$1.1 Million Grant

The following is an article published in San Jose State University’s very own Spartan Daily.

$1.1 Million Grant helps a SJSU and Pakistan university globalize
by Jacque Orvis
September 11, 2012

The Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies was awarded a $1.1 million U.S. State Department grant by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, to enhance the distant learning program at Pakistan’s Allama Iqbal Open University last week.

“We’re bringing the world to San Jose,” said Peter Young, director for the center.

Paul Law, the center’s social media coordinator, calls the latest grant “an international mission in distant education” and said the center is important to SJSU’s and the Silicon Valley’s role in globalization.

Located in San Jose State University’s College of International and Extended Studies office in downtown San Jose, the center specializes in globalization education projects such as bringing Pakistani professors to San Jose for teaching seminars, according to Young.

The center also hosts international grant-writing workshops and has a blog with links to internationally-focused Requests for Proposals, a type of casting-call for organizations to apply for available grants, according to Young.

“San Jose State has a long history of being a very diverse university that’s able to successfully integrate a whole bunch of cultures,” Young said. “It’s the go-to university for international engagements.”

According to Young, SJSU’s diverse nature gave it a winning edge for two similar million-dollar grants awarded in the last two years.

In February, SJSU was awarded $1.1 million by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, to fund a three-year contract with the local Balkh University to expand its distant learning program.

“San Jose State administration has been a very good example of effective management in grant proposals,” Young said.

He said he revisited the award pitches that he wrote for two of SJSU’s million-dollar grants to prepare for the one for the center.

“(The U.S. State Department) has lots of money,” Young said, later pointing out the different grant opportunities listed on the center’s website.

“A lot of what goes into a successful grant is a gut feeling of what the people on the other side want to see,” he said.

According Paul Law, the center “beat out” Ball State University, Arizona State University and the University of Massachusetts for the latest grant.

“It’s an international arena, and we’re right up there,” Young said.

In addition to his grant-proposal writing, Young said he integrates his new media curriculum into the center’s operation to get more publicity, aiming for a “new era of approach for globalization.”

For example, the center has an active online presence with 100 US Embassy followers on Twitter, which averages to around 50 views per day on its blog, according to Young.

“It’s the way I can communicate with different people with essentially the same message going out,” he said. “We’re enhancing what we’re already doing at San Jose State.”

“New media technologies make it so much easier (for) professors and students to make worldwide connections, and really make a global studies program work,” said SJSU new media professor Cynthia Fernald.

Furthermore, Young said he plans to apply for another million-dollar grant in November, using techniques in new media to put San Jose on the international map.

“San Jose State has a wealth of faculty with international experience that’s worth tapping. We need to make sure Spartans are well-received and recognized globally.”