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October 20, 2014

Accountant studies financial impact of faulty cloud storage

Betsy Pierce is versed in a variety of topics. Genetics. Accounting. Chronic lung disease. Battlefield 4.

The assistant professor of accounting’s interest in the latter subject, a futuristic war-time video game, doesn’t involve her picking up an Xbox controller, though. Instead, Pierce over the last year has studied the flawed development plan that nearly derailed the video game’s worldwide release in October.

Recently, Pierce and a colleague — Dawna Drum from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire — submitted a case study paper based on the incident to The Accounting Information Systems Educator, an annual publication dedicated to accounting-based education. The paper challenges students to consider their own business strategy when developing and releasing a videogame. Specifically, students are both asked how they would choose an Internet cloud storage client and to consider an exit strategy should that client prove unreliable. 

Battlefield 4’s developer, Electronic Arts, experienced such a scenario in the fall when its cloud storage company, Nirvanix, filed for bankruptcy and gave its clients two weeks to remove data from its Internet storage space. The company was able to secure a 2-week extension to the storage deadline, and that relief likely prevented Battlefield 4 developers from losing critical files that could have delayed the game’s multimillion dollar-netting release, Pierce said. 

One of Pierce’s many research interests is the growing trend toward firms using cloud storage.

 “I’m an old-time accountant, and I lived through the whole automation process, when (companies) had to convince people to use desktop computers,” said Pierce, a practicing accountant until 2000.

She said now members of the American Institute of CPAs are pushing for more firms to use cloud technology.

“It’s interesting to me, and scary,” she said. 

It wasn’t so long ago when Pierce’s interests lay in a very different field. The Midland native with a Ph.D. in immunology was a postdoctoral fellow in pediatrics before arriving at SVSU last summer. She was one of a half-dozen people in the world with a focus on studying chronic lung disease in patients who underwent bone marrow transplants.

Before that, she taught courses at the college level on subjects such as genetics and accounting. The experience stuck with her through the years, and when an opportunity opened up at SVSU to educate undergraduates, she applied.

 “I love being in the classroom,” she said.

These days, she teaches Financial and Managerial Accounting and is helping revamp the Accounting Information Systems course at SVSU. She recently participated in a study abroad trip in India.

“I’m having a blast,” Pierce said of her SVSU experience.

October 20, 2014

Stepping Away? Lock Your Computer!

By Jennifer Paradise

A few of the past posts in the ITS Newsroom have talked about physical security and making sure that confidential information is kept that way – confidential. Don't leave important papers out in the open unattended. Password protect your devices. We've told you about these and other things you can do. This week for National Cyber Security Awareness Month we want to tell you about the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself: lock your computer.

Q: When do I need to lock my computer?

A: Whenever you leave your computer unattended and plan on coming back to use it.

Going to the printer to pick-up a document? Lock your computer. Leaving the office for a meeting? Lock your computer. Going to the restroom? Lock your computer. Stepping out for a break? Lock your computer. Helping a friend at another computer in a lab? Lock your computer.

On a Windows computer,

  • Windows button-L
  • Ctrl-Alt-Delete and choose Lock this Computer
  • Click the Start Menu and choose Lock from the functions in the menu on the right

On a Mac,

  • Control-Shift-Eject or Control-Shift-Power (if you don't have a CD-ROM)

When you return to your computer, you can unlock it by logging back in with your username and password.

As a reminder, mark your calendars! We have an FBI specialist coming to campus on Tuesday, October 28 from 1-2pm presenting on cyber security in the Ott Auditorium. The entire campus community is invited to attend.

October 17, 2014

SVSU recital to feature debut of university's virtual pipe organ

Several musicians in the Saginaw Valley State University community will perform in a virtual pipe organ recital Tuesday, Oct. 21 in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The 7:30 p.m. recital will feature SVSU's new Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ; it is free and open to the public.

Performers include Carl Angelo, Anna Leppert-Largent, Gregory Largent, Jason Maurer, Nicholas Schmelter and Kevin Simons.  

The program includes music by German composer J.S. Bach, English composer Percy Whitlock and American composer Dudley Buck.

A virtual pipe organ uses high-quality pipe recordings along with Hauptwerk computer software. The recorded sounds are replayed as the organist plays.

Angelo, artist in piano and organ at SVSU, is the winner of the 1987 American Guild of Organists Young Artists Competition in Indianapolis. He has worked as a soloist and collaborative musician across the United States and as the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Flint.

Leppert-Largent, an adjunct instructor in music at SVSU, is the director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Bay City. She has been with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra for 11 years where she is production manager and director of education.

Largent, an adjunct instructor at SVSU, is the director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Saginaw. He is organist and choirmaster for the church and oversees the acclaimed Concerts at First Presbyterian Saginaw series.  

Maurer, a staff accompanist at SVSU, accompanies vocal music majors for their studio lessons, recitals and juries. He is an organist and pianist at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Saginaw and Christ Lutheran Church in Reese.

Schmelter serves as minister of music at First Congregational Church in Saginaw. He is the dean of the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Simons is an assistant professor of music at SVSU and conducts the Cardinal Singers and Concert Choir. He is the director of music and an organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Saginaw.

October 16, 2014

Collaboration key to chemist's research

High tech spectrophotometers help too

Kyle Cissell’s chemistry with teaching chemistry was a late reaction.

The SVSU assistant professor of chemistry joined the academic world three years ago after beginning his professional career working for a molecular diagnostics company in Tampa. It was there — working with high school and college interns — where he decided his future should involve teaching.

“That’s really when the switch happened,” Cissell said. “I was looking for a tenure-track position, and wanted to work with undergraduates in the Midwest.

”Since joining the higher education ranks, though, Cissell hasn’t abandoned research in favor of the classroom. The Newburgh, Ind., native is a regular in SVSU’s laboratories, where he hopes his research in chemical and biochemical sensor development will enhance scientific processes such as water quality analysis and the early detection of certain human diseases. 

Cissell is one of several faculty and students involved in studies for the Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, a community research-based initiative housed at SVSU. This summer, Cissell is helping develop proper quality control measures — basically, ensuring accurate results in testing — as the institute studies nearby water systems including the Kawkawlin, Pigeon and Pinnebog rivers.

Those efforts now are heightened thanks to the recent acquisition of high-tech instruments including two spectrophotometers, which measure the amount of light absorbed by material and can determine the concentration of various nutrients in that material.

“It’s a significant upgrade,” he said. The spectrophotometers and other recent technological purchases in the lab come courtesy of several grants SVSU earned as part of its SBESI initiative.

Cissell said he’s enjoyed his young career at SVSU so far.“I like the collaborative nature of the research in the school,” he said. “We have biochemists, chemists, geographers, engineers and biologists all working on projects together. It’s neat to be able to collaborate with faculty from so many disciplines.” 

Cissell, who earned his Ph.D. from Purdue-Indianapolis campus, said other undergraduate universities he's familiar with typically feature students who graduate with chemistry degree prior to pursuing a professional degree, with few entering industry. "Here, a lot of students move from SVSU into industry positions and have successful careers," Cissell said, pointing out the relations between nearby companies such as The Dow Chemical Company and Dow Corning Corp.

Cissell said he's managed to balance work with another element of his life: family. He is married to Sonja, and the couple is raisign two daughters: 18 moth old Ainsley and Laura, born May 6.

"Family is very important to me," he said.

October 14, 2014

SVSU Board grants emeritus status to retired computer science professor

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control voted to grant emeritus status to Tai-Chi Lee, who recently retired from SVSU after 26 years of service, during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Oct. 13.

A professor of computer science and information systems, Lee received the Earl L. Warrick Award for Excellence in Research in April, SVSU’s highest honor bestowed for faculty scholarship. Since 1976, he has had 51 scholarly papers published on subjects such as electronic payments, NASA mission software, and algorithms. Lee also authored three books that center on learning computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.

In other business, the Board:
•    passed a resolution to commend faculty, staff and administrators for their respective efforts to achieve continued accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.
•    approved confirmation of board members for previously authorized charter schools.
•    received and accepted the annual financial audit and federal awards audit for the 2014 fiscal year. The audit was  conducted by the Saginaw accounting firm Andrews Hooper Pavlik.
•    approved a capital projects funding plan and SVSU’s 2016 capital outlay request to the Michigan Legislature.

October 13, 2014

Gilbertson Hall to pay permanent tribute to SVSU’s 3rd President

Throughout the nearly 25 years of his presidency at Saginaw Valley State University and during a career that spans more than four decades, Eric Gilbertson has remained committed to higher education. That commitment earned permanent recognition Monday, Oct. 13 as SVSU’s Regional Education Center was formally re-named Gilbertson Hall.
“Throughout his tenure as president – which was nearly four times the national average for college presidents – Eric was committed to creating opportunities for students – all students,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand, who joined the SVSU faculty in 1978 and served as provost under Gilbertson before succeeding him.
Many of those opportunities are supported through endowments. Private fundraising advanced dramatically under Gilbertson; the market value of SVSU's endowment increased more than twenty-fold and currently stands at nearly $77 million.
Examples of new endowments established and dedicated toward providing special opportunities for students include:
•    the Roberts Fellowship, a year-long leadership development program for 12 outstanding students that culminates in a three-week trip to Asia;
•    the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute, which supports and promotes outstanding and innovative student work in any discipline by providing up to $10,000 per project;
•    the Vitito Global Leadership Institute, which provides extraordinary business networking and international travel experiences for students in SVSU’s College of Business and Management.
Gilbertson’s daily schedule frequently included attending multiple student events, and he would regularly visit with students in his office. That level of interaction stands out to Elyse Ledy, a 2013 SVSU graduate who now works for the university as a resident director; she is a current student of Gilbertson’s in the Master of Arts in Administrative Science program.
“What I have seen over the past five years,” she said, “is a man dedicated to encouraging a culture of accessibility, visibility, and respect for the students and employees of the university. I believe this culture has become his legacy.”
Jerome Yantz has served on SVSU’s Board of Control since 2001. He addressed another aspect of Gilbertson’s legacy, namely encouraging cooperation among the communities of Bay City, Midland and Saginaw, ultimately forming what is now known as Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region.
“We can't forget when he first came to the area,” Yantz said. “He started talking about the importance of regionalism. He put the university in the forefront of becoming the neutral site for conversations to begin.”
Gilbertson joined SVSU in 1989. When he arrived, SVSU's enrollment stood at 5,915 students; it had increased to more than 10,000 when he retired. The number of students living on campus has more than quadrupled from 616 residents in 1996 to 2,722 this fall.
SVSU’s physical campus also was transformed under Gilbertson's leadership, tripling in size to more than 1.5 million square feet of building space. In addition to student housing, major new construction projects during his tenure include Curtiss Hall and the Performing Arts Center in 1996, the Doan Science East building in 2001, Gilbertson Hall (formerly the Regional Education Center) in 2003, and the Health and Human Services building in 2010. In addition, Zahnow Library and Pioneer Hall saw major expansions.
Prior to SVSU, Gilbertson served as president of Johnson State College in Vermont for eight years. He also served as executive assistant to the president at Ohio State University and as legal counsel to the Ohio Board of Regents.
Following his retirement from the presidency in February, Gilbertson was granted a sabbatical. He returned this fall as an executive-in-residence to teach courses in leadership and administration, and constitutional law; he also serves as an advisor to SVSU’s moot court program.


October 13, 2014

Reporting Data Security Incidents

Adapted from the article, "Reporting Data Security Incidents," updated 02/26/2013, © 2013 ePlace Solutions, Inc.

By Jennifer Paradise

Even after taking the right precautions, accidents happen, systems fail, people are fooled, and sensitive data may be compromised. Prior to such an occurrence, it is important to know what to do when a data security incident occurs. All potential security incidents involving sensitive information should be reported immediately.

Who Do I Contact?

Contact the IT Support Center for all technology issues including those related to security. Unsure if an issue is a security concern? Let us determine that! Call us at x4225, or 989-964-4225. You can also email us at

Examples of Incidents to Report

Any of the following could constitute a potential data security incident.

  • Misuse of sensitive information (e.g. posting of customer information on a social website)
  • Social engineering attempts (e.g. phishing)
  • Potential malware infections
  • Loss or theft of a PC or other electronic storage device
  • Missing hard-copy documents or media


To reduce potential liability, it is important to take care in how you communicate about a potential data security incident. Specifically, 

  • Avoid using email to communicate about the incident. Use the telephone instead. If you are reporting email spam, it's appropriate to forward the email to
  • Do not discuss the incident with people outside of the University.
  • When reporting a problem, be forthcoming with information. If it is a lost laptop, refer to the incident as "a lost laptop." If you receive email spam, refer to it as "spam." Give ITS as much information about the incident as possible.

In case you missed the announcement last week, we have an FBI specialist coming to campus on Tuesday, October 28 from 1-2pm presenting on cyber security in the Ott Auditorium. The entire campus community is invited to attend. We hope to see you there!

October 8, 2014

SVSU names John Decker as Associate VP and General Counsel

Saginaw Valley State University has appointed attorney John Decker to the newly created position of associate vice president and general counsel.  Decker comes to SVSU from the law firm Braun Kendrick, where he was a partner and had worked for 34 years, including 12 years as managing partner.

“We conducted a national search and determined that John's impressive legal experience and long-term commitment to SVSU made him an ideal candidate for this role,” said Jim Muladore, SVSU executive vice president for administration and business affairs. “Given the ever increasing complexity of university operations, I am confident SVSU will benefit greatly from John's skills and experience.”

Decker has represented SVSU on numerous legal matters over the years, and in recent years served as outside general counsel. In addition to his legal duties, he is expected to oversee SVSU’s University Police and Human Resources departments.

Since 2002, Decker has served on the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors, including a term as chair. His community involvement also includes serving as chair of the leadership program steering committee for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance.

“Through my work with the Alliance over the past several years, I have come to more fully understand and appreciate what an asset SVSU is to the region,” Decker said. “That’s one reason I’m very excited about this opportunity to become part of the SVSU team.”

Decker completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska and a law degree at Duke University. His wife Sally is a professor of nursing at SVSU.  Decker is expected to start at SVSU in November.

October 7, 2014

SVSU student impresses Quicken Loans CEO during internship

Rosalie Stackpole knows how to seize opportunity. As one of 1,000 summer interns for Quicken Loans, she was determined to seek out new challenges.

“I went in with the attitude that I’m here for a reason,” Stackpole said. “I would speak up at meetings.”

Only a few weeks into the summer, Stackpole received a rare opportunity for an intern: she was part of a team that prepared a marketing campaign proposal they presented directly to Quicken’s CEO.

“I was intimidated at first,” she said.

Anxiety was replaced with confidence – and a lot of assignments – after Stackpole’s team saw their idea endorsed, impressing the company’s leader.

“It was a real pleasure having Rosalie with us this summer,” said Jay Farner, president and CEO of Quicken Loans. “Her enthusiasm and passion is a great representation of the exceptional work we’ve seen from our interns, and we are thrilled to have had as big an impact on her as she has had on Quicken Loans.”

Stackpole made such an impression that Quicken asked her to recruit other SVSU students with the intelligence and work ethic she displayed. While completing her marketing degree, Stackpole remains on the payroll as a campus ambassador, and she is organizing a bus trip for 50 students to visit Quicken headquarters Friday, Oct. 10.

“I tried to sell SVSU while I was there,” she explained. “I’m a Cardinal. That’s what we do.”

In addition to introducing around 1,000 interns to the company each year, Quicken also seeks to sell them on the revival of Detroit.

“It worked on me,” Stackpole said.

Born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Trenton, Stackpole’s parents had reservations about their daughter working in downtown Detroit, but she assured them that their fears were unfounded.

“I walked from Cobo Hall every day and I felt completely safe,” she said. “Quicken expects their interns to work hard and put in long hours, but they also want you to enjoy Detroit.”

Stackpole participated in the “Live Downtown” games, where several companies sponsor employees to compete in socially responsible contests.  She was part of a team that raced to see who would be the fastest to fill 500 emergency baskets for the American Red Cross; they won.

“We have actual gold medals,” Stackpole said.

On pace to graduate with her SVSU business degree next May, Stackpole was selected for SVSU’s Vitito Global Business Leadership Institute, an 18-month leadership development program with international travel for SVSU business students. She also remains heavily involved on campus as a manager for the women’s basketball team and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

Stackpole hopes her current assignment with Quicken leads to an opportunity to work for the company full-time.

“I learned a lot about mortgages,” she said, “and I fell in love with Quicken Loans.”‌‌



October 7, 2014

Dow Corning Foundation and SVSU power Midland H.H. Dow student STEM initiative

The sun‌ isn't the only factor powering Ellen Lavigne's interest in solar energy. With the help of Saginaw Valley State University and the Dow Corning Foundation, the junior at Midland's H.H. Dow High School is working to build a miniature solar-powered car.

“It's been really fun to see how different cars work and to see how different designs work,” said Lavigne, who already is contemplating a career in an alternative energy-related field. “I like the idea of geo-thermal solar energy and creating energy from natural resources.”
Lavigne is one of 90 students at her school benefiting from the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU STEM Community Partnership. The initiative - which currently involves schools in Saginaw, Bay, Midland and Tuscola counties - is aimed at piquing K-12 students' interests in STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Early on, that aim seems to be working on teenagers such as Lavigne and Stephanie Carras, two students in H.H. Dow teacher Thomas McNamara's fourth-hour physics class.
Carras, a sophomore, called the class coursework “really cool.”
“There's a lot of hands-on work,” she said. “That's been fun.”
One of 13 teachers from the Great Lakes Bay Region selected to receive both STEM education-based training and funding this year, McNamara has tasked his students with projects inspired by the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU partnership. The alternative energy vehicle design is the first of many projects planned in his new curriculum.
 “I'm really excited about this whole project,” the 27-year veteran teacher said of the STEM partnership. “The students all have more ownership of the science.”
 The STEM initiative has funded the purchase of equipment used to build the cars as well as high-tech motion sensors that allow the students to track the science that makes these vehicles move. A year ago, McNamara's class instead was studying already-built fan-powered miniature cars, using more dated equipment to study the physics.
 McNamara's new class project lineup later in the year will task pupils with designing and building musical instruments and wind turbines. Assignments will address the concepts of energy transfer, sound resonance and kinematics, which is the study of mechanics.
McNamara will work together with Tami Sivy, SVSU associate professor of chemistry, over the next year in order to carry out the project. Each teacher involved in the program worked with SVSU faculty as part of the partnership, which was funded by a $254,000 Dow Corning Foundation grant.
The program was initiated in part because of exam results indicating a majority of local high school students are not considered college-ready in the STEM fields despite the growing emergence of job opportunities in related industries within the region.
McNamara said, early on in the school year, the STEM partnership is paying off in his classroom.
“It's allowed me to step back and look at how I'm teaching the kids, and consider what would make them want to learn more about STEM.”

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