Santa Clara University

FYI - Faculty and Staff Newsletter

fyi - News for the Campus Community

fyi is the official faculty-staff newsletter for the Santa Clara University community. It is designed to keep faculty and staff informed about campus news and information. It is compiled, written and published by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    Jessica Lucas (Biology) has received $407,821 from the National Science Foundation to support "MRI: Acquisition of a Confocal Microscope for Multi-disciplinary Research."

    Francisco Jimenez (Modern Languages & Literatures) received honors for his participation in a Community Read Program in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The community-wide read program promotes literacy and and his book, Cajas de Carton (The Circuit), was selected for this year's program.

    Tim Meyers (English) signed contracts for four new children's books with three different publishers. He has 11 children's books and three adult books out already.

    Angelo Ancheta (School of Law) has received $6,750 from the Catholic Charities to support the "South Bay Legal Immigration Services Network." Ancheta has received $22,113 from the State Bar of California to support the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center.

    Radha Basu (School of Engineering) has received $75,000 from Cisco Systems, Inc. to support "Accelerating Mobile and Cloud-Based Solutions for Emerging-market Social Entrepreneurs."

    David Onek (Northern California Innocence Project, Law School) has received $249,781 from the Department of Justice to support "Wrongful Conviction Review Program FY 2013."

    Naomi Levy (political science) has received $224,376 from the Office of Naval Research's Minerva Initiative to support "Public Service Provision as Peace-building." This project compares autonomous peace-building efforts and internationally aided interventions in Laos, Cambodia, and Uganda to shed light on the causal relationships between the "degree of aidedness," state-building, and peace-building.

    Chris Kitts (Mechanical Engineering) has received $150,000 subcontract from The University of Alaska Fairbanks/Marine Science and Technology Foundation Prime to support "Dark Energy Biosphere Initiative - Subsurface Life Characterization Tool." This is a three-year grant and includes funding for graduate research assistants.

    Guy Ramon (Physics) has received $95,000 from the National Science Foundation to support "RUI: Theoretical Study of Quantum Control and Coherence Preserving Strategies in Solid State Spin Qubits."

    Nam Ling (Computer Engineering) has received $100,220 from the Huawei Technologies, Co., Ltd. to support "Depth and Mode Coding for HEVC-3D."

  •  Mixing Business with Ethics

    The first free, unlimited-enrollment massive open online course (MOOC) offered by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University will start Nov. 4.

    Business Ethics in the Real World,” will offer practical advice on confronting unethical situations in the workplace—from white lies on resumes and manager pressure to falsify reports, to bosses accepting bribes or questionable company actions against industry competitors. The course is designed for everyone from a new business student to a seasoned chief executive.

    Registration is now open for the course, which spans four weeks but may be taken anytime within a four-month window starting Nov. 4, 2013 until  Feb. 28, 2014. Two additional MOOCs are scheduled to start in early January and March 2014.

    There will be no limit to the number of students who may sign up. The course includes a series of video lectures, discussions of real world ethical dilemmas, and opportunities to interact with the instructor and classmates from around the globe.

    Last winter, a pilot course, capped at 500 students filled up in just six weeks, with participants from 25 different countries and six continents. The course is in demand for many reasons, said Kirk O. Hanson, the course instructor and executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Company executives increasingly are asking questions about corporate behavior and ethical character and are being examined closely when they engage business partners who may not act ethically or outsource to local cultures where corruption is common.

    “Every professional in business asks herself or himself difficult questions about ‘what am I willing to do to meet my business goals, and what am I willing to tolerate in my own company’s behavior?’” Hanson said.

    The next two MOOCs will build on the first, addressing more-complex questions regarding creating ethical corporate cultures and operating in international business.

    “The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is uniquely positioned to explore such ethical dilemmas, especially given its Silicon Valley location,” Hanson added. “Our mission is to raise awareness about daily ethical issues, and to provide practical tools for managing ethical choices.”

    SCU’s pilot MOOC was the first to be offered at a Jesuit university, and since then Marquette, Georgetown, and others have launched MOOCs.

    “For people who don’t have ready access to education, who might be homebound or not near a university, MOOCs offer a wonderful opportunity,” says Miriam Schulman, the ethics center’s assistant director. “You have one of the best teachers in the world giving you a free class.”  Hanson has taught business ethics at Santa Clara University for the past 12 years, after 23 years at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

    For more information about SCU’s ethics in business MOOCs, visit



  •  What Good is God?

    Ignatian Center series probes faith

    A Marxist who says atheists and believers alike are woefully misinformed about the nature of faith and God.

    A theologian whose work explores animals as spiritual beings.

    An editor who worked with famed Catholic activist Dorothy Day through the final years of her life.

    These are among the provocative and thoughtful speakers participating in the annual Bannan Institute lectures throughout the academic year at Santa Clara University. 

    The Institute’s theme “What Good is God?” is especially pertinent at a time when one-fifth of the U.S. public and one-third of adults under age 30 identify as religiously unaffiliated, and when violence is justified erroneously as necessary for religious devotion, says Michael McCarthy, S.J., executive director of Santa Clara’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education.

    “‘God’ is one of those topics that lots of people are afraid to talk about for lots of reasons,” said McCarthy, who will give a talk on April 15 titled “How can a thinking person still believe in God?”

    “At Santa Clara University, we are not afraid," he added. 

    Speakers will approach the question “What Good is God?” from multiple angles, such as:

    God and Conscience. On Oct. 30, Catholic writers including Ron Hansen, Tobias Wolff, Bo Caldwell, and Robert Ellsberg will discuss the influence of heroes of conscience such as Dorothy Day and Oscar Romero on their journeys of faith. Also, on Nov. 6, Jerome Baggett of SCU’s Jesuit School of Theology will discuss his upcoming book on American atheists.

    God and Violence. On Nov. 12, Professor William Cavanaugh of DePaul University will discuss the relationship between “secular” violence and “religious” violence, inviting us to question if there is any significant difference.

    God and Google. Noreen Herzfeld, a professor of theology and computer science at St. John’s University, studies the social and religious impacts of computer technology on our collective memory. She argues that as we rely more on technology as an external memory, we alter how and what we remember and alter our capacity for forgiveness. She’ll discuss her research on this topic on Feb. 2, 2014.

    God and Space. Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., the conservator of meteorites at the Vatican Observatory in Rome will discuss the relationship between the assumptions of science and faith in God on Feb. 11.

    God and Literature. On Feb. 26, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson will discuss the way in which grace is manifested in Shakespeare and what this may suggest about our engagement with God in human tragedy and comedy. 

    God and Animals. As part of a symposium session on March 1, Santa Clara University religious studies lecturer, Oliver Putz, will discuss the possibility of nonhuman spiritual beings and consider the challenges this possibility issues to human primacy from a theological perspective.

    God and Higher Education. On April 22, a Harvard professor who has studied the marginalization of religion at educational institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford will discuss why the religious roots of such schools devolved over time.  She will be joined by two professors from the Religion in the Academy project, who will discuss their findings regarding the surging interest in religion on college campuses today, as students grapple with the importance of religious literacy and inter-religious understanding in a globalized world.

    God and Grief. On May 7, SCU counseling psychology professor David Feldman and Cal State Northridge philosophy professor Robert Gressis will share their research to date about how faith and religious belief impacts one’s anxiety about death. Their talk will be based on their SCU Bannan Institute-funded study of Jesuit priests, philosophy professors, and college students. 

    A full list of speakers and the exact dates and times of their talks can be found at

  •  Ammunition for Peace

    World renowned artist and advocate for peace Lin Evola will discuss her work with university students for the first time Nov. 5 at the de Saisset museum at Santa Clara University. Evola has carved out a strong presence in the art and social justice world for melting down confiscated weapons and turning them into peace angel monuments around the world. 

    Evola founded the Peace Angels Project in 1992. Each Peace Angel sculpture is created from stainless steel from decommissioned nuclear missiles, street weapons, and other weapons confiscated by government and law enforcement. One of her sculptures, the 13-foot Renaissance Peace Angel, is now a part of the permanent collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. In the aftermath of 9/11, the monument was placed outside Nino’s Restaurant, which had served rescue workers, police officers, and firemen, many of whom signed the cement base.

    “The breadth of Lin’s work is incredible,” says Santa Clara University Senior Lecturer Kristin Kusanovich. “At the core of every collection she’s created is a collaborative social justice mission that is truly remarkable. We’re proud to have her as an SCU alum and love that she inspires and provokes our students.“

    Her latest collection “Peace Signs” is comprised of multi-media 2-D peace symbols using stainless steel from nuclear missile casings. The Rêverie Arts gallery in partnership with Amazon Art is now offering the largest collection of her work to the public. The San Francisco gallery will host her first major exhibition in 2014.

    Evola’s first in-depth lecture about her work will happen Nov. 5 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the de Saisset museum at Santa Clara University. The event is free and open to the public. 

  •  Radiant Return

    Santa Clara University welcomes home Solar Decathlon team

    The Santa Clara University community is invited to welcome home the 2013 Solar Decathlon team at a party this Friday. After the international competition to build a solar home wrapped up Oct. 13, the team was tasked with taking Radiant House apart before coming home to catch up on school work. The School of Engineering leaders say Friday’s event will be the culmination of countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears for the team.

    "The experience the students have garnered over the past two years—the sense of pride and strength—is one they will carry for a lifetime and we are so proud of them," said School of Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal. "At this gathering, we wish to now thank them personally and celebrate their efforts.”

    The team finished fifth in engineering and 11th overall in the competition. This year was the closest the scores have ever been in all six Solar Decathlon competitions. 

    “We want to thank everyone for their support. We’re very proud of Radiant House and are bittersweet about the end of this journey,” says team communications manager Brian Grau.

    The team did extremely well in the measured contest based on data, placing first in the categories of Comfort Zone, Home Entertainment, and Energy Balance; second in Hot Water, and fourth in Appliances. No official word on where Radiant House will make its final home.

    Solar Decathlon Celebration

    Friday, Oct. 25

    12:30 pm 

    Engineering Quad

    Pizza provided

  •  SCU on the Go

    New mobile app connects SCU community

    Santa Clara University has unveiled a new app that puts reserving rooms, looking up courses, finding campus buildings, and many more vital functions in the palm of your hand. Webmaster Brian Washburn designed the straight forward user interface that makes everything you would normally find on easy to navigate on any smartphone.

    Among many features that may come in handy:

    • Conference room and study hall reservations for Lucas Hall and the Library
    • Google Maps for directions on campus
    • Links to SCU’s social media channels
    • Staff directory
    • Customization of the homescreen so you can easily access what’s important to you 

    Download for iOS 

    Download for Android 

    Or search “Santa Clara University” in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.



  •  How Tweet It Is

    Check out what people are saying about SCU on our social media channels

    Many in the SCU community are putting why they love SCU into 140 characters or posting pictures of our beautiful campus on Facebook and Instagram. Here are just a few of our mentions. If you tweet, we’d love to follow you. Tweet us: @SantaClaraUniv and @SCUNews

  •  Walking on Sunshine

    The 2013 Solar Decathlon team gets ready for results

    After two years of blood, sweat, and tears, it all comes down to this weekend for the 2013 Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team. Team Santa Clara unveiled Radiant House to the public and judges on Oct. 3 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine and the contest ends on Sunday.

    “We’ve had overwhelming support from the SCU community and are not surprised to find visitors really love Radiant House,” says team member Brittnie Swartchik ’14, one of the many team members cramming in schoolwork between giving tours and presentations.

    The home is loaded with Santa Clara and Bay Area touches: White roses are a fragrant nod to the mission gardens; a wine barrel from Testarossa Winery (located on the historic Novitiate Winery still owned by Jesuits) holds a phase change material that keeps water hot even at night; a copy of Santa Clara Magazine graces the bamboo furniture, which was donated by Santa Cruz designer Maria Yee; a wall full of pictures shows the construction process on the SCU campus; and the excellent engineering involved in the bamboo floor joists and dryer heat exchanger are student senior design projects.

    “Everyone will feel comfortable in our home, but we really wanted to reflect the pride we feel as Broncos and students from the Jesuit University in Silicon Valley,” says Interiors Team Lead Beth Avon ’14.

    This is the third time Santa Clara has entered the contest. The 2007 home is now used as an office and program headquarters for Forge Garden. The 2009 home, just outside the main parking structure, is used by the School of Engineering for outreach and is a highlight for campus tours. The team and University are still deciding the fate of the 2013 home.

    The students will find out if all of their attention to detail pays off during the final ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 12. The event will be live streamed on the Solar Decathlon website.

  •  De Saisset Rethinks Art

    Exhibits explore artists’ methods and materials

    Inside the Sculptor's Studio

    How are large works of public art created? The public is invited to find out by visiting “Fletcher Benton: The Artist’s Studio” at Santa Clara University’s de Saisset Museum from now through Dec. 6.

    The exhibition uses mural-size photographs of the artist’s studio to bring visitors inside the process of creating his signature monumental sculptures. It also incorporates the sounds, textures, and even smells of the artist’s studio, as well as a video of Benton discussing his studio practice. 

    The focus is “Fletcher Benton’s practice—how he executes these large-scale works and what that process is for him,” said Lindsey Kouvaris, curator of exhibits and collections at the de Saisset Museum.

    The exhibition includes several finished pieces of varying size as well as a number of the three-dimensional models that Benton uses to create his sculptures. 

    One of the sculptures is too large to fit inside the museum, so it will be installed outdoors. 

    Benton, a San Francisco-based metal sculptor who is known for his public artwork, tends to use geometric forms rather than figures in his sculptures, Kouvaris said. 

    Benton’s best known sculpture in the South Bay is a good illustration of this: the large geometric shapes in Palo Alto on the corner of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road.

    The traveling exhibition was organized by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. “People who do not make sculpture don’t have a sense of how it comes to be, how it goes from raw material to a work of art,” Kouvaris said. “This is sort of a behind-the-scenes experience.”

    A companion exhibition, “Fletcher Benton: In Motion,” will showcase Benton’s kinetic work: sculpture that moves. This was a focus of Benton’s early career in the 1960s and 70s. 

    The sculptures depict motion in a variety of ways. In some it’s clear how the motion works, in others the pattern is so complex that the action appears random, and in still others the movement is so slow that it’s difficult to perceive. The exhibition is built from the de Saisset Museum’s private collection as well as Benton’s own collection and will include several pieces that have not often been seen in public. 

    Turning Garbage into Art

    Artists have a role to play in building sustainable communities. This fall, an exhibition at the de Saisset Museum called “Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine” will explore what art can teach us about what we throw away. The exhibition is co-curated by Kouvaris and Ryan Reynolds, assistant professor of art and art history at Santa Clara University. It includes works by artists that use exclusively recycled materials.

    Using repurposed materials to create works of art is an old tradition, Kouvaris said. What makes these works different is that the artists are “not just buying something from a thrift store—they’re diverting things from the landfill. They’re using what we might consider trash to make new works of art.”

    Kouvaris said that while putting together the exhibition they were pleasantly surprised at the number of artists who are working with repurposed materials. 

    They were also happy with “the sheer variety of mediums they’re able to work in using reclaimed materials.” The show will include works on paper, sewn objects, and a sound installation. The art will be made from materials that range from reclaimed wood to discarded books.

    “They’re really beautiful—you’re not going to look at it and say, ‘Oh wow, that's trash,’” Kouvaris said. The exhibition is made possible by a grant from Santa Clara University’s Sustainable Resource Initiative. It will run from now to Dec. 6 and Jan. 10 to Feb. 2, 2014.

  •  New Law Dean

    Lisa Kloppenberg took over as dean of Santa Clara University School of Law on July 1, after more than a decade at the University of Dayton law school, where she served as dean. She sat down with FYI to talk about what brought her here, her role models, and Zumba. The Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

    Q: What drew you to the job of dean at Santa Clara University School of Law? 

    A: The Jesuit mission was really important to me. I was raised Catholic, an active Catholic, the values of the Jesuits really resonate with how I see what God wants us to be about—about other people, being compassionate, thinking hard about how we make this world better, realizing it's never going to be perfect, but how do we contribute to the common good for all people? I'm also very attracted to the spirit of innovation, not just at the law school, but throughout the Valley, and Santa Clara. There seems to be a real emphasis on thinking about the future, and that's always been kind of important to me. It's something I think I bring some skills to.

    Q: You’re known as a pioneer in legal education, the first female law dean at Dayton—and in Ohio—and overseer of a pioneering two-year accelerated degree program. To what do you attribute your success as a pioneer? 

    A: Really supportive parents. I was adopted by a wonderful family, and they really believed in education. I also had some great role models along the way, women who had been pioneers, who were leaders in their field, but were also mothers and very nurturing women who would bring along other women. I had an aunt who lived overseas and really acquainted us with the broader world. And my mother, who never had a chance to finish high school, was the biggest advocate of education in our family. And Judge Nelson for whom I clerked and am writing a book about. She was one of the first female law professors nationally, first female deans, and first female appellate judges, really a pioneer in the 1950s. She started in law school when there were maybe two or three women in the class, where the women wore white gloves, and some of the teachers only called on you on Ladies Day. Luckily, the world has changed.

    Q: Some of the innovations you oversaw at UD included: increasing diversity, strengthening the law and technology program, LLM and the master's program for non-lawyers, expanding the Catholic identity there, co-curricular projects, and the accelerated two-year degree program. Do you think Santa Clara Law would or should benefit from considering these kinds of innovations? And if so, which ones?

    A: I think Santa Clara Law is in a very strong position. There’s a lot behind what's written on paper, on the website. There's real gravity to it. I also think it's an important time for everybody in legal education to be thinking hard about the future. I'm still in my first hundred days. So I'm listening in the Jesuit tradition. But I am thinking hard and asking other people to think about, “What do we want to be in the future? What are the right programs for us? What's the right size for us? How do we continue to be strong?”

    Q: We've all heard the criticisms of legal education, that it’s a costly avenue to shrinking job prospects. How do you reassure people about the value of a legal education?

    A: I think it is costly, but all higher ed is, and it's still, compared to other fields,  such an advancement in life. Having a J.D. degree is often a credential that helps you advance, even within a university system, within a government job, within the private sector. If you look at  any community, at who is in public service, who are the people running the nonprofits, who is serving on the boards, who is helping to fund some of this stuff—lawyers play a critical role.

    Q: Is there anything you'd especially like to convey to Santa Clara University faculty and staff? 

    A: First and foremost, I just want to say thanks for welcoming me and my family. We do feel very warmly welcomed, and we appreciate that very much. And I'm very interested in exploring opportunities. With business, with engineering, with the school of education, there's a lot of opportunities to think about [joint programming] because, like it or not, law impacts people's lives. I'm very excited to begin those conversations with the deans and the other leaders here at Santa Clara.  

    Q: What's something that people are surprised to learn about you?

    A: Well, I never met a lawyer until I was in my third year of college, and a lawyer who was an adjunct professor at USC taught my First Amendment course. He said, “You should think about law school.” Before that, I was in journalism and English. Another surprising thing, I love to go to Zumba classes or any kind of high cardio dance classes. My family laughs at me, but I do love that music and good exercise.

  •  Bountiful Harvests

    Explore what Forge Garden has to offer 

    Santa Clara University’s Forge Garden is the University Operations and the Office of Sustainability’s most beautiful and delicious project. Colorful rows of fruits and vegetables grow in abundance and giant sun flowers hover overhead, while chickens cluck and roam in their coop. Located just a few steps away from SCU’s campus, The Forge Garden serves as the university’s educational organic garden. It also serves as a place for students, staff, and faculty to find peace and quiet away from their busy schedules.

    The greater Santa Clara community is also served by The Forge Garden. This half-acre garden grows an assortment of annual and perennial fruits, vegetables, and nuts which are donated to local soup kitchens. It also hosts numerous events throughout the year for members of the community.

    The Forge Garden is for the community and is sustained by the community. Help from volunteers during work days and visits from community members to the various workshops and events keeps the garden thriving. Drop-in volunteer work days are Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1-5 pm. All students, clubs, and organizations are welcome to attend. Visit The Forge Garden’s website to get info on upcoming events and learn how you can get involved.

  •  New Avenue for Success

    A new scholarship program at Santa Clara University is putting $5 million to work to enhance the University’s mission.

    Thanks to the new Santa Clara Johnson Scholars Program, up to 10 of SCU’s most academically accomplished, leadership-minded applicants in each of the next four years will be awarded full, renewable academic scholarships. In addition, during their four years they will be given premier access to the University’s top leadership and honors programs, including the prestigious Johnson Leadership Fellows program. The Fellows program is a summer stipend to be used to create a self-designed leadership experience for students.

    “The Johnson Scholars program clears away as many obstacles as possible for our most outstanding students to think in new, expansive ways about how their many talents can best serve the broader world’s needs,” said SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “The generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson is a tremendous validation of Jesuit historical values and disciplines that have shaped cabinet members, Silicon Valley executives, and other leaders who have walked our campus.”

    The 10 freshmen who will be Johnson Scholars this year have been chosen. They hail from Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, and California. Among the highlights from the students’ impressive school resumes: a Junior Olympic volleyball player who was a National Merit Scholar; an athlete who is also a leader and fundraiser for the Invisible Children Club; an Eagle Scout who tutors first graders and volunteers for the needy; a debate champ who volunteers with seniors and Second Harvest Food Bank; and a U.S. Presidential Scholar who founded an Android app company.

    The donors, Maryellie and Rupert Johnson, Jr., say they want to ensure that the most promising next-generation Broncos can start their careers armed with the richest academic and extracurricular experiences, free of student debt.

    “We’ve seen the Santa Clara model for nurturing devoted students to their utmost potential turn out some of the nation’s most admired government, sports, and business leaders,” said Mr. Johnson, who is vice chairman and director of the financial firm Franklin Resources, a University trustee, and former member of the Board of Regents.

    The scholars must meet demanding criteria to be chosen: a 3.8 GPA or higher; top-tier SAT and ACT scores; proven stellar academic, leadership, and service performance; and active leadership-level participation in immersions, volunteer duty, service clubs, and student government to name a few. Most importantly, they have been identified as individuals of high ethical standards and integrity.

    “The Johnson Scholars Program represents the highest level of scholarship opportunity we’ve had at Santa Clara,” said Leilani Miller, director of the University Honors Program and Office of Student Fellowships. “This is a great opportunity for top students to make the most of their college education.”

    More on the program is available at

  •  Time to Shine

    The 2013 SCU Solar Decathlon team builds on the University’s legacy

    The 2013 Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team is in its final push to bring home a first place finish. The team is currently at the site of the international competition in Irvine, where they are rebuilding Radiant House, SCU’s newest entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. 

    Twenty college teams from Arizona to Austria are competing to design, build, and operate the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered house. The teams will show off their hard work at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., Oct. 3 through 13.

    This is the third time that a team from SCU has competed in the Solar Decathlon. In previous years, Santa Clara’s entries received impressive third-place awards, besting larger technical colleges and top-ranked universities from around the world. 

    “In 2007 the team focus was on engineering. In 2009, it was on design. This year, we’re shooting for the best of both worlds,” explained Jake Gallau, the student project manager for Radiant House. “Our solar house will be about 20 percent bigger than the last one and will be built for about two-thirds of the cost.” The frugal $300,000 construction budget will garner high marks from decathlon judges, who assign points in 10 competitive categories.

    Beyond affordability, Radiant House has other attributes that set it apart from its predecessors, according to Gallau, who will graduate in June with a degree in mechanical engineering. He cited a number of advanced technological features throughout the structure, right up to the rooftop.

    “In designing this year’s house, we made a conscious decision to innovate,” he explained. “We looked at technology that we liked and tried to find ways to improve it to meet our needs. We didn’t want to just use existing bells and whistles; our goal was to build a modern home that people would actually want to live in.”

    Up on the roof

    In searching for other ways to reduce material costs and apply effective technologies to their design, students found an all-in-one roof structure by Sunplanter with built-in solar panel rails. A passive cooling system below the panels prevents overheating, while the rails capture and divert heat from the warm air circulating below the panels. This pre-heated air is sent to Radiant House’s clothes dryer, which uses up to 20 percent less energy than a traditional dryer.

    The solar panels are connected in a series, explained Gallau, and if a panel is underperforming, an energy optimization system creates a bypass option for that panel. This allows the photovoltaic roof array to operate at its full potential. “At any time, a resident can log into an account and see a graphical display with real-time energy output for every panel,” he said. “It’s one more user interface tied into the control system."

    Blowing hot and cold

    In most homes, ambient air is used to heat and cool interiors. SCU students designed their model with radiant panels that use hot water to heat the house and cold water to cool it. Developed by Messana Air-Ray Conditioning, the method creates a more uniform air flow without the usual blasts of air found in traditional systems. “A forced-air system dries you out,” said Gallau. “It may give you instant relief, but it’s not as comfortable as our system.” Student engineers say that not only is their water system highly efficient, it is also less expensive than standard HVAC options.

    Banking on bamboo

    Perhaps the most innovative design feature of Radiant House is its use of bamboo as a construction material throughout the entire building. Typically relegated to flooring and decking, bamboo has a much larger role in Radiant House. Raw, unprocessed (and therefore more sustainable) bamboo can be found in the house’s joists, stud walls, and shear walls. “It’s strong and lightweight, and the industry has spent the last 10 years trying to make it a structural building element,” said Gallau. “We found a way to do that; we’ve done the testing, submitted the paperwork, and matched all of the elements required by the building code.”

    Normally the round shape of bamboo and its hollow culms, or stems, make the plant viable for forming “tiki hut-type structures” in tropical lands, but not for building much in other parts of the world, according to Gallau. Through a faculty member in SCU’s civil engineering department, the student team found a type of bamboo in Vietnam that makes the plant far more useful.

    “It’s a particular strain of bamboo, smaller—about an inch around instead of three inches—and with a solid, not hollow culm,” Gallau explained. Because bamboo is both elegant and highly sustainable, it is usually integrated in some way within most solar house entries. But Gallau said Radiant House is the first to fully use the plant’s potential as a construction material. “With the type of bamboo we’re using, we can square off a large piece and make one-inch rods that can be woven together for a flat surface,” he explained. “It’s much less labor-intensive than chopping up chunks and gluing pieces together.”

    Throughout the process of designing and building the 1,000-square-foot, net zero energy house, Gallau said three words have guided the effort: efficiency, elegance, and economy. During the past 18 months, about 200 undergraduate students, faculty, staff, community sponsors, and industry advisors have contributed in some way to the project.

    Charles “Charlie” Hernandez, a construction manager for Plant Construction in San Francisco, is on the decathlon team’s advisory committee. He said the students’ work will be valuable experience in the field. “Learning and constructing leading-edge building technology at this early point in their lives will allow them to join Bay Area builders in the near future, engaging quickly to have an impact on the sustainable and innovated delivery of construction.” A board member for the SCU Bronco Builders Association, Hernandez said he’s enjoyed observing the students. “It’s been fun to watch Jake and his core team plan and implement a very detailed schedule while learning about real life challenges.”

    Gallau heads a primary group of sub-team leaders in charge of everything from plumbing to public relations. He said 25 students were hired to work over the summer and many more labor on voluntarily. “Everyone,” he noted, “is in love with this project.”

    Radiant House Fine Points

    • 964-square-foot house featuring an open, modern design for sustainable California lifestyle
    • Native, drought-resistant landscaping surrounding the house
    • Sustainably sourced furnishings and unique, repurposed fixtures
    • House’s entire center module can be opened to the outside by pressing a button, increasing living and entertainment space
    • User-friendly control system with simple, large icons provides feedback on home energy use and suggestions for saving energy
    • Design incorporates an electric fueling station where a new, all-electric Nissan Leaf will be parked during the competition
    • SCU team promotes solar energy education in dozens of elementary school classrooms by using video conferencing to show youngsters how Radiant House is taking shape. See the last one here!
    For more updates follow the School or Engineering's Solar Decathlon Blog and the team's Facebook Page.

     More on the Team's Design:


    Top five reasons Governor Brown should visit Radiant House:

  •  Walk This Way

    Palm Drive Turns into Pedestrian Mall

    SCU community members returning this quarter were greeted with a beautiful new makeover on Palm Drive. The street that leads to Mission Church from El Camino Real is now a pedestrian walkway and will be complete with a beautiful new fountain in November.

    The change will make the campus safer for pedestrians and will allow visitors to focus on the beauty of the Mission Church instead of on traffic and parked cars.

    Alviso Street is also now one way: Traffic enters campus from the north on Franklin Street and exits onto Santa Clara Street at the south end. After commencement in 2014, Alviso Street will close as well. It will reopen as a pedestrian mall after Labor Day in 2014.

    A new parking structure will open along Franklin Street on November 15 creating more parking spaces than were lost following the street closures. More handicapped parking spaces are also being added throughout campus. All the pedestrian malls are accessible to emergency vehicles, and Palm Drive is still available for some ceremonial events.

  •  Exploring Shared Values

    2013 President’s Speaker Series kicks off with sold-out lecture and an added event

    During this year’s President’s Speaker Series, audiences will be taken inside the White House after the 9/11 attacks, discuss the relationship between professional sports teams and their communities, and explore the gap between rhetoric and reality when it comes to Muslims in America. 

    The series enters its eighth year and will feature former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York, and author Eboo Patel offering their perspectives on this year’s theme: “Shared Values in the World, the Nation, and the Community.”

    All events will be held in the Louis B. Mayer Theatre. General admission tickets are $25 each and available to staff and faculty at a discounted rate of $20. Tickets for the Condoleezza Rice event is sold out. For tickets or more information, go to or call 408-554-4015. 

    Special Event with Reza Aslan Added

    A special, free-admission event has been added to this year’s lineup. Reza Aslan, author of the New York Times and Amazon No. 1 best-seller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, will be on campus for a conversation with Catherine Murphy, author of The Historical Jesus for Dummies, on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre. No ticket is required.


  •  New Rankings

    U.S. News & World Report Ranks Santa Clara No. 2 in the West

    Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering is now in the top 10 undergraduate engineering programs offered by master’s universities across the country. In the newly released U.S. News & World Report rankings, SCU jumped four spots to No. 10.

    “This is an important milestone for our engineering program as we continue to gain national recognition for our commitment to engineering with a mission,” says School of Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal. “With our mix of Jesuit, Catholic values, rigorous coursework, and hands-on, project-based learning, Santa Clara University educates engineers of integrity, who are engaged citizens of the world."

    Santa Clara University maintained its second place overall among master’s universities in the West. Santa Clara’s overall score has dramatically increased to 99 out of 100 from a score of 90 just five years ago. At 94 percent, SCU has the highest freshman retention rate of any master’s university in the country and maintains an 86-percent graduation rate.

    SCU also made great strides in several key areas this year.

    • 81 percent of SCU freshman were in the top 25 percent of their high school class in 2012, up from 75 percent in 2011.
    • More students recognize the quality of an SCU education and are applying. SCU’s acceptance rate dropped 3 percent.
    • SCU cultivates proud and generous alumni and saw an increase in average alumni giving from 18 percent to 20 percent. 

    Santa Clara University also made the list of “Great Schools at Great Prices.”

    The Top Five Master’s Universities in the West

    1. Trinity University (Texas), score: 100 

    2. Santa Clara University (Calif.), score: 99

    3. Loyola Marymount University (Calif.), score: 92

    4. Gonzaga University (Wash.), score: 87

    5. Mills College (Calif.), score: 86

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    David Hess (Biology) has received an additional $153,782 funding from the National Science Foundation to support "RUI: Utilization of Natural Variation in Domesticated Strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae to Elucidate Metabolic Specialization." Total funds awarded to date now total $470,971.

    Robert Henry (Chief Information Security Officer) made two presentations at the EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference in St. Louis, April 15–17. Henry's topics were "Securing Information Stored in Google Apps," co-presented with Cloudlock, and "When to Declare an Information Security Incident and How to Respond When You Do," co-presented with Dr. Kees Leune, CISO at Adelphi University in New York. The Security Professionals Conference was attended by 500 higher education information security practitioners from North America, Asia, and Europe.

    Farid Senzai (Political Science) and Hatem Bazian researched the Muslim community in the Bay Area. His study, The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Identity and Community, was featured in a ISPU (Institute for Social Policy and Understanding) news report release.

    Michael Whalen (Communication) has received recognition from ESPN Deportes. His film Gringos at the Gate will be featured as part of their next season.

    Dale Larson (Counseling Psychology) made two presentations: “Secrets at the end of life,” at the 35th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling on April 24 and "A person-centered approach to grief counseling," at the 27th Meeting of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement on April 30 in Victoria, BC, Canada.

    Angelo Ancheta (School of Law) has received $15,066 from the International Institute of the Bay Area to support “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” This grant will help provide legal services toward undocumented youth who are eligible for the Obama Administration's “deferred action” initiative for undocumented youth who were brought to this country as children.

    Alma Garcia (Sociology) was awarded the national Susan Koppelman Award for Best Anthology for “Contested Images: Women of Color and Popular Cultures.” 

    Justin Boren (Communication) co-authored a study published in the April 2013 issue of Southern Communication Journal called “Examining the Relationships Among Peer Resentment Messages Overheard, State Guilt, and Employees’ Perceived Ability to use Work/Family Policies.”

    Tim Myers (English) had four new children's books accepted by various publishers. An excerpt from his Glad to Be Dad coming out in September in the New York Times parenting blog. He was a runner-up for the 2013 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for fiction, and has also placed three poems, one short story, and five non-fiction pieces in various periodicals. 

    Please submit your grants, awards and publications to

  •  Panetta's Advice for the Class of 2013

    Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivered the 162nd Commencement address at Santa Clara University on June 15, 2013. Panetta received his bachelor's degree in political science and his law degree from SCU. He also met his wife of nearly 50 years, Sylvia, on campus. Hear the story of how they met, Panetta's bright forecast for SCU students and his plea for students to hold politicians accountable.

  •  Talkin' Turkey


    One new SCU grad prepares to use his Fulbright award to teach English

    Aven Satre-Meloy, class of 2013, took two courses during his sophomore year that sparked an interest in Turkey—and ultimately led to his winning a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in that country for next year.

    After Satre-Meloy graduates with a double major in political science and environmental studies, he will go to Turkey for nine months to assist English professors at the university level. Satre-Meloy, who is from Helena, Mont., is also completing a minor in international studies. He doesn’t know yet where he will be in Turkey, though it will likely be in one of the country's smaller town.

    As a sophomore at Santa Clara, Satre-Meloy took courses in world geography and Middle Eastern politics.

    “In both of those we were given flexible projects to write term papers on,” Satre-Meloy said. “In both I decided to write specifically about Turkey.”

    This led to his interest in the Global Fellows Program run by the Leavey School of Business, which places students (from both the business school and other parts of the University) in internationally focused summer internships.

    As part of the program, Satre-Meloy spent six weeks in Turkey between his sophomore and junior years, interning for a nonprofit cultural foundation. He also learned to speak a small amount of Turkish. When he returns to the country this fall, he hopes to take lessons to learn the language.

    The six-week program gave Satre-Meloy a taste of intercultural interaction, and he came away wanting more. “I was really interested in interacting with students who lived in Turkey their whole lives,” he said.

    The Fulbright program’s English Teaching Assistantships seemed like a good way to pursue this goal. The program places English teaching assistants in dozens of countries. Applicants apply for positions in particular countries, so they have to explain their interest in the country where they hope to teach.

    Satre-Meloy views teaching English as an important tool for increasing cross-cultural understanding. Because the teaching assistants are native speakers, professors often rely on them to spend a lot of time conversing with students in English. Satre-Meloy hopes to use discussions of current events and American news to increase not only his students’ language proficiency but also their cultural knowledge of the United States.

    Satre-Meloy’s strong academic record in a broad range of coursework—and his ability to see connections between different subjects—made him a strong candidate, said Dennis Gordon, professor and chair of political science. Gordon wrote a letter of support for Satre-Meloy’s application.

    “What struck me was the ability to combine the technical part of environmental studies with his interest in policy,” Gordon said.

    Although Satre-Meloy’s primary responsibility will be teaching, some teaching assistants are able to do research as well. He hopes to have the opportunity to research the intersection of religion and politics in Turkey.

    “Turkey is a secular and democratic nation, but they have seen a transition back toward a more religiously conservative government,” Satre-Meloy said. “I’m going to be looking at that, and at what people’s experiences with religion are in a country that is secular and democratic.”

    With so many interests, Satre-Meloy has a number of ideas about his long-term goals. “I am very interested in this aspect of cultural exchange and cultural dialogue and am potentially interested in looking at where I could fill a role in public service,” Satre-Meloy said. But he is also interested in environmental issues, including solar power. Graduate school in international relations, public policy, or possibly law is a possibility in a few years.

    “These experiences are going to help me confirm and narrow down what I’ll be doing,” Satre-Meloy said.

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    David Hess (Biology) has received an additional $153,782 funding from the National Science Foundation to support "RUI: Utilization of Natural Variation in Domesticated Strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae to Elucidate Metabolic Specialization." Funds awarded to date now total $470,971.

    Robert Henry (Chief Information Security Officer) made two presentations at the EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference in St. Louis, April 15–17. Henry's topics were "Securing Information Stored in Google Apps," co-presented with Cloudlock, and "When to Declare an Information Security Incident and How to Respond When You Do," co-presented with Dr. Kees Leune, CISO at Adelphi University in New York. The Security Professionals Conference was attended by 500 higher education information security practitioners from North America, Asia, and Europe.

    Farid Senzai (Political Science) and Hatem Bazian researched the Muslim Community in the Bay Area. His study, "The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Identity and Community," was featured in a ISPU (Institute for Social Policy and Understanding) news report release.

    Michael Whalen (Communication) has received recognition from ESPN Deportes. His film Gringos at the Gate will be a featured as part of their next season.

    Dale Larson (Counseling Psychology) made two presentations: "Secrets at the end of life," at the 35th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, April 24 and "A person-centered approach to grief counseling," at the 27th Meeting of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, April 30 in Victoria, BC, Canada.

    Angelo Ancheta (School of Law) has received $15,066 from the International Institute of the Bay Area to support "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." This grant will help provide legal services toward undocumented youth who are eligible for the Obama Administration's "deferred action" initiative for undocumented youth brought to this country as children.

    Alma Garcia (Sociology) was awarded the national Susan Koppleman Award for Best Anthology for “Contested Images: Women of Color and Popular Cultures.”

    Justin Boren (Communication) co-authored a study published in the April 2013 issue of Southern Communication Journal called “Examining the Relationships Among Peer Resentment Messages Overheard, State Guilt, and Employees’ Perceived Ability to use Work/Family Policies.”

    Please submit your grants, awards and publications to

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