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FYI - Faculty and Staff Newsletter
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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.

  •  Making SCU Look Good

     The SCU Media Relations team would like to thank the faculty and staff who are flexible with their time and help us meet the requests of reporters. A strong relationship with the media propels our reputation as a world-class university with articulate and respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us at scumedia@scu.edu with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters.


    Print Feature:

    Thomas Massaro, S.J., (JST) wrote an op-ed for National Catholic Reporter on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and its lasting importance.

    ncronline.org/news/vatican/moral-theologian-looks-back-vatican-ii

     

     

     

     

     

     

    TV Feature:  

    Assistant Professor Chris Bacon (Environmental Studies) and several SCU students were featured in a Spanish-language news report on Telemundo about the second presidential debate watch party.

    www.scu.edu/news/videos/Telemundo-covers-SCU-Presidential-Debate-Watch-Party.cfm

     

     

     

    For a list of all SCU faculty and staff media mentions, visit SCU in the News.

     

  •  SCU Celebrates Sustainability with Food Day

    Hundreds of Students checked out the Sustainability Fair on Food Day Oct. 24, 2012 at Santa Clara University. Want to know how SCU students and faculty are working toward a sustainable future? Do you know what Food Day is?  Watch to find out!

     
  •  Digging Deeper

    More than 200 years ago, Native Americans grew crops by cultivating the land at Mission Santa Clara de Asis. This summer, a dozen students worked the same soil in hopes of a different harvest.

    Led by Lee Panich, SCU associate professor of anthropology, the students knelt in the dirt and used hand tools to unearth the historic evidence of earlier inhabitants. Their excavation site was on a section of University-owned property across Franklin Street near the Santa Clara Woman’s Club adobe meeting room.

    Panich said the old adobe, built in 1792, was once part of an eight-room complex used to house Native Americans who lived and worked at the mission. “The Women’s Center area is kind of ground zero, but the whole campus is a giant archaeological site,” he said. “The mission was rebuilt several times and moved around a lot, so just about anywhere you go around here you can find ruins.”

    The instructor and his students homed in on a patch of ground that had been a 20th century resident’s backyard and is now a parking area. His spring-quarter class had already scoped out the site using ground-penetrating radar equipment borrowed from Panich’s friends at UC Berkeley. “We had a good idea that something was there before we started digging,” he said.

    Working with other SCU departments, Panich arranged for a section of pavement to be removed and for fencing to be installed around the 430-square-foot excavation site. Then, the students in his summer field class got to work. “It was a lot more fun than it sounds,” said Helga Afaghani, a senior. “Getting up early to spend eight hours in a dirt hole doesn't sound very exciting, but I really enjoyed it.”

    Not surprisingly, the best part, according to both Panich and Afaghani, was finding relics from the past. The group’s early diggings turned up items from the last 100 years, “toys, marbles, bottles, nothing very old,” said Panich. But about 2 feet down, there were more interesting discoveries. “The first thing we found that keyed us into the fact that we were getting close was obsidian—volcanic glass used for making tools. Then we found shards of locally made pottery and animal bones that related to everyday life on the mission.”

    For Afaghani, pay dirt came a little later. “Getting to the stone foundations of the building was great,” she said. “Experiencing this stuff firsthand is so exciting; it’s way better than just reading about it.”

    As is often the case on archaeological digs, Panich said the most intriguing find came on the last day of the class. “At the very end, we found a pit with hundreds of shell beads in it, and ash, charcoal, and pottery.” Similar pits have been found on campus, he noted, but it isn’t clear what they were used for. “It’s kind of mysterious, but I think it must be some sort of fire pit,” he said. “We’ll need to analyze the material we took out of it and see what we come up with.”

    Panich’s research specialty is the interaction between Native Americans and European colonists. His own recent archaeological experiences include excavating a Spanish mission site in Baja California and digs at the San Francisco Presidio and at Fort Ross.

    Artifacts recovered from the SCU excavation site are stored on campus at the Archaeological Research Laboratory in Ricard Observatory, where other interesting remains – mostly found during construction projects – are housed.
    Panich said SCU hasn’t offered many archaeological field classes in the past, but he hopes to “keep the momentum going” by teaching one every year or so.

    “Field classes have always served as a kind of rite of passage for students who think they might want to pursue archaeology,” he explained. “They get experience in manual labor and find out if they’re really cut out for the work.”

    The finale of the class was somewhat bittersweet for teacher and students, as university work crews paved over the hole they had painstakingly dug and returned the spot to a parking area. “It was a little tough to watch, but I think we got everything out of there,” said Panich.

    “I felt kind of deflated,” said Afaghani. “I had spent six weeks sweating and bleeding and bruising to get it uncovered, and all that work could be undone in an afternoon.”

    But, she consoled herself by thinking ahead. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in the lab; excavation is a big part of archaeology, but analysis of whatever gets dug up is probably just as important.”

  •  Graceful Exit

    With a characteristic absence of fanfare, Denise Carmody quietly retired from Santa Clara University August 31, bringing to a close a stellar and varied career that included making history as the University’s first female Religious Studies Department chair and first female provost.

    Carmody was a highly regarded professor and role model to many, having taught ecclesiology, spirituality, and church history before her career took a more administrative path. Students felt lucky to be taught by her, many said, because she was not only wise but also inclusive, welcoming, and exceptionally informed—for instance having personal friendships with some of the theologians who influenced Vatican II.

    “She brought grace into the room—grace in terms of being gracious and listening to us, but also grace in terms of our faith, where she really reinforced that we are the church,” said Marie Bernard, executive director of Sunnyvale Community Services and a former pastoral-ministries student of Carmody’s.

    Carmody was tapped to be provost in 2000, when Stephen Privett, S.J., left to become the president of the University of San Francisco.

    She was known for her quiet fearlessness and for writing a mind-boggling number of books—more than 60 in total—on many topics in spirituality, theology, feminist theology, and ethics. She co-authored many, such as Mysticism: Holiness East and West, with her husband, John Carmody, from whom she was inseparable until he died in 1995 of cancer. Their book Ways to the Center: An Introduction to World Religions is still taught today, 31 years after it was first published. Its 7th edition is due out in October.

    “She really did model what it meant to be a teaching scholar, by being an excellent teacher and a prolific writer,” said Paul Crowley, S.J., her colleague in religious studies who has known her since the 1970s when he and John attended Stanford together.

    As a scholar, she sometimes tackled lightning-rod issues. She wrote Seizing the Apple: A Feminist Spirituality of Personal Growth in the mid-1980s, advocating that women assert their own autonomy. Her writings also explored the difficulties of being both a feminist and a Catholic.

    In the Religious Studies Department, Crowley credits her with doing an excellent job building on the strengths of the past and moving the department into a new phase, including bringing about a greater working unity among the various religious-studies disciplines. “She is an insightful leader, who listens and takes counsel, and at the same time can make firm decisions,” said Crowley.

    Later in her life, Carmody played an historic role at Santa Clara University as the first woman provost and vice president, said Don Dodson, SCU’s former provost who is now presidential professor of global outreach and professor emeritus of communication. “She brought to this role a long record as a distinguished scholar and teacher, high academic standards, a sharp intelligence and a keen wit, an impatience with cant, a willingness to stick her ground and engage in a good fight, and a great ability to find humor even in difficult situations,” recalled Dodson.

    As provost, she promoted the goal of integrated education by supporting the expansion of residential learning communities and by launching the process that resulted in the current undergraduate core curriculum, Dodson said. She also made great contributions to the work of faculty by supporting the creation of the Faculty Development Office and approving a more generous and flexible sabbatical policy.

    Her scholarship and teaching earned her a number of prestigious awards, including the Catholic Theological Society of America’s highest honor, the John Courtney Murray Award; the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Teaching; and the President’s Special Recognition Award from SCU in 2006. She held the Bernard J. Hanley Professorship from 1994 to 1997 and held the Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professorship from 1997 until she relinquished it in 2000, asking for it to be given to a publishing scholar.

    Prior to coming to SCU in 1994, she was chair of the department of religious studies at Wichita State University and later at the University of Tulsa, where she started the Warren Lectures—which became the model for the Santa Clara Lectures held annually at SCU to this day. She also taught in the philosophy and religious studies departments at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Boston College, and Pennsylvania State University.

    She has a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion from Boston College and was a summa cum laude graduate from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

    Her friends say they expect her to continue to be a faithful participant in an array of University events. She lives close by, and even was instrumental years ago in getting a traffic light installed for safety at Santa Clara and Lafayette—spurring Crowley to dub the intersection “Carmody Square.”

    Carmody recently accompanied the Board of Fellows to Ireland, and said she expects to travel, read up on her backlog of theology books, and continue her regular daily routine of exercise, mass, and prayer. (Her ability to do two of those at once—reading and walking the campus—is an endless source of amazement for observers, who often expect her to walk into a tree.)

    Offered a chance to reflect, Carmody said she’s grateful for her years at Santa Clara. “They have been rewarding both in the classroom and in administration,” she said. “I feel blessed to be part of the Santa Clara community and plan to continue to ‘read’ my way across campus—especially en route to the Malley Center.”

    “The department will really miss her wisdom, common sense, and experience,” said Crowley. “She has insights that take many years to acquire.”

  •  Grand Time at the Grand Reunion

  •  Faith and Controversy

    As the 2012 election approaches, Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education is holding a series of lectures titled Sacred Texts in the Public Sphere. Speakers will discuss the ways in which sacred texts such as the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures shape the hottest debates of our times: immigration, the economy, gay marriage, war, democracy, and the presidency.

    “The U.S. Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, and rightly so,” said Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., director of the Ignatian Center, which seeks to advance the University’s commitment to integrate faith, justice, and the intellectual life. “And yet the United States is a remarkably religious country. For generations our public life has been deeply influenced by teachings and writings derived from religious traditions. When citizens apply their convictions with understanding, tolerance, sensitivity, and intelligence, we are a stronger nation for it, even when we may disagree profoundly on principles and policies.”

    Throughout history, sacred texts have been used, and sometimes misused, by those seeking to assert authority in even the most secular corners of the public sphere:

    • Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan cited biblical principles to defend his budget proposal, while its severe cuts to social services were labeled un-Christian by opposing critics.
    • President Obama cited scripture in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
    • Swearing on the Bible has been a binding pledge for presidents, court witnesses, and judges for decades and more.

    The Sacred Texts in the Public Sphere lectures began on Oct. 2 and continue to Election Day on Nov. 6. The lectures are offered through the Center’s Bannan Institute, which hosts yearlong thematic programs to engage Santa Clara University and the larger community around issues of contemporary religious, cultural and theological debate. A full list of events and speakers is available at www.scu.edu/ignatiancenter.

    Upcoming lectures:

    • HOMOSEXUALITY: Jeffrey Siker, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, “Scriptural Politics of Family and Homosexuality: Textual Orientations.” Issues will include the presidential candidates’ views on same-sex marriage, and the scriptural or moral backings each cites for his position. (Oct. 23, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
    • CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE: David DeCosse, professor of ethics at Santa Clara University, “Catholicism, Politics, and the Primacy of Conscience: Reflections on Newman’s ‘Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.’” Issues include 19th Century English theologian John Henry Newman’s view of Catholic conscience. (Oct. 24, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
    • ECONOMY: Catherine Murphy, religious studies professor at Santa Clara University, “Scriptural Politics of the Economy: Bringing the Gospel to Bear on Our Economic Debates.” Issues include the controversy over the Ryan budget and scripture as a resource for economic decision-making. (Oct. 30, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
    • PRESIDENTS: James Bennett, professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, “Scriptural Politics of the American Presidency: Religion in the 2012 Presidential Election.” Issues include the role of religion in presidential races, and the fact that this year’s ballot contains the most diversity in religious affiliations ever offered to voters. (Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
  •  SCU goes Red, White, and Blue

    The first presidential debate watch party was standing-room only in the lower level of the Santa Clara University Library on October 3. Organizers are hoping to keep up the enthusiasm for the long list of events before the November 6 election. Political Science Assistant Professor James Cottrill estimates about 200 students came to the first watch party, a dramatic increase from 2008.

    “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the strong student response to the election so far,” said Cottrill. “I was afraid student enthusiasm would drop after 2008, but it appears to be undiminished.”

    In addition to the debate parties, the Markkula Center hosted a talk about Transparency, Trust, and Campaign Finance, Professor Robert Senkewicz spoke about the history and evolution of elections, and MoveOn.org organizer Patrick Kane was featured in an event.

    Congressional Candidate Evelyn Li also spoke on campus. She’s challenging incumbent Rep. Mike Honda who’s speaking on Friday, October 18 at 4 p.m. in the Daley Science Center, room 207.


    “We appreciate those instructors who have involved their classes in attending the viewings. Students here have a lot on their plate and the fact that there were plenty of faculty and staff at the first viewing shows to students that it’s important to attend and get educated about the issues,” said SCU Director of Forensics Melan Jaich, who helped organize the events.

    The SCU Debate team, coached by Jaich, has also been featured in a series of articles in the Mercury News. Crews from KGO and KTVU visited campus for the vice presidential debate watch party on October 11. Telemundo also covered the second presidential debate October 16.

    Instruction and Reference Librarian Paul Neuhus, who has spearheaded the organization of the events, is hoping everyone in the SCU community makes an effort to come out for one of the events.

    “We’re hoping the biggest event will be election night and it would be great to see a lot of faculty and staff there and mixing with the students,” says Neuhaus.



    Upcoming Events:


    Thursday, October 18, Rep. Mike Honda, Member of Congress
    Moderator Jim Cottrill, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Daley Science Center Room 207, 4 p.m.


    Monday, October 22, Third Presidential Debate
    Comments by Chris Bacon, environmental studies, and Farid Senzai, political science, Co-Sponsored by Modern Perspectives RLC, Dunne Hall Basement Lounge, 6 to 7:30pm


    Tuesday, October 23, Student Debate
    College Democrats versus College Republicans, Weigand Room, 7:30 to 9 p.m.


    Monday, October 29, Ethics at Noon: Proposition 34 and the Ethics of Capital Punishment
    Hosted by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Wiegand Room, Noon to 1 p.m.


    Tuesday, November 6, Election Night in the Learning Commons
    Lower Level and First Floor Library, 3 p.m. to Midnight (or as needed)

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    Stephen Carroll (English) received an additional $80,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation to support “Enhancing the Relevance and Effectiveness of Course, Program and Department Evaluation: Improving the Utility and Usability of the Student Assessment of Learning Gains Site."

    Farid Senzai (political science) received $49,130 additional funding from San Jose State Research Foundation/U.S. Dept. of Educ. to support “Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies.”

    Justen Whittall (biology) received $272,968 from the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation to support “Reintroduction of the Metcalf Canyon Jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. albidus) at Tulare Hill in Southern Santa Clara County.”

    Drazen Fabris (mechanical engineering) received $89,023 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to support “Passive Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell (PUReFC) for Energy Storage in Off-Grid Locations.”

    Michael McCarthy, S.J. (Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education) has received $30,000 from Y and H Soda Foundation to support “Companions in Ignatian Service and Spirituality.”

    Angelo Ancheta (School of Law) has received additional funding in the amount of $27,922 from County of Santa Clara to support the “Unmet Civil Legal Services Program.”

    Brett Solomon (liberal studies) has received an additional $21,266 UCLA subcontract from the National Institute of Health. Funding will support “Psychosocial Benefits of Ethnic Diversity in Urban Middle School.”
     

  •  Making SCU Look Good

    The SCU Media Relations team would like to thank the faculty and staff who are flexible with their time to help us meet the requests of reporters. A strong relationship with the media propels our reputation as a world-class university with articulate and respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters at SCUmedia@scu.edu.

     

    Political Science Associate Professor Jim Cottrill gave political analysis of the vice presidential debate on NBC Bay Area.

     

    Michael McCarthy, S.J. wrote an oped about how invoking religion in the public sphere enriches political debate that was featured in the San Jose Mercury News.
     

    For a more complete list of the SCU community in the media, see the latest SCU in the News.

  •  From 1952 to 2012: Classes Converge for Grand Reunion

    Santa Clara University’s Grand Reunion welcomes back alumni from Oct. 11 to 14. All classes are invited, making the reunion the second largest event of the year, after graduation.

    Every Grand Reunion features a core group of classes. This year’s event highlights those Broncos who graduated in years ending with 2 or 7. It includes the class of 2012 as well as the class of 1952, which will celebrate its 60th reunion. The 50th anniversary class, 1962, includes the first woman to graduate from the University.

    Events for attendees include a golf tournament, career coaching, an estate planning seminar, and a tour of the new Patricia A. and Stephen C. Schott Admissions and Enrollment Services building. There will also be a 5K walk/run, alumni games for men’s and women’s lacrosse, and a session on how to use social media to enhance a career.

    Alumni also can tour the University’s 2009 Solar Decathlon house with members of the 2013 team on hand to answer questions about the international competition. In the coming weeks, the team will reveal the first hints of the 2013 house design and prepare to begin construction in March.

    Learn more about the Grand Reunion, see a complete schedule of reunion events, and visit the Solar Decathlon team’s official site.

  •  Softball Team Has a Field Day on New Turf

     

     

     

     

    Finally, the SCU softball team is safe at home.

    After years of dodging potholes, practicing in the dark, and slipping on soggy grass, the women athletes now have a first-rate home field complete with lights and an efficient drainage system.

    “It’s a first in the program’s history,” said Lisa Mize, head softball coach. “It’ll be great to have our student body and fans see us play on a Division 1-caliber field. It’s such a relief from a safety aspect, and our outfielders will especially appreciate the new grass; everyone will be training much more aggressively.”

    In the past, the team played its home games at various city parks and at other schools, Mize explained. “We were never able to get comfortable as a team with a home-field advantage, and practices were pretty tough because of the old field’s poor conditions,” she said.

    The new field is designated exclusively for SCU’s softball program. It’s the first step in a master plan to construct a $3 million stadium facility. That capital project will continue moving forward as funding becomes available.

    The new, regulation-sized site opened for play at the end of September. Getting it ready involved tearing up the old ground, re-grading, installing irrigation, and re-sodding the area, according to Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of University Operations. The new drainage system will come in handy, as it will allow players to take to the field quickly following a heavy rainfall.

    Located at the northeast end of Bellomy Field, near Accolti Way and El Camino Real, the natural-grass site has been reoriented to minimize the chance of balls going out into the street, as they did frequently in the past. “Now we’ve got lights, a real fence and netting to make things safer,” said Sugg. “In fact, the field is at the same quality level as Buck Shaw Stadium.” 

    Coach Mize sees the team’s new playing ground as “a tremendous step in the right direction for SCU softball.” She said the field brings significant benefits to both the University and its students. “As we train and get ready for the season, we’ll have better, more efficient practices, leading to more program recognition for SCU,” she said. “And, most importantly, we’ll have happier student-athletes because now they can train on a proper field.”

  •  Spreading the Habit

    To support the role of Catholic women religious in China, India, and Vietnam, the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a four-year grant of $375,000 to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

    The grant will fund a pilot program enabling a small group of Catholic nuns to pursue advanced theological degrees at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. Graduates also will receive support from the worldwide network of Jesuit institutions and missions when they return to their home countries.

    “We are extremely grateful to receive this grant, which allows us to establish relationships and build the infrastructure for a most promising initiative,” said Thomas Massaro, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology. “Our faculty are especially enthusiastic about building up the worldwide Church by expanding opportunities for excellent theological education to religious sisters in underserved communities in Asia, where the potential for supporting positive social change is extraordinarily high.”

    In Asia, vocations to religious life are flourishing, but due to poverty or politics there are few venues for advanced theological training or spiritual leadership development. With the education that will be funded by the Luce grant, some nuns or sisters will be able to become educators in their own countries, such as at a new theology center for women in Pune, India.

    Other graduates will be better prepared to support important changes to their modernizing societies. Historically in the U.S. and developed nations, women religious have been at the forefront of social change, serving as teachers, nurses, or social workers and building schools, hospitals, shelters, and other enduring institutions long before women in general had broad rights.

    “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative, which addresses the theology program’s interests in fostering links between scholars and religious leaders in Asia and the United States, and in preparing women for ministry,” said Lynn Szwaja, program director for theology at the Henry Luce Foundation.

    “This is a great contemporary example of the positive multiplier effect that Jesuits have always pursued in our educational ministries,” added Massaro.

  •  Small Bins Pay Big Dividends

    Could waste in landfills be reduced by 95 percent? Santa Clara University is working toward that goal and every employee is contributing starting with those bins under every employee’s desk.

    The University’s new bin-within-a-bin system, which began in 2009, has changed habits as well as reduced the amount of trash the University’s sends to the landfill. Almost all employees now have those blue recycling bins with much-smaller black waste bins at their desks. Those in the Alumni Science Building are the only exception and they’ll make the switch by the end of 2012. Custodians empty the recycling bins, which accept paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. No is sorting involved as was required under the old system. Employees empty their own landfill waste bins.

    Santa Clara also added composting containers in break areas near kitchens. The compostable waste goes to a commercial composting facility. To further reduce waste, liners in trashcans got the boot. The liners, it turned out, accounted for a large percentage of SCU’s trash.

    The effort was designed to make recycling less of a choice for employees, and more of a way of office life. “For sustainability-related decisions at SCU, we need to make sure that the standard practice is a sustainable practice, not the exception,” says Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, director of the Office of Sustainability.

    The system “makes every employee think about the amount of waste they produce on a daily basis,” Kalkbrenner says. 
    Employees have largely warmed to the effort, after a bit of resistance at the start. “Most people really enjoy actually being engaged in Santa Clara’s sustainability initiatives,” Kalkbrenner says.

    The initiative certainly appears to be making a difference. Waste per campus user has dropped to 332 pounds per year in 2011 from 404 pounds per year in 2006. The percent of the University’s waste that is recycled or composted has gone up to almost 24 percent in 2011 from about 16 percent in 2009.

    Now that all employees have the new bins, 2012 is on track to be even better.

  •  Speakers Address “Head, Heart, and Body”

    The Santa Clara University community will get an expert perspective on some of the most pressing problems of our time—the Middle East and the obesity epidemic—from visiting speakers this year. They will also be taken inside the writing life by novelist Amy Tan.

    The seventh annual President’s Speaker Series will feature talks by Tan, writer Reza Aslan ’95, and David A. Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration. The theme of this year’s series is “Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart, and Body.”

    All events will be held in the Louis B. Mayer Theatre. General admission tickets are $25 each or $40 for the series.

    To buy tickets click here.

    Details on the three presentations:

    Reza Aslan ’95, Oct. 11, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

    In a talk called “The Promise and Perils of the Arab Spring,” Santa Clara alum Aslan will discuss how the Arab Spring has shaped the Middle East—from the fall of dictators to the most recent protests.

    Aslan, who was born in Tehran and raised in San Jose, is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. He is a writer, scholar of religions, media entrepreneur, and a political commentator on Islamic issues.


    Amy Tan, Jan. 17, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

    As Tan prepares for the debut of her seventh novel, The Valley of Amazement, she will reflect on the nature of creativity and the events that made her a writer in a talk entitled “The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life.”

    Since Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was published in 1989, her work has been adapted for film, television, and even opera. Tan’s other books include The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.


    David A. Kessler, April 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

    As the United States battles an epidemic of obesity and the health problems that come with it, Dr. David Kessler, a longtime public health advocate, will address the question of what we should eat in a talk entitled, “The End of Overeating.”

    As commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Kessler introduced the Nutrition Facts food labels that are so familiar today. He also led the FDA’s investigation of the tobacco industry.

  •  Inside Graham Hall

    The latest entry in SCU’s green parade is Graham Hall—where freshmen and sophomores co-exist with the bright promise of sustainability.

    Following demolition of the old Graham buildings and 12 months of construction, the new residence hall opened its doors this fall. For students who now call it home, Graham Hall offers exceptional living conditions and a host of amenities, many of which also benefit the environment.

    From its roomy mini-suites to its automatic light switches, “nothing is lacking in this building,” said Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of University Operations. 

    Located across from the Learning Commons, at the corner of Market Street and The Alameda, Graham Hall encompasses about 125,000 square feet. Inside, are 96 mini-suites designed for four students each, who share two standard double rooms and a connecting bathroom. There are also lounges, full kitchens, and laundry facilities for every eight-room “neighborhood.” In addition, the residence hall has two classrooms, a small theater, outdoor barbecue and picnic areas and a large courtyard at the heart of the building. 

    “It’s a terrific place for students to live and learn and collaborate,” said Sugg. “And, it will provide them with an education in sustainability, as well.”

    Breaking Ground and Striking Gold

    Before the first bulldozer bit into the ground, SCU officials registered the new residence facility with the U.S. Green Building Council. That agency administers LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognized rating system that measures a building’s sustainability. The LEED program has four certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. With Graham Hall, the University is aiming for gold certification.

    Sugg explained that LEED evaluators rate such categories as water and energy conservation, resource management, and air quality. He has no doubt that Graham Hall will ace these and all other sustainability tests conducted by LEED.

    “As one example,” he said, “our building uses about 40 percent less energy than the strictest standard in California.” He also noted other eco-friendly features of the new residence hall, including low-flow faucets, an irrigation system that captures storm water, and returns it into the ground, low-powered, high-intensity lights throughout the building, an insulated green roof to reflect heat, and carbon dioxide sensors that can be adjusted to maintain good air quality in the two classrooms.

    Also impressive is the fact that about 90 percent of the demolition waste, including most of the concrete and all roof tiles from the old Graham site, was recycled or reused.

    Stealth Sustainability 

    Many of the green practices and materials that went into constructing the new building will go unnoticed by those living in Graham Hall. Other elements, however, will be hard to miss. When a student wanting a breath of fresh air opens one of the building’s operable windows, for instance, a micro-switch on that window will shut off the air conditioning. If a student flips a light switch and the room is already bathed in natural light, the electric light will dim. And, who can overlook the recycling and composting stations in each of the hall’s 12 kitchens?

    "We hope to divert a lot of food waste through composting,” said Sugg. “It’s easy to do, but it will probably take some cultural adjustment on the part of the students.”

    For those who wish to delve further into the eco-friendly personality of Graham Hall, there are opportunities. According to Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, director of the University’s Office of Sustainability, special signs are posted along the first-floor hallways, explaining the green features of the building.

     “People will read a brief description, and they can scan a code to go to a website with more information,” she noted. Visitors can also check out the new residence hall while on SCU’s Self-Guided Sustainability Tour. Participants follow the mapped route to 16 sustainable campus buildings and areas. Graham Hall is stop 14 along the way.     

    To view a slideshow of Graham Hall click HERE.

  •  Leading Silicon Valley Innovation

    By the time the Department of Commerce announced in early July that the city of San Jose would be home to a new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) bureau, numerous people at Santa Clara University had spent months behind the scenes, lobbying intensely for this honor.

     Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J., was at the forefront of the local effort. He joined with other members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to help rally the support of the Silicon Valley community—including engineering and law schools, high tech businesses, and patent law firms—for San Jose’s bid for a patent office.
     
    After all, Silicon Valley is arguably the patent capital of the U.S., producing 12 percent of patents registered nationwide and the most patent registrations in 2009. Having one of the four planned satellite bureaus here would ease the USPTO’s backlog of patent applications, and put officials in closer proximity to the cutting-edge talent and trends generating patents.
     
    In January, the application process heated up, and the SCU School of Law High Tech Law Institute’s (HTLI) assistant director, Joy Peacock, was tapped to support the effort. She contacted local law schools, companies, startups, and others in the HTLI’s network to encourage them to write letters in support of San Jose’s application. She also compiled data on the level of engineering and law-student talent in the area, and attended meetings and focus groups on how to maximize the office and reform patent procedures.  
     
    Face Time Saves Time
    At the same time, SCU intellectual-property law professor Colleen Chien worked with a special committee of patent experts and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom ’89 to prepare California’s official bid. “Fast-growing startups most urgently need their patents, and having an office close by can greatly speed the process,” said Chien.
     
    She explained that often during patent prosecution, the parties “miss” each other by arguing on paper. An in-person interview can cut years off the time it takes to get a patent. And having patent officials nearby for visits means less interference in the real business of innovation—making and selling great products.
     
    Clearly, the effort has paid off. Shortly after the news was announced, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank visited San Jose to start working out the details. She said the USPTO is prioritizing the San Jose office, with the goal of opening in 12 to 18 months.
     
    Santa Clara University anticipates building a strong working relationship with the USPTO by providing qualified law and engineering candidates for USPTO jobs. SCU would also like to develop student internship programs with the office, which could help the USPTO reach its goal of shorter training times for new patent examiners, as well as providing help for their heavy caseload.
     
    “We see the opening of the office in metro San Jose as a huge win for Santa Clara Law students, and yet another way we can leverage our Silicon Valley location to better prepare our students as patent lawyers,” said Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute. “We will continue to work closely with the USPTO and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to provide whatever support we can to help the local patent office flourish.”
     

    New Office, New Jobs
    The satellite office is expected to employ more than 125 patent examiners, administrative law judges, and others as part of “the biggest modernization of the patent office we've ever seen,” said Blank.
     
    In October, the law school and SCU Career Services will put on a program called “Careers in Law for Scientists and Engineers,” and hopes to have USPTO officials on a panel.
     

    The other cities chosen to house new patent offices were Denver, Dallas, and Detroit.

     

  •  Many Hats for the Solar Decathlon Students

    For the Santa Clara University 2013 Solar Decathlon team, the challenge of building a solar house is testing more than just design and engineering skills. The U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial competition is putting the students in many roles they have never explored.

    “We really are like a startup company,” says Project Manager Jake Gallau, ’13. “Everyone has to wear many hats on this team. The person in charge of our plumbing is an economics major and our public relations team mostly consists of engineers. We’re all learning skills completely out of our realm."

    For the first time, the team is also getting help from SCU business students through several classes. Marketing Professor of Practice Charles Byers is having students in two of his classes create comprehensive marketing plans for the team.

    “I think it's very insightful that the DOE sees marketing as an important component in the discussion of solar energy and put a marketing component in the competition,” says Byers. “This will give students a real-world experience by treating the team as a client and creating marketing plans that will see the light of day. The goal is to give the team some great ideas to pick and choose from in addition to a platform to recruit a fresh batch of volunteers.”

    Students in any course of study can work on SCU’s solar house project. More than 200 students are involved right now. This summer, a core group refined their construction skills by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. The students also met with members of the 2007 and 2009 teams and have strong support from Bronco alumni who participated in the Solar Decathlon.

    “A lesson we have learned is that having an outside space that is a part of the house is a big plus,” says Jay Dubashi, ’15. “The back deck in the 2009 house was a hit, and for 2013 we are going to try and go even further with that and really integrate the outside spaces.”

    The nearly finalized design plans are due to the Department of Energy in October. The students plan to release the house name in the weeks to come, but are keeping much of their design plan under wrap. They do share that this year the focus is on affordability and accessibility. It may be the experience and skills gained outside their areas of expertise that will prove to be the real payoff.

    “We have people to cover every aspect of the competition, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” says Gallau. “I encourage anyone motivated to try something new and gain leadership skills in the process to join the team.”

    Visit the SCU Solar Decathlon website to learn more about the team.

  •  Welcome Law Students

    Santa Clara University School of Law welcomed its newest class of first-year students on Aug. 13.

    The 202 full-time and 41 part-time students come from 21 states and 14 foreign countries including Korea, Canada, India, Russia, and Taiwan. 

    “We are pleased to welcome our newest class of Santa Clara Law students,” said Donald Polden, dean of the school that celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2011. “Our new class is highly diverse, has demonstrated academic excellence at undergraduate and graduate institutions, and includes community leaders. Their education at Santa Clara Law will build on these competencies and values and will help shape them into outstanding lawyers.”

    The class is 54 percent male and 46 percent female, with 47 percent identifying as ethnic minorities. Of those students, 59 percent are Asian, 32 percent are Hispanic, and 7 percent are African American.

    They attended 98 different undergraduate institutions, with Santa Clara University, University of California Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz comprising the top undergraduate alma maters.

    Eleven percent of incoming students have advanced degrees, including one Ph.D., 13 M.S., eight M.A., two MBA, one MPAcc, and one LL.M. in international law. Among those expressing an interest in obtaining certificates in the school’s areas of specialty, 29 percent are seeking certificates in high-tech law, 28 percent in public-interest law, and 26 percent in international law.

    About 3,200 people applied for spots in this year’s class. The class has a median age of 24.

     

  •  National Recognition

    From Alumni satisfaction to bang for your buck, Santa Clara University’s reputation for excellence grew stronger with the latest round of rankings.

    • SCU ranked tops in a new college rating system based on alumni surveys. The Alumni Factor ranked SCU first among regional universities and 43rd nationally. The online guide calls SCU “an excellent school that is emerging on the national scene and will rapidly grow in popularity and notoriety.”
    • SCU holds strong at No. 2 among master’s universities in the region, according to U.S. News & World Report. The School of Engineering jumped from No. 21 to No. 14 in top programs for undergraduate engineering. Santa Clara also placed in a new category for best value.
    • SCU is ranked among the top 75 of America’s Best Colleges in a list released by Forbes Magazine. SCU is ranked No. 72, dramatically climbing the charts from 318 in 2008.

     

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    Angelo Ancheta (School of Law) received additional funding of $27,922 from County of Santa Clara to support the "Unmet Civil Legal Services Program".  

    David Hasen (School of Law) received a one year funding of $75,000 from the Internal Revenue Service, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program to support the "Santa Clara University Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic" to be run by Caroline Chien at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center.  

    David Hess (Biology) received an additional $154,664 funding from the National Science Foundation to support "RUI: Utilization of Natural Variation in Domesticated Strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae to Elucidate Metabolic Specialization." 

    Nam Ling (Computer Engineering) has received $60,000 from the Huawei Technologies, Co., Ltd. to support "High Efficiency Video Coding - Next Step.”

    David Hess (Biology) received a four year contract from the University of Washington on a NIH prime award that provides $71,712 to support "Genetic Basis of Stress Tolerance in Natural Populations of Yeast." 

    Ahmed Amer (Computer Engineering) received $109,986 from the National Science Foundation to support "SHF:  AF:  Small:  Collaborative Research:  RESAR:  Robust, Efficient, Scalable, Autonomous Reliable Storage for the Cloud."   

    Shoba Krishnan (Electrical Engineering) received an additional $8,333 in subcontract funding from the University of Minnesota, Department of Energy Prime to support "A Nationwide Consortium of Universities to Revitalize Electric Power Engineering Education by State of the Art Laboratories."   

    Elizabeth Dahlhoff (Biology) has received an additional $66,862 from the National Science Foundation to support "Collaborative Research:  RUI:  Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Environmental Change in Sierra Nevada Populations of a Montane Willow Beetle."

    Betty Young (Physics) received year two funding of $39,015 from the National Science Foundation to support the "Cryogenic Detector Work for SuperCDMS and Beyond."   

    Yuling Yan (Electrical Engineering) has received an additional $44,031 from UC Berkeley/NIH Prime to support "High-Contrast Imaging of Single Molecules in Live Cells.”

    Steve Suljak (Chemistry) and John Birmingham (Physics) have received additional funding from Research Corporation for Science Advancement that provides $38,219 to support "Investigating the Role of Neurohemal Biogenic Amines in Shaping Stomatogastric Motor Programs of the Crab Cancer Borealis."  This is the final installment of an award that totaled $75,000.

    Virginia Matzek (Environmental Studies) has received an award from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture/USDA to support "Riparian Forests as Ecological and Economic Buffers to Climate Vulnerability in Flood-Prone Agricultural Systems."   

    Chris Kitts (Mechanical Engineering) received additional funding from NASA Ames Research Center that provides $425,000 to support "Small Spacecraft Division Microsatellite-Nanosatellite Technology Research & Development Support." 

     
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