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University Scholar Series

University Scholar Series

Stay tuned for the Spring 2023 University Scholar Series! 

Fall 2022 University Scholar Series

Hosted by the Office of the Provost, this series provides a unique opportunity

for showcasing the important research and scholarly activities of SJSU faculty members.

Watch Previous Lectures

​​This semester's University Scholar Series will be either hybrid or virtual. If hybrid, please indicate whether you will be attending the event virtually (Zoom) or in person (Room 225, SJSU King Library) when registering. Beginning October 3, masks are no longer required but are still recommended indoors.

Dr. Keenan Norris

The State of the State: Regional Writing About the Past, Present, and Future State of Planet California

Presented by Dr. Keenan Norris, Department of English and Comparative Literature

Watch the Recording

In this presentation, Dr. Norris will discuss his representation of the Oakland/Bay Area and California more broadly in his fiction and non-fiction writing. Norris’ novel The Confession of Copeland Cane (2021) takes place in a near future East Oakland battered by gentrification, environmental degradation, and a draconian police state. Meanwhile, the essays from his collection-in-progress Classroom California looks at the state from San Diego to San José through the lens of our vast community college system. Several essays in this collection have been published individually, including “One Coyote” and “A Complicated Relationship: How California’s Community Colleges Educate Future Police and Why Our Curriculum Needs to Change.” The essay-in-progress “Transparent California” begins from the claim that “California’s community colleges constitute vast, multiperspectival prism on to California” and then takes the reader on a cross-state journey where he meets with college presidents, professors, and students at several community college campuses.

Dr. Keenan Norris (pronouns: he/his) teaches American literature and creative writing at San José State University. His latest novel is The Confession of Copeland Cane. Keenan’s essay “One Coyote” was a finalist for a 2021 National Arts Entertainment Journalism Award. His debut novel Brother and the Dancer won the 2012 James D. Houston Award. In November 2022, Keenan’s collective memoir Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings will be published by Ohio State University Press. His editorials and essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Chronicle, Alta, and LitHub.

Connect with Dr. Norris

Visit my website

Dr. Elisa Mattarelli

Challenges to Collaboration in Knowledge Intensive Work

Presented by Dr. Elisa Mattarelli, School of Management 

This event has already passed and was not recorded. The presentation slides are available for viewing here [PDF].

​​What does collaboration between knowledge intensive workers look like today? Emerging technologies, remote work, and global distribution of talent are changing the ways individuals and teams collaborate to offer knowledge intensive services and to create new products. In this talk, Dr. Mattarelli will draw on her research on virtual teams, crowdsourcing, gig work, and social networks to reflect on recent trends and puzzles related to collaboration in knowledge intensive work.

Dr. Elisa Mattarelli (pronouns: she/her) is a professor at the School of Management at San José State University. Previously, she was Associate Professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. She did a post doctorate at the University of Arizona in 2005 and was a Fulbright visiting professor at Stanford University from 2016-17. Her research interests include team dynamics, identity processes, and collaborative technology use, with a focus on distributed and knowledge intensive organizational contexts.

Connect with Dr. Mattarelli

Visit my SJSU bio

Dr. María C. Ledesma

Framing and Decoding Public Narratives in the Debate Over Race-Conscious Affirmative Action

Presented by Dr. María C. Ledesma, Department of Educational Leadership

Watch the Recording

In this presentation, Dr. Ledesma revisits the importance of decoding public narratives used to describe and explain polemic policies, such as race-conscious affirmative action. For example, she underscores the importance of always placing such policies within an accurate and rich historical context.

Dr. María C. Ledesma (pronouns: she/her) is a first-generation college graduate and a Professor of Educational Leadership and founding Director of the Higher Education Leadership Master's Program at San José State University, where she is also Department Chair. As a critical race scholar, Dr. Ledesma’s research broadly examines the sociology of race-conscious policy in higher education, including contextualizing and historicizing the history and application of race-conscious social policy in higher education and the examination of leadership for social justice. She is also interested in exploring the experiences of faculty of color who identify as first-generation.


Email Project and Communication Manager Lesley Seacrist at

SJSU students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members, are invited to attend.

Co-Sponsored By:

Office of the Provost
SJSU King Library
Spartan Bookstore
Division of Research and Innovation