We continue to explore opportunities to improve the education our students receive. One such initiative is designed to address the dramatic rise in textbook costs over the last decade. Our Center for Academic Innovation has selected five faculty members to receive grants to develop Open Education Resources; these teaching and learning resources are available in the public domain that can be adapted, used and reused for educational purposes. In addition to the cost savings for students, faculty can be creative and flexible in designing personalized, interactive and engaging content in multiple formats. Funding for this project is provided through the 5-year Title III grant we received. The first five faculty to be selected are: Elson Boles, sociology; Kim Lacey, English; Kevin Meyer, economics; Erik Trump, political science; and Joseph Weaver, psychology. Please join me in congratulating them and thanking them for undertaking this important work.
We are pleased to welcome many special guests to SVSU throughout the summer – this week our campus has been filled with youngsters attending summer camps. We extended a special welcome to a group of students visiting from abroad. Students visiting from the Philippines are participating in a 2-week summer STEM program. While here, the students will have the opportunity to learn from our outstanding instructors in STEM disciplines, and experience the best of what the Great Lakes Bay Region has to offer. My thanks to everyone who helps to make these visitors – and all our guests – feel welcome.
As we approach a holiday week when many of us are likely to engage in conversations with friends and family, I know college costs can be a frequent topic. We have implemented a major restructuring of our financial aid packaging and we have made an institutional commitment to increase the amount of need-based financial aid available to deserving students. It was the right thing to do, and it is one of the reasons we are seeing increased interest from the fall 2018 freshman class. Historically, our low base tuition and our low room and board rates kept us among the most affordable universities for everyone. As state funding eroded and tuition prices rose, even our relatively low tuition rate still posed a financial challenge for many students and families, which is why we made the changes we have. A news story out this week draws attention to our low sticker price but also to how we had become a relatively high-cost institution for those with family incomes below $30,000. This does not reflect current reality, but it will be a couple of years before this is reflected in federal reporting. I encourage you to become familiar with the scholarships and financial aid we offer Types of Financial Aid, so that you can say with confidence that we are committed to serving all deserving students.
This week, faculty and staff received the latest edition of Reflections magazine in their university mailboxes. The contents include a deep-dive exploration of how the $25 million building expansion for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management will create a ripple effect that lifts the entire regional economy; a feature on the baseball team's support of a Flint boy battling a rare cancer; a story tracing Cardinal Sins' humble beginnings to its rise as one of the nation's most distinguished campus literary-art magazines; and profiles on some of our most accomplished alumni. You can also read Reflections online at svsureflections.com.
We are fortunate to be able to visit the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, and your next visit can incorporate new technology. The museum has launched a new app that provides visitors with self-guided audio tours and more in-depth information about the museum, its collections, and temporary exhibitions in a fun, easy, and efficient manner. The free app is available on both iOS and Android via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It can be downloaded in advance of a visit or in the gallery on the museum's free Wi-Fi. It can be found by searching for "MFSM." My thanks to George Corser, assistant professor of computer science; Blake Johnson, professor of art; and recent graduates Adam Pero and Ka Vang, who together designed and developed the app.
On Monday, the University Art Gallery will open an exhibition featuring the work of Julia Roecker, the late artist, educator and director of the Saginaw Art Museum. Art pieces shown in the exhibition will include traditional work in the area of linocut and woodblock prints, as well as silkscreen and impressionist pastel drawings. In addition to these pieces, there will be examples of Julia's sketchbooks displayed. The exhibition is scheduled through Aug. 10. For more information on SVSU's University Art Gallery, visit www.svsu.edu/artgallery/.
Congratulations to the five members of our women’s swimming and diving team who were named to the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team. The award recognizes students that have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and competed at their respective NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA swimming and diving championships. Wilhelmina Francisco, Lydia Mattar, Melanie Soenksen and Amanda Thielen were each named to the first team and Elizabeth Caird was named to the honorable mention squad. Go Cards!
Independence Day offers a chance to reflect on all the freedoms and liberties extended by this great nation. I know many of you will enjoy time with family and friends. I wish you all a safe and relaxing holiday next week while enjoying this special celebration.