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A word from the Provost

Dear Faculty,
Just as spring brings new growth and a renewal, your work so far this academic year has led to the development of new programs, existing programs being ranked nationally, students achieving their goals, and the sharing of knowledge along with the creation of new knowledge through research and professional development.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and getting caught up on all that you and your colleagues have been doing. The University is proud of all that you have accomplished.
Best regards,
Linda Rinker

Faculty Spotlight 


In case you missed the faculty who have made the Spotlight since the fall newsletter, the following faculty have received this recognition:
  • November, Dr. Roque Neto
  • January, Dr. Kelly McCarron
  • February, the Midland Nursing team including Shannon Krolikowshi, Sarah Brooks, Margaret Hovey, Deanna Dubay, Michelle Hagstrom.

To find out more about these faculty and why they made the Spotlight, visit the CTE News page.

Special Academic Events


Upcoming - Day of Research
The 2017 DU Day of Research is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, and combines the separate Student and Faculty Days of Research to provide one common showcase for the Davenport community. Held on the Lettinga campus, the event features both on-ground and virtual presentations, including a livestreamed keynote address. Dr. Sally White, Senior Vice President and Leader of McAllister & Quinn’s Higher Education Practice, has agreed to serve as keynote speaker.
The event structure has been expanded to a full day to allow all Davenport students to participate. Faculty participation has been invigorated with the addition of a competition for a Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty grant. This grant provides modest funding for work in teaching innovation and improvement. Thanks to the DU Library, a virtual guide was built for the DU Day of Research that any student can access, and that instructors have been advised to embed directly into their Blackboard courses. Dr. Kriss Ferluga, Global Campus faculty, has been instrumental in organizing and ensuring the success of this event.
Woodrow Wilson Scholar
During the week of March 6-10, the Donald W. Maine College of Business welcomed its second Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Michael Markovits. Michael is a leadership consultant and partner at AchieveMission, and former Vice-President, Business and Technical Leadership at IBM. He works to help non-profit organizations improve their leadership and talent management. He will present two events titled “Employee Engagement through Succession Planning” and “Traits of Extraordinary Leaders”.
Upcoming - Study Abroad

The 2017 short-term, faculty-led, study abroad programs currently have 29 students enrolled between the two programs that take place in the spring/summer semester. The "China in the Age of Transformation" program includes time at Davenport’s partner Ningbo University. Steve Bayus, distinguished adjunct, will lead the group. The management department is once again taking students on The European Business and Culture Program.  Faculty members Dr. Marjolijn van der Velde and Todd Terry will be leading the group. The itinerary has been broadened to include Milan, Italy and Zurich, Switzerland in addition to the traditional visits in Strasbourg, France; Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Heidelberg, Germany.  

In Process - VITA

Davenport’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) has started up again in earnest for the 2016 tax season. This year, VITA, under the continued direction of Judy Knapp has set a goal to beat last year’s efforts by providing more than $7.2 million in refunds and credits to low income families and individuals. This great work has been made possible by a federal grant that has created an association between universities, including Cornerstone, Aquinas College, and Grand Rapids Community College, that Davenport University sponsors. In 2016, more than 65 volunteers participated in the program, recording more than 7,790 volunteer hours.

Past Important Events

The Center for Teaching Excellence sponsored a January Writing Retreat event at the Lettinga campus as an opportunity for professional development. Due to space and resource constraints, faculty had to apply and be invited to participate in the retreat that focused upon scholarly writing and research projects. Participants also attended workshops led by the Library staff, the Vice President for Institutional Research and Assessment Dr. Kathy Aboufadel, and the Executive Director of Grant Development Michelle Davis.

The event was the result of a suggestion made by Dr. Tammy Stachowicz. Tammy and Dr. Kriss Ferluga were instrumental in organizing and ensuring the success of this retreat. Attendees included Tamara Vandenberg, Leah Cook, Dr. Anne Cramer, Colleen Coughlin, Dr. Chris Hamstra, Diana Lamphiere, and Emily Hays. These faculty were required to report on progress made on their work at the end of the event. Several articles for publication, a chapter for a dissertation, and some preliminary grant writing were completed.

Keep an eye out for the next Writing Treat coming this summer/fall.

National Program Recognition 


Davenport University’s online programs have been earning much recognition for their quality and lower cost. 

  • In the College of Health Professions, the AAS, Health Information Technology program was ranked #1 online program in the nation related to coding and billing by Best Colleges. The BS, Health Services Administration was ranked as the #5 online program.
  • In the College of Technology, the cyber security online program was ranked in the 30 best online bachelor’s cyber security programs for 2017 by Best Degree Programs. The organization reviewed approximately 125 accredited universities that offered online bachelor’s in information systems, cyber security, or related degree programs.
  • In the Donald W. Maine College of Business, the BBA, Finance and BBA, Sport Management programs made the list of Best Degree Programs’ 30 best online bachelor’s degrees. Only schools that receive rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine are eligible for this award. Great College Deals also ranked Davenport University fifth in the nation for its Online Programming Degrees: 10 Best Deals. The organization reviewed approximately 60 accredited schools that offered an online computer programming degree and awarded points based on several factors including price, student to faculty ratios, and admission rates. 

Academic Development Success

Work with the Accelerated Learning Program students led to an increase in both the number served and their pass rate. This program involves the addition of a lab to ENGL109 for developmental students. The program had a 34% increase in participation from the previous number of students served and had an astounding pass rate of 96%. Congratulations to the College of Arts and Sciences for this achievement.

Hot New Programs


In December, the Board of Trustees approved the Master of Urban Education Leadership. This exciting new program will work in partnership with urban schools looking to develop its leadership, much like the Master of Urban Education currently partners with school systems to develop urban teachers. This new program will help develop leaders who can turn around failing schools.

Faculty Innovation in Teaching


Established in 2015 with a $5.5 million commitment to Davenport University from the M.E. Davenport Foundation, the M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment Fund is intended to optimize the educational, professional and civic mission of the University. Projects funded by the endowment advance academic excellence, promote innovations in the professions and enrich the communities that Davenport serves. The fund supports academic and learning-related initiatives which are a part of the University’s Vision 2020.

The following initiatives have received funding approval for 2017:

  • Connecting Across Borders:  Cultivating Shared Learning is a project presented by Dr. Chris Hamstra and Dr. Stephen Snyder. This project offers the opportunity for faculty to learn and contribute in the global environment by developing a model for short-term, two to three week courses for international teaching and learning opportunities.
  • Michigan BPA Middle Level State Leadership Conference is presented by Ron Draayer. The University will host the state of Michigan’s State Leadership Conference in March.
  • DU Summer Math Camp will be offered at the Holland Campus for those students, grades 9 – 12, who quickly master mathematics and are seeking a challenge. Dr. Tim Pennings will partner with his colleagues from the Mathematics Department to provide this opportunity.
  • The Advancing a Research Agenda on Teacher Education is a project offered by Dr. Roque Neto. The project has three parts, all of which relate to new perspectives on problem-solving, working in teams, and innovation and creativity in teacher education for the Master in Urban Education candidates.

Watch for the next opportunity to apply for funding. For more information on the fund, visit

Board Leadership

Faculty continue to serve their disciplines through service on boards. Dr. Jeannie Donnelly was appointed to the AHIMA Council for Excellence in Education Graduate Resource Workgroup.  Dr. T.J. Hunt began a new term on the AHIMA Nominating Committee to seek applicants for AHIMA leadership roles. 

Publications and Achievements

Amanda Binge, MSN, RN published an article in the International Journal for Human Caring, titled:  “An assessment of personal, professional, and leadership values of nursing students: Defining a path towards becoming a caring professional.”

Dr. Chris Hamstra published “Complexity Story Telling: The Science of Complexity in the Art of Communication” in the journal Emergence: Complexity and Organization.  He also published “Leadership Life-Stories: Cultivating Meaning through Shared Experience” in the February 2017 edition of Leadership Excellence.

Dr. Jack Cichy was recently published on the Institute of Certified Professional Managers’ blog. His article on leadership was titled "One more time – How should a leader motivate followers?"

Dr. Daley and Dr. Canbell submitted the third edition of their book Simulation Scenarios for Nursing Educators. This edition will have 20 new simulations with an emphasis on inter-professional and international simulations across disciplines. Davenport faculty, including Shannon Krolikowski, Julie Polienic, Theresa Leto, Sharon Flinn and Rebecca Ventura, contributed to this edition.

Dr. Laura Harris submitted two scientific textbook chapters: Experimental Methods for Molecular Structure Determination and Molecular Modeling of the Basics of Bioinformatics and Computer Application, which will be published by

Dr. Dean Gualco, human resource management adjunct faculty, has recently published a new book on management and leadership. The book is titled "The Good Manager".

Reviewing other academic work is also an important part of scholarship.  Dr. Tim Pennings is always active in this area.  He recently reviewed the article, “Did Elvis Know Cauchy Schwarz?” for The College Mathematic Journal. Not to be left behind, Dr. Melissa Haswell also reviewed an article entitled, "Understanding Reversible Molecular Binding" for the American Biology Teacher (Journal of the National Association of Biology Teachers), December 2016.  In addition, she reviewed an ecology-based, BioInteractive web-based teaching module for Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In the Occupational Therapy Department, Dr. Sharon Flinn presented her research “Home based intervention for chemo-therapy induced peripheral neuropathy” at the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual conference in Philadelphia. Dr. Daley and Charity Landrum presented their research study “Shifting Perspectives: Transitioning veterans to BSN students” at the Council of College and Military Educators in Atlanta.

Dr. Roque Neto and master degree graduates of the College of Urban Education Meaghan Polega and Jaime Diaz-Cruz presented at the 2017 Eastern Education Research Association (EERA) conference. The conference took place in Richmond, VA in February.

Dr. Neto‘s presentation "Entrepreneurial behavior and teachers’ job satisfaction: A correlational study" reports the results of an exploratory study with two goals: 1) exploring the relationship between entrepreneurial behavior and job satisfaction among teachers and 2) identifying the demographic characteristics associated with both variables. A sample of 385 K-12 Brazilian teachers from public and private schools responded to a survey designed to address these two goals. Statistical analysis revealed a moderate correlation between entrepreneurial behavior and job satisfaction. Results also show that gender and educational level are associated with entrepreneurial behavior.

Dr. Neto, Meaghan Polega, and Jaime Diaz Cruz’s presentation "Teachers’ attitudes towards classroom observation and debriefing practices",reports the results of a study exploring attitudes of 13 teachers in an urban school district regarding classroom observation and debriefing practices. The study focused on three attitudinal components: cognitive, affective and behavioral.   Data from this study suggest teachers believe classroom observation can improve their practice through the identification of areas for growth, the fostering of self-reflection, and the development of collaborative partnerships between each teacher and his or her observation instructor.

Dr. Kelli Leask was awarded a second $5,000.00 grant for the Adult Immunization MDCH project. The project is intended to educate Michigan on the new immunization guidelines and the importance of adult immunizations.

Academic Student Organizations' Achievements

Davenport’s Delta Epsilon Chi and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) team, led by Suzanne Gut and Todd Pitts, excelled at the State Competition again this year. The team took home six first-place, three second-place and one third-place award along with eight finalist medals at the competition in Grand Rapids. Teams create and present viable solutions in case studies and role-plays. The Davenport teams shut out 200 strong competitors from neighboring Michigan institutions. This is the fourth year in a row that the DECA team has also won the service challenge by collecting over 400 items to make care packages for soldiers overseas.

Davenport University’s Professionals of America (BPA) team, led by Scott Gumieny, Dr. Brian Kowalczk and Ron Draayer, was no stranger to the awards stage at the 45th annual Business Post-Secondary State Leadership Conference held at Davenport’s Lettinga campus in Grand Rapids in February. Students in both the Donald W. Maine College of Business and the College of Technology participated in this event. Davenport University’s BPA competitors won 18 state champion titles, 22 runner-up titles, and 13 third-place finishes.  Overall, Davenport captured 130 top ten place finishes with 35 students qualifying to represent Davenport University and the State of Michigan at the 51st annual BPA National Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida in May.

New Academic Processes/Guidelines

The Provost has approved a recommendation from the Graduate Council regarding the assigning of extra credit in graduate level courses. The new policy states the following:

  • Extra credit not allowed at the graduate level is defined as those points that are given in addition to total points for work that was not assigned as part of the original course syllabus.
  • In trying to help graduate students be successful, instructors may choose to offer the entire class the opportunity to redo the original assignment or to do an assignment similar in nature and worth the same points as the original assignment. If a different assignment is used, then the grade from the revised assignment must replace the grade given for the original assignment. The assignment cannot constitute additional points toward the grade for the original assignment or for the final class grade.

Don’t forget:

  • April 28: Excellence in Business Gala
  • April 29: Donald W. Maine College of Business ribbon cutting ceremony
  • April 30: Commencement
  • September 7: Convocation - Learning through Experience