Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, October 15, 2007, Vol. 8, No. 3

Table of contents

School of Law hosts Elizabeth Birch
Faculty feted at annual dinner
A walk in the forest
Manuel Castells joins Center of Science, Technology, and Society
Sustainability Day celebrates eco-advancements
Salsa dancers heat up Santa Clara
What is fyi?


School of Law hosts Elizabeth Birch
Elizabeth Birch
Elizabeth Birch

Civil rights champion, and one of the most recognized lesbian leaders in the country, Elizabeth Birch will be honored Thursday, Oct. 25 by SCU’s School of Law during its fourth annual Celebration of Diversity Gala.

Birch spent nearly a decade as president and executive director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization. During her tenure from 1995 to 2004, membership in the group grew from 100,000 to 1.1 million supporters, and the budget rose from $6.5 million to nearly $30 million.

An alumna of the Santa Clara University School of Law, Birch is credited with building HRC into one of the most respected mainstream advocacy agencies today, a model of professionalism and cutting-edge communication in the nonprofit world. Her fresh, creative approach to helping Americans better understand the LGBT community has earned her numerous awards, including highest honors from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
Read more


Faculty feted at annual dinner

SCU honored faculty members as teaching scholars during the annual Faculty Recognition Dinner. University awards went to the following individuals: 

The President’s Special Awards were presented to: Michael Kevane (economics); Chad Raphael (communication); Juliana Chang (ethnic studies); Paul Crowley, S.J. (religious studies); Leilani Miller (biology); Michael Zampelli, S.J. (theater and dance); and Aleksandar Zecevic (electrical engineering).

  • Nam Ling (School of Engineering) received the University Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship
  • Eileen Elrod (English) was presented with the Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Barbara Molony (history) received the Faculty Senate’s Distinguished Professor Award                     

These faculty members were recognized for 25 years of service:

  • Ruth Cook (education)
  • Alma Garcia (sociology)
  • Alexander Field (economics)
  • Richard Osberg (English)
  • Dennis Smolarski, S.J. (mathematics and computer science)
  • Kelly Detweiler (art and art history)
  • Charles Feinstein (operations and management information systems)
  • Dale Larson (counseling psychology)
  • Peter Ross (mathematics and computer science)
  • Jerrold Shapiro (counseling psychology)
  • Phyllis Brown (English)
  • William Greenwalt (classics)
  • Claudia McIsaac (English)
  • Susan Frisbie (English)
  • Neal Ushman (accounting)
  • Stephen Smith (operations and management information systems)


A walk in the forest


Costa Rica
Capuchin monkeys
Costa Rica
SCU senior Jessie Reimer looks in wonder at life within the rainforest.


The first time Michelle Bezanson trekked to Costa Rica, she was an undergraduate art major who had never even heard the word anthropology. It changed her life. Now an assistant professor of anthropology at SCU, she just finished her 10th trip to the rainforest, her fifth as leader of the expedition.

Seven SCU undergraduates—a film major, a philosophy major, two environmental studies majors, and three anthropology majors—accompanied her this past July and August for the four-week field course in primate behavior and ecology. It is too soon to tell if the trip changed any of their lives, but for some, Bezanson said, the trip was likely a prelude to a future career defined by fieldwork. For others, it may just be an interesting footnote in their college careers. “When I was a student at Santa Clara, I studied monkeys in the rainforest of Costa Rica one summer,” they might say.

But no matter the motivation for taking the trip, Bezanson said, “I think it was an amazing experience for everybody. They got to see so much, so many things that they’ve only seen on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet.”

She particularly enjoyed observing the students’ first reactions to seeing the rainforest. “Just seeing them on the first day, walking down the trail is a wonderful experience. They’re looking up, looking down, going nuts,” Bezanson said. “I’ve been there so many times, there are things I forget to look at. So these new perspectives are amazing for me.” Read more

Manuel Castells joins Center for Science, Technology, and Society
Manuel Castells
Manuel Castells

SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) has announced the appointment of Manuel Castells as a Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Castells, who has worked with CSTS since its inception, is one of the world’s leading theorists and researchers on the Information Society. His insights into the information age have been pivotal in helping the Center promote the use of technology to advance the interests of humanity, especially the poor.

“The Center is a unique institution because it brings together the commitment to academic excellence, the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, and the emphasis on moral values and ethical responsibility that characterizes Santa Clara University,” said Castells. “I fully recognize my work and myself on these coordinates, so it is only natural that I decided to work more regularly with the Center in a number of projects. I hope that in a very modest way, this will benefit the university, the community, and the idea of technology at the service of humankind.”

A professor of communications and the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society at the Annenberg School for Communications at USC, Castells is also a professor emeritus of sociology and planning at UC Berkeley.

He is best known for his research on economic and social transformations relating to technology. His trilogy, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, has been translated in 22 languages. He is also the author of The Internet Galaxy and last year, he co-authored Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective.

According to Geoffrey Bowker, executive director of CSTS, students at SCU can gain much from having Castells so accessible: “For our students interested in how science and technology can contribute to the common good, opportunities to work with and listen to Professor Castells will enrich their campus experience and potentially have a deep impact on their lives,” he noted. 


Sustainability Day celebrates eco-advancements

For the second consecutive year, SCU will celebrate achievements in becoming a more sustainable university. Campus Sustainability Day is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 24, with all events taking place at the Commons on Kennedy Mall, the University’s sustainable design demonstration building.

Highlights include:

  • Resource Fair: Sustainability on campus and in our community, 2 to 4 p.m. A showcase of University and Silicon Valley sustainability programs, projects, and initiatives,
  • Panel Discussion: Doing Good and Doing Well, 4 to 5 p.m. Featuring businesses leading the way to a greener Silicon Valley, followed by a discussion with the audience. Introduction by Dean Barry Posner, Leavey School of Business.

Other events around Campus Sustainability Day include the daily Sustainability at SCU Lunchtime Workshop Series, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to noon. Bring your lunch and learn about eco-crafting, paper mache using recycled materials, organic gardening, starting your own worm composting bin, tips for planning a “green” event at SCU, and a discussion of the University’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. No RSVP required.

Campus Sustainability Day is co-sponsored by Sustainability at SCU, the Environmental Studies Institute, the Leavey School of Business, Acterra, the University Library, and Net Impact SCU.

Read more


Salsa dancers heat up Santa Clara
salsa dancers
Salsa dancers practice their moves during a free lesson and concert presented by the Center of Performing Arts on Oct. 5. San Francisco favorite Mazacote performed after the dancing lesson. The concert also featured local band Son Santa Clara.


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

Ethics at Noon
October 17, noon, Arts & Sciences Building, Wiegand Center
Head Scarves and Human Rights: Do Muslim women have the right to choose to wear a head scarf of any kind at any time in any place?

28th Annual Women’s Faculty Dinner
October 24, 5 p.m., Adobe Lodge
Free reception for all faculty at 5 p.m., followed by dinner; RSVP by October 18

More SCU events.

SCU in the News

Stephen Diamond’s (law) letter on the financial and legal implications of the United Auto Workers/GM contract was published in the Financial Times. Subsequent interviews on the contract negotiations followed in the Washington Post, Bureau of National Affairs Daily Labor Report and Worker Independent News radio. Read the story.

Angelo Ancheta (law) appeared on Fox TV and was quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette when he spoke at a forum commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School. See the Fox tape and story.

Members of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society and Microsoft co-hosted the Trust Online Internet safety symposium, where eBay’s chief information and security officer discussed the increasing danger of "Internet phishing.” Read the story.

Pratheepan Gulasekaram (law) wrote a feature article for the San Francisco Chronicle about the ongoing immigration debate and the recent proposal of issuing municipal ID cards to all San Francisco residents. Read the story.

A recent panel sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics featured top executives, directors, ethicists, and corporate lawyers who led a discussion about company ethics in the “post-Enron era.” Read the story.

SCU's hard-working Solar Decathlon team was featured in a USA Today story on the Department of Energy's 2007 competition in Washington D.C. Read the story. The team was also shown on KTVU for a report on the Solar Decathlon. See the story.

More SCU in the news.

SCU People

Deborah Hirsch (law) has been hired as SCU’s new Director of Diversity/EEO and will serve as the University’s Affirmative Action Officer, developing and implementing the EEO and affirmative action programs and related policies. She begins her new duties Oct. 22.

C. Brigid Welch (library) has been named to the redefined position of Assistant University Librarian for Public Services, overseeing Access, information and research, training and instruction, and government documents. She will also chair the Library Web Advisory Group.

Patricia Wilkinson (administrative services) has retired after more than 20 years as Director of Administrative Services, coordinating dining services, the campus bookstore, Faculty Housing Assistance Program, and property management.

Grants, awards, and publications

William Stover (political science) and Mike Ballen (media services) won the award for Best Educational Film at this summer’s Silicon Valley Film Festival for their production, “Information Technology and International Relations: Transcending Time, Space and Attitudes in Virtual Reality.”

Dale Larson (counseling psychology) co-authored an article, “What has become of grief counseling: An evaluation of the empirical foundations of the new pessimism,” for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. He also gave presentations on grief counseling at the National Hospice and Pallative Care Convention in New Mexico and at the American Psychological Association Convention in San Francisco, where he chaired a symposium, as well.

Sarah Kate (Katie) Wilson (electrical engineering) will serve as co-chair of the Signal Processing for Communications Symposium of ChinaCom 2008.

Lester Goodchild (ECPPM) published the third edition of a co-authored book, The History of Higher Education, and wrote chapter overviews and commentary for it. He was also quoted in the national online journal Inside Higher Education for a story about Catholic character in new, conservative colleges. Read the story.

Thomas Plante (psychology) and Kathleen Lackey (undergraduate, psychology and religious studies) co-authored an article for Pastoral Psychology, “Are successful applicants to the Roman Catholic deaconate psychologically healthy?”

Vicki Huebner (law) has been named the 2007-2008 Trans Team Chair for the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm division of the American Bar Association.

Mahmud Rahman (electrical engineering) has received two $30,000, one-year NASA-Ames awards to fund graduate student research and study leading to master’s or doctoral degrees. Each award includes an internship at NASA-Ames.

Thomas Russell (economics) has been selected to receive the prestigious Robert I. Mehr Award from the American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA). The award recognizes a 10-year-old published work that has withstood the test of time. The winning article was “Catastrophe Insurance, Capital Markets, and Uninsurable Risks.”

Lucila Ramos-Sánchez (counseling psychology) had an article entitled “Language switching and Mexican Americans’ emotional expression” published in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development.

Francisco Jimenez (modern languages and literature) and Alma Garcia (sociology) co-authored a book, Ethnic Community Builders: Mexican Americans in Search of Justice and Power. 

Peter Kareiva (Environmental Studies Institute) and Michelle Marvier (Environmental Studies Institute) published an article this month, “Conservation for the People,” in Scientific American Magazine.

Sally Wood (electrical engineering) received an external grant for $108,139 to support super-resolution image reconstruction algorithm development and implementation for a flat camera with a micromirror array.

Drazen Fabris (mechanical engineering) has been invited to make a poster presentation at the National Academy of Engineering’s Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium in November in Palo Alto.

To submit grants, awards, and publication information, click here.

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