December 8, 2015

SVSU steel band and percussion ensemble team up for concert

Two Saginaw Valley State University musical groups will perform together in concert Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

The steel drum band Valley Steel will be joined by the SVSU Percussion Ensemble for the concert; both under the direction of Brandon Haskett, SVSU assistant professor of music.  

Valley Steel performs on steel drums and other steel percussion instruments. The band contains a student group and an adult community ensemble.

The SVSU percussion ensemble will open the concert with music from artists Eric Ewazen and Pat Metheny.

Following an intermission, the Valley Steel community group will perform songs such as "Got to Get You Into My Life" by The Beatles, "Shift Your Carcass" by Winston Bailey and "Pyxis" by CJ Menge.  The Valley Steel student group will follow with songs including "More Rokk, Less Talk" by Freezepop and "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder.

The concert is open to the public; admission is free of charge. For more information, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at www.svsu.edu/music.

December 8, 2015

International journal names SVSU's Puia among world's top 50 business educators

A Saginaw Valley State University educator was named among the top business professors in the world by an international journal focusing on business and economics.

George Puia, SVSU’s Dow Chemical Co. Centennial Chair in Global Business, learned he was among 50 educators worldwide to receive the inaugural Oxford Journal Global Top 50 Educators Award.

Puia – along with two SVSU students and two alumni – attended the 13th annual Global Conference on Business and Economics at Oxford University in England Nov. 22-23, when they presented their research paper exploring links between culture and entrepreneurial development.

A letter to Puia from the Oxford Journal staff explained the standards for the award:

“… You embody the standards expected for the winner of this prestigious award. Your vast and innovative contributions to your discipline, as well as your passion for the educational enterprise as a whole set you apart from others in your field. In an era in which educators seem to be ever more specialized and focused on their own productivity, your persistent focus on students and encouragement of their success makes you stand out as a role model for excellence in education.”

Puia learned he received the award while at the conference in England.

“I felt especially honored to receive the award in front of students and alumni who had collaborated with me on some very engaging research,” he said.

Puia joined SVSU in 2000. He has collaborated with SVSU students on a number of research projects and has traveled internationally with many students on faculty-led study abroad trips. Puia completed a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.

The full list of the Oxford Journal Global Top 50 Educators Award recipients has not been published yet. The partial list includes educators from higher education institutions such as the University of Notre Dame and the University of South Carolina as well as colleges abroad including Manchester Metropolitan University in Great Britain and Afyon Kocatepe University in Turkey.

Among those who attended the conference with Puia were students Zackary Gibson, a marketing major from Davison, and Heidi Hicks, a management major from Saginaw.

Two SVSU alumni also worked on the research paper presented there: Lisa Maroni and Rosalie Stackpole. Maroni, a Royal Oak native who received a bachelor’s degree in international studies in 2010, now serves as assistant director of international recruitment and admissions at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. Stackpole, a Trenton native who received her bachelor’s degree in marketing in May, works as a marketing project manager at Bloomfield Hills-based Flexible Plan Investments, Ltd.

The group’s research paper was titled, “Indulgence, Restraint, and Within-Country Diversity: Exploring Entrepreneurial Outcomes with New Constructs.”

The Global Conference on Business and Economics was sponsored by the Oxford Journal, as well as the Association for Business and Economics Research.

December 4, 2015

SVSU hires Isabella County Sheriff as new police chief

Saginaw Valley State University has hired Leo Mioduszewski to serve as the school’s next police chief. He has served as the sheriff for Isabella County since 2005. Mioduszewski will replace Ron Trepkowski, who is retiring at the end of the calendar year, following 36 years with University Police, including 11 as chief.

“Leo has the qualities we were looking for in our next chief of University Police,” said Donald Bachand, president of SVSU. “He has a wealth of background and experience, and he possesses a great understanding of the complexities involved in employing a community policing model in a campus setting.

“I look forward to bringing him aboard and introducing him to the SVSU community as we work together to continue the high level of campus safety we have enjoyed for many years.”

In his capacity as Isabella County Sheriff, Mioduszewski has overseen 58 employees and an annual budget of $5.2 million. Prior to becoming sheriff, he served 14 years with the Central Michigan University police department, including three years as a sergeant, and 5 years as a police officer in Mancelona, Michigan.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into campus policing,” Mioduszewski said.

 

“I miss community policing work. As sheriff, it’s been difficult to do that because it covered a large area. At the college level, it’s so nice because you’ve got people in a smaller area where you can really develop stronger relationships. I’m really looking forward to that.”

Mioduszewski completed a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at CMU. He will begin his SVSU duties later this December.

December 2, 2015

SVSU selects latest class of educators for Gerstacker Fellowship

Saginaw Valley State University has named 10 K-12 educators from across Michigan to participate in the Gerstacker Fellowship program in 2016.

They will receive concentrated leadership training over a 1-year period, including a capstone international experience that will send the group to Japan in April.

Previous overseas trips have included Finland, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. These trips involve visits to educational institutions, where participants learn about international educational systems, and corporate settings, where they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings.

Funded by an endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland, the participants are known as Gerstacker Fellows and meet monthly on weekends. SVSU faculty from various disciplines instruct the group on subjects dealing with organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective.

Those selected to participate in the program in 2016 include:
•    Adair Aumock, director of Instructional Services and Technology for the Bay City Public School District
•    Joseph Blaskowski, assistant principal for White Pine Middle School in Saginaw Township
•    Eric Bruner, principal of Coolidge Intermediate School in Ferndale
•    David Ersig, a math and science teacher at the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology.
•    Jennifer Geno, assistant principal at the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District
•    Shawna Groulx, assistant principal at Durand High School
•    Scott Harrison, a sixth grade teacher for Freeland Elementary School
•    Radhika Issac, an elementary math teacher for the Clarkston Community School District
•    Renee Mrozinski, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Bangor Township
•    Chunchun Tang, director of International Programs at Oxford Community Schools

Blaskowski, Geno, Mrozinski and Tang are SVSU graduates.

The participants were selected based on past academic and service accomplishments, along with outside recommendations. Supervisors nominated them.

As a result of the Gerstacker endowment, there is no charge to program participants unless they elect to have the educational experience considered for graduate credit.

November 25, 2015

SVSU hosts fourth grade students for Hour of Code event

Saginaw Valley State University will host students from two local elementary classrooms Thursday, Dec. 3 for an Hour of Code program. The event is part of a national initiative to increase diversity in computer science as well as to introduce coding to students at a young age.

The program consists of students participating in an hour of coding, the process of writing a computer program using a programming language. George Corser, SVSU assistant professor of computer science and information systems, and SVSU computer science students will provide instruction to the elementary students.

“Coding is a new kind of literacy,” Corser said. “The reason it's important to get it in early is because these younger people are going to be affected (more than other generations) by the digital world. We're living in a digital world with computers; we need to learn how they think and how they speak, and coding is their language.”

The two classrooms chosen were Amy Rankey's fourth grade class at Washington Elementary School in Bay City, and Carolynn Collard's fourth grade class at Chesaning Elementary School.

Students from those classes will come to SVSU, write code for an hour, and then tour the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum. They also will participate in a new STEM-geared activity session at the museum, where students will work with wax and water while also learning how wax and water interact with each other.

The Hour of Code event is a global movement that reaches students in over 180 countries.

November 25, 2015

Michigan college students converge on SVSU to compete for $1,000 prize for new business ideas

Saginaw Valley State University will host its inaugural student elevator pitch competition Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

Students from multiple universities across the state, including SVSU, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University have signed up to pitch their new business ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience for a chance to win $1,000.  

“We are excited to be hosting an event that is engaging students from such a variety of universities,” said Rama Yelkur, dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management. “SVSU is always looking for new ways to engage students in experiences that help them develop real-life skills, and this is one of our latest efforts.”

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, part of SVSU’s College of Business & Management, is organizing the event, as part of a series of opportunities for students to engage in the business start-up experience.  

Students will have 120 seconds to present their business idea to a panel of judges from the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem.  First place is $1,000 towards the winner's business idea. Prizes are also available for second and third place, as well as an audience choice.  

“As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you face is how to secure funding to bring your idea to life,” said Tom Sesti, director of the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU.

“Entrepreneurs across the globe are regularly engaged in pitch competitions as part of their efforts to raise money.  As part of our mission to stimulate the creation of new business ventures, we felt it was critical to not only offer student entrepreneurs the ability to develop their pitch skills, but to also provide real financial opportunities to fund their ideas as part of that pitch experience.”

Students seeking to register, or anyone who would like to attend the competition should contact Sesti at 989-964-6073 or tpsesti@svsu.edu.

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU's College of Business & Management was funded by the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation. The institute stimulates creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for student entrepreneurs.

November 25, 2015

SVSU student receives Hazel Jones Wright Award of Community Service

A Saginaw Valley State University student has been honored by the Women's Progressive Club of Saginaw with the Hazel Jones Wright Award for Community Service. Terry Blake, a business management major from Flint, received the award in November for his service activities on campus and in the community.

A senior at SVSU, Blake said his time in college has allowed him to perform community service not only through the organizations he is part of but also out of his love for the community.

“I realized at a very young age that everyone is only a mistake away from needing these services and I choose to give my all with no regrets in every community service project I am able to do,” he said.

Blake is heavily involved on SVSU’s campus, particularly in positions that assist other students navigate college successfully. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and the Organization of Black Unity. Blake also serves as a campus ambassador, and he is a founding member of God’s Children of Integrity and the founder and current coordinator of the student ambassadors program in SVSU’s Office of Multicultural Services.

The Women's Progressive Club of Saginaw's objective is to uplift the moral standard, economic, ecology, religion, intellectual and cultural enrichment, education and social welfare of women. The club has been a chapter of the Michigan State Association of Colored Women's Clubs, an affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs for more than 50 years.

November 25, 2015

SVSU Concert Choir to perform Mozart, Dolly Parton music

Saginaw Valley State University's Concert Choir will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Kevin Simons, assistant professor of music, will direct the choir, which includes SVSU students. Emerald Joiner, a music education major from Saginaw, will serve as the concert’s assistant director. Amanda Lewis, who graduated from SVSU as a music major in 2013, will serve as the pianist and organist alongside 47 SVSU vocalists and four instrumentalists.

The concert will feature classic selections from composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Thomas Morley, as well as contemporary selections from musicians such as Dolly Parton.

For more information on this concert or the many other events hosted by SVSU's music department, visit svsu.edu/music.

November 23, 2015

Duo’s research project to boost healthy lifestyles and student opportunities

 If you ask assistant professors Meghan Baruth and Becca Schlaff which they like best — teaching or research — they will each answer “both” and say their ability to do both at SVSU is a big reason they are happy to be at the university. 

And perhaps what they enjoy most is the active engagement of students in research. This opportunity, they argue, is experiential learning at its best, gives SVSU students a competitive edge for grad school acceptance, and enhances students’ confidence, communication and critical learning skills.

 “Focus on Faculty” spoke to Baruth, assistant professor of health sciences, and Schlaff, assistant professor of kinesiology, about a recent research project they oversaw. 

What prompted this research project?

MB: We have similar interests in looking at physical activity and healthy eating, so it was easy for us to get together and decide on a project that was evidence-, intervention- and community-based.

BS: Ultimately, we want to develop our own behavioral intervention program through original research. That will happen next thanks to a grant from the Allen Foundation Student/Faculty Research Grant, where we will look at developing a behavioral intervention program for pregnant women that addresses both diet and activity.

Describe the intent of the current project, “Improving Health Behaviors Among Older Adults.”

MB: We worked with inactive adults over age 50 to develop strategies that addressed eating better and exercising more.

BS: Much of the time with our participants was discussion-centered, talking about goal setting, self-monitoring and also creating an environment for social support.

How did the SVSU students benefit?

MB: Three students actually led the research. They coordinated finding participants, led measurement and education sessions, worked one-on-one with participants and entered data.   

BS: I love the fact that one of the things they learned is that research isn’t perfect and there is value in failure. Our students get to be engaged and do work at the undergraduate level that is often seen at the graduate level.

We asked the three students involved with the SVSU project to discuss their experience. All noted it was Baruth and Schlaff’s passion and mentoring that gave them confidence and clarity. This put them on a well-planned path to graduate school.

Nathan Peters, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in a Ph.D. program in exercise science at the University of South Carolina. Ultimately, he hopes to perform research and teach at the college level. This is what he had to say:

Dr. Schlaff helped me see that I could do research and teaching rather than either/or, as I love them both. Dr. Baruth talked in class about her own research at University of South Carolina and it was just what I wanted. My advisor at USC said that most applications just offer basic GRE and ACT scores but my vitae read like someone with a master’s degree.

Tatum Goldufsky, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in Michigan State University’s Master of Human Nutrition with a full graduate assistantship. Goldufsky also plans to become a registered dietician, pursue a Ph.D., perform research and teach at the college level. This is what Goldufsky had to say:

I talked a lot to Dr. Baruth, who helped me see I could marry my passions for community-based health, nutrition, physical activity and teaching. Dr. Schlaff sparked my interest in MSU. Both faculty members knew I was very shy and pushed and challenged me. I am where I am because of them.

Valerie Adams, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke University. Ultimately, she plans to open a physical therapy clinic and specialize in women’s health. This is what Adams had to say:

Dr. Schlaff gave me the courage to approach her because she made it clear in class that she cared about us as people. So, after class, I introduced myself and learned we had a mutual interest in nutrition. She encouraged me in my research efforts and became my honors thesis advisor. The skills I gained from research ranged from learning to look at the big picture to communications, developing an inquisitive view, confidence, working with all members of a team and taking things in stride. For sure, these experiences helped my acceptance into Duke.

November 23, 2015

Marcia Shannon, assistant professor of nursing Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services

There’s a framed photo in Marcia Shannon’s office showing the assistant professor of nursing flanked by friends, the crests of Mount Everest looming in the background.

She points out that the location of the picture is exactly where, years later, someone filmed a video — viewed worldwide — of an avalanche that followed a massive earthquake in Nepal.

“That was scary to watch,” she said.

While Shannon was safe at SVSU during the spring 2015 earthquake, the disaster struck her on a personal level. She has visited the South Asian nation six times, including twice while leading a group of SVSU students on study-abroad trips.

“Nepal is very near and dear to my heart,” Shannon said. “I’ve been going there for 15 years, and I’ve developed a lot of good friendships.”

Seeing the devastation from home, Shannon decided to spearhead a fundraising campaign on campus to support disaster relief and rebuilding. In June, Shannon presented $4,875 in Nepal disaster relief funds to the American Red Cross.

“We had to do something,” she said.

Shannon’s first visit to the nation happened in 1998, when she and her husband spent their 25th wedding anniversary traveling to the base camp of Mount Everest. Most recently, she took a group of 10 SVSU students to Nepal in May 2014. They visited health care facilities, both in highly populated communities such as Kathmandu as well as rural regions. They learned about medical practices and medicines used in that part of the world, and presented studies on non-communicable diseases to audiences that included government officials and academic deans.

The learning goes both ways, Shannon said.

“It’s not just about what we bring to these trips,” she said. “There’s so much to learn from these countries, too.”

Shannon hasn’t limited her students’ study abroad experiences to Nepal. Since arriving at SVSU in 1978, she led academic expeditions to Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

“There’s great value to service learning and study abroad,” Shannon said. “I wish more students would take advantage of that.”

She stressed the importance of understanding other cultures even domestically, considering the growing percentage of minority populations in the United States. 

“If you can’t see what others are seeing, you’re missing out,” she said. “I haven’t had a single student go on one of these trips and say, ‘I haven’t been changed.’ That’s what I want to do for students: open up the world for them.”