Spotlight On The Cabinet:
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Andy Feinstein
Provost Andy Feinstein, right, and Vice President of Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock, cheer with the Spartan Spirit Squad at the first home football game of the season. Photo by: David Schmitz
Continuing our feature spotlighting our cabinet members, get to know our Provost, Andy Feinstein.
Q. Can you share a bit about your background?
A. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Point Loma, a community in San Diego. I lived for many years a few blocks from the ocean where I spent my summers bodyboarding and bodysurfing. I went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) as an undergraduate and studied hospitality management. I was appointed as an assistant professor at UNLV after I completed my doctoral studies at The Pennsylvania State University. I moved back to California in 2007 when I became dean of the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. I have now worked in the California State University system for nine years, and am very happy that I have been a San José State Spartan for more than three years. My wife Kerry and I have two children, Nicholas and Rachel, who both attend local public schools. We have two pet cats and a Betta fish.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. My job as provost requires me to be in lots of meetings – indoors – so I like to get outside in my free time. I enjoy mountain biking in the Santa Cruz Mountains on my Trek Carbon Comp 29er. Some of my favorite trails include the Saratoga Gap and the SDSF Flow. Like 50 percent of Spartans, I use an alternative transportation method to get to campus a couple of times a week. I leave my car at home and ride my bike. I also love to play disc golf, and I try to play at least once a week. My favorite course is Black Mouse in Felton, but I also like to play at local courses in the San Jose area including Parque De La Raza, Hellyer, and Kelley. I am trying to get a group of SJSU disc golf enthusiasts together for a regular game at Kelley Park so if anyone is interested, email me at email@example.com.
Growing up near the ocean, I still love spending time in the water. If there is a sizeable swell on the weekend, I go bodyboarding in Santa Cruz. My favorite breaks include 26th Avenue and Sidewalks at Natural Bridges. When I travel to coastal areas around the world, I like to bodyboard in new places. I also enjoy deep sea fishing and recently traveled to Mexico to fish for large Yellowfin tuna.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. I enjoy cooking. I’ve stocked my freezer with tuna and yellowtail from some of my recent fishing trips, so I’ve been using that to make sushi at home with my family. I also have some red abalone left from a dive trip in August that I have been serving with a Panko crust. I have Korean and Chinese neighbors, and we enjoy sharing foods with each other at least once per week. My other favorite food is Mexican, and I love two local places. Tu Mero Mole, on Woodard Road, serves excellent Gorditas de Chorizo Casero. And Metro Balderas #1 on South Almaden Avenue is hard to resist when they have the al pastor cooking on a spit outside on the weekends.
Q. What one thing do you wish everyone knew about San José State University?
A. We have one of the most diverse universities in the nation. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently shared that SJSU ranked 14th on the list of public, four-year colleges with the greatest ethnic and racial diversity. Nearly a third of our students are the first in their families to go to college, so we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help these students successfully navigate campus life.
Q. What impresses you most about the San José State University community?
A. I am always impressed by our students. They are optimistic, enthusiastic, smart, and inquisitive. They come to us with an incredible breadth and diversity of their thoughts, backgrounds and ideas. Our students are the reason I love my job and why I am so committed to improving student success at SJSU.
Q. What is your high-level vision for SJSU in the coming year?
A. My top priority continues to be student success. I worked together with Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock to create a data-driven, comprehensive plan, SJSU’s Four Pillars of Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks last spring. The plan outlines specific areas that will help us improve retention and graduation rates, and the student experience. You can read more about our recent strides in the Academic Spotlight blog – I encourage you all to subscribe to the blog to get a weekly update of Academic Affairs news.
A key component to student success is our continued work to make San José State an inclusive and welcoming campus. I am working closely with our new Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau). In our efforts to understand the needs of our diverse student body, we have four faculty fellows working with our Pride Center and the Mosaic Cross Cultural Center who will be conducting research that will further guide our efforts. Our African American and Latinix/Chicanix Student Success task forces moved to Student Affairs this year and continue to offer programming to engage our underrepresented minority students.
As we focus on students, I also recognize the importance of supporting our faculty and staff. I worked with the Office of Research to develop SJSU’s Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA) Plan so that we can expand opportunities for faculty and students to work together. In addition, I am continuing a professional development grant program for staff in the Academic Affairs Division.
Q. Please complete the following sentence. The campus community would be surprised to know…
A. ...that I attended more than 50 classes when I first became provost so I could get to know our students and faculty. I am always looking to visit a few more if anyone is interested in inviting me. Let me know…