Valparaiso University announces that Panayiotis (Peter) Kanelos, Ph.D., who serves as dean of Christ College — The Honors College, will step down at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year to become the 24th president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., the third oldest college in the United States.

“It has been a privilege to serve as dean of Christ College and to be a part of Valparaiso University. Valpo shines because it upholds what is highest in higher education — the common pursuit of truth carried on by a community that cares about one another and about the greater world,” Kanelos said. “I am so grateful to have been embraced by this community, to have worked side by side with such remarkable colleagues and to have shared these years with such wonderful students. My time at Valpo has been a treasure and a blessing.”

Kanelos joined the Valparaiso University community in 2013 as dean of Christ College. In his role as dean, he was responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of Christ College. Kanelos brought an unmatched devotion to honors education and a deeply rooted enthusiasm for Christian higher education to the College.

Valpo’s Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching has selected Jennifer Bjornstad, Danielle Lavin-Loucks and Kevin Ostoyich as the 2017–2018 Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

“I am so pleased and impressed by the great work of these outstanding faculty members,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Their commitment to our students, to strong pedagogy, and to Valpo is an inspiration to me and to so may others. Most importantly, these individuals reflect the incredible quality of our faculty overall. It is an honor to work with them every day.”

Valpo faculty are frequently honored for outstanding quality. Most recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Valparaiso University No. 1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in the Midwest for 2017. Valpo’s Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty and/or units each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to excellence in any of three areas: course development, pedagogy and mentoring/advising. Each award carries a monetary stipend of $3,000 to honor each faculty members’ excellence in teaching on the Valparaiso University campus.

Theresa Kessler, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, CNE, who has been a member of the faculty at Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions for more than two decades, received the University’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work for 2017.

Kessler, a professor of nursing, teaches courses throughout the College’s bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs, continually emphasizing the importance of research and creating opportunities for students to engage in research projects.

“Terry has an extensive record of scholarly work and professional presentations,” said Janet M. Brown, RN, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “While her record is remarkable in itself, her history of involving students in her work is extraordinary.”

Valparaiso University announces the establishment of the Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall, an interdisciplinary center of entrepreneurship learning. The Innovation Hub will provide students with the opportunity to develop projects and programs, in an environment that combines real-world experience with academic expertise.

The Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall, which will be dedicated on Sept. 29, 2017, has become a reality due to the support of a late alumna and a Valpo businessman. Nearly $1.4 million has been received from the estate of the late Deborah “Deb” A. Tschetter ’71 Spannraft, and Stewart McMillan has donated the building that will house the facility.

Spannraft’s gift will serve as the initial investment in an endowed fund to support the programs and operation of the Innovation Hub. She received a bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accounting from Valpo’s College of Business and worked for the Miller Brewing Company for more than 20 years, until retiring as director of accounting in 1995.

Democracy in Transition? Neighbor, Nation and the Politics of Now

WHAT: The Institute for Leadership and Service’s spring conference will focus on the topic “Democracy in Transition? Neighbor, Nation and the Politics of Now.”

Through a mix of keynote addresses, undergraduate research presentations and practitioner panels featuring several Valpo alumni, conference attendees will explore how United States democracy is changing and what the changes may mean for engagement with neighbor and nation.

Participants will reflect on several key questions — how do “we the people” express our opinions, advocate for our causes and engage with our elected representatives and fellow citizens effectively? What do we hold in common, and how can we build on that to connect across differences? What in our values brings us together, and what drives us further apart?

Graduate Placement Exceeds 90 Percent for 24 Consecutive Years

96% - Number of Valpo Graduates Employed or Attending Graduate SchoolMore than 90 percent of recent Valpo graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school for the 24th straight year.

The overall placement rate for 2015–2016 alumni is 96.1 percent, up nearly four points from last year. The knowledge rate is 93.7 percent, significantly higher than the national recommended minimum of 65 percent. For the past five years, the average placement rate is 94.3 percent.

Opening Reception is April 12

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art will premiere its spring exhibitions, featuring original artwork by Valparaiso University students as well as works by Jon Hook, Andrea Peterson, and Ernst Schwidder, with an opening reception on April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Arts on Valparaiso University’s campus.

The annual student art exhibition in the museum’s Wehling and McGill Galleries will feature student pieces in a variety of traditional and digital media, selected by Valpo’s studio instructors during the course of the academic year. The April 12 opening reception will include an award ceremony to honor the students’ work.

Features screening of documentary “Bring it to the Table”

Valparaiso University will host “Bring it to the Table,” a documentary film screening and discussion with Emmy-nominated director Julie Winokur for its second annual Dialogue and Discernment event on Thursday, April 6.

The Dialogue and Discernment series intends to expose the community to different strategies of civil dialogue around divisive issues. Focusing on the topic “Bridging the Divide over Women’s Reproductive Rights,” this year’s event brings to campus filmmaker Julie Winokur, who travels to diverse communities across the country and asks people to sit down and speak candidly about their political beliefs and commitments in a non-confrontational setting.

Valparaiso University alumni Judith “Judy” Rockett ’60 Beumer and Richard “Dick” Beumer ’59 have committed $1 million to establish endowed funds in support of the University Writing Center and the College of Engineering. The gift will be equally divided between the Judith L. Beumer Endowed Writing Program Fund and the Beumer College of Engineering Fund.

To honor the donors, the University Writing Center, located on the first floor of the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources, will be named the Judith L. Beumer Writing Center. The center offers peer consultations, workshops, assistance with writing assignments, and other programs and services to help each Valpo student develop this important communication tool and grow as a writer.

Valparaiso University will host the 64th annual Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Fair on March 25 in the Harre Union Ballroom.

Students in grades 6–12 from schools in Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke, Jasper, Pulaski and Newton counties will participate and compete for many prestigious awards and more than $5,000 in cash prizes, including scholarships to the University.

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