SJSU Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Center for Community Learning and Leadership

It takes a community to build a service-learning legacy: Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos, CCLL Director Elena Klaw, CCLL Founding Director Debra David and former CCLL Director Michael Fallon. Photo: Robert Bain.

SJSU’s Bowling Center.

Attendees of the celebration bowled together at SJSU’s Diaz Compean Student Union Bowling Center, illustrating how CCLL ensures students and community members do not “bowl alone,” in the words of Robert Putnam. Photo: Robert Bain.

San Jose State University’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership (CCLL) commemorated 20 years of curriculum-based service-learning at an event on February 6 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Bowling Center. Over the past 20 years, 80,000 SJSU students have contributed 1.4 million hours of service to the community as part of their coursework.

Having the event at SJSU’s Bowling Center was a nod to Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, a book that served as a catalyst for service-learning infrastructure on university campuses, explained CCLL Director Elena Klaw. In the book, Putnam described the precipitous decline of all the forms of in-person social relationships that once formed the basis of Americans’ lives and provided opportunities for enrichment and education.

“Instead of joining leagues in activities like bowling, we bowl alone, missing civic discussions that might occur in a club or a local association. Putnam suggested that service-learning programs are a primary solution to the problems of bowling alone,” said Klaw. “The antidote to apathy, isolation and disregard is education and civic involvement.”

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shared highlights from the center’s programming, including the AmeriCorps Bridging Borders Program, which brought $3 million in federal funding to the campus over a span of nine years; the Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE) program; the Veterans Embracing Transition (VET) project; and the SJSU Chapter of Students Demand Action (SDA), developed to provide students the opportunity to support the mission of Everytown USA in advocating for common sense laws that promote gun safety and reduce violence.

President Mary A. Papazian and Elena Klaw.

President Mary A. Papazian and CCLL Director Elena Klaw celebrated 20 years of SJSU service-learning. Photo: Robert Bain.

“In many ways, CCLL is the embodiment of everything we hope to achieve with our students at San Jose State” said Papazain. “Educating students about how they can most effectively influence change on issues that matter to them is what our Center for Community Learning and Leadership is all about.”

In addition to San Jose State Academic Senate Chair Ravisha Mathur, who presented a Sense of the Senate, entitled “Celebrating 20 Years of Service-Learning at San Jose State University,” the center welcomed CCLL Founding Director Debra David, former CCLL staff members, and community partners, without whom many programs would not be possible. A representative of the city of San Jose presented a commendation on behalf of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Raul Peralez (District 3) and other members of the City Council.

To the crowd gathered in SJSU’s Bowling Center, President Papazian revealed that SJSU would announce receipt of $566,288 in grant funding for a one-year pilot California Volunteers AmeriCorps Service Fellowship program at a Feb. 10 press conference in the California state capitol. For the pilot year of the AmeriCorps Service Fellowship, San Jose State’s Civic Engagement Fellows will build on CCLL’s current Cyber Spartans program, addressing educational equity needs within the city of San Jose. Since launching in 2018, 26 Cyber Spartans have mentored 75 underserved youths, teaching them cyber skills. In turn, they use what they learn to create engaging computer programs. With the new grant funding, these numbers are expected to increase substantially.

“CCLL’s own program of research shows that community initiatives boost civic participation, academic engagement and career readiness for students,” said SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, representing SJSU at the press conference in Sacramento. “San Jose State is always looking for ways to expand or create initiatives that develop our students as leaders in the diverse sectors of Silicon Valley.

At the anniversary celebration, CCLL named SJSU kinesiology major Erika Lisina the Service-Learning and Community Engagement Student of the Year. Described as a “devoted resource for students,” Lisina volunteers at SJSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library as a homework coach.

“Students are the reason we’re here,” said Klaw. “CCLL’s service-learning does not add to education. We are the education.”

Mumford and Sons Funds SJSU Service Fellowship

Photo: Joel Simon Images

San Jose State University’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies honored the British folk-rock band Mumford and Sons with the annual John Steinbeck Award on September 18, 2019 at a sold-out event in Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. Proceeds of the event funded a new Steinbeck Service Fellowship that encourages engaged collaboration between students at SJSU and Stanford.

The service program launches in the summer of 2020, and current SJSU undergraduates are eligible to apply for the fellowship until February 29, 2020.

The fellowship is funded by “Gentlemen of the Road,” the community organization the band founded in 2006, which connects with communities that share its passion for social justice and common good around the world.

Every year, San Jose State’s Center for Steinbeck Studies presents the John Steinbeck Award, celebrating writers, thinkers, artists and activists who embody Steinbeck’s commitment to social justice.

Mumford and Sons is the first musical band to receive the Steinbeck Award, and also its youngest recipients to date. The award ceremony featured a conversation with the band members, as well as an acoustic performance.

It was a fitting venue since 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of Steinbeck beginning his college studies at Stanford. The band’s pianist Ben Lovett also was an undergraduate at Stanford for a year, studying astrophysics before he left to become a musician.

In its inaugural year, the fellowship will bring together students from San Jose State and Stanford to engage in a summer of reflective writing and community service in California’s Salinas Valley, the land that birthed and shaped Steinbeck’s creative vision.

The unique and celebratory aspect of the fellowship is the intersection of English literature and community service—one that was championed by Steinbeck throughout his lifetime.

Professor of English and Director of SJSU’s Center for Steinbeck Studies Nick Taylor teamed up with his colleague Professor Gavin Jones from Stanford to design the fellowship and propose the idea to the band. The two professors decided to model the fellowship on the Cardinal Quarter at Stanford, a program of the Haas Center for Public Service that pays students a stipend so they can engage in a quarter or summer of service-learning projects in the community.

SJSU students will be able to apply though the Center for Steinbeck Studies and Stanford students will route their applications through the Haas Center.

Students who are chosen will work with their community partners at least 35 hours per week for nine consecutive weeks and receive a stipend of $5,500.

“We decided to do a pilot in summer 2020 with three students from San Jose State and three from Stanford. We are planning on assembling a cohort in February. It’s a great opportunity to bring students from SJSU and Stanford together. They are so close but don’t have much interaction,” said Taylor.

SJSU’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership (CCLL), celebrating two decades on campus, was also involved in the San Jose State iteration of the experience. CCLL supports classes that have a service-learning requirement embedded in the curriculum so students can apply what they are learning in the classroom by serving the community. Over the past 20 years, an  estimated 80,000 SJSU students have contributed more than 1,400,000 hours to the community through service-learning.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our San Jose State students to receive funding for their service,” said Andrea Tully, CCLL assistant director. “In a recent study of SJSU service-learning alumni, we found that one of the biggest obstacles to their experience was being able to work, often full time, complete school work and serve. The stipend will likely alleviate some of the burden of needing to work and serve.”

Although the program will sync well with students studying American literature and social work, it is open to all SJSU and Stanford students across disciplines.

Professor of Psychology and CCLL Faculty Director Elena Klaw said the program also fits with SJSU’s ideals and objectives as a center. It emphasizes that academic learning and service should not be separate.

“The focus is to take Steinbeck’s scholarly work and bring it to life in real communities in which people are currently working. And there are still plenty of inequities to highlight, transform and address while engaging with Steinbeck’s fiction, both as a historical body of work but also as a literary body of work,” Klaw said.


Apply for the Fellowship

Get more information and apply for the Steinbeck/Gentlemen of the Road Service Fellowship by February 29, 2020.


Watch Mumford and Sons accept the 2019 Steinbeck Award

 

CommUniverCity SJSU Selected as a 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

CommUniverCity SJSU has been selected by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) to receive the 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education: Community-Based Organization award. The program will be recognized at NSEE’s annual conference Sept. 24th in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

“It’s so gratifying for CommUniverCity SJSU to be recognized at the national level for the rich hands-on learning opportunities we provide more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students every year,” said Katherine Cushing, executive director of CommUniverCity SJSU and professor of Environmental Studies. “Every day, we strive to show our students how they can apply what they are learning in class to ‘move the needle’ on important social issues that matter to our neighbors.”

Cushing traveled to Florida to receive the award at the conference.

The program brings together city representatives, community partners and residents as well as SJSU faculty, students and staff to provide engaging service-learning opportunities for students to connect and contribute to the local community surrounding SJSU. Last year the program oversaw 42 experiential learning projects and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall. CommUniverCity SJSU focuses its work in three main areas: Engage, which focuses on improving community health, Learn, which promotes a college-going culture and Build, which enhances neighborhood infrastructure.

One such “learn” project is Engineering in Action, led by Michael Oye, a project supervisor and associate director of CommUniverCity SJSU.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

“The Engineering in Action project allows our SJSU students to gain a valuable experiential education opportunity by explaining technical subject matter to non-technical people, a practice that many of our students will have to master in their careers wherever they work,” said Oye, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. “At the same time, students gain a broader perspective of the engineering profession in society, and children from the community have a chance to interact with role models.”

An example of an ongoing “engage” project is Growing Sustainability, where SJSU students focus on engaging school-aged children with hands-on activities designed to teach the importance of healthy living and environmental stewardship. The program includes garden education during school hours, an after school garden club and gardening workshops.

“I have always been passionate about environmental education and outdoor opportunities for underserved populations, but managing the Growing Sustainably program has opened my eyes to the impacts of hands-on experiential education on attitude and behavior change among participants, as well as the importance of place-based education,” said Alexandra Dahl, a graduate student in environmental studies and project coordinator of Growing Sustainability. “SJSU undergraduate student interns teaching the garden and cooking workshops are able to take what they learn in their college courses and apply them in real-world settings.”

One of the key tenets of the CommUniverCity SJSU is that projects are based on community-identified needs in the city. This is especially true for “build” projects. This year, SJSU students in sociology, political science and urban planning administered more than 1,500 mobility surveys to participants at Viva CalleSJ, an open streets event attracting more than 100,000 residents. The students analyzed the data and presented findings to City of San Jose staff members.

NSEE recognized CommUniverCity SJSU for its leadership in implementing education projects designed to meet community needs, engagement with the City of San Jose and local civic organizations to develop economic opportunities in underserved communities, as well as its advocacy for experiential education projects for students from diverse backgrounds.

By the Numbers (2004-2019):

115,556 residents engaged

21,130 SJSU students participated in projects

394,382 volunteer hours

$8.38 million (estimated value to the community)

 

SJSU’s 2nd Annual Student Success Symposium Draws Hundreds

 

Students and faculty share their experience with service learning projects through CommUniverCity at the Student Success Symposium April 15.

Students and faculty share their experience with service learning projects through CommUniverCity at the Student Success Symposium April 15.

San Jose State University hosted its 2nd Annual Student Success Symposium April 15, with more than 260 faculty, staff and students from SJSU, other California State University campuses and community colleges.

The event featured two keynote speakers who discussed serving first-generation and diverse student populations as well as 20 breakout sessions around topics ranging from developing flipped classrooms, service learning programs, peer education and more. The symposium was sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Student Affairs, a Department of Education First in the World Grant and a Department of Education Project Succeed grant.

Professor Patricia Backer, who served on the executive committee for the symposium, started the day-long event with a brief call to order before introducing SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

Student success means “developing students who will become innovators and creative forces in our economy,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian, during her welcome remarks. “It means our students have the confidence and the tangible skills they need not only for their first professional job, but their next job after that.”

Innovating New Classroom Models

Associate Professor Laura Sullivan-Green leads a discussion about flipped classroom models. She and a team of faculty at three CSUs are researching the teaching method's ability to improve learning outcomes in gateway STEM courses.

Associate Professor Laura Sullivan-Green leads a discussion about flipped classroom models. She and a team of faculty at three CSUs are researching the teaching method’s ability to improve learning outcomes in gateway STEM courses.

Laura Sullivan-Green, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and Ravisha Mathur, chair of child and adolescent development, hosted a break out session about their research on flipped classroom models. As recipients of a First in the World Grant, SJSU faculty are collaborating with colleagues across three CSUs to create active learning models for gateway science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses with historically low success rates. In a flipped course, students are exposed to content before they come to the classroom and during in-person class sessions faculty members act as facilitators and provide clarification of the content students studied on their own. These two steps are followed up with post-class work that includes reflection, complex practice and advanced work.

“Students can be nervous about learning before they come to class,” said Sullivan-Green. “But once they get the structured, they are engaged with it.”

To launch their session, they asked participants to write down ideas about how to connect with industry professionals. After a few moments, they called everyone back to their seats and looked over the lists.

“All these things are active,” Sullivan-Green said. “Not one said sit and listen to a professor. So this is a wonderful way to segue into our presentation.”

Since receiving the grant in 2015, the principal investigators on the grant have created faculty learning communities, held regular discussions and offered summer training sessions to support faculty in moving to a flipped class room model that promotes active learning. They have been focused on a calculus course that was identified as a bottleneck for STEM majors, that had success rates as low as 40 percent. Now that the course has been piloted, the final phase of the grant will include comparing it to traditional courses.

“We have an external evaluator who will be looking at every factor for student success to determine if students are more engaged,” Mathur said.

During their presentation, Mathur and Sullivan-Green asked faculty members who attended to brainstorm what types of pre and post activities they might use in their own courses as well as what in-class activities would work.

One professor noted that it was important to think about learning outcomes for each module, and not just providing activities to keep students busy.

They closed the session with tips on finding source material for pre-class sessions including simulations, podcasts, text books, trade magazines, academic blogs, simple experiments or assignments to engage with people who work in a specific field.

Engaging in the Community

More than 260 higher education professionals and students attended SJSU's Second Inaugural Student Success Symposium April 15.

More than 260 higher education professionals and students attended SJSU’s Second Inaugural Student Success Symposium April 15.

In another breakout session, students and faculty from CommUniverCity presented their experiences engaging in the community.

Alex Dahl, a master’s student in environmental studies, is engaged with the project “Growing Sustainably: Garden Education and Garden Club.

“I am the link between the elementary school students, SJSU students and the community partners,” she said.

Always passionate about elementary education, she said the project has helped open her eyes to the importance of offering environmental and outdoor activities for K-12 students.

“I realized how many people are living with no way to access true outdoor experiences,” she said. “I am studying this as part of my thesis.”

Michael Oye, a lecturer in material and chemical engineering serves as a faculty advisor for CommUniverCity projects.

“Students get a chance to design their own projects, work in groups and go out and do something good,” he said. “It helps them get engaged with their majors and it’s also good for the community.”

The symposium executive committee included Patricia Backer; Sullivan-Green; Gregory Wolcott, interim AVP for transition and retention services; and Stacy Gleixner.

View the full list of breakout sessions and speakers online.

Financial Literacy for the Community

Date: April 28, 2011

Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Location: MLK Library Second Floor Suites

Summary: The sociology 120 students invite all SJSU students, SJSU campus employees and the community to attend the Financial Literacy for Community Development Event. This event offers resources from financial institutions and organizations, private and nonprofit organizations; and will offer workshops on money-related topics such as banking, budgeting, credit, taxation. See below for Workshops offered.

A green dollar sign with a shadow behind it.

Students Help Students With “Financial Literacy for Community Development”

event poster

Click on image for event website.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

What’s the number one search term on the SJSU Today site? “Tuition.”

So it should come as welcome news to our students that several campus organizations will host “Financial Literacy for the Community” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 at King Library.

The SJSU Center for Community Learning & Leadership and the Sociology 120 class on contemporary social issues will present the event, with support from United Way Silicon Valley’s Bank On San Jose program.

“Economic conditions necessitate financial literacy for self-sufficiency, life management and advancement,” wrote event organizers. “Students are conduits to families and communities likewise in need of financial know-how.”

Free and open to the public, the gathering will offer info on money management, money for college, taxes, and credit, with workshops beginning at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Major sponsors include Wells Fargo, the Silicon Valley/San Jose chapter of the California Society of CPAs, and the High Technology Tax Institute within the College of Business.

Many organizations will participate including Bank of America, Bridge Bank, Citibank, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Meriwest Credit Union, Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, Opportunity Fund, SJSU Financial Aid &  Scholarship Office,  Tech Credit Union, Union Bank, United Way Silicon Valley’s Bank on San Jose, and U.S. Bank.

A green dollar sign with a shadow behind it.

Students Help Students With "Financial Literacy for Community Development"

event poster

Click on image for event website.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

What’s the number one search term on the SJSU Today site? “Tuition.”

So it should come as welcome news to our students that several campus organizations will host “Financial Literacy for the Community” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 at King Library.

The SJSU Center for Community Learning & Leadership and the Sociology 120 class on contemporary social issues will present the event, with support from United Way Silicon Valley’s Bank On San Jose program.

“Economic conditions necessitate financial literacy for self-sufficiency, life management and advancement,” wrote event organizers. “Students are conduits to families and communities likewise in need of financial know-how.”

Free and open to the public, the gathering will offer info on money management, money for college, taxes, and credit, with workshops beginning at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Major sponsors include Wells Fargo, the Silicon Valley/San Jose chapter of the California Society of CPAs, and the High Technology Tax Institute within the College of Business.

Many organizations will participate including Bank of America, Bridge Bank, Citibank, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Meriwest Credit Union, Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, Opportunity Fund, SJSU Financial Aid &  Scholarship Office,  Tech Credit Union, Union Bank, United Way Silicon Valley’s Bank on San Jose, and U.S. Bank.