click here. If you’d prefer to send your gift by mail, please send it to the NFT California Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Kurt Garrett” on the memo line.

Thank you for your generosity!

Patient Health Institute: Stanford Hospital

San Jose Mercury News: Professor Comments on Proliferation of Communications Tech Tools

Text, call, email, IM, Facebook, tweet and meet? Communication has become confusing

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 12, 2012.

By Sue McAllister

James Daniels checks in with his buddies and sisters with text messages, but he doesn’t text his mother much or — heaven forbid — his grandmother.

“My grandma, I would never in the world text her,” said the 20-year-old College of San Mateo student. “She’d say, ‘Why would you not call me? You don’t want to talk to your grandmother?’ ”

With the proliferation of tech tools for touching base, communication in some ways can be more mind-boggling than ever — as in, we must studiously remember which of our friends check their email. Which ones text. Which ones will pick up their phones. And gauge whether texting Grandma or posting on the boss’s Facebook wall is really the best way to check in.

“We’ve been developing these devices that allow us this ubiquitous communication, and on the one hand it is remarkable and exciting. But we haven’t quite caught up with the problems this revolution has unleashed,” said Andrew Wood, a professor of communication studies at San Jose State.

In years to come, personal communication devices will no doubt be able to take incoming messages from different media and translate them into the forms each of us wants to use, Wood said. (Some already do.) So you could text your mother, but the message will be sent to her voice mail, if that’s what she prefers.

Until those technologies are widely in use, however, many of us mentally divide the people in our lives into categories.Berkeley resident Brooke Deterline says she thinks of some of her friends as “phoners” and others as “texters.” She likes to text friends to say a quick hello — but a couple of them hated that, preferring phone calls.

“I’ve had some bad experiences where I’ve insulted people without meaning to,” she says. To one friend, texting “feels like kind of a blowoff: ‘Hey, I touched base without having to interact,’ ” Deterline says.

Those “hope you’re having a good day!” texts or calls are known as “relational maintenance messages of assurance,” says Justin Boren, an assistant professor of communication at Santa Clara University. Those are messages in which we tell someone else that things are going fine between the two of us, essentially, and Boren says people are now using more technology than ever to send them.

“Some technology today we just take for granted as being acceptable methods of communication that we didn’t 10 years ago, or, in the case of Facebook, even five years ago,” he says. “That does add another layer of complexity to maintaining our relationships.”

And while a text-based message of assurance just won’t fly with some people, it might be nearly the only way to reach others. Deterline’s sister, for example, is a devoted texter. Sometimes, Deterline says, in the middle of a lengthy exchange of texts with her sister, she’ll decide to call her sister’s mobile phone. “And she won’t answer!” Deterline says. “I want to say, ‘You realize I know you’re there on the phone, right?’ ”

San Jose resident David Keller uses the array of options — phone calls, emails, text messages and Facebook posts — to communicate with the soccer players he coaches, other volunteers at his kids’ schools and his fellow Rotary Club members. The trick is knowing which people are best reached by which method.

“I’ve got people who don’t get their email till late at night, or who only text, or who only interact on Facebook, or who don’t text at all,” said Keller, 43. “Anyone who works with different groups absolutely has to juggle that all the time.”

Rick Geha, a real estate broker and motivational speaker in Fremont, says he always asks clients at the outset of a transaction how they want to be contacted — mobile phone? email? — and then sticks with what they’ve chosen. He freely hands out his cellphone number and email when he speaks to big groups, but advises people that it is always faster to reach him by calling his cell, not via text or email.

“I had a man recently send me two emails and a text saying, ‘Please call me, I really need to talk to you,’ ” Geha says. But the man’s text got buried among other texts and Geha didn’t see it for a while.

But for every person who thinks “just call me,” there’s another one whose style skews to “just text me.” Oakland resident Miranda Everitt, 26, is one of those. Sure, she calls her mom and her grandparents back in Ohio, but she texts a lot with friends and her father, and she doesn’t much like listening to voice mails when people leave them.

“Often when I get a voice mail, it’s like, ‘Why didn’t they just text me that?’ ” she says.

San Jose State’s Wood says much of personal communication comes down to being courteous to the people you’re interacting with and gauging which method will be the right choice for the situation. For example, “In certain contexts I’m an email person,” he says. “When I’m answering a question, I like email because I have the time to reflect on an answer.”

But when it comes to real discussion, he says, his favorite medium is a time-honored one that many people still crave in our digital society.

“It’s one-on-one conversation, in a diner,” he says, “just two people talking. That’s when I’m at my best.”

Contact Sue McAllister at 408-920-5833. Follow her at