I have been pleased with the positive response to our NEST (New Expectations for a Safer Tomorrow) plan unveiled earlier this week. Students, parents and other members of the campus community have reached out to me to express appreciation for the hard work by so many of our colleagues to prepare for the safe return of students, faculty and staff this fall. Many of you also are asking very important questions relating to that planned return. We are doing our best to address them. We made our announcement this week for two reasons. One is that we will need the next 3 months to put our plans and procedures in place. Second, students and families are making college decisions, and we want them to be in a position to make informed decisions. Several campus task forces of faculty and staff are meeting regularly to review the issues and to make arrangements that will provide clarity in the coming weeks. We will keep you informed of those details as they become available.
On Friday, I was pleased to be among those who participated in a celebration for our 875 graduating seniors in a virtual video setting. Graduation gives purpose to the work we do. Nothing gives me more satisfaction that honoring those individuals whose hard work and dedication to our institution results in the ultimate reward provided by our institution: an academic degree. Considering the challenges endured by this particular class of seniors, last week’s celebration was especially satisfying for me – and, I hope, for them as well. Thousands of people enjoyed this celebration. If you missed it, you can view the video online here: https://youtu.be/xCY_00cyhJI. While Friday was a celebration of the culmination our seniors’ academic journeys, it was far from a “farewell.” I hope to see many of them when we are able to safely honor them during our traditional Commencement ceremonies planned for December.
Last Friday, our Board of Control approved a new bachelor’s degree program in environmental science. We continue to identify market opportunities for new programs, and this addition will build upon strong academic programs already established in biology, chemistry and geography. According to the U.S Department of Labor, by the year 2028, there will be an 8% job growth in the field. This offers a great opportunity for our current students and incoming freshmen planning to major in this field.
Congratulations to Arianna Jones, a professional and technical writing major who in June will begin an 8-week internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation based in Washington D.C. She was one of 57 people selected from among 700 applicants across the nation. She will be performing her duties remotely from her residence. This is a wonderful opportunity for one of our standout students. Arianna has taken advantage of many SVSU opportunities to grow, such as the Roberts Fellowship program, the moot court program, and the SVSU chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
I continue to be impressed with the determination of our staff and faculty to remain connected with our students and alumni during a time when health experts advise us to keep our distance from each other. The “Card Talk” podcast from the Admissions office and “Beyond the Valley” podcast from Alumni Relations both aired new episodes this week. In “Card Talk,” two of our music colleagues, Kevin Simons and Norman Wika, discussed our outstanding music programs at the university. ”Beyond the Valley” featured 2001 alumna Liz Wielinski, a senior project manager at Pearson Online & Blended Learning who shares tips on how she has successfully worked from home for years. Please follow the Facebook pages for Admissions and SVSU Alumni Association to listen to these podcasts.