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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, Feb. 9

Relay for Life – with a pie twist

Our students are busily preparing for the major fundraising event of the winter semester. Our annual Relay for Life will be held in the Ryder Center from 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 to 4 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21.  Next Wednesday also will provide an opportunity for you to see the results of a fundraising competition between Provost Deb Huntley* and me. The winner gets to throw a pie in the face of the loser in the Student Center at 3:30 p.m. As I have mentioned before, I really don’t like to lose*, and I am really eager to channel my inner baseball pitcher from my youth, so I hope you will support me in this effort and raise funds for the American Cancer Society in the process.  Collections are being taken at several Dining Services facilities across campus.  Money you drop in the buckets with Deb’s face means I get to pie Deb (your donations go to whom you want to see on the receiving end), so you know where your donations should be placed.  Or if it is more convenient, you may make a donation online at In Section Two, under "Your Gift" please indicate who you want to get pied in the 'private note for the person or team you are supporting': (ex. Pie Deb! means means I get to throw a pie in the face of Provost Huntley). Finally, I also would like to express appreciation to Talesia Mitchell, a member of the South East Community Relay for Life team and a psychology major from Lansing, who not only proposed this crazy idea but convinced Deb and I to do it.

*note from the provost: “I don’t like to lose, either.”

Center for Academic Innovation teaching symposium


I would like to encourage faculty to participate in the teaching symposium hosted by our new Center for Academic Innovation next Wednesday, Feb. 18. Our keynote speaker will be Brian Coppola, the Arthur F. Thurnau professor of chemistry at the University of Michigan and a recognized expert in effective instruction practices. He received the CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year award in 2009. You should have received an invitation to the luncheon where Coppola will speak in your e-mail to RSVP. I hope you attend as your teaching schedule permits. We owe it to our students to be the best instructors we can be.

In addition to our outside expert, several of our colleagues are hosting afternoon workshops to share their innovative educational practices. I encourage you to attend their sessions, as well, and I would like to extend my appreciation to those who have agreed to present. 

Speaking at 1:30 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall seminar rooms:

  • James Bowers, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Kim Lacey, assistant professor of English, on “Engaging Students in Online Courses”
  • Marlena Bravender, assistant professor of teacher education, and Rosina Hassoun, assistant professor of sociology, on “Making Statistics Fun”
  • Chris Nakamura, assistant professor of physics, on “Using Integrated Course Components to Increase Engagement”

Speaking at 2:50 p.m.:

  • Elson Boles, professor of sociology, on “Flipped Courses with Team-Based Learning”
  • John Kaczynski, assistant professor of political science, Mike Mosher, professor of art, Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Wickes Chair in International Studies, and David Rzeszutek, assistant professor of theatre, on “Business, Art and Theater: Reinvent Urban Communities”
  • John Lowry, assistant professor of kinesiology, on “Medical Scribe Program,” a collaboration with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw

Honors to Arford and Tuttle

We have many faculty who are doing fine work on campus and in the community. My congratulations to two colleagues who recently earned awards for their work. Marty Arford, associate professor of geography, will receive an Osprey Award from the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy for the habitat improvement and beatification efforts he and his students have made at Frankenlust Township Park, a few miles north of campus.  Bob Tuttle, professor of mechanical engineering, will receive the 2015 Applied Research Award from the American Foundry Society. The research for which he’s being recognized has helped to advance testing standards in the ultrasonic testing of steel castings. For those who don’t know Bob, he gets really excited about pouring metal. Really excited. I’m pleased to see each of them receive such honors. It speaks to the high quality work I know so many of you are doing.

Best Wishes to Cale Wasserman

In case you missed the news over the weekend, our men’s soccer coach, Cale Wasserman, announced he is leaving to become an assistant coach at Michigan State University. He has built our program to a place where this opening will be among the most highly coveted soccer jobs in Division II. Cale’s teams consistently performed well in the classroom, and they posted NCAA tournament victories two out of the past three years, including the magical run to the national championship game in 2012. Cale is a proud alum, and while I’m sorry to see him go, I wish him well. 

Basketball back in first

‌‌‌Men's basketball vs Northwood.

Our men’s basketball team continues their fine play and they now sit alone in first place, following weekend victories over Lake Superior State and Northwood. We have just one regular season home game remaining... against Grand Valley. Please mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 19. The women will play at 6, followed by the men at 8. Go Cards!


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Wickes 349
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