The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved granting degrees to some 521 students during the Board’s regular meeting Friday, Dec. 12.
The graduating class consists of 399 students who are expected to complete bachelor’s degrees and 122 students expected to receive master's or education specialist degrees. A total of 437 students have indicated that they intend to don regalia and participate in commencement exercises Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 13.
David E. Kepler, executive vice president, chief sustainability officer and chief information officer for The Dow Chemical Company, will address graduates at both ceremonies.
In other action, the Board:
• Passed a resolution congratulating the SVSU Student Association for their leadership in this year's “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. In one week, SVSU raised more than $32,000 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation, which seeks to educate college students about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses by working directly with college campuses to increase suicide awareness and prevention.
• Passed a resolution to congratulate the 2014 SVSU women’s soccer team which qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament and recorded the first NCAA playoff victory in program history.
• Passed a resolution to congratulate the 2014 SVSU men’s soccer team which qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament and advanced to the “sweet sixteen” for the second time in three years.
• Granted emeritus status to Drew Hinderer, professor of philosophy.
• Approved sabbatical proposals for 15 faculty: Cyrus Aryana, mathematical sciences; John Baesler, history; Vanessa Brooks Herd, social work; Thomas Canale, art; Fenobia Dallas, rhetoric and professional writing; Sally Decker, nursing; Stewart French, political science; Olivier Heubo-Kwenga, mathematical sciences; Beth Jorgensen, rhetoric and professional writing; Emily Kelley, art; Yu Liu, management; Nameeta Mathur, history; Vincent Samarco, English; Steven Sherlock, sociology; James Sullivan, English
• Approved the appointment of board members for previously authorized charter schools.
• Approved the authorization of borrowing funds to meet temporary cash flow deficits.
• Approved compensation for the 2015 calendar year for executive staff.
“The Board has been favorably impressed with the work of President Bachand and his leadership team since Don took office in February,” said Board chair Jeff Martin. “In that short time, SVSU has reached new milestones in fundraising, created new opportunities for students, and continued to strengthen relationships within the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
President Bachand's salary was set at $256,250. Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will receive a salary of $211,000, and James G. Muladore, executive vice president for administration and business affairs, will receive a salary of $205,373.
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 6:40 PM EST
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Seth Thomas, a biology major from Dryden, whose body was discovered in First Year Suites shortly before 1 p.m. today. President Bachand personally spoke with Seth’s mother and father this afternoon and extended condolences to them on behalf of the university.
There were no obvious signs of foul play. University Police continue to investigate. The Saginaw County medical examiner has tentatively scheduled an autopsy for Thursday, Dec. 4.
Students have organized a candlelight vigil for 10 p.m. (Tuesday, Dec. 2) in the courtyard of First Year Suites. All members of the campus community are welcome to attend.
The Student Counseling Center has been offering grief counseling to students and staff today and their staff will remain on campus until they have met with all students requesting their services.
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 2:42 PM EST
We regret to inform you that a student died on campus today. His body was discovered by his roommate shortly before 1 p.m. in the First Year Suites, where the student resided on campus. There were no obvious signs of foul play. University Police are investigating.
The Student Counseling Center is open and available for students who may find their services of use.
We will provide additional information on this page as it becomes available.
Saginaw Valley State University students will perform works of opera Friday, Dec. 5. The hour-long event begins at 12:30 p.m. in SVSU's Founders Hall; it is free and open to the public.
Students in the Department of Music's Opera Workshop course will begin the performance with a one-act opera by Samuel Barber, "A Hand of Bridge." Ten minutes long, this opera introduces two married couples that have gathered for an evening of playing bridge.
The students also will perform arias from the operas "Don Giovanni," "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Barber of Seville."
Rachel Andrews, SVSU artist-in-voice, will serve as director while pianist Nicholas Schmelter will accompany the performance.
For more information on the event, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/musi
A Saginaw Valley State University professor in philosophy will research the concept of evil, and another in geography will engage in focused scholarly work on the importance of water to the people of Niger in West Africa, after being selected for the Braun Fellowship.
Peter Brian Barry, associate professor of philosophy, and Sara Beth Keough, associate professor of geography, will each receive research support grants totaling up to $37,500 over the next three years to further their scholarly and professional activities. Funds may be used for research expenses, equipment, travel and/or other related support.
Both are recognized by their SVSU colleagues for their research. Barry received the SVSU Faculty Association Outstanding Scholarship Award in 2013; Keough received the same honor this year.
Barry plans to examine the fundamental question, “What makes someone evil?” An authority in the field, he has authored a book on the subject, “Evil and Moral Psychology,” and in 2010 he was awarded a $25,000 teaching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop an interdisciplinary course on the topic of evil and evil people.
Barry intends to use the fellowship to write a new book, with the working title of “The Fiction of Evil.” While his first book was targeted for academic scholars, he hopes his new volume will result in material more accessible to undergraduate college students.
Barry joined the SVSU faculty in 2005 and has chaired the philosophy department since 2012. He has written 10 articles since 2009 that have appeared in academic journals. Barry completed a Ph.D. at the University of Florida, a master’s degree at Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Keough has previously traveled to the West African country of Niger to study water consumption, storage, and transportation among its people. While social scientists have studied water quality and access to water resources in Saharan countries, Keough found little attention has been paid to the tangible nature of water, the materials that allow water to be transported and stored, and the landscapes created by these materials, such as the role of water vendors in the story of water access in Niamey.
Keough intends to produce multiple scholarly articles for peer-reviewed publications and give at least three academic conference presentations as a result of her research.
Keough joined the SVSU faculty in 2007. She has authored seven scholarly articles that have been published since 2011. Keough completed a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree at Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree at Jacksonville University.
Established in 2005, the Braun Fellowship program was created through a $1.5 million endowment from the Saginaw-based Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation. Administered by the Saginaw Community Foundation, the program's purpose is to recognize the exceptional accomplishments and potential of select SVSU faculty and staff. It is named in honor of Ruth and Ted Braun of Saginaw.
Saginaw Valley State University's Cardinal Singers, Concert Choir and Valley Steel musical groups will perform in the concert "St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass" Monday, Dec. 1. The 7:30 p.m. performance in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall is free and open to the public.
The program features both sacred and secular music, including renditions of D. Scott Tuttle's "The Red, Blue and White," Glenn McClure's "St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass," Ras Shorty I's "Conscious Chutney" and Ralph Manuel's "Alleluia."
Kevin Simons, conductor, and Cheryl Cheger-Timm, pianist, will perform along with the two vocal ensemble groups and Valley Steel, which performs on steel drums. The SVSU Concert Choir features 37 musicians; Cardinal Singers, 16; and Valley Steel, 9.
An assistant professor of music at SVSU, Simons also serves both as director of music and as organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Saginaw. Cheger-Timm is a staff accompanist at SVSU. She also is active with Saginaw's Pit and Balcony Theatre.
For more information on the concert, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/music.
Selections to be performed include Joan Moss’ “That September Feeling,” Neal Herti’s “Splanky,” and Gordon Goodwin's “Back Row Politics.”
Ikeler started playing piano at age 7, taking private lessons concentrating on classical music. He branched out later to study the rock and jazz genres. He began performing in the 1970s with groups such as Asmodeus Dream, Sass and In The Red. In the 1980s, he performed jazz regularly with percussionist/singer Ron Trombly at Mr. Gibby's restaurant in Flint. Now Ikeler plays with the classic rock group, Roxius.
For more information on the concert, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/music.
As a student at Buena Vista High School, Rollin Johnson, 2009, M.B.A., set his sights on the world outside mid-Michigan. His travels and experiences after graduation took him halfway around the world, then back to his hometown, and most recently on to Baltimore Md., where he serves as director of the Center for Social Concern at Johns Hopkins University.
After graduating from college, Rollin joined the U.S. Peace Corps in 2003, serving first in Nepal, then in Burkina Faso through 2005. Those eye opening and mind-broadening experiences helped Rollin realize that he wanted to continue working for a greater good and that furthering his education would help him do so more effectively.
“The Peace Corps helped me think about how to use my business acumen in a way I hadn’t considered, how to use it around public service.”
When he returned to the United States from Africa, Rollin joined the staff of a small college in Iowa, where he promoted volunteerism and the Peace Corps.
“My experiences internationally with the Peace Corps created a really strong sense of connection with people and with organizations. That helped shape who I am.”
Rollin is a man committed to bringing public service to the forefront, and effecting meaningful change in a city [Baltimore] facing many social challenges. SVSU’s M.B.A. program, he said, helped prepare him for this work.
Going global . . . close to home
Rollin said when he decided to pursue his Master of Business Administration, SVSU was on his list of possible universities.
“Being from the area, I knew about SVSU,” Rollin said. “When I looked into the M.B.A. program, I was attracted to the curriculum; the global emphasis of the program was very interesting to me.
“I also liked the size of the program,” Rollin added. “I knew I’d have access to my professors.”
For Rollin, SVSU offered global reach in a close-knit community. “SVSU has a really friendly atmosphere,” Rollin said. “And the M.B.A.’s international emphasis was really exciting. Connections with people from around the globe opened up this cool space for me to learn from my colleagues. I liked being able to sit with someone from halfway across the world and work together to build rapport and friendships. I’m still in touch with some of those people.”
While working on his M.B.A., Rollin served as a graduate research assistant for the Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU.
“I worked with Harry Leaver [executive director] and the team at the Center for Business and Economic Development, and with Ken Kousky [at the time, SVSU’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence],” Rollin said. “That helped me sharpen some of the ‘soft’ skills, learning how to work with people around mutual gain and goal. And the opportunity to address some real world problems provided great experience.”
That experience, and other strategies and skills Rollin learned and honed at SVSU, has helped him meet the challenges of his job.
“My work at the Center for Social Concern [Johns Hopkins University] provides new challenges,” Rollin said. “We have change agents out in the city and the community, working to pull together the optimal courses of action for a lot of different interests. Identifying the right route to prime results is challenging. SVSU prepared me by sharpening my technical skills and developing my ability to think critically.
“At SVSU, I learned the importance of plugging in and connecting,” Rollin said. “If I have any advice, it’s ‘get involved.’”
Though Assistant Professor of Nursing Andrea Frederick has been a full-time employee of SVSU for only a few years, her connection to the university started almost 20 years ago when in 1996 she obtained her Master of Science in Nursing. Subsequent to that experience, she served on the College of Health & Human Services’ Nursing Advisory Board, helped organize clinical experiences at Midland’s MidMichigan Medical Center (where she worked for 34 years) and served as an adjunct faculty member at SVSU. Andrea retired from MidMichigan Medical on June 30, 2010, and joined SVSU on July 1, 2010. She became acting assistant dean for the college on July 1, 2012, and served in that role until June 30, 2014. Having completed her doctorate in health administration, Andrea is excited about returning to the classroom for the 2014–2015 academic year.
You spent almost four decades in nursing before joining SVSU. What is your background?
I started my career with MidMichigan Medical Center as a staff nurse and then progressed into various leadership roles,culminating as the director of inpatient care, quality and infection control.
Tell us about your doctorate.
I’ve successfully defended my dissertation [sighs, smiles]. I am very interested in the impact that healthcare executives involved in the operating room environment have on staff perception of teamwork and safety. The operating room is a high risk, problem-prone environment because of its complex setting. Historically, executives don’t often venture in the O.R. but the value is that when they do, they can empower staff to speak up and share ideas. It also helps the executive make resource allocation decisions when they better understand the setting. The research indicates that it’s definitely worth the time for executives to be engaged in the O.R.
You seem to have reinvented yourself and your career at SVSU.
Yes, but not only reinvented. I’ve rediscovered my passion for teaching. There is true joy for me in teaching. Teaching has been for me an opportunity to emphasize the quality and safety agenda that is so important to me. It’s a privilege to be with our nursing students and to have an impact on how they will practice. My job is to help them to make meaning of what they see and find out in what nursing area they belong. There are so many options to explore, and I can help students talk through things, tease out options and look at the possibilities.
You have just left your role as acting assistant dean to return to the classroom. A tough or easy decision?
Honestly, both. When Dean [Judy] Ruland started here in 2011, I was tasked with introducing her to healthcare partners in the region. I was immediately attracted to her enthusiasm and creativity and when she asked me to become acting assistant dean, I was all onboard. As acting assistant dean, I still had opportunities to interact with students, but on a different level; it was more in an advising and problem-solving role. The downside of the administrative role is that is does limit your time in the classroom and that’s where I feel I can make my greatest impact. Judy has been very supportive of my return to the classroom.
OK, the recruitment question: Why should prospective students choose to study nursing at SVSU over other universities?
It’s the whole package. For starters, the facilities are excellent, especially the lab and simulations. Every week and at every level, simulation occurs. This allows our students to develop competencies and confidence in taking care of patients before they are in an actual clinical setting. Much of the learning is also interdisciplinary, which is so critical to a highly functional healthcare setting. Our nursing, kinesiology and social work students work together. And our faculty are amazing. They’re very well versed in both theory and practice and care deeply about our students.
Tai Chi Lee can look back with pride on a fulfilling career at SVSU. Since his arrival in 1988, the professor of computer science has published more than 51 scholarly papers and three books on subjects such as computer security, NASA mission software and computer operating systems. For his efforts to advance understanding in his discipline, Lee was recently awarded the Earl Warrick Award for Excellence in Research, SVSU’s highest recognition for faculty scholarship. “All these years, it’s been my number one goal to promote undergraduate research,” he said.
Lee, who announced his retirement in spring 2014, stayed on through the summer months to complete work on a high-performance computing platform made possible through a three-year, $123,000 National Science Foundation grant. In regard to the proper role of research at a teaching institution, Lee noted that “teaching comes first, but research is important. Without research, we just teach the old stuff.”
Lee has worked closely on collaborative research projects with many students, most of whom have gone on to graduate school. “I’m very proud to have to have made a difference in students’ lives,” he said. He has helped students acquire external grants, present papers at conferences and apply for prestigious graduate programs. Among those students he recalls were James Kruchkow, 1995, B.S., who completed a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho; Eric Henne, 1999, B.S., who finished his master’s degree at Wayne State University; and Frederick Miller 1994, B.S., who earned his Master of Science in Technological Processes at SVSU in 2003 and is now a vice president at Yeo & Yeo Consulting. “When I think about these students, I’m really very proud that they are so successful. They stand out for me because they had motivation, were hard- working and had a keen interest in research.”
He also mentioned former students Amanda Pavlicek, 2012, B.S., now with Chase Bank, and Heather Mindykowski, 2009, B.S., a Web application developer at Dow Corning. While he has not noticed a dramatic increase in the number of female students majoring in computer science, he thinks “the women who do major in computer science tend to be at the top of the class.”
A lover of learning, Lee completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from National Taiwan Normal University before earning a master’s degree in mathematics from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Utah. “I wanted to study in this country because the U.S. has the most advanced mathematics research,” he explained. “You have greater freedom [in the United States] to develop your own research ideas, and students are also freer to express their ideas.”
In order to enhance his skills and pursue more knowledge, Lee earned a second master’s degree — in electrical engineering and computer science — from the University of Illinois at Chicago, subsequent to completing his Ph.D. “I have to credit my parents for instilling in me a desire to learn,” he said. “My dad would say, ‘If you don’t have an education you can’t go any further.’ But it was really my mother who encouraged me to work hard, study, learn.”
Lee looks forward to a well-earned retirement where he can spend more time with a son, who lives in Minnesota, but also travel abroad with his wife Jessica. “I also want to catch up with my reading in literature and history. I love those subjects but have mostly studied other things. I’ll probably keep reading technology too,” he laughed, “just to stay current.”
It’s always about the learning.
Tamara (Tammy) Arizola Barrientos, 1995, B.A.; 2002, M.A.T., is a success story on many levels. A self-described “nerd” at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, she spent a year at Central Michigan University and another year at Delta College before transferring to SVSU. Even as a commuter student, the elementary education major felt connected and supported, due in great part to the assistance she received from the Office of Multicultural Services. “We would go there just to hang out,” Barrientos said. “One time, I wanted to drop a course because I didn’t think I would get an ‘A’ for the semester, but my mentors encouraged me to stick it out. And I’m glad I did because I ended up doing better than I thought I would.”
As a Cardinal, Barrientos used her connections with other students she met in Multicultural Services to get involved in campus organizations. She founded a campus chapter of a sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma, for Latina students. “When I attended the national conference, I was so excited to be among so many high-achieving women,” Barrientos said. “At that moment, I felt proud I had made the most of my opportunities to be successful in life.”
A graduate of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at SVSU, Barrientos at first hesitated to pursue an advanced degree. She was already working as a middle school teacher and had good experiences with parents and students at Ricker Middle School. In addition, she pointed out, “a lot of the time [school] teachers are reluctant [to earn a graduate degree] because they don’t see the value it will hold in their classroom, how it will directly affect them on a day-to-day basis.” But Barrientos said that in earning her MAT, she learned that her work with research made her a better teacher.
She now advocates for all teachers to learn more theory through graduate studies, adding that it will markedly increase their success with students.
Barrientos joined SVSU’s professional staff in 1997, working first as a coordinator of the Regional Mathematics and Science Center and, since 2010, as its director. The Center, which is housed in the College of Education, is part of a network of 33 such regional centers; Barrientos designs curricula for local schools and helps educators improve their teaching.
Barrientos takes as her philosophy the importance of doing everything to help students who are challenged by math and science and supporting math and science teachers who wish to improve. “It’s all about seeing the students be successful,” Barrientos said. “Even now, as director of this center, if I can help one teacher, I know that ultimately I’m helping a lot of students learn that it is possible to enjoy math and science.”