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Provost Update: A New Year Full of Opportunities; Trauma Transcends Generations for Refugees; Keck Foundation Grant Establishes Freshmen Research Initiative; SJSU Students Build Hyperloop Prototype; Kinesiology Lab Connects Students with Cerebral Palsy Patients and Research Skills; Fire Weather Research Lab's Active Summer; New Innovation Design Collaborative Opens; and Subscribe to the Academic Spotlight Blog.  
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Academic Affairs Division Newsletter September 2018 edition

Provost Update: A New Year Full of Opportunities

Dear University Community,

Welcome back! I am pleased to be starting an exciting year with all of you at San Jose State University. We begin this new academic year with nearly 36,000 regular and special session students, a cohort of 65 tenure/tenure-track new faculty and many exciting opportunities to advance our research, scholarship and creative activities, and our student success mission.

In these 
early weeks, I have immersed myself in getting to know about all of you at events such as the faculty-in-residence and faculty fellows reception; a new faculty reception; and the 15th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, among other gatherings. I have also shared a bit about myself. As I said during a marathon of college welcomes on Aug. 20, I have 45 years of experience in higher education dating back to my time as a teaching fellow at New York University. It has been an honor to have had such a long career in the academy, with much of my time spent as a professor of Public Health and administrator at Montclair State University.

These have been rich experiences balancing teaching, research on women's health issues and administrative work at a public university not unlike San Jose State, and it has been gratifying. When I first visited SJSU last year as a consultant for then-Provost Andy Feinstein, the exemplary record of scholarly accomplishment by faculty and students here impressed me. Early fall events on campus afforded an opportunity to more deeply understand who the 
faculty are at San Jose State, and,  it was invigorating to meet so many faculty and staff firsthand.

This fall continues with many more events, including the University Scholars Series that highlights the extraordinary work of our faculty, starting with Associate Professor Aaron Romanowsky from the Department of Physics and Astronomy on Sept. 26, at noon, in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 225/229. See the full schedule online.

We also begin the academic year with one of our own recognized with the California State University Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award. Margaret “Peggy” Stevenson founded the Record Clearance Project, a program that provides SJSU students an opportunity to work within the justice system 
while providing community service. These students help those with a criminal conviction expunge their records so they can have a new lease on life. Read more online.

As I shared with faculty in a memo on Sept. 4, we are launching a new Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) Reassigned Time program in January. It will redefine what it looks like to be a teacher-scholar at San Jose State. This program builds on a three-year project started by former Provost Feinstein to understand and develop a means through which RSCA for faculty may be equitably and fully supported by the university, and used as a way to advance the professional work of our faculty.

We recognize three broad areas of faculty endeavor – teaching, scholarship and service – and faculty are expected to be active in each area
Scholarship is a core activity for all faculty members, and scholar/artists are critically important for student development and engagement in the wider academic community. I look forward to working with college deans to implement this new program for tenured and tenure track faculty to help them succeed with their RSCA agendas while also providing our students with conceptual skills that prepare them for careers and a future we can only begin to imagine.

Let’s have a great semester!

Sincerely,

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

Trauma Transcends Generations for Refugees

Photo: Jim Gensheimer
Assistant Professor Yvonne Kwan is finalizing a manuscript entitled, 'Afterlives of Diaspora: Cambodian American Trauma and Memory.'

Yvonne Kwan, a second-year assistant professor of Asian American studies in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, grew up in a working-class southern California city with a sizeable Latinx community. She said growing up, she learned little about Asian American history or culture during her K-12 education. It was not until she took an ethnic studies course in college that this first-generation Asian American began to feel connected to her cultural heritage. She changed her major from molecular biology to ethnic studies.

When she began dating a boyfriend who was Cambodian American, now her husband, she began to learn about Cambodian culture and the experience of refugees who lived through genocide to help her gain an understanding of her in-laws. But she also found a fertile area for research. Kwan’s scholarly work has provided enough insight to fill a book; she is in the process of finalizing a manuscript entitled, “Afterlives of Diaspora: Cambodian American Trauma and Memory.”

Read more about Kwan's scholarly work.

Keck Foundation Grant Establishes Freshmen Research Initiative

Photo: Jim Gensheimer
SJSU professors are using a grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to create a freshmen research initiative. Clockwise from back left: Assistant Professor Alberto Rascón, Jr., Professor Resa Kelly, the program evaluator; Professor Daryl Eggers; Assistant Professor Laura Miller Conrad; Mallory Kato, the program manager; and Professor Lionel Cheruzel, the principal investigator on the grant.
A new Freshman Initiative: Research to Engage Students (F.I.R.E.S) will launch this year and is poised to help the university advance both its research and student success missions. Enabled by a $325,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation, this new program aims to engage undergraduate students in scientific research from the very beginning of their time at San Jose State University.

Read more about the grant.

SJSU Students Build Hyperloop Prototype

Photo: James Tensuan
SJSU students and recent graduates demonstrate hyperloop technology for campus and industry leaders.

Visionaries view a futuristic tube containing capsules, or "pods," speeding passengers more than 700 miles per hour between the Bay Area and Los Angeles in about a half hour as one way to help ease the Golden State's congested roadways.

"In general, there has been a lack of innovation in the transportation sector," said Ali-Imran Tayeb, who earned bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics in December from SJSU. "The cars, planes and boats keep getting better, but we haven't seen new forms of transportation systems. We learned a lot from the (2018 Hyperloop Pod) competition. There’s such a strong need for this type of travel."

Read more about the student project.

Kinesiology Lab Connects Students with Cerebral Palsy Patients and Research Skills

Photo: Brandon Chew
Assistant Professor Areum Jensen works with a clinical research participant in her kinesiology lab.
Areum Jensen first learned about the field of kinesiology from an English teacher. She was completing a bachelor’s in biology at Sangmyung University in Seoul, Korea, and had long been interested in understanding how exercise can improve health. As a child, her mother had often been ill and suffered from severe asthma. However, once her mother began a regiment of exercise – starting with one minute a day and building up to being able to compete in an amateur tennis tournament years later – Jensen became a believer that exercise could be medicine.

Read more about Jensen and how that belief influences her student-involved research.

VIDEO: Fire Weather Research Lab's Active Summer

SJSU's Craig Clements, a fire weather expert, was interviewed by local and national media throughout this summer's fire season, including Time MagazineRolling StoneABC7 News and the San Jose Mercury News. Clements runs SJSU's Fire Weather Research Laboratory and was on site at several wildfires throughout the state with student researchers.

New Innovative Design Collaborative Opens

Photo: Brandon Chew
Industry leaders and community partners gathered for the soft launch of the Innovation Design Collaborative at San Jose State on Friday, June 8, 2018.

On June 8, in the basement of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, students, educators and industry leaders mingled together at the soft launch of San Jose State University’s new Innovation Design Collaborative.

The lower level of the library, which houses the first public materials library as well as shelves of periodicals, is now home to a new interdisciplinary innovation space for students and faculty to work together, and test out ideas.

“A few weeks ago, you would have seen a very different space,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for University Advancement. “This is just the start and we are excited to unveil it for all of you. This is a glimpse of what is to come, not just for San Jose State University, but all the representatives here. This is an interdisciplinary space to work together on every type of unit imaginable.”

Read more about the launch.

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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
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