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Across Campus

August 30, 2016


Record number of students move to campus

A record-number of students moved on campus last week. Approximately 6,300 students will live on the Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses this year. That figure tops last year's on-campus number by about 150 students.

Students and their families were greeted by hundreds of alumni, faculty and staff members, who lent helping hand during move-in week. President Thomas J. Haas and his wife, Marcia, served ice cream to families and new students near Kleiner Commons August 23. 

Alumni moving boxes up a staircase

Dan Hartlieb joins other alumni to help first-year students move
into their living centers.

That sense of community is only part of what is attracting a record number of first-year students to Grand Valley, as well as the record number living on campus. Haas' 10-year leadership at the university is marked by increased efforts to support students through their graduation in a timely fashion.

"We know that attracting students to campus is just the start," said Haas. "We are committed to offering solid academic degree programs and the necessary support system to help students attain those degrees and graduate in a reasonable period of time. We work hard to optimize advising opportunities for students, we have increased academic support programs, and we are seeing the results in terms of our graduation rates."

The latest national statistics show that Grand Valley has a graduation rate in the top three of the state's 15 public universities, and is in the top four for retaining students from their freshman to sophomore years. Federal data also shows that Grand Valley students are in the top three for paying back student loans, and a bonus for the state is that 85 percent of Grand Valley students begin their careers in Michigan.


App details locations of single-user restrooms, nursing nests

A team of Grand Valley students and alumni has created a mobile app that details the locations of each single-user restroom and nursing nest in campus buildings that are open to the public.

anyBODYS is free and available in the Apple Store and Android Play Store. It was created by the T3 (Teaching Through Technology) team, an interdisciplinary group of computer information systems, engineering, management and marketing students and several alumni. 

Star Swift, associate professor of management, is the T3 advisor. She said the LGBT Resource Center approached her with the idea of creating an app that would benefit anybody searching for a single-user restroom.

Andy Brookhouse, ’04, serves as the alumni advisor for the project. He said the app is the first of its kind created for a university community.

"There are others geared for large cities and users self-report where single-user restrooms are in public buildings to add to the database," said Brookhouse, who earned a degree in computing information systems.

Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity, said the app is one example of how Grand Valley demonstrates its commitment to being a welcoming campus.

"By making it easier to locate accessible restrooms and nursing nests, the anyBODYS app is one more way we can help to ensure all students, faculty and staff members know that they belong at Grand Valley," Bernal said.

Group sitting on stairs

Pictured is the T3 team responsible for the anyBODYS app; back row, left to right, are Francisco Sanchez, Adam Rosenberg and Andy Brookhouse; middle row, left to right, Justin Melick, Star Swift and Gianni Ferrero; and front row, left to right, Gabriella Vozza, Brandon Angerbrandt and Alex Cookingham. Not pictured is Stephen Spangler.

anyBODYS lists each single-user restroom, and nursing nests for nursing mothers in public buildings on campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland; regional centers in Muskegon and Traverse City; and the Detroit Center. Some locations have exterior photos to make identification easier. Suggestions for the app can be sent via email to


Veteran support program receives highest status from state

Grand Valley has received gold status from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for the second year for its commitment to supporting student veterans. 

MVAA's Veteran-Friendly School program recognizes institutions of higher learning for their dedication to student veterans and dependents using the G.I. Bill and other education benefits. Schools can receive bronze, silver or gold status. 

Steven Lipnicki, assistant dean of students, said initiatives are in place at Grand Valley to help student veterans succeed academically and transition to post-military employment or graduate school.

"Some student veterans can experience barriers, such as academic preparation, health issues, financial concerns, and feeling disconnected to campus," Lipnicki said. "Our efforts focus on assisting the increasing number of veterans who choose to attend Grand Valley."

The number of student veterans and dependents attending Grand Valley has grown from less than 200 in 2009 to nearly 700 in 2015. 

Criteria to become a gold-status institution include having an on-campus veteran's coordinator or center; a website; student organization; a process to identify current student veterans; and a process to monitor and evaluate academic retention, completion, graduation rate and job placements.

Grand Valley provides in-state tuition for veterans and active military members who are stationed in Michigan. The university is a member of the Consortium of Michigan Veteran Educators and is part of the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success” initiative through the U.S. Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs. Grand Valley is also one of 42 institutions in the country that participates in the Peer Advisor of Veteran Education program, which pairs peer advisors with new student veterans. 

Learn more about Grand Valley’s Student Veterans Network at


Search committee selected for new provost

Members of the search committee to find a new provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs have been selected.

The members were announced August 11 by search committee co-chairs Teri Losey, secretary to the Board of Trustees and executive associate to the president, and Jon Jellema, recently retired associate vice president for Academic Affairs and associate professor emeritus of English. 

Provost Gayle R. Davis informed faculty and staff members July 11 that she will retire next summer. The committee will conduct a nationwide search for Davis's successor. 

Search committee members are listed below.

Teri Losey, Jon Jellema, co-chairs; Colleen Lindsay-Bailey, associate director of housing and resident life and chair of the AP Committee; Jodi Chycinski, director of admissions; Ella Fritzemeier, president of Student Senate; Karen Gipson, professor of physics and chair of University Academic Senate; Julia Guevara, professor of social work ; Cynthia McCurren, dean of Kirkhof College of Nursing; Donald Mitchell, assistant professor of education and faculty associate for the Division of Inclusion and Equity; Noreen Myers, Board of Trustees (2005-2012), board chair (2011-2012), and Grand Valley alumna; Felix Ngassa, professor of chemistry and vice chair of the executive committee of the University Academic Senate; Charles Pazdernik, professor of classics and member of ECS; and Samhita Rhodes, associate professor of engineering and member of ECS.