Library's Hours:
Wed 09/27 8am - 12am

University Scholar Series

University Scholar Series

Fall 2023 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 hybrid

Please indicate whether you will be attending the event virtually (Zoom) or in person (Room 225, SJSU King Library) when registering.

Dr. Travis D. Boyce

Pragmatic Pessimism in Black Higher Education: The Case of Benner C. Turner

This event has already passed. A recording of the presentation will be shared at a later date. 
Presented by Dr. Travis D. Boyce, Department of African American Studies

Benner C. Turner, the president of South Carolina State College, a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU) was a conservative educator during the Civil Rights Movement, which increasingly demanded activist disobedience from students and faculty. Turner was often accused of authoritarian leadership and of failing to appreciate the significance of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 ruling that effectively made segregation illegal. Yet Turner’s pessimistic understanding of Brown, and his punitive response to student activism, offers an alternate model of academic leadership during times of crisis. His brand of pragmatic pessimism sheds light on some of the issues in Black higher education that we grapple with today, including affirmative action and the recent flux of Black students choosing HBCUs.

Dr. Travis D. Boyce is an associate professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies and SJSU’s Faculty Athletics Representative. His research examines a wide range of issues relating to the African American experience. He is the co-editor of “Historicizing Fear: Ignorance, Vilification, and Othering” (University Press of Colorado, 2020) and the author of the forthcoming book “Steady and Measured: Benner C. Turner, A Black College President in the Jim Crow South” (The University of South Carolina Press, 2023). Dr. Boyce is currently working on his next book project, a biography profiling his late grandfather – Mr. A.J. Whittenberg, Sr. (1913-2001), whose activism led to the desegregation of public schools in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Dr. Yu Chen

AI for Social Good: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate AI Education Project

Wed., Oct. 18, 2023 
Rm. 225, King Library / via Zoom

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Presented by Dr. Yu Chen, School of Information Systems and Technology

Advances in AI hold the potential for further economic and societal impact and quality-of-life improvements. Along with this fast advancement in technology is the need for society to address long-term sustainability goals. Hence, students need to be educated with the knowledge and skills of AI in emerging and rapidly changing fields to become future leaders and innovators for a sustainable society. However, current AI education tends to lack broad multidisciplinary participation, focus on the technical aspects, and lack diversity. The AI for social good (AI4SG) aims to implement and generate evidence-based practices for interdisciplinary, community-engaged, and inclusive AI education.

Dr. Yu Chen is an associate professor at School of Information Systems and Technology at Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. Her research focus is emerging technology education for social good. Dr. Chen leads the multi-university AI for Social Good (AI4SG) education project sponsored by the NSF IUSE program, which has engaged over 1,000 undergraduate students and generated over 200 innovation projects in over 30 classes among three universities. Undergraduate student achievements include awards at CSU Student Research Competitions, entrepreneurship competitions, an incorporated startup, and student-first-authored publications. Dr. Chen also volunteers teaching computer science and AI at K-12 schools.

Dr. Katie Wilkinson

The Muscle Spindle: The Most Important Sensory Organ You’ve Never Heard Of

Wed., Nov. 15, 2023 
Rm. 225, King Library / via Zoom

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Presented by Dr. Katie Wilkinson, Department of Biological Sciences

The muscle spindle senses muscle length and movement. This information is essential for the ability to complete complex motor behaviors and the sense of body and limb position. Many diseases and other conditions impair the function of the muscle spindle and can lead to movement and balance problems. The Wilkinson Lab at San José State University is interested in understanding how the muscle spindle translates muscle stretch into action potentials and what causes it to malfunction. Recent work identifying components of the molecular machinery in the muscle spindle and human genetic diseases that affect muscle spindle function will be discussed.

Katie Wilkinson is a professor of Biological Sciences at San José State University. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego and was a Fellowships in Research and Scientific Teaching (FIRST) postdoctoral fellow at Emory University. She runs a student-centered neurophysiology research lab focused on understanding how muscle stretch information is encoded in the muscle spindle. She is chair of the American Physiological Society’s Science Policy Committee and SJSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and in those roles advocates for the importance of ethical biomedical research.


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

Co-Sponsored By:

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