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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, Oct. 13

Gilbertson Hall Ceremony a Wonderful Occasion

I was pleased to see so many of you attend the ceremony to rename our Regional Education Center as Eric R. Gilbertson Hall. Congressman Dan Kildee, Bishop Joseph Cistone and many of SVSU’s most supportive friends were in attendance, as well. As I said in my remarks, I learned a great deal from Eric during his time as president, especially the need to place student considerations at the forefront of all important decisions. All of us should bear in mind that element of Eric’s legacy.

Increasing International Opportunities

Our friends from Ming Chuan University in Taiwan and the University of Suwon in South Korea, made the long trip to attend Monday’s ceremony, and I appreciate their support. During their visit, I met with them extensively to explore additional opportunities for our institutions to collaborate. Beyond their joint degree program with us, Ming Chuan has partners in Cambodia, Vietnam and throughout Asia; this creates exciting possibilities for our students to go abroad and for students from overseas to attend SVSU. Expect to hear more on these relationships in the months to come.

Hispanic Heritage Month

I hope you’ve been enjoying our Hispanic Heritage Month activities. I attended the Latin Food Fiesta yesterday, and let me tell you that was one filling burrito.  Last night, we enjoyed a thought-provoking talk by Shannon O’Neil, as she discussed “Mexico, The U.S. and the Road Ahead.” Students also had a chance to hear this week from Abel Hernandez Ulloa, a professor at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. A number of other events and activities have been held over the past month. My thanks to all the faculty and staff who have helped to bring these culturally enriching programs to campus.

New Learning Software to Replace VSpace

Technology is a key factor in modern teaching and learning. After an extensive evaluation process that included multiple product demonstrations, the Learning Management Selection committee has selected Canvas as our next learning management system. It will replace VSpace. The committee made the decision based on input from faculty, students and staff. Nineteen faculty and more than 1000 students representing all colleges pilot tested Canvas in their courses.  With its modern interface and robust functionality, we are confident that Canvas is the most appropriate technology platform to support the university’s mission of high quality teaching. My sincere thanks to those faculty, staff and students who were involved in the planning, evaluation and selection process, especially Poonam Kumar, director of online/hybrid learning, and Jim Maher, executive director of Information Technology Services. Information on the transition from VSpace to Canvas will be outlined in the coming weeks.

Fall Theatre Schedule Opens

Our theatre department opens its fall schedule with its production of “The Grapes of Wrath” to celebrate the John Steinbeck novel’s 75th anniversary. The play won a 1990 Tony Award and will be shown tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and again Sunday at 3 p.m.  Dave Rzeszustek, assistant professor of theatre, directs the cast of almost 40 students.  more...

SVSU Welcomes Earl Klugh

Through a partnership with a member of our Board of Fellows, Gil Johnson, we will welcome a Grammy-winning musician to campus next Friday, Oct. 24. Guitarist Earl Klugh will perform at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. His latest album, “HandPicked,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart following its release in 2013. Liana and I plan to attend. If you’d like to join us, tickets are $35 for the main floor and $30 for the balcony. Ticket sales have been going well, but there are still some available through the SVSU Box Office.  more...

Catering Cardinals

I’d like to close my comments this week by highlighting a collection of students that do a fine job but often go overlooked: the student employees on our Dining Services catering staff. These students are tremendous ambassadors for our university. They work all manner of important university events and represent us to major corporations and other groups who choose to host events on our campus. I cannot tell you how many compliments I hear about how well they do their jobs. To this group I’ve dubbed “Catering Cards,” I say thank you and keep up the good work.