Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, December 3, 2007 Vol. 8, No. 6


Table of contents

NASA Ames grant keeps SCU onboard satellite program
Save the date for the University's Holiday Party!
SLURP pilot project takes off
Biologist, neuroscientist, and nature writer Robert Sapolsky to speak
Applying the creative process to social justice
Operation: Care and Comfort in action
What is fyi?

 


NASA Ames grant keeps SCU onboard satellite program
SCU students work with NASA
SCU students’ work with NASA satellite program has led to a grant of nearly $3 million.

Recognizing the important role played by Santa Clara University in its small spacecraft program, NASA Ames has awarded nearly $3 million in grants to the School of Engineering. The money, to be disbursed over the next three years, represents a commitment by NASA to continue a partnership it began with the University in 2004.

“They know we’re going to be working with them for quite a while,” said Christopher Kitts, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the SCU’s Robotics Systems Laboratory. “In essence, NASA has made a long term commitment to keep us as part of the satellite team.”

Three years ago, students at SCU began developing the command and control systems for NASA’s GeneSat-1 satellite and made significant contributions to its design and testing. After it launched late last year, NASA, in an unprecedented move, handed complete control of the satellite’s mission operations to the students. And now, SCU engineering students and faculty members are working with the research facility on PharmaSat, a biology project that will study drug interaction in space, using small satellite technology.

“A good chunk of the funding we’ll be getting from NASA will go toward personnel costs,” explained Kitts. “There are a lot of people working on PharmaSat—these are hugely talented staff members, graduate and other students, who are a major element of the satellite program.”

PharmaSat is scheduled to launch next summer. Once the satellite is in space, the ground team, composed of government, industry and academic partners, will continually monitor it and run it through a scientific experiment.

NASA’s $2,747,336 grant to SCU ensures a continuity of funding and allows the University to maintain its participation in the satellite program. The money is specifically earmarked for the “development of small spacecraft and payload design, test, and operations,” said Kitts.

 

Save the date for the University Holiday Party!

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.

 

SLURP pilot project takes off
SLURP students
SLURP members Rochelle Stowe and Liza Dadiomov participate in a recent Sustainability Day event.

Is bottled water really healthier than tap water? And does it taste better than filtered water? SLURP aims to find out.

Students engaged in the Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project (SLURP) are targeting several environmental issues related to life at SCU and turning their studies into constructive research projects that can be used to improve the sustainability on campus.

Inaugurated this year as a pilot program, SLURP brings together upper- and lower-division students who are committed to putting eco-friendly ideas into action. SLURP headquarters is the seventh floor of Swig Residence Hall, where the residents have built a tight-knit community within the CyPhi RLC.

“It’s exciting to walk through the building to the seventh floor and feel the energy that is there,” said John Farnsworth, who holds a joint appointment in the environmental studies and English departments and directs SLURP with another English professor, Sherry Booth. SLURP is jointly sponsored by the Environmental Studies Institute and the RLC program.

Last spring, Farnsworth approached the Earth Club and floated the idea of a floor-based community that would develop a culture of sustainability in a residential situation. At first, he said, upperclassmen weren’t wild about moving back into a residence hall, especially one normally inhabited by freshmen. “They saw it as having to make a sacrifice,” explained Farnsworth, “but because they believe so strongly in sustainability, they were ultimately willing to do it.”

To make the living arrangements more palatable for seniors, 10 double rooms were converted to singles and reserved for upper-division students. “Now, they love being a part of it,” said Farnsworth, “and they’ve formed a neat community.” The residents share weekly dinners and make a point of doing things that help them live more sustainably—such as recycling, conserving energy and cooking food from local farmers’ markets.

Farnsworth noted that there are advantages mixing older students with younger ones. “They balance each other out; the seniors are a calming influence on the freshmen—the freshmen inspire the seniors with their energy and exuberance.” He stressed the fact that while the University administration fully supported SLURP, it was the students who got the program rolling. “Once they bought into the idea, they recruited others—they made it happen.”

Read more.

Biologist, neuroscientist, and nature writer Robert Sapolsky to speak
Robert M. Sapolsky
Robert M. Sapolsky

Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky will speak on behavior, genes, and individuality at SCU on Wednesday, Jan. 16, as part of the President’s Speaker Series. Sapolsky is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and the author of four popular books: A Primate’s Memoir, his account of living with baboons in Africa; Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, about stress and health; and the essay collections The Trouble with Testosterone and Monkeyluv.

Known for bringing clarity and humor to complex scientific subjects, Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, as well as a research associate with the National Museum of Kenya. He has worked for more than two decades as a field biologist in a remote section of the Serengeti. The online journal Salon describes him as “the secret love child of Hunter S. Thompson and Jane Goodall.”

Read more.

Podcast: Listen to Santa Clara Magazine's interview with Robert Sapolsky.

Applying the creative process to social justice

Although the College of Arts and Sciences may have just officially formed the Justice and the Arts Initiative (JAI) in September, it reaffirms and encourages efforts that have been ingrained in the essence of SCU for years, note its co-directors, Carolyn Silberman and Kristin Kusanovich, both faculty members in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Social justice and the arts has been going on for a long time here at Santa Clara in many ways, through many departments,” says Silberman.

By focusing their creative lenses on issues of social importance, artists can forge unique pathways toward an alternative understanding of complex problems through their plays, music, paintings, dances, or other means of expression, hopefully spurring their audiences into action. In another aspect of social justice in the arts, artists can help those in need find their own voices of self-expression by bringing the arts directly to marginalized communities.

JAI’s goal, explains Kusanovich, is “to bring artistic works of social justice to a place of higher visibility especially on the campus, so that students, faculty and staff at Santa Clara understand how important the creative process can be in the transformation of critical issues like poverty or unaccompanied immigrant children or any other issue that is of great concern.” The possibilities are endless, the directors say, limited only by the boundaries of imagination.

In mid-November, JAI hosted the premiere screening of Posada, a film about unaccompanied children knocking on America's door, by communications lecturer Mark McGregor, S.J., as well as a roundtable discussion by faculty artists. Next April’s Beatitude Mass is a joint project between the JAI, the Center of Performing Arts, and the music department. All creative labor is being donated, with all proceeds going to the homeless.

The plan is for the Initiative to continue fostering the creative process by sponsoring more roundtable discussions each year, continuing the relationship with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), assisting with a social justice and the arts trip to El Salvador for students and faculty, and other projects yet to be determined.

“Our hope is for the Initiative to be a gathering place of inspiration which will activate positive social change,” Silberman says. “This is a call to action. It isn’t enough to be aware of issues of social justice in society and to leave it there. We would like to pulse and ripple forward and bring about positive social change.”

Operation: Care and Comfort in action
OCC in action.
SCU students Brian Watson, Jeff Millari, and Shem Kim, representing Operation: Care and Comfort, collected more than $8,500 at a San Jose Sharks fundraiser for U.S. troops. In November, the students shipped 20,000 pounds of care packages to the troops. Operation: Care and Comfort is a national volunteer program sponsored by the Red Cross. The students became involved through an English class, Writing for Business.

 

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. www.scu.edu/fyi

 

SCU Events

Second Harvest Food Bank Collection
Through Dec. 5, Interim Library
University Library is sponsoring Food 4 Fines, a program that waives $2 of your library fines for every can of food you drop into collection barrels at the Interim Library. (You don’t need fines to donate food.) Especially needed are: peanut butter, canned meats, tuna, cereal, meals in a can (stew, chili, soup), 100 percent fruit juices and canned foods with pop-top lids.

Planning Your Retirement
Dec. 6, noon, Loyola Hall
In conjunction with TIAA-CREF, Human Resources presents a workshop that offers an overview of retirement plans, along with information on tax-deferred savings, investment strategies and helpful products and services. Contact Moira Srago for information.

More SCU events.

SCU in the News

SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J., was mentioned in Sal Pizarro’s San Jose Mercury News column as the recipient of the Community Builder Award from PACT (People Acting in Community Together).

Barry Posner’s (Dean, Leavey School of Business) fourth edition of his book (co-written with James Kouzes) Leadership Challenge was spotlighted in the current issue of Biz Ed. The publication called the book a “classic,” mentioning new research that supports conclusions presented nearly 25 years ago.

Stephen Diamond (law) was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News article about Calpine’s stock plunge and the impact on its bankruptcy reorganization.

Michael Kevane (economics) weighed in on the credibility of Angelina Jolie’s opinions on economic issues in a recent issue of Us magazine.

Tom Beaudoin (religious studies) was quoted in USA Today for a story about the number of web sites offering a public forum for people to confess their sins.

More SCU in the news.

SCU People

Cheng-Hsien Tsai, an associate professor from the department of risk management and insurance at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, is visiting SCU as a Fulbright Scholar until August 2008, conducting research on the fair value of risk and life insurance policies.

Grants, awards, and publications

Kirk Hanson (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) received a lifetime achievement award from the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education in New York on Nov. 16. The award recognized him as a leader in encouraging American business schools to study corporate social responsibility.

Andy Tsay (OMIS) received the “Teaching Excellence Award” from Peking University for the MBA course he taught there as a visiting professor in June 2007.

Mahmudur Rahman (electrical engineering) co-authored and published a paper in the IOP journal, Nanotechnology, “Effects of cathode structure on the field emission properties of individual multi-walled carbon nanotube emitters.” Writers included graduate students Darrell Niemann and Bryan Ribaya; graduate Norman Gunther; and adjunct research professor Cattien V. Nguyen.

Rachel He (civil engineering) co-authored an article, “Estimating Nationwide Link Speed Distribution using Probe Position Data” that was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems. Another of He’s articles, “Estimation of Origin-Destination Flows and Route Choice Parameters from Incomplete Link Flows,” was published in the Proceedings of the 2007 International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering.

Godfrey Mungal (engineering) co-authored an article, “On the role of oxygen in dielectric barrier discharge actuation of aerodynamic flows,” for Applied Physics Letters.

John C. Hawley (English) represented the University at the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the translation of Euclid's Elements by Matteo Ricci, S.J., and Xu Guangqi at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Catherine Montfort (modern languages and literatures) has been reappointed to the Advisory Board of PCP (Pacific Coast Philology) for a three-year term.

Nam Ling (computer engineering) has been elevated to IEEE Fellow “for contributions to video coding algorithms and architectures.” The prestigious distinction is bestowed upon fewer than 0.1 percent of IEEE members worldwide.

Samiha Mourad (electrical engineering) also has been elevated to IEEE Fellow “for contributions to fault modeling in digital circuits and systems.”

Edwin Maurer (civil engineering) co-authored an article, “Fine-resolution climate projections enhance regional climate change impact studies,” for Eos Trans, published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Gerdenio “Sonny” Manuel, S.J., (Jesuit Community) was invited to speak on “Advancing Student Learning through Engagement with ‘Real-World’ Problems” at the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Sharing Responsibility for Essential Learning Outcomes Conference, in Savannah, Ga.

Vicki Huebner (law) received one of 25 Fulbright awards for Americans participating in the U.S–Germany International Education Administrators Program in Berlin this fall. During the two-week program, she toured five universities in eastern Germany and visited two large companies, discussing changes in higher education.

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