SJSU’s “Victory Salute” sculpture honors the legacy of the moment that Tommie Smith and John Carlos drew international attention to athlete activism and the core goals of the OPHR.
About Us

San Jose State occupies a unique niche in the history of sport and social change—because of its people. The university is the birthplace of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), a movement led by Harry Edwards that culminated in the iconic protest of Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

The legacy of equity and social justice is a part of SJSU’s DNA. The university was founded on education for all, and providing a voice for those who may otherwise remain silent. The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) honors our legacy and continues the dialogue about athlete activism and the influence of sport in effecting positive social change. As our nation confronts and explores deeply complex social issues, it is critical that we continue to challenge the boundaries of sport and activism. Sport offers the occasion to pose big questions, not just of athletes, but also of ourselves and provide enlightened perspectives.

Words to Action

In January 2017, SJSU launched the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change with a momentous town hall event featuring current and retired athletes and journalists discussing race relations in sport. SJSU’s long history of athletes, coaches and alumni who have blazed new trails and moved from words to action, make our university the natural home for such an institute.


Executive Director

Akilah Carter Francique

Akilah R. Carter-Francique, associate professor African-American Studies at SJSU, serves as the 2018-2019 president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport and co-edited Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past, Present, and Persistence and Critical Race Theory: Black Athletic Experiences in the United States.


Phone:(408) 924-6410

Executive Assistant

Elizabeth (Beth) Doyle

Beth brings over 25 years of experience to the ISSSSC; Many of which were spent with the Federal Reserve Bank during their restructuring. Her passion is being her boss’s “right hand” and by extension, organizing and simplifying the team’s workload by providing the support they need to be more productive.


Phone:(408) 924-2173

Assistant Director

Amy August

Amy August is an assistant professor of Sociology at SJSU. She does cultural sociological research on youth sports, education, and how families choose extracurricular activities. She is currently working on a new project investigating female gymnasts’ activism in the #MeToo movement.


Phone:(408) 924-3626


The institute’s advisory board is comprised of athlete-activists, scholars and executives from SJSU, professional sports and the sports media.
Department Chair, African American Studies

Theodorea Regina Berry

’05 Honorary Doctorate

John Carlos

Carlos is an Olympic medalist in the 200-meter sprint and member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Following the 1968 Olympics, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights, Carlos pursued professional football and later worked for the United States Olympic Committee.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Vincent J. Del Casino Jr.

As SJSU’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. serves as a key member of the university president’s leadership team with primary responsibility for ensuring academic excellence in undergraduate and graduate studies as well as a continual commitment to research, scholarship, and creative activities that benefit all students and society at large.


Phone:(408) 924-2400

’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate

Harry Edwards

Professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, Edwards is author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, Edwards is considered to be the father of the sociology of sport.

Chief Operating Officer, San Francisco 49ers

Al Guido

Al Guido served as the chief operating officer of the San Francisco 49ers, sales manager for the Dallas Cowboys and senior director of ticket sales for the Phoenix Coyotes. He is on the board of City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley and Coach K/Fuqua School of Business.

U.S. Olympic Committee Board Member

Stacey Johnson

NCAA champion fencer and U.S. Olympic Committee Board member Johnson, ’80 Public Relations, led an international campaign to bring equity to woman fencers. The first woman to hold a four-year term as president of U.S.A. Fencing’s National Governing Board, Johnson is now president of Valencia College’s East and Winter Park campuses.

Chief Operating Officer, San Jose Earthquakes

Jared Shawlee

Chief Operating Officer of the San Jose Earthquakes Jared Shawlee previously worked as the Earthquakes’ vice president of sales and strategy and director of corporate partnerships. He is a board member for Joint Venture Silicon Valley and The Silicon Valley Foundation.

’69 Social Science, ’05 Honorary Doctorate

Tommie Smith

Smith won Olympic gold in track and field at the 1968 Mexico City games, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights. He coached track and field at Oberlin College, where he also taught sociology, and later at Santa Monica College.

’95 Journalism

Marc Spears

Senior writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated and chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force, Spears has written for Yahoo Sports, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, The Tulsa World, the Los Angeles Daily News and The Courier-Journal.

’47 Biological Science, ’04 Honorary Doctorate

Yoshihiro Uchida

A legendary judo coach, Uchida built San Jose State’s program into a national powerhouse after serving in a segregated unit in World War II while his own family members were held in internment camps.

SJSU Chief Diversity Officer

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

SJSU Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Wong(Lau) leads the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She previously served as the director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).


The institute’s academic advisory board is comprised of SJSU administrators, faculty and coaches.
SJSU Associate Vice President, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs

Thalia Anagnos

SJSU Associate Vice President of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs Thalia Anagnos is a former engineering professor and 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award. Anagnos helped organize the SJSU Expanding Your Horizons Conference to interest women in STEM fields for more than 20 years.

Associate Professor, Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

William Armaline

William Armaline is director of the Human Rights Program at SJSU. An interdisciplinary scholar, Armaline studies social problems related to political economy, environmental sustainability, race theory and anti-racist action, pedagogy and transformative education, inequality and youths, mass incarceration and the war on drugs.

Assistant Director

Cole Armstrong

Cole Armstrong holds a doctoral degree in sport management from Florida State University. His research focuses on management in sport organizations, sport marketing, and the influence of sport on identity development.

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of African-American Studies

Travis D. Boyce


Phone:(408) 924-5872

Women's Basketball Head Coach

Jamie Craighead

Prior to coming to San Jose State, Jamie Craighead became the youngest head coach in Division I basketball in her role at Sacramento State. As a collegiate player at the University of Oregon, Craighead led the Ducks to the 2002 WNIT championship after three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Assistant Professor, Public Relations

Shaun Fletcher

Shaun Fletcher, ’03 Public Relations, has provided communications strategies for Apple, the Volkswagen Group of America and the Center for Health Futures in Florida. His research includes political discourse and rhetorical analysis, as well as cultural communications within healthcare as it relates to African-American men.

Associate Professor, DNP Program Co-Coordinator

Michelle Hampton

Associate Professor in The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton is a psychiatric-mental health nurse and recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International, Excellence in Nursing Education Award. She helped to implement the San Jose State University Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and currently serves as Program Co-Coordinator.

Dean, College of Social Sciences

Walt Jacobs

Prior to becoming dean of the College of Social Sciences, Walt Jacobs served as a dean and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Jacobs is the author of Speaking the Lower Frequencies: Students and Media Literacy and co-editor of If Classrooms Matter: Progressive Visions of Educational Environments.

Program director, SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Phylis West Johnson

Phylis West Johnson is a researcher and practitioner who studies virtual worlds, augmented reality and virtual reality and their interplay with humanity. The author of five books and more than 100 paper presentations, Johnson is the former editor of the Journal of Radio and Audio Media.

SJSU professor of management

Susanna Khavul

Susanna Khavul’s research focuses on entrepreneurial finance, international entrepreneurship and firm failure. She has previously taught at the University of Texas, Arlington and London Business School. Her articles have appeared in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of Management Studies.

Professor, Social Work

Peter Lee

Peter Lee’s research includes the psychological development and adjustment of Asian Americans and ethnic groups in the child welfare and mental health systems. The co-creator of Social Workers in the Library, Lee served as associate director of CommUniverCity San Jose and director of SJSU’s “UP” Pre-College program.

Professor, Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Amy Leisenring

Amy Leisenring is the faculty director to the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences. Her scholarship explores the sociology of higher education and the way race, gender and class-based inequalities shape students’ experiences. Leisenring teaches in the areas of gender, family and qualitative research methods.

Professor, Mexican American Studies

Marcos Pizarro

Marcos Pizarro coordinates MAESETR@S, a social justice organization that implements a transformative education model with Latinx communities. The co-coordinator of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice, Pizarro is Faculty-in-Residence for Chicanx-Latinx Student Success at SJSU and co-coordinator of Adelante.

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Susan Snycerski

Trained as a behavioral pharmacologist, Susan Snycerski has taught psychology, research methods, human drug use and abuse, mental retardation, behavioral pharmacology and toxicology, American Psychological Association writing workshops, and clinical trials administration. Snycerski has published empirical, theoretical and review papers, as well as book chapters and encyclopedia chapters.

Director, PRIDE & Gender Equity Center

Bonnie Sugiyama


Jules Boykoff, Pacific University

Joseph Cooper, University of Massachusetts Boston

Courtney L. Flowers, Texas Southern University

Brian Gearity, University of Denver

C. Keith Harrison, University of Central Florida

Vikki Krane, Bowling Green State University

David J. Leonard, Washington State University

Kevin Lynch, San Jose State University

Ann Pegoraro, Laurentian University (Canada)

John N. Singer, Texas A&M University

Maureen Smith, California State University, Sacramento

Eli Wolff, Brown University


San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study. SJSU is an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and California, and the region’s top supplier of workforce talent and essential to its future as the world’s center of creativity and innovation.