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June 23, 2015

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 22.

The three-year agreement covers the period from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018.  Terms call for wage increases of roughly 1.25 percent for each of the three years covered by the contract (1.28 percent for 2015-16; 1.26 percent for 2016-17; 1.25 percent for 2017-18).

“Our support staff employees provide valuable service to the university,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “ I regularly hear favorable comments from parents and visitors about the outstanding appearance of our campus, and regarding the professionalism and positive attitude of secretaries and other front-line employees.”

The Support Staff Association represents 183 employees, including secretaries, clerks, and campus facilities personnel.  Union membership ratified the contract Thursday, June 18.

“This was one of the most pleasant bargaining experiences we’ve had,” said Tish Yaros, administrative secretary for Information Technology Services and president of the Support Staff Association.  “Everyone was very willing to work with us, and we are happy to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all affected.”

Similar to the contract approved with the SVSU Faculty Association last year, the contract includes modest adjustments in the capped contributions the university makes to employees’ health care coverage.

June 23, 2015

SVSU Board Approves Tuition Increase of 3.2 Percent Women’s Golf Added as Varsity Sport

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved a 3.2 percent tuition increase during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, June 22.

For the 2015-16 academic year, a Michigan undergraduate student taking 30 credits will pay $8,969 in tuition and mandatory fees for the upcoming academic year. This is an increase of $278 from the $8,691 charged in 2014-15.  

“This modest tuition increase continues our longstanding tradition of keeping SVSU affordable,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “This is a lean budget and some difficult decisions remain to balance the books, but we will not compromise our commitment to academic quality. Our students deserve the finest education we can deliver, and we will continue to enhance the value they receive for their hard-earned tuition dollars.”

SVSU’s tuition remains the lowest among Michigan's public universities. The increase was part of a $120.3 million general fund budget approved by the Board for the 2016 fiscal year.

The Board also approved establishing a women’s varsity golf program. Currently 12 other members of SVSU’s conference, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), offer the sport. Men’s golf coach Joe Vogl will add coaching duties for the women’s team and will take on new responsibilities as the lead fundraiser for SVSU Athletics. SVSU expects to begin NCAA Division II competition during the 2016-17 academic year.

In other business, the Board:
•    Passed a resolution to approve the appointment of Leonard A. Amat to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum Board.
•    Passed a resolution to approve the appointment of Thomas A. George to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum Board.
•    Passed a resolution to amend the Student Association charter (Bylaws) – Article I, Section 6.
•    Passed a resolution to amend the Student Association Charter (Voting) – Article VII, Section 1.
•    Granted promotions to 16 faculty members. Elevated to the rank of professor are:
    ?    Peter Barry, philosophy
    ?    Josh Ode, kinesiology
    ?    Vince Samarco, English
    ?    Marilyn Skrocki, health sciences
•    Promoted to associate professor are:
    ?    Kay Castillo, health sciences
    ?    Monika Dix, modern foreign languages
    ?    Julie Foss, modern foreign languages
    ?    Brandon Haskett, music
    ?    Kylie Jaber, economics
    ?    Kaustav Misra, economics
    ?    David Nichols, philosophy
    ?    Arra Ross, English
    ?    Dave Rzeszutek, theatre
    ?    Ross Singer, communication
    ?    Vetta Vratulis, teacher education
•    Promoted to assistant professor: Jason Kahler, English
•    Granted emeritus status to Shyamalendu “Sam” Sarkar, Ph.D., who recently retired after serving 45 years on the economics faculty.
•    Confirmed board members for previously authorized public school academies.
•    Renewed contracts with two public school academies. SVSU’s contract with Waterford Montessori Academy is extended through June 30, 2018, and the contract with Chandler Park Academy is extended through June 30, 2020.
•    Approved a banking and treasury management services agreement with PNC Bank for a period of up to 5 years.
•    Granted authority to SVSU executive staff to seek the sale of the property that is currently home to SVSU’s Regional Education Center-Macomb, located in Macomb County’s Chesterfield Township.
•    Approved a construction and completion assurance agreement, a conveyance of property, a lease and an easement agreement, if necessary, for the ongoing renovations to Wickes Hall.
•    Approved the negotiation of a contract with the U.S. Youth Soccer Development Program for SVSU to host the 2016 and 2017 Olympic Development Program summer camps.
•    Reappointed Jim Barcia, Gary Bosco, JoAnn Crary, David Hall, Phillip List, Reverend P. David Saunders, and Ricardo Verdoni to the Board of Fellows, a community advisory board.
•    Approved a Board of Control meeting schedule for the 2015-16 academic year.

June 18, 2015

SVSU earns National Weather Service’s ‘StormReady’ status again

The National Weather Service renewed Saginaw Valley State University’s “StormReady” certification on June 16 following a site visit.


The six-year certification recognizes SVSU as prepared to handle hazardous weather.


“The ‘StormReady’ certification that SVSU recently renewed is just one of the many ways university departments work together to keep the community safe,” said Ron Trepkowski, SVSU’s chief of University Police.


“The devastation that can happen during a storm makes preparedness a must.”


The “StormReady” program encourages communities — including universities — to take a proactive approach of improving hazardous weather operations and public awareness, said Richard Pollman, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in White Lake.


“’StormReady’ arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property — before and during the event,” he said.


Those communities certified as “StormReady” must meet certain qualifications. They must:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center to receive National Weather Service information.
  • Possess more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings, and more than one way to alert the public.
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions.
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars.
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and hosting emergency exercises.

“The United States is the most severe weather-prone region of the world,” Pollman said.


“The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and ‘StormReady’ will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country.”

June 10, 2015

SVSU students vie for Miss Michigan crown

Four Saginaw Valley State University students will compete in the Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant in June, including one woman whose mother once won both the Miss Michigan and Miss America titles.


SVSU students Jaeleen Davis of Saginaw Township; Ashli Maser of Au Gres; Mallory Rivard of Bay City; and Alana Rae Wilson of Monroe are four of the 34 contestants in the pageant.


The Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant is affiliated with the Miss America Organization, one of the world’s largest providers of scholarships for women. The Miss Michigan contest will award almost $50,000 in scholarships during a 5-day contest that concludes Saturday, June 20, in Muskegon. The winner earns a $12,000 scholarship and clinches a spot in the Miss America competition in September.


“Although this is a competition, we are close friends,” Rivard said of the SVSU foursome. “We have similar ideals and morals.”


One of those shared ideals is passion for community service work. Miss Michigan contestants promote a charity or cause as part of their competition “platform.” SVSU’s contestants say they are excited to promote their respective causes.


Davis’ platform promotes Wigs 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization serving youths suffering from hair loss. Davis at the age of 8 was diagnosed with a condition that causes hair loss at a young age. A child model before losing her hair, she credits Wigs 4 Kids with helping her regain confidence.


“I was modeling everything a little kid could model,” said Davis, a criminal justice and communications major.


“Once I lost my hair, I lost my confidence and I became antisocial and an introvert. Wigs 4 Kids, my family and my faith are the three things that brought me back.”


Maser’s platform encourages others “to pursue the American dream.” She recently spoke to members of the Michigan House of Representatives about initiatives that would beef up the number of guidance counselors in K-12 schools. Maser said more counselors are needed to guide youths toward successful lives after high school.


“I’m a first-generation college student, still debt free,” said Maser, a biochemistry major who plans to attend dental school to become an orthodontist and oral surgeon.


“If I can do that, anyone can.”


Rivard’s platform encourages volunteerism. In May the early childhood education major volunteered at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center's Saginaw VA2K and Annual Health Fair. The initiative raised funds for homeless veterans.


“I want to be a role model for others,” Rivard said. “I want to lead by example and encourage our youth to give back to our communities. In turn, this will make Michigan a better place to live.”


Wilson’s platform supports Gabby’s Ladder, a Monroe-based organization providing support for grieving families. She volunteers at the center and serves on its board of directors. Wilson said she has been passionate about the cause since childhood, when her baby brother died.


“I’ve been through the grieving process, so I can relate to that,” the elementary education major said. “It’s so important to offer those services for people grieving and dealing with loss.”


All four SVSU students are experienced in pageants. To qualify for the Miss Michigan competition, contestants must win one of 34 pageants in the state. Davis won Miss Spirit of the State; Maser, Miss Heartland; Rivard, Miss Bay County; and Wilson, Miss Monroe County.


Three of the four women competed in previous Miss Michigan challenges. Both Davis and Maser placed in the top 10 in 2014. Rivard competed in two earlier Miss Michigan pageants.


This year will mark the first Miss Michigan competition for Wilson, but she comes from winning lineage. Her mother, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, won the state pageant and that cycle’s Miss America crown for 1988. The win came a decade before her daughter was born. Still, Wilson said she has attended 15 Miss America pageants with her mother, who is invited as an alumna of the competition.


“It’s exciting being the daughter of a Miss America,” Wilson said. “The organization feels a lot like family to me.”


Shelley Taylor, state director of the Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant for ten years, is familiar with all four SVSU students.


“They’re a great bunch of women,” she said. “They are quality, quality people. Wouldn’t it be something if one of them won?”



June 5, 2015

SVSU chooses next class for leadership development program

Ten Saginaw Valley State University students will participate in a year-long leadership development initiative following their selection for the highly competitive Roberts Fellowship.

The program annually enlists SVSU students in both academic coursework and extracurricular activities designed to enhance their potential as future political, economic and civic leaders. The program culminates in a trip to Asia to provide the Fellows with an international perspective on leadership. The class recently selected for the program will travel to Asia in May 2016.  

This year's class was selected in part for demonstrating outstanding scholarship and leadership potential.

The complete lineup of Roberts Fellows includes:
•    Susie Balcom, a social work major from Millington
•    Alison Barger, an English major from Frankenmuth
•    Daphne Barkley, a social work major from Alma
•    Alyssa Cozad, a visual arts education major from Bay City
•    Billie DeShone, a history major from Saginaw
•    Taylor Fisher, a political science major from Saginaw
•    Gavin Knake, an international business major from Bay City
•    Chantala Kumar, a pre-occupational therapy major from Midland
•    Alexandra Satkowiak, a psychology major from Bay City
•    Audrey Speckhard, a biochemistry major from Freeland

To qualify, students must have completed between 48 and 100 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 3.40 and pass a rigorous selection process. Students are chosen based upon their academic accomplishment, a record of university and community service, and other evidence of leadership potential.

Students selected to be Roberts Fellows will be required to complete a 3-credit Leadership Seminar in the fall and winter semesters, within one or more academic departments. During the year, the Fellows will also meet for informal seminars and discussions with various political, business and civic leaders from throughout the Great Lakes Bay region. Andrew Swihart, professor of psychology, and Brian Thomas, associate professor of sociology, serve as the group's faculty advisers.

Established in 1999, the program is named in honor of Donna Roberts of Midland, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to SVSU through her personal generosity and prior service on the Board of Control and the Board of Fellows. A respected attorney, business leader and philanthropist, Roberts retired from The Dow Chemical Company, where she was Secretary and Assistant General Counsel. She is an honorary director of the SVSU Foundation Board.

June 1, 2015

SVSU disability services director Woiderski earns state recognition

A state organization honored a Saginaw Valley State University disability services leader as she prepares to retire after more than two decades on the job.


Cynthia Woiderski, SVSU's Disability Services director, received the Michigan Association on Higher Education and Disability's (MI-AHEAD) Margaret A. Chmielewski, Ph.D., Memorial Award during the organization's conference Friday, May 15 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.


The award was a “double honor” for Woiderski, who considered the late Chmielewski a mentor. During her early years at SVSU, Woiderski often sought advice from Chmielewski, former disability services director at Michigan State University.


“I was humbled because, from my perspective, this is a prestigious award,” said Woiderski, who retires from SVSU Friday, June 5. “It was especially nice because this award is in honor of Marge, who was one of the leaders in the disability community.”


David Stokes, the immediate past president of MI-AHEAD, said he nominated Woiderski for her outstanding lifelong leadership and commitment to the disability community in higher education.


“It was high time we recognized her,” Stokes said.


MI-AHEAD, founded in 1987 to support and strengthen the state's higher education disability services community, includes 160 members today. Woiderski has been a member of the nonprofit organization for two decades and served on the group's board from 2010-13.


Stokes said Woiderski was an active participant in the group's annual conferences and served as a leader for the industry's newcomers over the years.


“Cynthia has always had a great ability to think about all sides, to be fair, and she was always up to speed on the law and policy (in disability services),” he said.


Woiderski began her job at SVSU in 1993, when the number of disabled students was 23. That figure this year was 350. Graduation rates for students with disabilities also increased during her tenure.


Some of the changes she has overseen include more handicap-accessible doors, the inclusion of captions on campus-produced educational videos, and handicap-friendly educational tools on services. In recent years, her office also has helped connect disabled students with a donor-funded technology grant that pays for assistive technology.


A Midland resident, Woiderski said she has no immediate plans following her fast-approaching retirement date.


“I think I'm going to relax first, and spend some time with my husband,” she said. “We'll see what happens.”

May 28, 2015

SVSU's Berry earns athletic trainer awards

Saginaw Valley State University's David Berry, professor of kinesiology, has earned two honors for his work in the athletic training field.

Berry was named the 2015 Distinguished Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Michigan Athletic Trainers Society as well as a 2015 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers Association.

“It's an honor to be nominated by previous students and to be part of a distinguished class for both organizations,” said Berry, who has worked at SVSU for five years.

Both awards recognize individuals who demonstrate commitment to leadership, volunteer service, advocacy and professional activities as an athletic trainer.  

Students in SVSU’s athletic training program are well-prepared to succeed in their field. During the most recent exam cycle, all six graduates passed the Board of Certification national exam necessary to become a certified athletic trainer, giving SVSU a 100 percent pass rate. In addition, more than 30 students have presented research at conferences across the nation over the past four years.

“We're a strong program because we try to balance course work with real world practical experience and research,” Berry said. “We try to use a three-pronged approach to allow students to get a comprehensive education that they can apply to their patients to improve their patients' outcomes.”

Students in the athletic training program are required to engage with the community outside of the classroom by gaining practical experience with a health care provider. They assist in athletic training at Delta College, local high schools, and outpatient rehabilitation clinics.

“Our students are very visible in the community,” Berry said.

Both organizations will host events where Berry will accept the awards. The Michigan Athletic Trainers Society symposium is scheduled Friday, June 5, at Ypsilanti's Eagle Crest Resort. The National Athletic Trainers Association meeting is Thursday, June 25, in St. Louis, Missouri.

May 28, 2015

ITS is now in the Portal!

By Jennifer Paradise

The ITS website is changing. We are moving most of our content into the mySVSU Portal. Some information will remain public, like how to contact the Support Center for help and the , and the rest will go in to the Portal, like workshop handouts, lab requests, and other information for SVSU students and employees.

These changes will be gradual, but should be completed in the next couple of weeks. If you're looking for something and can't find it, contact us at and we'll help you out. 

Image comparing the ITS Website to the ITS Portal


May 28, 2015

SVSU honors outstanding nurses

Saginaw Valley State University celebrated the valuable contributions of six registered nurses in the Great Lakes Bay Region during the fifth annual Carleen K. Moore R.N. Nursing Excellence awards Tuesday, May 19.

Established by SVSU's Department of Nursing, the honor recognizes the continual dedication, quality service and front-line leadership exhibited by nurses in clinical practice, education, leadership, and community service. Awards were presented in the categories of acute care, nurse educator, long-term care/rehabilitation, and nursing in the community.

The 2015 recipients include:
•    Tami Best of McLaren Bay Region, who was one of three recipients of the Acute Care Nursing award. A nomination letter described how Best's expertise has saved lives. The letter describes Best's work with one particular hospital patient who was initially treated for a stroke. Over time, Best noticed subtle changes in the patient's condition and notified a neurologist, who discovered a life threatening hemorrhage. "Her demonstration of clinical excellence and caring is why she deserves this award," her nomination letter reads. "She does it each and every day."
•    Bethany Corner of MidMichigan Medical Center, who was a recipient of the Acute Care Nursing award. Colleagues describe Corner, a staff nurse in the neurosurgical/neuromedical unit, as a hard worker, mentor and team player. She developed a staff education tool that emphasizes safety and accountability of staff nurses. "A day doesn't go by that I do not hear positive comments from patients, families and coworkers about her nursing skill, bedside manner and ability to teach at the bedside," her nomination letter reads.
•    Nancy Dole of Covenant HealthCare, who was a recipient of the Nursing Education award. Dole is a patient services central educator and pediatrics educator. "Her indomitable spirit has buoyed many individuals," Dole's nomination letter reads. "She teaches that, as nurses, a therapeutic connection is our responsibility and that providing authentic, compassionate care to another human being is a privilege."
•    Diane Hogan of Marlette Regional Hospital, who was a recipient of the Long Term Care/Rehabilitation Nursing award. A nomination letter describes how Hogan goes beyond her job responsibilities in an effort to care for residents. Last summer, she gathered staff to help fulfill an elderly resident's wish to rest in the grass and enjoy the outdoors, as the patient did as a youth growing up on a farm. "Diane personally improves the quality of life of our residents on a daily basis," her nomination letter reads.
•    Bonnie Khabir of MidMichigan Urgent Care-Clare, who was a recipient of the Community Nursing award. Since 1998, she has served as manager of the only urgent care facility serving Clare County. Her nomination letter reads: "It is no exaggeration to say that she is revered by those who work most closely with her. She is consistently steady regardless of the situations or difficulties she encounters."
•    Ashlee Knoll of St. Mary's of Michigan, who was a recipient of the Acute Care Nursing award. A nurse manager, Knoll was nominated by Jill Loftus, director of St. Mary's of Michigan's Orthopedics and Neurosciences. Loftus said this about Knoll: "Ashlee is a one-of-a-kind individual who, by her polite and quiet demeanor, has the ability to coach and mentor those in need. Ashlee can find the silver in the lining and run with it."

All six recipients were honored during an awards ceremony at SVSU Tuesday, May 19. Each received a crystal Waterford rose bowl and a check for $300.

The selection committee included Ellen Talbott, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer for McLaren-Bay Region; Terry Moore, retired CEO for MidMichigan Health; Judy Ruland, SVSU dean of the College of Health and Human Services; and SVSU nursing faculty members Karen Brown-Fackler, Sally Decker, Andrea Frederick, Ava Lewis and Suzanne Savoy.

May 28, 2015

SVSU Hosting Export Workshops for Regional Manufacturers

Saginaw Valley State University is offering specialized workshops to assist manufacturing companies seeking to begin exporting their products or to expand their export operations.  SVSU’s Center for Business and Economic Development will serve as the regional site for ExporTech, a program offered through the National Institute of Standards & Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership network.  

Participants will complete three full-day sessions during a three-month period during the summer and/or fall months. Dates will be selected once participants are confirmed. Business representatives will connect to a wide range of experts and receive a dedicated industry coach that will help them navigate the export sales process to aid in rapidly expanding global sales.

Upon completion of the program, each company will have developed an actionable, written export plan that is vetted by a panel of experts.  Past experts have included:
•    Brent Case, global development executive, T.O.C. Logistics
•    Laura Deierlein, international trade manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
•    Eve Lerman, senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce
•    Jim Miller, executive director of production control and logistics for Nexteer Automotive
•    Chris Shirk, manufacturing and supply chain manager for Dow Corning

Eight businesses completed a similar program earlier this year.  Each company streamlined targeted growth to an average of three specific foreign markets and is expecting to see results within the next 12 months. Combined, these companies have annual sales in excess of $55 million and have more than 200 Michigan employees.

In Michigan, the ExporTech program is a collaborative effort of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Export Assistance Centers of the U.S. Department of Commerce. SVSU is the host for Michigan’s central region of the Regional Export Network.

Tuition for the program is $3,000. For more information, contact Harry Leaver, executive director of SVSU’s Center for Business and Economic Development, at 989-964-4047 or

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