Winter-Spring 2017 Newsletter

Greetings from HGH! It’s been awhile since we’ve sent you an update, and we’ve had some exciting news about awards, promotions, and new hires.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Dr. Matthew Spangler a $171,323 grant to host an institute on theatre and immigration at San José State. This year’s institute will run from June 26 to July 9. This program brings 25 school teachers to San José for two weeks to study the intersection of the literary/performing arts and immigration to California. Faculty include: Khaled Hosseini, Luis Valdez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ping Chong, Andrew Lam, Kinan Valdez, performance educator Sara Zatz, Persis Karim (SJSU English), and historians Erika Lee, Judy Yung, and Glen Gendzel (SJSU History). Three faculty members in this program have received Presidential Medals of the Arts from President Obama in the last three years: Luis Valdez, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ping Chong. Here is the website from last summer’s institute:

Congratulations to Dr. Luis Felipe Gómez for earning tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor! Dr. Gómez earned his BA in Business Administration in 1992 from the Monterrey Technology Institute at San Luis Potosí, México. After graduating from college, he worked as a financial analyst in San Luis Potosí and experienced the inconsistencies and paradoxes of organizational life. He decided to learn more about why organizational members act in irrational ways, and pursued an MBA, which he earned from Katholieke Universiteit, in Leuven, Belgium. Not having satisfied his quest for understanding organizational contexts, Dr. Gómez joined the University of Texas at Austin Ph.D. Communications Studies Program in 2002. His interest in how organizational members negotiate and balance immediate and future needs led Luis Felipe to study how workgroup members construct their temporal choices. Dr. Gómez is also applying his research on temporality to explore temporal choices in environmental communication. Because organizational members have an inherent bias to focus on immediate needs at the expense of temporal needs, Dr. Gómez is researching potential organizational interventions that could help organizational members learn from their actions and prepare for the future. His research has been published in academic outlets such as the International Journal of Business Communication, the Journal of Business Communication, the Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication, and Research in Organizational Change and Development. Dr. Gómez taught at Texas State from 2008 to 2012, before joining San José State in the fall of 2012. At the undergraduate level, he has taught intercultural communication, organizational communication, quantitative communication inquiry, and training and development. At the graduate level, Dr. Gómez teaches crisis communication, organizational communication, and has taught advanced quantitative methods. His research on organizational interventions link directly to his organizational communication and training and development courses and are the basis of his current research.

The department of Communication Studies welcomes Dr. Oona Hatton as one of our two new assistant professors! Of course, Dr. Hatton is well known around Hugh Gillis Hall, where she teaches performance ethnography, devised performance, and performance theory for undergraduate and graduate students in the Communication Studies department. She is a former co-director of COMMSA’s Finland program, served as an assistant coach to the Forensics team, and is one of the faculty advisors for Califia, Comm Studies’ student performance collective. Dr. Hatton’s research interests are both theoretical and applied; they include the (dramatic) adaptation of history, community-based performance, performance ethnography, devised theatre, and childhood studies. Her work has been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Theatre Research International, and Youth Theatre Journal. She is currently writing about Ramona, the longest running outdoor play in the United States. Oona is also a dramaturg specializing in new play development. Recent/ongoing projects include The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga! (Theatreworks New Works Festival), Beneath The Tall Tree (Theatre 1st), and See You in My Dreams, a play she adapted from the letters of Jack L. Morris, a man who served over thirty years in solitary confinement. BA in Theatre: Reed College. Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Theatre and Drama: Northwestern University. As a performance maker as well as a scholar, Dr. Hatton is committed to creating opportunities for students to use performance as a method for both conducting and sharing research. In the spring of 2017, her students will be performing as part of “Living the Indebted Life,” a conference put on by SJSU’s Humanities Department. 

The department of Communication Studies welcomes Dr. Nikki Yeboah as one of our two new assistant professors! Dr. Yeboah specializes in the area of performance studies. Performance for Dr. Yeboah can occur both on-stage and in everyday life, and her scholarship rests at the intersection of the two worlds. As an artist-scholar, her research brings together creative ethnographic and oral history methods to create alternative records of black life through staged performance. Her work, which has been staged at venues such Links Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Northwestern University, interrogates questions of social justice, racial identity, migration, and Afrocentricism within transnational black communities. As a writer, performance artist, and dramaturg, Dr. Yeboah incorporates her scholarship into her art practice and engages communities in dialogue on issues of social change. Alongside her academic research and performance experience, Dr. Yeboah also applies her ethnographic training to the field of health communications, specifically looking at the health concerns of women and racial minorities. She teaches theory, practice, communication, and critical cultural studies courses in Communication Studies, and Performance Studies. Welcome, Dr. Yeboah!

As we look ahead to 2017, we hope that you will keep the Department of Communication Studies close to your memory. And of course, we encourage you to consider a making a donation <> to help ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission to educate individuals in competent and ethical communication for meaningful participation in diverse local and global communities – and to help students make meaningful contributions to the communities and the world. 

Wishing you a prosperous new year!