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.

  •  What Happens When We Die?

    What happens when we die? Is it the magical mystery tour? Nothing? Or something in between?

    SCU Presents poses these questions in “HereAfterHere: A Self-guided Tour of Eternity” as part of SCU•Presents Arts for Social Justice and Visiting Artist Series March 28 to 30. The eclectic performance of original dance, theatre, music, and videos was created by self-described "director, choreographer, performer, teacher, and dreamer” Tandy Beal. Her work represents an array of religious, cultural, and historical views, without making any definitive conclusions about the afterlife.

    "It opens the door to this astonishing event in our lives, and it's an invitation to simply rest in the question," Beal told Catalyst Magazine.

    In conjunction with the performances, a series of panels and discussions will be held throughout the county, each with a distinguished group of speakers from various religions and fields of medicine, in order to broaden the discussion about this inevitable future step in all of our lives.

    “We’re excited to invite the SCU community and beyond to explore this topic,” says SCU Presents Director Butch Coyne. “It’s core to our values here at Santa Clara and in the arts world to question and explore often difficult and complicated topics. The performance is as fascinating to the senses as it is to your conscience.”

    “HereAfterHere” has three showings March 28 to 30 and tickets are $20 or $40. For more information, visit

  •  Engage SCU Alumni

    The Alumni Office is putting out a call for speakers for the Grand Reunion Weekend October 9 to 12, 2014. This is an opportunity to address an audience of alumni from all decades, for many faculty members this will include former students. Speaking times are available on Friday, Oct. 10, between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 11, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sessions can last 60 to 90 minutes including Q&A.

    If interested, please send Maureen Muscat an email and include:

    • Speaker Name
    • Topic Name/Title
    • Short description of topic
    • Preferred time frame and length of tal

    The deadline for submissions is April 1.

    Due to limited time slots and the desire for offering diverse topics, not all proposals may be chosen. Speakers will be notified no later than April 15 either way.

  •  The Dalai Lama Visit

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Santa Clara University this week to deliver a message of compassion and empathy to an audience of more than 4,000 people.

    The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke at Santa Clara University’s Leavey Event Center as part of a discussion entitled “Compassion, Business, and Ethics: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama.” The event was co-sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

    Beginning a dialogue

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has visited the United States regularly over the past 30 years, but this was his first stop at Santa Clara University. The sold-out event drew an audience that included students, alumni, business people, and clergy, who packed the Leavey Center to listen to the spiritual leader speak about compassion and the interconnectedness of all humanity—particularly as it applies to Silicon Valley.

    Noting that all people wish to be happy and suffer less, His Holiness said that the key to happiness lies in how we treat others. “If you think of others, you will maximize your own happiness,” he said. “If you think selfishly, shortsightedly, you will suffer.”

    A buzz of anticipation preceded the discussion, which opened when six Tibetan monks took to the stage to perform a distinctive chant. Following opening remarks from SCU President Michael Engh, S.J., and James Doty from Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, students from Palo Alto’s Living Wisdom School sang for His Holiness. Afterward, the 78-year-old peace advocate came forward to shake their hands.

    In a moment that elicited loud cheers from the crowd, Engh presented His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a Santa Clara University visor. The Tibetan spiritual leader is known for frequently wearing a visor under the bright lights of a stage.

    Also part of the conversation was Lloyd Dean, CEO of San Francisco-based Dignity Health. Dean leads one of the country’s largest health care systems and is a reformer in the field. In his comments, Dean spoke about how compassion and creating personal connections between health professionals and patients is essential.

    "Compassion isn't just a business strategy, it's at the core of what Dignity Health is," Dean said.

    The Dalai Lama gets down to business

    Sharing the stage with the co-founder of Adobe, a former chair of the board of Intel, and a leading researching in the field of compassion in business, the Dalai Lama listened, and was pleased with what he heard during an afternoon panel discussion.

    Each panel member shared experiences that underscored the value of compassion and ethics in business. Charles Geschke, the co-founder of Adobe, described Adobe’s hiring process as weighing the importance of both technical and personal skills in order to build high-functioning teams. Jane Shaw, the retired board chair for Intel, told a story of how Intel negotiated contracts with suppliers of rare-earth metals in order to avoid conflicts in the developing world and keep Intel dollars out of the pockets of warlords.

    Monica Worline, a research fellow at University of Michigan’s CompassionLab, shared research that showed how employees can become pressured to act unethically and without compassion when held to strict rules or put under stress.
    His Holiness congratulated the pair of executives on their corporate behavior, and again stressed the theme of educating employees and business leaders on how important compassion is to life—education focused on developing compassionate and altruistic behavior being a topic that His Holiness returned to again and again throughout the day at SCU.

    Specific to the afternoon panel discussion, the Dalai Lama discussed both competition and women in business. He stressed that competition can be compassionate when it strives to advance a field as a whole. He cautioned against competition that aimed to hold back peers in order to advance a singular company’s interest. His Holiness also supported his belief that women would be crucial business leaders in the next century as science has shown distinct differences in levels of compassion between genders.




    Watch the event here:

  •  Student Perspectives

    FYI asked two students to share their experience of the Dalai Lama’s first trip to SCU. Erin Callister is a Hackworth Fellow with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and studies compassion. She had the pleasure of meeting His Holiness and shaking his hand before the morning session. Marissa Minnick is a regular blogger for Campus Ministry and had early access to the Leavey Event Center prior to the Dalai Lama’s arrival.

    Erin Callister '14, Psychology

    I don’t think anything can prepare one for meeting the Dalai Lama—for his spontaneity, goofiness, and the fact he’s as jovial as he is wise. I was one of 30 students fortunate enough to meet His Holiness when he visited campus. Although we had no more than five minutes in his presence, I know I speak for the whole group when I say those were five minutes we’ll never forget. They were immortalized in our memories more vividly than the photograph we took with him.

    I shook the Dalai Lama’s hand (which is incredibly soft, by the way), and I felt a surge of peace and calm run through my body, easing the nerves I initially felt from seeing him in person. In that moment, all fears and concerns evaporated. I was tremendously present, immersed in the collective giddiness of the student group. We were on a high, riding a wave of joy and gratitude from simply being alive, from being in the here and now.

    After shaking our hands, and poking and giggling at my friend Natalie Lays’ nose piercing, the Dalai Lama addressed us as a group. He emphasized and re-emphasized the importance of education in our lives: “Education is more important than prayer,” he said.

    He told us we must continue to educate ourselves and those around us because the world depends on it. “The more education, the better.”

    Then, the Dalai Lama spoke words I’ll never forget, calling our group to action: “I’m old. And he’s old too,” he said, pointing to Kirk Hanson, the director of the Markkula Center of Applied Ethics with a laugh. “The generation after you is too late. The future is in your hands. It is up to you to make peace.”

    He continued, telling us that we need to develop a code of secular ethics—that secular morality is the way of the future, more so than religion. “It’s not easy. It’s very, very difficult. But it must be done by you.”

    Watch Video:

    Marissa Minnick '14

    As soon as I walked into Leavey Center, a sense of calm overtook me. As I looked around at my fellow students and others who were at the event, I realized that I was not the only one experiencing this tranquility. The aura of peace was audible; believe it or not, I could feel the calmness in my body—a warm, relaxed feeling that I had not expected. Looking at and chatting with the people around me, I could tell that there was a shared feeling of peace in Leavey Center, and perhaps even across campus. The Dalai Lama was not even in the building, yet we could already feel his presence. Furthermore, Twitter was facilitating a student discussion, as we were posting to #DalaiLamaSCU to share in our anticipation of seeing the Dalai Lama take the stage. And the moment he did take the stage, it was like a charge of electricity entered the room. His Holiness filled us with awe.

    One of the most unexpected and wonderful aspects of the Dalai Lama’s talk was the natural humor that he exuded. Oftentimes, we think of religious leaders as serious beings, unwilling to make or take a joke, yet here was one of the most important leaders in the world joking with the audience, even laughing at a joke about prostate exams. His humor was so incredibly genuine that as a member of the audience, it made me more comfortable, more open to listening to his message. The fact that the Dalai Lama can find humor in this chaotic world gave me a sense of hope, and his laughter reflected the true joy that he surely has. And his laughter was definitely a source of joy for the audience; it was one of the most pleasant and authentic laughs I’d ever heard.

    It was not all jokes, though. The Dalai Lama also conquered difficult topics for students including finding a balance for material versus spiritual wealth, being inclusive of nonbelievers in discussions for peace, and trusting others. One of his quotes that really stood out to me was “The 21st century could be a more compassionate society...but we need to make an effort.” The fact that he sees brightness in the dark corners of this world filled me with hope. The Dalai Lama is honest in acknowledging that there are damaging aspects in the world including weapons and overwhelming material desires, yet he also truly believes that humans are, by nature, good, and therefore there is always a reason to work for peace. Hearing him tell us that peace is possible was reassuring and reminded me why I desire to change the world.

    As a senior who falls into a cynical mindset when things aren’t going right in my life, it is vital for me to remember that there is always, always hope, despite the darkness that I experience. The Dalai Lama helped me to remember this, and I think his message resonated deeply with the rest of the Santa Clara community. In a way, his visit was a source of rejuvenation and spiritual refreshment. The fact that our university got to witness, however briefly, a source of the world’s healing is the most incredible blessing many of us could have ever asked for.

  •  Social Media Milestone

    Santa Clara University reached a new milestone in its online presence with the Dalai Lama’s visit Monday. The official hashtag #DalaiLamaSCU was trending on Twitter during the morning event, making the visit one of the most talked about events in the country at the time. This milestone was made possible by a big campaign from Santa Clara University’s media relations team and social media managers across campus with the support of the folks at Stanford’s CCARE in the weeks leading up to the event. The University has an active and committed community of Broncos who share their love of SCU on various social media channels. Below are some of the top tweets and a link to more of the SCU social media presence for the Dalai Lama visit.

    More Social Media Posts:





















  •  Outstanding Director

    A veteran technology executive who chairs Santa Clara University’s Board of Trustees has been named one of eight “Outstanding Directors” by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

    Robert Finocchio Jr., was formerly president, CEO, and chairman of Informix, where he was brought in to turn the information software company around. The business was acquired in 2001 by IBM. Before that he spent nine years at 3Com in various roles including president of 3Com Systems, and spent 10 years at ROLM Corp.

    In naming him to its Outstanding Directors list this year, the San Francisco Business Times noted that his “hell-and-back” experience at Informix—and the valuable lessons it taught him about corporate governance—helps make him a sought-after board member. He currently serves on the boards of Broadcom, Echelon, Silver-Peak Systems, and He previously has served on the boards of 17 other companies, including Altera, Pinnacle, and Sun Microsystems.

    “Santa Clara University has a tremendous asset in Robert Finocchio, with his vast corporate governance experience and involvement in our Markkula Center for Applied Ethics,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “We join the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal in celebrating him.”

    Finocchio became the chair of Santa Clara University’s board in 2009, after having served nine years on the board and four years on the Board of Regents. He told the Business Times that Santa Clara “had a huge impact” on his life. He is a dean’s executive professor of management—teaching a course called Contemporary Business Issues—and holds a B.S. (magna cum laude) in economics from Santa Clara University and an MBA (Baker Scholar, with high distinction) from Harvard Business School.

    Other Outstanding Director honorees this year include Richard Rosenberg, former chair of Bank of America; Barry Lawson Williams from the board of PG&E; and Mariann Byerwalter of Stanford Hospital and Clinics. A dinner celebrating the eight honorees was held on Feb. 21 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.

  •  Emotions Triggered

    “First Person Shooter,” opening tomorrow night at Mayer Theatre, highlights the struggle of a fictional game maker who is sued after a schoolyard shooting. The play is written by Aaron Loeb who worked in the video game industry for several years.

    “Just as one of the characters says in the play, when the tragedy of a school shooting happens we all look for answers and one easy answer is to point to something kids are doing today that lots of adults didn’t do as children,” says co-Director and Theatre Professor Aldo Billingslea of why many blame violent video games for school shootings.

    Billingslea adds the play will hit home for a lot of people in the Bay Area. One of the largest video game makers in the country, Electronic Arts, is a short drive north of campus.

    The play also takes a swing at how media fuels tension when complicated issues are forced into tight timeslots. One particularly intense scene involves a father who’s just lost his son being interviewed on live television.

    “From the sound and fury of the headline-rattling conflict emerges an evocative drama about two men trying to maintain their integrity and focus in a society pushing to reduce them to sound bites about video violence, school bullying, and race,” wrote San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Robert Hurwitt of the play’s run in San Francisco a few years ago.

    SCU Presents presents “First Person Shooter” Friday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 8. Tickets are $10 for the SCU community and $15 for the public.

    For tickets visit:

  •  A Future So Bright

    A few years ago, employment opportunities for aspiring teachers and counselors a were mixed or uncertain. Today, many of those students are looking at brighter prospects as they pursue advanced degrees from SCU’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology (ECP).

    “They’re not so much bucking a trend, as they are riding a wave,” said Dean Nick Ladany.

    In the 18 months since Ladany has served as dean of the ECP, from fall 2012 to the current winter quarter, student enrollment in the school has increased by 45 percent. The rise in numbers, according to Ladany, can be attributed to several factors, both internal and external.

    “The new Affordable Care Act means that more people will be seeking needed therapy,” he explained. “Estimates are that about 25 percent more therapists will be needed in the next decade. The concern over gun violence has also resulted in the government encouraging more proactive mental health treatment—and returning veterans will significantly increase the need for added resources and programs.” 

    Although the demand for teachers is not expected to be quite as steep, Ladany said that newly minted educators still will find a more welcoming job market. “Teachers are retiring at a higher rate now and schools are looking for qualified replacements, including more educational leaders and international instructors.” And in diocesan schools, he noted, “there is always a large need for good teachers with a strong commitment to Catholic values.”

    As head of the ECP, Ladany intends to help fill that specific need. “One priority is to enhance our outreach efforts and make more connections with Catholic education in the San Jose area, as well as throughout the state and even nationally,” he said. SCU’s Blended Learning Academy, a professional development program for San Jose Diocese teachers, got the ball rolling last summer. The project, according to Ladany, has already led to conversations with seven of the nine dioceses throughout California. “Word has spread,” explained the dean. “We were very responsive in that initial foray and quickly developed a high-quality program that people now want to know about.”

    Since his appointment as dean, Ladany has stressed the importance of responsiveness, in the form of customer service, and quality throughout ECP—especially in the area of recruitment and retention. Those traits, he believes, have a direct impact on enrollment increases.

    “We’re finding that most applicants are acknowledging our customer-student service and responsiveness,” he said. “We are more thorough with information we provide and do things faster. We show competence in our admissions process and get back to people quickly. We get faculty involved in student meetings. All this makes a big difference in recruitment.”

    Student numbers have also increased because of ECP’s more targeted marketing efforts, according to Ladany. “We’ve done more outreach to multicultural groups, students of color, and those likely to be committed to social justice,” he explained. “Students who want to work with underserved populations find that our programs are a very good fit.”

    Many of those programs, he noted, are particularly appealing to specific student groups. The Department of Counseling Psychology, for example, offers an emphasis in Latino counseling, one of only a few such programs in the nation. And, SCU’s one-year teaching credential program “is huge,” he said. “Students want to stop accumulating debt and get out there and work.”

    Another recent change, according to Ladany, involves scholarships being distributed at the time of acceptance, rather than during the year. “It all goes back to being responsive to student needs and giving good customer service, backed by quality programs,” he said. “It’s what sets us apart.”

    During the coming year, ECP will work on a number of goals, the dean noted. These include more involvement with the Diocese of San Jose in teacher training and education, more recruitment of international students, and more online courses. “We have a Clear Teaching Credential program now fully online,” he explained, “and we’re looking at other cost-efficient, targeted professional development courses for teachers and therapists.” One new offering will be a certificate program in church management, scheduled to begin in the summer.

    “We still have work to do,” Ladany acknowledged, “but we’re in a good position to innovate; it’s a very exciting time for us.”

  •  The Physics of Curling

    Santa Clara University Professor Phil Kesten, along with research assistant Dick Mule and SCU student Alex Sudomoeva, slide onto the ice to discover the fascinating physics behind the sport of curling. Why do the stones curl the direction that they do, how do colliding stones interact with one another, and what's the point of sweeping?

    Make sure to watch team USA compete in curling during the 2014 Sochi Olympics! #Sochi2014

    Special thanks to the Bay Area Curling Club and Shark's Ice in San Jose.

    Video by Nic Domek

  •  Solar Bidding

    The School of Engineering and Santa Clara University are putting the 2013 Solar Decathlon entry up for bid and giving the SCU community the first chance to call it home. The 1,050-square-foot Radiant House is a solar-powered, net-zero home designed and built by SCU students for the Department of Energy competition held last October.

    “We’re extremely proud of the work our students put into this project, but unfortunately there is not enough room on campus for another Solar Decathlon entry,” says team advisor and SCU mechanical engineering Associate Professor Tim Hight. “Radiant House could make one lucky bidder a sustainable and beautiful home or office.”

    The one bedroom, one bathroom home features a beautiful, wraparound bamboo Tiger deck, an innovative solar-racking system called Sunplanter, top-notch energy efficient appliances, as well as an impressive reputation. Dozens of media outlets covered the team’s journey to build the home that won first place in most of the international competition's engineering categories.

    “Radiant House is a labor of love that we spent two years designing, building, and using to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle,” says Brian Grau ’15. “We’d love to see it put to good use."

    The home meets building codes and has been through permitting process in Santa Clara and Irvine, where the 2013 competition was held. The minimum bid is $250,000 and the buyer would be responsible for all transportation and assembly costs. If the home is not sold by Feb. 20, bidding will potentially open on eBay. To bid or request more information, contact Tim Hight at

    Learn more about the Solar House here.

  •  Business, Ethics and Compassion

    Religious Studies Professor David Gray discusses teachings on ethics, compassion, and business ahead of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Mission Campus Feb. 24.

    Santa Clara University Associate Professor David Gray teaches courses on Buddhism, Buddhism and Film, and Buddhism in America, as well as Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism. He recently spoke with Deborah Lohse, assistant director for SCU’s media relations, about the upcoming visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Santa Clara University on Feb. 24. Learn more about the visit and how you can watch this sold-out event by visiting

    What are some key messages we can expect to hear from His Holiness the Dalai Lama?
    His Holiness has tended to focus on several key Buddhist teachings in his books and the lectures he gives. One of them is compassion, which is a general Buddhist moral principle but also the idea that we’re all interconnected—that we live in an interconnected world and the things we do have an impact that goes beyond ourselves. They affect others around us. The decisions we make affect other people, affect the environment—this has been a big focus of his writings. I’m sure these will be ideas that he’ll be emphasizing when he speaks here.

    What is his perspective on business?
    His Holiness will argue that, on the one hand of course, businesses have the goal of making successful products, making money for shareholders, and making money for investors, but he would also argue that the same kind of moral responsibility to be compassionate—to look out for the greater good that affects all of us—applies to businesses as well. He would probably say that truly successful businesses should be attempting to create a product that is of maximum benefit for as many of us as possible, while causing the smallest amount of harm. It’s the same sort of idea that he calls the universal ethic, which he’s written about in some of his works—it applies to business as well as to individuals. I think he would argue that businesses need to have more than just the bottom line in mind; they need to also take into consideration the effects business decisions might have on communities, on the environment, and on social justice.

    Continue the Q&A Here:

    Event Updates:

    A second invitation-only event will now be live-streamed. The campus community is invited to watch the following talks online at

    10 am - 11:30 am
    “Business, Ethics and Compassion: A public Dialogue” will feature His Holiness Dalai Lama, Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean and moderator Jim Doty, Director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion, and Altruism Research and Education.

    1:30 – 3:15 p.m.
    The Dalai Lama will address a panel that includes four academic and business
    leaders for a discussion that will encompass religion, research, and business. The panel will consist of Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc.; Jane Shaw, retired chairman of the board of Intel; Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics; and Monica Worline, research fellow at University of Michigan’s CompassionLab.

    Please note that backpacks and any purses larger than a small clutch will not be allowed in the Leavey Events Center. You may bring in personal items in a gallon size clear bag.

    The SCU community is encouraged to avoid Palm Drive if possible and take advantage of the newly constructed North Campus Parking Garage on Benton Street between Alviso St. & the Alameda, the Benson Lot or the Old Alameda Lot.

    For more information and answers to other Frequently Asked Questions, please visit

  •  New Business School Leader

    Dr. Carolyn Evans named senior assistant dean of graduate business programs at the Leavey School of Business

    Carolyn Evans, a senior economist at Intel Corp., began her role as senior assistant dean for graduate business programs in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University Jan. 27.

    “Dr. Evans’ academic expertise and industry experience make her an exceptional choice to lead the growth of our graduate business program,” said Dean Drew Starbird, in making the announcement. “Her leadership will be significant as we strengthen our flexible MBA offerings and add new master’s degrees to serve a diverse Silicon Valley workforce.”

    Evans was most recently senior economist in the sales and marketing division at Intel. Previously she was associate professor of economics and faculty director of the undergraduate business program at Santa Clara University. She was formerly a senior economist for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and served as senior staff economist on the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House.

    She earned A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, and holds a master’s of science degree from the London School of Economics.

  •  New Art and Art History Building

    $12 Million Gift from Real Estate Investor Ed Dowd Advances the Role of Arts in Education at Santa Clara University

    A veteran real-estate investor, financier, and CEO who has learned the healing qualities of art has donated $12 million to Santa Clara University to help build a grand, three-story art and art history facility on campus by 2016.

    The generous gift of Ed Dowd, owner of EMD Properties, Inc., Los Altos, forms the foundation for a campaign that aims to raise $26 million for the new 43,500-square-foot building.

    The modern and dramatic Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building will unite SCU’s entire undergraduate community around creativity and innovation, offering centralized studio space, classrooms, gallery displays, a sculpture garden, as well as ample space for faculty, students, visiting artists, and scholars to congregate.

    “We are deeply honored and grateful that Ed Dowd has so generously provided this important foundation upon which Santa Clara University will build the new artistic center of campus,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University.

    Dowd, who graduated from Santa Clara University in 1972 with a degree in science and commerce, said he became interested in art after the purchase of his home in San Francisco where he began collecting art. This led to the funding of a public-art project at Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Mountain View campus, where he receives treatment for the multiple sclerosis that’s been part of his life since 1993.

    “Art transcends all time and seems like a great cause to me,” said Dowd, who says he wants his legacy to extend beyond business causes.  “I have a desire to use my resources to create a better world, and I feel a world filled with art is a far more enjoyable place."

    Continue Reading Here

  •  3-D Innovation

    SCU engineering professor’s work takes on new dimension

    A year from now, engineers working for big-name companies like Samsung, Microsoft, and Intel will be implanting chips in products that contain a piece of Santa Clara University.

    The integrated circuits used in today’s electronic equipment, from cell phones to home appliances, are tiny, complex, and carry innumerable components. One chip element deals with how 3-D video data is compressed. By 2015, a new standard for this coding will be in effect throughout the world. Nam Ling, SCU computer engineering professor/department chair, and his group of researchers have made an impressive contribution to this new standard.

    Known as 3D-HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), the new standard for 3-D video compression is being developed by JCT-3V, the international joint collaborative team that controls the common platforms for all next generation 3-D video compression issues.

    “We’ve had two video coding proposals already adopted by the JCT-3V,” explained Ling, “but this is the first time that one of our methods has been adopted as normative, that is, a required and not an optional part for coding."

    Ling’s group collaborates with researchers from Huawei/Hisilicon, the company that partly sponsors his project. The team’s most recent major achievement came about in July when JCT-3V held its quarterly standards meeting in Vienna. Ling sent Zhouye Gu, an SCU research scholar and the primary contributor on the project, to the meeting.

    “All the major players attend the meetings and all are looking to dominate the market by having their company methods adopted in this next generation standard,” said Ling. “So, SCU comes along and we have to not only prove our method is technically sound, but we also must convince the big companies that our method enhances the performance of coding.” Gu successfully made this case in Vienna, and now Ling and his group are researching ways to make further contributions to the new international standard.

    Ling has been working with 2-D video coding for about 20 years with support from different sponsors. In 2007, he was awarded the first phase of a grant from Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd and has thus far received a total of $380,220 from the company. He began concentrating on high efficiency 3-D video compression last year, applying funds from the grant to that endeavor.

    In a nutshell, Ling, his students, and researchers have devised a way to improve the compression of the depth map in 3-D video, allowing enormous amounts of 3-D video data to be compressed in a more efficient manner. Their contribution is acknowledged for its simplicity and for the time it saves—making intra-frame compression about 30 percent faster than that of the previous method.

    The professor said the term “3-D” is often misinterpreted by the general public. “In the movies when you put those special glasses on, you get a stereoscopic view—a two-dimensional image with the illusion of depth.” Real 3-D, he explained, “is not just looking at something with your right and left eyes; it enables users to view objects and scenes completely, at 360 degrees in any direction. It provides a realistic sense of depth even viewed from these directions, just like in real life.” The ultimate aim of the new standard is to enable 3-D video for ultra-high definition, 16 times the spatial resolution of today’s HDTV, he noted.

    According to Ling, 3-D video technology is rapidly making its way into the lives of consumers and because of that, “there is a sense of urgency to come out with new, efficient ways of moving much greater amounts of data through the existing video bandwidth.”

    He said he is pleased to be doing work that will have such a significant impact on peoples’ lives, even for those living in developing countries. “Many places around the world don’t have the infrastructure to support large bandwidth applications or must rely on wireless service,” he explained. “If we can efficiently compress video data, much more information can be transmitted to those countries and accessed by those living there."

  •  A New Class

    Sixteen global social entrepreneurs selected for the GSBI® Accelerator

    Sankara Eye Care Institutions aims to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to millions of rural poor. Eco-fuel Africa converts locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers. Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) develops, manufactures, and distributes durable devices for intensive newborn care for poor communities in Vietnam.

    These three well-established “social enterprises”—nonprofit organizations or for-profit businesses that seek to address social and environmental problems—are among the 16 chosen for the 12th annual Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator program at Santa Clara University.

    Starting next month, the acclaimed 10-month program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with experienced, startup savvy Silicon Valley executives and advisers. The aim is to help the entrepreneurs focus on and solve the largest obstacles keeping their businesses from “scaling,” or reaching more beneficiaries.

    “This year we received the strongest applicant pool of leading social entrepreneurs to date,” said Cassandra Staff, GSBI’s program director. “This speaks to the value of the GSBI Accelerator program and the impact the program has on preparing mature entrepreneurs for additional investment capital and growth.”

    Sponsors of the GSBI Accelerator program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials, Skoll Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney.

    After six months of online work with GSBI staff and two Silicon Valley mentors apiece, the cohort will come to Santa Clara University’s campus Aug. 14 for nine days of intensive training that culminates in an “Investor Showcase” Aug. 21. The showcase has become an inspiring event attended by hundreds of impact investors and others interested in accelerating the work of social entrepreneurs.

    The 16 organizations in this year’s GSBI class operate in countries across the world including Mexico, South Africa, Jordan, and Vietnam. Among the other members of the GSBI Class of 2014 are: a company that makes biodigesters for small scale farmers in Mexico; a Peruvian employer of unskilled labor, whose workers are delivering data services to international clients; a South African company that teaches disadvantaged youth to be self-directed learners and chart careers; and a Chinese provider of renewable solar energy.

    Visit for a list of current entrepreneurs.

    The list of GSBI mentors can be found at

  •  Recycling in Style

    Eco Fashion Show gets creative with materials destined for the landfill

    The Office of Sustainability and the de Saisset museum are teaming up for the Fourth Annual Eco-Fashion and Art Show tonight. During a runway show, designers from the SCU community will show off outfits they created out of recyclable materials. A current exhibit at the de Saisset called “Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine” is also comprised of art made by students out of materials headed to the landfill. 

    "This event is always a lot of fun and brings in a great crowd. We're very excited that the de Saisset's current exhibit contributes to the setting," says Sustainability Coordinator Cara K. Uy. “We have many creative and unique designs to show off—and all of them by SCU students and employees."

    The event will also discuss fashion’s impact on the economy, society, and the environment including focus on the lives of factory workers and how clothing dyes can harm the environment.

    “You make more than a visual statement when you put on your clothes everyday,” says Uy. “You’re also making a decision that affects the environment and a lot of lives.”

    The show is Jan. 30. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the runway show starts at 7:30. 

    Visit for more information. 

  •  Ways to Watch the Dalai Lama Visit

    Tickets to the Dalai Lama’s first visit to Santa Clara University sold out in just minutes Tuesday morning. While one thousand complimentary tickets were distributed to SCU students, faculty, and staff days before the public sale of tickets, many more members of the SCU community are looking for other ways to participate in the historic event on Feb. 24. 

    The event entitled “Business, Ethics and Compassion: a Dialogue with the Dalai Lama” will be livestreamed at beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the event. The Dalai Lama’s talk will also be displayed on several large screens setup in the Benson Student Center. 

    The community can also participate with social media. Santa Clara University and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics will share updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #DalaiLamaSCU. The community is encouraged to also share their experiences on their personal social media accounts.

    #DalaiLamaSCU Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

  •  Compassion, Business & Ethics

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama makes first Santa Clara visit

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Santa Clara University Feb. 24 for a day of discussion entitled “Compassion, Business, and Ethics: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama.”  The event is co-sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

    "As the Jesuit University of Silicon Valley, the faith-inspired values of ethics and justice fuel what we do everyday. The Dalai Lama's commitment to compassion and humanity are a perfect fit on our campus, " says SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “We are eager to welcome him.”

    The Tibetan spiritual leader will explore the world of commerce, ethics, and compassion in a conversation also featuring Lloyd Dean, the CEO of San Francisco-based Dignity Health. Dean leads one of the country’s largest health care systems and is a reformer in the field.

    "We expect a productive, enlightening, and inspirational examination of these issues," says Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of SCU’s ethics center. “It will be an opportunity to advance our understanding whether there is room for ethics and compassion in business."

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has visited the United States regularly over the last 30 years, but this will be his first stop at Santa Clara University. The 78-year-old peace advocate focuses on three major commitments: promoting ethics and basic human values, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and the welfare of the Tibetan people.

    “All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and we do not want suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognize the importance of these human values in making their lives happier, “ the Dalai Lama says on his website. “It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognize the value of each other’s respective traditions.”

    Ticket Information:

    The morning session entitled “Business, Ethics, and Compassion: A Public Dialogue” will take place at SCU’s Leavey Event Center Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. One thousand tickets will be set aside free of charge for SCU staff, faculty, and students. Tickets go on sale to the public Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. and will be available at for $80 and $130. Details on the sale and distribution process will be announced in the next few weeks. The event is expected to sell out, but livestreaming will be available at

  •  Appetite for Art

    Drink in two fun new exhibits at the de Saisset

    The de Saisset Museum is taking a bite out of some major food issues in two new exhibits and the community is invited to pull up a chair.

    “A Serving of Shapes” by artist Corrine Takara starts with a series of workshops that will give the public hands-on experience with 3-D printing. In workshops at the museum, people are encouraged to design an object that reflects the history of food in the Santa Clara region or their personal relationship, experiences, and associations with food. 

    “I really wanted to play with the contrast in the region’s agricultural past with our technology-infused present in this exhibit,” says Takara. “We’re hoping to grab people’s attention with the exciting new process of 3-D printing, but also get them to reflect on how we think about food daily.”

    The next workshop will be held Jan. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. Two additional workshops are being held in East San Jose in communities that are unlikely to have access to the technology involved or transportation to the de Saisset workshops. Admission is free and open to the public. Takara will pick a selection of the designs created to display in the exhibit Jan. 31 through March 16. All of the designs will also be highlighted on a tablecloth in the exhibit.

    “Sip. Do Not Gulp.” is a site-specific installation exploring the importance of water to Santa Clara Valley’s agriculture. Artist Michele Guieu calls attention to shifting patterns of water usage through the history of the valley  increase in water use and how it’s changed agriculture and and how the introduction of agriculture and later modern technology and infrastructure have affected water availability. Curator Lindsey Kouvaris says the exhibit is more than just an increase in how much water is used.

    “Visitors have the opportunity to engage in a serious conversation about one of our most precious resources. Over the years, the climate in Santa Clara Valley has changed naturally from one that was very wet to one that is arid and plagued by drought, but we haven't adjusted our water usage accordingly. We act as if water is an unlimited resource when it's not," says de Saisset Curator Lindsey Kouvaris.

    A mural designed specifically for the de Saisset spans the walls with bold color and text outlining the valley’s rich history and relationship with water and some potentially uncomfortable truths about how human behavior wastes the supply. A documentary featuring SCU engineering professor Ed Maurer, U.C Irvine scientist Jay Famiglietti, chef Andrea Bloom and Ohlone descendant Anne Marie Sayers examines the history and current water issues. The exhibit runs Jan. 17 to March 16. The mural will also become a forum as visitors are encouraged to post their thoughts and concerns on the surface of the mural.

    A reception for both exhibits will be held the night of Feb. 13. For more information visit:


  •  New Office Opens Door to Greater Diversity

    What the Office for Diversity and Inclusion has in store

    As the recently appointed associate provost of SCU’s new Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), Aldo Billingslea—a professor in the Theatre and Dance Department—finds himself cast in a familiar role.

    “What we do in theater is collaborate,” he explained. “And that’s what this new office is all about.”

    The ODI, which officially opened last fall, aims to promote and cultivate a campus-wide climate of diversity and inclusion. “Working with different departments, we’ll provide guidance for faculty search committees and recruiters, ensuring that they feel culturally competent to bring the most diverse workforce and student population to the school,” said Billingslea. “The idea is to increase the yield of candidate pools—and once here, our goal is to ensure that everyone feels he or she is a valued and contributing member of our community.”

    Under the auspices of the Provost’s Office, the ODI is located in the Walsh Administration Building and has just expanded. Jesse Bernal, who served as the university-wide Diversity Coordinator at the University of California President’s Office, was just hired as program director and will help design strategies for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups among other duties. A welcome reception will be held in the Walsh Administration building lobby Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.

    Billingslea began laying the groundwork for collaboration as soon as the office was formed by embarking on a “listening tour” to gain insights about diversity and inclusion from various SCU department members. “There were questions and some challenges,” he noted, “but, the good news is that there are so many really good people on this campus who are willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and contribute to a more diverse climate.”

    The office will sponsor programs and events to advance that goal. The ODI collaborated with other campus units on two special activities this week: a tribute to Nelson Mandela on Monday, including dramatic readings by Billingslea, and a performance—“Color Struck”—on Tuesday by comedian Donald Lacy on institutionalized racism.

    In addition to lending support for related inter-departmental events, the ODI will initiate programs of its own. Plans include a “toolkit” to be used in hiring faculty and a series of workshops for deans, department chairs, and search committees.

    “We value the fact that people from all different kinds of groups bring different abilities with them,” said Billingslea. “Those are all things that make our campus richer ... When a teacher knows that a student has a different ability, he or she often makes an accommodation for that student; when that happens, it improves the learning environment for the entire class.”

    The ODI leader acknowledged that increasing awareness about diversity and inclusion takes time. “In all the training I’ve done, one important point is that this type of work requires patience and long-term commitment,” he explained. “And, it most often succeeds when there is support from the top.” Finding that critical, high-level support, said Billingslea, is not an issue at SCU. “President Engh and Provost Dennis Jacobs believe in our mission and have been extremely helpful from the very start.”

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