Provost Update: Spartan Endeavors Make the News; Professors Discuss Facebook F8 Conference: Design Team Uses 3D Printing to Address Housing Issues; Famed Judo Coach Honored for 70 Years of Service at SJSU; Engineering Students Convert School Bus into Small Home; Tech Predictions: Then, Now; and Subscribe to the Academic Spotlight Blog.
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Academic Affairs Division Newsletter May 2018 edition

Provost Update: Spartan Endeavors Make the News

Dear Campus Community,

Thank you to those who stopped by the farewell reception in my honor on May 7. I was struck by the number of people who dropped in to spend a few moments with me. I appreciate President Mary Papazian and others who shared some heartfelt thoughts with the crowd before allowing me to offer my thanks to all those with whom I’ve worked. I am still realizing just how much I am going to miss all of you, even as I look forward to my new adventure in Colorado. I want to express again that it has been an extraordinary honor to serve San Jose State University.

We are in our last stretch of the semester, with final exams under way and commencement in sight. I am especially looking forward to celebrating with our students on May 23-25, and it is bittersweet that this will be my last graduation season at San Jose State. Thank you to all the faculty and staff members who support our students, and propel them toward this momentous occasion. I hope to see many of you at the ceremonies next week.

Through the Academic Spotlight newsletter, I have welcomed the opportunity to share with you campus and division priorities, to tell stories about faculty and staff, and to reflect on events I have participated in throughout the year.

For this final newsletter of the year — and my final message as provost — I hope you will enjoy reading and watching recent news pieces that have featured members of our Spartan community. We have tremendous talent and experience in our ranks, and it is no surprise that regional, national and global media outlets turn to San Jose State. We hear from reporters who request an expert to speak on timely topics such as mudslides in Southern California, minimum wage increases or Women’s Marches. We have a robust roster of Faculty and Staff Experts who are prepared to provide a quick response on such issues as affordable housing, the evolution of technology, upcoming elections and many other subjects.

Other times we receive media coverage about the research conducted by students and faculty such as a study on how the flu spreads that made the New York Times California Report (scroll to the bottom of the story), or events we host like the Institute for the Study of Sports, Society and Social Change Town Hall on Gender and Equity. We also hear from news outlets who just want to share the compelling stories of Spartans, such as the team of engineering students who displayed unique vehicles at the SV Auto Show.

I am pleased to share with you some of the ways in which Spartans have been newsworthy in recent weeks. It is reassuring to know that when I am in Colorado, I will still be able to check in on San Jose State through the robust media coverage this university receives. Though we may be parting, I know that we all have wonderful journeys ahead of us and I wish you the best.

Andy Feinstein
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

SJSU Professors Discuss Facebook F8 Conference

Photo: James Tensuan
Professor Jan English-Lueck, an expert on Silicon Valley culture, talked to KQED about how language was used at the Facebook event. 
In the wake of Facebook’s privacy scandals and public hearings in Washington, two San Jose State University professors were quoted in news stories this month about the tech company. Jan English-Lueck, an anthropology professor and expert on Silicon Valley culture, responded to the use of human words like “community” throughout the event in a KQED interview. Ahmed Banafa, an engineering professor, commented on cybersecurity concerns for the social media giant as it rolls out new tools such as an online dating platform, for CBS This Morning and ABC7 News.

Design Team Uses 3D Printing to Address Housing Issues

Watch a video about the "Cabin of Curiosities," created with a 3D printer. 
A "Cabin of Curiosities" tucked away into an Oakland backyard — composed of 3D printed walls, tiles, furniture and assorted objects — has the distinct imprint of Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of interior design at San Jose State. San Fratello and her award-winning design studio partner Ronald Rael, associate professor of architecture at University of California, Berkeley, were featured on CBS SF Bay Area for their collaboration on designing and building the structure after the city of Oakland relaxed its restrictions on secondary housing units amidst the Bay Area's severe affordable housing crisis. "I think in the world of 3D printing and architecture, there is a race of who can print the fastest and the cheapest and it's a race to the bottom," San Fratello said, adding she and Rael were more interested in "making something really beautiful."

Famed Judo Coach Honored
for 70 Years of Service at SJSU

Photo: David Schmitz
Yoshihiro Uchida, left, with SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, still helps coach team practice sessions every night. 
Yoshihiro Uchida, who was honored this spring for seven decades of service, is a living legend at San Jose State University. When he was honored for 70 years of service at the April Faculty Service Recognition and Awards at SJSU, many news outlets reported on his long history at the university. Watch a video from ABC7News and read about him in the San Jose Mercury News. Uchida, 98, founded the university's judo program in 1946, transformed the fledgling program into a collegiate powerhouse, and is still going strong by helping coach team practice sessions every night. The coach of the U.S. Olympic judo team the last time the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo in 1964, Uchida said he hopes to attend the 32nd Summer Games when they return to Japan's capital city in 2020.

Engineering Students Convert School Bus into Small Home

Watch a video of how the San Jose State team is starting the transformation. 
San Jose State University engineering students continue to imagine novel solutions to Silicon Valley's intractable affordable housing crisis, converting a donated short school bus into a home on wheels. The student project was featured on KTVU. Racing to finish the project by the end of the school year, engineering majors like junior Maria Rivera and senior Semon Ankirsky have already figured out how to outfit the bus with a bed, bathroom, stove, refrigerator, desk and chair, and hope to add a heating unit. It could provide immediate housing help for Ellen James-Penney, an SJSU adjunct professor, who has been living with her husband and two dogs out of their two cars since last summer.

Tech Predictions: Then, Now

Recreation Professor Emeritus Maureen Glancy talked with a KQED reporter 25 years ago about her tech predictions. At the time, she had noted the incessant red light on her new office phone that indicated she had unread voicemail messages. In the story update, she noted that mobile devices provide a “digital chain” that keep us tied to work.

In another news report, Francesca Favaro, assistant professor in the Department of Aviation and Technology at San Jose State University, said despite recent accidents, driverless cars are here to stay. She was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Counting on hopes the accidents will help identify and correct flaws in the technology, Favaro said California officials, who typically enact stringent regulations, are increasingly allowing autonomous vehicles that meet the highest industry standards. She compares this current auto technology with fly-by-wire, a computer-regulated system of controlling aircraft developed in the 1970s that has led to dramatically improved airplane safety during the ensuing years.

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We also encourage you to share your ideas and stories for consideration. Please email Melissa Anderson, the executive communications specialist for the provost, at with any updates you would like to share.
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