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A word from the Provost

Dear Faculty,

This fall has been the beginning of a great academic year. You have accomplished much in your classrooms, in the committees on which you serve, and in scholarship.

We had our first course (SOSC201) submission for a Quality Matters review and received an outstanding score of 97 out of a possible 99 points--unheard of for a first time review. Late breaking news, we just received notification that MKTG322, our second course to be submitted, earned 100%! The Quality Matters review team stated that “The learners will greatly appreciate the detailed instructions and instructional materials that you have provided effectively and appropriately in this course. As a team, we strongly agreed that this course has been designed to meet the QM standards.” Kudos to all the faculty and course designers involved in this project.

Another accomplishment is the work of the Faculty Performance Management System committee that has led to a new evaluation that has the components and weighting that you have been seeking. We have had faculty present locally, nationally and internationally in areas of leadership, nursing, medical research, biometrics, cyber security, and many others.

As we approach the holiday break, I want to thank you for the wonderful work that you do, and to wish you a restful and joyous time. I look forward to the great ideas that you will bring to fruition in the rest of this academic year.

Warmest regards, 
Linda Rinker, EdD
EVP of Academics and Provost

Faculty Spotlight 


In case you missed the faculty who have made the Spotlight since the last newsletter, the following faculty have received this recognition:

  • April, Dr. Terri Tomaszek
  • May, Pete Anderson
  • September, James Turner
  • October, Mark McKinnon
  • November, Diane Salinas
  • December, Misty Davis
To find out more about these faculty and why they made the Spotlight, visit the CTE News page.

Outstanding Educator of the Year


Gina Mezzano-Ostien, Associate Department Chair for English at the Lettinga campus, was named Outstanding Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium. The award was presented at the consortium’s annual conference in Bay City in October.
The consortium chose Gina for providing a “significant contribution to the field of developmental education” in developing a workshop and curriculum guide for those teaching accelerated developmental classes. Her work ensures quality and consistency in teaching.
Gina has also developed an online study guide for students wanting to develop their skills for placement testing. She also completed an IRB approved study on the perceptions of student peer evaluations of writing in the first semester writing course.

Outstanding Student of the Year

DU student Hannah Rasch was honored in October by the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium at their annual conference in Bay City.
Hannah serves as a coach at the Michigan Volleyball Academy, she volunteers at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and she was selected as the 2017 Michigan Apple Queen. She is community minded and should be very proud of her accomplishments!


New Faces in Academics: 

  • Analise Johnson (April-Detroit/Warren Campus) Librarian for Research and Instruction.
  • Anna Hickman (April-Lettinga Campus) Full-time Accounting Faculty
  • Ashley McKnight (July-Lettinga Campus) Full-time Faculty in the Occupational Therapy program
  • Don Luy (July-Lettinga Campus) Full-time Sports Management Faculty
  • Samer Hanoudi (July-Detroit/Warren Campus) Full-time Computer Science Faculty
  • Shellie Raisanen (July-Lettinga Campus) Simulation Lab and Clinical Coordinator for Nursing
  • Charity Sanger (July-Lettinga Campus) Full time Faculty in Nursing
  • Ahlam Kader (September-Lettinga Campus) Science Lab Coordinator
  • David Adams (November-Lettinga Campus) Associate Dean in the College of Business
  • Sarah Krebs (Lettinga Campus) Library Specialist

Academic Moves:

  • Chris Marx was named the University Registrar in July.
  • Patty Brechbiel was officially declared Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in July.
  • Shari Jones, in June, was promoted to Regional Practicum and Internship Manager for West Michigan.

Academic Rank:

  • Mark McKinnon, full time faculty in the College of Technology, received an increase in rank in July. Mark now holds the rank of Assistant Professor.
  • Joseph Brown was selected to be moved to Distinguished Adjunct Faculty status. Joe has been working in the College of Health Professions for the past 5 years. He serves on DU’s Health Services Advisory Board and also works with Upsilon Phi Delta HAS undergraduate honor society.  

Library Tools Can Save Time

Many people look at libraries as obsolete now that the internet is right at our fingertips. Those people haven’t been to the DU libraries! Davenport libraries are a great place to go for class resources- they offer proctoring services, APA citation assistance (for students and instructors), knowledge on credible sources and databases, and lib guides to use in classes. If you’ve never used a lib guide or to see about services you’d like to use in your class, please contact Emily Hayes in the library at ext. 6731.

Hot New Programs


Master of Urban Education Leadership
The Master of Urban Education Leadership will start to be offered in the 2018-19 school year. 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.
Mathematics Minor
Starting Fall 2018, DU will offer its first minor—the Mathematics Minor.

Developing Classes To Use Smartphone Technology 

Online Learning - Smartphones are the most used device for Internet-access by nearly every demographic Davenport serves.  Given their ubiquity, the Global Campus is focused on delivering a rich learning experience for online students over the mobile phone.  This initiative comes in two flavors: Mobile-First and Mobile-Friendly.        
Mobile First Learningrefers to courses where the mobile phone is the primary interaction between a learner and the course.  Developing Mobile-First courses requires some further development by Blackboard (the online learning platform used by the Global Campus) in order for tools used in Davenport’s courses to function correctly on the mobile phone.  Furthermore, a mobile-first course requires a careful examination of each activity and assessment within the course.  Davenport will likely launch its initial Mobile-First courses over the summer or fall of 2018.  The plan is to use new courses in the College of Urban Education as the testing ground for these new mobile-first courses.

Mobile-Friendlyby contrast, describes courses designed to work well on a mobile phone, while still anticipating primary usage to occur on laptops or tablets.  The Global Campus is focused on delivering a mobile-friendly experience for any course redesigned following the new Quality Matters’ templates and layouts. Roughly 60 courses have already been developed in this manner.  A key step in this direction will be the eventual launch of Blackboard “Ultra” (see below) that brings a mobile-friendly experience to the entire Blackboard ecosystem.

Blackboard Learn - is the primary software powering Davenport’s online courses. A new version named “Ultra” is available for use at this time, but not widely deployed across Blackboard’s client base.  Ultra provides a fully mobile-friendly experience for all tools provided by Blackboard Inc., but also requires third-party vendors to upgrade their tools in order to maintain compatibility with Blackboard Learn.  That point of compatibility has been reached, and plans are underway to upgrade Blackboard Learn to the “Ultra” version in 2018.  Blackboard Collaborate was upgraded to the “Ultra” version for 2017, so this change will feel familiar to students, faculty and staff who use Collaborate.  The conversion of Learn to “Ultra” will standardize the mobile experience for all students and instructors, ensuring that smartphones and tablets are viable devices for Davenport’s online learning experience.

New Student Evaluation of Teaching Launched

The Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) survey committee has implemented changes which have been approved by the Provost.  The new questions focus on key criteria for successful instruction and evaluation of course materials.  The resulting survey is streamlined and will be easier for students to complete.

This revised version of the SET has been implemented in courses this Fall.  The SET is made available to students near the last week of class, and a notification is sent to each student with instructions on how to access the survey.

SET results provide valuable information for continuous improvement and are one of our methods for collecting information from the “voice of our customer (students).”  Faculty are encouraged to remind students to complete the SET so that we have a representative population of students’ responses.

Publications and Achievements

  • Dr. James Turner, Management faculty, was invited to present at the International Leadership Association’s global conference in Brussels, Belgium in October. The title of his presentation was Military Servant Leadership in Turbulent Times. This presentation culminated his lifetime of experience as a servant leader and retired United States Air Force officer with nearly three decades of active duty military service. The presentation also summarized his dissertation from his doctoral degree in management, which he defended this summer.
  • Dr. Theresa Leto, faculty, presented a paper on her scholarship entitled The Occupational Development on Instrumental Activities of Living Related to Food Resource Management of Individuals Living in Poverty at the 2017 Research Conference of the Society for the Study of Occupation in Seattle, Washington.
  • Melissa Haswell, Associate Department Chair, presented a poster at the 2017 Case Study Teaching in Science Conference at the University of Buffalo in September.  The presentation topic was Converting Written Cases into Interactive Assessments: What I have Learned While Creating Case-Based Classes.   She also did an oral presentation at the Association of College and University Biology Educators Conference (ACUBE) at Columbia College in South Carolina in October.  The topic for this presentation wasCreating aReflexive Practice – Applying Your Scientific Skills to Increase Student Engagement.
  • Laura Harris, Science Lab Coordinator, led Davenport students and alumni in presenting two posters entitled: Evaluating Codon Usage in Lactobacilli Species with Jacob Lopez and Computational Evidence of Colorectal Cancer Promoting Mechanisms from Streptococcal Infection with Kuana School and Heidi Stevens. Laura and the students presented these posters at the Van Andel Research Institute Undergraduate Research Conference on November 4.  Laura’s participation in the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) Online Faculty Mentoring Network for Computational Genomics led to the creation of ten videos that were posted on the YouTube channel.
  • Gina Mezzano-Ostien, Department Chair Charmayne Mulligan, and Associate Department Chair Angela Smith co-presented a paper entitled From Start to Finish: Promoting a Writing Model of Trial and Error at the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium conference in October at the Delta College Planetarium in Bay City.
  • Department Chair Roque Neto’s paper presentation, Exploring the Relationship Between Entrepreneurial Behavior and Teacher Job Satisfaction, won the EERA (Eastern Educational Research Association) Best Professional Paper Award for 2017.  He will receive the award in February at the EERA Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL. The EERA is an organization for educational professionals interested in conducting and disseminating research that improves education for all in both formal and non-formal settings. Dr. Neto also had two papers accepted for presentation at the AERA conference scheduled for April 2018 in New York City. These papers are entitled The influence of self-efficacy on entrepreneurial behavior among K-12 teachers, and Career adaptability and entrepreneurial behavior in the K-12 classroom.
  • In the Allied Health Department, Midland Allied Associate Department Chair Becky Ventura presented Using Simulation in Education and Training at the American Technologist Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Following this presentation, she was asked to be one of the keynote speakers at next year’s Michigan state conference.
  • Department Chair Dr. Charmayne Mulligan presented Girls Lacrosse: A Search for Young Adult Literature at the 34th annual Sport Literature Association international conference held at West Liberty University in Wheeling, West Virginia in June
  • Associate Department Chair Dr. Tammy Stachowicz and Marina Pavletic, adjunct faculty, accompanied a group of Davenport University students to Morristown, Tennessee in June, where they presented posters and research findings about Appalachian art, culture, and diversity. Students studied the impact of mining in the region and how people and societies adapt to environmental and historical circumstances. Students also participated in service learning projects to help document, record, and archive data on these sites.
  • Thanks to the support of a Davenport Legacy Foundation grant, Associate Professor Dr. Chris Hamstra was a visiting professor at Bifrost University, Iceland over the summer. Through the program he created, Connecting Across Borders, Dr. Hamstra connected with 27 students from around the globe and five international faculty during 12 days of teaching and learning.   It is anticipated that these connections will aid Davenport’s ongoing initiatives for faculty exchanges and student development of global and intercultural competency.
  • Emily Hayes, Global Campus Librarian, attended the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Emily and faculty member Dr. Tammy Stachowicz gave a presentation entitled Organizing Resources for Better Alignment and Assessment of Learning.

Faculty Awards

The College of Technology’s Mark McKinnon, Assistant Professor, earned the top spot in the Autopsy Python plugin competition at the 8th Annual Open Source Digital Forensics Conference. The conference, which took place Oct. 17 in Herndon, Virginia, brings together developers and users within the digital forensics and incident response communities to collaborate on tools and technologies used in forensic examinations. Mark has placed in the top three for the past three consecutive years.

2017 Excellence in Teaching Awards went to Judy Knapp, full-time Accounting Instructor and Director of DU’s Vita Program and adjunct faculty member Donald Busch.

  • Judy was recognized for her mentoring and her special talent for “nailing students’ organizational behavior on the head.” She sits as the Director of the West Michigan VITA collegiate program, and “continually goes beyond what is expected, always spending long hours with students, who either need help in class, advice about careers, or just need to talk.”
  • Don teaches psychology, and his students have much praise for him. He’s been commended for giving feedback on each assignment, keeping students informed about assignments, as well as showing passion for his field in his teaching. One student said that he “had never had a teacher who wanted to help his students so much. He wants everyone to succeed, and he will even help if you are struggling with other classes.” 


The Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) was awarded a fifth year of funding.  The award from HRSA now exceeds 1.5 million dollars. With this grant, work continues to increase the understanding of the experience of military students by faculty, staff, and non-military students through implementation of a military simulation. This simulation consists of ten experiential learning stations in which participants experience enrolling in the military, returning from deployment, and becoming a student.  The simulation is based on actual experiences of VBSN and other military students here at Davenport University. It was implemented twice this past summer: at TLI for faculty and during residence hall orientation for students.  The simulation will beginning traveling to other campuses, with a first stop in October in Midland.

The refunding of the VBSN grant has also allowed for the hiring of two new VBSN staff members.  Rachel Field has become the Research Associate for the VBSN and Dana Hill has become the VBSN Advisor.  Both began their new positions in September.

Innovations and Updates

  • Excellence System Certification-- Over 30 students in Davenport’s Marketing program have applied for certification in the DU Excellence System competencies. Teams of faculty will review required assessments across four Marketing program courses in January 2018 to determine certification.  Students will receive recognition via a letter and a certificate from academics, as well as a notation in their permanent academic record. Certification will be expanded to other programs in coming academic years.
  • The Donald W. Maine College of Business is proud to announce the opening of its Entrepreneurial Center. The Center will offer workshops and consulting services to businesses in the community. In coordination with the Office of Experiential Learning under the direction of Dr. Wayne Sneath, the Center will also serve as a hands-on learning environment for Davenport students. Davenport business and technology students, through course and community-based engagement, will have the opportunity to work on projects that will help support entrepreneurs in such ways as developing business plans, creating an accounting system, etc. A host of guest speakers who will touch on areas such as insurance, marketing and legal aspects of entrepreneurship have been arranged and are eager to begin helping entrepreneurs. Dr. Micki Pitcher and Dr. Vivianne Moore will coordinate and lead the Center.

Don’t forget:

  • Excellence System Input- Please input information by the end of the semester if you have a class with a Required Assessment Assignment (RAA) on any of the Excellence System competencies.
  • Academic Writers’ Retreat- January 3, 4, and 5, 2018, at the Lettinga Campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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