The first week of classes appears to be going relatively smoothly. Thanks to all the faculty, staff and students who have helped new students find their way and get acclimated, starting with the move-in process and continuing through this week. Many of you have had a hand in this; I appreciate it and so do our students. News on the enrollment front is encouraging, too. It appears the number of freshmen will be even higher than I shared with you last week, as international students have continued to arrive this week, and our retention rate appears to have improved, too. For these and many other reasons, I am very optimistic for the year ahead. I hope you are, too. By the way, if you missed my speech last week, it’s now posted online for your viewing pleasure.
The arrival of so many international students beyond what we expected is good for the university on many levels, but it also has required a number people in International Programs and across the university to go above and beyond. For example, the Cardinal Testing Center administered 151 writing tests and 268 Compass placement exams for international students last week. Their staff and volunteers from several departments, along with support from ITS, made this possible. I have heard individual stories from a number of you who have pitched in, as well. We truly are making a concerted efforts to make our international friends feel welcome. Thank you.
Many colleagues also put together another good welcome weekend for our new arrivals. This included informative and entertaining programs morning, noon and night. My Twitter feed blew up Friday with #svsurockstar posts (photo by Randi Lemaster with Fresh Start guest speaker Arel Moodie). Students seemed to be having a good time. We also sponsored a part-time job fair to help students find employment; this event was well-organized and appreciated by students and employers alike. Starting college is a big adjustment; my thanks to all of you who have helped to make the transition a little easier.
My appreciation to all our colleagues who spent their summer productively by participating in summer camps, taking part in manner of community engagement projects, or working on research. Tami Sivy, professor of chemistry (pictured), claims that she did more than eat lobster during her recent visit to New England. Maybe that’s because I told her I don’t pay her to eat lobster. Seriously, Tami was invited to attend the National Academies of Sciences and its Board on Chemical Sciences and Technologies. Not only is it valuable to have SVSU represented at a professional meeting of such stature, Tami gained several tips to better serve our students. The scholarship of Eric Gardner, professor of English, recently culminated in a new book, “Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” This was published by one of the leading presses in academe: Oxford University Press. There are many more examples of fine work from the summer months. If I have not heard yours, please share it with me. I never grow weary of learning of good work.
To those of you who were listening to my talk last week, you know that we will be hosting a number of market research workshops in the coming weeks. This process should help us better authentically understand who we are, our strengths, and what sets us apart, but the research is only as good as the level of participation, so please take part in this. Our market research partners will be on campus the week of September 21 and again the week of October 5. Workshop times are tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. You will receive more information next week for how to register for these.
The fall sports season is upon us. Our football team opens tomorrow (Thursday) night against the University of Indianapolis. For those not making the trip, you can listen to the radio broadcast with J.J. Boehm and Brad Golder. This week’s game will be aired on Mix 106.3 FM and streamed online. Our women’s tennis team is the only squad home this weekend; they have home matches Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Our cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball teams all open their seasons on the road. I wish them well and I encourage you to attend games, matches and meets this year. Our student-athletes appreciate the support, and I always gain valuable insight from talking to parents. Go Cards!