Saginaw Valley State University students and faculty showcased community-based health-related research projects to representatives from private foundations at the University of Michigan’s “Big House.”
The Council of Michigan Foundations held their 44th annual conference in Ypsilanti for approximately 450 trustees and staff of Michigan foundations September 18-20.
SVSU was among eight universities across Michigan invited to present. The group from SVSU presented information regarding four projects: community needs assessments given to the Midland and Saginaw communities, an intervention focusing on physical activity and dietary behaviors among older adults, a physical activity and dietary intervention focusing on healthy weight gain in pregnant women, as well as an Exercise is Medicine on Campus project at SVSU.
SVSU faculty members provided support and guidance, and students gained valuable experience with key components to the studies.
“The students play a critical role in all of the projects,” said Meghan Baruth, SVSU assistant professor of health science. “They recruit participants, conduct measurements, help run the interventions. They are very involved in all aspects.”
The group from SVSU attended one of the breakout sessions from the conference, a showcase on the evening of Monday, Sept. 19. The event was located in the Roth Clubhouse of the University of Michigan football stadium.
Along with Baruth, four undergraduate students and two faculty members involved with the research presentations:
• Ashley Boggs, an exercise science major from Linden
• Brenna Dressler, a health sciences major from Saginaw
• Holly Simon, an exercise science major from Lyons
• Jessica Walker, a biology major from Freeland
• Samantha Deere, assistant professor of kinesiology
• Becca Schlaff, assistant professor of kinesiology
Not only does the practical research provide students with invaluable experience that will help prepare them for graduate school and their careers, but they help induce real-life change in the communities where the research is conducted, Baruth said.
“The projects are allowing the students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to a real-life setting, and also teaching them how to work with communities and people,” she said. “It’s allowing them to learn many new skills that will benefit them not only in their graduate studies and careers, but as a person as well.”
The Council of Michigan Foundations is an organization comprised of dedicated philanthropists that advocate for the communities they serve, provide learning opportunities for members, and connect local, global and governmental leaders for the collection of resources to support the region.
“SVSU looks forward to opportunities like this to present our student and faculty research to the public,” said Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation. “We were honored to participate and it was even more rewarding to see our students and faculty interact with representatives of private foundations from throughout the state of Michigan.”
The conference is the largest statewide philanthropic conference in the nation and features over 35 breakout sessions focusing on pressing philanthropic issues such as Michigan’s public school system and the Flint water crisis. The theme for the conference, “Think Boldly, Act Urgently,” aligned with SVSU’s health-based projects as students and faculty engaged in critical thinking and then took action in their communities.
For more information regarding the council and its conference, please visit www.michiganfoundations.org/conference.
SVSU to host presentation of “Reaching for Opportunity” report
Monday, Oct. 10
Curtiss Hall, Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw Valley State University will host presentations by John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, and Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network, Monday, Oct. 10.
Austin will share key findings of the Reaching for Opportunity report, which details that Michigan will need 779,000 more citizens with education beyond high school by 2025 to meet the needs of state employers. This will require increasing the proportion of the population with degrees and credentials from its current 46 percent to 60 percent. Current projections call for an additional 232,000 individuals with bachelor’s degrees and an additional 45,000 with graduate degrees over the next decade.
Johnson will share data specific to the Michigan’s Prosperity Region Five, which includes Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties. The full report can be found at http://mitalentgoal2025.org/.
Following Austin and Johnson, several individuals will also share information on what initiatives are in place in the region to meet the region’s education and workforce needs.
The event is by invitation only; some 70 school leaders, business leaders and others have registered to attend. The presentations are open to news media.
The Saginaw Valley State University Theatre Department will stage its production of Martin McDonagh’s classic “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” beginning Wednesday, Oct. 12 in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
The play is set in 1934, when the people of Inishmaan learn Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island to film his documentary “Man of Aran.” No one is more excited than Cripple Billy, an unloved boy whose chief occupation had been gazing at cows and yearning for a girl who wants no part of him. For Billy is determined to cross the sea and audition for the Yank. And as news of his audacity ripples through his rumor-starved community, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” becomes a merciless portrayal of a world so comically cramped and mean-spirited that hope is an affront to its order.
“It’s a very dark comedy; it pokes fun at certain things we wouldn’t normally laugh at,” said David Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre and the production’s director.
The audience can expect to relate to the characters in unexpected ways.
“Often times, it’s the darker side of us that we don’t want to share with everybody else,” Rzeszutek said.
Rzeszutek said he is very excited about the challenges that the students have been embracing.
“The greatest challenge for the actors is the use of the Irish dialect,” he said. “For the first time in our department, we have a dialect coach to assist the students.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Oct. 15; on Sunday, Oct. 16, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. “The Cripple of Inishmaan” features mature language. For more information please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.
The production is the first of three plays planned for the fall semester at SVSU. “A Raisin In The Sun” is scheduled for November and “Christmas of Yesteryear: 1940’s Radio Variety Show” is planned for November and December.
Saginaw Valley State University's Wind Ensemble will perform in concert Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Norman Wika, SVSU assistant professor of music and director of bands, will conduct the ensemble of 29 students. This is Wika’s first year as director, as he replaces Bill Wollner, who retired in May after serving in that role for 34 years.
The concert will feature selections including “Shepard’s Hey” by Percy Grainer, “Give Us This Day” by David Maslanka, and “The Fairest of the Fair” by John Philip Sousa.
For more information, contact Wika at email@example.com or the SVSU Department of Music at 989-964-4159.
Saginaw Valley State University will host decorated poet Marcus Wicker on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. in SVSU’s Founders Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review. His second book, “Silencer,” is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.
Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Fine Arts Work Center. His previous collection “Maybe the Saddest Thing,” a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.
Born in Ann Arbor and a Michigan native, Wicker is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review and serves as director of the New Harmony Writers Workshop. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern Indiana.
This event is sponsored by SVSU’s Voices in the Valley Reading Series. For more information, contact Arra Ross, SVSU associate professor of English, at (989) 964-4032.
Saginaw Valley State University will host a university-wide Employment and Networking Fair to show support for students, alumni, and employers from the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond. The event is open to the public and will take place Friday, Oct. 7, from noon to 3 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet and seminar rooms on SVSU's campus.
With more than 120 businesses and organizations participating, job seekers looking for full-time or part-time employment, co-ops or internships will have the opportunity to meet with employers from all industry sectors.
Event sponsors include Aerotek, Amigo Mobility, Birch Run Premium Outlets, Morley Companies, Nexteer Automotive, Rehmann, Saginaw Bay Underwriters, Walmart and Verizon Wireless.
Engaging with prospective employees face to face is important to employers. Among employers who participated in one or more SVSU job fair last year, 84 percent reported that they followed up with at least one candidate, and 57 percent made a job offer to at least one candidate they met at a fair.
A full list of employers for Friday’s event can be found at svsu.edu/careers.
All candidates seeking employment should dress professionally and have a resume on hand so employers may view it upon request.
As an added benefit, all attendees will be provided with the opportunity to have a free portrait photo taken for their LinkedIn profile during the Employment and Networking Fair, courtesy of Dynamic Focus Photography.
Students and alumni who RSVP through Cardinal Career Network will receive a printed nametag and they will also be the first admitted into the event. More information on how to pre-register can be found at svsu.edu/careers.
The Saginaw branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People honored several members of Saginaw Valley State University’s faculty, staff and alumni.
At the organization’s 46th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet Sunday, Sept. 25 at Saginaw Township’s Horizons Conference Center, the Saginaw branch of the NAACP honored 16 individuals for the 2016 Achievement Recognition Awards. The honor highlights individuals for outstanding career and professional achievements, as well as their contributions to others in support of social justice and equality.
Of the 16 people honored, nine had SVSU ties. Among the alumni recipients were:
• Lawrence Crawford Jr., of Diversity Vuteq
• Smriti Pant, a nurse practitioner at Saginaw-based Health Delivery, Inc.
• Christopher and Kenyatta Pryor, of Saginaw-based Victorious Believers Ministries
• Myiesha Smith, of Nexteer Automotive
• Samuel Tilmon, regional sales manager at Saginaw-based Duro-Last Roofing
• Manvel Trice III, recently appointed as a Saginaw County 70th District Court judge
Recipient Eddie Jones is both an alumnus and a staff member; he serves as director of SVSU’s Student Counseling Center.
Ken Jolly, SVSU professor of history, also received the award.
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting several thought-provoking speakers for this year's Visiting Scholars and Artists Series. The series will run during both the fall and winter semesters and is part of SVSU’s community-minded mission to bring leading scholars to campus and share their insights with residents of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
The fall portion of the series will feature eight speakers covering a range of topics from the making of a writer to the mystery of Civil War London. With a retired SVSU president and a highly acclaimed physicist among the lineup, featured speakers will discuss politics within the Supreme Court, the revolutionary science of medicine and the need for inclusivity on college campuses and elsewhere.
All lectures are open to the public and admission is free of charge.
Fall speakers for the series include:
• Mamie T. Thorns, SVSU special assistant to the president for diversity programs, will lecture on the topic of “Civility, Inclusivity and Equity on Campus and Beyond.” In her role, she has provided leadership and coordination for SVSU's programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and affirmative action. Having more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience in the field of higher education, Thorns was the recipient of the 2013 YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She was also recently endorsed by the Institute for Diversity Certification as a national certified diversity executive. Her presentation for SVSU’s annual Rush Lecture will be Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall.
• Paul Chang-Ha Lim will give SVSU’s Barstow Lecture titled, “Heretical Lives Matter…Really? Policing the Boundaries of Mystery in Civil War London,” on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Founders Hall. Lim is an associate professor of history and religious studies as well as the history of Christianity at Vanderbilt University. His latest book, “Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England,” was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history or theology in 2013 by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. Lim earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University, a master of theology in church history from Princeton Seminary, and a Ph.D. in English religious history from Cambridge University.
• Eric R. Gilbertson, SVSU’s retired president and current executive-in-residence, will give the James E. O'Neill Memorial Lecture Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. His topic is “The Empty Ninth Chair: Politics and the Supreme Court.” Currently teaching SVSU courses in administrative science and constitutional law, Gilbertson formerly served as legal counsel to the Ohio Board of Regents. He completed a bachelor's degree at Blufton College, a master’s degree in economics at Ohio University and a law degree from Cleveland State University; he also has received honorary degrees from the University of Mysore in India and Ming Chuan University in Taiwan.
• Carlos Ojeda Jr., a former college administrator, is focused on teaching students across the country that their voices can be powerful. His passion for motivating others pushed him to start the organization CoolSpeak: The Youth Engagement Company. Providing youth motivational speakers, the organization includes programs and events that are specifically designed to give students the opportunity to engage while both educating and empowering them. Ojeda will speak Friday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. in Hamilton Gymnasium.
• Physicist Michio Kaku will examine “The Next 20 Years, How Science Will Revolutionize Medicine, the Economy and Our Way of Life” during SVSU’s Edwards Lecture in Philosophy and Religion Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. As the co-founder of string field theory and a professor of physics at the City University of New York, Kaku has written several books about the future of physics including "Hyperspace" and "Physics of the Impossible." His visit is part of the Dow Visiting Scholar program. The lecture will take place in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
• Samrat Upadhyay is a professor of humanities at Indiana University. He has written several books including the short story collection “Arresting God in Kathmandu.” The book won a Whiting Writers' Award as well as a pick for the 2001 Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers Program. Other works by Upadhyay include the acclaimed novel, “The City Son” and “Buddha's Orphans.” As part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholar program, he will speak Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. His lecture is titled “Celebrating Gratitude: An Ode to the Forces that Make a Writer.”
• Charlie Appelstein works as a youth care specialist as well as president of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC. In doing so, he provides expert strength-based training for people and groups that work with children dealing with serious emotional and behavioral issues. In dedicating the entirety of his career to this cause, Appelstein has been called “the best youth care trainer in America,” by Robert Lieberman, former president of the American Association of Children's Residential Centers. Applestein’s visit is also a part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholar program; he will speak Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall. His lecture is titled “Helping Kids to Be All That They Can Be-Using a Positive, Strength-Based Approach for Maximizing Children's Potential.”
• Carolyn Woo came to the United States to attend college and completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. at Purdue University. She was motivated by her life experience growing up in Hong Kong, hearing many accounts regarding the fleeing from the communist government in China as her parents had. After working as the dean of the Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame, Woo accepted the position of CEO and president of the global humanitarian arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She will deliver her lecture, “Working for a Better World,” Monday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts as part of the Dow Visiting Scholar program.
The Dow Visiting Scholars & Artists program at SVSU was established through an endowment from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our region’s cultural and intellectual opportunities.
For more information on the lectures, please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4348.
Saginaw Valley State University students have organized a multifaceted event featuring a diverse group of engaging speakers for the second annual TEDxSVSU Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall.
Based on the format of the popular TED talks, TEDx events are intended to be “a suite of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter.” (ted.com)
SVSU students take an active role in planning the event, selecting speakers and preparing them.
“We will be working with speakers on their rehearsals, and making sure that they stay within specified time limits,” said Brittany Lentz, a communication major from Applegate and one of the student leaders organizing the event.
Featured speakers include SVSU alumni Ben Champagne, who will present on memes, and Marlin Jenkins, who will address the issue of how flippantly people discuss mental health. Brian Thomas, SVSU associate professor of sociology, who runs ultra-marathons, will discuss how that has helped him persevere following the loss of his late wife.
One of the most popular speakers from last year’s TEDxSVSU, Darnell Jackson, a Saginaw County Circuit Court judge, will return to speak on the topic of the legacies people leave and how their activities have an impact upon others who come in contact with them.
The event is sponsored by Covenant HealthCare. Tickets are $25 per person, which includes light sandwiches, food and refreshments. Attendees also will have an opportunity to explore the virtual reality system Vive.
A full list of speakers, tickets, and more information are available online at tedxsvsu.com.
Saginaw Valley State University experienced an enrollment decline for the 2016 fall semester, but leaders are encouraged by trends involving the incoming freshman class and student retention.
“We enrolled our most academically well-prepared freshman class in our history this fall, and that is good news,” said Deb Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Faculty and staff have taken a more active role in student recruitment over the past year, and their work is paying off. The number of domestic freshmen is nearly on par with last year, despite a decline in the number of high school graduates in Michigan.”
The entering freshman class has a cumulative high school GPA of 3.39 and an average score of
22.5 on the ACT, which was still the most common college entrance exam for this student cohort. SVSU welcomed 1,301 first-time students from the U.S. this fall, compared to 1,331 in 2015.
SVSU also saw an increase in the number of students who returned for their second year on campus, as its retention rate improved to 74 percent from 69 percent over the past five years, moving toward SVSU’s institutional goal of 78 percent.
SVSU’s retention rate has been improving slowly and steadily in recent years, but Huntley said this year-to-year progress is very encouraging, because it shows holistic efforts to support students are proving to be effective.
“We still have room to grow,” she said, “but we are on the right track.”
Overall enrollment dropped to 9,165 students taking classes at SVSU for the 2016 fall semester, compared to 9,766 last year.
There are 718 international students at SVSU this fall, which is higher than it was two years ago, but down compared to last year’s record number of 920.
“We saw an unusually large increase in the number of international freshmen last year, prompted by the earthquake in Nepal and other factors,” Huntley said. “Many of these students did not return, primarily due to financial reasons. Despite this, we remain on track toward our target of having international students comprise approximately 10 percent of our student body.”