The University continues to make progress on the SVSU Strategic Plan. Recently, the Year in Review Executive Summary February 2018 was presented to the Board of Control providing highlights of progress made over the past 12 months. I am pleased with the efforts and results to date, and I encourage you to review for yourself. It remains imperative that the entire campus community continue to focus on our mission, goals and strategies, ensuring college and departmental strategic plans are moving forward and aligned to the overall plan. We must seek creative ideas that will address our challenges and drive positive outcomes.
I hope you will take a moment to refresh yourself with our strategic plan. You can find it online at www.svsu.edu/strategicplan. Thank you for all that you do to make SVSU the first choice for those striving for personal and professional success.
Once every three years, SVSU is honored to lead the way in celebrating one of America’s great poets — and a son of Saginaw — the late Theodore Roethke. The triennial Theodore Roethke Poetry and Arts Festival kicks off six days of celebration beginning Friday. A lineup of events is planned both on campus and at locations across the region. At SVSU, the festival begins with a poetry slam — featuring live music — Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. The Cardinal Singers will perform the world premiere of a musical composition of “The Voice,” a poem written by Roethke, Sunday in Frankenmuth and again Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize will be awarded to poet Douglas Kearney Tuesday at 7 p.m. These are just a few of the exciting events on the schedule. For the entire lineup, go to http://www.svsu.edu/roethke/events/.
I am pleased SVSU will present another outstanding guest as part of The Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series. Omid Safi, a leading Muslim public intellectual and director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center, will present Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. He will discuss the continuing influence of the 13th century Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi. Safi’s appearance is also supported as part of the SVSU Edwards Lecture Series as well as the Dow Visiting Scholars Lecture Series.
Many of our faculty think innovatively about how to educate our students. Our Center for Academic Innovation recently announced its latest grant and award recipients. The 2018 Dow Professor Awards support educational endeavors with up to $5,500 in funding for each project. This year’s recipients are: Julie Keil, assistant professor of political science, whose project will explore the academic benefits experienced by current and former members of SVSU’s moot court team; Tina Thornton, assistant professor of nursing, and Dave Rzeszutek, associate professor of theatre, for a collaborative project involving theatre students simulating medical situations while nursing students respond to those situations; Sylvia Fromherz Sharp, assistant professor of biology, and Joseph Weaver, assistant professor of psychology, whose joint project will assess the attitudes and aptitudes of students in STEM tasked with writing about experiments and their outcomes.
The Center for Academic Innovation also presented the Department Innovation Award, which supported two projects at $1,000 each. John Baesler, associate professor of history, will task students with collecting oral history records from residents in our region; and Fromherz Sharp will ask students to develop an introductory biology lecture series.
Our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program has provided outstanding opportunities for its growing membership for 17 years now, and its work is being honored. The Delta College Humanities Learning Center presented its Outstanding Humanities Organization Award to OLLI during a ceremony Sunday. As the title of the award suggests, the recognition is due to OLLI’s offerings — both in the classroom and in its educational trips across the world — that focus on humanities-based subjects such as history, philosophy, film, literature, religion, and music. Katherine Ellison, OLLI’s director, and the individuals who help that program excel deserve praise for all their hard work and dedication to lifelong learners in our community.
Congratulations to all of the recipients of the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region Women of Achievement Awards honored during a ceremony Wednesday evening. Liana and I joined in celebrating with members of the Cardinal family who earned recognition: Merry Jo Brandimore, dean of students emerita; Kathleen Schachman, Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing; and Jamie Zecman, University Police detective. The ceremony also honored emerging leaders including our student Danielle Slonac, a finance, management and supply chain management triple major from St. Clair. The event highlighted the many ways in which our faculty, staff and students improve the quality of life for others in our community.
If you are among the faculty and staff selected for the latest Great Colleges to Work For survey, please take the time to complete it. The results provide important information for our decision-making. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, April 6.
Congratulations to two of our senior electrical engineering majors who placed first in a competition during the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Region 4 Student Leadership Conference last weekend at Northern Illinois University. Nate Scharich of Saginaw Township and Alexander Shibilski of Freeland were the Region 4 champions in the circuit design and Arduino coding competition. Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform. The competition involved creating a robot that moved efficiently between two points in under 10 minutes.
Congratulations to the newest members of the SVSU chapter of the Sigma Delta Pi honor society, Omega Kappa, which supports students studying Spanish. The group hosted its latest induction for nine students during a Friday ceremony in Founders Hall. I would like to thank the group’s adviser, Ricardo Pastor, professor of modern foreign languages, and all of the faculty and staff who have supported this important honor society since its founding here in 2012.
Those of you watching the news this week may have caught the touching story of James Peoples, the Flint 5-year-old diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that most commonly affects children his age (TV-12 | TV-25). Along with being a brave young soul, James now also is an honorary member of our baseball team. With the help of the organization Team IMPACT, which matches seriously ill children with athletics programs, our baseball team “drafted” James during a special event Tuesday at the Ryder Center. As an honorary team member, he will attend practices, games, team dinners, events and more. Thank you to head coach Chris Ebright, his staff and student-athletes for making this young man’s dreams come true.
James is joining a team off to a good start on a young season at 13-6. I am looking forward to the Cardinals first home game vs. Davenport next Thursday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m.
The softball team also is off to a fast start. Our team swept Purdue Northwest Wednesday and is now on a six-game winning streak. The Cardinals do not begin home action until next weekend, but you can catch our student-athletes next Tuesday when they travel to Northwood for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.
Congratulations to our golf teams who had great rounds in Kentucky last weekend. Our men’s team won the SVSU Invitational, marking their second win of the 2017-18 season; they also won the Ohio Valley Highlands Cup Challenge last October. Our second-year women’s golf team had their best performance to date, placing second in the SVSU Spring Invitational. The team finished the two-day tournament with a total score of 635, which matches the 18-hole program record.
Good luck to our baseball, softball, women’s golf and women’s tennis teams who all are on the road this weekend, and men’s golf, who hits the links again on Monday.