The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved spending $770,000 to upgrade WiFi in campus residence halls during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 16.
Joey Rexford, president of the SVSU Student Association, told the Board that wireless connectivity has been students’ number one issue during the 2014-15 academic year.
Following today’s Board approval, SVSU will install new access points to provide better coverage, double the amount of available bandwidth, and will increase network coverage to accommodate an average of five wireless devices per residential student. Recent estimates have shown SVSU's 2,722 residential students currently have around four devices each, on average.
“We have been working diligently to find an affordable and functional solution,” said James Muladore, executive vice president for administration and business affairs.
Work on the upgrades will begin quickly. Students can expect to see some noticeable improvements during the remainder of the winter semester.
The Board also approved spending up to $415,000 to purchase and outfit a mobile water analysis laboratory for the Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center at SVSU. All of the funding comes from a previously announced grant from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation.
Zahnow Library also will see up to $350,000 in renovations to provide space for the Center for Academic Innovation, among other improvements.
The Board also authorized a new public school academy, Hinoki International School. Michigan’s first dual-immersion Japanese-English elementary school, Hinoki is one of only a few such schools nationwide to teach students all subjects in English and Japanese. The curriculum was developed in partnership with education experts at Eastern Michigan University as part of a $560,000 federal charter school implementation grant. Hinoki becomes the 20th charter school currently authorized by SVSU.
For the 2015-16 school year, Hinoki will enroll students in grades K-5 at a new facility in Farmington Hills that it will share with Schoolhouse Montessori Academy’s preschool programs. The SVSU Board approved a three-year contract with Hinoki.
In other business, the Board:
• Approved granting tenure for 11 faculty:
? Kay Castillo, Assistant Professor of Medical Laboratory Science
? Monika Dix, Assistant Professor of Modern Foreign Languages
? Andrea Frederick, Assistant Professor of Nursing
? Kylie Jaber, Assistant Professor in Economics
? Brandon Haskett, Assistant Professor of Music
? Kaustav Misra, Assistant Professor in Economics
? David Nichols, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
? Arra Ross, Assistant Professor of English
? David Rzeszutek, Assistant Professor of Theatre
? Ross Singer, Assistant Professor Communication
? Vetta Vratulis, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
• Approved a request from Waterford Montessori Academy, a previously authorized charter school, to expand to serve additional locations.
• Approved an amendment to the agreement with Wolverine Academy, a previously authorized charter school. Wolverine sought to enter into separate contracts with SVSU for its Detroit and Saginaw locations. The Board approved a one-year contract to this effect.
• Appointed a nominating committee for May Board elections.
• Approved the Board of Control meeting schedule for the 2015-16 academic year.
The Saginaw Valley State University theatre department will feature a small cast version of William Shakespeare's classic, “Othello,” Wednesday, Feb. 18 to Sunday, Feb 22.
Written in 1603 during Shakespeare's great tragedy period, “Othello” is set in Venice and Cyprus during the military conflict between Turkey and Venice in the late 1500s.
Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, promotes a young man named Michael Cassio to the rank of lieutenant instead of his trusted ensign, Iago. When Iago finds out, he is enraged, and plans to seek revenge on Othello by tricking him into believing that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful to him. To further elevate the conflict, Shakespeare adds Desdemona's father, Brabanzio into the mix, who is outraged at his daughter's “secret” marriage, believing the only way Othello could have married Desdemona is by some method of witchcraft.
The play explores a wide variety of themes including racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and repentance, and thus, it has been the inspiration for many literary and film adaptations, and continues to be performed in both professional and community theatres worldwide.
The SVSU students playing the parts of the four main characters are:
• Jordan Stafford, a theatre major from Detroit, as Othello
• Carl Mizell, a theatre major from Flint as Iago
• Lexee Longwell, a theatre major from Holland as Desdemona
• Donte Green, a management major from Detroit as Michael Cassio
The play is directed by Steve Erickson, SVSU professor of theatre. This version of Othello was originally performed in 2006 by the American Shakespeare Collective in Lansing, and according to Erickson, this version is shorter, and more "clear cut" than the original; cutting the cast from Shakespeare's original 14 members to eight. This performance serves as Erickson's eighth Shakespeare production at SVSU.
With the help of Nicola Imbrascio, SVSU Instructor of English, serving as the play's dramaturge, Erickson and the cast hope to bring elements of Moorish culture and accurate Shakespearean language to the performance.
“It's been a challenge but a good experience for the students to perform Shakespeare,” Erickson said, “in terms of actor training along with stage managing and technician training.”
Performances begin Wednesday, Feb. 18 and will be staged in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The Wednesday through Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday matinee performance taking place at 3 p.m. Tickets are $13 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors [ purchase now » ]. For more information please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.
The American Foundry Society has selected Bob Tuttle, professor of mechanical engineering at Saginaw Valley State University, to receive its 2015 Applied Research Award for his “Ultrasonic Testing Gage R & R Study.”
The award recognizes projects that can be practically implemented into the metalcasting industry and on the factory floor. It emphasizes applicable research that has significant impact on metalcasting facilities, and on putting into practice solutions to problems those facilities are facing.
“I think what set Dr. Tuttle and his study apart from the other candidates was immediate relevance of the findings to help solve current problems and involvement with the industrial technical committee members and project participants,” said Thomas Prucha, technical director of the American Foundry Society.
Tuttle’s research involves the ultrasonic testing of steel castings and has helped make advancements in testing standards. The project’s goal was to measure the repeatability and reproducibility of X-ray and ultrasonic testing readings for castings, and to compare the results. This information is now being used in participating foundries as a way to work on permitting ultrasonic testing, as opposed to X-ray standards.
Tuttle joined the SVSU faculty in 2004. He received SVSU’s highest honor for research, the Earl Warrick Award, in 2012. Tuttle’s scholarly work has been published in many academic journals and conference proceedings. He completed a Ph.D. from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Tuttle will formally accept his award at the AFS Recognition Luncheon at the 119th Metalcasting Congress Tuesday, April 21, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy will present an Osprey Award to the group Friends of Frankenlust Township Park, which includes Marty Arford, associate professor of geography at Saginaw Valley State University, and SVSU student volunteers.
The Osprey Award recognizes individuals, groups and projects that have made great efforts toward conservation. Arford and the SVSU students will be honored for their habitat improvement and site beatification efforts toward the Frankenlust Township Park in Bay County.
The Friends of Frankenlust Township Park have done work to control the invasion of harmful species in the park, and to plant and maintain the park's native vegetation. This has greatly improved the park's wildlife habitat. Arford was coordinator for an invasive species removal project, and recruited SVSU students as volunteers for the project.
They will be recognized at the Osprey Awards for Conservation Excellence Conservancy Fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in SVSU's Curtiss Hall. Tickets are $30 per person. For more information, visit http://www.sblc-mi.org/ospreys.html.
Keshara Mumford arrived at Saginaw Valley State University with a generous nature. Her course work and her relationships with faculty and staff helped her develop that attribute toward a career path.
After graduating from Chandler Park Academy (an SVSU charter school in Harper Woods) in 2011, Mumford began college as a criminal justice major, but the Detroit native found her true calling was helping others, so she switched her major to social work.
“I remember I took Social Work 215 with (Assistant Professor of Social Work) Teresa Beadlescomb, and I loved it,” Mumford said. “It was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I just didn’t know what it was until then.”
Since then, Mumford’s academic and extracurricular pursuits exemplify why The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently granted SVSU the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The designation marks SVSU as a university that is exceptionally connected with the community it serves and whose students demonstrate enhanced learning outcomes.
Early in her college career, Mumford participated in an SVSU Alternative Breaks trip that sent volunteers to Tahlequah, Okla. There, she and her peers painted a youth center and renovated the home of a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran.
“To see a grown man cry and thank us for our services, I thought, ‘Wow, I want more of that,’” she said. “To express that much gratitude was amazing.”
Now Mumford is involved in the United Way of Saginaw County’s Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership AmeriCorps program. For the past two years, she has worked to support and improve the lives of Saginaw youth.
“It gives me a sense of belonging and being connected to the community,” Mumford said.
The opportunity teams her with the Boy Scouts of America’s Water and Woods Field Service Council, where she’s completing 900 hours of service as an outreach facilitator. Her efforts include teaching boys and girls about life skills, health and nutrition, substance abuse prevention and more.
“I talk to them a lot about volunteering, too,” she said. “It’s never too early or too late to get involved.”
And she gets involved in their lives. Recently, Mumford began attending some of the students’ sporting events.
“After the first time I did that, one of the older boys came up to me and said, ‘I really appreciated that because no one ever came and cheered for me,’” Mumford recalled. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is why I’m doing this.’ Now I’ve made a commitment to go to every game.”
Mumford, who expects to graduate in May 2016, said she plans to turn her experiences and social work degree into a career helping others, potentially with a nonprofit organization.
She hopes to continue working with youths during her professional career, as well as teach social work one day.
“The opportunities and the education I’ve had at SVSU helped show me how to connect to the community,” she said. “I want to show others how to connect to their communities too.”
Japan will be the focus of two lectures sponsored by the Saginaw Valley State University Department of Modern Foreign Languages. Michael Bourdaghs, a professor of Japanese literature at the University of Chicago, will speak on the subject of Japanese literature Thursday, Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m., and on Japanese history Friday, Feb 13 at 10 a.m. Both lectures will be held in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.
In his first talk, Bourdaghs will present “Theorizing World Literature from Japan,” examining the work of Natsume Soseki.
Best remembered today as one of modern Japan's most important and influential novelists, Soseki also produced scholarly work as one of the first theorists of what we now call “world literature.” He conducted an extensive survey of the then-cutting-edge sciences of psychology and sociology in an attempt to derive a universal, fully scientific definition of literature, one that would be valid for all cultures and times. The results, published in 1907 as Soseki’s “Theory of Literature” foreshadowed many central trends in 20th century literary criticism.
On Friday, Feb. 13, Bourdaghs will present “Rethinking 'Postwar' Japanese Culture as 'Cold War' Culture: The Case of Kurosawa Akira.”
In this talk, Bourdaghs looks at what happens when writers, artists and filmmakers previously thought of as exemplars of "postwar Japanese culture" are considered as Cold War figures. He explores the figure of film director Kurosawa Akira. Through both formal and historical analysis, the lecture seeks to broaden our understanding of Kurosawa by examining how he skillfully threaded his way through the minefields of Cold War cultural politics, simultaneously invoking and denying his connection to Soviet aesthetic theories and film practices.
A professor in modern Japanese literature and East Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago, Bourdaghs also is a critically acclaimed author. His most recent book, “Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop,” explores the history of Japanese popular music during the Cold War era. Bourdaghs’ earlier work, “The Dawn That Never Comes: Shimazaki Toson and Japanese Nationalism,” takes up the works of one of Japan’s most important modern poets and novelists as a test case for rethinking the complex structures of national identity.
Bourdaghs is also an active translator of Japanese literature and critical theory, including his co-translation of “Natsume Soseki, Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings,” which was awarded the 2011 Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature by the Modern Language Association.
Both lectures will be moderated by Monika Dix, SVSU assistant professor of modern foreign languages (Japanese), and are sponsored by The Distinguished Speakers Bureau of the Northeast Asia Council. They are free and open to the public. For further information contact Dix at email@example.com or (989) 964-4333.
Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson will speak at Saginaw Valley State University Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. His talk is part of Black History Month events at SVSU; it is free and open to the public.
Jackson is the author of the book, "The Steps of a Good Man." It outlines the paths Jackson has taken during his career and represents his desire to help others to see that no matter what the odds are that their goals are attainable. In the book, Jackson writes about how he developed his work ethic through his first paid job at age 16 as a bag boy at a grocery store, among other anecdotes from his life.
A sought-after speaker, Jackson is a nationwide presenter for The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Jackson has been the first ethnic minority to hold several positions during his career. In addition to his current post as Saginaw County Circuit Judge, he also was the first person of color to serve as director of Michigan's Office of Drug Control Policy, and deputy chief assistant prosecuting attorney for Saginaw County. Jackson's career also has included serving as a deputy police chief, assistant city attorney, and an attorney in private practice.
Immediately following his presentation, Jackson will sign copies of his book. For more information, contact SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068.
Saginaw Valley State University has appointed Jim Dwyer to the newly created position of executive director of alumni relations.
“As we seek to advance SVSU’s reputation and draw upon those relationships that can help us recruit bright students, our alumni must be engaged with the university and serving as our ambassadors to a much greater extent and in innovative ways,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand.
“For thousands of our graduates, Jim was their first point of contact here. His ability to relate to people and his extraordinary enthusiasm for SVSU – the same traits that made him so effective recruiting students – will serve him well in this new assignment, one that is critical to our long-term success."
In his new role, Dwyer will report directly to Bachand. Dwyer had been serving most recently as associate provost for enrollment management. He also previously served as director of international programs and a remarkable 22 years as director of admissions. Dwyer completed bachelor's and master's degrees at SVSU.
“After 35 years in enrollment management, I am eager for this new challenge,” Dwyer said. “I can’t wait to get started. I know so many alumni who are so supportive of SVSU. My job now is to get them more engaged in terms of returning to campus, connecting with our current students, helping us recruit new students, and simply showing their Red Pride.”
Dwyer is expected to officially begin his new duties some time in February.
An historian of Martin Luther King Jr. will discuss her book about the American Civil Rights leader’s less-known legacies during a presentation and book signing Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Saginaw Valley State University. The 7 p.m. event in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts is free and open to the public.
The presenter, Jennifer Yanco, is the author of "Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr." The book explores King's campaigns outside of the Civil Rights movement, focusing on his criticism of military action and his belief that materialism was damaging the moral and spiritual health of the nation.
Along with her presentation, Yanco will host a workshop, titled "Challenging Racism," from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in SVSU's Curtiss Hall in Seminar Room G. The workshop, which will focus on creating solutions to fight racism, is free and open to the public.
Yanco, who earned a Ph.D. in linguistics and African studies from Indiana University, is the U.S. director of the West African Research Association and a Visiting Researcher at the African Studies Center at Boston University. She designed and taught a course, "White People Challenging Racism: Moving From Talk To Action," which has been offered at adult education programs and college campuses in the Boston area. The program also has been adapted for teachers, law enforcers, public servants and social service providers.
For more information on Yanco’s visit to SVSU, please contact the Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068.
The NFL’s Super Bowl will be played Sunday, Feb. 1 and while stakes are high on the field, advertisers are competing just as fiercely during the television broadcast. Last year’s game, Super Bowl XLVIII, set a new record for the most watched television program in American history, attracting 111.5 million viewers. The price for a 30-second commercial during the game also is at an all-time high: $4.5 million.
Rama Yelkur, dean of the College of Business and Management at Saginaw Valley State University, is one of the nation’s leading experts on whether viewers find ads to be likable. She has studied Super Bowl ads for 20 years and has identified certain factors that can predict whether an ad will appeal to viewers.
Yelkur’s most recent finding is that ads with a positive emotional appeal are better liked by audiences.
“In recent years, there have been more ads that tug on people’s emotional heartstrings,” she said. “Showing affection or enjoyment appeals to the mood of the consumer watching the Super Bowl, someone who often is in a party setting, having a good time.”
Yelkur, Ph.D., and SVSU student researchers looked at all 109 Super Bowl ads for the past two years and found ads’ positive emotional messages correlated very highly with how well the commercials were liked. She and SVSU student Courtney Seamon, a marketing major from New Lothrop, will present their findings at the Marketing Management Association Conference in Chicago, March 25-27.
Along with her late research colleague Chuck Tomkovick, Yelkur’s previous studies have found other factors that tend to make ads more likable: the use of humor, including animals or children in the commercials, and the appearance of celebrities. Their work has been published in leading scholarly journals and has been cited widely in popular media, including Advertising Age, CNN Money, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
One interesting trend that has emerged among the companies choosing to purchase Super Bowl commercials for this year’s game on NBC is that there will be fewer car commercials. Last year, 11 auto companies advertised during the big game, accounting for nearly one-quarter of air time, but only six are confirmed for this year (BMW, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota).
The broadcast will feature a few Super Bowl ad debuts as Carnival cruise lines, super glue maker Loctite, cell phone accessory company Mophie, and the web site service Wix have all purchased air time for the first time.
The dieting company Weight Watchers also announced recently they will be advertising.
“There is a great deal of speculation already about how their aid will be received in a party atmosphere where there tends to be a lot of eating,” Yelkur said.
Several recognized names will be returning as advertisers.
“The usual suspects are in,” Yelkur said. “M&M/Mars, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and GoDaddy are all back. SquareSpace is back, too, after appearing in last year’s game for the first time.”
Yelkur joined SVSU in July 2013 and will continue her Super Bowl ad research, including SVSU students in the process. A focus group will watch the game on campus and evaluate this year’s commercials.