Learn Anywhere Website Launched to Aid Student Success

student working remotely on his laptop.

Student working remotely.

On August 6, San José State University launched Learn Anywhere—a website to help students better adapt to the hybrid teaching and learning model for the upcoming fall 2020 semester that consists of mostly online learning.

The Learn Anywhere site—the third in a trio of help and instruction websites—joins Work Anywhere and Teach Anywhere, which were created last spring to assist staff and faculty members transitioning to sheltering in place.

Learn Anywhere offers students a readiness questionnaire, basic tips to get started, guides to Zoom mastery, help navigating Canvas—and even what to do if students don’t have reliable Wi-Fi access at home, or need a loaner laptop. The Learn Anywhere site also has many easy-to-find tips on how to access other SJSU resources available to students, including:

  • Academic support, like the Writing Center, Accessible Education Center and Career Center
  • Advising Hub
  • Campus Life’s rich range of virtual opportunities to join in and connect
  • Financial Aid and SJSU Cares
  • How to use the library remotely

Learn Anywhere provides a “one-stop shop” where students can find information about technology needs, using online tools and campus resources like student centers, activities and events.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., said the Learn Anywhere website “helps students tap in and figure things out: How do I connect to tutoring? How do I connect to other success programs?”

Melinda Jackson, associate dean for undergraduate education, said, “We are excited to roll out Learn Anywhere for our students. Online learning is a new experience for many, and we want to make sure that students know about all of the resources the university is offering this fall.

“We recognize that online learning brings new challenges,” Jackson said. “Our faculty and staff members have been working hard all summer to reimagine and revamp what we do to offer an excellent educational experience for all.”

Last spring—when sheltering in place threw everything into a whirl—eCampus launched Teach Anywhere, a rich resource to help faculty members find what they needed. “It was a whole campus team effort getting that up,” said Jennifer Redd, director of eCampus. “This was truly a cross-campus collaborative effort to design and develop,” Redd said. Together, Learn Anywhere and Teach Anywhere curate resources, provide tips and offer guidance for teaching and learning online.

In addition to pointing students toward upcoming workshops, the Learn Anywhere site also displays numerous helpful recorded tutorials, such as tips on how to go beyond Zoom basics. A simple video tutorial explains how to share videos within Canvas. Another reminds students that, with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools, they’re able to practice making polished, professional-quality presentations.

The homepage also features personal tips offered by undergraduate and graduate students on strategies they use to succeed in learning remotely.

Sumeet Suhas Deshpande, a current student who helped the eCampus staff design and produce Learn Anywhere, said in an email that he hoped the site would make for “a smooth and efficient online learning experience in the semesters to come. Learn Anywhere is primarily built to cater to the needs of students who are not so well-versed with technology and software applications and are new to online learning.” Deshpande said he intended to use the very site he helped create to better manage his own time and studies, learn how other students were coping and succeeding, and connect with peers. As a student himself, Deshpande said he and the team had put a great deal of thought into “building the website with the end user’s perspective, as that is what matters the most.”

“We hope that students will bookmark the Learn Anywhere site and visit it often throughout the semester,” Jackson said. “We are all on this online journey together and want this site to help students connect to the Spartan community and find the support they need.”

Student Affairs Faculty Fellows Support the Diverse Spartan Community

Faculty Fellow Julia Curry Rodríguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, speaking with a student at the Chicanx/Latinx Spring Welcome. Photo by David Schmitz.

A partnership between SJSU Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, San Jose State University’s Student Affairs Faculty Fellows program is designed to support students’ academic success and connections with faculty members outside of the classroom. Faculty members are embedded as fellows across the university’s student success centers during the academic year.

“This is the fourth year of the program. Faculty fellows work eight hours a week in the centers or on programs supporting students. The projects help them connect, mentor and support students from varied disciplines and cultural backgrounds,” said Sonja Daniels, associate vice president for campus life.

The goal of the program is to create an inclusive community through shared experiences. The program works toward meeting well-defined learning outcomes by organizing events that foster skills such as critical thinking, effective communication and leadership, while also addressing issues of diversity, social justice and healthy living.

Professor and Chair of Chicano and Chicana Studies Magdalena Barrera is one of the faculty members working with the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center. A lot of the programming in the center is based on existing research on the strengths and challenges of historically underserved students.

“We directly help SJSU meet its goals of working on historically underrepresented students’ retention and graduation rates,” said Barrera. “Students find themselves empowered by engaging in the work at the center.”

She facilitates Centro’s Academic Resilience Series, which focuses on different aspects of student success, particularly geared toward Chicanx/Latinx students and first-generation student populations.

Along with Associate Professor and Faculty Fellow Rebeca Burciaga and CAPS counselor Celinda Miranda, Barrera co-facilitates a support group for students called CASA (Colectivo de Apoyo, Sabiduría y Acción, translated as Collective of Support, Knowledge and Action), an open forum for students to share personal challenges and also take part in structured conversations around issues they encounter daily.

Faculty fellows also engage in annual leadership retreats. Recently, Barrera was part of a team of staff and faculty members who took students to a retreat center in Santa Cruz, where students learned about being active members of the community.

“Everything we do in the center is founded on a model called community cultural wealth, where students don’t need to think of their ethnic identities as separate from their academic student identity,” said Barrera.

MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center is another vibrant space for the thriving Spartan community. This fall, the center held talks on multi-ethnic identity, including hosting events for Native American History month, a Fast Fashion Awareness art show and a variety of open mic activities. Since MOSAIC structures most of its cultural programming on ethnic events, the center is a space to support Spartan talent and local performers.

The programs offered by MOSAIC focus on social justice issues so students can learn about the rich cultural and social heritages of historically underrepresented groups, while celebrating differences.

Associate Professor of Justice Studies Edith Kinney is in her second year as a faculty fellow with MOSAIC. She feels that the center is a great space on campus for students of diverse backgrounds and interests to come together. “As a white faculty member, I think it’s really important to engage our students of color and to work actively against racism,” Kinney said.

“The faculty fellows program is a critical way to connect the expertise, scholarship and passion of the faculty with the interests and needs of our students,” added Kinney.

Student Affairs Faculty Fellows for the current academic year include:

MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center

Edith Kinney
Lance M. Fung
Jonathan Fung

Student Conduct and Ethical Development

Sarika Pruthi

Pride Center

Lark Buckingham

Gender Equity Center

Nico Peck

Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center

Magdalena Barrera
Rebeca Burciaga

Military and Veteran Student Resource Center

Leonard Lira

UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center

Julia Curry

African-American/Black Student Success Center

Nikki Yeboah

Update: University Housing

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

This morning, the Office of the President emailed the following message on Campus Village 2 to all faculty, staff and students.

Dear Campus Community,

This weekend, thousands of Spartans will move into our residence halls. This includes 820 frosh assigned to be the first residents of Campus Village 2, our newest tower.

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

While this building was scheduled for completion this month, we have determined that it is not yet suitable for housing our students. Campus Village 2 residents will be housed temporarily in available spaces in other residence halls.

You can read more about this on the Housing Services website.


Office of the President

“Spartan East Side Promise” to Prepare East Side Students for SJSU Admissions

Media contacts:
Linda Ornelas, ESUHSD Marketing and Public Engagement Director, 408-347-5014, ornelasl@esuhsd.org
Connie Skipitares, SVEF Media Relations Manager, 408-790-9593, connie@svef.com
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – An initiative that fosters a college-going culture in East San Jose schools and promises to help prepare students for admission to San Jose State University will be unveiled at a formal “promise signing” next week.

WHAT:  Spartan East Side Promise
WHEN:  9:30 – 10:15 a.m Friday, April 29
WHERE:  W.C. Overfelt High School, Room F5, 1835 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA 95122


Remarks will be offered by East Side students, SJSU Interim President Susan Martin, East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris D. Funk and Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Muhammed Chaudhry.

The “Spartan East Side Promise” provides a pathway to admission to SJSU by clearly specifying admissions requirements and actively sharing this information with students and families at the 13 high schools in the East Side Union High School District.

The Spartan East Side Promise is a collaborative venture created by SJSU and ESUHSD, with support from the East Side Alliance, a network that includes ESUHSD, seven elementary feeder school districts (Alum Rock, Berryessa, Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Orchard), and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.  The East Side Alliance brings together these eight districts as an educational community to share ideas, leverage resources, and align practices to ensure every student’s success.

Admissions Pathway

In order to gain admission into SJSU, students must meet the California State University/University of California course requirements known as the “A-G” requirements — a set of 15 high school course requirements covering a range of subjects that establish a foundation for college-level work.

Students must achieve a “C” grade or better in these subjects. Students at ESUHSD this fall must also earn a 3300 eligibility Index (SAT) or 790 (ACT), and require no remediation as determined by math and English placement test scores. The eligibility index is based on grades and test scores.

By clearly articulating the specific criteria for SJSU admission as part of the Spartan East Side Promise, ESUHSD students will know what is expected early in their academic careers and can prepare to take the steps needed to ensure college admission at SJSU.

The key here is locking in the eligibility index. The EI when an East Side student enters high school will be the maximum EI when the East Side student applies for admission to SJSU. This is important because SJSU may need to make upward adjustments to the EI for other applicants, depending on the university’s capacity to admit new students.


“We want students and families to see how students can go to college and earn a degree. This program provides a clear roadmap for success,” SJSU Interim President Susan Martin said. “We are excited to collaborate with East Side Union High School District, the East Side Alliance and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation on this innovative program to serve our local students.”

SJSU will provide presentations on CSU and SJSU admission requirements to students and their families at ESUHSD schools and middle schools feeding into ESUHSD; participate in onsite college fairs; identify a specific admissions counselor and financial aid counselor for East Side students and families; offer opportunities for ESUHSD students to visit SJSU; and ensure East Side Union high schools have publications regarding SJSU admission requirements.

The ESUHSD will appoint a district sponsor to work with SJSU; provide opportunities and facilities for SJSU representatives to meet with East Side students, families, faculty and counselors; provide bus transportation for ESHUSD students to visit SJSU and tour campus; promote the Spartan East Side Promise in elementary, middle and high schools; and identify a specific contact for SJSU at each high school.


“This is an exciting program that will provide a clear pathway into a university for students who might not otherwise gain this access,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “We are thrilled to be giving students this chance for a bright future and rewarding career opportunities ahead.”

“The Spartan East Side Promise will reinforce all our current efforts to create an environment that encourages our students to strive for college,” said Chris D. Funk, superintendent of the East Side Union High School District.

“We are excited to provide our East Side Alliance elementary students with a college pathway to a great California State University right here in their own back yard!” said Kathy Gomez, Evergreen School District superintendent,

“I want to acknowledge and thank both Interim President Sue Martin and former President Mo Qayoumi, who have been active partners with the East Side Alliance and have made the Spartan East Side Promise possible,” said Manny Barbara, SVEF coordinator of the East Side Alliance.

About the East Side Union High School District

East Side Union High School District, established in 1950, serves more than 23,000 students in grades 9-12 in San Jose, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley). The district has approximately 2,021 employees. It has the seventh largest high school student enrollment in the state and the largest in northern California.

The district’s mission is to align decisions to create safe, dynamic and relevant learning environments that inspire critical thinking, problem solving and innovation.

 About Silicon Valley Education Foundation

Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators. We drive scholastic achievement in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining resources and partnerships to provide innovative academic programs. We are a catalyst for policy solutions in public education. Our mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared students. To learn more, please visit: www.svef.com.

About San Jose State University

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

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

SJSU Celebrates Super Sunday 2016

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church choir crooned “no weapon they throw at me, you know it won’t prosper, no,” while donned in all black outfits and carrying picket signs reading “Black Lives Matter” during this year’s CSU Super Sunday service.

Super Sunday, part of the California State University system’s African American Initiative, resulted in CSU ambassadors visiting over 72 churches and speaking at over 100 church services in the state to encourage African American youth to pursue higher education.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the CSU system to remind people that our mission is to aid ordinary people in being successful and transforming their families,” said San Jose State Interim President Susan Martin.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

SJSU Interim President Sue Martin and Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

President Martin, who attended Emmanuel Baptist Church’s service on Feb. 28 along with SJSU Vice President of Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock, stressed the importance of encouraging youths to start considering college at a young age.

“Most of our CSU campuses, including ours, only have three percent of our students identifying as African Americans,” Martin said. “So we need more African American families to prepare to send their children to college.”

Tierney Yates, Social Sciences ’14, said he was only one of three African Americans in his political science program while in his undergraduate career and hopes the initiative will help boost representation in the CSU.

Yates, who serves as the church choir director, said the Black Lives Matter message was incorporated into the musical performances in addition to Pastor Jason Reynolds’ sermons for the month of February in order to bring attention to institutional racism and other issues.

“We talked about issues with community, income and family, so this week we were talking about the issues as they relate to education and disparities,” Reynolds said. “There is so much need for our children to see that knowledge is possible.”

Blaylock, who has served in the CSU system for 28 years, told the service attendees that he was a product of the system’s opportunities.

“My story can be summed up in eight words: ‘It wasn’t supposed to happen but it did,’” Blaylock said. “I came as a freshman over 30 years ago, and CSU and EOP [Educational Opportunity Program] most likely saved my life.”

Despite it being the 11th year that the CSU has organized a Super Sunday with California churches, Blaylock said there is a deep-rooted culture of partnerships within the system.

“There are many people in the CSU who have been doing work and reaching out to communities of color for many, many years,” Blaylock said. “I applaud and celebrate the coordination of these (Super Sunday) efforts, but as a witness today, there are staff and faculty from SJSU that attend this church that are on the scholarship committee and that organize afterschool tutoring, so we’ve been here long before the initiative.”

Yates said he was pleased to see over 20 SJSU or CSU alumni members in the church audience.

“When you’re on a campus of 33,000 students, you feel like you’re the only one,” Yates said. “But when you see it in a smaller setting you can see the impact that it can have and the potential growth that needs to happen.”


San Jose State Receives $15 Million Gift Commitment from South Bay Philanthropist Lupe Diaz Compean

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic).

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

SAN JOSE, CA–San Jose State is pleased to announce that it has received a $15 million gift commitment from South Bay resident and friend of the university Lupe Diaz Compean. The gift will support student success initiatives and scholarships. In addition, the gift will support the maintenance of SJSU’s newly renovated and expanded Student Union, and the many activities housed in this structure located in the heart of campus.

“Lupe Diaz Compean’s remarkable generosity will enable San Jose State to make meaningful, sustained investments in student success initiatives, scholarships and student programming,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “Mrs. Compean did not graduate from college, but she and her late husband recognized the value of a college education for all and exemplified that a fulfilling life is within reach of everyone who works hard to achieve their dreams. San Jose State is pleased to recognize and honor the extraordinary work and generosity of donors who are making an enduring impact on our university and community.”

The building will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union in honor of Mrs. Compean and her late husband, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees at its March 8-9 meeting in Long Beach, Calif. President Martin and Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning will represent SJSU at the meeting.

“San Jose State has been in conversation with the Compeans for the past two decades,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “Throughout this time, Lupe Diaz Compean has been crystal clear that her motivation in making the gift was to benefit students, honor her family and her late husband by naming a facility, and demonstrating that by working hard and getting an education, anyone can achieve what she has in her lifetime.”


Photo: David Schmitz

Student Union interior (Photo: David Schmitz).

The gift will be used to create the following endowment funds:

  • A Student Success Fund to support initiatives that foster student success and increase retention and graduation rates.
  • Three scholarship endowments to support emancipated foster youths, California Dream Act students, and a merit scholarship for high-performing students.
  • A Student Union Programming Fund to provide support for visiting lectures, art exhibits, workshops and other student-focused special events and programming.
  • A Student Union Operating Fund that will provide resources for ongoing maintenance and operating needs of the facility.

Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Lupe Diaz was born in 1926 in Edinburg, Texas and was the oldest in a family of 10 children. In 1955, she married Ramiro Compean, who was born in Reynosa, Mexico, in 1932. He was one of seven children in his family. Mr. Compean passed away in August 2002.

In 1956, one year after they were married, the Compeans moved to San Jose. Mr. Compean worked for George Day Construction building houses in Saratoga. Mrs. Compean attended school and helped her husband in the business. They saved their money and soon were able to purchase a home in Almaden Valley. They continued to buy properties as they were able. Mrs. Compean, at age 89, is still actively managing the properties she owns.

Mrs. Compean is not a graduate of SJSU, but believes very strongly in the mission of the institution and the importance of education. She first approached SJSU regarding making a gift in the mid-1990s. She and her husband had heard that SJSU had a good Mexican American Studies Department and wanted to contribute. Eventually, those conversations turned to the possibility of including the university in their estate. Following Mr. Compean’s death in 2002, Mrs. Compean continued the conversation with University Advancement and indicated that SJSU would be a beneficiary of half her estate.

In 2012, Mrs. Compean and her certified public accountant, Anne Lee of Bauerle, Lee and Associates, LLP, approached the university to explore how Mrs. Compean might experience the impact of her legacy while she was still alive. Over the course of the next three years, discussions continued regarding the use of the gift and how the gift would be structured. In December 2015, Mrs. Compean finalized the gift agreement.

About San José State University

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

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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


SJSU to Host African American College Readiness Summit

African American students at commencement

photo by Christina Olivas

The third annual African American College Readiness Summit, sponsored by San Jose State University, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and community organizations, will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at SJSU.

Organizers will provide 500 high school students with the tools, information and contacts they need to pursue higher education. The keynote speaker is teacher, minister and aspiring charter school founder Sean Gardere, ’08 Sociology.

This year’s summit is informed by the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which encourages all students to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school.

The day will begin with entertainment by the Gunderson High and Independence High step teams, plus Akoma Arts. Speakers include SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock and Associate Vice President for Student Services Romando Nash. Workshops will cover financial aid, fields of study, trade school, community college, and career planning.

For the first time, two sessions will be offered this academic year. Friday’s session will focus on high school students. A second session this spring will bring middle school students to SJSU. Organizers are responding to growing interest in the event and the need to customize offerings for each age group.


Candlelight Vigil for Ryan Harryman

SJSU Interim President Susan Martin has emailed the following message to the campus community. This event is open to the public.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

I am writing to let you know about plans to honor the life and memory of SJSU student Ryan Harryman, who passed away Saturday night.

A senior anthropology major from Sunnyvale, Ryan collapsed during club water polo practice last Tuesday evening and never regained consciousness.

In close collaboration with his family, we have scheduled a candlelight vigil for this Friday, Oct. 23, beginning at 6 p.m. in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture near Clark Hall. Students and others are invited to join in this informal celebration, during which participants will have the opportunity to share personal memories of Ryan.

We all stand with Ryan’s parents, siblings, extended family, teammates and friends during this very difficult time.


Susan Martin
Interim President

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

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

By Sophie Mattson

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

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

Read the full story.


R. Blaylock

SJSU Appoints Vice President for Student Affairs

R Blaylock

Reginald Blaylock

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

Reginald Blaylock has been appointed vice president for student affairs, effective June 1, 2015.

Throughout the search process, campus stakeholders were impressed by Blaylock’s unbridled enthusiasm and evident commitment to student success,” President Qayoumi said. “I look very forward to welcoming him to SJSU and believe everyone will find him to be an engaging, collaborative, committed leader and community member.”

Blaylock joins SJSU from San Diego State University, where for the last 27 years he has supported and cultivated student success. Since 2013, he has served as SDSU’s associate vice president for student services, leading 10 departments within the Division of Student Affairs, including those that provide educational opportunity programs and ethnic affairs; health, wellness and disability services; international student and study abroad services, as well as many other programs.

Student Affairs Experience

Beyond his leadership responsibilities, Blaylock was instrumentally involved in numerous SDSU strategic initiatives. These included the Aztec Scholars Initiative, which works to recruit and retain underrepresented African American and American Indian students, as well as efforts to implement physical and campus culture improvements to better serve those with disabilities within SDSU’s campus community.

Previously, Blaylock served in leadership roles in student recruitment, school relations, outreach and enrollment management, and intercollegiate athletics (student-athlete support services at SDSU are housed within Student Affairs). Blaylock holds a doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis in postsecondary education, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degree in public administration, all from SDSU.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

Super Sunday 2015

From the moment the service began, it was clear that the people of Maranatha Christian Center could relate to their guest speaker from San Jose State.

After welcoming rain-soaked congregants indoors with song, Praise and Worship Leader Kimberly Christmas, ’93 Communication Studies, greeted the guest with a big hug.

It turns out Coleetta McElroy, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, helped Christmas back when she was an SJSU student, sparking a lifelong friendship.

McElroy was one of four SJSU administrators to attend church services statewide as part of the CSU Super Sunday program.

She “knows about the money,” as Pastor Tony Williams so aptly put it, drawing a clear “Amen!” from the pews.

But McElroy presented all aspects of planning for college, given the goal of the CSU campaign is to increase African American college graduation rates.

Yet it was the personal connections that will leave lasting impressions. Speaking from the stage, McElroy shared her journey, as first in her family to graduate from college.

She went on to receive a master’s in public administration in 1997 from San Jose State, progress that she said continues to inspire her nieces and nephews.

After the service, Zeke Staples, ’08 BS, ’12 MA, Kinesiology, answered questions while placing college brochures in as many hands as he could.

Though he kept this to himself Sunday, his story inspires, too. Staples runs his own fitness business while working as an SJSU admissions counselor and recruiter.

Students Invite Obama to SJSU

With an ingenious video, a student group has formally invited the First Lady to a campus event.

“The White House has communicated that they are reviewing our event and the First Lady’s schedule,” said Amanda Aldama, First-Generation College Student Programs coordinator.

“In an effort to get their attention, we have followed the model of several other campuses who were successful in securing her attendance by making an invitation video. It is our hope that, if this video gets trending, as it did for other campuses, then she may say yes.”

The video connects Michelle Obama’s college experience to that of many San Jose State students who are first in their families to seek universities degrees.

GENERATE: The First-Generation College Student Program will host its inaugural First-Generation Scholarship Luncheon noon Feb. 25 in the Student Union. The first lady would serve as the keynote speaker.

The Obama video is part of GENERATE’s “I Relate!” campaign, designed to inform prospective and current Spartans about first-generation college student achievements at SJSU.




Feeding the Hungry

As the semester ends and the weather cools, students from the Afghan Student Association, the Muslim Student Association, and supporters took to the streets to feed the hungry.

Established this year by President Matt Mohammed, ’16 Civil Engineering, the Afghan Student Association led the distribution of homemade sandwiches, snacks and bottled water to homeless people on the streets surrounding campus following their usual Jummah prayer on Friday, Dec. 5, in Clark Hall.

“As a Muslim, it is our duty to do charity,” said Mohammed, explaining that giving alms, or Zakat, is one of the five pillars of Islam.

“Not everyone here is Muslim,” he continued, gesturing to the group of about 25 students packing food. “Anyone is welcome. This is about just about giving back. It’s cold out and people are hungry.”

Mohammed’s parents emigrated from Afghanistan nearly 40 years ago and he remains closely connected with his cultural heritage.

“It’s hard to help overseas in impoverished Afghanistan,” he says, “but it’s easy to help here in our own community.”

Observing Veterans Day


The university wishes to thank all Spartans who are serving in the armed forces, or have done so in the past (James Tensuan photo).

San Jose State will mark Veterans Day with a ceremony and celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Smith/Carlos lawn. That’s one day before the campus closure Nov. 11.

Following the national anthem and a Color Guard presentation, the event will open to participants in a push-up/pull-up challenge.

The Mission Continues, a non-profit, will award prizes and offer giveaways to encourage students to take part in the event.

Organizations including the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) Initiative and the Military and Veterans Services Office will be on hand to offer information.

Food and drink will be sold by Spartan Shops, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Veterans Student Organization.

In addition, this fall, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library is hosting “War Comes Home: Our Veterans, Our Communities,” a statewide effort to engage Californians in thinking about what it means to come home from war, for our veterans as well as the rest of us.

Helping Latino Families Plan for College

Helping Latinos Plan for College

Helping Latino Families Plan for College

Students and their families gather at the Event Center to hear from keynote speakers at a previous ALAS conference (photo courtesy of Fernanda Karp).

Organizers Seek to Boost College Attendance and Graduation Rates by Offering Latino Students and Families Information and Encouragement

Fernanda P. Karp, SJSU Student Affairs, (408) 924-1162
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, (408) 924-1748

SAN JOSE, Calif., — San Jose State University will collaborate with the Santa Clara County Superintendents Association, the Consulado General de Mexico en San José and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley to host the fourth biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success (ALAS) conference March 15 at SJSU. Almost 100 speakers and presenters will offer 1,500 Latino fifth through 10th graders and their families the information they need to prepare for college. Registration is closed, but the media is welcome to attend. (Please see schedule below.)

Helping Latino Families Plan for College

The Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Mariachi Tradicional welcomes attendees to a previous ALAS conference (photo courtesy of Fernanda Karp).

“San Jose State University is pleased to host the fourth biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success conference,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “SJSU is committed to accessibility and places high value in reaching out to all families as they prepare for higher education. We want to demonstrate to students and their parents that a college education is indeed attainable, especially when you start planning early for the college application process.”

Rich in Culture, Tradition, Values and Faith

The keynote speaker this year is Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, who became the highest ranked Latina in the Combat Support Field of the U.S. Army. Kickbusch is a renowned, charismatic, passionate and influential speaker with a mission to empower the next generation of leaders. Born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, Texas, Kickbusch is all too familiar with the challenges of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy. Although she grew up without material wealth, Kickbusch was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values and faith.

We all are partners in the shared mission to improve college opportunities for our local K-12 students, and this conference is one example of that,” said SJSU Director of Campus and Community Relations Fernanda P. Karp. “The success of our region’s Latino and Latina students is integral to the future success of our state’s economy, and that success starts with making sure that students are aware of and prepared for getting into college.”

Prioritizing Opportunity

The idea for this conference springs from a need to increase the number of college-bound Latino students in Silicon Valley. According to the Silicon Valley Latino Report Card 2011, 14 percent of Latinos have a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 52% of non-Latinos. This event also reflects the California State University External Relations mission, which includes ensuring the needs of students with the least opportunity are recognized as a high priority.

Helping Latino Families Plan for College

Students and their families attend workshops on academic skills, parental involvement, college-student life, and the long-term benefits of higher education (photo courtesy of Fernanda Karp).

“It’s never too early to start setting the course for college!” said Evergreen School District Superintendent Kathy Gomez. “Helping students and their families realize that college is not only possible — but it’s also accessible right here in San Jose — is what ALAS is all about. The Santa Clara County Superintendents Association is very happy to work with San Jose State University and our partners to help spread this message!”

The conference will begin with a formal welcome by President Qayoumi and Mexican Consul General to San Jose Carlos Ponce followed by a keynote address by Lt. Col. Ret. Castillo Kickbusch. Then, students and their families will attend workshops on campus. Topics will include academic skills, parental involvement, college-student life, and the long-term benefits of higher education.

All Santa Clara County school districts were given the opportunity to invite top Latino students. The conference title, “Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success,” was carefully selected because its abbreviation (“ALAS”) means wings in Spanish.


Advancing Latina/o Achievement and Success Conference
SJSU Event Center 
March 15, 2014

8 a.m.
Welcome – President Mohammad Qayoumi, San Jose State University
Welcome – Kathy Gomez, Santa Clara County Superintendent Association and Fernanda P. Karp, San Jose State University
Welcome –Consul General Carlos Ponce, Mexican Consulate in San José
Keynote – Lt. Col. Ret. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch
Entertainment – Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Mariachi Tradicional

10:15 a.m.
Break-Out Session #1

11:30 a.m.
Break-Out Session #2

12:30 a.m.
End of Program

San Jose State — 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.

Promoting College Readiness

Promoting College Readiness

The African American Student Summit is part of SJSU’s efforts to to develop partnerships designed to promote student access and success (Stan Olszewski photo).

By Fernanda Karp, Campus and Community Relations Director

San Jose State played host to over 400 middle and high school students from Santa Clara County on Nov. 14 for the African American Student Summit, entitled “#collegeready.”

“It is exciting to welcome this many students to SJSU and be able to share my experiences,” said Danielle Miller, president of the SJSU Black Student Union and a planning committee member.

Unique partnership

Designed to show Bay Area students that a better future begins with college, the program is a unique partnership that includes the Division of Student Affairs, the Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators, the NAACP San Jose/Silicon Valley Branch, 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the California Alliance of African American Educators.

Throughout their visit on campus, the students will be immersed in a hands-on college journey experience, from application to admission and later to their involvement in campus activities and organizations.

Campus life

The students will tour the campus and take part in college-like classes and career exploration. They will also hear about college life directly from SJSU students.

“As a high school student, I never had anything like this offered to me and no particular mentors,” Miller said. “I am excited to be able to give back to my community and to help future college students. These types of events are very much needed and long overdue.”

With the aim of creating a college-going culture within the African American community, the day’s program is co-chaired by Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Art King and President of the Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators Leon Beauchman.

Promoting College for All Students

New this year: Family and Community Conference at San Jose State 

Media Contacts:
Kim Guptill, 408-464-3642
Pat Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif. – SJSU will host a new Family and Community Conference on Oct. 19 in conjunction with College Daya county-wide college-going effort.

The free conference will include a “College Fair,” with representatives from numerous colleges. Attendees can also participate in multiple workshops on topics such as “College Knowledge” and “How Financial Aid Works.” Participants will learn how to complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act application.  A “College Success Lab,” with CSU/UC admissions experts will be available all day to assist high school seniors and their families. Sessions will be presented in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

“By offering lesson plans, information resources and speakers to all Santa Clara students – especially those who will be the first in their families to go to college – we hope to inspire them to believe that they can afford college, and to start saving today, whether they are fifth graders or seniors in high school,” said Dana Bunnett, College Day Chair.

College Day activities will take place on the campuses of elementary, middle, and high schools across the valley. The Family and Community Conference will take place at SJSU.

Promoting a College Going Culture

On  Oct. 11, schools in Santa Clara County participated in College Day. Students took part in interactive activities to inspire and support their aspirations for a college education. This year’s theme was “College: There’s Always a Way to Pay,” and activities centered on financial literacy and financial aid information.

Every school designed its own College Day. Students opened savings accounts at elementary schools, had classroom lessons in “Comparing Financial Aid Packages” at high schools, or listened to community members speak about how they paid for college. Among the speakers were San Jose State Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Nance.

Now in its third year, College Day is spearheaded by the volunteer-led First-Generation College Attainment Coalition.  The goal of College Day is to create a college-going culture in Santa Clara County, and to inspire and support first-generation students in their pursuit of a college education.Supporting Financial LiteracyMajor sponsors include the Applied Materials Foundation, ScholarShare, Kids in Common, SJSU and Downtown College Prep.

“With the focus of this year’s College Day efforts on financial literacy, we naturally wanted to participate,” said Zeny Agullana, executive director at ScholarShare Investment Board. “ScholarShare, California’s 529 college savings plan, makes it easy for all California families to save for their loved ones’ college costs and serves as an important tool for these children to obtain access to higher education.”

Other sponsors include San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and San Jose City Councilmembers Xavier Campos, Rose Herrera, Ash Kalra, Sam Liccardo and Don Rocha; and the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation. Organizations that have collaborated to make College Day a reality include: Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), ALearn, Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, Breakthrough Silicon Valley, College Board, College on Track, CommUniverCity, FIRST 5, Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative, GoVoluntr, Mission College, Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), Sacred Heart Community Services, San José  Public Library, Santa Clara County Office of Education, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Summer Search, University of California Berkeley, Center for Educational Partnerships (Destination College Advising Corps) and University of California, Santa Cruz, Educational Partnership Center (San Jose Cal-SOAP).

Learn more about College Day. 



SJSU Invites Youths on "Journey to Success"

SJSU Invites Youths on “Journey to Success”


SJSU Invites Youths on "Journey to Success"

The California State University “Journey to Success” program seeks to help Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders attend college and graduate (Christina Olivas photo).

Media contact:
Fernanda Perdomo Karp
, Student Affairs
Campus and Community Relations, (408) 924-1162

– City of Campbell Vice Mayor Evan Low, ’03 Political Science, will be the keynote speaker at San Jose State’s first “Journey to Success” event, geared toward providing Asian American and Pacific Islander students in grades 6 through 12 with the information they need to go to college.

This event, for young people and their families, will begin at 8 a.m. Nov. 3 in the Student Union’s Barrett Ballroom. Register here.

The California State University “Journey to Success” program seeks to help Asian American and Pacific Islanders attend college and graduate. The SJSU event will feature educational workshops covering every step from application to obtaining a diploma. Speakers will include CSU faculty members, community leaders, and AAPI student ambassadors, who will share their own journeys to success.

“’Journey to Success’ is integral to San Jose State University’s efforts to open the doors of higher education to all eligible students,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “We invite all interested students and their families to register for this event, visit our campus, and begin planning now to attend and graduate from college.”

“Journey to Success” began in October 2010 as a collaborative effort between the CSU and leaders from the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The initiative will expand to SJSU for the first time this year. San Jose State’s event will open with a performance by the Akbayan Filipino American Organization and feature a lunchtime show by the Pride of the Pacific Islands. Lunch will be provided to all attendees.

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.

"Ask Me" Program Debuts This Fall

"Ask Me" Welcome Stations Planned for the First Few Weeks of Fall 2012

"Ask Me" Program Debuts This Fall

Spartan Shops has produced these buttons for “Ask Me,” a new program for fall 2012.

In an effort to support the SJSU Strategic Plan: Vision 2017 goals of “Spartan Pride” and “Helping and Caring,” the Division of Student Affairs and Spartan Shops are partnering on a new welcome program for fall 2012. The goal is to instill a sense of belonging and Spartan pride from the moment a student first comes to campus.

Student Affairs is planning three welcome stations from Aug. 20-30, Monday-Thursday.  There will be resource tables and volunteers at each station to answer any questions students may have.

These tables will be staffed with faculty, staff and students, making this a campuswide effort. Volunteers will serve in two hour blocks, starting at either 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. with some evening shifts from 4-6:30 p.m. To volunteer, contact Anthony Bettencourt at (408) 924-6062.

Locations will be as follows:

#1. The corner of South Ninth and East San Fernando streets in front of the campus gate.

#2. In front of the Event Center.

#3. A location to be determined near King Library.

Spartan Shops has produced “Ask Me” buttons with the Spartan logo for all faculty and staff members to wear the first two weeks of the fall semester. Pins will be distributed through the vice president of each division. More pins can be obtained at no cost from the Spartan Shops offices in MacQuarrie Hall.