Santa Clara University

Santa Clara Magazine

Mission Matters


The philosophy of the long-distance runner

Noelle Lopez ’09 named Rhodes Scholar
Noelle Lopez
Warm-ups and Wittgenstein: Rhodes Scholar Noelle Lopez
Photo: Charles Barry
Noelle Lopez strives to bring lofty concepts down to earth. The cross-country and track team captain and philosophy major specializes in virtue ethics, tackling life’s grand queries. She was named Santa Clara’s first female Rhodes Scholar in December, and that means she’ll be taking her questions with her to England’s Oxford University in the fall.


“Virtue ethics asks questions like, ‘What is the good life? What are the features of a good person?’” Lopez says. “It’s a field that everyone has practically forgotten about.”

And that’s unfortunate, she says. “There’s been a shift away from taking a broader perspective on the lives we lead. Things are so fast-paced today, people aren't asking these questions.”

Only the second Rhodes Scholar in SCU history, Lopez was one of 32 students this year from across the United States awarded the prestigious scholarship for postgraduate study at Oxford. She will work toward a graduate degree in philosophy there, possibly continue on to a doctoral degree, and ultimately sees herself pursuing teaching.

Lopez has maintained a 3.99 GPA at SCU while tutoring Spanish-speaking ESL students, conducting ethics research as a Hackworth Fellow, working as a peer educator, and competing on the track and cross-country teams.

She says she appreciates the hard work required to do so much so well; discipline is something she’s learned from running. And her runs are the backbone of her busy schedule.

“It’s a priority,” she says. “There are very important virtues that running teaches; it’s a way of life. There are times that it can allow you to disconnect and think about things, to enjoy a moment all in itself. How often do we do that?"

Her philosophical investigations

A Tucson native, Lopez attributes her passion for philosophy to Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Austrian thinker known for his hard-to-grasp genius in investigating logic, the fundamentals of mathematics and the mind, and the limitations of language.

“Reading him changed the way I approach philosophy," Lopez says. “He has a common-sense way of going about the field. His work moved my mindset away from thinking of philosophy as just being about rationality and deduction, to thinking that it’s more about our attitude toward big questions and clearing up misunderstandings.”

Realizing that philosophical theory could be useful in her ordinary life was a breakthrough. She sees philosophy as a tool to solve practical problems. “It changed a lot of my concerns, and made me feel more rooted in reality, to think that the problems I run into every day can be the material of philosophy,” Lopez says.

At a summer volunteer project last year at a farm-education program in Salinas, Lopez observed that cultural differences between the groups over the definition of success meant teachers and students held conflicting attitudes toward agricultural regulations.

The concerns Lopez raised about this cultural divide over language prompted changes in the program’s structure. “And I thought, 'Okay, philosophy has done its work,'” Lopez says.

Score one more for a student of philosophy with her feet on the ground.

—LT


Santa Clara's first Rhodes Scholar

A checkup with Dr. Arthur Hayes ’55

Santa Clara’s first Rhodes Scholar spent nearly two decades studying in higher education—a stretch that included the Ivy League, Oxford University, and five years of medical training. But Arthur Hayes has no doubts that the most important stop in his tour of academia was the first one.

“Whenever people ask I say without hesitation, it was my years at Santa Clara,” Hayes says. “It wasn’t just about information, but formation of how to think and how to look at the world and yourself.”

Hayes would take the 6:44 a.m. train to Santa Clara each day from his home in Atherton, arriving in time to help serve Mass before going to class.

There was little question that he was destined for great things. A brilliant student, he was an all-rounder who swept the school’s drama, oratory, and debate contests his junior year.

“The only thing I can remember that he ever lost was his campaign to be student body vice president,” says David T. Van Etten '55, who lives in San Jose, recalling his classmate as brilliant and driven. “He won everything else.”

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Historical snapshot: Hayes in the 1955 edition of the Santa Clara yearbook, The Redwood

But nobody expected someone from a tiny Catholic school to nab a Rhodes Scholarship, least of all Hayes. I recently chatted with Hayes and asked about the moment he heard the news.

“I was flabbergasted,” he says.

As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he developed a love for science that led to medical school and eventually to the heights of the academic, government, and business worlds. He served as commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration under President Reagan, as dean and provost of New York Medical College, and as president of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

His most lasting legacy is perhaps found in refrigerators and medicine cabinets across the nation. Under his leadership, the FDA controversially approved aspartame, the artificial sweetener that’s now ubiquitous in diet soft drinks.

Hayes also raced to reassure a country terrified by a string of deaths caused by poisoned Extra Tylenol capsules. The FDA’s whirlwind response put in place tamper-proof packaging requirements that confront you every time you struggle to open a bottle of aspirin or other over-the-counter medicine.

The rules may have been the fastest federal regulations ever passed, says Hayes, who became a regular on television news during that time.

“That was a very exciting, but a very scary time,” Hayes says. “I think we worked 36 hours a day.”

But his greatest accomplishment, Hayes says, is a life focused on helping people.

Now 75, Hayes lives in Connecticut with his wife, Barbara, and remains active as a corporate board member, a Catholic deacon, an adjunct professor, and a grandfather—soon to be eight times over. He and Barbara recently came back from a Central American cruise during which he flew over the Panama jungle hanging from a zip-line.

“I’m still pretty active,” Hayes acknowledges.

Hayes was delighted to learn a Rhodes scholarship has gone to a second Santa Clara student, and to another philosophy major like himself.

“It’s wonderful for the young lady, and I’m doubly pleased for the University,” Hayes says.

—Sam Scott ’96


Trinity bound

Neil Ferron ’05 awarded George J. Mitchell Scholarship
Neil Ferron
Neil Ferron
Photo: Russ Morris Jr.
Thanks to a prestigious Mitchell scholarship, poet and playwright Neil Ferron is headed to Trinity College in Dublin for postgraduate study. The U.S.-Ireland Alliance announced the 12 winners of the scholarship in November.


Ferron studied English with an emphasis in creative writing while at SCU and graduated with honors. As a student, he also spent six months with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, and volunteered at the local Julian Street Inn for homeless, mentally ill people. Ferron’s writings about those experiences exhibited great “charity of heart,” observed Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., senior associate dean of SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

This year there were 300 applicants for the elite Mitchell scholarship. The decade-old award is named after former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who spearheaded the historic Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which led to peace in Northern Ireland.

—DL


Homage to Catalonia

Michelle Dezember ’06 on Fulbright to Barcelona
Michelle Dezember
Michelle Dezember
Photo: Edwin Toone

This past October Michelle Dezember headed for Barcelona on a Fulbright scholarship. Dezember, a Bakersfield native who studied art history and sociology while at SCU, is enrolled in the master’s program of Visual Cultural Studies at the University of Barcelona, and is working at the Museum of the History of Immigration to Catalonia in Sant Adrià del Besós. Together, these two programs allow Dezember to study art that reflects the cultural diversity of this region of Spain.


Recently, Dezember combined her studies and research by working with 11 students at IES Vázquez Montalbán, a Barcelona public high school. Because the museum Dezember is working with installed a former exhibition in the school’s lobby, Dezember has used the exhibit to lead training sessions on the significance of the piece and the role docents play in guiding museum tours. She and students have discussed recent immigration to Barcelona from Northern Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia and the effects that these cultural shifts have had on the city’s art and artistic audience. Dezember also teaches the students how to lead tours on immigration and multiethnic art and ways to engage the public and relate the exhibits to their own immigration experiences.

—AKG


Gold in them thar pages!

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It wasn’t only holiday lights and tinsel that were aglitter in San Francisco in December: There were three gold medals and a pair of bronze for SCU publications presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) at its regional awards ceremony.

Santa Clara Magazine received gold medals for photography, in recognition of the photo essay by SCU’s own David Pace, “The person in front of you” (Winter 2007 SCM); and for the illustration by Dugald Stermer accompanying the article on Reza Aslan ’95, “How to win a cosmic war” (Winter 2007 SCM). The magazine garnered bronze for writing and overall excellence.

Top honors went to the 2007-08 SCU View Book, the publication sent to prospective students showcasing all that Santa Clara offers. “Crackerjack photography, engaging design, sharp writing, and, most of all, a great story to tell are always a good combination,” says Margaret Avritt, SCU’s director of marketing.

With its quintet of awards, SCU was one of the most lauded universities in CASE’s District VII, which includes more than 100 colleges and universities from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. And this magazine earned more medals than any other in the region.

—SBS


Celebrating Locatelli's legacy

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October celebration: Gathering before the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library.
Photo: Charles Barry

In an evening filled with laughter and nostalgia, the Santa Clara University community gathered on Oct. 17 to honor outgoing President Paul Locatelli, S.J. ’60, and his 20 years of service to the university he so profoundly shaped.

Basking in a warm October evening, about 850 alumni, faculty, students, staff, and admirers began their evening at a reception before the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library. They were there to toast and send off Locatelli, who has taken on worldwide responsibilities as secretary for higher education for the Society of Jesus in Rome.

Locatelli, 70, became president of Santa Clara University in 1988 and is the longest-serving president at the University. Previously, he was SCU’s academic vice president and associate dean of the Leavey School of Business, as well as an accounting department faculty member. His departure follows a tremendously prosperous 20 years during which the University evolved into one of the preeminent Jesuit, Catholic universities in the country.

“Your legacy at Santa Clara is long and deep,” said Locatelli’s successor, Michael Engh, S.J., who took office as president in January.

The celebration, which continued at a dinner at the Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center, featured a video tribute. Speakers praised Locatelli’s dedication to the University, his outreach to the community and world at large, and his emphasis on infusing social justice and reflection into the lives of students.

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Locatelli with Mario Belotti, the W.M. Keck Foundation professor of economics.
Photo: Charles Barry
Silicon Valley legend and SCU Trustee Regis McKenna said Locatelli turned the university from a “closed” and “proprietary” institution 20 years ago to one more open and engaged with its surrounding community. “Almost from day one, he began tearing down the walls,” McKenna said.


Gerdenio “Sonny” Manuel, S.J., the rector of Santa Clara University’s Jesuit community, noted that under Locatelli, the University became “a place where Jesuits spoke to important issues.”

Locatelli, who received a long and thunderous standing ovation, used the occasion to thank donors, staff, faculty, elected officials, community members, and students who contributed to his successful tenure.

“No one person could do all that we have done,” he said.

Nearly 200 donors made gifts totaling more than $14 million in special honor of Locatelli’s presidency—including a $7 million gift from alumna Mary Mathews-Stevens ’84 and husband, Mark Stevens, to construct a new Paul Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center.

A video at the celebration focused on Locatelli as a priest and as a person, especially his devotion to the core values he helped inculcate at Santa Clara: competence, conscience, and compassion.

Board of Fellows member Mary Ellen Fox praised some of Locatelli’s lesser-known skills—photography and shopping—that she hopes will serve him well in Rome. (See page 48 for one of his recent photos.) Locatelli’s niece, Lynn Locatelli, celebrated her uncle’s close ties to his two brothers and their families, and she shared photos that included some of his late parents, Marie and Vincent.

Locatelli brought along a couple of pieces of memorabilia to share with the crowd: the written telephone message that was a call asking him to serve as SCU's president; and a mug given to him upon assuming the presidency that gave a nod toward the challenges that come with the job. The mug bears a Far Side cartoon showing a man in hell, standing before two doors. One reads: Damned if you do. The other: Damned if you don't.

All told, SCU Professor of Sociology Marilyn Fernandez captured the sentiment of many, reminding Locatelli, “This will always be your home.”

Introducing Chancellor Locatelli

Indeed, in November Fr. Locatelli was asked to step into a new role at his Santa Clara home when President-elect Michael Engh, S.J., appointed him Chancellor of the University.

The appointment represents the first time SCU has had a chancellor since 1988. At Jesuit universities and colleges, the title of chancellor is generally given to outgoing presidents who will remain involved to some degree with their universities. They typically provide support and relationship-building directly to the Office of the President.

After a working sabbatical during the coming year to give him time to focus on his new role, Locatelli’s primary responsibilities as SCU’s chancellor will include advancing Santa Clara’s global initiatives, especially within the worldwide network of Jesuit universities; continuing to foster relationships with designated donors and friends of Santa Clara; and assisting Engh with external relationships in the Silicon Valley.

—DL


Coming soon: the Locatelli Student Activity Center

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Top: Student-centered: Construction should begin this spring.
Devcon Construction
Bottom: Mark Stevens and Mary Mathews-Stevens
Jeremy Hohengarten for Tanja Uppert Photographies
In a gesture to honor departing president Paul Locatelli, Mary Mathews-Stevens ’84 and husband, Mark, a partner in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, have donated $7 million for a future Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center. The University intends to break ground by April 2009. A longtime goal of Locatelli, the new student center was “a perfect project to support given my deep involvement with student government, sports, and other student activities while I was an undergraduate at SCU,” said Mary Mathews-Stevens. She has served on SCU’s Board of Fellows since 2001.


The gift comes at a time when the growing global economic crisis is beginning to affect U.S. colleges and universities. Acknowledging that, Mark Stevens said, “We see our donation as a long-term investment in the quality of student life at Santa Clara.”

—DL



Reward offered

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Stereo vision: Gary Filizetti '67 with Paul Locatelli, S.J., '60 and his likeness
Photo: Sophie Asmar

Paul Locatelli, S.J., has gone missing. Not the man himself, but a pair of cardboard cutouts that were on display at the October anniversary celebration of Locatelli’s service as president.

Attendees at the celebration posed for pictures with the cutouts—and then the cutouts disappeared. The story was picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which included the announcement that the University has offered a $50 reward for the cutouts’ return. (We here at SCM have sweetened that offer with another $50 as well.) We’ve been waiting to see if the cutouts show up in party photos on Facebook, but so far nada. Perhaps at commencement?

—SBS


Banking on social entrepreneurs

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and the 2008 Tech Laureates
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Banker's hour: Muhammad Yunus
Photo: Charles Barry
Three decades ago, a Bangladeshi economics professor named Muhammad Yunus came to the conclusion that a loan of a mere $27 could transform the lives of many of the poorest citizens in his home village of Chittagong. But loans on this scale made to borrowers so poor were not something bankers pursued. So Yunus established the Grameen Bank, which has since provided more than $7 billion in loans to would-be entrepreneurs. With similar programs launched internationally—including a bank founded in New York’s Jackson Heights—micro-credit has helped more than 130 million people worldwide.


For his vision and efforts, Yunus earned the sobriquet “world’s banker to the poor.” In 2006 he and the Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And on Nov. 12, at the annual Tech Awards gala, held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, he was presented with the 2008 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award.

The Tech Awards were established in 2001 through a partnership among Santa Clara University, San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation, and Applied Materials Inc. Each year SCU is responsible for judging winners in the Tech Laureates competition, which draws hundreds of applicants who are applying technology to solve the most urgent issues facing humanity. This year hundreds of nominations from more than 70 countries were submitted, and 25 laureates were selected in five categories: education, environment, economic development, equality, and health.

In addition, one laureate from each category was awarded a $50,000 cash prize. Examples include the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, which has developed technology to convert an invasive thorn bush species into clean-burning fuel logs while restoring habitats; Decentralised Energy Systems India, which helps poor villages build local power plants and launch microenterprises to alleviate poverty; and Marc Koska of the United Kingdom who developed nonreusable syringe technology to stop the medical transmission of blood-borne diseases.

Transformative changes

On Nov. 13, Yunus and the laureates visited the Mission campus for a conference held in conjunction with the Tech Awards, “Transformative Changes Through Science and Technology: The Role for Social Benefit Entrepreneurs.” Hosted by SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS), the conference was sponsored by Applied Materials and Cisco Systems, in cooperation with the Tech Awards, and with support from SCU’s Food and Agribusiness Institute.

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Tech Laureates: Decentralised Energy Systems India supports microenterprises; the nonreusable Star Syringe prevents spread of disease; and the Benin-based Solar Electric Light Fund powers year-round irrigation in villages.
Courtesy The Tech Museum of Innovation

At Santa Clara, Yunus acknowledged the powerful creative energies that lead to successful for-profit businesses. But, he said, “profit-maximizing” only expresses the selfish part of our humanity. “What about our selfless part?” he asked. “Why don’t we include this in our theory and create a new kind of business—a business to change the world?”

Fielding questions moderated by CSTS Executive Director Geoffrey Bowker, Yunus touched on the global credit crisis. “This crisis is an opportunity,” he said, “to redesign, to restart the whole engine in a new way…. We need a system where nobody will be excluded.”

Also at the conference, Bill Drayton, CEO and chair of Ashoka, which supports the work of social entrepreneurs worldwide, delivered an afternoon keynote on “Leveraging the Power of Networks for Social and Institutional Change.”

Nominations for the 2009 Tech Awards must be submitted by March 24.

Learn more about the 2008 Tech Laureates »
Listen to Muhammed Yunus' keynote address »

—DL and SBS


Honoring teaching and scholarship

The University welcomed new faculty and celebrated the achievements of its finest teachers and scholars at the Faculty Recognition Dinner in September. Here are this year’s honorees.

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Laura Nichols, David Pinault, and the four-legged Dr. Sophie
Photo: Charles Barry
BRUTOCAO AWARD FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

The University’s highest teaching honor, this award is presented to faculty nominated by SCU students and alumni. This year’s recipient, Associate Professor David Pinault, has taught in the religious studies department since 1997. A scholar of Islamic studies, he consistently receives student evaluations that are “off the charts.” His research areas include Shia Islam and penitential ritual, and he is the author of books on Arabic literature and Islam.

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Meir Statman
Photo: Charles Barry
AWARD FOR SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE IN SCHOLARSHIP

A member of the Santa Clara faculty since 1979, Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance Meir Statman developed the concept of behavioral finance, which applies psychological models to explain investor relations with financial markets, and has published nearly 100 articles. He has served as chair of the finance department for over a decade and been the recipient of research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), and others. Statman also serves as a consultant for numerous investment companies internationally.

BRUTOCAO AWARD FOR CURRICULUM INNOVATION

Associate Professor Laura Nichols has brought groundbreaking educational approaches to teaching sociology. She focuses on first-generation college students, housing instability, and homelessness. One of her projects, “Entering the Ivory Tower: The Life Histories and Experiences of First-Generation College Students at Santa Clara University,” compiled 11 first-person student narrations. Another recurring project, the “Hop on the Bus” program, takes SCU students out of the classroom and onto the No. 22 bus to document the story of the homeless who ride it through the night.

AWARD FOR RECENT ACHIEVEMENT IN SCHOLARSHIP

In the last five years alone, lawyer, performing storyteller, and Associate Professor of Communication SunWolf has published five books and more than 20 journal articles and book chapters. Specializing in interpersonal and legal communication, her most recent research includes jury deliberations, creative processes in groups, social influence on group decisions, and adolescents’ experiences with social exclusion. A former civil and criminal trial attorney and appellate lawyer, she now works as a pro bono consultant while teaching in both the communication department and the law school.

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SunWolf and Francisco Jiménez
Photo: Charles Barry
INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE AWARD

The University’s newest award was presented to Fay Boyle Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Francisco Jiménez for sustained contributions to fostering community excellence at the University through teaching, scholarship, and program development. Starting in the 1970s, Jiménez developed a course at Santa Clara highlighting contemporary Mexican American literature. In 1985 he coordinated a symposium on poverty and conscience, bringing in such national civil rights figures as César Chávez and Julian Bond. He is also the author of an award-winning series of memoirs—The Circuit, Breaking Through, and Reaching Out—which chronicle his experiences as a child farm worker, adolescent, and a college undergrad here at SCU.

This award was created by the Provost Council on Inclusive Excellence, which was established in 2008 to help diversify the faculty and student body, supplement multicultural learning within the curriculum, and extend multiethnic awareness throughout the Santa Clara community.

Read about past winners of the Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence—and nominate a faculty member »

—AKG


The sacred call

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Sculpture and sculptor: St. Clare and Trung Pham, S.J.
Photo: Charles Barry
It took an artist’s vision, a trip to Italy, six months of work, and support from the Class of 1957 to make it happen: Last October Santa Clara University welcomed the first outdoor statue of its namesake. The bronze sculpture by Trung Pham, S.J., stands in the St. Clare Garden near the de Saisset Museum and depicts the saint in a moment of prayer, listening to God’s will.


“This is at the moment that she decides to renounce worldly desires to follow God and the example of Saint Francis of Assisi,” explains Pham, a Jesuit scholastic formerly in residence at Santa Clara. “One hand opens to receive God’s grace and the other touches her heart as a sign of humility. After all, her gesture carries the movement of spiritual desire as she prepares to devote her entire life for the sacred call.”

Fittingly, it was a trip to the convent founded by St. Clare in Italy that gave Pham inspiration for this piece.

“It reminds us of the richness that a life of simplicity can bring,” President Paul Locatelli, S.J., said during the dedication ceremony. More than 100 alumni and friends of the University gathered for the unveiling and blessing of the statue, and to recognize the 58 members of the Class of 1957 who gave more than $55,000 to create the piece.

Originally from Vietnam, Pham spent two years at SCU, teaching drawing and painting and working as a resident minister. He now lives in Berkeley, where he is studying at the Jesuit School of Theology and continuing his Jesuit formation.

In addition to the sculpture, Pham’s work is represented on campus by several paintings, which grace the walls of the Jesuit Community Residence.

—CC


Wanted: those who can teach mathematics and science

It’s no secret that well-qualified science and mathematics teachers are in high demand in U.S. schools—particularly in more financially challenged school districts. A $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to Santa Clara will help along those lines here in the South Bay.

The five-year grant, made through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, was announced last fall. It will enable SCU’s Department of Education to award 24 scholarships of $25,000 to senior engineering, mathematics, or science majors pursuing teaching careers at the middle or high school level. The funds will cover nearly 90 percent of the cost to complete a mathematics or science teaching credential through the University’s fifth-year postbaccalaureate program.

By signing a scholarship contract, recipients are required to teach for two years in one of two under-resourced school districts—East Side or San Jose—after receiving their California state science or mathematics teaching credential.

This contribution will help SCU strengthen links among undergraduate programs, the University’s fifth-year teacher credential program, and local school districts, notes Assistant Professor of Education Dennis Smithenry. Winners of the first round of eight scholarships will be announced at the end of March.

—AKG


Search results that speak your language

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Robert Neubecker
The Web is increasingly multilingual—but portals in languages other than English don’t serve users as well as they should. Here’s what needs to change.


Since the dawn of the Internet, English has been the dominant language for information-seeking on the Web. But the greatest percentage of growth of Internet use is happening in places like Latin America and the Middle East. How much growth? Try 577 percent and 920 percent respectively from 2000 through 2007, notes SCU scholar Wingyan Chung in a recent study.

Chung is an assistant professor in the Department of Operations and Management Information Systems in SCU’s Leavey School of Business. His study, “Web searching in a multilingual world,” appeared last May in Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. It looked at Web portals in Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic and found that they don’t offer the kind of user-friendly results that can make Web searching and browsing fruitful. Instead, they “typically present results in the form of long lists of textual items. While such presentation is convenient for viewing, it may limit users’ ability to understand and analyze the results. The collections searched by the search engines are often region-specific and lack a comprehensive understanding of the environment in which they operate.”

So Chung prescribes—and has tested—some solutions: for starters, meta-searching and Web-page preview and overview. Meta-searching compensates for bias inherent in different search engines’ methods for page collecting by sending queries to multiple search engines and collating top-ranked results from each. (Currently non-English search engines apply these only “rarely,” Chung writes.) Web-page preview and overview allow users to assess the usefulness of search results more quickly.

Without implementation of these tools that allow for summarizing, categorizing, and visualizing searches, the text-information overload will only get worse as content continues to expand. For example, China’s Sina.com.cn includes more than 700 hyperlinks on its home page, each annotated with long textual descriptions in a small font.” Add to that the fact that the number of registered domain names in mainland China has been increasing by more than 100 percent annually, and that Chinese is now the second-most popular language on the Web. (Arabic portals have problems, though on a smaller scale: Arabic is used by more than 284 million people, but “the Arabic Web is still in its infancy, constituting less than 1 percent of total Web content,” Chung writes.)

With an eye toward building a more useful multilingual Web, Chung calls for system developers and IT managers to “incorporate browser support and analysis tools into their online search systems and portals to augment traditional textual list displays.” While recommending these tools, he also acknowledges that they are not ideal, due to the less-than perfect natural-language processing by computers. Plus, they require “high computational costs that may not be economical for small Web sites.”

—SBS

Read more on Wingyan Chung's research »