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June 26, 2018

SVSU art gallery to display former Saginaw Art Museum director's work

Saginaw Valley State University will display the works of a 20th century Saginaw artist whose legacy resonates with her creative successors in the University Art Gallery this summer.

The exhibition featuring the work of Julia Roecker will be shown from July 2 to Aug. 10.

Art pieces shown in the exhibition will include traditional work in the area of linocut and woodblock prints, as well as silkscreen and impressionist pastel drawings. In addition to these pieces, there will be examples of her sketchbooks displayed.

Roecker shared her skills of art and teaching with the people she inspired during her lifetime.

Born in Saginaw in 1887, she received her art training at the Arts Institute of Chicago. After receiving her education, she returned to her hometown – with her husband Henry – to teach art classes at Saginaw High School.

Roecker then continued to instruct others at Alma College as a professor of art. After retiring from Alma, she finished her career in Saginaw as the director of the Saginaw Art Museum, a title she held for 10 years until her retirement.

The couple's accomplished life is detailed in the book “A Century on Canvas: The Lives and Work of Julia Roberts and Henry Leon Roecker” by Jean Beach.

Julia Roecker was a dynamic artist, as SVSU's studio art technician Sara Clark described.

“There wasn't much in art that she wasn't in charge of at Alma College, so she was constantly working in different media and taking different approaches to her favorite subject matter which consisted largely of flora and fauna,” she said.

Even after her death at the age of 101 in 1988, Clark said that her legacy remains in the region through others.

“She was quite prolific as an artist, and this passion and discipline surely rubbed off on her students and admirers.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The art gallery is open daily Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on SVSU's University Art Gallery, visit

June 25, 2018

SVSU students design new mobile app for Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum has launched a new app designed to allow visitors to tour the galleries and sculpture garden on their smartphones. The free app is available on both iOS and Android via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It can be downloaded in advance of a visit or in the gallery on the museum’s free Wi-Fi.
The impetus for the project stems from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum’s current strategic plan which sets forth the goal to “Strengthen the use of technology in program.” To accomplish this aim, one of the strategies is to “offer memorable experiences – both on-site and online – through the best use of technology.”
Museum Director Marilyn Wheaton pointed out that museums across the country are developing apps as a means of giving every visitor the maximum benefit in looking at the collection and exhibitions.
“With an app, you can learn so much more about a work of art than if you rely on label text,” she said.
The app provides visitors with self-guided audio tours and more in-depth information about the museum, its collections, and temporary exhibitions in a fun, easy, and efficient manner. Upon opening the app, users are given four easy-to-navigate options – About, Tours, Support and Social – each of which helps users discover works of art, media and resources that best meet their interests. It can be found by searching for “MFSM.”
One of the highlights of the app is the ability to access detailed information, gleaned from the museum’s archives, for over 35 sculptures, opening visitors’ eyes to the museum’s collection like never before.
The new app was produced by the Museum in collaboration with Saginaw Valley State University’s art and computer science departments. Ka Vang, who recently graduated with a degree in graphic design, designed the app; she worked with Blake Johnson, SVSU professor of art and graphic design. Adam Pero, who recently graduated with a degree in computer science, completed all the coding. He worked with George Corser, SVSU assistant professor of computer science.
“The primary purpose of the project was to provide a real world educational experience for students, with collaboration between multiple departments within the university, to produce a real software product,” Corser said. “The overall project was a successful collaboration between SVSU's Art and Computer Science departments, the Museum, Information Technology Services, and University Communications.”
Vang, the student designer, learned a great deal through the project.
“It made me challenge the way I think, because I have to think like the user and how they might navigate through the app,” she said. “There was a lot of trial and error, a lot of testing, a lot of sketching. I learned a lot of tips and tricks. It’s a very competitive field and it really helps me to be able to say ‘I designed this.’ I can show it to people in an interview.”
That’s exactly what Pero, the computer science student, experienced.
“When I started working on the app, I didn’t have a job and I was struggling to get interviews. Afterward, I was able to show pieces of code during my interviews. That definitely helped me get my current job.  It was a lot like being in class, but instead of being instructed, you figure it out on your own.”
Pero currently works as a software developer at Dice, a software and telecommunications company in Bay City. He also is a graduate student in SVSU’s master’s degree program in computer science and information systems.
Corser and Johnson are advisers for Cardinal Solutions, an interdisciplinary faculty/student team that works directly with local businesses and non-profits to develop marketing solutions.
“SVSU is such an amazing resource — skills, talent, and expertise,” Johnson said. “When we choose to work together across disciplines and solve problems for the community, not only do we serve, but we create opportunities for our students to learn far more than they would in a standard classroom.”
Visitors without a mobile device may check-out a tablet at the museum’s front desk (valid photo identification required) to explore the new app.
The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is dedicated to celebrating the artistic legacy of Marshall M. Fredericks through collecting, preserving, presenting, and interpreting his life’s work. It is located on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay Road.  Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.  Admission is free.  For more information, call (989) 964-7125 or visit the museum’s website at

June 21, 2018

SVSU student receives scholarship for marketing success in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Saginaw Valley State University student Valerie Klein's passion for marketing and her creative spirit paid off recently when she received a scholarship from the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce.

A marketing major from New Lothrop, Klein is one of three students in the region to receive the $1,500 scholarship. High school and college students were eligible. She currently works as the marketing and events coordinator for the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. Greater Michigan Chapter and the Greater Michigan Construction Academy, where she is implementing her marketing skills learned at SVSU.

Although she was not sure what her future career plans were when arriving at SVSU for the first time, Klein soon found her career path.

“As a freshman, I wasn't sure what I wanted to study, but I learned of marketing and fell in love. It really is the creative side to the business world where I can showcase the interesting ideas that pop in my head,” Klein said.

Bill Stec, assistant director of SVSU Career Services, has served as a mentor to Klein. He said her success is a result of her committed efforts in both the classroom and on the job.

“Valerie is such a dedicated marketing student that thinks critically, is open to ideas and perspectives, and is proactive. And it shows, as she has completed three internships with Tri-City Motor Speedway as the operations and marketing intern, Nexteer Automotive as the global supply management resource group co-op and Vector Tech Group as a marketing co-op,” he said. “It has been a joy advising her.”

Klein credits her family, mentors and SVSU for shaping and preparing her for life after her planned graduation in 2019.

“After graduation, I plan to get a full-time job in marketing and stay within the Great Lakes Bay Region. I have really grown within this region and plan to better my skills and help companies and individuals along the way.”

For more information on internship opportunities at SVSU, visit

June 19, 2018

SVSU student invited to Oxford to present her research on autonomous vehicles

Saginaw Valley State University's Danielle Slonac continued her accomplished undergraduate career by presenting her research on the geography of innovation in the autonomous vehicle industry at Oxford University in England during The Institute for Global Business Research conference in May.

Growing up only 60 miles from the Motor City of Detroit in St. Clair, Michigan, she said her interest in the auto industry led to researching how the industry will continue to evolve.

“The research I conducted looks at national competitiveness and intellectual property in the autonomous vehicles industry,” Slonac said. “I focused on how various factors influence autonomous vehicle patents by nation and how this impacts which nations will likely become the leaders in this emerging market as it continues to develop.”

George Puia, the Dow Chemical Company Chair in Global Business at SVSU, served as Slonac’s research adviser and traveled with her to Oxford.

“When I found out that I would get to present my research at Oxford University I was incredibly humbled, honored and excited,” Slonac said. “Oxford is such a prestigious and influential university, and to be able to present my research there was an incredible opportunity. I was really grateful for everyone who helped me get there and proud of the hard work it took to make it happen.”

Slonac, a triple major in management, finance and supply chain management, recently completed her four-year career on the SVSU women’s tennis team. Throughout all of these responsibilities, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

Slonac expects to graduate in December; she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in order to become a business professor.

June 19, 2018

SVSU Board Approves Contract with Support Staff Union

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved a contract with the SVSU Support Staff Association (MEA/NEA) during its regular session Monday, June 18.

The three-year agreement covers the period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021.  Terms call for wage increases of 2 percent in the first year, 1.05 percent in the second year and 1 percent in the third year.

“We appreciate the fine work our dedicated support staff employees provide on a daily basis,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “Making a good first impression is so important, and these are the people who keep our campus looking its best, who greet students and families and help them when they have questions, and who do important work behind the scenes to ensure campus operations run smoothly.”

The deal also provides increased flexibility in health care coverage options. As part of the contract, members will be offered a new health insurance option that features a health savings account and lower premiums, in addition to the medical plans previously offered. The agreement includes modest increases in the capped contributions the university makes to employees’ health care coverage under existing plans.

“Overall, we think this is a fair contract,” said Tish Yaros,  administrative secretary for Information Technology Services and president of the Support Staff Association. “The new health plan option will take some education to make sure our members understand it, but at the level the university is backing it, that could be a valuable benefit for our employees.”

Yaros said the union is pleased to have the new contract in place.

“We’re here to support the students, and we want them to be served well. We love working here.”

The Support Staff Association represents 168 employees, including secretaries, clerks, and campus facilities personnel.  Union membership ratified the contract Tuesday, June 12.

June 19, 2018

SVSU Board approves 2018-19 budget, tuition to rise by $489

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of control approved a tuition increase of $489 for in-state undergraduate students as part of the 2018-19 general fund operating budget adopted during the Board's regular meeting Monday, June 18.

A Michigan undergraduate student taking 30 credits will pay $10,308 for the upcoming academic year. SVSU students were charged $9,819 during the 2017-18 academic year.

“All budget decisions are made with students and families in mind, and this budget maintains our priorities of providing outstanding opportunities for our students and ensuring access to a high quality education,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “We have significantly expanded our scholarship and financial aid offerings to support students and families, and we continue to work hard to sustain our longstanding commitment to affordability.”

SVSU will continue to have the lowest tuition among the 15 Michigan public universities for 2018-19, even after the increase of 4.98 percent takes effect.

In other action, the Board:

  • Approved the confirmation of board members for previously authorized public school academies.
  • Approved the addition of grades nine through 12 to the New Standard Academy, a previously authorized public school academy.
  • Approve the addition of pre-kindergarten to Kingsbury Country Day School, a previously authorized public school academy.
  • Approved the tenure recommendation for Catherine Macomber, assistant professor of social work.
  • Approved promotion recommendations for 16 faculty members, including 13 faculty who were promoted to the rank of associate professor: Prashanth Anekal, management; Meghan Baruth, health sciences; Veronika Drake, English; Rosina Hassoun, sociology; Amy Hendrickson, law; Julie Keil, political science; Natalia Knoblock, English; Scott Kowalewski, rhetoric and professional writing; Catherine Macomber, social work; Elizabeth Pierce, accounting; Khandaker Abir Rahman, computer science and information systems; Isaac Stephens, history; and Adam Warhausen, chemistry. Three faculty were promoted to the rank of professor: Daniel Cook, English; Jeremy Knous, kinesiology; and Diana Trebing, communication.
  • Passed a resolution to grant emeritus status to Moe Bidgoli, who served 33 years on the computer science faculty.
  • Passed a resolution to grant emeritus status to Steve Hocquard, whose service to SVSU spanned 25 years; he retired as assistant vice president of facilities planning and construction.
  • Approved conveyance of property and an amendment to the lease for the SVSU Business and Professional Development Center Project. This will allow SVSU to work with the State of Michigan’s State Building Authority on the construction of a 38,500 square foot building addition for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business and Management.
  • Authorized the president and/or the executive vice president for Administration & Business Affairs to enter into natural gas and electricity purchase agreements with the State of Michigan, Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative or other suppliers for the period ending December 31, 2045.


June 15, 2018

SVSU police officer honored by statewide law enforcement group

Saginaw Valley State University police officer Matthew Meissner was selected as a 2018 Police Officer of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.

Meissner formally received the award during the association’s annual convention Thursday, May 24 at noon at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids.

Meissner completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from SVSU. He has served as an officer for University Police since 2012.

June 15, 2018

In face of growing teacher shortage, SVSU to host Education Employment Fair

At a time when Michigan is seeing a growing demand for teachers, Saginaw Valley State University will hold a job fair for positions in the education industry Tuesday, June 19 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

The 2018 Education Employment Fair, sponsored by Meemic Insurance-Thomson Agency, is organized by SVSU's Career Services. School districts and other agencies are looking for K-12 teachers, substitutes, principals, assistant principals, teachers for special needs students and other positions.

“I’m hearing from superintendents and principals with openings nearly every day,” said Craig Douglas, dean of the College of Education at SVSU. “We are sharing those opportunities with our students and alumni, but this fair also is a great chance to meet with people face to face and make a connection that could lead to an opportunity now or in the future.”

The employment fair is open to the public.

Mike Major, director of SVSU's Career Services, recommends those who attend be prepared prior to attending the fair. By visiting, candidates can view the registration list to research the various districts that the candidate is interested in.

“Candidates who demonstrate specific knowledge of the district to recruiters are well received; it means they are genuinely interested in the position,” Major said.

More than 30 school districts and organizations – nearly all of them in Michigan – have registered in advance for the fair. Some districts already registered include Bay City Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools, Millington Public Schools, Port Huron Area Public Schools, and Saginaw Public Schools.

SVSU alumni and students can pre-register online at the Cardinal Career Network at

For more information about the event, contact SVSU Career Services at (989) 964-4954 or

June 13, 2018

SVSU’s Tapp elected president of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

University Center, MICHIGAN – The Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) has elected Anne Tapp, Ph.D. as president of the Board. She begins her term in June 2018. Tapp, who has served on the MACTE executive board, has worked in education for 27 years. She is currently the assistant dean and professor of Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Education.

“I am honored to be elected president of the MACTE Board during this critically important time for education and educators. We promote the learning of all P-20 students through the promotion of high quality teacher preparation, and Michigan needs outstanding teachers if we are going to be the prosperous state we want to be. We have a great team, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and put in the work necessary to help teachers and students succeed,” Tapp said.

Betty Kirby, Ph.D., senior associate dean at Central Michigan University states, “The MACTE organization is where educator preparation institutions throughout the state come together as collaborators (not competitors) and advocate for policy and best practices in teacher education. We value the uniqueness of each institution and partner around common concerns and needs that impact us all. Most importantly, we are committed to high quality and rigorous preparation for the next generation of teachers in Michigan.”

MACTE is the state chapter association of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the leading voice on educator preparation. AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners.

MACTE represents all institutions of higher education that prepare educators within the state of Michigan. Chapters provide a vehicle for teacher educators to take a unified position on state-specific issues and to meet as partners or as responsible adversaries with the state departments, teachers' organizations, and other stakeholder groups. Chapters can also provide networking, service, and professional learning opportunities for teacher educators across the state.

The presidents from these chapters are members of AACTE's Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR). The primary purpose of ACSR is to serve as a collaborative network for chapter leaders across the states and to bring state-level perspectives to all AACTE activities.

June 13, 2018

Determined SVSU graduate clears hurdles, earns microbiologist position with Covenant HealthCare

A self-proclaimed family man with a baby on the way – and who worked his way through college – Sean Suitor is no stranger to hard work and responsibility.

Suitor completed his bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science at Saginaw Valley State University in May and began a new job with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw as a microbiologist in June.

“I'm excited that I get to continue to be a part of the Covenant team after three years working there as a lab assistant,” Suitor said. “It's really just an exciting time in my life and I'm happy to be adding this career to my list of accomplishments.”

Getting there wasn't always an easy road. On top of his studies and family commitments, Suitor worked the night shift at Covenant, attending classes in the mornings and afternoons, often on little sleep.

“It was a lot to handle sometimes,” Suitor said. “I have ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]. That was one of the biggest things I struggled with throughout both high school and college. It made focusing difficult, and some days, it was a real challenge.”

Suitor said that his experience with ADHD is best explained by using the visual of a train track.

“For someone without ADHD, their track – or their thought process – is usually pretty straight. There may be a few curves thrown in here or there but they usually get to the point in a timely manner. My train track encounters a few more intersections, some sharp turns, and a few kinks and I never really get that straight narrative that someone else might have. It's not that I never get to the point, it just takes me a little longer to get there sometimes.”

Suitor used his personal struggle to help those he meets on campus and in the community. While a student at SVSU, he served as the president of Ability First, a registered student organization geared towards helping students with disabilities become more acclimated to college life through campus engagement. The group aims to be a welcoming environment to all students, those with and without disabilities.

SVSU’s medical laboratory science program prepares students to work in a clinical laboratory setting. It has a 98 percent job placement rate; graduates of the program often find employment in clinical pathology laboratories in hospitals across the nation.

“It's a competitive process,” said Kay Castillo, SVSU associate professor of medical laboratory science. “Sean was just one of those students that stood out from the start because he knew what he wanted to do and he was determined to get there. That's just who Sean is.”

A Saginaw native, Suitor married his high school sweetheart, Robyn; both participated in Commencement exercises in May. Robyn is finishing her coursework this summer to complete a degree in exercise science.

“It really means a lot to me that she and I have been able to do all this together,” Sean Suitor said.

The couple coaches cross country at Swan Valley Middle School in their spare time.

Sean was an orientation leader at SVSU for three years. He credits that experience for helping him to break out of his shell and become more confident in his own abilities as a student leader.

“I don't think there will ever be a way for me to fully express how grateful I am for the opportunities SVSU has given me,” Suitor said. “I'm so thankful for this school, the professors who helped guide me along the way, and for Covenant for making me a part of their team. I couldn't be happier with where I am right now and I'm excited to see where this journey will take me.”

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