San José State Establishes Silicon Valley Center for Global Innovation and Immigration

San José State University has established a new research and training center focusing on global concerns, especially immigration. The center’s first official act will be sponsoring “Opening the Floodgates: Symposium on Immigration,” at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, rooms 225-229.

The keynote speaker will be Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the University of California Davis School of Law. He recently published the book “Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Laws.” Johnson’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Professor of Social Sciences Shahin Gerami; Assistant Professor of History Glen Gendzel; School of Social Work Lecturer Gil Villagran; and Evergreen Valley College Enlace Program Outreach Coordinator Victor Garza Jr.

Tim Hegstrom, dean of the College of Social Sciences, and Mark Novak, dean and associate vice president for International and Extended Studies, will oversee the center. Hegstrom and Novak expect the unit to make important contributions to Northern California by supporting interdisciplinary research enabling top professors to clarify globalization’s most complex issues. With additional funding from private and public donors, the center’s emphasis on Bay Area immigration will include nonpartisan, empirical studies on such issues as H1B and H2B visas, paths to citizenship, the development of social capital among newcomers, and the impact of immigration on the region’s social and economic welfare.

The center will also examine international social entrepreneurship, global climate change, conflict resolution, language acquisition technology, global cities, and the ethnography of high-tech places. Pilot research is underway on a Bay Area index of global economic links, social capital’s contributions to immigrant health improvements, tourism and HIV/AIDS in India, and electronic commerce in India.

Student engagement in service learning activities and policy papers will complement the research. The center also plans to leverage the rich professional resources of the San José State faculty to offer training for corporate executives preparing to work overseas.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,700 students and 5,000 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.