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Powering Academic Success

Awards and Honors

Political Science Announces winner of the Montan Foundation Scholarship

The Political Science Department is pleased to announce the presentation of the newly established Göran Montan Foundation Scholarship to two of our outstanding students: Ms. Rashmeen Kaur and Mr. Afshin Najafi. These two students will go to Stockholm, Sweden this summer for a week of exciting and educational events. They will meet representatives from Swedish Government and Parliament, think tanks, media, corporations and organizations relevant to Swedish-American commerce and Swedish governance. 

Mr. Montan is a former international business professional and member of the Swedish Parliament. Through friends in the Bay Area, he made contacts in the Political Science Department at SJSU. Mr. Montan came up with the idea of inviting SJSU students to Sweden. There, they could see for themselves what politics, policies and governance are like in one of the most progressive countries in the world. The awards were presented on May 5 at San Jose's City Hall. Click here for more information about the scholarship.

Green Ninja Climate Ride

The Green Ninja team started the California Climate Ride in Eureka on May 17 and finished in San Francisco on May 21. The purpose of the ride was to raise awareness about climate change and the need to support nonprofit organizations like SJSU’s own Green Ninja Project. The eight-member team was led by Eugene Cordero, Meteorology and Climate Science Department. Click here for more information.

Phi Kappa Phi Initiates

More than 260 students accepted membership in the national honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. on April 17 in the Student Union Auditorium. Long-time President Gus Lease presided. The keynote speaker was professor and incoming president Bill Reckmeyer. His topic was “ARETE/ The Quest for Excellence in a Global World." The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to the Honorable Senator Jim Beall, California state senator. The Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Interim Deputy Provost and AVP of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, professor Dennis Jaehne. A reception for members and their friends and family was held in the Student Union Garden.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897. Its primary objective has been to recognize and encourage superior scholarship in all fields of study. Its motto is “Let the love of learning rule humanity.”

Pictured above: Gus Lease addresses the audience during the Phi Kappa Phi ceremony.

Pictured below: Bill Reckmeyer, initiate, Emily Holland, Beth Von Till, and Dennis Jaehne at the reception in the Student Union Auditorium Plaza following the initiation.

Student Athletes Honored For Their Work in the Classroom

On April 24, a record 56 SJSU student athletes were recognized for their exemplary work in the classroom by receiving Honors Convocation awards. Honors Convocation recognizes students who have received the President’s Scholars or Dean’s Scholars. A President’s Scholar has earned a 4.0 GPA average in at least two contiguous semesters of the last three prior to Honor's Convocation. A Dean’s Scholar has earned a 3.65 GPA or higher in at least two contiguous semesters of the last three prior to Honor's Convocation. Spartan Athletes Darcie Anderson (Women’s Swimming & Diving), Breanna Garcia (Women’s Cross Country & Track & Field), Rebecca Garcia (Women’s Cross Country & Track & Field), Felix Petermann (Men’s Soccer), and Emily Vann (Women’s Basketball) were named President’s Scholars. 51 Spartan Athletes were named Dean’s Scholars.

SAMMY Award Winners

The following awards were presented at the annual SAMMY Awards ceremony on May 11 in the Student Union Ballroom.
  • Top Academic Teams:
    Women’s Tennis
    Men’s Cross Country
  • Most Improved Academically:
    Men’s Soccer
  • Acad. Head Coach of the Year:
    Sage Hopkins, Swim. & Diving
  • Acad. Asst. Coach of the Year:
    Christen Hardee, Softball
  • Community Service Award:
    Women’s Basketball
  • Dick Tomey Class Act Award:
    Felix Peterman, Men’s Soccer
    Timi Molar, Women’s Water Polo
  • John Ralston Award to Staff:
    Lawrence Fan

Update on the College of Business Student Gold Team

The Gold Team was featured in the last newsletter after winning the regional Chartered Financial Analyst Challenge (beating out teams from Santa Clara, Wharton and Stanford). They have since competed nationally in Atlanta in the “Global Finals” and made it to the quarterfinals. 51 business schools participated. Team members were: Joel Gonzales, Valeriya Razdyakanova, Shayan Khales, and Nirav Shah.

NASA Awards Research Grant for Minority Serving Institutions

NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) has selected 10 minority-serving universities for cooperative agreement awards valued at almost $47 million.
SJSU was one of the sites selected and will receive $4.63 million over 5 years. The “Center for Applied Atmospheric Research and Education” will provide increased diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math at SJSU. Sen Chiao, Meteorology and Climate Science, is the Principle Investigator. Click here for the press release.

CSU Visiting Fellows Program Grant

The Animation and Illustration program was awarded a CSU Visiting Fellows Program grant, part of the CSU Entertainment Initiative. The grant will fund an intensive weekend workshop with one of the top names of the Animation Industry. Jan Pinkava is best known as the director and writer of Pixar Oscar-winning 1997 short film "Geri's Game", and as the originator and co-director of Pixar's Oscar-winning 2007 film "Ratatouille."

Through this program, SJSU Animation and Illustration students will be exposed to the possibilities of a new Silicon Valley technology that allows the viewer to control the camera and the view. This new technology has the possibility of shaping the future of animation. Pinkava's intensive weekend workshop will help our students and faculty to be on the forefront of this new technology trend in “screen arts” and storytelling. It will also be the first time our campus hosts a program geared towards virtual reality animation.

College of Social Science Faculty and Staff Awards

The College of Social Sciences (CoSS) honors the recipients of this year's faculty and staff awards.

Andrew Wood, Communication Studies, has been selected to receive the Austen D. Warburton Award of Merit. Endowed by Austen D. Warburton, this award recognizes a faculty member within the college who has achieved the highest level of scholarship, as demonstrated by an outstanding record of publications and the delivery of scholarly papers before prestigious professional organizations. The person’s achievements should be worthy of international or national recognition, with significant impact upon a field of scholarship in the Social Sciences.

Jonathan Roth, History, receives the CoSS Meritorious Service Award for distinguished service on department, college, and university elected bodies and leadership in advancing the interests of faculty.

Scott Myers-Lipton, Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, was selected for the CoSS Teaching Excellence Award. This award honors one faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching and mentoring at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Victoria Rodriguez, Communication Studies, received the CoSS Staff Excellence Service Award. This award is presented to a College of Social Sciences staff member who exemplifies the highest traditions of service. It is given in recognition of a particular outstanding service accomplishment or a record of sustained and excellent service to students, faculty, and staff members, departments, the College of Social Sciences, SJSU, or the community.

Lucas College of Business Honors and Recognition

The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business recently held its 2nd Annual Scholarship Ceremony with students and donors. 145 scholarships were awarded totaling more than $204,000.
Anu Basu represented SJSU at a VIP breakfast reception with Mayor Sam Liccardo to kick off the “EY Entrepreneur of the Year Northern California program to celebrate entrepreneurship, job creation, economic growth and innovation. Anu also represented SJSU at an exclusive event "Silicon Valley 360: NetApp" at the Computer History Museum to launch the Museum's new Center for Entrepreneurship·         
Anne Lawrence has been invited to teach a "master class" at the "Teaching Ethics: Master Class in Business Ethics" conference at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and will be honored with a "Master Teacher in Ethics Award."
Howard Combs gave a presentation to a visiting delegation consisting of political leaders from Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia that was orchestrated by a City of San Jose representative and sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders. He has been conducting research on what types of social media are most effective in political advertising.

Charles W. Davidson
College of Engineering Awards Banquet

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering held its annual awards banquet on April 30th at the Fairmont Hotel. The keynote speaker was Chandrkant D. Patel, HP Fellow and Chief Engineer, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories.
  • Award of Distinction: Dr. Donald G. Newnan, Professor Emeritus, Industrial & Systems Engineering, San Jose State University BS Civil Engineering 1951
  • Applied Materials Award for Excellence in Teaching: Yasser Dessouky, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • McCoy Family Faculty Award for Excellence in Service: Pat Backer, Department of Aviation & Technology
  • Davidson College of Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship: Nader Mir, Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Newnan Brothers Award for Faculty Excellence: Buff Furman, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Davidson College of Engineering Outstanding Lecturer: Ken Youssefi, Departments of General Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
  • Onslow H. Rudolph, Jr. Staff Excellence in Service Award: Lucinda Lawson, Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Lockheed Martin Student Award for Undergraduate Academic Performance: Ronny Elor, Biomedical Engineering major
  • Davidson College of Engineering Awards for Graduate Student Academic Performance: Yan Zhou, Industrial & Systems Engineering major, and Shiva Moballegh, Electrical Engineering major
  • Donald Beall-Rockwell Award for Engineering Accomplishment: Vince Donatini, Mechanical Engineering major
  • Scott T. Axline Memorial Student Award for Excellence in Service: Khalil Estell, Computer Engineering major
A special award was presented to Sue Maples, Assistant to the Dean, in appreciation of her many years of service to the Davidson College of Engineering.

Pictured above: Andrew Hsu, the Don Beall Dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering (left), and Ryan Newnan, grandnephew of Don Newnan and recipient of the COE Award of Distinction (right), presenting the Newnan brothers Award for Faculty Excellence to Buff Furman (center). This is the highest award given to a faculty member in the college.

Students give back to their Community

By Rachael Odell
SJSU 157SL is a Community Engagement & Service Learning class that gives SJSU students the opportunity to give back to their community. This class strives to connect SJSU students to local nonprofit organizations to give students an opportunity to learn about their community and use their time and skills to give back.

Dr. Virginia Lehmkuhl-Dakhwe, Director of the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program, College of Science, and professor for 157SL said, “I firmly believe that you can learn a great deal by doing and conducting genuine projects in a real world setting where you also have the opportunity to reflect on those experiences in an academic setting.“ 

The SJSU students pictured above volunteered their time at a local elementary school to assist teachers in the classroom and tutor second and third graders in an after-school program. Another group of students worked with a STEM program that focuses on educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Other students volunteered their time at Sacred Heart, where they provided food and clothing to the homeless.

“Largely, it's overwhelming positive feedback and comments about their experience, they often feel overwhelmed at the beginning with the commitment of 48 hours and so many components to this program, but with that they step out of their comfort zone and embrace something new. They come back really a changed person by the end of the semester,” Dr. Lehmkuhl-Dakhwe said.

Upcoming Events


SJSU Commencement

More than 8,700 students will earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at SJSU's Commencement on May 23, at 9:30am in Spartan Stadium.
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, will be the Commencement speaker.

Educator and former De La Salle High School head football coach Bob Ladouceur, ’77 Criminal Justice, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Economic Summit

Join us for the Economic Summit on May 28 in the Student Union Ballroom.

7:30am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15-10am: Presentations and Q&A
The event is free, but registration is required.

Center for Faculty Development

Be sure to check the Center for Faculty Development events for workshops throughout the summer.
If you have a story you'd like to see in the Academic Affairs Division Newsletter, please click here!
Editor: Beth Von Till
Layout/Design: Janet Sundrud
Student Interns:
Adam Lagos
Rachel Odell
Sarah Souksamphanh



Dr. Sandeep Muju has been appointed as executive director of the SJSU Research Foundation, effective June 15, 2015. Dr. Muju’s diverse experience in higher education and the private sector provide him with a unique perspective that will move the research goals of our faculty forward while identifying new ways to collaborate. Click here for the rest of the story.

CEED Awards


The College of Applied Sciences and Arts Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity honored five recipients at the 2015 CEED Award reception on April 28.

The CEED Awards recognizes faculty, staff, students and a student organization that have demonstrated excellence in promoting and fostering a deeper understanding of equity and diversity as they relate to issues of age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and/or sexual orientation. Faculty members from each department within the college work to promote the awards, oversee the nomination process and select the top award winners. This year’s honorees include:

Van Ta Park, associate professor and director of the undergraduate program in Health Science. Park has worked on a National Institutes for Health grant to address health disparities, serves as the chair for the Academic Senate’s Faculty Diversity Committee, and has been involved in many other efforts.

Tabia Shawel, administrative support coordinator, Social Work. Shawel was honored for her ability to connect with students of different cultures, her work with action groups on campus to support social justice and for serving as a moderator of a panel in a BASW cultural competency training. She is also a student in the Department of Justice Studies, where she has presented approaches to breaking down power dynamics within societies.

Victor Lecha III, graduate student, Social Work. Lecha is an outspoken activist in the community and on campus who has worked to organize fellow students around equity issues. As part of his internship as a social work undergraduate student, he connected with youth in the community.

Randy Vazquez, undergraduate students, Journalism and Mass Communication. Vazquez has worked on numerous documentaries that highlight diverse cultures throughout the Bay Area and was a finalist for the Chips Quinn Scholars Program for college journalism students of color.

Alpha Phi Sigma Iota, student organization, Justice Studies. Students in the Alpha Phi Sigma Iota club created a campaign to raise awareness and to combat human trafficking. They raised more than $1,500 to benefit a local nonprofit shelter that serves minors recovering from commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Pictured above: Representatives from Alpha Phi Sigma Iota, Tabia Shawel, Randy Vasquez, Victor Lecha III and Van Ta Park pose for a group photo at the College of Applied Sciences and Arts 2015 CEED Awards. Courtesy of Quyen Grant

Faculty-Led Programs


Summer is approaching and we are nearing the end of the semester. We would like to recognize the faculty members who have organized the Faculty-Led Programs (FLP). There are nineteen FLPs this summer.

China: East Meets West in Beijing
Professor: Bo Mou

Finland: Creative and Physical Activities in Mental Health Promotion and Health Promotion Management
Professor: Lynne Andonian
Professor: Jack Wall
Professor: Ruth Rosenblum

Finland: Summer Session at JAMK University
Professor: Andrew Wood
Professor: Oona Hatton

France: Discoveries Await in Paris' Neighborhoods
Professor: Linda Levine
Professor: David Buseck

France: European Innovation Academy
Professor: Michael Merz

France and Belgium: Global Leadership
Professor: Christine Di Salvo

Germany: Culture, Communication, and Language in Berlin
Professor: Tabitha Hart
Professor: Bettina Brockmann

Grenada: Engage in Community-based Health Projects
Professor: Alison George

Grenada: Global Service Learning in Nursing
Professor: Tamara McKinnon
Professor: Deborah Nelson

India: Magic, Science, and Religion
Professor: Annapurna Pandey

Ireland: Discover Literature, Films, Theater and Culture of Dublin and Galway
Professor: Julie Sparks

Italy: Explore Global Perspective on Communications Issues in Florence
Professor: Timothy Hendrick

Japan: Learn the Culture and Customs of Kyoto with Local Homestay
Professor: Seiichiro (Keach) Inaba

Spain: Comparative Social Work, Human Rights, and Gerontology Practices
Professor: Mike Gorman

Spain: Tourism Advertising in Madrid
Professor: John Delacruz

Taiwan: Occupational Therapy and Global Health Care Systems
Professor: Megan Chang

Thailand: Hands-on Service Learning Projects in Chiang Mai
Professor: Daniel Brook

Turkey: Multimedia Journalism in Istanbul
Professor: Diane Guerrazzi
Professor: Halima Kazem

Vietnam: Historical Events and their Contributions to Vietnam's View of the West
Professor: Lisa Stenmark

SJSU Salzburg Program


Highlights for 2014/2015

SJSU is sending 19 students to the Global Citizenship Program (GCP #69) as Salzburg Scholars in June 2015 with Faculty advisor Dennis Jaehne (2006 Salzburg Fellow). Six faculty/administrators will be attending GCP #70 as Salzburg Fellows in July 2015.

Special recognition to the following Salzburg Fellows:
  • Anne Marie Todd (2012 Salzburg Fellow) - SJSU Outstanding Professor Award
  • Scot Guenter (2006 Salzburg Fellow) - SJSU Distinguished Service Award
  • Dennis Jaehne (2006 Salzburg Fellow) - Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Service Award
  • Andy Wood (2010 Salzburg Fellow) - College of Social Sciences Austen D. Warburton Award
Special recognition to the following Salzburg Scholars:
  • Sarah Aghazadeh (2012 Salzburg Scholar) - SJSU Outstanding Thesis Award
  • Mary Okin (2013 Salzburg Scholar) - CSU Student Research Award
  • Layla Forooghi (2012 Salzburg Scholar) - Coach of the Leland High School Debate Team, California State Champions
  • TK Yilma (2014 Salzburg Scholar) - GCP Internship at the Salzburg Global Seminar

Salzburg Scholars and Fellows Organized the 2015 Cultural Showcase

Special recognition to Mary Okin (2013 Salzburg Scholar) for coordinating this year’s Cultural Showcase with the help of the following scholars and fellows:
  • Eve Allums 
    2015 Salzburg Scholar
  • Rishi Bommu 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • William Braganza 
    2015 Salzburg Scholar
  • Kathryn Davis
    2012 Salzburg Fellow
  • Judith Durden 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Erin Enguero 
    2013 Salzburg Scholar
  • Jessy Goodman
    2013 Salzburg Scholar
  • Sharan Johal 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Inderpal Kaur 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Jessica Massie 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Akos Meggys 
    2012 Salzburg Scholar
  • Debby Ng 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Cynthia Rostnkowski 
    2010 Salzburg Fellow
  • Jessica Sandoval
    2013 Salzburg Scholar
  • Hillary Schauf 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Clair Tsai 
    2015 Salzburg Scholar
  • TK Yilma 
    2014 Salzburg Scholar
  • Bill Reckmeyer 
    SJSU Salzburg Director
The team received extensive thanks from members of the President's Commission on Diversity, notably the two co-chairs Provost Andy Feinstein and Interim VP Renee Barnett-Terry. The entire team is to be congratulated on creating such a memorable evening.



Biology Department: "The Head Room"

What is the Head Room? It is a room that is dedicated to teaching zoology classes. Some of the specimens in the room are deer, antelopes, rhinoceroses, jackals, water buffalos, and the skeletons of two whales. The room contains the heads of animals donated to the biology department by a wealthy dentist in the early seventies when Duncan Hall was first built. Click here for the full story.

Course Redesign with Technology


Faculty members across campus are participating in a variety of  programs sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office that focus on the design of quality courses. There are four programs that faculty members have been selected to participate in: Course Match, Promising Practices Course Redesign, Proven Practices Course Redesign, and Quality Assurance Program for Online Courses.

Congratulations to all of the faculty members selected! If you are interested in learning more or participating in a program, please contact the Course Redesign with Technology Coordinator Jennifer Redd at

In case you missed it


Zoot Suit

By Sarah Souksamphanh
Kinan Valdez, son of the play writer and SJSU graduate Luis Valdez, did an impeccable job of directing the sold-out performances of Zoot Suit. The design of the stage was innovative and the musical notes and dances were filled with high energy. The story itself embodies the struggles of Chicanos living in Los Angeles during World War II. The story follows the lead, Henry Reyna, who is accused of murder and his journey to freedom with the guidance of El Pachuco and journalist Alice Bloomfield. The play is filled with angst, humor, romance, and it challenges the audience to think about diversity and racism. All in all, SJSU has been very fortunate to have Kinan Valdez bring Zoot Suit to SJSU in celebration of his father’s 50th anniversary of his first play at SJSU.
Luis Valdez is credited with founding chicano theater in America with his playhouse based in San Juan Bautista, El Teatro Campesino. He is a much beloved and revered alumnus. Click here to see more about the SJSU production of Zoot Suit.

SJSU Cultural Showcase

The Second Annual SJSU Cultural Showcase took place on April 23, and was a huge success. The event recognized SJSU’s diversity through music, dance, visual art, and food. The event was significantly expanded this year with an entire day of festivities. The showcase featured an art exhibition of SJSU student and faculty work before the performances, a Cultural Matinee or pre-show, and a taste of food from around the world in addition to the Cultural Showcase performances. Fifteen clubs on campus represented their cultures in the showcase. The event united the diverse campus community and celebrated the multicultural campus identity, with the hope of promoting global citizenship at SJSU and beyond. Gift bags of candy from around the world were given to attendees as favors.

Jerry Yang Speaks on Campus

Former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang appeared in conversation on April 28 with Annette Finstrebusch as part of Global Leadership Speakers Series, for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. He spoke at length about the challenges of starting Yahoo and moving on to lead initiatives such as Alibaba. He remembered taking classes one summer at SJSU and recognized Dan Goldston as one of his professors.

CyberGirlz Silicon Valley Summit

SJSU’s Jay Pinson STEM Education program teamed up with Cal Poly Pomona’s Center for Information Assurance and the CSU STEM VISTA program and developed a cybersecurity curriculum specifically designed for middle school students.

University mentors went into Silicon Valley classrooms and taught the curriculum over a 12-week period this year. The 7th and 8th grade girls learned cryptography, networking, forensics, web exploitation and basic programming skills in their after-school programs.
At the recent CyberGirlz Summit, held on May 2 at SJSU, middle school students demonstrated their work to industry STEM professionals and took part in a Capture the Flag competition designed to test their web exploitation and basic programming skills. Some participants will be offered follow-up training at Facebook and other venues this summer.
The event was sponsored by SJSU’s Jay Pinson STEM Education program, the CSU STEM Vista program, Cal Poly Pomona Center for Information Assurance, CyberWatch West and Facebook.

You can read more and watch videos at the San Jose Mercury News and NBC Bay Area.

Newsletter Transition


This is the last edition of the current version of the Academic Affairs Division Newsletter. Many thanks to all of you for your contributions and support. I am especially grateful for this semester's interns Adam Lagos, Rachael Odell, and Sarah Souksaphanh. All are Communication Studies majors who graduate this week. They were a fantastic team of writers and reporters. I am also grateful to Ellen Junn and Andy Feinstein for giving me this responsibility for the past two years. It has been fun and I have loved learning so much more than I already knew about our wonderful Spartan community.

The newsletter will be redesigned this summer under the guidance of Melissa Anderson, the executive communications specialist for University Advancement's Marketing and Communications team who formerly served as a dean's assistant in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. Please forward newsworthy items to her at

If you forget and send them to me, I will happily forward your messages. Best wishes for a great summer. See you in the fall.

- Beth Von Till
Copyright © 2015 Office of the Provost, All rights reserved.