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Academic Newsletter

A word from the Provost

Dear Faculty,

As another academic year winds down, I wish to thank each of you for your efforts in supporting our students. Without you, we would not have seen, yet again, increases in retention and student satisfaction. Your efforts to continually improve teaching and learning is evident in our students achieving great employment opportunities.

I also wish to recognize the success our faculty has had in the area of scholarship.  As you will see in the newsletter, we have several new doctors in our midst, and many of you have published and/or presented. Your continued service to DU, as witnessed in the development and implementation of key action plans and much committee work, is also appreciated.

May you have a restful summer that recharges your enthusiasm and love of what you do best—teach!

Warmest regards,

Linda Rinker, EdD
EVP of Academics and Provost

Doctoral Spotlight 


Be sure to congratulate the following faculty who have completed their terminal degrees:

Dr. Amy Stahley, Ph.D.
Dr. Janine Blakeslee, Ed.D.
Dr. Grant Lee, Ph.D.
Dr. Todd Terry, Ph.D.
Dr. Rajah Smart, Ph.D.
Dr. Kathy Gromilovitz, Ph.D.
Dr. Denny Bobledyk, Ph.D.




The Center for Teaching Excellence Perk

We’re coming to the end of another academic year, and the Center for Teaching Excellence continues to move forward in new directions. Work continues on some projects that began in the fall, including the running of Understanding IRB workshops. In partnership with DU Libraries, this hands-on training continued in January, running both in-seat and virtual sessions for the Davenport academic community, as well as creating and adding online resources to the Research section of the CTE website. Open to the entire Davenport community, these well-attended workshops provided participants with information about important human subject-based research topics, including risk and consent, and helped aspiring researchers complete the forms required to gain IRB approval for their projects.

Also, in an effort to build community among faculty that supports and facilitates academic discourse, the DU Center for Teaching Excellence  launched a blog last Fall. Co-Directors and authors Dr. Kriss Ferluga and Dr. Tammy Stachowicz are working diligently to provide resources and dialogue about excellence in teaching practices that lead to superior learning while sharing positive affirmations that aim to recognize the expertise of and inspire the passions of Davenport’s faculty. The blog continues to address topics that directly impact the academic community at DU, including how to apply for rank advancement, how to incorporate activities honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. into coursework, and how to create a culture of care for students.

The CTE has also begun a new series, called The Terminal Degree, with weekly posts and online resources that guide colleagues through the doctoral process.

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Feedback is ALWAYS welcome - 

Kriss Ferluga and Tammy Stachowicz

International Study Abroad Faculty Show Students a World of Possibilities

The Davenport University Study Abroad programs allow students to observe what people in their fields in other countries experience in their workplaces.

The Ireland Nursing Program, led by Nursing Department Chair Kelli Leask and SIM Lab/Clinical Coordinator Debbie Bosworth, took 15 students over this spring. A Nursing Community Health Clinical was in the program, and the itinerary included visits to a local university’s school of midwifery, private and public health care organizations, the Irish department of health services, and the National Museum of Ireland.

The European Business and Culture program is led by faculty members from the Donald W. Maine College of Business, Dr. Marjolijn van der Velde and Professor Barb Craft. The itinerary includes business visits to Ducati Motor Cycles, Barilla Pasta, Zurich Insurance Group, BASF, Aalsmeer Flower Auction, John Deere, and to the European Parliament and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The group will travel to the cities of Milan, Zurich, Strassbourg, Heidelburg, Brussels and Amsterdam. A total of 27 students are scheduled to participate in the program which will take place between June 1st and June 22nd.

One student is currently participating in the Australian Internships Stipend Program which began in January, 2019 for a duration of 20 weeks. The program pays an allowance for her travel and meals.

The offices of Global Programs and Experiential Learning are hoping to add study abroad, internship, and faculty engagement opportunities with Khwaja Yunus Ali Medical College Hospital (KYAMCH)in Bangladesh.

Parma, Italy
Photos submitted by: Marjolijn van der Velde


Dr. Dale Prondzinski, Associate Department Chair in Accounting and Finance, co-authored with Dr. Mitchell Miller, Teacher and Learning Coordinator for Accounting and Finance, an article published in The Journal of Accounting and Finance.  Their research, titled Active versus passive investing:  Evidence from the 2009-2017 market, explores which investment management style, active or passive, produced the better risk-adjusted performance during the period March 1, 2009 to December 31, 2017.

Dr. Gerald Nyambane, Data Analytics, and Dr. Todd Pitts, Sport Management, recently contributed an article to Sports Journal entitled Preferred leadership styles of student athletes in an NAIA Conference.  Their study examined the leadership preferences of student-athletes competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Conference located in the Midwest region of the United States.

Amanda Binge, Simulation, Clinical and Lab Coordinator, Nursing Warren, presented at a Gaumard sponsored conference. The conference is the Simulation of Southeastern Michigan, which included the Simulation Champion Network on Simulation debriefing.

In November nursing faculty Amanda Binge and Andrea Shaw participated in the MiCareer Quest of Southeastern Michigan at Novi expo center. They demonstrated health simulations during this event in which 10,000 metropolitan Detroit students attended. Michigan Works sponsored the event to promote health careers to high school level students.

In Warren, Paul Jones, Career Services, and Andrea Shaw, Associate Department Chair, organized a Career Fair that took place in February. Eleven health care companies came on campus to facilitate leadership skills, resume sharing, and on the spot interviews for long-term care positions. These positions involved veterans’ hospitals, hospice, prisons, pediatric care, dialysis, and homecare opportunities.

Sarah Brooks, nursing faculty at the Great Lake Bays campus, is involved in the MiHIA Opioid Crisis team. The workgroup has been created to help identify and coordinate several different strategies to battle the opioid crisis in Michigan.

Dr. Jean Gordon, MSN Associate Department Chair, participated in the International Journal of Healthcare Editorial Review Board.

Kelli K. Leask, Chair of Nursing, participated as a 2019 Gala judge for the Louisiana State Nurses Association Nightingale Award, Nursing Administrator of the Year and Excellence in Nursing.

Dr. Jeannie Freeman, Associate Department Chair for MSHIIM/HCMG, reviewed two articles for publication in the Perspectives in Health Information Management, the research journal for AHIMA.

Dr. Theresa Leto, Chair for Occupational Therapy, completed an article review for publication entitled The Occupational Therapy Approach to Addressing Food Insecurity Among Older Adults with Chronic Disease. The article was published in the Geriatrics journal.

Dr. Karen Daley, Dean for the College of Health Professions, Shawn Ellis, VBSN Recruiter, and Dana Hill, VBSN Advisor, presented Camo to college: Transforming veteran understanding for faculty and staff in higher education through live simulation at the Council for Colleges and Military Educators in Austin, Texas.  The presentation included a live demonstration of the military simulation created in response to the needs of the military connected students at Davenport University.  Camo to college: Transforming military cultural intelligence in higher education” was also presented at NASPA in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Associate professor in computer science Denny Bobeldyke presented his paper, Predicting soft biometric attributes from 30 pixels: A case study in iris images, at the Demographic Variations in Performance of Biometric Algorithms Workshop, 2019 IEEE Winter Conference of Applications on Computer Vision (WACV). 

Dr. Gabriela Ziegler, Chair of Computer Science, has been expanding her dissertation research.  Her paper, titled Knowledge management system: Designing a virtual community of practice for higher education, has been accepted for presentation at the Computing Conference 2019, held from July 16-17 in London, United Kingdom.

Dr. Tim Pennings presented the Battle of the Titans at Grand Valley State and Do Dogs Know Calculus at Hope College.

Dr. Rajah Smart published an article in the Journal of Effective Schools Project (2018) entitled An Analysis: The Resource Management of Public Schools in Michigan, which analyzed whether education management organizations (EMO) and their schools are more efficacious than similar self-managed schools using student performance on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) in grades three through eight. Dr. Smart also is now certified to train, review programs, and implement YPQA (Youth Program Quality Assessment) it within the college.

Office of Experiential Learning Practicum Manager and adjunct faculty member Lindsey Shull organized the Grand Rapids’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Reception on January 21 at Fountain Street Church. Approximately 800 guests attended the ceremony with 100 participating in the reception. Lindsey Shull also organized the ACCESS Poverty Simulation in early February sponsored by The Office of Experiential Learning, Office of Student Life, and DEI Council. The simulation is designed to educate participants about the challenges of living in poverty for one month.

Office of Experiential Learning Internship Manager Brandi Melkild has assisted the Office of West MI Internship Initiative Group to train over 400 employers in the past four years to build or improve upon internship programs for local students in all academic programs. A recent training session was recorded by the State of Michigan for addition as a permanent free employer resource on the Pure MI Talent Connect website.

Professional Development offered to Online Instructors

Quality Matters continues to be a focus of the Global Campus Team. Jeff Wiggerman achieved the Online Facilitator Certification from Quality Matters in December. Plans are underway to offer the Quality Matters training course several times annually, with a long-term goal if certifying all online instructors.

Confab 2019, the professional development event for online instructors (full-time faculty as well as all adjuncts) was conducted February.  For the first time, a Virtual Reality platform (Virbela) was used to conduct roughly 2/3rds of the sessions. Feedback from participants indicated that they found the event helpful in sharing best practices and useful for networking with their peers. As the event is entirely virtual, the Global Campus team was very pleased to see peer-networking as a top value-add for the event.  Virbela will continue to be examined for possible course-related pilot projects in the future.

And A-Traveling They'll Go

Summer is an excellent time for travel and taking time to fulfill some goals, both professional and personal.

Full time instructor and poet, Melissa Lewis, will be spending part of her summer as the very first Mackinac State Historic Parks Artist-In-Residence. She will be staying at the Mackinac Island Visitor’s Center in their newly remodeled Artist-In-Residence apartment. This is the first year the organization is offering this program and Melissa’s will be the first of 7 residencies in its inaugural season, June 10-23.

Melissa will have to provide two public presentations (workshop, lecture, reading, demonstration, etc.) during the residency and contribute one piece of her work to Mackinac State Historic Parks within 12 months. For more information on the Artist-In-Residence program, check out

Melissa’s published works include Infinite Collisions (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and most recently poems in Wraparound SouthEthel ZineUp North Lit, and Split Rock Review.

Full time instructor and Fulbright fellow, Dr. Christopher Hamstra, will be once again heading to Iceland to Bifrost University to lecture and learn from student and faculty colleagues as a Fulbright Specialist. He will be collaborating with people from around the globe, studying Sustainable Leadership.

Chris is the third Davenport University faculty member to earn a Fulbright Fellowship from the Fulbright Commission.

Photos taken by Dr Chris Hamstra while at Bifrost University in Iceland (2017)





Michigan Blood Drive- Wednesday, June 12 9am - 1:59pm


Bring your Kid to Work Day- Wednesday, June 19


1st Session Summer classes end- Monday, June 24

2nd Session Summer classes begin- Monday, July 1


DAVENFEST- Thursday, August 15 9am - 3pm


2nd Session Summer classes end- Saturday, August 17


Fall Full Term and Session 1 classes begin- Tuesday, September 3


Watch for information on Fall Faculty Kickoff events!