Across Campus

January 13, 2020

How to help students prepare for registration

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to connect with students and discuss registering for the spring/summer semester and into the next academic year.

Classes for the spring/summer semester will be viewable in Banner on February 14, and on March 1 for the fall and winter semesters. Registration for all classes will begin on March 16.

• Encourage students to check myPath to understand what classes are needed for a timely graduation.
• Encourage students to see their advisors with questions about their path to graduation.
• Details about flexible summer classes are online at

Researchers: opioid, drug overdose deaths up

sebastian line gives talk

Photo by Autumn Johnson
Sebastian Linde gives remarks at the 2019 Health Care Economic Forecast. 

Seidman College of Business researchers have found that while the number of opioid prescriptions written by providers in the state has declined, the number of deaths by drug overdose has increased.

The findings were detailed January 10 during the 11th annual Health Check report, which analyzes health data and trends for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan (KOMA) counties and compares data to statewide and national figures. The report highlighted the West Michigan Health Care Economic Forecast, sponsored by Grand Valley's Office of the Vice Provost for Health.

Sebastian Linde, assistant professor of economics, was the Health Check's lead author. Linde and other researchers studied the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 people in the Detroit and KOMA regions from 2006-2017. After a peak of more than 1 prescription per capita (per year) in Detroit in 2012, the region has seen a decline in the prescription rate to 0.76 per capita in 2017, he said. 

For the KOMA region, Linde said the prescription rate reached a high of 1.5 per capita (per year) in 2013, then declined to 0.64 prescriptions in 2017.

Researchers found overdose death rates (from all drugs) increased to 34 per 100,000 people in Detroit in 2017, and remained steady at 18 deaths per 100,000 people in KOMA.

Linde said health consequences associated with drug use and overdose must remain a critical focus of intervention and future policy initiatives.

Data focusing on suicides showed KOMA rates decreased from 15.4 per 100,000 people in 2014 to 13 per 100,000 in 2017. The Detroit region also recorded about 13 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

Other health risks are noted below:
• Cigarette smokers: (KOMA) 16 percent and (Detroit) 19 percent, 2017; both numbers are down from 2016 rates
• E-cigarette users: (Kent County) 5.6 percent, (Wayne County) 3.8 percent, 2017
• Overweight: One-third the population in both KOMA and Detroit regions, 2017
• Obese: One-third the population in both KOMA and Detroit regions, 2017

The entire report is available online Data was provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network, and Priority Health.

Classics, all learners win content accessibility challenge

A challenge to improve the accessibility of content on Blackboard Ally not only produced a winning department but also a win for understanding inclusivity for all learners.

The Classics Department won the challenge that was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and eLearning and Emerging Technologies in the Information Technology Department. Faculty members worked within Blackboard Ally to improve the access and managing of files for students.

Some factors for enhancing accessibility include downloads with improved use with assistive technology, files that can be opened on mobile devices or other e-book readers, electronic braille, audio capabilities and a BeeLine Reader for easier and faster on-screen reading.

The department increased its collective Ally score by 14.7 percent, which had an impact on nearly 500 students, according to contest organizers. For winning, the department received a $1,000 student scholarship in its name.

Melissa Morison, department chair, said the small group of faculty members was able to quickly coalesce around the goal of improving student support.

"We're so grateful for this opportunity that is the right thing to do, and being able to do even more to help our students is meaningful," Morison said.

Classics faculty members said to improve accessibility, they focused on updating a large volume of files as well as increasingly linking through the library rather than using their own scans.

The improvements are important for those with registered disabilities and bolsters institutional awareness for inclusivity, said Eric Kunnen, associate director of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies Information Technology Department. 

He also noted that the improvements will have a wider benefit for all students by enhancing the opportunities for a digital educational experience.


Two classes, Union High School collaborate for semester

students sitting in library

Students from Union High School and two Grand Valley classes meet in the Mary Idema Pew Library. The classes collaborated on author readings during the fall semester, culminating with an exhibition.

Students from two Grand Valley classes teamed with students from a class at Union High School in Grand Rapids to read and discuss three authors during the fall semester.

Dauvan Mulally, senior affiliate professor of writing, and Justin Pettibone, affiliate faculty of integrative studies, teach a paired course in the first-year learning community program. They collaborated with Nathan Teft's high school English class. Teft has worked with Gayle Schaub, liaison librarian, for several years on research instruction.

Mulally said groups were formed among the three classes and students used Google Classroom and Flipgrid for video discussions. She added that video discussions about the readings led to questions from the high school students about college life.

The three classes met in person December 12 to view an exhibition of Grand Valley students' responses to the authors in the Mary Idema Pew Library. 


Reflection room opens on Health Campus

Another interfaith reflection room for students, faculty and staff members to practice their traditions has opened in Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.

The space in CHS room 166 is not reservable and will be available when the building is open. It was made possible through a resolution passed by Grand Valley’s Student Senate.

The first reflection room opened in 2015 in the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus. It is located in room 2243, is not reservable and available when the building is open.

In DeVos Center, on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, room 309E has been designated a temporary space for personal meditation, prayer or reflection. The space is available for those purposes from noon-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For general questions or concerns about the reflection rooms, contact Campus Interfaith at

GVPD leads in training for the unexpected

More than 140 people, including 35 Grand Valley students and staff members, participated in a full-scale active assailant training exercise December 15 in Mackinac Hall.

Officers and security staff from the Grand Valley Police Department attended, along with members from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, central dispatch and state police. Firefighters from nine area cities and townships participated, along with representatives from Life, AMR, and North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance services.

The training exercise also included emergency managers from Kent and Ottawa counties, the city of Grand Rapids and the State of Michigan. 

Brandon DeHaan, GVPD police chief, said the department continues to be a leader within the state in the training for police officers and firefighters in response to active assailant/Rescue Task Force.

"We are one of the first organizations in the state to provide education and training on an annual basis, along with a full-scale exercise for police and fire departments to work together during critical incidents," said DeHaan. "We collaborate and train with all of our off campus public safety partners to help provide a safe and secure environment for members of our community." 

Observers came from the Grand Rapids Police and Fire departments, State Police, State of Michigan Emergency Management, Department of Homeland Security, Grand Rapids Community College, RiverTown Crossings Mall and Van Andel Arena.