Monday, April 30, 2007

Founders' Week Update

Again, as promised, I had another update on Founders' Week. This time specifically about the recognition the university is receiving from the state today. I am really excited for the events this Friday.

Speaking of Founders' Day, the San Jose Mercury News had a great supplement in the paper yesterday all about SJSU's 150th. The multimedia site is also really good. There is a nice mention of it on the JMC Journal.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Founders' Week

As promised, the Spartan Daily had more information on the events next week for Founders' Week and Day. Some of the plans have changed and continue to do so. Keep checking the Daily for the latest. I promise to try and get everything right, even all the changes.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The word from Adobe's CEO

I am at the SJSU Engineering College's Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium series. Today's speaker is Adobe's CEO Bruce Chizen. He is here with Jon Fortt, the senior editor of Business 2.0. We are in the Engineering Building Auditorium. The room is not as full as I thought it would be. Most of the people here are engineering students. Here are my raw notes as he speaks:

"San Jose State is special to me," Chizen said.

"... We are neighbors," he said, pointing out that Adobe's offices are just blocks away from the campus.

He also said that as a graduate of a public college, he is happy to support other universities that are based in the community.

Chizen said that they hope to be a $3 billion company this year, about half of it comes from outside of the U.S. Half of their employees are in the U.S. with about 2,000 in San Jose and 1,000 in San Francisco.

He said that what keeps him up at night is competition from Microsoft and the changes in business models as technology changes.

Chizen said he thinks of Google as a "heat shield" from Microsoft's missiles. Google right now is a partner, but could be a competitor in the future, however, he said it is most important to get to the things that customers want before Google or anyone else gets there. "If Google ends up being a major competitor, shame on us, we blew it."

The quality of the employees in India, he said, is no different than the employees here, they are just not as experienced, so finding managers is a little more difficult. In addition, jobs for them are a way out of the slums, so they are very motivated. They also work for 1/4 of the salary of people here.

For today's students to be competitive and get jobs here in the U.S., they should do internships while still in school, Chizen said. He also said to go deep into a discipline and develop additional skills. Take business classes, travel to emerging markets like China and India,
understand how to work with people that are different than you. These are the skills that make you unique. People in other areas are focusing on the technical skills, the people that get jobs in the U.S. are the ones that can take charge, be leaders and work with others.

Engineers need to learn Java, he said. Understand the mobile, or non-PC, platforms. Know how to make web-based applications work on other devices.

On the topic of company culture, he says to fins a company to work for that has a similar culture to the one you will enjoy. He says you should enjoy the environment you are going to work in, and keep that in mind as you are looking for work and interviewing with companies.

He also said that they are trying to keep honest people honest in preventing piracy. He says they work with the US government and local agencies in trying to stop deliberate piracy. They are also working with the US government to put pressure on other companies to stop the practice. He said that piracy in some places is like J-walking in New York, it is illegal, but it is culturally acceptable. What will change it, he said, is when there are domestic companies that are being hurt in these countries that will put pressure on their governments to end the practice.

Andrew asked, and Chizen said that they are working on technology that will not replace the browser, but move programs to other applications, such as Adobe's Apollo.

Green is a big deal for Adobe, he said. All three of their buildings in San Jose are certified "green" and they do a lot to protect the environment. They also give about 1% of their net profits away to charitable causes.

He joked that he is going to ask Eric Schmidt for a job at Google. He said that most companies are not Google and they, too, will have to act like a grown-up company someday. They are really hard to compete with for employees, he said.

Chizen said that a school like Stanford is difficult to work with and he would much rather work with SJSU, and it will be more of a win-win for everybody.

Update: Burke Shartsis has a good summary of the event here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SJSU's Birthday Celebration

I have been writing about it all semester, and it is finally here. SJSU's 150th anniversary celebration will climax next week with Founders' Week.

Here is an e-mail I just got about the events:

Distribution List: All Students
Reply to:

To Campus the Campus Community:

Our celebration of San José State University’s 150th year has been an exciting one so far. From an exhibit and symphony concert to literary celebrations, special speakers and historical books, we have discovered evidence of our remarkable history throughout the campus. I would like to invite you to continue to celebrate during Founders’ Week, April 29 - May 4.

We will begin on Sunday with a special supplement from The San José Mercury News, filled with stories of our university and salutations from our many community partners. On Monday, a delegation of campus representatives will attend both sessions of the state legislature to receive recognition by the Senate and the Assembly as the oldest institution of higher education in the state. Following will be a celebration with our Sacramento-based alumni. Tuesday we will enjoy similar recognition from our county supervisors, and on Wednesday Student Affairs will host a fun-filled birthday bash for students. Look for these and other activities at

I invite the whole campus to participate in Founders’ Day, on Friday, May 4. Faculty will be gathering in regalia on the San Fernando side of King Library at 10:30 a.m. to process over to City Hall Plaza. At the plaza beginning at 11:30, San José State will be honored with a proclamation from San José Mayor Chuck Reed and comments by California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi. The ceremony will be followed by a birthday celebration in the Rotunda building.

In keeping with our anniversary theme, “Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow,” we have convened a panel of national experts who will discuss the future of higher education from 2 to 4 p.m. at historic Tower Hall. In a rare West Coast appearance, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will present the keynote address. Her remarks will be followed by a panel discussion featuring top authorities on higher education, including California State University Chancellor Charles Reed.

While the university will remain open and available for services on May 4, I encourage employees to work with their administrators so that interested individuals can participate in Founders’ Day events. My thanks to administrators for ensuring that university operations are not impacted on this historic day, but that as many of your employees who would like to participate may do so.

10:30 a.m. Faculty in regalia gather at King Library, San Fernando entrance
11:30 a.m. Proclamation honoring San José State, City Hall Plaza
Noon Birthday Festivities, City Hall Rotunda
2 – 4 pm Presidential Panel with U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Morris Dailey Auditorium

I look forward to seeing you there!
Don W. Kassing
As always, there will be more in the Spartan Daily as the events unfold.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Day of Service and Spartan Stadium

I have two articles in the Spartan Daily again today. I have been busy.

One is about the Day of Service last Friday. The story also has a photo by yours truly (but it is not the one that is online). We are short on photographers, so Mark and I wrote the stories and took photos. It was a neat event. They hope to make it an annual event, which would be cool.

My other story is a full update on the stadium deal. I was able to interview President Kassing and Mayor Reed at the Day of Service, so I could include that. I spoke with Tom Hastings from the athletic department toady for another story and he said that there are a lot of neat ideas they are floating around regarding what to do with the stadium. He said in the next week or so they may be ready to go public with them, so I will have that just as soon as I can.

Friday, April 20, 2007

SJSU responds to Virginia Tech

I got another e-mail last night from the university responding to the shootings earlier this week at Virginia Tech. Here it is:

Dear Students and their Families:

In the wake of the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech, it is important to support one another in our living and learning communities.
Please see any or all of the following messages:

A message from the Vice President for Student Affairs:

Recommendations from the Director of Counseling Services:

SJSU emergency plans and tips from the Chief of the University Police Department:

Information from the Director of University Housing Services about preparedness in the residence halls:

Veril L. Phillips
Vice President for Student Affairs
San Jose State University

I think it is good that the university is finally responding, but it is a little late. It is nice they tell us that if we are having problems to go see a counselor and to call the university police if we see something suspicious, but the e-mails themselves raise a few other concerns.

I noticed that I only got these two e-mails (here is the other) on my campus e-mail, even though that is not the e-mail address I have told the university to use to contact me. I did not get the e-mail via the address I gave the school via MySJSU. I do not know how many students at SJSU have school e-mail addresses (the ones), but I would guess that it is not many, as they are someone what difficult to obtain and use. I have mine set to come into my Gmail account because it is so much better. (The school should consider using Google Apps, it is free, but I digress. Tell Google here.)

One of the things that Virginia Tech has been criticized for is not notifying students when the first shooting took place. An e-mail was sent out two hours after the first incident. Since I only got these messages via my SJSU e-mail address, does this mean that I would only get messages in the event of an emergency via this e-mail address as well? What if I do not check it as often? What about the hundreds (I would guess, maybe thousands) of SJSU students that do not have an official e-mail address? I only got one so that I could sign into Facebook.

I am not overly concerned about my safety at SJSU. The bookstore seems to be able to send me junk mail from the address I put into MySJSU, so I assume that the school can as well, I just hope it does if needed. As a reporter at heart, I would probably be running towards the shootings, not away from them, but that is a another concern.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

E-mail from Kassing on Safety at SJSU

I just got an e-mail from SJSU President Don Kassing on my school e-mail account. It is something of a late response to the Virginia Tech tragedy earlier this week. It is also posted on the school's Web site.

To: The Campus Community

From: Don W. Kassing, President

At San José State, our hearts, thoughts and our prayers go out to the Virginia Tech community. We are one family in higher education, with the common goal of assisting students in improving their lives. When senseless, horrific tragedies such as this occur at any campus, it is felt throughout all campuses.

While we constantly strive to create a campus environment that is safe, sometimes a rare act of violence does occur. To this end, San José State prepares for and is ready to respond to any type of violence. Our University Police Department is well trained to prevent violence from occurring and to act swiftly in the case of any incident. We have agreements and joint protocols for response with the San Jose Police Department and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. In addition, our residence life staff and counselors are trained to anticipate and respond to emergencies. While we can never fully prepare for such random acts, we are proactive in researching and implementing best practices in dealing with any kind of emergency on campus.

Campus Resources
In the event of an emergency at San José State, information will be provided for students, faculty and staff on our emergency hotline, 408-924-SJSU, as well as on our SJSU Web site home page,, and via broadcast e-mail. Our Emergency Information Web site at includes detailed information for faculty, staff and students on what to do in the event of an emergency. For specific information on crimes in progress, see

Breaking News - No New Spartan Stadium

I just learned from Larry Carr at San Jose State, that there will be no new stadium. Here is the article I wrote really quick for the Spartan Daily:

After months of negotiations, plans for a new combined Major League Soccer / San Jose State University football stadium have fallen through.

Larry Carr, the associate vice president for government and community relations said today that President Don Kassing and developer Lew Wolff realized today that the stadium plan was not going to work.

"They agreed this afternoon that they are not going to reach a deal that was going to work," Carr said.

According to Carr, the problem was in potential revenue sharing for the facility.

The proposed stadium would have been built on university land adjacent to the existing Spartan Stadium.

Wolff, who is also a part owner of the Oakland Athletics, proposed to pay for the stadium with funds made through the development of property in the Edenvale area of south San Jose, according to a report released by the City of San Jose on Monday.

Carr said that the university was concerned about the joint use of the facility based on its experience with the old Earthquake soccer team that played at Spartan Stadium before being moved to Houston.

Wolff negotiated the rights to open a new soccer team in the Bay Area, also to be named the Earthquakes.

Wolff told the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week that he would prefer for the team to be in San Jose, but it does not have to be.

"My absolute preference is to do it in San Jose," Wolff said. "And my second preference is that if we do it in San Jose, it would be fun to do it with the university.

"If for some reason we can't do it with them, I'd still like to do it in San Jose. But our option is for the entire Bay Area."

The Mercury News also reported that Wolff has been in preliminary negotiations to build a stadium in Placer County, outside of Sacramento.

Carr said that this does not end the university's plans to continue to improve the South Campus area. The university has been in talks with the city about how to improve the area, including nearby Municipal Stadium and Kelley Park, since before Wolff approached the school with a plan for a new stadium.

"We will go back to those discussions with the city about South Campus," Carr said. "In regards to the stadium, we are staying in Spartan Stadium. …

"We will always look for ways to improve where we are, but we still have a facility to play in."

Update (6:43 p.m.): The article is finally on the Daily Web site (here). The Merc also has the story. I got the phone call at 5:07, My story was done and to my editors at 5:33. The Merc had their story posted at 5:59, the Daily did not get it online until about 6:40. (I am not sure exactly, but I was watching for it and that is when I finally saw it.) My original post here was at 6:13, only because I was already late for class, the Daily came first.

Update 2 (7:02): The Merc's college sports blog has a post here about the deal. Interesting to see people's comments, some for the new stadium and others against. I think this is a huge lost opportunity for the school, city and the community. Kassing is a businessman. He will not do anything unless the money is right. Maybe time will prove him right, but the way things are now, I think we are missing out.

Here is a discussion from San Jose Earthquakes soccer supporters (and blog here). Look how fast this is being talked about all over the 'net. Too bad it happened late on a Thursday so that most students will not be on campus to hear about it until Monday.

Day of Service

Tomorrow is SJSU's first annual Day of Service, as described in my article in today's Spartan Daily. I will be going and reporting how things go for Monday's paper. I have always been a fan of community service and volunteer work, mostly because of the example of my parents and my years as a Boy Scout. Unfortunately, I have not been taking much time out of everything else to serve lately as much as I did while in high school. Hopefully this will get me to do more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

History of teaching

My story today is about the symposium yesterday at SJSU about the past, present and future of teaching. It was actually a lot more interesting than it sounds, especially the part about technology changing the classroom. The best quote:

"If we really look at our 150 years, for 140 of them, things didn't change and the students didn't change," said Stephen Kay, an assistant professor in the educational leadership department. "But now in the last decade, we've seen some major changes with the things that are going on with our students."
He is right. Kay also said that the reason that teaching needs to catch up with technology changes is not because it improves education or teaching, it is because the students are using technology whether or not the teachers are. The students, he said, expect their teachers to be on top of things. Right now, they are failing.
"Rip Van Winkle, if he woke up today and he went out and surveyed the world, he would see some amazing things… ," Kay said, mentioning iPods, pacemakers and hand-held devices. "If he walked into my classroom, what would he say? 'Blackboard! Been there, done that, understand. I'll sit right here and be happy.' "
Unfortunately, it is true at all levels of our educational system, from kindergarten to the university.

STEM Meeting today!

Just a reminder that there is a STEM meeting today!

From Drew:

Don't forget to attend STEM's meeting today. Burke Shartsis of Axis Design Studios will be going over the basics of flash - a must have tool for future journalists looking for a leg up on the competition coming out of college.

STEM will be meeting today, as every Wednesday, at the Academic Success Center (formerly Clark Hall) at 4:30 PM in Room 116.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech & Spartan Stadium

I thought that the Spartan Daily did a good job covering yesterday's shootings at Virginia Tech. Obviously I am biased in my opinion since I am on the staff, but David did a great job getting a story together quickly. I also really liked Lindsay's column. She did a good job expressing what many of us are feeling.

My article today is not about the shootings, but is an update on the proposed combined soccer/football stadium to replace Spartan Stadium. (Here is my last post on the same topic). The report just released by the city did not really say anything new, but it made many of the Mercury News' information official. It was hard to write the story so quickly and get a hold of all of the important people at the city, but it all came together at the last minute.

Monday, April 16, 2007

College coverage of breaking news

Today's big news is of course the shooting at Virginia Tech. Scary stuff, especially those of us that are college students and worry that our campus could be next.

Innovation in College Media has been doing updates of the coverage.

The Virginia Tech's student newspaper Web site has done a great job with breaking updates throughout the day.
It is simple and easy to do, but it gets the important info out fast. Good job. One of the first stories that I read but can not find now said that students were locked down in their rooms and going to the Internet to find out what was going on. They also have a nice flash photo feature:

The school's Web site has also done a good job at distributing news. That is kind of surprising. Maybe I am used to schools being slow to use and update technology.

Nobel winner speaks at SJSU

Here is my article in today's Daily. It was neat to hear a Nobel Memorial Prize winner speak, but he was way over my head. Even the economics majors there said they did not understand a lot of it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

SJSU stadium deal in the works

My article in today's Spartan Daily is about the new SJSU/Earthquakes Stadium proposed for South Campus. I think it is one of my better articles. I will continue to follow the topic both for the Daily and for this blog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Squeezing the middle class

The Argus (I just moved to Fremont, so I am trying to follow my local paper, but their Web site is not the greatest) has an editorial about the continued UC and CSU fee increases. It is old news, and I know I keep talking about this, but I think it is important and I wonder why no one else is saying much. The Argus has a really good point:

It's time to stop squeezing the students and their families, with the middle class taking the brunt. We can't keep raising fees without a negative impact. The higher we raise student fees, the greater the chance we lose these students either to other states or they fall out of the college system altogether. Either way, another great future citizen is gone, and we all lose because of that.
We really are destroying the middle class in California. The high cost of living makes it impossible to stay here. I love the Bay Area and have no desire to leave, but I don't know if I will be able to stay. I have been very lucky that I have been able to pay for school without getting into debt, but it has not been easy, and I have missed out on some of the things I would have liked to have done. SJSU has come a long way to overcome its commuter school label, but now we are going backwards.

Sesquicentennial Concert

It has been pretty quiet in the SJSU blog world. I have been guilty too. I guess it is just that point in the semester.

Yesterday's Spartan Daily included my article about the Sesquicentennial concert. It was really good. It was neat to rub shoulders with some of the most influential people in San Jose. Personally, Opera is not my thing, but the concert was still really good. The Symphony was fantastic.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quote of the Day

As soon as I heard her say it, I had to post it:

"Um, hinie does not appear to be a word."

It was our fantastic madam president (of STEM) Jess Drnek.

Yes Jess, hinie is a word.

I'm back, and goin' to a concert

I'm back from an extended spring break. I had an article in today's Spartan Daily about the Sesquicentennial concert tonight at the California Theater. I am really excited to go. I will let you know how it goes (and of course, it will be in the Daily).

You can see which days I did not check my RSS feeds:

Now I am still trying to catch up. You can check out my link blog for the articles I think are interesting. The most recent ten items also show up on the left of this page.