2014-2015 issues

August 26, 2014: Click here to download a PDF of this issue.

August 26, 2014

Convocation speakers challenge, advise new students

Convocation speakers welcomed new students to Grand Valley by offering them advice while presenting challenges.

President Thomas J. Haas told students who gathered in the Fieldhouse August 22 that the faculty members sitting in the front rows will become critically important to them. “These people, who are renowned in their fields, have chosen to teach you and to challenge you to learn,” Haas said. “In doing so, they will change your lives.”

He said that was a lofty goal, then reminded students that they came to campus with their own goals. “Find your passion, so you will contribute to our campus life and to your communities and to your professional areas,” he said.

He followed speakers Karen Gipson, chair of University Academic Senate, and Andrew Plague, Student Senate president, who offered their own advice to first-year students.

Gipson, professor of physics, said faculty members will not only challenge and teach students but also offer them the tools necessary for lifelong learning. She said change is “an essential feature of a liberal education.”   

Plague said he spent the summer collecting advice from returning students before deciding what to say during the ceremony. He found three themes in those pieces of advice: get involved in campus activities and organizations, get help by utilizing campus resources, and be yourself.

“It took courage for me to be myself,” Plague said, who added he found support at the LGBT Resource Center. “Through friends, professors, and campus resources, I found the courage to be myself during my first year at Grand Valley and it changed my life,” he said.

For the first time at Convocation, an alumnus addressed the audience. Matthew LaVere, a freelance photographer from Royal Oak, told students their definitions of success might change over time.

Provost Gayle R. Davis began Convocation by explaining the pageantry of the ceremony and academic regalia. “This ends a week of orientation in which you learned a lot about us and gained a lot of information about the culture of Grand Valley,” she said.

Before Convocation when giving his annual Faculty/Staff Address, Haas outlined his vision for Grand Valley, centered on remaining relevant in Michigan and ensuring that students and graduates will make a global impact.
He recognized recent accomplishments such as receiving an increase in state appropriations, increasing retention and graduating students at a rate above the national average.

Haas said this is not a time to rest but, rather, to introduce initiatives to continue to attract high-quality students. An example, the Design Thinking Initiative will allow a range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities to our students and faculty, he said, adding the catalyst for the idea was Davis and others in the Provost’s Office.

Haas summarized international education achievements and said a newly created team, Global Grand Valley, will move forward with plans to enhance global learning for all students.

Grand Valley’s retention rate has risen to 71 percent but Haas also mentioned a report that stated the number of Michigan high school graduates will decrease 20 percent by 2019. “In order for us to maintain the number of first-year students we see coming to campus this year, with high academic credentials, we must gather even more of the market share both in- and out-of-state,” he said.

Haas reminded the audience that everyone on campus plays a role in recruiting students. He also said work has started on the university’s next strategic plan and all colleges and divisions will begin creating their roadmaps next year.

President Haas’ Faculty/Staff Address and Convocation speeches are online at www.gvsu.edu/president.


Across Campus

Garden dedicated

The Marilyn E. Zumberge Garden was dedicated in a ceremony outside of Zumberge Hall August 19.

Marilyn, wife of the late James H. Zumberge who was Grand Valley’s first president, served as first lady during their six years at the university from 1963-1969. Marilyn died in June 2008. The ceremony was attended by several family members, including the couple’s three sons: Mark, Jim and John.

During the ceremony, President Thomas J. Haas said Marilyn represented the university and community with dignity and grace. “She was a great confidant to her husband as he wrestled the issues of the day,” said Haas.

Marcia Haas said: “It is fitting that Marilyn’s name graces this beautiful garden and building. “The garden is designed to look beautiful in every season and captures her beautiful spirit and contributions to Grand Valley.”

John Zumberge spoke on behalf of the family. “This is so special for us. It is exciting to see the growth of this whole campus,” he said. “My mother loved gardens, both formal and wild. She would have approved of this garden.”

College of Education celebrates 50 years

Grand Valley’s College of Education is celebrating 50 years of providing quality teacher-education programs.

A kickoff ceremony was held August 12 at the Eberhard Center with a Blue Apple Ceremony, recognizing 12 outstanding alumni. In its earliest plans, Grand Valley was intended to be a liberal arts college with little or no professional emphasis. As needs grew, Grand Valley adapted accordingly to provide teacher preparation programs. The initial cohort of Grand Valley students included 45 elementary and 39 secondary candidates.

Today, the College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is one of the leading providers of teacher preparation programs in the state of Michigan.

Laker Blue Apple Award recipients were Jenny (Yonkman) Bangma, teacher at Creative Technologies Academy; J. Peter DeWitt, teacher at Catholic Central High School; Eric Fey, teacher at West Michigan Aviation Academy; Jason Grubaugh, teacher at Plainwell High School; Tom Hosford, principal of Rockford Freshman Center; Audra Kowalski, teacher at Bryon Center Charter School; Tricia McPheron, dean of students at Eastern Middle School; Jaymie Perry, teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School; Sara Sposaro, teacher at Zinser Elementary; Christopher Stabile, teacher at East Grand Rapids High School; Mark VanderKlok, teacher at Alamo Elementary; and Colleen Waite, teacher at Ottawa Hills High School.

Special events are planned throughout the year highlighting people, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/ coe/50th.

What's Ahead

Exhibit examines information as global commodity

“Open Everything,” a new interactive exhibit exploring the idea of information as a global commodity, is now open at the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons through September 11.

The purpose of the display is to introduce students and the public to the global issue of open access to information or lack thereof. “The issue is that scholars create information to advance the well-being of the world, and we give away the research that we produce in our institutions that are publicly supported to publishers, and they sell it back to us at prices we can’t afford,” said Lee Van Orsdel, dean of University Libraries. “We need to free up information, and it needs to be free to be repurposed and put together and combined with other knowledge to make the world better.”

In each of the four areas of the exhibit, visitors are prompted with a role-playing scenario to choose a path and then discover the hypothetical local, national or global implications of their choices. The four role-play scenarios are below.
• Open Access: free, online availability of research articles and the rights to use them.
• Open Software: open source software is available for modification or enhancement by anyone.
• Open Textbooks: teaching and learning materials freely available online for everyone to use.
• Open Data: data that can be freely used and shared by anyone.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours.

IFF to hold opening reception

International Faculty and Friends will host its opening reception on Wednesday, September 3, in the Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room.

The event will run from 4-5:30 p.m.; refreshments, beer and wine will be served. It serves as an opportunity to connect with many of the international faculty members on campus and learn about other events.

IFF, sponsored by the Padnos International Center, was established in 2007 to build community by focusing on global countries and cultures. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/pic/iff.

LGBT Resource Center to host student welcome

The LGBT Resource Center will host its annual welcome celebration for new and returning students.

Rainbow Social will take place on Wednesday, September 3, at 7 p.m. at the center, Kirkhof Center, room 1161. LGBT and ally students are invited; there will be ice cream and entertainment.

For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc.