Fall Welcome Address 2013

Monday, August 19 at noon



President Qayoumi's Prepared Remarks (PDF document)

Good Afternoon. Thank you Professor Heiden, for your gracious introduction. I want to thank Provost Junn and AS President Nick Ayala for joining me on the stage. We have a long tradition of collaborative decision-making and governance here at San Jose State, and I am proud to continue to support this important tradition.

As I begin, allow me to welcome the new faculty joining us this fall. 

The Fall Address is an opportunity for the campus community to come together and reflect on recent accomplishments, identify emerging issues and challenges, and review priorities and opportunities for the coming year. 

Last year at this time, the uncertainty of the state budget and a looming election was a major topic of discussion for all of us. We are happy to see that the state budget was signed on time, and the CSU saw a budget increase. The funding includes a ten percent student tuition roll back.

I am happy to say that after seven years without salary increases, our faculty and staff will receive a modest pay raise this year. It goes without saying this does not erase the impacts of a severe recession. Still, let us hope this suggests Sacramento may be ready to begin reinvesting in higher education.   

Despite this positive news, we are a long way from recovering from the significant reductions of the past few years.  Future budget allocations will be tied to a number of outcome measures.  This approach compels us to improve our performance in retention, graduation and time to degree.

In last year’s fall address I stated: “We need to identify creative and innovative ways to provide breakthrough solutions that fundamentally shift our dominant paradigm.  Our financial challenges require that we that dig ourselves out of ‘the tyranny of dead ideas’ and ‘rewire the institutional circuitry.’ Therefore, we must seek transformative solutions and breakthroughs.”

The events of the past year have only affirmed that we must pursue this course of action. We are a part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Our Spartan culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is ingrained in our 156-year history. We have always thrived -- even during the tough times -- and we strive to be an even stronger and more powerful institution.

Now, allow me to briefly recap highlights from the past year, summarize our progress in achieving our Vision 2017 goals, and discuss our plans for the coming year. 

San Jose State faculty, students and staff continually enhance the excellence of our great university. As a vibrant intellectual community, we continue to integrate arts and sciences with other disciplines, not only to strengthen academic programs but also to fuse innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship into the life of our students and the university.

Our accomplishments are numerous and it would be impossible to mention all of them here. I do want to highlight several milestones.

We are becoming a destination campus for students throughout the region, our state and beyond. For this year, the university received more than 52,000 applications from prospective students, setting a new record.

We successfully completed the first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.  We will celebrate our success at a campus event on September 10th.  Look for details soon.

Spartan athletics enjoyed a tremendous year. Our football team finished 11 and 2, won the Military Bowl and ended the year ranked 21st nationally, the highest ranking in SJSU history. This was a tremendously important achievement for athletics and our university.

For the 4th year in a row, our student-athletes set an all-time record high GPA. Fifty one percent earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  And collectively, our student athletes achieved their highest ever APR score.

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering partnered with two national labs to launch CalCharge an energy storage innovation accelerator. The college also launched “Battery University,” an initiative aimed at meeting a growing societal need for a clean energy ecosystem. The breakthroughs that come out of this program will likely have global impact. 

Allow me now to summarize progress in the five areas of our Vision 2017 strategic plan.

First, Spartan pride.

Several of our alums achieved prominence this past academic year. Chemistry graduate Brian Krzanich was named CEO of Intel. Six science, psychology, and engineering students were awarded NSF graduate fellowships.  This is the most among all the CSU campuses.  Our illustrious choraliers played with the Rolling Stones.   

Three women’s sports teams won conference titles. Four student athletes were named WAC “Athletes of the Year”, and two coaches garnered WAC “Coach of the Year” honors.

To faculty, staff and students,  I thank you for your tremendous efforts and contributions in enhancing Spartan pride. Our collective efforts in building a community aligned around common goals will enhance our future success.

Second, unbounded learning.

San Jose State has powered Silicon Valley since its birth.

Last year, the College of Engineering was ranked third by U.S. News & World Report, among bachelors and masters degree-granting public engineering programs in the West.  This is up from seventh last year. Our School of Journalism ranked among the top 50 nationally, joining USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism as the only two California universities in this distinguished group.

Two teams from the Lucas Graduate School of Business continued SJSU's history of success at the 49th International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition in Long Beach.  Both teams earned first place in their respective divisions.  

The College of Business launched several programs, including a graduate online certificate in Business Analytics; a joint Master of Science in Engineering Management in collaboration with the College of Engineering; and a dual degree program, MBA/Master in Product Development Management in collaboration with the College of Science.

SJSU hosted the US Cyber Challenge summer camp for the second year.  We expanded the camp to over 70 participants and added a day camp in the spring for Bay Area students. In my role as the chair of cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security’s Academic Advisory Council, we provided recommendations to DHS for outreach to underserved communities, women, and Veterans in order to build a diverse pool of professionals in this rapidly expanding area of job opportunity.

This past year, San Jose State launched its first joint doctoral program, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, in partnership with Fresno State. As this program in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, enters its second year, the College of Education is preparing to launch its first doctoral program in Educational Leadership.  We look forward to exploring the possibility of joint doctoral programs with neighboring institutions.

As we expand terminal degree programs, we also continue to equip students with core intellectual competencies. During the last academic year, the Writing Center conducted over 3,500 one-on-one tutoring appointments with students of all levels and from all disciplines.

SJSU is known for providing students with applied learning opportunities. Last year, we added a virtual element to student internship opportunities. Through the innovative use of technology, many more students can now fit an internship experience into their busy personal and professional lives. This gives them access to experts in their fields of interest regardless of geographic location while strengthening their information and computer skills. These competencies transfer seamlessly to virtual work environments.

Engineering faculty utilizing the MIT edX “Circuits and Electronics” course increased our student’s success rates from 59% in the traditional classroom, to 91%. This past summer, representatives from NSF China visited our campus to learn more about the flipped classroom model.  SJSU also garnered the 2013 Campus Technology Innovators Award. 

The Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies was awarded a $1M grant to establish a partnership in Pakistan in education and applied linguistics, including faculty exchanges and several joint research projects.

A new Jay Pinson STEM Ed program director was hired to coordinate activities in Science, Engineering, and Education. The program will collaborate with the College of Education to prepare all of our programs for adopting the Common Core and new science standards.

Third, helping and caring.

Last year’s Ask Me button campaign generated great participation from our campus community in welcoming students back to campus in the fall. We have renewed and expanded the program this year.  When you see a colleague wearing their Ask Me button, take a moment to stop and say thanks for helping.

Over the past seven years, CommUniverCity has continued to expand.  It has facilitated more than 42,000 contacts with San Jose residents, sponsored nearly 11,000 students and provided 168,000 hours of service to the community.

Each semester our University Library compares the list of required textbooks against eBooks the library has purchased.  The library notifies faculty and students of the opportunity for students to use the free library eBooks to save money. This saved students and their families almost a quarter of a million dollars last year.

Our amazing staff continues to stand out. Jennifer Gacutan-Galang from the Health Center was last year’s recipient of the CSU Violence Prevention Champion Award. Jennifer was the only individual winner across the entire CSU system.

Finally, the VITAL initiative, serving student Veterans which is housed in the College of Social Sciences, had its funding renewed by the Veterans Administration. This ensures that students who have served our country will continue to receive vital services.  A new coordinator will be hired and a veterans center will be established.

Fourth, agility through technology.

Noted futurist Ray Kurzwell has said the progress that humankind will experience in the 21st century will be the equivalent of 20,000 years of progress. For us, continuously searching for innovative ways to enhance the success of our students is a key priority.

For the first time, San Jose State funded hiring an interdisciplinary faculty cluster around cybersecurity and big data.  

The School of Library and Information Science is a co-chair and founding sponsor of the 2013 Virtual Library Conference. This totally online global conference series began in 2011.  More than 10,000 people from over 160 countries participated.  This multi-lingual free conference, attracted high-level keynote speakers from every continent.  Conference presentations are recorded and the archives are accessible free of charge.  

The School of Journalism received an $8.7 million gift from the estate of Jack and Emma Anderson to upgrade media technology in Dwight Bentel Hall and provide faculty support for new media technologies. This reminds us of the power of philanthropy in the lives of faculty, students and staff.

The Administration and Finance Division implemented Asset Works, using tablets to inventory campus property and eliminating a time-consuming manual process.

Lecture Capture and interactive internet video Telepresence were implemented in 5 classrooms, and 6 other rooms.  These technologies enable unprecedented access to leading scholars and subject matter experts without the cost and inconvenience of travel. 

Journalism and Mass Communication uses these technologies to connect students with a New York advertising agency to offer feedback on their group projects.  The College of Business is hosting online open house events.  The joint Nursing Doctorate Program uses Telepresence and WebEx in its hybrid classes, reducing travel demands between San Jose and Fresno for faculty and students. 

IT Services implemented a single sign-on for key applications.  The first phase of the new phone system was installed, replacing 200 handsets with videophones. The phones are installed in Housing Administration and Music, and more will be added this year. 

A campus-wide wireless assessment was completed and wireless access was broadened, increasing reliability and speed in many classrooms and offices. Finally, WebEx web-conferencing was implemented across campus for use by all students, faculty and staff. 

Our influence and reach are vastly expanded by these technology innovations. The Master of Public Health program offers a traditional on-campus classroom model and a distance-learning alternative that involves an extended visit to a Native American Pueblo community in Mexico.  The distance-learning format uses WebEx and the flipped classroom technique.  This reduces the need for costly time-consuming travel, and students are able to stay in the field longer.  

Fifth, twenty first century learning spaces.

Facility upgrades are an integral part of a contemporary, effective learning environment. Phase One of the Student Union Project is near completion.

Last year a Campus Utility Master Plan and Landscape Master Plan were completed, and significant progress was made in developing the South Campus Master Plan.

Design and construction on the Student Health and Counseling Center has begun. Design work for the Moss Landing Aquaculture Building is completed.

In addition we completed a master plan for the southeast quadrant of the campus, including the Recreation Center, Aquatics Center, an expansion of Campus Village, and a new Dining Center.

A year ago, I announced five operating goals. Allow me to briefly report on our progress:

Goal number one was achieving a structurally balanced budget for 2013-2014. Thanks to the hard work of division heads, deans, AVPs and many others, for the first time in recent history San Jose State University achieved a structurally balanced budget. As a result, my Cabinet has recommended allocating $10 million dollars towards projects such as a Duncan Hall/Industrial Studies move and facilities repurposing; critical repairs in Dwight Bentel Hall; launching a major Spartan pride spirit initiative culminating in this year’s homecoming game; and continuing efforts on the IT Next Generation project. This is just a partial list.

The second goal was increasing non-resident enrollment and self support programs. Our non-resident enrollment increased by more than twenty percent.  During the coming academic year, several departments plan to offer new certificate and degree programs via Extended Ed.

The third goal was completing the Acceleration campaign. I am pleased to report to you that we have completed the Acceleration campaign more than a year ahead of schedule. More importantly, we surpassed our goal, concluding the campaign at slightly more than $208 million. Over $41 million has already been released for campus projects, scholarships, programs and labs. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their hard work and strong commitment. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our donors for believing and investing in San Jose State. Together, we have laid a solid foundation for the next campaign.

The fourth goal was completing Phase I of the IT initiative. We are well on our way toward successful completion of this critical effort. Next steps include continuing to upgrade the phone system and expanding wireless access for resident students. We will also start our computer refresh program. This year our refresh effort will focus on the student computer labs.

Finally, we pledged to take steps to transform our educational delivery systems.  San Jose State faculty pioneered the use of MIT edX’s MOOC circuitry course, demonstrating that a flipped classroom experience can yield significantly stronger student learning performance. Based on this outcome, a Center of Excellence for Blended Learning was established in the College of Engineering under the leadership of Dr. Ping Hsu. With support from the Chancellor’s Office, in July the College hosted engineering faculty from twelve other CSU campuses for training in the edX flipped course model.

SJSU faculty also embraced the opportunity to use Udacity’s online curricular platform in a number of courses this past spring and summer. An NSF-funded report analyzing results of the spring pilot will be available later this month, and we look forward with great interest in discussing the results together.

I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our faculty for investing countless hours of hard work in these groundbreaking efforts. I am continually gratified by the incredible talent and dedication of our faculty in trying new and innovative approaches. We owe it to the tens of thousands of students currently being denied access to college, to keep trying new ways to make quality instruction more accessible.  

And to do this, I call on faculty, staff, and administrators to collaborate, to act as a team to maintain and enhance the quality of our campus and the education we provide to our students.

Let me conclude by highlighting three critical priorities for this academic year:

Number one, technology and online offerings. This year we will continue to work closely with the campus community on curriculum development and delivery platforms. We will re-examine the distance education policy, and streamline related administrative operations.  Provost Junn and I will host a series of campus conversations about these issues. The Provost will work actively with the Academic Senate, colleges, departments, and individual faculty to ensure that all efforts align with campus policies and that all voices are heard.

I hope our collective curiosity and passion for student success motivates us to continually explore new approaches to teaching and learning.  I am encouraged that our faculty are considered innovators and pioneers. Change is hard. Yet it is essential that we improve student access, enhance academic performance, shorten time to degree and increase graduation rates.

Number two is auxiliaries. As I promised last year in discussions with the auxiliaries boards, I will bring to each group a series of proposed initiatives for their input, review, and discussion. The initial focus will be on streamlining operational functions while preserving the Auxiliaries’ legal entities.  There are opportunities for efficiencies in financial and human resource systems as well as oversight of grants.  We will also focus this year on gaining a shared understanding of the operational functions related to student activities.  Following these discussions we will develop an implementation timeline for this year.

Number three is the Spartan stadium end zone project. We will continue to raise private funds with the intent to break ground this year.  This micro-campaign effort will enhance and rebrand athletics at San Jose State.  The Vermeil-Walsh Center will honor two of our distinguished alumni, celebrate the legacy of Spartan athletics, and provide resources benefiting students, as well as our university and regional communities. You will hear more about the project this year.

Colleagues, we have accomplished much in the past year, and there is much more to be done. A spirit of collaboration and shared mission will be more important than ever.  All of our efforts will involve discussion.  A few may even provoke disagreement. Let us commit ourselves to respectful, civil, collegial and healthy dialogue.  

As Robert Browning eloquently stated:  “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what is a heaven for?”  I am confident that together, we can continue to transform San Jose State in its continuing journey for excellence.

Here is to an exceptionally bright and successful year!