We enjoyed a wonderful MLK Celebration on campus Wednesday, drawing many community leaders to campus, as well as faculty, staff and students. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, gave an inspiring speech. His message of the importance of setting high expectations and providing a quality education to students regardless of family income resonates on our campus, just as it does at his own institution. Thanks to all of you who attended and who put these principles in practice.
On Monday, I joined with several faculty and staff and a group of students who participated in the Unity March in Saginaw. It was a very positive experience and a good way to start the week.
This week also marked the opening of the University Clinic in Bay City, a partnership with the Bay County Health Department. We jointly wrote a federal grant and received some $1.3 million to establish this clinic which will provide much-needed health care to those who otherwise might not receive treatment, while also providing valuable clinical experience for our students in the health professions. When we speak about the value of being designated a community-engaged university, this is what we’re talking about. If you’d like to learn more, ABC 12 covered the opening. The story features comments by Judy Ruland, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, and Kathleen Schachman, our Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing.
My thanks to those colleagues who have worked to establish our new Center for Academic Innovation (CAI). When construction is complete, it will be located on the fourth floor of the library and will serve as a resource for evidence-based teaching practices and emerging pedagogical models. The mission of the center will be to work with faculty, staff and departments to promote innovations in teaching and learning. Poonam Kumar, director of online/hybrid learning, will serve as the director of the Center and will provide strategic vision and coordination of activities. She will be assisted in this important work by professors Bob Lane and Erik Trump, Ann Coburn-Collins, director of academic programs support, and Kerry Rastigue, assistant vice president for community engagement and integrated learning. The center will offer teaching innovation grants, workshops, consultations, and many other opportunities for faculty to engage, share and collaborate. This center emphasizes our commitment to teaching and learning excellence and I encourage you to take advantage of the resources it will offer.
I offer my congratulations to Stephanie Brouet, associate professor of chemistry, and Tony Crachiola, associate professor of mathematics and assistant dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, as each of them were selected as RUBY award recipients. They are both high performers and most deserving. This honor from 1st State Bank annually recognizes the top professionals under age 40 in the Great Lakes Bay Region. This marks seven consecutive years that SVSU has had a faculty or staff member receive this very competitive award.
Our men’s basketball team won a thriller in overtime last Saturday. Head coach Randy Baruth may argue, but I am taking full credit for their turn-around since it is happening during their first full season under my presidency. Seriously, it was great to see so many of you supporting our men’s and women’s teams last Saturday. That was the best atmosphere for a home game in a long time. Our teams are back home this weekend with games tonight against Northern Michigan and Saturday afternoon against Michigan Tech. Go Cards!
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to Joni Boye-Beaman, dean, and Eric Gardner, associate dean, who are both returning to the faculty and leaving the Arts and Behavioral Sciences dean’s office. A few of you might recall that I had that job at one time, so I have a full understanding of all they have done for our students and faculty. If you see them, please join me in offering a word of thanks for their service.