Interim Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Online Initiatives Appointment

Sent: May 4, 2021

Dear Colleagues,
I am excited to announce that Dr. Ron Rogers will be joining the Office of the Provost as the Interim Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Online Initiatives, effective May 1. This new role will focus on supporting departments and colleges interested in expanding access to SJSU through the development of online and hybrid degrees, certificates, minors, and credentials. Expanding access to SJSU will involve focusing our attention on the significant number of Californians with some college experience but no degree, reconnecting with students who left SJSU without finishing their degree, and opening our doors more widely to the adult learner community. This effort needs a leader who can support these conversations and facilitate the creation of an organizational structure that supports faculty and staff as they pursue the development of alternative degree pathways. 
As many of you know, Ron has been a faculty member at SJSU since 1999, having joined the faculty after earning degrees in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz (B.A.) and Rutgers (M.A, Ph.D.). In his time at SJSU, he has risen to the rank of full professor, and served as Department Chair in Psychology and Associate Dean in the College of Social Sciences. His research has focused on learning and memory, with a particularly interest in the “cellular mechanisms of neuroplasticity.” Over the years, Ron has developed a passion for teaching and learning and alternative pedagogical strategies. When I first arrived, Ron demonstrated a strong interest in expanding the access mission of SJSU to degree completion students and adult learners who might otherwise find themselves subject to for-profit education or out-of-state institutions with much higher price points than SJSU. His passion for creating strong student support structures and high quality educational experiences has impressed me and many of his colleagues. 
SJSU is a beacon of hope for thousands of students. It creates that beacon through its twin missions of access and success. In the rapidly changing world of higher education, we have to think more creatively about how to increase access to the amazingly high quality education that is SJSU. We have to challenge the orthodoxy that online and hybrid educational programs are of “lesser quality” and create space for a diverse group of students who might live right around the corner but whose life experiences does not provide them the ability to complete a degree physically on campus. I believe we can do this while maintaining our commitment to equity and inclusion. We can, for example, create tuition structures that keep costs down and manageable (comparable to the costs stateside students face now). We are not here to “make money.” We are here to educate students. Developing new access points does not replace what we already do at SJSU. It complements it. 
I look forward to generating more conversation about the opportunities we can create for students on this campus. I am very excited that Ron has agreed to join the Office of the Provost in this interim role. Please join me in thanking him. I know he is excited to get started.