Teaching and learning are the foundation for any good university, including ours. While we do a fine job in this regard, there is always room for improvement, and there is always more to understand when it comes to engaging modern students. With this in mind, I encourage you to attend the 2nd annual Teaching and Learning Symposium next Friday, Feb. 19. Our colleagues in the Center for Academic Innovation have invited Kenn Barron, professor of psychology and co-director of the Motivation Research Institute at James Madison University (http://mri.cisat.jmu.edu/) to deliver the keynote at the morning’s breakfast. The day also includes sharing of best practices by our faculty in breakout sessions. Please contact Poonam Kumar, director of the CAI and online learning, or Bob Lane, professor of political science, with any questions, and please attend as you are able.
Students are more likely to succeed when they have an academic plan and stick to it. This may involve changing the plan a time or two, but for many students, registering for more than one semester at a time can be to their academic advantage. With this in mind, and to assist academic departments with their planning and scheduling, we are introducing continual registration and multi-term registration. Technology allows us to implement the former – with brief interruptions for system maintenance. In the case of multi-term registration, starting this April, students will be able to register for their classes during the 2016 fall and 2017 winter semesters at the same time. As with any new initiative, we should expect some confusion at the outset, so we will need to exercise patience and understanding, but in the long run, this should aid students and faculty alike as they are able to plan and forecast more effectively. My thanks to all our colleagues who have worked to make this a reality.
Governor Snyder released his budget recommendations for the next fiscal year this week, and the proposal is favorable toward higher education generally and SVSU specifically. The governor is proposing to restore funding to state universities to 2011 levels, which amounts to a 4.3 percent increase over last year; it appears SVSU would fare slightly better, though we have yet to fully review the details. This is still well below historical levels of state support, and it is merely the first step in the budget process, as the legislature still must weigh in, but it is a step in the right direction.
Our colleagues in the College of Education are hosting a “Heart of Teaching” panel discussion Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Gilbertson Hall, room GS 202. The panel will include SVSU alumni who are currently teaching and enjoying their careers, as well as two school administrators who will describe what they look for when interviewing candidates for job openings. All forecasts project more teaching jobs to be available in the years to come, and our state has never needed committed educators more than we do today. The event is open to all students, so please encourage them to attend if they have ever expressed an interest in teaching.
This will be my final reminder that the annual State of the University address is tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. I hope to see you there.
We received good news regarding one of our charter schools this week. Cesar Chavez Academy in Detroit was named an Academic State Champ, one of Michigan’s top 44 high schools, by Bridge Magazine. My compliments to Dave Lewis in our School-University Partnerships office, and the teachers and staff at Cesar Chavez for achieving this recognition. Many students who enroll at Cesar Chavez are non-native English speakers, but through their diligence and effective instruction, they are able to overcome these challenges and succeed at rates much higher than their peers of similar socioeconomic status. This distinction places them in the top 5 percent of nearly 770 public high schools statewide. Keep up the good work.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the outcome of last Saturday’s basketball games against Northwood. Both the men and the women remain in first place and have more big games this weekend against Northern Michigan Thursday night and Michigan Tech Saturday afternoon. Please attend and support them if you can. Meanwhile, our swimming and diving teams are competing this week at the GLIAC championships; we wish them well. Our men’s and women’s track and field teams are both nationally ranked and competing this weekend, as well. Best of luck to all. Go Cards!