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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, June 26, 2017

We welcome new Board of Control members

Luis Canales, executive director of global corporate affairs for Nexteer Automotive and JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future, Inc.

Governor Snyder today announced two appointments to our governing board. Please join me in welcoming Luis Canales and JoAnn Crary to the Board. We thank them for agreeing to serve our university. They have been actively involved with SVSU and with the Great Lakes Bay Region, particularly in areas of workforce and economic development. Luis is the executive director of global corporate affairs for Nexteer Automotive, and serves on the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors. JoAnn is the president of Saginaw Future, Inc., and currently serves on our Board of Fellows. Both are well-known to us and highly respected in our community, and I look forward to working with them to continue to advance our university.

Grant of $1.4 million to benefit students, improve health care

Congratulations to Dr. Kathleen Schachman, our Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing, who received a $1.39 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funds will be used to establish a rural residency program for family nurse practitioners – the first of its kind in Michigan – to provide students with practical experience to empower them to better meet the health care needs of rural Michiganders. We are partnering with the Sterling Area Health Center, a federally qualified health center that encompasses five rural clinics in Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Ogemaw, and Oscoda counties. The project is intended to benefit 21 rural counties in total, while also preparing our graduate students for an area of acute need. We expect 33 family nurse practitioner students to be supported through traineeships and complete the rural residency. This is an outstanding example of community engagement where our students, our faculty and our neighbors will benefit.

Research shows Saginaw much safer

‌‌The attached graph illustrates how major crimes fell by 80 percent in the City of Saginaw from 2010 to 2015; neighboring communities of Bridgeport, Buena Vista and Saginaw Townships also saw crime reductions during the same five-year period.

Our colleagues in geography, Andrew Miller and Evelyn Ravuri, have been busy analyzing data related to safety levels in Saginaw, and this week we were able to share some most encouraging news. Major crimes in the city of Saginaw fell by 80 percent from 2010 to 2015, and neighboring communities saw crime reductions, as well. The research by Andrew and Evelyn shows that the housing demolitions that occurred from 2013 to 2015 are responsible for 20 percent of the overall drop in crime. Not long ago, I attended an on-campus presentation when they shared these findings and other data with all of the Saginaw County police chiefs, and I can assure you they appreciated receiving this information. Andrew and Evelyn have included several students in their research. This is another great example of sharing our expertise with community leaders to tackle local challenges.

Improving health and nutrition through gardening

Rachel Darr, SVSU assistant professor of kinesiology and a registered dietitian with a Ph.D. in exercise science.

The community engagement keeps on coming. Another project announced this week will involve collaborating with the Greater Midland Community Center on a project to examine how gardening food positively impacts nutrition and healthy-eating habits, particularly for children. Rachel Darr, SVSU assistant professor of kinesiology, has received grants from the SVSU Allen Foundation Fund, the Midland Area Community Foundation, and the Midland Noon Rotary Club. Also involved in the project are Martin Arford, associate professor of geography; Christine Noller, assistant professor of health sciences; and Shannon Smith, an adjunct faculty member in health sciences. Over the next two years, faculty and students from kinesiology, health science and geography will participate on this most worthy endeavor at a time when childhood obesity rates are at all-time highs.

IT security: how you can help


As part of our ongoing efforts to address the increasing threats to the security of our information systems and data, our colleagues in ITS recently completed a comprehensive security assessment. Based upon the results, a key recommendation was the implementation of a security awareness program for all faculty, staff and students. About 3 percent of malware reported tries to exploit a technical flaw, the other 97 percent is trying to trick a user. Despite multiple and frequent warnings from our friends in ITS,  170 accounts were compromised of our colleagues and students this academic year. The consequences of clicking on a malicious link can be serious: documents might be stolen, encryption of all the files on your workstation or network, ransoms requested, etc. ITS will be providing access to an on-line Cyber Security Awareness course essential in safeguarding the information assets of the University, but also providing education to protect personal information potentially vulnerable through other devices like cell phones, tablets, personal computers used at SVSU and at home or elsewhere. In addition, other security awareness materials will be provided on an ongoing basis throughout the year. My thanks to our colleagues in ITS who work hard to protect our networks and data every day.

Human Resources Transition

Cynthia Bala and Michele Hoffman

Please join me in congratulating Cynthia Bala, director of Human Resources and Michele Hoffman, administrative assistant, as they both retire at the end of this month. The director of Human Resources position will be posted in early July. In the meantime, if you need HR assistance, feel free to contact Jack VanHoorelbeke, Assistant General Counsel and Chief HR officer at

Happy Fourth to all!

The Fourth of July provides an opportunity to reflect on all the freedoms and liberties offered to both citizens and visitors to this great nation. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing holiday weekend while enjoying this special holiday.

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