Faculty Notes: Research, Recognition and Global Impact


Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton will investigate the responses of juvenile rockfish to a marine environment that contains elevated levels of carbon dioxide and reduced levels of oxygen (image courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories).

Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton, Moss Landing Marine Labs, was awarded a multi-year $330,000 National Science Foundation grant to investigate the responses of juvenile rockfish to a marine environment that contains elevated levels of carbon dioxide and reduced levels of oxygen. How well the rockfish adapt will provide key information for fisheries and fishery managers. This research, incorporating both field and laboratory studies, builds on Hamilton’s previous scientific investigations of temperate marine fishes.

School of Social Work Professor Laurie Drabble received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the rates of alcohol consumption, hazardous drinking patterns and illicit drug use among sexual minority women. One of the aims of the study is to identify individual, community and societal factors that contribute—positively or negatively—to substance use, including such factors as social support and psychological distress. A member of California’s Women’s Health Survey Committee, Drabble also serves as an affiliate associate scientist with the Alcohol Research Group in Berkeley.

Produced and directed by Department of Linguistics and Language Development Professor Rosemary Henze, the documentary “Just a Piece of Cloth” received a Making a Difference Award at the Toronto Community Film Festival in September. The film, featuring Bay Area Muslim women, has also had screenings at UC Berkeley’s Conference on Islamophobia, the Monterey Institute of International Studies and elsewhere.

Department of Sociology Lecturer and Center for Community Learning and Leadership Co-Director Michael Fallon helped organize the 2014 Silicon Valley Neighborhood Development Training Conference. The day-long, annual campus event brings together local neighborhood leaders and veteran community development practitioners to participate in workshops focused on public safety, health and neighborhood improvement. Among this year’s workshop topics: “20 Tips for Growing Healthy Neighborhoods,” “The Future of Transportation in Silicon Valley” and “Supporting and Working with Youth in Our Community.”

School of Information Director Sandra Hirsh co-chaired the fourth annual Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference, held October 8 and 9. Conducted in multiple languages in multiple time zones over the course of two days, the free online conference provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the issues impacting the information profession from an international perspective. Presentations addressed such timely topics as MOOCs, e-books, mobile services, green libraries and more. Keynote and session recordings are available on the Library 2.0 YouTube channel.

Department of Economics Professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel was one of a panel of experts asked by WalletHub.com, a web-based personal finance resource, to weigh in on the challenge of creating a skilled and educated workforce. The site, which published a list of the most and least educated cities among the largest cities in the United States in 2014, ranked San Jose seventh in a field of 150. Hummel’s suggestion: “The most important step toward developing a more educated and skillful workforce would be to eliminate all federal involvement entirely.”

set up man 300

Writing as T.T. Monday, Professor Taylor spins a tale about a baseball player/private investigator that “succeeds as both a mystery and a baseball novel,” according to Publishers Weekly.

President Mohammad Qayoumi’s appreciation of Afghanistan’s new president, “Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s future,” was posted on the U.S. Congress blog The Hill, a forum for lawmakers and policy professionals. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Qayoumi’s roommate at the American University of Beirut more than four decades ago, was inaugurated as Afghanistan’s president this month. “If anyone can keep Afghanistan on a road to coherent self government and democracy, it is Ghani.  From his earliest years he has had total clarity of purpose, great vision, and an incandescent passion to serve Afghanistan,” Qayoumi wrote. 

Department of English Associate Professor and Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies Director Nick Taylor discussed his new thriller, “The Setup Man” (Doubleday), at the Menlo Park Civic Center on Oct. 4. Writing as T.T. Monday, Taylor spins a tale about a baseball player/private investigator that “succeeds as both a mystery and a baseball novel,” according to Publishers Weekly. Taylor is the author of two previous historical novels, “The Disagreement” (Simon & Schuster, 2008) and “Father Junípero’s Confessor” (Heyday, 2013).

Social Work Major Receives Top CSU Honor


A straight-A student, David Elliott plans to pursue a master’s in social work so that he can work with youths who are involved with social services or the justice system (Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – In 2007, David Elliott was paroled from Folsom State Prison after a period of incarceration that resulted from a lifelong battle with drug addiction.

“Everything I owned fit into a backpack,” he said.

Now a San Jose State senior majoring in social work, Elliott has received the California State University system’s highest honor for students who overcome incredible odds to attend college.

As the 2014-15 Trustee Emeritus William Hauck Scholar, one of 23 CSU Trustees Awards for Outstanding Achievement, Elliott will fly to the chancellor’s office in Long Beach on Sept. 9 to pick up the award and meet the other recipients.

Extraordinary Commitment

While their commitment, drive and perseverance are extraordinary, these students are like thousands more who look to the CSU each year for high-quality, accessible, affordable educational opportunities.

After leaving Folsom, Elliott became homeless and lived at a shelter in San Jose. Fearing that he would turn to drugs again, he asked his parole officer for help and was placed into a drug treatment program.

Six years later, Elliott is completely clean and sober and works for the program that helped save his life. As a chemical dependency technician, he assists people in some of their darkest times by supervising their medical detox and encouraging them to continue treatment.

He has also served for four years as a volunteer facilitation and facility coordinator of a drug and alcohol support group at a local homeless shelter for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

A Second Chance

“All of this work is an attempt to repay what has been given to me: a second chance,” he said.

A straight-A student, Elliott plans to pursue a master’s in social work so that he can work with youths who are involved with social services or the justice system.

“I have found a path leading to a career that employs me in useful service to others,” Elliott said.

The late William Hauck, ’63 social studies, served as deputy chief of staff to Governor Pete Wilson and chief of staff to Assembly speakers Bob Morretti and Willie L. Brown, Jr. The Hauck endowment will provide $6,000 to this year’s CSU Trustees Award recipient.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.


Need Help With Health Insurance?

Get Answers to Your Health Insurance Questions

SJSU students trained as Certified California Covered Educators are organizing an on-campus effort to help everyone understand the rights, responsibilities and opportunities afforded by the Affordable Care Act (Covered California image).

Need help with the new health insurance law?

Get your questions answered in person at the on-campus Affordable Care Act Q & A Information Sessions Oct. 22-29.

“It is important to understand changes that will directly affect you,” said Van Nguyen, ’15 Public Health, who will assist as a Certified Covered California Educator.

Covered California is a new online marketplace offering affordable, quality health insurance open to all state residents, including SJSU students, staff members and their families.

The informational sessions will be held in Engineering 189 at 11 and 11:45 a.m. Oct. 22; 3:10 and 3:45 p.m. Oct. 23; 1:45 and 2:20 p.m. Oct. 24; and 6:30 and 7:05 p.m. Oct. 29.

This series is open to all SJSU community members and is being offered by the California State University Health Insurance Education Project.

San Jose State is one of 16 campuses coordinating the project, which provides hands-on experience to public health and social work students acting as Covered California educators on all 23 campuses.

Keri Simmons, ’14 Public Health, joined the campaign to correct what she sees as a troubling misconception of attitudes toward health care.

It’s not that college students think they are “young and invincible,” so they do not need health insurance.

“We are responsible, but just often times broke,” she said, a situation she understands as a full-time graduate student.

“The CSU Health Insurance Education Project is … an opportunity to challenge the ‘young invincible’ notion by decreasing the number of uninsured young adults. In doing so, we will shift the perception of my generation as ‘young and invincible’ to ‘young and covered.’”

Informational sessions sponsors include the Department of Health Science and Recreation, School of Social Work, Accessible Education Center, College of Applied Sciences and the Arts, Student Health Center, Associated Students of SJSU, the Office of the President, CSU Health Insurance Education Project and California State Student Association.

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act at HealthCare.gov.

USAID Funds Social Work in Vietnam

USAID Funds Social Work in Vietnam

USAID Funds Social Work in Vietnam

USAID Mission Director Joakim Parker in Hanoi announcing plans for a three-year Social Work Education Enhancement Program coordinated by SJSU (photo courtesy of Alice Hines).

The U.S. Agency for International Development has tapped SJSU to coordinate an international consortium that will enhance social work education in Vietnam.

San Jose-based Cisco Systems Inc. will join the effort, which also includes Vietnamese universities, the Ministries of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and Education and Training, and community stakeholders.

USAID will provide the SJSU School of Social Work a $2.5 million grant, to be matched by Cisco. The three-year Social Work Education Enhancement Program will create a 21st century model for higher education content and use of technology networks to improve teaching and leadership skills and strengthen collaboration.

The effort will also build capacity in a relatively new field for Vietnam. The team will develop and implement undergraduate social work policies and practices, develop competency-based, practical curricula, regional centers for excellence in social work education, and a leadership academy for social work faculty and administrators.

“Social work represents an integral part of our vision for social sector support and we are privileged to work with the Government of Vietnam and universities in this key area,” said USAID Mission Director Joakim Parker. “The new partnership will strengthen the social work profession to deliver high quality social services in a variety of critical sectors. We applaud San Jose State University and Cisco’s vision for public-private partnerships.”

Read the USAID news release.

SJSU Students pose with the Faculty of Social Work in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by: Iliam Parra

Students Gain Perspective During Vietnam Social Work Trip

Tearing through a village along the Mekong Delta with a lady of few words and her flower decored horse, Vietnam. Photo by: Stan Olszewski/SOSKIphoto.com

Tearing through a village along the Mekong Delta with a lady of few words and her flower adorned horse, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Social work in Vietnam is on a light speed track to success due to outside, developed-countries’ influences (photo by Stan Olszewski/SOSKIphoto.com).

By Stan Olszewski

(Editor’s Note: Olszewski is a biological forensic science major and photography minor who joined faculty and students on a Faculty-Led Student Abroad Program summer trip to Vietnam. Read more about the School of Social Work’s partnership with Vietnam.)

Vietnam is a land of history and youth.  Its history includes decades of war and struggle, fighting the French, Chinese, Americans, and themselves, facing famine and poverty.  The list goes on and it’s not looking good.

Yet a recent reunification and doi moi economic reform promotes an updated and sophisticated Asian nation.  A land of hope and strength, power and courage, independence and unity.  The Vietnamese are strong, proud, people.  They have overcome every speed bump in the road thus far; they will continue to overcome speed bumps in the future.  From what I have experienced, the Vietnamese will charge speed bumps at thirty kilometers an hour, horns blaring, carrying a dozen live, caged, pigs, several bags of rice, and two small children. Beep Beep!

So why were eight SJSU students studying in Vietnam this summer?  Why were SJSU faculty members Dr. Huong Nguyen and Tuan Tran translating lectures by Vietnamese social workers?  For the inexpensive beer of course!

The historic pains and recent changes have uncovered social issues in Vietnamese communities.  Issues America dealt with fifty years ago, but Vietnam only began to address yesterday.  Issues including poverty, drug abuse, elder abandonment, water purification, and unemployment.

Enter social workers. Enter San Jose State.

American social work developed early in the 19th century to repair Industrial Revolution socioeconomic issues.  Less than a decade ago, Vietnam started to recognize social work as a profession.  To develop Vietnam’s new social work infrastructure, collaboration took place this July.  SJSU students shared their thoughts regarding social issues in Vietnam.  Vietnamese social workers, lecturers, and students shared their experiences and expressed their concerns.  SJSU helped Vietnam understand issues from the outside in, from the perspective of a developed country, from a school with a well-established social work curriculum.  Vietnam showed SJSU where work is needed and the difference one person can make.  It was productive and inspiring.

Vietnam is inspiring.