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Academic Affairs Division Newsletter September 2017 edition

Provost Update: SJSU Faculty Achievements, the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event and Community Conversations, and a Busy Fall 2017

Welcome back.
 
Fall 2017 is well underway. The campus is energized after the calm summer months. Approximately 4,500 first time Frosh can be seen between classes admiring the 23-foot statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City or on skateboards darting to the Student Union. Professors head to lecture halls focused on their classes ahead. College Success Centers are abuzz with students seeking support to change majors, see advisors-we've added 20 new ones, and to learn about MyGPS, a suite of technology tools that put academic and graduation support in the palms of students' hands. MyGPS is a great resource for staff, allowing departments increased accessibility to information to excel student success. Advisors and chairs can access the Student Data Warehouse (SDW) to access reports related to enrollment planning and student progress.
 
As we begin another academic year, the accomplishments of our colleagues since last May leaves me inspired. Dr. Mathew Spangler became the first San José State University faculty member to win the prestigious Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance. At the same time, the 15th production of his stage-adapted version of the novel, "The Kite Runner," wrapped its eight-month run in London's famed West End theater district.
 
Dr. Peg Hughes and Everett Smith worked diligently over the summer to reinstate and prepare the four courses that make up the new Deaf Minor on hiatus from San José State University for approximately a decade. Dr. Hughes and Smith talk passionately in their interview about Deaf culture, adapting and creating new curricula for the minor, and the future of special education.
 
Dr. Essam Marouf, an Electrical Engineering professor and Associate Dean of Research, had an emotionally charged September as he gathered with other researchers to witness the last radio signal from the Cassini spacecraft, one of the largest spacecraft ever launched from Earth. Dr. Marouf spent 26 years on the Cassini Radio Science research team interpreting data transmitted via radio signals during Cassini's 293 orbits of Saturn.
 
In just five weeks, so much has happened. More than 33,000 students enrolled and began classes. On September 13, 300 faculty, staff, administrators, campus leadership, and students attended the Strategic Planning Kickoff Event. In her opening remarks, President Mary Papazian challenged our campus community to embrace bold visions for our University's future.
 
The following week we hosted Campus Conversations and asked tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, staff, and students how they wanted SJSU to evolve. Their answers laid the foundation for this year's strategic planning process, and, ultimately, our next decade of growth.

We continue our search for new academic deans in the College of Humanities and the Arts, the Lurie College of Education, and the College of Science. Last week brought a visit from the Western Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation team to gather information and monitor our advances in the areas of leadership, organizational climate, shared governance and a campus climate. Upon leaving, they provided a video exit review with their conclusions, the WSCUC Team Special Visit Report.
 
The world around us is just as busy. We had the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation, only seen as a partial eclipse for San José, and a heat wave where we couldn't escape the sun's blaze. Hurricanes struck Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico, and earthquakes devastated Mexico. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas further destabilized our nation's sense of unity and safety. Political storms continue to divide the country and challenge the very fabric of diversity San José State celebrates and holds dear.
 
We as Spartans must stay united, remain vigilant, and focus on what great things we may accomplish in the future. The Office of the Provost, University Library, Office of Research and Spartan Bookstore are sponsoring the Annual Author & Artists Awards for 2017 on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 PM in King Library on the 8th floor in the Grand Reading Room. The celebratory event is designed to recognize faculty and staff who have published a book or other major works of general interest and significance in 2017.
 
The Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association will again award two faculty members the ERFA Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards to support their scholarly and creative activity. Each year since 2014, ERFA has given two faculty members $2,500 to advance their careers.
 
May we all be a challenged and inspired this semester and may our academic, research, and scholarship pursuits provide us wisdom, knowledge, and achievement.

Sincerely,


Andy Feinstein
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

Dr. Spangler Wins the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance 

Photo: James Tensuan 
Dr. Mattew Spangler, Associate Professor of Communications right, engages students in a lecture at SJSU.
By David Goll

Dr. Matthew Spangler enjoyed a summer of achievement in 2017—based on a mixture of long-running professional successes, recurring events, and brand new honors.
 
In August, Dr. Spangler, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, became the first San José State University faculty member to win the prestigious Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance. Since 1994, the National Communication Association has bestowed the honor annually to teachers, directors, producers or performers who've created a body of live performances. He will receive his award during the Washington D.C.-based organization's annual conference in Dallas in November.
 
"I'm honored and flattered to receive this award," said Dr. Spangler, a member of the SJSU faculty since 2005. "We in this field are not in it for the awards, but it's very nice to be recognized."
 
The award was announced roughly at the same time as the 15th production of his stage version of The Kite Runner—the former number one New York Times best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini—was wrapping up its eight-month run at two different theaters in London's famed West End theater district. Dr. Spangler adapted the novel, which was also turned into a successful 2007 movie, for the stage and was first performed at San José State that same year and then by theater groups throughout the U.S.
 
The professor/playwright said he has modified the play over the years by adapting the script to better reflect current events, including adding new characters to keep "The Kite Runner" relevant. The British production gave added emphasis to the experience of Afghan characters emigrating to the East Bay city of Fremont.
 
 Two graduate students working towards Master's degrees in Communication Studies, Jenni Perez and Abigail Nuno, were among a small group of San José State students who made the trip to London last December to view the production.
 
"Being given the opportunity to see Dr. Spangler's play in London was without a doubt one of my favorite experiences during my time in the graduate program," Perez said. "…I was introduced to the cast of the play and had the chance to hang out with them afterward. They wanted to ask our opinions of their American accents."
 
Describing it as one of her favorite novels, Perez said she was transfixed seeing the book turned into a stage play.
 
"Though I always hoped to watch ‘The Kite Runner' play in person, I never imagined my first time would be in London of all places," she said.
 
Nuno said other than losing feeling in her toes from the December chill of London; she has great memories of the trip to Europe.
 
"The theater was gorgeous and the play was a great representation of the book," she said. "It was awesome to see a crowd of people just as passionate about the story as we were. My father also came to London with us and went to the play. He had never read the book and still enjoyed it as much as we did."
 
Both Nuno and Perez said they're inspired by their professor.
 
"Dr. Spangler is an instructor who is very passionate about immigration," Nuno said. "He has many accomplishments in the field, so he likes to tie them into our class."
 
After the London productions, which drew audiences of about 100,000 from December to August, Dr. Spangler said that "The Kite Runner" is touring the U.K. until June.
 
It was a busy summer—Dr. Spangler also presided over his third National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for School Teachers, from June 25 to July 9, since 2014. This year's event for 25 K-12 teachers from throughout the nation, titled "The Immigrant Experience in California Through Literature and Theatre", featured talks by well-known academics and such authors and playwrights as Khaled Hosseini, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Luis Valdez. Also included were field trips around the Bay Area, including to Angel Island—known as the Ellis Island of the West—because of its immigration station operating from 1910 to 1940 that processed 500,000 immigrants.
 
Dr. Spangler and his former colleague, Dr. David Kahn, professor emeritus from the SJSU Television, Radio, Film & Theatre department, received a $168,000 grant from the NEH to stage the Institute. Participants' airfare was covered, as well as lodging at the Fairmont San José hotel and a small food allowance. It was one of about two dozen such gatherings sponsored by the NEH.
 
"We get 150 applications for 25 spots," said Dr. Spangler, who also teaches courses on immigration. "All of the instructors are teaching immigration issues in their classes, in a variety of subject areas."
 
Luis Valdez, writer and director of such acclaimed films as "Zoot Suit" and "La Bamba," is considered the founder of modern Chicano theater and film. A former SJSU student, Valdez was joined as a speaker at the Institute by his son, Kinan Valdez. The elder Valdez is the founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, the renowned San Juan Bautista theater company, where his son is also an actor and director.
 

Dr. Peg Hughes and Everett Smith help return the Deaf Minor to the Lurie College of Education

Photo: James Tensuan
Dr. Peg Hughes, Chair of the College of Education and Coordinator of Early Childhood Special Education Programs (right), signing with ASL lecturer and Communication Studies graduate student, Everett Smith. 

By Jason McMonagle

Many people spent the summer months on adventures trekking up to Mount Kilimanjaro, lounging on the French Riviera, or taking day trips to Bolinas, the small surfing town on California's coast. Dr. Peg Hughes, Chair of the College of Education and Coordinator of Early Childhood Special Education Programs, and Everett Smith, lecturer and Communication Studies graduate student, spent their summers reviving the four courses that make up the Deaf Minor. 
 
When asked about the inspiration to bring back the Deaf Minor after it has been absent from campus for over a decade, Dr. Hughes pointed out that the College of Education never wanted to lose the courses.
 
"We used to have a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teaching Credential and Deaf Minor. The classes had low enrollment because they're specialized and not everybody wants to be a Deaf special education teacher. We were committed to keeping them, but when the professor with expertise in that area left the university we didn't rehire," Dr. Hughes said.
 
Without a professor fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and adept in Deaf culture, the Deaf Minor lay dormant for over ten years. It was brought back into Dr. Hughes's focus when she performed a routine observation on one of Everett Smith's classes. Smith, a member of the Deaf community, came to San José State in Fall 2016 as a lecturer and graduate student. Currently, he teaches beginning and intermediate American Sign Language courses.
 
"The interpreter [interpreting Everett's lecture for Dr. Hughes] asked me after class what had happened to the Deaf Minor because she had a lot of people interested," Dr. Hughes said and then laughed. "The light bulb went off. I was looking at Everett, and he was so awesome, and I thought let's just bring it back."
 
Dr. Hughes arrived at San José State in 1999 as a professor and to develop the Early Childhood Special Education Credential Program.
 
"Since then I've developed several programs and minors. I wasn't here long before I got the reputation of being a program developer," Dr. Hughes said and added, "I am a self-described developer."
 
With her experience and acknowledgment that she enjoys the process of creation from blank slate to fully developed program, Dr. Hughes was the perfect candidate to re-establish the minor.
 
She took her vision to the College of Education's Interim Dean Paul Cascella, who has a Ph.D. in Special Education and a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology.
 
"[Interim Dean] Paul signs too," Dr. Hughes said. "He totally supported the idea. We both immediately thought Everett would be perfect to help update the curriculum from the previous minor and design one of its new courses: Introduction to Deaf Culture."
 
Dr. Hughes and Smith tackled the process which involved hours of paperwork, documentation, and editing and developing new curriculum.
 
The Deaf Minor officially started Fall 2017 and consists of four courses: (EDSE 14A and 14B) Beginning and Intermediate level American Sign Language; (EDSE 102) Speech, Language, & Typical/Atypical Development; and (EDSE 115) Introduction to Deaf Culture.
 
A tenured or tenure-track faculty member will teach EDSE 102, but Smith will continue teaching the two ASL courses. Additionally, he will teach the class he developed, Introduction to Deaf Culture, when it launches in Spring 2018. The course is an introduction to American Deaf Culture and analyzes the identities, contributions, and experiences of Deaf people and how they are understood within the culture of hearing as well as examining the history, diversity, and evolution of Deaf culture.
 
"It is unusual for a Chair to ask a lecturer to develop a course," Dr. Hughes said, highlighting Smith's skill as a teacher. "Usually tenure-track folks do it because it's a very high-level professional process. I knew that I could give Everett support and the tools he needed, but I couldn't conceptualize it the way he could. He's a dynamic teacher."
 
Smith was gracious about Dr. Hughes and Interim Dean Cascella's confidence in his ability to engage students as a lecturer and to provide San José State University with an academic experience of Deaf Culture and Deaf people.
 
"As a person in the Deaf culture, this course has helped me so much at getting a better understanding of my own culture," Smith said. "Going through past curriculum and the course's textbook it helped me to see why we [the Deaf community] do the things we do. It was also interesting to really understand the role of interpreters in our culture."
 
Both Dr. Hughes and Smith felt passionate about providing more opportunities to raise community awareness on the experiences of Deaf people and to embolden Deaf culture as equal and as important as any other culture. The pair spoke about out the absence of Deaf culture in public schools, and how it's often alarmingly left out of special education.
 
Smith commented on the importance of teaching ASL to deaf and hard of hearing children. He said, "In my opinion, one of the most pressing issues that affect the Deaf community is the inclusion of sign language and cultural awareness in the education of Deaf people, especially the children. Instruction in sign language at the earliest age ensures that Deaf and even hard of hearing children are not deprived of a language and allows them to develop in other areas in accordance with their unique capabilities."
 
Dr. Hughes hopes the Deaf Minor will gain popularity on campus and plans to suggest Special Education graduate students take the courses as a way to advance their skills and knowledge of the field. 
 

Dr. Essam Marouf Reflects on Cassini's Last Orbit

Photo: James Tensuan
Dr. Essam Marouf, Electrical Engineering professor and Associate Dean of Research, reflects on the 20th anniversary Cassini's launch.
 
By David Goll
 

Standing 22 feet high,13 feet across and weighing in at 4,685 pounds, the Cassini spacecraft was one of the largest spacecraft ever launched from Earth. A joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Italian Space Agency, Cassini spent 13 years orbiting the ringed planet of Saturn, compiling an enormous amount of data on the solar system's second-largest planet, its rings and two of its most well-known moons—massive Titan and smaller Enceladus.
 
The Cassini orbiter also played a huge role in the career of prominent San José State University academician Dr. Essam Marouf, an Electrical Engineering professor and Associate Dean of Research. He spent 26 years as part of the Cassini Radio Science research team, beginning work on the project six years before it was launched Oct. 15, 1997, from Florida's Cape Canaveral. He was one of more than 300 science "investigators" from around the world who interpreted data collected by the spacecraft during its 293 orbits of Saturn and transmitted via radio signals.
 
On Sept. 15 -- exactly one month short of the 20th anniversary of that launch – Dr. Marouf joined with hundreds of other scientists from around the world who gathered before dawn at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to bid their orbiting friend a big, and surprisingly emotional, goodbye.
 
After twice extending the mission that was originally supposed to end in 2008, space agency officials presided over a planned destruction of Cassini in the atmosphere of Saturn, as it burned up like a meteor to avoid contaminating the planet's moons. After 20 years in space, Cassini was simply running out of fuel.
 
"We knew for a long time this day would come," said Dr. Marouf, who joined the SJSU Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering in 1990, a year after he first heard about the Cassini project while still a Stanford University researcher. "So, it did not come as a surprise. But when it finally did happen, it was very emotional, after devoting so many years of my career to this spacecraft."
 
Dr. Marouf likened witnessing the final radio signal from the craft to a death of sorts. It came at 4:55 a.m.
 
"It was sort of like watching the last signals of life from the monitors inside an operating room when a patient dies," he said. "It was hard to watch. Cassini went from a healthy, functioning spacecraft to being pulverized into pieces within 45 seconds."
 
During its two decades of life, Cassini was a wildly successful project. The data collected from gaseous Saturn, its distinctive rings, and its surprising moons have brought a wealth of new information.
 
"The moons turned out to be kind of the stars of the show," Dr. Marouf said with a chuckle.
That's because of Cassini and its accompanying Huygens lander—which alighted on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, in 2005—discovered the potential for life exists on both moons. Titan has dry lake beds suggesting the former presence of liquid, but also existing seas consisting of liquid methane and ethane.
 
It was also discovered that icy, frigid Enceladus, the sixth-largest of the ringed planet's 62 moons, shows evidence of a subterranean ocean comprised of hydrocarbon compounds in liquid form. They erupt to the moon's surface through geysers spewing ice crystals. Scientists say the discovery of these conditions makes primitive life possible.
 
"We discovered through Cassini that Saturn itself has complex storms that can last for up to one (Earth) year," Dr. Marouf said, adding that one year on Saturn is equivalent to 29 Earth years. "Its rings are very complex and consist of particles that can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a house. Cassini brought a flood of knowledge."
 
Helping Dr. Marouf analyze that deluge of information from Cassini has been numerous students, as well as research assistants and associates, over the years. Among them has been Kwok Wong, involved in San José State's Cassini Radio Science project for 14 years, starting as a grad student taking courses from Dr. Marouf. Wong now is a full-time research associate.

"His help with the data processing throughout the years has been significant," Dr. Marouf said of Wong.
 
For his part, Wong will remain on the Cassini team along with Dr. Marouf for another year.
"We will continue to process the data until the Cassini project officially ends next September (2018)," Wong said.
 
This past July, a couple of months before Cassini met its timely end in the atmosphere above Saturn, Dr. Marouf made another trip to Southern California to conduct his final Cassini experiments at the JPL facility, owned by NASA but managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The visit was a family affair for the San José State professor.
 
"My daughter, who is a doctor in Boston, brought my grandchildren to accompany me to JPL," Dr. Marouf said. "My daughter has been hearing about Cassini since she was a young girl."
 
And Cassini was not her father's first involvement with deep space probes. As a senior research scientist at Stanford for 15 years, Dr. Marouf got involved in data analysis for both the Voyager 1 and 2 missions by NASA launched in 1977. Both did fly-by analysis of the outer solar system —including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—between 1979 and 1989.
 
"We got so much beautiful data from Voyager's visit to Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980," he said of the predecessors to Cassini.
 
Unlike Cassini, however, the Voyager crafts have still yet to meet their destruction. Voyager 1 is the first spacecraft to leave the sun's atmosphere and magnetic field, traveling into interstellar space.
 
"We just celebrated the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager space crafts," Dr. Marouf said. "They're still sending data back to Earth."
 

SJSU Strategic Planning: Dreams, Plans, and the Future.

Photo: James Tensuan
Faculty, staff, and student participants of Campus Conversations, held on campus between September 20-22, as part of the strategic planning process.

By Jason McMonagle
 

San José State University President Mary Papazian set a tone of inspiration at The Strategic Planning Kickoff Event held on September 13. The on-campus event, meant to motivate participation in this year's strategic planning sessions, gathered more than 300 faculty, staff, administrators, campus leadership, and students. In her opening remarks, President Papazian suggested attendees consider the process to be one of strategic dreaming.
 
"Whatever we spend our days doing—teaching; managing; coaching; building; communicating; serving—the future of our university depends on our collective openness to dreaming," President Papazian said then added, "And planning."
 
As the President emphasized the shared importance of vision and pragmatism in strategic planning, she reflected the sentiment, "Our Journey," currently displayed across campus on banners. She said, "This plan will not be my plan…It will be our plan."
 
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Andy Feinstein, reinforced the President's remarks and likened the process ahead to the scholar Joseph Campbell's hero's journey.
 
"The hero's journey offers an inspiring metaphor and insight into what we may encounter over the next weeks, months, and years. As we plan, finalize, and bring ideas into action, we will certainly be tested," Provost Feinstein said. "New ideas and strategies will be identified, analyzed, and discussed. Some may have great merit while other ideas will be born and exist only as possibilities and then set aside. All hold value."
 
The "hero" Provost Feinstein referred to was not singular, but rather the "collective hero" that represents the entire SJSU community. Ariadna Manzo, Associated Student President, emboldened President Papazian's and Provost Feinstein's message of teamwork and unity further and motivated attendees—including 25 department chairs, 50 tenured and 15 tenure-track faculty, and 113 MPP's—when she led the led the room in a Spartan cheer. "Whose University? Our University!"
 
The kickoff event was followed the next day, September 14, with the Leadership Forum.  Approximately 80 participants made up of cabinet members, deans, AVPs, seven staff representatives, three representatives of the Academic Senate, three students, 23 chairs, and three Alumni Association members gathered to bring President Papazian's message of dreaming and planning to action.
 
The following week's Campus Conversations, held from September 20-22, invited SJSU lecturers, tenure-track and tenured faculty, MPP, staff, and students to participate in initial brainstorming sessions. Ann Agee, Librarian and Professor from the School of Information, described the structure of the tenure-track/probationary faculty session she attended, "There were about 35 to 40 faculty members. At our table of eight, we focused on three of the questions we were given."
 
One question Professor Agee and her colleagues discussed was: You have the opportunity to talk with a donor. What ideas would you pitch?
 
"I think it was compelling to talk about the university's potential with faculty who offered so many different perspectives," Professor Agee went on to say. "Some of the ideas included having a Research Hub to support faculty involved in large research projects; creating campus-subsidized housing for faculty and staff; promoting research that directly benefited the San José community; and actively promoting interdisciplinary research."
 
At the session for tenured faculty on Wednesday, September 20, President of the California Faculty Association and Professor in the College of Social Science, Dr. Preston Rudy, pointed out the general desire to support student achievement that informed his session's vision of the future.
 
"A majority of those attending spoke of their enthusiasm and dedication to working with students," Dr. Rudy said. "Most of us wanted more resources to improve our ability to work with students, including better facilities and support for that work and smaller class sizes to interact more effectively with students."
 
In total, 76 MPPs, three chairs/tenured faculty, 14 lecturers, 101 Staff, 21 tenured and 15 tenure-track faculty members attended Campus Conversations. Overwhelmingly, participants credited campus leadership for the invitation and its inclusive gesture and were confident that President Papazian and Provost Feinstein would ensure the strategic planning process was transparent and authentic.
 
Emily Bruce, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, who attended one faculty session said, "The other wonderful thing about SJSU, is that it is a University where a member of the faculty can exercise their creativity and have that effort supported and mentored.  This also is the case for students; the campus is a place that allows for dreams to come true.  We are connected to the community and thus function as an economic engine for this corner of California in ways that are different from the other Universities in the area - and this is a critical role."
 
Students also showed their Spartan Pride at the student Campus Conversations over 100 RA's and 40 other, largely undergraduate, students attended.
 
The next steps for the strategic planning process include the creation of an online survey, asking faculty, students, and staff six questions designed to replicate the information presented at the Campus Conversation sessions and to recruit up to three GE courses in which to conduct the same strategic planning exercises which occurred in the session. Additionally, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee would especially like further input from the lower division, graduate-level, and commuter students.
 

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