Provost Update: ; Emeritus and Retired Faculty Support Scholarly Work; Civic Engagement Provides a Voice for Youth; SJSU Celebrates 2018 Authors and Artists with Reception; Philosophy Professor to Present Thoughts on 'Violence' Versus 'Brutality'; SJSU Reflects on History and Future of Athlete Activism; Health and Wellness Week; and Subscribe to the Academic Spotlight Blog.  
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Academic Affairs Division Newsletter November 2018 edition

Provost Update: A Moment of Thanks in a Busy Year

Dear University Community,

As the season changes, some significant changes here at SJSU have begun to take effect as well, although they will always be mixed with the important traditions that honor our past. Most notably, this month we will be reviewing a record number of applications for the Staff Professional Development Grant; we will be announcing the first ever selected faculty for our new Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Reassigned Time program; AND we will find time to celebrate a holiday or two.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I especially want to share with all of you my gratitude for the support I have received in these few months that I have served as Interim Provost and Senior VP. Thank you first and foremost to the team in the Office of the Provost, who make every day joyful; thank you to the President and her Cabinet; the AALT Leadership Team and a very heartfelt thank you to so many of the faculty and staff with whom I have had the pleasure to interact and to work beside. Taken together, this is a wonderful community that takes its humanity and its work seriously, with kindness and tact.

A few important informational items, starting with our Graduation Initiative 2025 goals. Our four-year graduation rates hit 19 percent this year, up 10 percentage points in the past five years. We continue to make substantial gains on six-year graduation rates, transfer student graduation rates and we are two percentage points away from eliminating our Pell-eligible equity gap. We also continue to move forward with eliminating the underrepresented minority equity gap, which dropped to 10.5 percent this year.

Speaking of graduation, we will be celebrating our fall graduates in just a few weeks with two days of commencement ceremonies on December 19 and 20. These ceremonies allow us to recognize the achievements of our fall graduates with the same fanfare as those who graduate in the spring ceremonies. Students LOVE to see their faculty, introduce them to friends and family, and just basically celebrate with their faculty and staff. I do hope you can be available for these occasions. As a reminder, faculty who would like to rent regalia for the ceremonies can do so for free through the Spartan Bookstore website; the deadline to rent regalia is Nov. 21.

Last month, I had the opportunity to say a special thank you to the hardworking staff members in the Academic Affairs Division at our annual Staff Appreciation Breakfast. It was heartwarming to hear each dean and AVP give thanks to the employees in their college or unit, but especially to see some of the notes of appreciation 
from colleague to colleague. As our breakfast was held on Halloween, I was very impressed with everyone’s ingenuity and costume design!

On the evening of Nov. 2, I had the chance to interact with honored faculty and staff at the Annual Author and Artist Awards. The dozens of pieces completed this year by SJSU authors and artists have a significant impact on the world: this work adds to knowledge in your disciplines; spurs conversations about societally important topics such as politics, technology and diversity; and provides engaging curricular opportunities for students. As we focus this year on creating more balance for our faculty members to be teacher-scholars, it is especially imperative that we also take the time to celebrate accomplishments like these at events like these.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break and I look forward to our continuing work together.


Joan C. Ficke
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Emeritus and Retired Faculty Support Scholarly Work

Photo: Josie Lepe
Assistant Professor Ningkun Wang is one of three faculty members to receive an Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities grant in 2017-18. Her grant has helped to fund chemistry research. Grant applications for 2018-19 are being accepted through Dec. 5.

By David Goll
For the fifth consecutive fall semester, San Jose State University’s faculty will have the opportunity to apply for an internal grant from the Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (ERFA). Applications for the 2018-19 research grants awarded by ERFA are due Dec. 5. The application and more information are available online. The organization—comprised of former SJSU faculty members, some of whom are still teaching on a part-time basis—provides grants of $2,500 to selected faculty members to further their research, scholarship and creative activities agenda.
Last year’s recipients say ERFA’s Faculty Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Awards have been a boon to their research. Though the program has typically made two such grants annually, a larger budget last year allowed for three awards. They were given to Ruma Chopra, professor of History; Ningkun Wang, assistant professor of Chemistry; and Alan Soldofsky, professor of English and Comparative Literature and director of Creative Writing.

Read more online.

Photo: Josie Lepe
Professor Ruma Chopra received one of three ERFA grants last year.

Civic Engagement Provides a Voice for Youth

Photo: Jim Gensheimer
Assistant Professor Ellen Middaugh, seen here teaching a class, conducts research focused on youth civic identity development and best classroom practices to build civic engagement.

Ellen Middaugh, an assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Development in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, may not be able to influence the turnout for the midterm election this month, but her research on youth civic identity development may provide insight into how to increase civic engagement of seemingly elusive youth.

“My interest in civic engagement is really an interest in youth voice, which traces back to my roots growing up in South Carolina where it was clear to me that some people’s voices were given more space than others,” she said. “Whatever I research, my priority is understanding the conditions that support youth voice, especially among those who are marginalized.”

Read more online.

SJSU Celebrates 2018 Authors and Artists with Reception

Photo: Daniel Mitre, BFA and minor in Business, '19
At San Jose State University's Annual Author and Artist Awards guests peruse some of the books published by Spartan faculty members in 2018.

By David Goll
When they are not preparing the next generation of Silicon Valley students for momentous futures, San Jose State University's faculty are researching some of the world's most topical issues.
The published and performed work of more than two dozen San Jose State University faculty members were celebrated during a Nov. 2 ceremony at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. More than 100 people turned up for the event to recognize the efforts involved in editing and authoring scholarly books on topics ranging from politics to 3-D printing to cybersecurity, creating celebrated theater stage design and writing an adaptation of an internationally acclaimed play.

The seventh annual Author and Artist Awards presentation was held in the library’s spacious eighth-floor Grand Reading Room, where 29 pieces by 26 authors and artists were recognized.
“The work you do has such an impact on students,” said Joan Ficke, interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, during her welcome remarks. “It benefits all of us. The research is what is actually important. The students follow in your footsteps.”
Read more online.

Philosophy Professor to Present Thoughts on ‘Violence’ Versus ‘Brutality’

Photo: David Schmitz
Professor Carlos Sánchez will present his recent research at the last University Scholars Series event of the semester on Nov. 14.

By Melissa Anderson

Carlos Alberto Sánchez, a professor of philosophy and San Jose State University alumnus, ’98 Advertising, ’00 MA Philosophy, will present a talk on his latest research at the final University Scholar Series event of the semester on Nov. 14, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 225/229.

His current research focuses on the philosophy of violence, specifically the distinction between “violence” and “brutality.” His talk, “The Philosophy of Brutality: A Preface in Three Parts,” will highlight the difference between violence and brutality within the context of Mexican narco-culture, a socio-political and historico-cultural phenomenon that challenges the conception of violence, 
personhood and culture itself.

Read more online.

SJSU Reflects on the History and Future of Athlete Activism

Watch a recap video from San Jose State University's Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism town hall on Oct. 17.
By Melissa Anderson
Olympians, athletes, 
scholars and journalists discussed how the history of athlete activism will influence future waves of social justice at San Jose State University’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism town hall on Oct. 17.
“Let’s understand that this is all part of history,” said Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, founder with Ken Noel, ’66 BA, ’68 MA, Social Science, of the Olympic Project for Human Rights(OPHR) at SJSU. “Movements are in the DNA of American democracy … the Abolitionist Movement, the Women’s Suffragist Movement, the Civil Rights Movement … They are all an expression of a more perfect union of ‘we the people.’ These movements and activities will continue, wave after wave, with athlete involvement.”
Read more online.

Health and Wellness Week

Photos: Josie Lepe
Clockwise from top: A nursing student takes a peer's blood pressure during the College of Health and Human Sciences Health and Wellness Week; students interact with a canine companion during an event on Oct. 23; community partners offer tips on scooter and bicycle safety.

The College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) hosted a week-long celebration of health and wellness in October to highlight San Jose State University’s commitment to creating a culture of wellness through its community connections. The second annual Health and Wellness Week was held Oct. 22-26, with booths set up daily to help students and community members learn about hygiene during flu season; handling stress; and managing heart health as well as special events throughout the week such as an SJSU Fitness Challenge, a workshop on bike and scooter safety, and cooking demonstrations.

The week of events aligns with both the mission of CHHS to intentionally promote health, global awareness, social 
justice and innovation as well as the university’s participation in the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Campus 2020 initiative.

“The opportunity to leverage this initiative with a celebration of health-based community partnerships that focuses both on internal as well as external wellness initiatives is exciting,” said Mary Schutten, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, “And this is really what the college is seeking to do, positively impact the health and wellness of our communities. It was a great week of collaboration and fun.

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