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Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies

Because unprecedented levels of immigration drive economic innovation and social change in Silicon Valley, San José State University Deans Tim Hegstrom (College of Social Sciences, COSS) and Mark Novak (International and Extended Studies, IES) proposed a new inter-disciplinary Organized Research Unit: The Silicon Valley Center for Global Innovation and Immigration (SVCGII). The Center, in operation since April 2009, brings an important new dimension in international scholarship to the heart of Silicon Valley.

In 2012, our name evolved to become The Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies (SVCGS).

Like the industries in Silicon Valley, SJSU is at once local and global. Although its students mostly come from the surrounding area, i.e., close enough to drive to campus every day, this area is one of the most immigrant-rich, ethnically diverse, and linguistically varied in the United States and perhaps the world.  In the nine Bay Area counties, according to the 2000 Census, about one-third of the population was born outside the United States and speaks a language other than English at home.  In Santa Clara County, the foreign-born and native speakers of non-English languages make up about half the population.

The immigrant flow ranges from highly educated engineers, to less educated manual laborers, to refugees from war. Some of them could even be classified as climate refugees, a category will become increasingly important.

The peoples and cultures of Silicon Valley, as reflected in the work of our research professors, hold promise for improving our knowledge of, and our ability to influence, lives around the globe.  For instance, highly educated immigrant engineers have played a significant role in starting new technology companies in the Valley. The SVCGS is well placed to study this and other phenomena related to the unique combination of innovation and immigration.  SJSU has long enjoyed strong relationships with the high-tech industries of the region, particularly because its undergraduate and graduate degree programs are prime suppliers of managers, engineers, scientists, researchers, and industrial designers.  The global interests of SJSU professors are reflected in their own immigrant biographies, backgrounds in international scholarship, and the international reach of their research portfolios and expertise. The SVCGS draws on these strengths to promote multidisciplinary training, which examines the world in Silicon Valley and the role of Silicon Valley in the world.

SJSU is thus ideally suited to operate an interdisciplinary global research institute. Its location in Silicon Valley makes it a natural center for research and professional development.  The Valley is already known as a place that has grown by crossing the barriers that often tightly confine individuals within their disciplines, where merit counts more than ethnic background, and a center of public-private partnerships and of other innovative explorations of social benefit across common social and economic bridges.  As a result, projects undertaken by the Center will seek to benefit the community broadly through the involvement of other actors, such as SJSU research units, CSU campuses, UC campuses, Community Colleges, private companies, and community-based not-for-profit organizations.

Come by the Office anytime -

Peter F. Young, Director