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.

  •  5th Annual Swap for Good

    Donate, find something for yourself, help clothe the needy

    It’s that time of year again at the 5th Annual Swap for Good exchange. Donate used clothes, games/toys, and sports equipment (in good condition) and find new-to-you clothes at no cost!

    The event runs May 10-11 from a pop-up store in Benson Center. The hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

    Donations can be dropped off this week at the labeled white bins, located in every residence hall as well as Kennedy Commons and to the second floor of the Locatelli Student Activities Center, office of the Santa Clara Community Action Program. Drop your items in the bins and sign your name and the number of items donated. Student volunteers will pick up donations from all of the RLCs on campus on May 8 and will sort and organize the donations in the Swap for Good “store,” separating them into men’s, women’s, children’s, and other miscellaneous categories.

    Participants can bring last-minute items directly to the swap as well.

    All remaining clothes will be donated to Homesafe Santa Clara/San Jose and Hope Services. Last year more than 5,000 pounds of clothes went toward donations, , and the Center for Sustainability hopes this year’s effort surpasses that total.

    Swap for Good will be open and staffed by volunteers from SCCAP, the Retail Studies Student Association, and the Center for Sustainability. There will be music and information about the organizations and the causes supported by Swap For Good

    For more info, please visit


  •  SCU Water Conservation

    Center for Sustainability leads efforts in reducing use on campus

    Santa Clara University, already a leader in water conservation and sustainability, is boosting its efforts in a big way. SCU’s Center for Sustainability has outlined new initiatives on campus to meet California Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to reduce the use of potable water by 25 percent.

    The most noticeable change is that fountains have been turned off at the Sobrato Residence Hall, Daly Science Center, and University Villas. On May 1, the fountain at the Benson Center will be turned off as well. Other fountains will be converted to recycled water.

    “Water is the common element responsible for our existence,” said Chris Shay, SCU’s assistant vice president for operation. “I cannot imagine a more important effort than the preservation of this critical resource.”

    For a complete look at the numbers behind the drought and the impact on campus and around the state, visit

    The administration’s steps are only the beginning of a campus-wide effort. The goal is to reduce water use by 5 gallons per person per day, a 25 percent reduction from 2013 levels. How can you help?

    • Report leaks or wasted water (running toilets or dripping faucets, for example) to Facilities at 408-554-4742 or If you live on campus, submit a work request through eCampus.
    • Reduce shower time to five minutes or less. The Center for Sustainability and the Associated Student Government are teaming up on the “60 Seconds Less” campaign to encourage students to use less water. The Earth Day celebration Wednesday on campus included a demonstration of a Navy shower — briefly get wet, turn the water off and lather up, turn it back on to rinse. Try it!
    • Email the Center for Sustainability ( with any ideas to help the effort.
    • Share your strategies and experiences on social media. #BroncosSaveWater #SustainableSCU #CAdrought
    • Calculate your Water Footprint with National Geographic's informative online tool.
    • Get tips for your own home at Save Our Water or from the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Conservation at Home page.

  •  Tiny House, Big Dreams

    School of Engineering embarks on two-year building competition

    Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering will take part with more than a dozen other California schools in the Tiny House Competition, a challenge from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to design and build net-zero solar houses. The contest takes place in October 2016.

    “Although engineering is the home of the project and submitted the proposal, I consider it a university project,” said Timothy Hight, associate professor of mechanical engineering and the project’s faculty manager. “There are several types of engineers involved, as well as other majors. All are welcome.”

    The Tiny House project is modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy in which college students compete to design, construct, and operate the most energy-efficient and attractive solar-powered home. SCU participated in the competition in 2007, 2009, and 2013, taking third place in its first two competitions.

    SCU’s participation in the Tiny House Project is one example of the university’s role in innovating solutions to energy challenges.

    So how tiny does the house need to be? The rules state that the home must be built on a trailer bed and should be 8 feet wide and not more than 30 feet long. It must be between 100 and 400 square feet, with a minimum ceiling height of 75 inches.

    The project must also have a defined use. Among the ideas students are considering is to design a home for millennials who can’t afford traditional Bay Area housing.

    The two-year project started in the fall of 2014. Students will use solar panels to design and build the energy-efficient houses, with stipends from SMUD to get the project started. The next deadline the team needs to meet is to post a two-minute video on YouTube by May 15 introducing the team and the overall cohesive theme of the home.

    During the week of competition, students will exhibit their houses to the public, judges, and the media. The teams will be judged on four categories each counting for 200 points: Architectural Design, Energy Efficiency, Home Life, and Communication. On the last day, teams will be awarded trophies and monetary prizes.

  •  Spring Break in Ghana

    Student Theresa McArdle writes about her alternative spring break

    College spring breaks are known for sunny beaches and tropical drinks. This spring break, two of my Santa Clara University classmates and I shared a different experience when we traveled to Ghana for two weeks to work with the small community of Gambibgo. This experience taught me things I never could have understood in the classroom, and I gained a new understanding of our University’s goals of producing leaders who exhibit competence, conscience, and compassion.

    Our main goal was to complete our civil engineering Senior Design project, which focused on the redesign and reconstruction of a roof of a building in Gambibgo. Since 2008, under the direction of SCU civil engineering chair and professor Mark Aschheim, students have been working with the community to improve the sustainability of local construction materials and methods. This building was designed and constructed by SCU students more than five years ago, and while it lasted longer than the area’s traditionally built structures, the roof was in danger of collapse. Upon arrival, we found that the entire structure was in a state of disrepair and, in light of a long-standing interest in Nubian Vault building methods (a timberless technique used by the ancient Egyptians), we paired with the Nubian Vault Association (AVN) to build a new structure.

    AVN is a non-governmental organization that focuses on affordable, sustainable housing. Together, we oversaw the construction of an entirely new earthen building. This type of housing is essential in this community because many of the homes have thatched or tin roofs that are unable to withstand harsh winters, exposing people to a greater risk of illness or injury. Gambibgo is a subsistence farming community with some income coming from their traditional woven baskets. Their community lacks amenities such as electricity, running water, and proper sanitation. Knowledge of Gambibgo’s conditions motivated our team to help provide an affordable building method. We wanted to work with the community to produce something that they could replicate to create better living conditions.

    When we began our first day of work in the community, we were overwhelmed by the number of community members who showed up and were willing to help us build. The workers had such strong dedication; they expressed their passion for bettering their community and how they dream of advancing Gambibgo. As construction began, it became an obstacle to transport soil within the site without any vehicles or appropriate carts. SCU’s associate professor of religious studies and of engineering by courtesy, James Reites, S.J., who traveled with our student team, recalled that in years past the community had a donkey that had since gone missing. Through a generous donation from Ann and Larry Spieth, parents of SCU alumnus John Spieth ‘06, Father Reites purchased a new donkey for the community. The village elder, Mohammed, named the donkey Azomsolum, which means “we all together,” to symbolize the unity between SCU and Gambibgo. The donkey helped accelerate our construction schedule tremendously and will serve as a great resource in the village’s future farming endeavors.

    One of my favorite parts of being in Gambibgo was the community’s inclusiveness and sense of connectivity. Every day we ate the same food as the workers. We sat alongside the village elder and talked with him and others freely. Community members call each other “brother” and “sister” even if they are not biologically related. This highlights their love and interest in each other’s lives and shows how they all work together as a bigger family unit. When the children returned to Gambibgo from school at the end of the day, some of our favorite activities included reading with them and playing “Donkey, Donkey, Cow.” The boys and girls are raised by the community, highlighting the stake they have in each other’s lives.

    The optimism of the community members was refreshing, and this experience showed me the great excitement and accomplishments that can come from helping others. It is my hope that Gambibgo can continue to be improved by projects like ours, with the help of SCU and organizations like AVN.

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    SCU faculty and staff receive recognition for their outstanding work

    The Northern California Innocence Project, David Onek (School of Law) received a $635,603 award from the Cal OES.  These funds will be used to review California post-conviction cases to identify those in which DNA testing could prove the actual innocence of a person convicted of a violent felony offense.   Grant funds will help defray costs associated with post-conviction DNA testing by providing means for the location and testing of biological evidence in these cases.

    Brett Solomon (Liberal Studies) has received a $1,797 subaward from the University of California, Los Angeles (funds originated from National Institutes of Health).  Brett will serve as the Santa Clara Site Director for the "Successful Pathways to High School Completion:  Opportunities and Risks" project. She will oversee wave 6 data collection.

  •  A View From The Top

    SCU Engineering Student Wins National Award For Photo Of Bay Bridge

    The story of how Jonathan Tadros took an award-winning photo of the eyebars on the upper chord of the old Bay Bridge shows how intertwined Tadros’ study of engineering is with his love of photography.

    Tadros is a senior civil engineering major at Santa Clara University. After graduation, he plans to work for his family’s engineering firm, California Engineering Contractors.

    His interest in photography dates to De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., where he joined the yearbook staff and started taking photos. “I got myself a camera and realized that I really liked taking photos, and I kind of had a knack for it,” he said.

    When he got to Santa Clara, he applied to be on the staff of The Redwood, Santa Clara’s yearbook. He enjoyed seeing many aspects of the university experience – student life, sports, and academics — and “being able to showcase what goes on here at Santa Clara in an artistic way.” He is now editor-in-chief of The Redwood.

    Tadros sees a connection between his photography and civil engineering.

    “Photography has definitely helped me explore what is aesthetically pleasing,” Tadros said. “Many engineers are very focused on the technical aspect of what needs to be accomplished in the most efficient way. Many times aesthetics are overlooked.”

    It was an internship with CEC that brought him to the top of the Bay Bridge. CEC, which does heavy civil engineering work around the Bay Area, is in charge of the demolition of the cantilever span of the bridge from Yerba Buena Island to Oakland. As an intern in the summer of 2013, Tadros was inspecting eyebars on the upper chord of the bridge’s truss.

    “We had to inspect them for any deterioration or rust because we would be doing this highly intensive demolition process,” Tadros said. “You can’t drop anything in the Bay, so everything needed to be in shape to withstand a certain amount of compression in order to keep the bridge standing.”

    Tadros had taken his camera with him, both because the contractor needed to document the condition of the beams as part of the work and “because I knew I would find a good view and it was a pretty historic moment.”

    It was Labor Day, and the new Bay Bridge had just opened. Tadros started snapping pictures. He thought to himself, “This is probably the last time this is ever going to look like this, because they’re going to start taking it down.”

    He later learned through his membership in the campus chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers that the national organization was having a photo contest for its annual calendar, with “bridges” as the theme.

    “I’m always fascinated by skyscrapers and bridges,” Tadros said. He also enjoys the challenge of “creating something that is efficient, economical and sturdy, but doing it in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.”

    He sent in his photo, which won first place in the student category and is printed in the 2015 ASCE calendar.

    As he works toward graduation and a full-time job at CEC, Tadros is doing a senior project on green construction. He traveled to Mexico in January to work with an NGO called Grupedsac, which works with rural developing communities to teach them how to live sustainably. Tadros and his project partner, Greg O’Neill, are focused on using a long cane plant called arundo donax as a structural building material.

    “We take this material and then embed it inside a cob-earth mixture, using soil, clay, straw and some water. You mix it all together and pack it around the arundo, and that creates a structure that’s pretty stiff,” Tadros said.

    For his senior thesis, he is testing whether it is strong enough to use for construction, since it would be a good solution for countries where arundo grows abundantly. In Mexico, Tadros and his group made a wall using arundo and earth. Their goal is to design a storage structure and garage for the NGO so they can store equipment on site.

    “We went there as a learning experience to get a feel for what this material is like and how they’re currently using it, and to share with them our ideas on how we want to use it,” Tadros said.

  •  “Squaring the Circle”

    de Saisset Museum’s new exhibition toys with the impossible

    Bay Area sculptor Brian Wall toys with the impossible in a new exhibition titled Squaring the Circle at the de Saisset Museum. Showing from April 10 through June 14, Squaring the Circle features six large-scale sculptures installed inside the museum and three monumental works placed on the campus of Santa Clara University. In addition, the show includes 14 large-format Sumi ink drawings also created by Wall.

    “It’s about the process of trying to achieve something that is really impossible, like creating the perfect work of art,” said Lindsey Kouvaris, assistant director for exhibitions and programs at the de Saisset Museum. “But he’s also doing it in a literal way: He’s actually taking a circle and dividing it into parts and reassembling it into a sculpture, so that the composition of the sculpture changes but the basis of all the works in the series is a circle.”

    Guest curated by Dr. Peter Selz and Sue Kubly, Squaring the Circle focuses on Wall’s most recent work, a series by the same title. The pieces bring together stainless steel beams of varying lengths into a variety of upright or lateral compositions. In each sculpture the arcs are formed of squared tubes that, when taken together, create a circle. For the artist, the title of the series is purely descriptive, though its connection to the mathematical impossibility of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle is not lost on him.

    “Sculpture is meant to be seen from every angle,” Kouvaris said. “As you walk around a piece of Wall’s sculpture, it can look like a very different piece from different angles.”

    Squaring the Circle is accompanied by a book of the same title published by the de Saisset Museum in association with Hackett|Mill Gallery of San Francisco. Edited by Dr. Selz, the publication includes contributions by Paul J. Karlstrom, George Neubert, and Lindsey W. Kouvaris.

    A reception for the artist will be held at 6 p.m. today. A book signing and walk-through are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 10.

  •  Sprinksgiving Day

    Students give thanks by celebrating donors and their contributions

    April 15 marks the third annual "Sprinksgiving" event, a day designed to raise awareness about the impact of donations on campus and provide a meaningful connection between students and donors.  It’s Thanksgiving in Spring!

    SCU's Student Philanthropy Committee will host the celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Learning Commons, Technology Center, and Library.  Students can sign a large thank-you card and feast on turkey sandwiches and mini pumpkin pies. Bucky the Bronco will make an appearance, and we’ll listen to the Pep Band perform!  Last year, more than 2,000 students helped to create a lasting gift for our donors.

    Sprinksgiving is about giving thanks for donations from alumni and friends who provide critical support for the SCU student experience, from scholarships and immersion trips to new buildings and operating budgets.

    For additional information, including Sprinksgiving marketing downloads, please contact Katherine Nicholson at 

  •  Engineers Without Borders

    Santa Clara University students help, and learn from, people in faraway places

    SCU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders recently worked on projects in both Honduras and Rwanda. During their time, students learned about cross-cultural communication, how to overcome obstacles, and how to solve problems in two very different parts of the world.

    During a recent project to bring clean water to a village in Honduras, students learned that engineering alone is not necessarily the solution. The group created a design for a water distribution system but realized the villagers needed education on hygiene to benefit from it.

    “Long-term sustainability is reliant on education, and that will take time,” said Elliott Martin, who was one of the project’s leaders while earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

    In response, students built a pila, or sink, at SCU's Forge Garden. They filmed a documentary on hygiene to share with the Honduran village. The women in the video are a mother and daughter originally from Honduras who were recruited from nearby Washington Elementary School. They speak in Spanish about the importance of hygiene while performing everyday tasks at the pila. One of the women said she was very happy to be able to help the women in her country learn how to keep their families healthy.

    The danger of travel to Honduras made it impossible for the students to continue working in that country, so they passed that project to another group and began looking for another project.

    While they were working with Engineers Without Borders to find their next long-term project, they learned from a University faculty member about a short-term side project in Rwanda. They decided to take this on to keep their momentum going.

    Rwanda is moving from a crisis state following the 1994 genocide to one of sustainability. Through an organization called PICO, which brings together people from faith-based organizations to help developing areas, the students connected with a small community in western Rwanda called Nyange, where about 40 women have taken classes to be leaders in the community.

    These women had identified roofing as a major concern and had started making roof tiles by hand, both to use in their own houses and to sell. A tile press would allow them to make more tiles with less effort. The tiles would also be more uniform, which makes the building process easier and makes the roofs less likely to leak.

    The EWB chapter got right to work. Students came up with design criteria and shared them on a Skype call with the village leaders in Nyange.

    Communication with Rwanda is a challenge – for example, Nyange has Internet access only if it’s not raining. And once they showed their initial design to the village leaders, students realized there were other requirements they needed to account for. The students are now refining the design. They are working with students at the University of Kigali in Rwanda, who may be able to help build the tile press in that country once the Santa Clara students come up with a 3-D model and test it.

    Ryan Sidley, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said he was interested in “doing real engineering work with people who needed solutions to problems."

  •  Undergrad Commencement Speaker Announced

    Popular Catholic Author, Commentator James Martin, S.J., to Address Class of 2015 at Santa Clara University Commencement June 13

    James Martin, S.J., one of the most influential Catholic authors and speakers in America, will be the featured commencement speaker at Santa Clara University’s 164th undergraduate commencement ceremony.

    The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 13, at Buck Shaw Stadium.

    Graduate schools will hold a separate ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, at the Leavey Events Center. Students will receive advanced degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, the School of Engineering, the Leavey School of Business, and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology.

    Fr. Martin is perhaps best known as the “Chaplain of the Colbert Nation.” He was a recurring guest on the Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report,” which ended its run last year. Martin is editor at large of America Magazine, the national Catholic weekly with 45,000 subscribers. His articles and commentary have also appeared in publications including Commonweal, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine, as well as on CNN, NPR, and other broadcast media.

    “For many, Fr. Martin is the face of the Church in mainstream media. He shares the essence of how Catholic values play out across the globe,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “As a best-selling author, he has an uncanny ability to make matters of faith clearer, accessible, and relevant in today’s world. I look forward to welcoming Fr. Martin to campus as our commencement speaker this year.”

    Fr. Martin received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and his master’s degree in divinity and in theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., now part of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

    Santa Clara University will confer an honorary degree on Fr. Martin, as well as on Michel ’60 and Mary Orradre, friends and benefactors of Santa Clara University’s academic endeavors. Also receiving an honorary degree will be internationally recognized sculptor and SCU supporter Fletcher Benton.

    “I’m deeply honored to be invited to join the graduates this year at Santa Clara,” said Martin. “It’s a superb school where the Jesuit and Catholic mission of educating and informing others to use their gifts for the betterment of humanity, the poor, and the Earth is lived out to the fullest. I look forward to meeting all the great 'men and women for others' who are among this year’s graduating class.”

    Other Santa Clara University commencement 2015 activities:

    Santa Clara University School of Law, May 16

    Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the chief justice of California and a member of the California Supreme Court, will be the featured speaker for the Santa Clara University School of Law’s 2015 commencement. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is the 28th chief justice of the State of California, the first Asian-Filipina American, and the second woman to serve as the state’s chief justice. The ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. May 16 in the University’s Mission Gardens.

    Jesuit School of Theology, May 23

    Sister Bernice Gotelli, PBVM, who for 26 years has provided hands-on pastoral care for critically ill children and their families as the sole chaplain of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, will be the commencement speaker at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST) on May 23. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at Pacific School of Religion’s Chapel of the Great Commission at 1798 Scenic Ave. in Berkeley.

  •  SCU Donors Step Up for Challenge

    “All in for SCU” 24-hour campaign March 18 builds on previous success and sets new bar with more than 4,000 donors and $1.2 million raised

    During a 24-hour period, the university raised $1,221,016 from 4,855 donors -- more than a 50 percent increase over the previous year’s record-setting showings for single-day proceeds.

    The early goal was to reach at least 4,000 donors – 1,027 more than last year – in order to capture a $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous alumni couple from the 1972 and ’73 classes. The SCU community met that goal at 6:50 p.m., with 855 additional donors making gifts throughout the night. The largest single gift was for $10,000. During the peak of the day, SCU received about eight gifts per minute.

    “SCU’s Day of Giving was an inspiring and overwhelming show of support by Santa Clara Broncos – from the first gift of the day of $10,000 to the final stretch when donations were still coming in strong,” said Vice President for University Relations James Lyons. “The comments we received throughout the day reinforced what we’ve long known: Broncos are proud of their school, want to give back, and want SCU’s unique blend of excellence and Jesuit values to thrive for years to come.”

    The total of 4,855 donors was a 63 percent increase over the previous year’s record of 2,973 donors. The $1,221,016 represented a 53 percent increase over last year’s $795,785 total.

  •  Martin Sheen Visits SCU in April

    Actor Martin Sheen and Sister Helen Prejean are this year’s distinguished speakers for the 2015 College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Forum

    On Monday, April 13, SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences welcomes Sister Helen Prejean, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, and anti-death-penalty activist and educator. Author of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents, Sister Helen has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s vigorous opposition to state executions. Sister Helen will present a lecture that is open to the public at 7:30 p.m. at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre.


    On Tuesday, April 14, we welcome actor Martin Sheen, political, social, and Catholic peace activist. In 2010, Mr. Sheen spoke to 18,000 young student activists at the We Day event sponsored by Free The Children, explaining that, "while acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive." Mr. Sheen will join Sister Helen during the day in a conversation with students from 2-3 p.m. at the Benson Center’s Williman Room, speaking on Catholic social activism. They will also participate in a second, invitation-only conversation with leaders from the local community. In the evening they will join a moderated question-and-answer session at 7:30 p.m. at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre.

    Both evening lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations are required.


  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    SCU faculty and staff receive recognition for their outstanding work

    Jane Curry (Political Science) co-edited the Third Edition in 7 years of Central and East European Politics, Rowman and Littlefield, 2014 with Sharon Wolchik, George Washington University. It is completely rewritten, given the changes in East Europe and includes a new chapter on Transitional Justice by Peter Rozic, SJ who just finished his Jesuit Legacy Postdoc here. Curry will also be speaking at the Pontifical Institute of the Orient in Rome in late March on "Churches and Religious Leaders as Leaders in 1989 and Tomorrow.

    Linda Garber (Women's & Gender Studies) published an article titled "Claiming Lesbian History: The Romance Between Fact and Fiction" in the Journal of Lesbian Studies.

    Cynthia Mertens (School of Law) has received a $23,701 grant from the State Bar of California Legal Services Trust Fund Program.  This grant will allow the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center to continue to provide legal services in the areas of workers' rights, immigration and consumer protection matters to low-income persons in the south Bay Area. She also received a $38,172 from the State Bar of California to support the Alexander Community Law Center Legal Assistance for Consumer Rights. The Consumer Rights Project will provide assistance to low-income individuals, composed largely of limited-English-speaking immigrants who require assistance in obtaining information, advice, and legal representation for problems involving consumer protection including auto fraud, unfair credit and debt collection practices, and unfair business practices.

    Rose Marie Beebe (Modern Languages and Literatures) and Robert Senkewicz (History) have published a new book. It is entitled Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and The Transformation of a Missionary. The publisher is the University of Oklahoma Press. They have both been awarded Mayers Fellowships at the Huntington Library for academic year 2015 – 2016. The fellowships will support their current research on Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.

    Caroline Chen (School of Law) has received a $12,400 grant from the Internal Revenue Service.  This grant will fund the continued operation of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic located at the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center.

  •  All in for SCU

    Alumni couple pledges $500,000 if 4,000 donors give to SCU in 24 hour challenge

    The Power of One Day? How about a half-million dollars?

    Santa Clara University is hoping to top last year's strong showing for its second annual online giving challenge, All In for SCU.

    This year's 24-hour giving challenge kicks off on Wednesday, March 18, and has a goal of 4,000 donors during that time.

    That's more than last year's record showing of 2,973 donors—but one couple is betting a half-million dollars that Broncos are up to the task.

    An anonymous alumni couple from the classes of 1972 and '73 has pledged $500,000 to SCU's new Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building—provided 4,000 other donors also step up and make gifts on March 18.

    SCU is counting on supporters from all corners of campus to meet the goal—be it the Santa Clara Fund (which funds scholarships, study abroad, and other student and academic programs), specific schools or centers, or Bronco Athletics. All gifts count, even if you've already given this year.

    On the day of the challenge, check in at to see live updates on SCU's progress toward 4,000 gifts. On social media, you can also learn who else is giving by following the hashtag #allinforscu.

  •  College of Arts & Sciences Gets a New Dean

    Deborah Tahmassebi is named the new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences

    Santa Clara University has recruited Deborah Tahmassebi from the University of San Diego to serve as Santa Clara’s new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She will begin her duties on August 1, 2015.

    Tahmassebi will provide overall academic, administrative, and financial leadership for the College of Arts and Sciences. She will report directly to University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Jacobs.

    “I feel privileged to have an opportunity to become part of Santa Clara University at this creative and exciting time,” said Tahmassebi. “Santa Clara’s bold new vision, its integrated strategic plan Santa Clara 2020, new interdisciplinary initiatives, and innovative approach to liberal arts education, are all critical components that will allow it to make a lasting impact in Silicon Valley and around the globe.”

    The University’s College of Arts and Sciences—with 3,140 students, 350 faculty members, and 130 full- and part-time staff—is the largest academic unit on the Mission Campus. The College’s 24 departments and academic programs offer more than 35 undergraduate degree programs and help provide a liberal arts curriculum to all Santa Clara undergraduates.

    Tahmassebi has served as associate dean of program development in the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and special assistant to the provost at the University of San Diego, a private Catholic university of 8,300 students. Her contributions included the development and support of new College programs and initiatives, oversight of assessment efforts, expansion of undergraduate research, and record growth in sponsored programs. In 2012–13, she was selected as an American Council of Education Fellow to work with President David Burcham at Loyola Marymount University.

    Tahmassebi joined the faculty at the University of San Diego in 1999. As an organic chemist with interests in the synthesis and structural analysis of biologically relevant molecules, she studies novel nucleosides and amino-acid derivatives. Tahmassebi has mentored several undergraduate students in her laboratory and coordinated the Pre-Undergraduate Research Experience program, an initiative which supports socioeconomically disadvantaged students to attend the University of San Diego and become involved in research early in their academic careers.

    “Dr. Tahmassebi comes to Santa Clara with an impressive record in curricular innovation, faculty development, and promoting undergraduate research. Her leadership in these areas, commitment to Jesuit educational values, and her exceptional collaborative style make her a terrific addition to the University community. I look forward to welcoming her as our new dean,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J.

    Tahmassebi will succeed W. Atom Yee, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who served 10 years as dean and will return to the faculty to continue his scholarship and teaching. For the 2014–15 academic year, Professor of Political Science Terri Perretti has served as acting dean.

    Tahmassebi earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of California, San Diego.

    Tahmassebi is married with two daughters. Her husband, Sam, is an attorney specializing in intellectual property law.

  •  Big Business Learns Right from Wrong

    Markkula Center for Applied Ethics helps businesses and nonprofits address ethical issues

    Silicon Valley companies and nonprofits face big ethical questions, from how to handle customers’ data to how to create an ethical culture for an aggressive company. Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is expanding its focus and programming to address these and other issues.

    Ann Skeet has joined the Center as director of leadership ethics, joining a team led by ethics expert Kirk Hanson, executive director.

    With Skeet’s hiring, the Center has broadened its program to more explicitly include nonprofit ethics as well as business ethics. Skeet, who has an MBA from Harvard, was vice president of marketing at the San Jose Mercury News and has run two nonprofits. She is also working across several of the Center’s focus areas on leadership ethics.

    “She is a well-respected expert in ethical issues that arise in leadership in many sectors of society,” Hanson said.

    Skeet and Hanson identify a number of critical current topics in business ethics, many of which can also apply to nonprofits:

    * Big data: How can companies use the data they collect? What notice do they need to give to consumers?

    * Cyber security: What is a company’s obligation to protect customers’ data, and what is its obligation when that data has been hacked?

    * Marketing techniques: The rise of big data has led to other questions, such as when marketing becomes too aggressive and intrusive. “If that sweater I looked at online at Target now appears every time I visit any website for the next three weeks, is that intrusive?” Hanson said.

    * Supply-chain ethics: This isn’t a new question, but it still arises. “We’ve never resolved the question of the ethical responsibility for the behavior of your supply chain,” Hanson said. “Yes, we know you shouldn’t employ child labor. But there are many other questions about the ethical behavior of your supply chain.”

    * Compliance: Skeet said companies are investing more resources into making sure they comply with regulations—but “one of the challenges is to make sure that part of the discussion is not just what’s legal but what’s right.” Skeet is especially interested in working with more companies in their earliest days to explore how successful companies do this work well.

    * Startup culture: Policies created early in a company’s life can have long-term ramifications—but the growth-oriented culture that gets companies off the ground may not be conducive to reflections on ethics.

    * Personal vs. professional: How much should bad behavior in an executive’s private life affect his or her employment?

    Hanson and Skeet also noted that there are ongoing questions about fair practices and disclosure by financial institutions, political spending by corporations, how the moral beliefs of company owners can influence their business practices, businesses’ response to climate change, and best practices for management in creating an ethical culture.

    The Center runs a variety of programs to help businesses sort through these issues and create an ethical culture. Skeet is also helping develop new programming aimed at nonprofits.

    “Part of my early work in the area of nonprofit ethics is helping the Center to think about how we could create the most knowledge and help transmit it in a way that would make sense for a Jesuit university in Silicon Valley,” Skeet said.

    Current business ethics initiatives include:

    * The Business and Organizational Ethics Partnership helps participating companies learn to create and sustain an ethical organization. It holds quarterly meetings for member companies where they can hear in-depth discussions of current ethical issues. Participating companies also receive yearly presentations—to their board or clients, for example—organized by the Center. And the Center is adding shorter events, such as breakfasts or lunchtime discussions.

    * Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are “one way of taking our insights about business ethics and delivering them to a wider audience,” Hanson said. The Center has created two courses: Business Ethics in the Real World, an introduction to the topic; and Creating the Ethical Organization, a course for managers.

    The courses are not graded, but students write an essay that is evaluated by three other students. Each course takes about eight hours to complete and students work at their own pace. In the three years the courses have been available, about 5,000 people have taken them. At any one time, about 100 different countries are represented among the students.

    Although the MOOCs do not offer academic credit, some universities have adopted them as a piece of a larger course. The courses are free: “This is not a money-maker for us,” Hanson said. “This is a service.”

    “It’s been an eye-opening experience to see the interest level of the participants, especially given the diverse range of locations, professions, and ages,” said Patrick Coutermarsh ’13, an economics and philosophy major who is now the business ethics program coordinator at the Markkula Center.

    Before his current work on the MOOCs, the BOEP and other business ethics initiatives, Coutermarsh experienced ways that the Center encourages students to explore ethics. In his senior year, he received a Hackworth Fellowship, which supports students doing ethics-related projects. His project was to work with a faculty member to start a Santa Clara Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team.

    * Hanson lectures at other universities and conferences several times per year. The Center helped launch the first business ethics center in China: the Center for International Business Ethics at the International University of Business and Economics in Beijing. Hanson has given an address at the Beijing center most years since it opened.

    * The Center is experimenting with social media as a way of reaching out to business executives and managers.

    * The Center is working to help companies and nonprofits learn to sustain an ethical culture. “We’re moving our focus from the internal management of the organization to the leadership, which means the board and the CEO’s oversight of ethics,” Hanson said. “Among the most important questions is what is the board’s responsibility for the ethical character of the organization?”

    The Center worked with one large Silicon Valley company to develop an instrument for measuring the quality of a company’s ethical culture, and it hopes to expand this service to other companies.

    “We go in and do a series of interviews and research, with the goal of reporting back to the board of directors,” Skeet said. She noted that the company they worked with to development the assessment was not facing any sort of ethical crisis but rather wanted to develop benchmarks in ethics. “I think that’s healthy, a sign of development in that area.”

  •  A Partnership Made for Three

    SCU’s HR department teams up with the Ignatian Center and community nonprofits

    Collaborative projects with off-campus partners thrive at SCU, where the Jesuit ideal of community engagement filters through every department. Two-way alliances are common—and sometimes there’s plenty of room for three.

    Since 1986, the Ignatian Center has joined with local nonprofit agencies to provide students with hands-on work experience and opportunities to learn about real-world social issues. Through the Center’s Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program, nearly 1,200 SCU students participate each year in the program.

    Several years ago, the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program—now paired with more than 50 nonprofits and public schools throughout the community—added a third player to the team: the SCU Human Resources Department.

    Accepting an offer from Charlie Ambelang, interim assistant vice president of HR, Arrupe staff invited their partners to a free, one-hour professional development workshop coordinated by the HR department. “It was a great benefit,” explained Rosa Guerra-Sarabia, one of the program directors of community-based learning at the Ignatian Center. “Most of our community partners don’t have extra funds to pay for this type of training; they saw it as a wonderful opportunity.”

    From this initial outreach, a series of semiannual lunchtime workshops offered by HR and organized by Arrupe evolved, with each session attended by 10 to 30 managers and supervisors from local nonprofit agencies and schools. The most recent course was held in December and focused on how to avoid job burnout, according to Guerra-Sarabia.

    “The topics are all about common workplace issues and can be easily adapted to the nonprofit sector,” she said. “Such things as team-building and balancing home and job obligations are relevant to nearly everyone.”

    About four years ago, the success of the workshops led to HR staff offering a full, two-day retreat for Arrupe’s community partners titled “The Challenge to Lead.” The subject of the retreat was based on the research and writings of two well-known Leavey School of Business associates—Jim Kouzes and former dean Barry Posner. All facilitation fees, materials and food for the event, held at SCU, were provided at no charge to participants. Their response was enthusiastic.

    “I am so thankful to the Ignatian Center for making this opportunity available to me,” noted Graciela Mann, community development director at Sacred Heart Community Service. “The Leadership Challenge came just at the right moment, as I was taking on more responsibilities at my organization.”

    According to Becky Pestarino of Santa Clara Adult Education Center, “It is always validating and inspiring to see the areas where one excels and where one needs to grow.” She added, “Being in a leadership position can be draining; attending a workshop like this one energizes you to push on and to continue the good work. I really appreciate all of the professional development classes I have taken at SCU.”

    Additional one-hour workshops will take place this year, and the HR department could offer another multi-day retreat in the future, said Cheryl Johnson, leadership development specialist.

  •  Human-Trafficking Victim Advocate to Receive SCU Alexander Law Prize

    Martina Vandenberg’s career-long fight for justice for the victims of human trafficking and violence will be honored at SCU

    A lawyer who has spent nearly two decades fighting for victims of human trafficking around the world will be the recipient of the 2015 Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize from Santa Clara University School of Law. The award honors top legal advocates who have used their careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity.

    The Alexander Law Prize will be presented to Martina Vandenberg, president and founder of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, D.C., at a ceremony March 24, at Santa Clara University’s Adobe Lodge. A reception will be held at 5 p.m., with the presentation of the award and a discussion taking place at 6 p.m.

    Vandenberg has dedicated her life to combating violence against women, rape as a war crime, and human trafficking. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the Helsinki Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee.

    In 2012, she established The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center (HT Pro Bono), which links victims to skilled pro bono attorneys who help hold traffickers accountable and help victims rebuild their lives. HT Pro Bono received generous support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Fellowship Program, where she was a fellow from 2012 to 2013.

    A former Human Rights Watch researcher, she spearheaded investigations into human rights violations in the Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Israel, and Ukraine, and authored the first published report documenting human trafficking for forced prostitution into Israel.

    She is the author of two Human Rights Watch reports, “Hopes Betrayed: Trafficking of Women and Girls to Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina for Forced Prostitution,” and “Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of ‘Ethnic Cleansing.’” While living in the Russian Federation, she co-founded Syostri, one of Russia’s first rape crisis centers for women.

    Vandenberg was formerly a partner at Jenner & Block, where she focused her pro bono practice on representing victims of human trafficking in immigration, criminal, and civil cases. She served as a senior member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. She received the 2006 Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award for her successful representation of trafficking victims in United States federal courts and her advocacy before Congress.

    “Martina Vandenberg shows us what it means to discern injustice in the world and devote one’s time, talent and life to eradicating it,” said Santa Clara University School of Law Dean Lisa Kloppenberg. “We are proud to present the Alexander Prize to her.”

    Vandenberg received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, a master of philosophy in Russian and East European studies from Oxford University, and a B.A. in international relations from Pomona College. She also is a Rhodes Scholar and a Truman Scholar. Vandenberg is originally from Gilroy, California.

    Photo by Jeff Hutchens

  •  Fever Pitch

    A fast-paced weekend competition combines the talents of SCU students in formulating new startup businesses

    More than 60 students will descend on Lucas Hall in the coming days, for a “Startup Weekend,” which combines the spontaneity of a hackathon, the business-building of an incubator, and prizes that would catch the eye of any contestant on Shark Tank.

    The event is the brainchild of third-year Santa Clara Law student Adam Brutocao, who has long wanted to have a startup gathering on SCU’s campus that would bring together students from Santa Clara’s law, business, and engineering schools—joining forces to create fresh new businesses befitting SCU’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley.

    The three-day event is kicking off Feb. 27 at 6 p.m with the help of sponsors, including Google for Entrepreneurs, Coca Cola,, Seagate, Plug and Play Ventures, the Founders Institute, and Tech CU. It will culminate on Sunday night with a competition for the best startup developed during the weekend. Judges will base their decision on several criteria, including: quality of the product or service offering and the viability of the startup's business plan, which will be drafted during the weekend.

    On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, representatives of SCU’s Entrepreneur’s Law Clinic will be manning a booth for free answers to questions on legal issues such as incorporation, term sheets, or management structure.

    Attendees will kick into startup mode immediately. Those who have a startup idea upon arrival will get on stage and pitch their idea in 60 seconds. Brutocao estimates that about half the attendees will do so.

    The other half are “potential co-founders”—students with self-identified skills like marketing, coding, or legal counsel, who will pair up with the startup idea people. An app called loopd—created by one of the event's co-sponsors—will enable participants to digitally find each other based on data uploaded to a wearable-device.

    As the groups proceed for the rest of the weekend to create winning business plans for their startups, they’ll have access to a broad range of resources provided by Startup Weekend and some originally developed by Adam, himself, including a new YouTube lecture series called "Startup Talks." Startup Weekend Santa Clara sponsors, like the One Page Business Plan Company will provide software products and services to facilitate the development of each startup's business plan. In addition, five mentors, including—Maxime Prades of Zendesk and big data consultant Sujee Maniyam—will float from group to group offering advice.

    The prizes:

    First Place: A chance at $25,000 in seed funding and an invitation to Plug and Play's "Startup Camp" Accelerator Program (Plug and Play Ventures); 20 hours of legal services (Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, LLP); and 10 hours of one-on-one executive consulting from The One Page Business Plan Company.

    Second Place: Co-working space during a three-month membership (Pacific Workplaces) and 15 hours of legal services (Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, LLP).

    Third Place: 10 hours of legal services (Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, LLP).

    Other members of the Startup Weekend organizing committee are law students Nellie Amjadi, Steve Chao, Alexandra Louderback, Rebecca Sullivan, and Hossein Sajjadi and undergraduate business school students Julian Novais, Noah Belkhouse, and Matt Rosendin. Adam's younger brother Blake Brutocao assisted the team with social media marketing and Adam's cousin Morgan Brutocao designed the company's marketing material.

    More information:

  •  Grants, Awards, and Publications

    SCU faculty and staff receive recognition for their outstanding work

    Prashanth Asuri (Bioengineering) has received a $ 31,704 subcontract from SE3D Education LLC on a NSF prime award to support his "Low Cost 3D Bio-Printer Toolkit for STEM Education" project. Prof. Asuri will co-advise student projects and experiments involving characterization of biomaterial properties. Experiments will include measurements of shear viscosity, shear elastic modulus, and compression modulus. In addition, he will co-advise the development of syringe based extrusion system for printing hydrogel-based biomaterials.

    Silvia Figueira (Computer Engineering)  has received a $20,000 NIH subcontract from ISIS Ventures, Inc. to support the project entitled "Youth Street Connect". Santa Clara University's students under the supervision of Prof. Figueira will collaborate with the ISIS Ventures Inc. team’s to develop a dual purpose mobile phone application for homeless and unstably housed youth and their providers.  This project is innovative and has major potential for improving the health and well-being of homeless youth.

    Chad Raphael (Communication) has published a book, Deliberation, Democracy, and Civic Forums: Improving Equality and Publicity (Cambridge University Press). Co-authored with Christopher F. Karpowitz (Brigham Young University), the book analyzes innovative forums that integrate citizen deliberation into policy making, which are revitalizing democracy in many places around the world.

    Thomas Massaro, S.J. (Theology) has been published in “The Role of Conscience in Catholic Participation in Politics since Vatican II,” pp. 65-83 in Erin Brigham, ed. and The Church in the Modern World: Fifty Years After Gaudium et Spes (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. 2015). Kristin Heyer (Religious Studies) also has an essay in this volume called “Immigration and Family Values: A Post-Conciliar Moral Assessment” pages 87-110.

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