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.
Testarossa Winery is helping support the Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team through the sale of a limited release chardonnay. Proceeds from the sale of a custom-labeled 2010 Testarossa chardonnay benefit the team’s 2013 Radiant House project.
“As a young Jesuit I picked grapes on the hills behind the Testarossa winery and worked there during the wine-making season. I couldn't be happier to be teamed up with Testarossa and the long tradition behind it,” says Jim Reites, S.J., a faculty advisor for the decathlon team.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are attractive, cost-effective, and energy efficient. Santa Clara University’s 2013 Radiant House team is comprised of qualified students from several disciplines.
“This is a fun and exciting endeavor for us,” said Testarossa owner Rob Jensen. “We have a very personal connection with the team, as our son Nick is an engineering student at SCU and is helping to build the house. He’s putting into practice all the construction odd jobs he’s done at the winery during his school breaks.”
Testarossa and its owners have a long history with Santa Clara. Rob and Diana Jensen met at SCU as undergrads in the electrical engineering program. And when their small winery business needed to expand, Testarossa moved into the historic Novitiate Winery in Los Gatos. The priest who married Rob and Diana, John Geary, S.J., went to seminary at the Novitiate in the 1930s. Geary’s father, an architect, first expanded the winery after Prohibition was repealed.
“The education and opportunities we received at Santa Clara University not only brought us together, but set the table for our success as business owners,” says Diana Jensen. “We are proud to be able to give a bit back to the University.”
Only 100 cases of the limited Radiant House Chardonnay are available. It sells for $20 a bottle in the Testarossa tasting room in Los Gatos and online.
What inspires a person to create? Taking cues from her life and reflecting on the nature of creativity, Amy Tan explores the events that made her a writer as she comes to SCU on Jan. 17 for the President’s Speaker Series.
The soon-to-be-released The Valley of Amazement is Amy Tan’s seventh novel since her debut in 1989 with The Joy Luck Club. Over this time, Tan has adapted her work for film, television, and even the opera, but her latest is a return to her roots—her first novel since 2005. Tan’s work speaks to millions with its universal themes of family relationships, generational change, and personal history.
Amy Tan’s other books include The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, which was adapted as an Emmy-nominated PBS series. Tan was also a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club, and her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.
This year’s speaker series, Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart, and Body, kicked off on Oct. 11 with Reza Aslan ’95, who spoke about the legacy of the Arab Spring. Tan is the second featured speaker, followed by former FDA commissioner David Kessler on April 9.
The event will take a conversational format, and be followed by a book signing. Staff and faculty can get discounted tickets for $20, available online.
Santa Clara University is continuing its commitment to helping those in need, and you can help. Last year, SCU brought in over 200 donations to help the Family Giving Tree fulfill the wishes of 61,000 low-income children and individuals. You can stop by the Learning Commons lobby, pick a tag off the giving tree and participate by bringing an unwrapped gift for the child, teen, elderly or homeless person mentioned on the tag. You can also choose a green or yellow card for a monetary donation. The deadline for donations is Monday, Dec. 10. Gifts can be dropped off at room 215 in the library.
On an overcast day in July, a dozen SCU faculty and students boarded a colorful flotilla of inflatable rafts for a 105-mile trip down the Nenana River in Alaska. The watery journey marked the first phase of a long-term partnership with Hero Projects—an organization that combines outdoor adventure with meaningful volunteerism.
“The rafting experience helped us to become acclimated to the Alaskan wilderness,” explained Bill Mains, Leavey School of Business leadership lecturer and primary coordinator for the excursion. “It gave us a better understanding and appreciation of the resources that were all around us.”
From the river, the SCU group embarked on the second leg of the trip—meeting Alaskans, including business leaders, university faculty, government officials, and environmentalists—to introduce the idea of bringing renewable energy to the state’s rural communities.
“Many Alaskans today are dependent on fossil fuels; much of their energy comes from burning wood and diesel fuel,” said Mains. “They might spend $8 to $12 a gallon on diesel, so there’s quite a bit of interest in creating sustainable energy sources.”
The SCU group included faculty and students from the Leavey School of Business and from the School of Engineering. Also co-sponsoring the 15-day immersion trip was the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Two film students from Hero Projects documented the trip.
Mains emphasized the importance of community building before asking people to make a change as significant as switching to a new form of energy. “Any small town is going to be a little suspicious of unknown people approaching them,” he noted, “but the local meetings we had helped to demonstrate our commitment.”
The outreach efforts eventually led to the town of Galena, population 600, and the site of a former Air Force base. In September, just two months after returning from Alaska, Mains traveled back to Galena to further discuss SCU’s role in bringing renewable energy to the town. Next summer, he’ll return with another group in hopes they can begin work on an actual installation. Within this group, engineering students could be involved in designing the project, he said, while business students could help the community understand the economics of it.
One engineering student, Theo Schapp, plans to be among those revisiting Alaska next year. He and another student, Elliott Martin, are working on a senior design project that could have implications for remote, off-grid areas. Their idea involves generating energy from hydrokinetics or the natural motion of water through waves, tidal streams or ocean and river currents.
Schapp acknowledges that bringing such a system anywhere in Alaska will involve many more trips and in-depth community involvement. “With any project, you can’t just go on one trip and expect to be implementing something the next year,” he said. “It takes time to build trust; we would work as a resource to help communities achieve their own goals.”
Shoba Krishnan, an associate professor of electrical engineering, is advising the two seniors and working with Mains on cultivating SCU’s alliance with Hero Projects. As the instructor of a course called Engineering Projects for the Community, she said the Alaska energy program is right up her alley. “I like projects that help local people continue their way of life without radically involving them in Westernized practices standards that could be unhealthy for them and their environment,” she explained.
Mains is equally well-suited to the Alaska project. As a co-leader of the business school’s CLASP (Contemplative Leadership and Sustainability) program, he arranges student activities and service trips related to sustainable development.
Among those students who went on the first immersion trip to Alaska, Mains said their feedback was heartening. “For many of them, it was an eye-opening experience. They have a better understanding of what it means to develop a sustainable product.”
Schapp noted similarities between the SCU travelers and the people they met. “Nobody is on the outside when we’re all pushing for the health of the environment,” he said. As for rafting down the Nenana River, “It showed me what Alaska is really like, how strong and vast a force nature truly is. It helped me realize that I am just one person in this world of many, and that in order for me to make a difference, I have to push harder than I thought.”
Santa Clara University joins the world of open online education with the premiere of a business ethics course exploring the common and difficult decisions that confront professionals. This course will explore such daily dilemmas as pressure from management to falsify reports, resume white lies, and bullying rivals to get ahead.
Partnering with the new Instructure open online platform Canvas Network, Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at SCU, will teach Business Ethics for the Real World. The network is another outlet for the growing popularity of massive open online courses or MOOCs. The idea is anyone with Internet access can enroll in courses taught by some of the brightest minds in the world.
“We look forward to pioneering the MOOC concept both for Santa Clara and for the topic of business ethics,” says Hanson. “We can give the public a feel for the quality of education Santa Clara University students receive every day. We’re also thrilled the ethical framework we developed at the Markkula Center will be highlighted.”
While MOOCs have primarily focused on math and science, Business Ethics for the Real World will explore the role of ethics in business and offer practical advice on making decisions in the work place.
“This course is more than a standard lesson in business. It is driven by what we have learned from tackling real ethical issues with Silicon Valley companies. Anyone from San Jose to Shanghai can participate in the ethical dialogue taking place in Silicon Valley,” says Hanson.
While the course includes some ethical theory, it is designed to be approachable by anyone from the seasoned manager to someone just beginning a career. The course is the first of several being planned at Santa Clara. Future MOOC’s will address areas of SCU’s special expertise, including social entrepreneurship.
Enrollment will be limited to 500 people for the pilot course running Feb. 25 to March 25, 2013. The University and Instructure are hoping to launch classes with unlimited enrollment after the pilot. Ten other schools, including Brown University, are participating in the initial course offerings. Enrollment is open now on Canvas.net.
David Popalisky is a professor of dance history, modern dance, and choreography. Popalisky has choreographed, performed, and taught throughout the United States, Central America, and Asia. He is currently choreographing and preparing students for the annual Images performance in February. Many of Popalisky’s choreographic works deal with social justice issues like his “Barred from Life” collaboration with the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) to bring attention to wrongful imprisonment. This summer, he led 14 students on a 225-mile journey from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.
1. In spring you taught the course Walk Across California. Were you happy with how this project turned out and do you have plans to take a similar journey next year?
I was very excited about how my Walk Across California course turned out. Last June the students came together as a group to have fun and work to respect every walk member, no matter what major or traditional student group they came from. The challenge of the walk took its daily toll and everyone was there for each other with a pick-up snack, some extra foot tape, encouragement to hang in there, or a song to pass the time. We met incredible Californians like Fr. Dean in Stockton, Calif. who introduced us to the brave and struggling members in his community. We also met farm workers who shared their stories of working the fields and Miwok Indian elders who spoke of connecting their pasts with the present. Arriving in Yosemite and witnessing the students’ artistic reflections on the trip was so powerful. Using poems, songs, drawings, and photos each described the journey and its personal meaning with Half Dome draped with pine trees as our backdrop. Incredible! The walk staff included Rebekah Bloyd, Edward Rooks, and Diana Bustos who were the charts in every way. I am hopeful to repeat this class and trip in June of 2014.
2. You just came back from the DUMBO (Down Under Manhatten Bridge Overpass) Dance Festival in New York. How is the art and culture scene different there then it is in California?
In NYC there is art everyday almost everywhere. DUMBO Dance Festival was one part of a huge, community-wide, indoor, and outdoor performance scene located in Brooklyn. In California there is an equally diverse art scene, it is just more spread out in place and time. I was thrilled that so many SCU alums made the trek to Brooklyn to see my dance—a considerable effort that New Yorkers take in stride as they embrace the vitality of that metropolis. In both shows that included my dance the theatre had overflowing audiences—can’t beat that.
3. What SCU projects are you working on now? (Any that faculty and staff can attend and help with?)
My current project is a new dance and theatre work on the theme of Futurism, an early 20th century artistic movement, in collaboration with Jeff Bracco, my theatre colleague. We are working with SCU student dancers and actors to get this show ready for Images ’13 in early February. Hope to see everyone there.
4. How has technology changed the dance industry? (Ex: YouTube, Life Forms, Flip Cameras, etc.)
Any dance choreographer who wants to have a successful, live presence in a theatre needs a sophisticated web presence as well. Choreographers need to know how to film, edit, and package their very best work in short excerpts to attract potential audiences. A plus side of technology is that a much wider audience is witnessing dance through the web. On the negative side, audience’s patience and focus on the real time takes for a sophisticated live dance performance to unfold is being challenged. But the technical possibilities for creating dance specifically for projection (ex: from iPad to film) are unlimited and really fun. All this is part of the inevitable evolution of a vibrant art form that celebrates and reveals the truly miraculous human body.
5. What is your favorite Bay Area venue for performances?
There are many but I particularly like to see touring dance companies at the Yerba Buena Novellus Theatre in SF. This medium size theatre allows choreographers great flexibility on stage and all seats in the house are relatively close, creating an intimate experience with the performers. I regularly take students in my dance classes to this theatre and at times performers that I know, like Bill T. Jones, come out after and speak with our group.
On Thursday, Nov. 1, Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale spoke to campus in a program sponsored by the Unity RLC, Provost’s Office, Igwebuike, and the Office for Mulitcultural Learning. Check out a video of the speech and a wrap-up of his comments by Santa Clara Magazine.
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 well-respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters.
Elsa Chen (Political Science) wrote an oped that ran in the San Jose Mercury News about why Prop 36 to amend the state’s “Three Strikes” Law would save money and increase fairness.
Robert Hendershott (Finance) appeared on ABC7 discussing the impact on Facebook stock when the company's IPO lockup period ends.
For a list of all SCU faculty and staff media mentions, visit SCU in the News.
Tim Myers (English) published a full-length poetry book entitled Dear Beast Loveliness. He also won the 2012 Magazine Merit Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.
Tom Plante (Psychology), David Feldman (Counseling Psychology), Shauna Shapiro (Counseling Psychology), and Diane Dreher (English) all wrote chapters in the book Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith.
The Santa Clara, the University’s student-run weekly newspaper, won a 2012 Newspaper Pacemaker award. Judges commented “the paper is superbly organized with fine typography and relevant stories for readers, direct, clear, and sometimes with an appropriate dose of humor.”
Hohyun Lee (Mechanical Engineering) has received $15,000 from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to support “"Phase Change Material in Automated Window Shades.”"
Watching men wearing knee-high leather boots and throwing swords across the room feels like stepping into the days of Louis XIII. But this is just a typical day in Stage Combat, a special course that takes students back to a time when conflict was dealt with by nothing but a face-to-face test of skill and swords.
Kit Wilder ’89 is currently teaching the Stage Combat class in SCU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, helping prepare actors for roles in the upcoming production of The Three Musketeers and encouraging some non-majors to channel their inner 8-year-old while learning the intricacies of stage fighting.
Wilder held his first sword in a 1982 community theater production of Romeo and Juliet and it was love at first parry. Wilder is now the associate artistic director of City Lights Theater Company in San Jose and makes his living acting, directing, and teaching stage combat to students across the Bay Area.
“When I first held a sword it was like my hand belonged to it and it belonged to my hand,” said Wilder.
Wilder personally owns about 50 swords and 18 from his collection are being used in The Three Musketeers which opens this Friday, Nov. 2. The swords are real but are made specifically for actors and do not have sharp blades or points. That doesn’t mean there aren’t elements of danger. Even in practice the students do not wear protective eyewear like fencers, though they are taught various safety guidelines.
Wilder’s students are essentially getting a year’s worth of stage combat training in eight weeks.
“The best way to learn sword fighting is by doing it, experience is the best teacher,” explained Wilder.
To successfully execute a stage fight everything is choreographed, almost like a dance. Wilder explained that the key to stage fighting is that it unfolds in reverse. For example, students are instructed to wait for a partner to dodge before swinging. Precautionary techniques are what make combat safe, yet convincing, on stage.
“That’s the challenging part; we have to remember that it’s not real, we are not actually trying to run someone through,” said James Hill ’13, a senior communication major.
The class was open to both theater majors and non-majors, and there is a good representation of both in the class. Students not majoring in theater arts gain a good party trick. For actors participating in the many fight scenes in The Three Musketeers, this class provides familiarity with the play’s weaponry and choreography. Stage Combat also teaches techniques that won’t be featured in the show but are great for an actor’s resume.
Wilder has directed fights in other SCU productions, including Macbeth in 2010. Wilder also attended SCU with The Three Musketeers director Jeffrey Bracco ’89. They first collaborated—and even shared a fight scene—as students in a 1988 campus production of Romeo and Juliet with Wilder as Mercutio and Bracco playing Romeo. Now, they are working together to choreograph fights and prepare actors for The Three Musketeers.
“To see Kit and Jeff come back together and work on the same show is great because it really shows the power of Santa Clara’s alumni network,” said Alec Brown ’13, a theater arts major and actor in The Three Musketeers.
The Stage Combat course is offered this quarter to complement The Three Musketeers performance, but the theater department is considering offering the training more often. While some consider it a resume-builder, many see it as a creative outlet and childhood fantasy fulfillment.
“It essentially allows you to get in touch with another time which innately brings out a sense of romance and danger, which both audiences and actors secretly love,” said Wilder.
The Three Musketeers runs Nov. 2 through Nov. 10. Tickets are on sale on scupresents.org.
The de Saisset Museum is best known for art exhibits that highlight the diversity of Northern California’s past, present, and future. An exhibit this fall pushes viewers in a completely different direction- forcing visitors to reconsider the nature and beauty of adornment in a provocative and intriguing way.
Guest curated by Melissa Behravesh,Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as an Extension of Self features sculpture and photography by Lauren Kalman and Catherine Grisez that questions what is traditionally considered beautiful, and encourages viewers to consider how they adorn themselves.
Behravesh first decided to curate this exhibition in 2009, originally thinking she would feature the work of several artists. She quickly changed her mind after some research, choosing to only feature Kalman and Grisez because of the balance and the sense of play that their work evokes.
“The work isn’t easy but it’s well made, well-thought-out work that lives beyond the body,” said Behravesh.
Not only is the work difficult to make, it’s difficult to wear. Kalman’s “Hard Wear” series features gold and pearl mouthpieces and various gilded face accouterments with photos revealing the drool and tears of the wearers. Kalman further probes the idea of adornment with exaggerated gold orbs tucked into cheeks, behind ears, and between fingers where conventional jewelry is often placed.
Grisez also plays with the idea of adornment, but her works deal more with the beautification of wounds—pink beads pouring from slit wrists and stop watches spilling out of scarred heels. Though the exhibit explores adornment and jewelry, none of the pieces appear influenced by any recognizable fashion trends. “You don’t really realize what you’re looking at and then, when you do, your throat catches and after it’s frightening, you start to notice the beauty,” said Grisez.
The de Saisset student staff has an ongoing debate as to which part of the exhibit and accompanying video is toughest to watch. That's a response definitely intended by the artist.
“It’s all about me putting something out in the world to make people think differently, even if they turn away in disgust. Sometimes we need that in our everyday lives,” said Grisez.
Curating the exhibition wasn’t easy either. Behravesh has worked in the Bay Area for several years but is currently living in Kansas City. Kalman is based in Detroit and Grisez in Seattle, making Jeweled Prosthetics a tri-city effort to bring these works to Santa Clara.
Despite the challenges, the exhibit has generated positive responses and has people talking around campus.
“If you look at the work and see the power behind it, it is beautiful even if it is uncomfortable, especially since it’s not what we usually associate with jewelry,” said Behravesh.
In a new twist on the “Brand You” trend of personal brand marketing, Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is offering all incoming freshmen classes, workshops, and guidance in personal brand management, to start their college and professional lives off on the right foot.
Dubbed “SCUBrand4U,” the program involves reaching out to all freshmen business students to help them successfully transition from high school to college to career.
“This personal branding initiative is a natural extension of our business curriculum and commitment to educating our students as whole people,” said Leavey School of Business Dean S. Andrew Starbird. “We believe it will give Santa Clara students a definite advantage when they graduate and begin their life after college.
Led by longtime business and communication professor Buford Barr, the program aims to keep students focused all four years of college on those elements that make up a positive personal brand: reputation, images on social media sites, and personal conduct.
The program arose out of a popular new-student orientation workshop given by Barr.
“My 30 years in the corporate world convinced me that students who excel in these ‘softer’ facets of their lives are going to be far more competitive in the job market, even more than students with better GPAs,” said Barr. “And while establishing your personal brand can be pretty simple, if you start early, in this Facebook/Twitter age, it’s shockingly easy to degrade your personal brand as well. That’s why we are focused on students just out of high school.”
The new program starts with the transition from high school to college and will include an initial personal brand exercise, based on the work of the late Silicon Valley PR icon Fred Hoar. During the exercise, students will be asked to create a “value statement” for themselves, answering what qualities, accomplishments, and strengths differentiate them from others, and what they have to offer employers. Faculty and Career Center staff will also provide advice to students during their stay at SCU.
The first workshop held in the Dunne Hall student residence Oct. 18, asked students to consider “Are you Apple or Zynga?” Students will work on understanding personal branding and how to evolve their brand value as they progress through college, internships, and the job search.
The new program is expected to include seminars for the transition from college to career, job search techniques, creating a resume that gets attention, and interview preparation.
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 email@example.com with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters.
Thomas Massaro, S.J., (JST) wrote an op-ed for National Catholic Reporter on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and its lasting importance.
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!
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.”
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.”
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.
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.)
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.
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)