Across Campus

February 23, 2015


Congress member visits campus

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters visited Grand Valley February 17 to learn about the many ways the university is preparing students for the workforce.

He toured the Kennedy Hall of Engineering and Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences to learn about the university’s global partnerships, cooperative education program and hands-on opportunities in labs and through industry-sponsored projects.

“The future of innovation continues to be at the forefront of new products and manufacturing, which includes talented engineers,” Peters said. “Grand Valley is a prime example of a higher education institution that is providing education, training and resources for the future workforce of Michigan.”

Peters’ visit is part of his Michigan Economic Listening Tour, a weeklong trip around the state to meet with Michigan business leaders, educators and workers. 

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters

Photo by Amanda Pitts

From left are Charlie Standridge, associate dean of Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, and President Thomas J. Haas at the Kennedy Hall of Engineering.


Cook Leadership Academy seeks nominations for fellows

The Hauenstein Center’s Cook Leadership Academy is currently seeking nominations from faculty and staff members for students to join the 2015-2016 cohort of CLA fellows.

The CLA offers GVSU students opportunities for leadership development, mentorship, networking, and exclusive engagement with community leaders as well as nationally recognized policy makers and thought leaders. Fellows also benefit from a high-impact week with public figures in Washington, D.C.  

Nominations are welcome for undergraduate and graduate students of any major and from any academic year. Students should be enrolled for at least one semester of the 2015-2016 academic year, and should exhibit a combination of high academic achievement, active involvement in the campus community, dedication to the public good, a passion to lead, and a commitment to personal growth.

To nominate outstanding students, visit the website Nominations will close March 17.

Questions about the CLA can be directed to Chadd Dowding, CLA program manager, at x17087 or


Faculty and Staff Campaign going strong

The 2015 Faculty and Staff Campaign is well on its way with 40 percent participation since the kick off.

Pay it forward by supporting Grand Valley students and their futures. By giving to what you are passionate about — scholarships, academic programs, or other areas of interest — you can help students reach their dreams. Imagine the difference you can make in a student’s life with your gift.

To give a gift or learn more about the Faculty and Staff Campaign, visit


GVSU ranked as top producer for faculty, student Fulbright recipients

Grand Valley was ranked second nationally for the number of faculty members who are Fulbright Scholars and within the top 15 for number of U.S. Fulbright students.

The Chronicle of Higher Education released a list February 12 of colleges and universities that produce the most Fulbright Scholars.

Grand Valley was tied for second among master’s degree institutions for faculty Fulbright Scholars.

During the 2014-2015 year, three faculty members earned awards to teach and conduct research abroad.

They are Charles Baker-Clark, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management, Montenegro; Russ Rhoads, associate professor of anthropology, Sierra Leone; and Jerry Scripps, assistant professor of computing and information systems, Austria.

Grand Valley tied for 12th place among master’s institutions for student Fulbright Scholars, with four student recipients. They are Lydia Benkert, research grant, Ghana; Anne Gioncondini, English Teaching Assistantship, Ukraine; Erin Lutenski, English Teaching Assistantship, Germany; Hayley Pangle, English Teaching Assistantship, Azerbaijan.

It’s the first time Grand Valley has been ranked on the U.S. Fulbright student list.

Mark Schaub, chief international officer for Grand Valley, said being ranked among the top universities for Fulbright opportunities shows the university’s commitment to global learning.

“Furthermore, it is evidence of the high quality of Grand Valley faculty,” Schaub said. “They compete nationally for these prestigious awards, with regular success. Each award represents three levels of peer review.”

The Fulbright program is a prestigious and competitive program, and is the flagship of the U.S. government’s programs in international educational exchange. The program offers a variety of individual and institutional grants which are awarded on the basis of merit and allow individuals to study, teach, lecture, and conduct research in other countries. Grand Valley Faculty Fulbright Scholars are administered through the Padnos International Center.

The U.S. Student Fulbright Scholarship competition is administered at Grand Valley through the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships. For more information on the award and other competitive academic awards, visit



Graduate program named a best online program

An online graduate program through the College of Education has been named a “2015 Best Online Program” by U.S. News & World Report.

The master’s degree in educational technology began in 2011 and was developed by tenured faculty members. The program is also offered as a hybrid. In a recent survey of graduates in the online program, 86 percent said they were extremely or moderately satisfied with their experience and 77 percent said they would recommend the program to colleagues.

Information about the online program can be found at or contact Andrew Topper at x17273.


Faculty member researches extreme marathoners

In mid-January, a team of a dozen marathoners left California with a goal to run across the country to raise awareness of childhood obesity and money for school fitness programs. They plan to complete the 3,080-mile trek in June.

They are being closely followed by a team of researchers that include Cara Ocobock, assistant professor of biomedical sciences.

Ocobock joined Grand Valley’s faculty last year after earned a doctoral degree in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. She was asked to join the research team by a colleague from Purdue University who is among the runners.

“This is such an extreme activity and something like this has never been measured before,” Ocobock said. “How could I say ‘no’ to that?”

As an energetics specialist, Ocobock is researching the number of calories each participant expends and how many calories they are consuming. She met with the runners January 13 in Huntington Beach, California, for a base set of measurements; she will meet them in Texas in March and at the end of the race in June.

Ocobock said this research will help aid anthropological theories about the evolution of endurance running.

To learn more about Race Across the USA, visit


Owen named director of Traverse City center

Shannon Owen was named director of Grand Valley’s Traverse City Regional Center. She joined the regional center staff in late January.

Simone Jonaitis, executive director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, said Owen brings with her a wealth of experience.

Owen had served as manager of Northern Michigan Programs for Eastern Michigan University, and as academic and career advisor for Northwestern Michigan College. Her job at EMU was housed at NMC’s University Center, where students from eight universities take classes.

“I saw this role as a way to keep me connected to the University Center and it was a good time for me to take all the information I learned at NMC and use it in this position for Grand Valley,” she said.

In her new role, Owen will oversee programs and look for opportunities for new community connections.

Owen is a member of Traverse City Young Professionals and said she enjoys volunteering in the community and enjoying the area’s winter resources.

Shannon Owen

Shannon Owen 


Peace Corps director visits

The director of the Peace Corps met with President Thomas J. Haas and other university leaders to discuss ways to enhance opportunities for Grand Valley students and graduates interested in Peace Corps.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet was in West Michigan February 6 to give a presentation at Calvin College’s Faith and International Development Conference.

Hessler-Radelet said recent changes in recruitment have dramatically increased the number of applications from people interesting in volunteering. Changes include stremlining the application process and offering prospective volunteers choices in where they want to serve. She said a typical year yields about 10,000 applications; this year, Peace Corps is on track to receive 30,000 applications.

Since the 1961 founding of the Peace Corps, 233 corps volunteers have been Grand Valley alumni.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Thomas J. Haas

Photo by Bernadine Carey-Tucker

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the Peace Corps, and staff members visit with President Thomas J. Haas February 6.


University participates in national recycling competition

For the eighth year, Grand Valley is competing in Recyclemania, a competition among hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to collect the largest amount of recyclables and the least amount of trash.

From February 1-March 28, Grand Valley will compete in different categories, such as Food Service Organics and Waste Minimization, over a eight-week period.

During the 2014 competition, Grand Valley ranked first in the state and in the top 35 nationwide (for undersities with more than 20,000 students) in the composting and waste minimization categories. More than 183,000 pounds of materials were recycled and nearly 300,000 pounds were composted on campus.

Facilities Services is leading the contest, with support from Campus Dining, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Sustainability Initiative, Student Environmental Coalition and Pew Campus Operations.

For more information about Recyclemania at Grand Valley, visit