Marlena Bravender, a Saginaw Valley State University assistant professor of teacher education, has received a $5,000 grant recently from the National Education Association Foundation to research ways to integrate online language simulations into Spanish foreign language lessons.
She and co-applicant Virginia Martin, a Spanish teacher at Grand Blanc West Middle School in Grand Blanc, this fall began using the funds to design and share lessons for middle school students. The lessons will help students understand authentic situations in which Spanish is spoken, Bravender said.
“I want the students to learn and retain the content,” she said of the project's goal. “What drives me is that they're motivated to learn, and this gives them motivation.”
The simulations - using text, photos, art and audio - set up situations that involve the use of Spanish language, then quizzes students on those situations in English.
“If you respond incorrectly, you might see someone on screen looking at you funny,” Bravender said. “It's kind of like a choose-your-own adventure game. At the end, it produces a score and says which objectives the students are not hitting.”
Students can access the simulations on computers and smart phones alike.
Bravender said other colleagues in education have inquired about the program. As a result, three more classes in K-12 schools in Michigan are in the early stages of using the simulation.
Saginaw's Nouvel Catholic Central High School, Reese Middle School and Holly Academy all have students using the program. Students from grades 4 through 9 are involved.
Bravender and Martin received $5,000 of the $168,000 in NEA Foundation grants recently awarded to 42 educators nationally.
This year, 11 outstanding Michigan educators have been selected for the Gerstacker Fellowship at Saginaw Valley State University. They will receive concentrated leadership training over a one-year period, including a capstone international experience that will send the Fellows to Poland in April.
Previous overseas trips have included Finland, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. These trips involve visits to educational institutions, where participants learn about international educational systems and corporate settings, where they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings.
Established in 2005 and funded by an endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland, the participants are known as Gerstacker Fellows and meet monthly on weekends. SVSU faculty from various disciplines instruct the Fellows on subjects dealing with organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective.
Those selected for the Gerstacker Fellowship class of 2015 are:
• Lara J. Dixon, the principal at Troy Athens High School of the Troy School District
• Jennifer E. Egan, an adapted physical/health education teacher at the Woodland Developmental Center in the St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency
• Erin Eastman, the director of Secondary Programs in the Port Huron Area Schools
• Lisa M. Fosnaugh, the assistant principal at Van Hoosen Middle School in the Rochester Community Schools
• Suzanne M. Grambush, the principal of Riverside Elementary School in the Waterford School District
• Dawn Linden, the executive director of elementary education for Ann Arbor Public Schools
• Kevin E. Moore, the assistant principal at Swan Valley High School in the Swan Valley School District
• Christian Mueller, the assistant principal at Jeannette Junior High School in the Utica Community Schools
• Laurie Pritchard, the principal at Jack Harvey Elementary School in the Utica Community Schools
• Eric Rutherford, the director of Hartley Outdoor Education Center, operated by the Saginaw Intermediate School District
• Vikki Wandmacher, the principal at White Pine Middle School in the Saginaw Township Community Schools
The participants were selected based on past academic and service accomplishments, along with outside recommendations. Each was nominated by a supervisor.
As a result of the Gerstacker endowment, there is no charge to program participants unless they elect to have the educational experience considered for graduate credit.
As a reminder of the diverse and extraordinary talents of our students, please enjoy this SVSU holiday video featuring the vocals of Madalyn McHugh, a music major from Caro, and a few familiar faces of faculty, staff and students.
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and noted thought leader on STEM education, will be the keynote speaker for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King, Jr. event at Saginaw Valley State University. He will speak Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
In addition to serving as president of UMBC since 1992, Hrabowski is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities and school systems. Recently, he was named by President Obama to chair the newly created President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Time magazine named Hrabowski one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012 and one of American's 10 Best College Presidents in 2008. He was awarded the Heinz Award in 2012 for contributions to improving the “Human Condition,” and holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions.
Hrabowski chaired the National Academies' committee that produced the recent report, “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.” He has authored many articles and co-authored two books; his research and publications have a special emphasis on minority participation and performance in science and math.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Hrabowski was a child leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He completed his doctorate in higher education administration/statistics at age 24.
In addition to Hrabowski’s talk, the program will include the presentation of regional scholarship awards by the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations to high school seniors who have embodied Martin Luther King's ideals.
The event is free and open to the public. SVSU’s partner hosts include the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations and chambers of commerce, as well as the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony and the local chapters of the NAACP.
For more information, including a full list of sponsors, visit svsu.edu/mlk.
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 4 to 6 p.m.
First Ward Community Center, 1410 North 12th Street, Saginaw
Students from high schools across the Great Lakes Bay Region and from Saginaw Valley State University will make the holidays a little brighter for children who participate in after school programs at Saginaw’s First Ward Community Center.
The students in the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute have been volunteering at First Ward during the school year. They will present gifts to their younger counterparts during a holiday celebration Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. SVSU President Donald Bachand is expected to attend.
“Since its inception, the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute has partnered with United Way of Saginaw County to help provide others a happier holiday season,” said United Way President/CEO, Cherrie J. Benchley.
“This year the students attending the institute were able to volunteer as mentors and work firsthand with the students at First Ward prior to the holiday season. Not only will the students appreciate the generosity of others, they have enjoyed the time spent working together and getting to know these young leaders. United Way is thankful for each of these volunteers who have learned what it means to ‘Live United’ and have given their time and resources to help others in the Saginaw County community.”
In years past, Youth Leadership Institute students have wrapped and delivered gifts to families selected through United Way’s adopt-a-family program.
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute is a year-long community outreach program facilitated by SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs, in partnership with the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony. The initiative pairs 96 high school students from the region with 35 SVSU mentors. The program provides leadership development experience for youth focused on issues related to the intersection of diversity and leadership.
The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved granting degrees to some 521 students during the Board’s regular meeting Friday, Dec. 12.
The graduating class consists of 399 students who are expected to complete bachelor’s degrees and 122 students expected to receive master's or education specialist degrees. A total of 437 students have indicated that they intend to don regalia and participate in commencement exercises Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 13.
David E. Kepler, executive vice president, chief sustainability officer and chief information officer for The Dow Chemical Company, will address graduates at both ceremonies.
In other action, the Board:
• Passed a resolution congratulating the SVSU Student Association for their leadership in this year's “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. In one week, SVSU raised more than $32,000 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation, which seeks to educate college students about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses by working directly with college campuses to increase suicide awareness and prevention.
• Passed a resolution to congratulate the 2014 SVSU women’s soccer team which qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament and recorded the first NCAA playoff victory in program history.
• Passed a resolution to congratulate the 2014 SVSU men’s soccer team which qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament and advanced to the “sweet sixteen” for the second time in three years.
• Granted emeritus status to Drew Hinderer, professor of philosophy.
• Approved sabbatical proposals for 15 faculty: Cyrus Aryana, mathematical sciences; John Baesler, history; Vanessa Brooks Herd, social work; Thomas Canale, art; Fenobia Dallas, rhetoric and professional writing; Sally Decker, nursing; Stewart French, political science; Olivier Heubo-Kwenga, mathematical sciences; Beth Jorgensen, rhetoric and professional writing; Emily Kelley, art; Yu Liu, management; Nameeta Mathur, history; Vincent Samarco, English; Steven Sherlock, sociology; James Sullivan, English
• Approved the appointment of board members for previously authorized charter schools.
• Approved the authorization of borrowing funds to meet temporary cash flow deficits.
• Approved compensation for the 2015 calendar year for executive staff.
“The Board has been favorably impressed with the work of President Bachand and his leadership team since Don took office in February,” said Board chair Jeff Martin. “In that short time, SVSU has reached new milestones in fundraising, created new opportunities for students, and continued to strengthen relationships within the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
President Bachand's salary was set at $256,250. Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will receive a salary of $211,000, and James G. Muladore, executive vice president for administration and business affairs, will receive a salary of $205,373.
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 6:40 PM EST
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Seth Thomas, a biology major from Dryden, whose body was discovered in First Year Suites shortly before 1 p.m. today. President Bachand personally spoke with Seth’s mother and father this afternoon and extended condolences to them on behalf of the university.
There were no obvious signs of foul play. University Police continue to investigate. The Saginaw County medical examiner has tentatively scheduled an autopsy for Thursday, Dec. 4.
Students have organized a candlelight vigil for 10 p.m. (Tuesday, Dec. 2) in the courtyard of First Year Suites. All members of the campus community are welcome to attend.
The Student Counseling Center has been offering grief counseling to students and staff today and their staff will remain on campus until they have met with all students requesting their services.
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 2:42 PM EST
We regret to inform you that a student died on campus today. His body was discovered by his roommate shortly before 1 p.m. in the First Year Suites, where the student resided on campus. There were no obvious signs of foul play. University Police are investigating.
The Student Counseling Center is open and available for students who may find their services of use.
We will provide additional information on this page as it becomes available.
Saginaw Valley State University students will perform works of opera Friday, Dec. 5. The hour-long event begins at 12:30 p.m. in SVSU's Founders Hall; it is free and open to the public.
Students in the Department of Music's Opera Workshop course will begin the performance with a one-act opera by Samuel Barber, "A Hand of Bridge." Ten minutes long, this opera introduces two married couples that have gathered for an evening of playing bridge.
The students also will perform arias from the operas "Don Giovanni," "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Barber of Seville."
Rachel Andrews, SVSU artist-in-voice, will serve as director while pianist Nicholas Schmelter will accompany the performance.
For more information on the event, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/musi
A Saginaw Valley State University professor in philosophy will research the concept of evil, and another in geography will engage in focused scholarly work on the importance of water to the people of Niger in West Africa, after being selected for the Braun Fellowship.
Peter Brian Barry, associate professor of philosophy, and Sara Beth Keough, associate professor of geography, will each receive research support grants totaling up to $37,500 over the next three years to further their scholarly and professional activities. Funds may be used for research expenses, equipment, travel and/or other related support.
Both are recognized by their SVSU colleagues for their research. Barry received the SVSU Faculty Association Outstanding Scholarship Award in 2013; Keough received the same honor this year.
Barry plans to examine the fundamental question, “What makes someone evil?” An authority in the field, he has authored a book on the subject, “Evil and Moral Psychology,” and in 2010 he was awarded a $25,000 teaching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop an interdisciplinary course on the topic of evil and evil people.
Barry intends to use the fellowship to write a new book, with the working title of “The Fiction of Evil.” While his first book was targeted for academic scholars, he hopes his new volume will result in material more accessible to undergraduate college students.
Barry joined the SVSU faculty in 2005 and has chaired the philosophy department since 2012. He has written 10 articles since 2009 that have appeared in academic journals. Barry completed a Ph.D. at the University of Florida, a master’s degree at Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Keough has previously traveled to the West African country of Niger to study water consumption, storage, and transportation among its people. While social scientists have studied water quality and access to water resources in Saharan countries, Keough found little attention has been paid to the tangible nature of water, the materials that allow water to be transported and stored, and the landscapes created by these materials, such as the role of water vendors in the story of water access in Niamey.
Keough intends to produce multiple scholarly articles for peer-reviewed publications and give at least three academic conference presentations as a result of her research.
Keough joined the SVSU faculty in 2007. She has authored seven scholarly articles that have been published since 2011. Keough completed a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree at Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree at Jacksonville University.
Established in 2005, the Braun Fellowship program was created through a $1.5 million endowment from the Saginaw-based Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation. Administered by the Saginaw Community Foundation, the program's purpose is to recognize the exceptional accomplishments and potential of select SVSU faculty and staff. It is named in honor of Ruth and Ted Braun of Saginaw.
Saginaw Valley State University's Cardinal Singers, Concert Choir and Valley Steel musical groups will perform in the concert "St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass" Monday, Dec. 1. The 7:30 p.m. performance in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall is free and open to the public.
The program features both sacred and secular music, including renditions of D. Scott Tuttle's "The Red, Blue and White," Glenn McClure's "St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass," Ras Shorty I's "Conscious Chutney" and Ralph Manuel's "Alleluia."
Kevin Simons, conductor, and Cheryl Cheger-Timm, pianist, will perform along with the two vocal ensemble groups and Valley Steel, which performs on steel drums. The SVSU Concert Choir features 37 musicians; Cardinal Singers, 16; and Valley Steel, 9.
An assistant professor of music at SVSU, Simons also serves both as director of music and as organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Saginaw. Cheger-Timm is a staff accompanist at SVSU. She also is active with Saginaw's Pit and Balcony Theatre.
For more information on the concert, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/music.