Homecoming proved to be festive, and Liana and I are pleased to now be counted as honorary alumni. There were around 250 Cardinals at the Alumni Association’s pre-game tailgate party and I had a chance to speak with a number of them. They were all interested in what’s going on at their alma mater. I also enjoyed judging the Homecoming floats and mingling with the great crowd at the football game. Congratulations to Jim Collins and the team on their victory, and congratulations to all the members of the Homecoming court, and the student organizations who won spirit week competitions.
On Friday night, we welcomed Grammy-winning guitarist Earl Klugh to campus. His show was spectacular. It exceeded my expectations, and those expectations were high after my conversations with Gil Johnson, a member of our Board of Fellows and the key person responsible for bringing the concert to campus. We welcomed many visitors, including some who were introduced to SVSU for the first time; all seemed to enjoy the performance. In addition, Jeff Hall, jazz artist-in-residence, and our music students got to meet and play with Earl, as well. It was a great opportunity on many levels.
My thanks to the some 70 faculty who attended the first roundtable discussion for the Center for Academic Innovation. We are undertaking this initiative to support student success and encourage innovative instruction. The program will offer mini-grants for effective teaching, using methods such as online learning, service learning and other high impact practices. For those who missed the first session, a second opportunity is coming Friday, Nov. 14. Faculty and adjuncts should have received an invitation in their e-mail. Please attend as your schedule permits; this is all aimed at helping our students learn more effectively.
We also continue to take steps to ensure that our part-time instructors are given appropriate tools and support. Many of them are experts in their subject matter but may need guidance on how to teach the material. Ann Coburn-Collins, director of academic programs support, does a fine job working with our adjuncts, and recently she and three of them were invited to speak at the Lilly Conference in Traverse City. They presented on our adjunct faculty learning community and how it has improved outcomes here. My appreciation to Ann and to adjunct instructors Anne Acker, Les Altevogt, and Lisa Tsay for representing SVSU in this fashion and sharing our success.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite parts of the job is meeting with so many of the people who visit SVSU, especially those coming for the first time. Last week, Graham Farmelo, the author of “Churchill's Bomb,” gave a great talk during the 11th annual James E. O'Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture, but what struck me was the praise he offered. Here is a man who is a Bye-Fellow at Churchill College in Cambridge, England and is a regular visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, and he regularly travels to colleges across the globe. He said ours was the cleanest campus he has seen. He also was very impressed by his interactions with faculty and students. I’m pleased to receive these compliments, but I know they belong to everyone here who plays a role each and every day in making SVSU the special place we all know it to be.
We have another opportunity to make a favorable impression this Saturday! It’s our Admissions Open House, and we can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 prospective students and their families to visit campus. Seriously, I appreciate all of the faculty, staff and students who are aiding in this vital effort and will spend their Saturday extolling the virtues and values of SVSU. Recruiting good students is the responsibility of everyone. Everyone. I’m glad so many are participating.
Welcome to Gary Brasseur, who started his work at SVSU this week. Gary has enjoyed a fine career at Delta College and most recently Mott Community College. He is our transfer student success specialist and will be responsible for forming stronger relationships with community colleges around the region and across the state.
Finally, I checked on the pulse of the university during my walk to Wickes Tuesday morning. I spoke with groundskeeper Keith Prueter and he told me there were no worthwhile rumors to report. He would know, so I take this as a positive sign that all is well in Cardinal Country. Keep up the good work.