Our annual All-University Awards Banquet is on the horizon, and you’ll notice a few changes. The date of the banquet is Friday, April 10, and we will begin the reception at 5 p.m. and doors to the banquet rooms will open at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served promptly at 6 p.m. The primary reason for this is to conclude the affair earlier in the evening so that all of our guests can fully enjoy the occasion. Also, we are announcing the award recipients in advance so that you know which of your colleagues are being recognized; I know that sometimes influences decisions on whether or not you choose to attend. I congratulate all of this year’s honorees for their fine work on behalf of our university.
My congratulations to Deb Smith, professor of education, for writing a successful grant for $220,000 to the Michigan Department of Education. As a result, our faculty will lead professional development in literacy and writing across the curriculum for 30 to 35 educators in Standish-Sterling Community Schools, International Academy of Flint and Marlette Community Schools. This is another leading example of our commitment to community engagement.
My thanks again to everyone who completed the SVSU climate survey. Our response rate was quite good, especially among employee groups: faculty, 52 percent; A/P staff, 55 percent; support staff, 93 percent. The data is currently being analyzed by Rankin and Associates. Sue Rankin, Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on the assessment of campus climate, will visit campus Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24 to meet with various groups on campus and share preliminary results. Open forums will be held for faculty, staff and students to attend. She will continue to work with us as we develop a strategic plan based on the findings.
I would like to take a moment to express appreciation to all of our adjunct faculty. They contribute a great deal to our students and our campus community. As you may have read in the news this week, our proportion of part-time faculty appears high, relative to other institutions. Some of this is due to how the data is reported. For example, tenured faculty who accept administrative appointments (dean, associate dean, endowed chair, etc.) and continue to teach are counted as “part-time.” We will examine if our reporting practices are consistent with other institutions, but regardless, we will continue to employ a number of adjunct faculty and I hope they feel welcomed and valued. My thanks to Ann Coburn-Collins, director of academic programs support, for all she does to work with our adjunct faculty and help them be effective in the classroom.
We welcome another distinguished speaker to campus this Thursday at 6 p.m. when Imam Achmat Salie presents the annual Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture. Director of the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Detroit Mercy, Salie will deliver a presentation titled, “Muslim Americans as Cultural, Spiritual and Political Citizens.” Interfaith understanding is an essential element of a civilized society, and my thanks to Dr. Waheed Akbar and his family for their continued support to bring such speakers to campus and sharing them with our region.