Signs continue to build that another academic year is on the horizon. Student-athletes, resident assistants and others have returned to campus, and the incoming freshman class starts arriving next Wednesday. As our students return, let’s make sure that each of us is doing our part to deliver a first-rate education and overall college experience. I hope you will join us for the introduction of new faculty and staff and my orientation remarks next Thursday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
We are proud to serve a great many military service members and veterans who have served our country, and we continue to be recognized for how we support them at SVSU. This week, we learned that the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has named us a certified Veteran-Friendly School. Kudos to Denise Berry, director Military Student Affairs, and everyone who works to create a welcoming and empowering environment for our military-affiliated students.
Over the last few months, the five teams charged with establishing goals and strategies have been working diligently on refining the details of the Strategic Plan 2016-2020. As a result of their efforts, I will cover some of this during my remarks next Thursday; a draft of the tactical plan [username/password required] also is available for your review and feedback. If you have any questions or feedback on a particular area, feel free to contact the co-chairs of the assigned goal, as they will continue to refine the plan through mid-September, with the final document slated to go before our Board of Control in October.
• Goal 1: SVSU delivers high quality academic programs leading to student success, improved retention and enrollment stability. Co-chairs: Deb Huntley and Nick Wagner
• Goal 2: Our people, climate and culture transform lives. Co-chairs: Mamie Thorns and John Decker
• Goal 3: SVSU is widely known across Michigan as a sought after institution of higher learning. Co-chairs: Linda Sims and Jim Dwyer
• Goal 4: SVSU is financially robust, fosters sound business practices and is noted for operational excellence. Co-chairs:James Muladore and Susan Crane
• Goal 5: Our community engagement activities drive regional and institutional success both locally and worldwide. Co-chairs: Josh Ode and Andy Bethune
Additional resources can be found in the mySVSU portal [username/password required] where you can see the details of where the strategic plan stands today as well as view updates as they develop.
Our commitment to community engagement in the Great Lakes Bay Region includes many examples of supporting K-12 educators. Recently, the Saginaw Bay Writing Project held two one-week writing workshops for K-12 teachers, thanks to two generous donations. Through support from the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation, 28 teachers from 17 different districts attended a workshop at the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland July 25-29. A Bad Axe native, George Haley, funded another workshop in Huron County August 1-5 that drew 18 teachers from 11 different districts. My compliments to Helen Raica-Klotz and Marilyn Brooks, co-directors of the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, and all our community partners who are working to assist regional teachers become better teachers of writing.
We have been hard at work over the summer refining our strategy and developing materials for the next phase of our marketing plan. Next week, a new round of billboards will go up in our region and in the Detroit and Lansing markets. Our radio ads – featuring the voices of our students – had its first run early in the summer and performed very well on traditional radio and on Pandora. These will begin airing again later this month, and our TV commercial will debut in September. You can get a sneak peak of the TV spot during my remarks next Thursday. Digital advertising also is part of our plan. This integrated campaign has been carefully designed to improve our reputation and grow enrollment, and early returns are encouraging, but we need your ongoing support, as well. Your conversations with friends, family, neighbors and others are important to helping more people understand the market research findings on what sets us apart from other institutions. This is important work. Together, we can help others understand what many of us know: this is a fine university with exceptional faculty, staff and students.
Congratulations to Leslie Smith, a junior from Roseville with a double major in marketing and management, and George Copeland, a management major from Southfield, on earning honors Thursday for their achievements at a summer-long internship program with Enterprise Holdings, the corporation largely known for vehicle rental services. Smith won a $750 scholarship and Copeland was on a team of five students recognized for Best Presentation from Enterprise during the event at Ann Arbor City Club. Both were among 46 college students from Michigan and northern Ohio participating in the full-time, paid internship. They connected with Enterprise Holdings when representatives visited SVSU during campus employment fairs organized by Career Services. It is great to see our students standing out when competing against their peers from other institutions.
I was pleased to see so many of you at the ceremony to dedicate M.J. Brandimore House (the residence hall formerly known as Living Center North). No one has personified Red Pride more than our recently retired colleague. I was especially impressed to see so many students and so many alumni – many of them former RAs – in the audience. There is no question Merry Jo’s leadership and dedication has inspired a generation of Cardinals. I hope many of you have met her successor, Sidney Childs, associate provost of Student Affairs. If you haven’t, I hope you will take a moment to introduce yourself and support him in his efforts to continue our tradition of empowering students to make this a campus community of which we can all be proud.