Saginaw Valley State University alumnus Joshua Fleming will attend the University of Michigan's prestigious Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy this fall on a full scholarship.
“I've always been driven by public service,” said Fleming, who graduated from SVSU in May 2013 with a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration. “Everything I've ever listed on a résumé is somewhat related to the idea of public service and giving back to the community.”
The Gerald R. Ford School, named after the former U.S. president who attended the University of Michigan, is a consensus top 10 public policy program.
“I'm looking forward to challenging myself intellectually,” Fleming said. “I will be going to class with some of the best students in the world, who already have a lot of real world experience. I'm looking forward to working with them.”
The Bay City native hopes to turn the experience into a career, shaping public policy related to health care. Fleming became interested in the subject during the national debate that preceded President Barack Obama signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - often called “Obamacare” - in 2010.
Fleming will pursue his graduate degree having earned the University of Michigan’s Rackham Fellowship, which provides for Fleming's full tuition, health insurance and a $38,000 living stipend. He credited his experience at SVSU in part for preparing him for success with the program.
“Attending SVSU allowed me to work intimately with members of the administration, faculty and my fellow students,” he said. “Not only did those working relationships create many opportunities for professional training and advancement, but the mentorships and friendships that culminated from those experiences constantly provided me advice and clarity when I applied to the Ford School and, I’m sure, will continue to do so during my graduate career and throughout the rest of my life.”
Fleming said he was accepted at several notable public policy schools but chose the University of Michigan based on a number of factors. Those include an alumni base with contacts in local and state government; a 10-week internship program that tasks students with seeking solutions to social issues for nonprofit organizations, municipalities and private practices; and an academic program that focuses on practical experience.
“They bring in policy experts to talk about different issues,” he said. “The fact that I'll be working with people in the field was a major draw.”
The 2009 John Glenn High School graduate has practical experience of his own when it comes to both public policy and service. Some of his initial experience happened at SVSU, where he served on the Student Association (SVSU's student government) during his entire 4-year undergraduate stay.
Upon graduating, Fleming served in the Peace Corps, which sent him to Swaziland, a nation near the horn of Africa that is comparable in size to Connecticut.
Beginning in June 2013, he lived there for 18 months in a 2-bedroom hut with no plumbing and, initially, no electricity. He was sent to teach residents about HIV and AIDS, but after realizing they already had access to helpful resources relating to such subjects, Fleming instead focused on helping citizens with financial planning.
"I worked with them to help them keep records,” he said. “Everything was on paper, and there was no office, so we met under a tree and I taught my lessons using a flipchart.”
Fleming said the experience allowed for plenty of time for introspection. It was in Swaziland where he decided to apply for public policy colleges upon his return home.
Since last February, Fleming has worked as an outreach and enrollment specialist at Saginaw's Health Delivery Inc., a nonprofit organization providing medical and dental care to underserved individuals across the Great Lakes Bay Region. He also has served as a field organizer with the Michigan Democratic Party and as an intern with the 2010 campaign that helped current Rep. Charles Brunner's election to office in the Michigan House of Representatives 96th District, which covers a large portion of Bay County.
With his mid-August Ann Arbor move-in date approaching, Fleming said he is anxious to begin the next chapter in his life.
“I have a countdown calendar on my laptop, for the days left until classes start,” he said. “I'm very much excited.”
Students, faculty and staff at Saginaw Valley State University reported high levels of general satisfaction with SVSU’s campus climate during a survey conducted last November and December.
Campus climate is defined as “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.”
The level of comfort experienced by faculty, staff, and students is one indicator of campus climate, and 82 percent of survey respondents reported they were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” at SVSU.
The survey also explored attitudes and experiences related to a number of issues, including academic success, diversity, work-life balance, and pathways to promotion. Members of historically under-represented groups (women, ethnic minorities, LBGQ individuals) expressed lower levels of satisfaction in certain areas. Consistent with national data, 24 percent of SVSU respondents said they personally had experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct.
Based on the findings, SVSU’s campus climate team will develop recommendations and action items to make SVSU more welcoming for all members of the campus community.
Participation in the survey was high among all three employee groups, administrative/professional staff (55 percent), faculty (51 percent), and support staff (93 percent). SVSU also saw 17 percent of undergraduate students participate. In all, 2,358 members of the campus community completed the survey.
Rankin and Associates, a firm that specializes in assisting campuses and organizations in assessing their environments for learning and working, worked with SVSU on administering the survey and analyzing the data. Sue Rankin led three presentations on the findings: Thursday, April 23 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall seminar rooms, and Friday, April 24 at 9 a.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall.
Copies of the executive summary and the full report are posted svsu.edu/climatesurvey.
A new dual enrollment program between Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College will allow nursing students chasing both a bachelor’s degree and a career in healthcare to achieve those goals more quickly.
Andrea Frederick, SVSU coordinator of the initiative that kicked off in fall 2014, said the program is “a wonderful opportunity” both for prospective nurses and the community’s healthcare partners.
“Recently, there has been increased pressure to have more BSNs (nurses with bachelor’s degrees) providing patient care,” said Frederick, an SVSU assistant professor of nursing. “This is one intervention that will help our area to achieve that goal.”
The new program fast-tracks the process by offering classes for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concurrently. In some cases, SVSU classes are offered on Delta’s campus in an effort to centralize attendance.
Students who enrolled in the program during its inaugural semester are expected to receive an associate’s degree from Delta College in spring 2016 and a bachelor’s degree from SVSU that same December.
Jarrod Givens, a student in the joint program, already sees the advantages of the initiative.
“Most people who go the regular route would work as an RN (registered nurse) and go to school at the same time,” said the Linwood native who hopes to become a traveling nurse one day. “Right now, we’re not working, so it’s easier and it gives us more time to study.”
One of his classmates, Katheryn Howden, said the initiative creates a more efficient learning process. The collaboration synchronizes the academic requirements of the SVSU and Delta College nursing programs while also eliminating the challenges experienced when students attempt to juggle a nursing position with baccalaureate schoolwork.
“Because we are going year-round, we won’t lose our skills,” Howden said. “It’s nice to be able to keep your skills and refresh them. It’s a great program.”
Howden, who is pursuing a career as a neonatal intensive care nurse, said the program offers relevant coursework, coordinated instruction and supportive faculty.
“It’s been great,” the Ypsilanti native said. “They really want you to succeed, and everyone has been so helpful.”
SVSU and Delta recruit students for the concurrent program from the Delta Nurse Scholar Program, which typically selects 30 Delta students per semester, based on academic criteria and other factors, including work experience related to nursing.
Thursday, April 23, 2:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts, SVSU
Saginaw Valley State University students will share what they have learned in examining alternatives to the traditional handshake in an academic exercise across the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences and Business & Management. They will present their ideas Thursday, April 23.
Students in the Vitito Global Leadership Institute, a program for business students, were required as a leadership exercise to devise and implement a social initiative. The project, “Ban the Hand” aims to reduce the number of germs exchanged during a handshake, by instead using a “fist bump.”
Meanwhile, sociology students developed posters that highlight the results of a social experiment associated with their implementation of different alternatives to shaking hands.
The sociology students will present from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.; the Vitito Fellows will present form 4 to 5:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts on the SVSU campus.
The Literacy Center at Saginaw Valley State University will offer tutoring in math, reading, and writing to students ranging from kindergarten upward through 12th grade, and adult learners during the upcoming summer.
Participating students attend 1-hour small group or one-on-one tutoring sessions Mondays to Thursdays from June 15 to July 2, and can choose between sessions starting at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. The Literacy Center is located in SVSU's Gilbertson Hall.
All students undergo a 1-hour assessment to determine their strengths and improvable areas in math, reading, or writing prior to tutoring. Assessments take place June 1-2, at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. A $50 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of, or before, the assessment.
Tutors then create individualized lesson plans based on the students' assessments and a research-based tutoring system to help students maximize their potential. All of the Literacy Center's tutors are certified teachers who hold master's degrees in literacy and/or certification in reading recovery, or a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field. The Literacy Center also offers resources and provides collaboration opportunities to parents and guardians who wish to be involved in the learning process.
Tuition for attending the Literacy Center is $360 per subject, with an additional $30 fee for the initial assessment.
For more information, visit svsu.edu/literacycenter or contact Laurie Haney at 989-964-4982.
Someone looking over your shoulder is not a comforting feeling. Think about where it can happen. You can be on a plane flipping through a magazine, at a coffee shop reading the news on your laptop, or at the office reading emails. Wait a second. At the office reading emails? Absolutely! If this has happened to you then you've been visually hacked. Another person's wandering eye is one of the most common yet one of the most overlooked forms of gaining access to personal information.
How do we protect ourselves from visual hackers?
In recent months, Microsoft announced that Skype would be replacing Lync as the collaboration product in Office. Branded as Skype for Business, it will soon be coming to a computer near you.
The Skype for Business update will only affect users currently running Lync 2013. If you are running Lync 2010, then nothing will happen. Lync 2010 users can still communicate with Skype for Business users.
Software-wise, most collaboration products function the same so the change should be fairly smooth. When your workstation is updated, you will see a new interface that's a combination of Lync and Skype. Users can still chat, share files, and communicate just like before with most of the improvements being behind the scenes.
Guitarist Edmond Smith will join with the Saginaw Valley State University jazz ensemble for a concert Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.
Selections to be performed include “Lost in the Shuffle,” “Groove Merchant” and “A Good Time was Had by All.” The jazz ensemble is directed by Jeff Hall, SVSU jazz-artist-in-residence; he will play the saxophone for a few numbers with the ensemble, which includes nearly 20 students.
Known as a jack-of-all-trades guitar player, Smith has performed with a number of local bands, as well as national acts such as R&B great Bettye Lavette, pop artist El DeBarge and jazz greats George Brown and Melvin Rhyne. He completed a bachelor’s degree in music education at Aquinas College.
The concert is open to the public; admission is free of charge. For more information, visit svsu.edu/music or call 989-964-4159.
Saginaw Valley State University has hired Linda Sims to lead communication, marketing and external affairs for the university. She comes to SVSU from Consumers Energy, where she has served in a variety of public relations roles for more than 30 years, including the past 10 in the senior role of executive director of public affairs for the utility.