Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, November 15, 2007, Vol. 8, No. 5

Table of contents

Chalk it up: Something to talk about
Gardening at SCU is family tradition
Student journalists earn top honors
Save the date!
Students on a mission for Operation Care and Comfort
SCU hosts author-activist Frances Moore Lappé
What is fyi?


Chalk it up: Something to talk about
chalk talk
ChalkTalk participants use a colored marker to make their points about an ethical question.

Though the only audible sound may be the squeak of a marker, ethical discussions surge day and night in a quiet corner by the restrooms on the ground floor of the Benson Center. That’s where the Ethics ChalkTalk whiteboard rests, beckoning comments and reflections from passersby with a provocative question on ethical topics ranging from local to global.

Each week, one of the Hackworth Fellows from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics posts a new question for consideration. Past topics have included queries about policing off-campus drinking, white privilege on campus, sustainability, involvement in Iraq, steroids in sports—whatever is on the mind of the student writing the week’s question.

“The primary purpose is to identify issues of concern—or that ought to be of concern—to our students and invite a measure of reflection on them,” says David DeCosse, director of campus ethics programs, who oversees the project. The questions often stir the ethical pot of discourse on campus, with people talking about them with their teachers, their friends, or their colleagues.

The Hackworth Fellows run their questions by DeCosse prior to posting—not for censorship, but to sharpen or clarify wording if needed. “They don’t have to be asking the ‘right’ questions or the questions we want them to ask,” he says.

The goal of the Ethics ChalkTalk is to surface and identify topics and issues in their moral or ethical dimension. “That’s what I hope for,” DeCosse says.

For example, the question about whether or not SCU should police off-campus drinking touched on more than just the legal and health issues of underage imbibing, delving into the deeper issue of the University’s moral responsibility.

Anyone can write a response to the question on the board. Instructions next to the board request that participants write their best arguments, while leaving space for others to respond, and abstaining from obscenities or character assassination. Responses not following the guidelines may be removed.

“I hope in some small but tangible way that students, staff, and people walking by take away a sense that here at SCU we are committed to considering the moral dimension of our lives,” DeCosse says.

Gardening at SCU is a family tradition
John Vieira
John Vieira

John Vieira touches a flower with the reverence of a priest handling a prayer book. After 18 years of tending the flora throughout Santa Clara University’s lush, 106-acre Mission campus, he’s still awed by the beauty that surrounds him.

“This one is called Black Magic,” he says, brushing the petals of a dark burgundy rose with his fingertips. “It’s new, one of my favorites.” But, he admits choosing favorites isn’t easy when one works among hundreds of different flowers.

Vieira, 66, has a family history of gardening at SCU. Between his father, John Sr., and two brothers, Manuel and Alvino, the Vieiras have spent more than 80 years caring for the grounds of the 156-year-old university. A longtime Santa Clara resident, John is the only one in his immediate family still working at SCU, and he says he’s probably the last of the line. “I have two sons, an engineer and a journalist, so there’s not much chance they’ll follow in my footsteps,” he says.

Every day, Vieira’s footsteps lead him along pathways lined with some of nature’s most magnificent offerings—showy hibiscus, deep purple princess flowers, fragrant angels’ trumpets, majestic Canna lilies—and, of course, the roses. Vieira guesses there are 1,000 rose trees and bushes on the campus (a later confirmation puts the exact number at 1,008), and he’s on intimate terms with all of them.

He’ll happily point out different varieties of roses, explaining how and when they should be pruned and detailing their special features. “Rio Samba is another of our new roses,” he says, cradling a tiny bud. “These blossoms change color as they open up; they go from yellow to pink in stages.”

Read more.

Student journalists earn top honors
Jeremy Herb
Jeremy Herb, first-place winner in feature category.

Journalists from SCU’s student newspaper, The Santa Clara, took home three national awards in the Story of the Year competition at the 86th annual National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27.

The Story of the Year competition, co-sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), “recognizes initiative and original reporting of a situation, problem or issue affecting students.” Judges look for entries that show leadership, quality writing, sensitivity, and fairness.

The competition recognizes the top student journalists in the country. Santa Clara and Harvard University were the only multiple first-place winners.

The Santa Clara Editor Jeremy Herb took first place in the Feature category. Herb is a communication major who was recently awarded the Edward Shipsey, S.J., Journalism Scholarship by the University.

“While the individual winners deserve to be congratulated for their efforts in reporting and writing great stories, the awards reflect the hard work of the entire staff,” said Herb. “Many people were involved in editing, designing, and taking pictures for the stories.”

Megan O’Connor, a communication major who graduated in 2007, earned first place in the Diversity category.

The stories were completed in Senior Lecturer Barbara Kelley’s magazine journalism course in the Department of Communication. “Megan and Jeremy both tackled difficult, almost overwhelming subjects conscientiously and tenaciously,” said Kelley who is the director of the journalism emphasis. “The awards are a testament to their hard work and the synergy between the journalism program and the student media.”

The Santa Clara’s editorial board won third place in the Editorial/Opinion category. The board was made up of Herb, senior political science major Ryan Groshong, Jessica Silliman ’07, and Elizabeth Weeker ’07.

Gordon Young, who advises the newspaper and teaches journalism in the communication department, praised the students for their ethical decision-making. “The newspaper staff put an enormous amount of time and effort into ensuring that the stories were fair and accurate. They wanted their work to make a difference.”

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Save the date!

Mark your calendars for the annual University Holiday Party on Wednesday, Dec. 12. The ecumenical prayer service is scheduled for 4.30 p.m. in the Mission Church, followed at 5:15 p.m. by the holiday party for faculty and staff.


Students on a mission for Operation Care and Comfort
Operation: Care and Comfort

For four SCU students, an English project in their Writing for Business class has morphed into a full-blown altruistic enterprise. The assignment was to write a business proposal for a nonprofit of their choice, and then to execute it. The foursome selected Operation: Care and Comfort, a program founded by the American Red Cross.

A national volunteer project, Operation: Care and Comfort has shipped more than 300,000 pounds of care packages to U.S. service men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and conflict regions. The packages contain daily necessities, food, greeting cards, and prepaid international telephone cards. The four students volunteered to be SCU representatives for the program.

“We all have friends or family in the military,” explained Brian Watson, a third-year student on the team with Ronald Choi, Shem Kim, and Jeff Mallari. “The media concentrates on whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong; we chose this foundation because we wanted to concentrate on the troops that are serving the country. It’s our way of thanking them.”

The students are manning tables in Benson Center, raising awareness about Operation: Care and Comfort, and collecting donations from the University community. Their goal is to gather 500 pounds of donated items and to collect enough money to buy 7,000 prepaid telephone minutes.

Read more.

SCU hosts author-activist Frances Moore Lappé
Frances Moore Lappé
Frances Moore Lappé

Best-selling author Frances Moore Lappé will discuss her latest book, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad, at Santa Clara University on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Lappé, the author of 16 books, also wrote Diet for a Small Planet, which sold 3 million copies after it was published in 1971 and awakened a generation to the man-made causes of world hunger.

An activist for social change and democracy, the author will meet with SCU students before her scheduled talk at 7 p.m. in the University’s Center for Performing Arts. Afterward, she’ll sign copies of her new book.

Getting a Grip has been called a little book with a big message. It takes aim at conventional right-versus-left divisions and affirms people’s innate ability to arrive at the real roots of today’s crises, from hunger and poverty to climate change and terrorism.

According to Lappé, “My book’s intent is to enable us to see what is happening all around us but is still invisible to most of us. It is about people in all walks of life who are penetrating the spiral of despair and reversing it with new ideas, ingenious innovation—and courage.”

Read more.

What is fyi?

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. fyi is published twice monthly September through June, on the 1st and 15th of each month. To ensure that information is published in timely manner, please submit items at least one week prior to publication.


SCU Events

Putting the Happy Back in the Holidays
Nov. 20, noon, Loyola Hall
This program, sponsored by Human Resources, helps participants identify factors that contribute to holiday stress and explores ways to create celebrations that meet individual needs.

Discover Luncheon Speaker Series
Nov. 27, noon, Sobrato Hall
Barbara Colyar will speak on “The Search for What Matters” at this event sponsored by the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. She’ll answer the question, “What matters to me, and why?”

Festival of Lights
Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Mission Church
The SCU Concert Choir and Chamber Singers present the annual Holiday Concert, featuring seasonal choral works, holiday brass, audience caroling, and the traditional candlelight procession.

More SCU events.

SCU in the News

SCU’s Solar Decathlon team was recognized by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, whose comments about their efforts “to blaze the trail for a better, cleaner environment” were printed in the Congressional Record.

Judy Nadler (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) was interviewed by the Washington Times for a story about a Washington, D.C., council member with possible conflicts of interests, including being employed by a law firm engaged in lobbying.

Meir Statman (finance) was quoted in the October 2007 Atlantic Monthly in the article “The Conscientious Investor.”

Jorge Gonzales (mechanical engineering) was quoted in the Sacramento Bee for a story about Delta area weather conditions.

Dale Achabal (Retail Management Institute) was quoted in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal for a story on the Valley’s retail sales expectations this holiday season.

George Alexander (law, emeritus) wrote a letter to the San Jose Mercury News on behalf of 20 SCU School of Law faculty members expressing concern about the political situation in Pakistan and the arrest and detention of Muneer Malik, an alumnus and past president of the Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association.

Hersh Shefrin (finance) was quoted in The New York Times in an article about the changing rules for 401(k) plans.

More SCU in the news.

Grants, awards, and publications

Shauna Shapiro (counseling psychology) and colleagues recently published an article, “Self Care for Health Care Professionals,” in an American Psychological Association journal, Training and Education in Professional Psychology.

Ellen Kreitzberg (law) recently co-authored an article, “Innocence of a Capital Crime: Parallels between Innocence of a Crime and Innocence of the Death Penalty,” for the Tulsa Law Review.  

Francisco Jiménez’s (modern languages and literatures) book Breaking Through and the Spanish edition, Senderos Fronterizos, were selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities for its 2007-08 We the People Bookshelf. The program creates a set of classic books each year for young readers, and distributes them to 3,000 libraries. The theme for this year’s Bookshelf is “Created Equal.”

Michelle Marvier and Peter Kareiva (Environmental Studies Institute) published an article highlighted on the cover of the October 2007 Scientific American about a new direction for environmental protection of ecosystems and people.

Betty Young (physics) has received a subcontract award from Case Western Reserve University that provides $224,375 to support the work of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) Collaboration. The National Science Foundation funded this collaborative award.

Michael Whalen’s (communication) documentary, “Fresh Women,” received an honorable mention award at the 2007 Berkeley Video and Film Festival in October.

Wendelin Wright (mechanical engineering) participated in the 10th Annual Chinese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium in Beijing, China last month at the invitation of the National Academy of Sciences and its counterpart in China. About 70 American and Chinese scientists attended the symposium, designed to build networks and expand the horizons of young scholars.

Andrea Pappas (art and art history) has been appointed to the editorial board of the British journal Modern Jewish Studies.

Lester Goodchild (School of Education, Counseling Psychology, and Pastoral Ministries) recently presented a research paper, “Americanizing the French Pensionnat, Collège, and Lycée: Curricular Changes at the University of Notre Dame, 1842-1930,” at the History of Education Society’s national meeting in Cleveland.


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