October 8, 2014

SVSU names John Decker as Associate VP and General Counsel

Saginaw Valley State University has appointed attorney John Decker to the newly created position of associate vice president and general counsel.  Decker comes to SVSU from the law firm Braun Kendrick, where he was a partner and had worked for 34 years, including 12 years as managing partner.

“We conducted a national search and determined that John's impressive legal experience and long-term commitment to SVSU made him an ideal candidate for this role,” said Jim Muladore, SVSU executive vice president for administration and business affairs. “Given the ever increasing complexity of university operations, I am confident SVSU will benefit greatly from John's skills and experience.”

Decker has represented SVSU on numerous legal matters over the years, and in recent years served as outside general counsel. In addition to his legal duties, he is expected to oversee SVSU’s University Police and Human Resources departments.

Since 2002, Decker has served on the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors, including a term as chair. His community involvement also includes serving as chair of the leadership program steering committee for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance.

“Through my work with the Alliance over the past several years, I have come to more fully understand and appreciate what an asset SVSU is to the region,” Decker said. “That’s one reason I’m very excited about this opportunity to become part of the SVSU team.”

Decker completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska and a law degree at Duke University. His wife Sally is a professor of nursing at SVSU.  Decker is expected to start at SVSU in November.

October 7, 2014

SVSU student impresses Quicken Loans CEO during internship

Rosalie Stackpole knows how to seize opportunity. As one of 1,000 summer interns for Quicken Loans, she was determined to seek out new challenges.

“I went in with the attitude that I’m here for a reason,” Stackpole said. “I would speak up at meetings.”

Only a few weeks into the summer, Stackpole received a rare opportunity for an intern: she was part of a team that prepared a marketing campaign proposal they presented directly to Quicken’s CEO.

“I was intimidated at first,” she said.

Anxiety was replaced with confidence – and a lot of assignments – after Stackpole’s team saw their idea endorsed, impressing the company’s leader.

“It was a real pleasure having Rosalie with us this summer,” said Jay Farner, president and CEO of Quicken Loans. “Her enthusiasm and passion is a great representation of the exceptional work we’ve seen from our interns, and we are thrilled to have had as big an impact on her as she has had on Quicken Loans.”

Stackpole made such an impression that Quicken asked her to recruit other SVSU students with the intelligence and work ethic she displayed. While completing her marketing degree, Stackpole remains on the payroll as a campus ambassador, and she is organizing a bus trip for 50 students to visit Quicken headquarters Friday, Oct. 10.

“I tried to sell SVSU while I was there,” she explained. “I’m a Cardinal. That’s what we do.”

In addition to introducing around 1,000 interns to the company each year, Quicken also seeks to sell them on the revival of Detroit.

“It worked on me,” Stackpole said.

Born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Trenton, Stackpole’s parents had reservations about their daughter working in downtown Detroit, but she assured them that their fears were unfounded.

“I walked from Cobo Hall every day and I felt completely safe,” she said. “Quicken expects their interns to work hard and put in long hours, but they also want you to enjoy Detroit.”

Stackpole participated in the “Live Downtown” games, where several companies sponsor employees to compete in socially responsible contests.  She was part of a team that raced to see who would be the fastest to fill 500 emergency baskets for the American Red Cross; they won.

“We have actual gold medals,” Stackpole said.

On pace to graduate with her SVSU business degree next May, Stackpole was selected for SVSU’s Vitito Global Business Leadership Institute, an 18-month leadership development program with international travel for SVSU business students. She also remains heavily involved on campus as a manager for the women’s basketball team and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

Stackpole hopes her current assignment with Quicken leads to an opportunity to work for the company full-time.

“I learned a lot about mortgages,” she said, “and I fell in love with Quicken Loans.”‌‌

October 7, 2014

Dow Corning Foundation and SVSU power Midland H.H. Dow student STEM initiative

The sun isn't the only factor powering Ellen Lavigne's interest in solar energy. With the help of Saginaw Valley State University and the Dow Corning Foundation, the junior at Midland's H.H. Dow High School is working to build a miniature solar-powered car.

“It's been really fun to see how different cars work and to see how different designs work,” said Lavigne, who already is contemplating a career in an alternative energy-related field. “I like the idea of geo-thermal solar energy and creating energy from natural resources.”
 
Lavigne is one of 90 students at her school benefiting from the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU STEM Community Partnership. The initiative - which currently involves schools in Saginaw, Bay, Midland and Tuscola counties - is aimed at piquing K-12 students' interests in STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
 
Early on, that aim seems to be working on teenagers such as Lavigne and Stephanie Carras, two students in H.H. Dow teacher Thomas McNamara's fourth-hour physics class.
 
Carras, a sophomore, called the class coursework “really cool.”
 
“There's a lot of hands-on work,” she said. “That's been fun.”
 
One of 13 teachers from the Great Lakes Bay Region selected to receive both STEM education-based training and funding this year, McNamara has tasked his students with projects inspired by the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU partnership. The alternative energy vehicle design is the first of many projects planned in his new curriculum.
 
 “I'm really excited about this whole project,” the 27-year veteran teacher said of the STEM partnership. “The students all have more ownership of the science.”
 
 The STEM initiative has funded the purchase of equipment used to build the cars as well as high-tech motion sensors that allow the students to track the science that makes these vehicles move. A year ago, McNamara's class instead was studying already-built fan-powered miniature cars, using more dated equipment to study the physics.
 
 McNamara's new class project lineup later in the year will task pupils with designing and building musical instruments and wind turbines. Assignments will address the concepts of energy transfer, sound resonance and kinematics, which is the study of mechanics.
 
McNamara will work together with Tami Sivy, SVSU associate professor of chemistry, over the next year in order to carry out the project. Each teacher involved in the program worked with SVSU faculty as part of the partnership, which was funded by a $254,000 Dow Corning Foundation grant.
 
The program was initiated in part because of exam results indicating a majority of local high school students are not considered college-ready in the STEM fields despite the growing emergence of job opportunities in related industries within the region.
 
McNamara said, early on in the school year, the STEM partnership is paying off in his classroom.
 
“It's allowed me to step back and look at how I'm teaching the kids, and consider what would make them want to learn more about STEM.”

October 6, 2014

Clarinetist Kip Franklin to perform in recital at SVSU

Clarinetist Kip Franklin will be joined in concert by clarinetist Sandra Jackson and pianist Garik Pederson Saturday, Oct. 11, as part of the second annual Clarinet Day and Artist Recital at Saginaw Valley State University. The concert begins at 6 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall; it is free and open to the public.

The program includes music by composers such as German composer J.S. Bach, French composer Claude Debussy and Czech composer Franz Krommer.

An SVSU adjunct professor of clarinet, Franklin was recently a featured presenter at the International Clarinet Association Convention in Baton Rouge, La. He won the 2011 state-level Music Teacher's National Association Young Artist and Chamber Music division.

Franklin is also member of the Fresco Winds woodwind quintet and has performed at the Fischoff National Camber Music Competition in 2011 and 2012.

Jackson is an assistant professor of clarinet at Eastern Michigan University. She was recently a featured soloist at the Bach Festival in Lexington, Mich. Jackson maintains a private studio of clarinet students and is a founding member of the Lakeview Chamber Ensemble in Chicago.

Pederson is a professor of piano at Eastern Michigan University and the president of the Michigan Music Teachers Association. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, Central America, Taiwan and the Philippine Islands.

For more information on the concert, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at music@svsu.edu or (989) 964-4159.

October 6, 2014

SVSU Hosts ‘Cardboard City’ to Raise Awareness of Homelessness

Monday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m. to morning
SVSU courtyard

Saginaw Valley State University's Student Life Center will host an event to raise awareness about homelessness for World Habitat Day Monday, Oct. 6.

During the “Cardboard City” event, students will construct their own cardboard houses and sleep overnight in the campus courtyard. Students will also raise funds for the Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity affiliate and participate in activities from 6-10 p.m. At 10 p.m., students will watch a documentary, "Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home," and reflect on the film.

About 50 students are anticipated to participate in the event. All participants must bring a non-perishable food item to donate to a local food pantry.

Pictures from the event will be posted to social media using #SVCardboardCity.

October 6, 2014

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

By Jennifer Paradise

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. At the end of the month, we have an FBI specialist coming to campus to talk about cyber security and how to keep yourself safe with technology. The presentation will be

Tuesday, October 28

from 1-2pm

in the Ott Auditorium

The entire campus community is invited to attend this interesting and informative event. We hope to see you there!

Leading up to the presentation, we will be posting articles in the ITS Newsroom and on the mySVSU Portal about technology-related security issues and how to protect yourself. Technology is such a big part of our lives now that we often don't think twice about what we are really doing when we install a new app or use a wireless network.

So what can you do this month to be a better cyber citizen? Keep an eye out for technology announcements and plan on attending the presentation on cyber security!

Flyer advertising the Cyber Security Presentation coming to campus on Tuesday, October 28 from 1-2pm in the Ott Auditorium.

Print and post the Cyber Security Presentation Flyer (134kB) in your office.

October 3, 2014

SVSU student from Petoskey turns Credit Union internship into full-time job

Cara Deschermeier can be described in many ways. Wife, Saginaw Valley State University student, musician, events coordinator, dancer, leader. Soon, working professional will be added to the list.

The Petoskey native has accepted a full-time position as a junior instructional designer at United Federal Credit Union's headquarters in the southwestern Michigan community of St. Joseph. She plans to begin the job once she graduates from SVSU with a bachelor's degree in communication in May 2015.

Nabbing a full-time job before graduation is a rare accomplishment for any college undergrad. Deschermeier said she was able to secure the post because of the impression she made at the credit union this summer, when she worked as an intern.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I loved my boss and my team, and I can't wait to go back."

The 2010 Petoskey High School graduate said the opportunity arose in part thanks to SVSU's Career Services office, whose staff connected her with the credit union when it posted an opening for the internship earlier this year.

"I might not have even looked at the opening without them," she said.

When she begins the new job, Deschermeier said she expects to inhabit many of the same responsibilities that helped catch the company's attention when she was an intern.

This summer, she helped build online learning courses for the company's new employees. The role involved a lot of planning, writing, graphic design and web design work. Before beginning her internship, Deschermeier considered herself a novice when it came to graphic and web design. Learning new skills, though, became part of the job's appeal.

"I learned so, so much," she said. "I can't wait to go back and learn more."

Cindy Swigert, chief human resources officer at United Federal Credit Union, said Deschermeier during her internship displayed "a well-developed learning agility" that impressed supervisors enough that they extended the full-time offer.

"What we're looking for are folks who are able to learn on the fly, who are resourceful, because so much is changing all the time," Swigert said. "Her ability to digest new information and respond to it and use it is what we were looking for."

Despite her eagerness to return to St. Joseph, Deschermeier plans to enjoy her final academic year; she has SVSU in her DNA.

Her mother, Karen Mazzoline, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the school. Deschermeier herself started out as a music education major during her freshman year - she is trained as both a vocalist and flutist - but changed her tune eventually to the communication degree program.

"It's taught me a lot," she said of the program. "It's amazing to sit down and think about what's going on around the world, and how we communicate through technology."

Deschermeier is involved in a number of extracurricular programs. She works in the Student Life Center office, where she serves as coordinator of the after-hours campus event planning group, Valley Nights. She also is president of ENCORE, an SVSU student organization that coordinates singing- and dancing-geared events, and is a member of the SVSU branch of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association's honor society at 4-year colleges and universities.

Deschermeier said her entire collegiate experience has prepared her for her next role at United Federal Credit Union ... and beyond.

"This has put me in a great situation," she said.

October 3, 2014

SVSU Literacy Center offers fall clinics

Saginaw Valley State University's Literacy Center is offering reading, writing and math tutoring for students from kindergarten age to adult learners.

The clinics takes place Monday, Oct. 20 through February 2 at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Mondays in the Literacy Center, located in SVSU's Gilbertson Hall, formerly known as the Regional Education Center. The cost is $350 per clinic for thirteen 50-minute sessions as well as pre- and post- assessments.

Students must complete a 1-hour assessment prior to the clinic to determine their strengths and needs in reading, writing or math. Assessments for fall 2014 are scheduled Monday, Oct. 6 and Monday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Contact Laurie Ann Haney, assistant director of the Literacy Center, at (989) 964-4982 or lahaney@svsu.edu to schedule an assessment.

All clinic tutors hold master's degrees in literacy, certification in reading recovery and/or the appropriate degree in a related field. They use a research-based tutoring system to design individualized lessons and use data-driven instruction correlating with state standards. Tutors work collaboratively with parents and guardians.

Tutoring occurs in a state-of-the-art facility that fosters motivation for reading and utilizes the latest technology. All tutoring is directed by Haney and Gretchen Owocki, SVSU professor of teacher education.

For more information, visit www.svsu.edu/literacycenter.

October 3, 2014

SVSU named Military Friendly for 4th straight year

Saginaw Valley State University’s commitment to veterans and military personnel has been recognized by being named to the Military Friendly® list of schools for the fourth consecutive year. Selected by Victory Media, the list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans, spouses and dependents as students, and ensure their success on campus.

“We are proud of SVSU's continued inclusion on this list and fully expect to keep improving as the University’s already immense support of our department grows even stronger,” said Denise Berry, director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is in its sixth year. Military Friendly provides service members and veterans data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

The methodology for making the list has changed the student veteran landscape to one more transparent and has played a significant role in recording and advancing best practices to support military students across the country. The survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students and is free of charge to more than 8,000 schools approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

“We have worked very hard to provide the types of programs and services our military students need and deserve,” Berry said.

For more information about SVSU's commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit SVSU's Military Student Affairs website at www.svsu.edu/militarystudentaffairs.

The Military Friendly® Schools media and website, found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences.  

Victory Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 2001. Victory's free, data-driven, Military Friendly ® lists can be found online. Victory's lists are also published in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, Vetrepreneur magazines, republished in national and local periodicals and are frequently cited on national and local TV stations.

October 3, 2014

SVSU’s Carolyn Wierda to discuss worldwide education trends in annual Rush Lecture

The delivery of education near and far will be examined by Carolyn Wierda when she gives the 2014 Rush Lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall. An executive-in-residence and interim associate dean in the College of Education, Wierda’s talk is titled, “From Other Hemispheres to Our Home: National, State and Local K-12 Educational Trends.”

As co-director of SVSU’s Gerstacker Fellowship, a leadership development program for K-12 educators, Wierda has traveled to visit classrooms in China, Finland and elsewhere. This fall, she is leading a project that will bring 24 education students from China’s Shanghai Normal University – which prepares 85 percent of teachers for that city of 24 million – to campus. They will participate in a week-long exchange with SVSU education faculty, and will be paired with teachers from the Saginaw Township and Swan Valley school districts for field experience.

Prior to SVSU, Wierda enjoyed a distinguished career in K-12 education.  Following five years as a classroom teacher in Ohio and Michigan, she served as an elementary school principal for a combined 11 years in Merrill and Saginaw Township schools before moving into other administrative roles.  

After serving as an assistant superintendent for Saginaw Township and Bay City Public Schools, Wierda concluded her K-12 career as superintendent in Bay City, a post she held for five years. She currently serves as chair of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance’s education council and is one of three leaders for its STEM Impact Initiative.

Wierda completed a bachelor’s degree at Bucknell University, a master’s degree at Michigan State University, and additional graduate course work at SVSU.

The Rush Lectureship recognizes and rewards SVSU faculty and staff who, by their creation or development of significant scholarly or artistic work, have distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the University.

Thomas and Hilda Rush of Midland created the Rush Endowment as part of SVSU's Campaign for Distinction.  Thomas Rush served on the Board of Control from 1991 to 2000.  A retired orthopedic surgeon who served in several leadership roles as a physician in Midland, he also was a member of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.

Hilda Rush has had a long and distinguished career as a professional office and business manager in the health care field.  She was a founding member of the Midland Practice Managers' Association and the Michigan Orthopaedic Group Management Association.