I am extremely proud of our men’s basketball program. I wish they had won Wednesday night’s game, of course, but having had the chance to interact with the coaches, players, and supporters of this program in Texas this week and throughout the season, this team represents our university well. They compete with class. They take their academics seriously. They genuinely appreciate the support they receive. It is obvious they have earned the respect of their classmates, because hundreds of them turned out on a snowy Wednesday night to cheer them on from more than 1,000 miles away. At their best, college athletics provide a rallying point for a campus community; their contests generate attendance and are broadcast in ways academic competitions generally are not. We should be proud of all our students who have the courage to perform and compete in their chosen endeavors. Congratulations to Randy Baruth, head coach, and everyone associated with men’s basketball on reaching the Elite 8 for the first time in school history. Be watching for details on an all-campus celebration next week! This has generated much positive – and deserved – attention for our university.
We continue to develop new ideas and pursue new opportunities for community engagement. The Saginaw Bay Writing Project, which we host, recently secured external funding to sponsor a pair of writing workshops intended to empower K-12 teachers to better advocate the joys of writing to their students. In our Great Lakes Bay Region, a Writer's Workshop for Area Teachers will be held from Monday to Friday, July 25-29, at the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland. The week-long agenda includes writing seminars, evening reading sessions by various Michigan authors, and more, thanks to generous support of the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation. In Michigan’s Thumb, we will be leading The George Haley/Saginaw Bay Writing Project Institute for 15 Huron County K-12 teachers hoping to develop as better writing educators. George Haley is a Bad Axe native who lives in California but continues to support writing endeavors. My compliments to Helen Raica-Klotz and Chris Giroux in our Writing Center, and Marilyn Brooks of the Saginaw Bay Writing Project for working to make this programs possible.
Pictured: The Heart of Teaching event from February.
This week, our colleagues in the College of Education completed a site visit by the accreditation review team from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation that is evaluating our education programs. The accreditors spent time speaking with faculty, staff, students, and local school leaders. The reviewers commented that they were impressed by our programs, our campus, our collaborations and our community. While the final report will not be complete for some time, the exit interview was quite favorable, so we are optimistic regarding what the report will ultimately contain. My thanks to everyone who played a role in making this site visit a success.
Our chapter of the Spanish honorary society Sigma Delta Pi held a ceremony last week that is symbolic of the life of the university. The group inducted 14 students as new members who undoubtedly will benefit from their participation in the chapter. Adjunct instructor and alumna Ariana Soto Valenzuela was inducted as an honorary member. They also said farewell to Gladys Zubulake, professor of modern foreign languages, and Nancy Tesauro, an adjunct instructor, who are retiring. I have known Gladys for many years and she has contributed much to our university. Among other accolades, she received the Educator of the Year award from the Michigan Foreign Language Association in 2004. My best wishes to Gladys and Nancy in their forthcoming retirements.
We will honor a number of our faculty, staff and friends at the All-University Awards Banquet in two weeks on Friday, April 8. Once again, we are announcing the award recipients in advance so that you know which of your colleagues are being recognized; this may influence your decision on whether or not to attend. I hope you will attend and support our colleagues and friends receiving honors. So many people make this a special place and the Awards Banquet is where we celebrate their contributions. Please look for the e-mail you received from Human Resources, the deadline to RSVP is Monday, March 28 at 4:30 p.m.
Ruben Daniels Community Service Award: Dr. Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Harvey Randall Wickes Chair in International Studies, College of Business and Management
Roosevelt Ruffin Diversity Award (Sponsored by Team One Credit Union): Vanessa Brooks Herd, associate professor of social work
Terry Ishihara Co-Curricular Involvement Award: (faculty) Adam Coughlin, associate professor of kinesiology; (staff) Jaime Leyrer, special assistant to the dean, College of Business and Management
Thomson Award for Empowering Learning in Community Engagement: Jason Schoenmeyer, associate director of Student Life
Outstanding Performance Award: Debbie Fegan, senior programmer/analyst; and Denise M. Berry, director of Military Student Affairs
Mary H. Anderson Adjunct Faculty Award: Walter H. Reynolds, adjunct faculty, Department of Criminal Justice
House Family Award for Teacher Impact: David Rzeszutek, associate professor of theatre
Earl L. Warrick Award for Excellence in Research: Scott M. Youngstedt, professor of anthropology
Franc A. Landee Teaching Excellence Award: Erik Trump, professor of political science
Distinguished Service Award: Leola Wilson