For computer and electrical engineering department chair and professor, Jeff Will, Ph.D., his dedication to being a mentor and teacher is now being acknowledged on a national level through a 2014 ASEE National Outstanding Teaching Medal.

The American Society of Engineering Education receives countless nominations each year for their regional and national awards, but only three national awards are presented. The National Outstanding Teaching Medal is chosen based upon knowledge of the subject area, accessibility, effectiveness in curriculum development, mentorship of students and other faculty members, as well as many other factors. Nominees must also teach a minimum of two semester classroom or laboratory courses per year and have a published original work that either enhances the education process or benefits literature in the engineering field.

“I was certainly pleased, certainly grateful and honored to receive the award,” said Will, “I couldn’t thrive as a teacher without the supportive colleagues that I have around me and the environment which values education.”

Inaugural Class of Education Leadership Fellows, New Class of Teaching Fellows Recognized at Statehouse

Governor Mike Pence has recognized the selection of Fellows in two programs designed to bring new skills and leadership to some of Indiana’s highest-need schools — and to make the state’s best schools more internationally competitive.

The first-ever class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership and the 2014 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows have been named by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administers both programs. The class includes seven Fellows who will attend Valparaiso University. Both Fellowships are designed not only to recruit and prepare talented educators, but also to change the way they are prepared.

“Attracting talent in science, technology, engineering and math to the teaching field will help our students better understand and be successful in these fields, which are so important our state’s future success,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Additionally, the new MBA program can prepare our future school administrators with more tools for making sound business and operational decisions. Advanced educational development for our teachers is an investment that will pay dividends to Hoosier students.”

Valparaiso University is the site of a full-scale regional response and recovery simulation on Wednesday, May 28.

In the event of a large-scale disaster, natural or otherwise, Valparaiso University is considered a potential location for processing individuals from the tri-state area — Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — in order to move them to a more permanent shelter or temporary housing. Today’s exercise simulates situations in which emergency responders would provide mass care and emergency assistance, shelter assignment, transportation coordination, family reunification, and provision of assistance before individuals relocate to more permanent, long-term shelters.

The regional hub exercise involves the following local and regional entities:

  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Porter County Emergency Management Agency
  • Valparaiso University
  • Valparaiso University Police Department
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency
  • Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications
  • Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • DuPage County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Amtrak
  • Metra
  • American Red Cross
  • And other responders in Illinois

For more information contact Micah Bell, Indiana DHS District 1 Public Information Officer, at 219.405.0125.

Mark Maassel of Indiana Energy Association to Deliver Keynote Address

Valparaiso University will host the 2014 Innovators Café on Thursday, June 19, featuring keynote speaker Mark Maassel, vice president of the Indiana Energy Association and former president of NIPSCO.

The event’s theme is “Developing the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow Through Innovation” and is a collaboration between Valparaiso University’s College of Engineering and Ivy Tech Community College Northwest’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and Society of Innovators.

“We’re honored to partner with Ivy Tech Northwest to host the 21st Innovators Café, which offers an invaluable opportunity for our community to explore innovations in the sciences and how they connect to our everyday lives and professions,” said Eric Johnson ’87, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering.

Prior to his appointment as vice president of the Indiana Energy Association, Maassel was president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, a regional business membership organization that promotes economic development and environmental sustainability in Northwest Indiana. He has long been known for his community involvement and proven ability to build partnerships with key leaders across Northwest Indiana.

“Science literacy is vital in today’s ever-changing and adapting world. The cutting-edge research conducted by students and faculty at Valparaiso University illuminates the way we need to go as a country and worldwide,” Maassel said. “Indeed, this series offers a wonderful opportunity to inspire innovative leadership across Northwest Indiana. We need great people and organizations like Valpo to develop innovative technologies and sustainable solutions.”

The café will showcase the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility, which houses one of only five solar furnaces in the country. The facility was designed to use solar energy to create solar fuels and commodities, and the College of Engineering has received two grants to conduct research in this area: a $2.3 million cooperative agreement from the Department of Energy and a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“This Café is especially meaningful because Ivy Tech Northwest offers, through our Valparaiso campus, a pre-engineering program. This is designed to prepare students for transfer to baccalaureate engineering degree programs like the one at Valpo,” said Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D., chancellor of Ivy Tech Northwest. “We are proud to have Ivy Tech grads, including Kevin Curry and James Conway, complete their engineering degrees at Valparaiso University.”

Speakers will also discuss how Valpo’s undergraduate education is shifting the paradigm from lecture-based learning to experiential, innovation-based learning.

Two 2014 Valparaiso University graduates join an accomplished group of Fulbright grant recipients, bringing the total to 30 Valpo grantees in the past 15 years. Noah Finegan ’14 and Ryan Huffman ’13, ’14 M.A. accepted Fulbright grants to study and teach abroad in Austria and Taiwan during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In November 2013, Valpo was recognized by the United States Department of State as one of the colleges and universities that has graduated the most 2013-2014 Fulbright United States students. The Fulbright Program annually awards grants to approximately 1,500 students to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world. The grants allow students to bridge the gap between their studies and the workforce as they enhance their knowledge of both other cultures and their own skills and ambitions.

“It is an honor for the hard work and dedication of Valpo students and alumni to continue to be recognized by the Fulbright Program,” said Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Valparaiso University provost. “This distinction reflects the high academic standards we hold for all Valparaiso University students, and I am confident that Noah and Ryan will continue to succeed in their future endeavors.”

Valparaiso University will offer an academic camp for elementary and middle school students June 16 through June 27.

The camp, “Summer Smart, Summer Fun,” continues the legacy of the late Valpo professor Alan Bloom, who led its development in 2013. The purpose of the program is to help children to learn about the world in an environment full of fun and exploration. Participants will create special projects, science experiments, and original stories to take home and share with parents and friends.

Faculty from Valparaiso University and teachers from the local area will lead topics that are sure to make this camp a memorable one. Interactive courses include robotics, Spanish, creative writing, geography, history, physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

The two-week camp runs Monday through Friday, June 16-27. Cost is $300 per child, and scholarships are available.

For more information or to apply for a spot in “Summer Smart, Summer Fun,” visit valpo.edu/youth-camp or email youthcamp@valpo.edu. Space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christ College freshmen Victoria Bruick and Eric Smith have been selected from a group of finalists for the incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program.

Victoria Bruick, an English and music performance major from Bakersfield, Calif., is a member of the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra and the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT). She co-led SALT’s 2014 World Relief Campaign, which totaled $30,137 in funds to provide workshops, childcare, and educational support to Kibera, Kenya.

Eric Smith, an international relations and international economics and cultural affairs major from Dearborn, Mich., is a violinist in the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Valparaiso Mock Trial Team, which develops students’ oral advocacy skills, case preparation and presentation, and understanding of the ethical issues involved in trial advocacy.

More than 850 undergraduate, graduate, and law students will participate in commencement ceremonies Friday, May 16, Saturday, May 17, and Sunday, May 18. The 2013-2014 academic year concludes yet another chapter of the University’s proven excellence in education, leadership, faith, and service.

“During Opening Convocation in August, I challenged each member of our student body to have the courage to live a life that defies expectations,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., Valparaiso University President. “As the academic year comes to a close and we prepare to send our 2014 graduates out into the world, I have every confidence that these young women and men will continue to raise the bar as they come to understand what it means to be Valpo alumni.”

Here’s a look back at highlights for Valparaiso University’s 2013-2014 academic year:

The Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching at Valparaiso University has selected Professor Jan Westrick, Assistant Professor Stacy Maugans, and Assistant Professor Shahin Nudehi as the recipients of the Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award for 2014-2015. The awards recognize a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty members each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to course development, pedagogy, and mentoring/advising.

“At Valparaiso University, teaching is central. Though teaching is a daily task, finding time to consciously think about it is difficult,” Maugans said. “Part of the intriguing nature of teaching is that there is always more to learn. I have learned so much from Valpo faculty, and I know that I still have much to learn from others.”

Valparaiso University has named Professor Phillip Powell, Ed.D., as Special Assistant to the Provost for Inclusion, effective June 1, 2014. Powell currently serves on Valpo’s faculty in the communication department.

“Professor Powell is an accomplished leader on Valpo’s faculty and an excellent selection for this position,” said Mark R. Schwehn, ’67, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “He continually demonstrates a true commitment to fostering a campus environment where women and men of differing backgrounds, cultures, and faiths may come together in open dialogue built on mutual respect and understanding.”

In his role, Powell will work closely with students, faculty, staff, and community members to explore opportunities and develop a proactive and positive strategy to make Valparaiso a more inclusive and welcoming community.

As Valpo seeks to grow the total enrollment to 6,000 students as part of the Strategic Plan, University leadership continues to identify opportunities to promote cultural exchanges in a rich, diverse community. The University recently announced its participation in Generation Study Abroad, a national initiative that promotes global learning opportunities. Valpo also hosts multicultural activities on campus throughout the year. Powell will provide crucial oversight as the University further promotes efforts to build connections across campus that enrich the educational experience.

“I look forward to working with the leadership of the University to help shape a more holistic vision for diversity and inclusion,” Powell said.

Powell joined Valpo’s faculty in 1994 and has been actively involved on campus through the Diversity Concerns Committee, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee, Faculty Senate, the Campus Community Policy Committee, and the Creative Work and Research Committee.

In addition to his role as an educator, Powell works closely with Valpo students outside of the classroom. He co-advises the Black Student Organization (BSO) and assists students in planning focus sessions for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, Black History Month activities, and other cultural events, as well as facilitating seminars on interpersonal communication, race and ethnicity, and organizational leadership. This role also provides Powell with the opportunity to interact with other multicultural student organizations including Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence (LIVE) and Alliance, the LGBTQ student organization.

In 2013, he traveled with a group of students on a spring break trip to Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham, Alabama, where they visited historical sites, participated in the 48th anniversary march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and contributed to a civil rights symposium at Concordia College of Selma. Powell said the trip was an enlightening experience that he will cherish for years to come.

In 2009, Powell became a volunteer mentor for 100 Black Men of Chicago, a non-profit comprised of successful, professional African-American men who provide mentoring and enhance educational opportunities for young African-American males throughout the greater Chicago area.

Powell holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts in Media Communications from Governors State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Northern Illinois University.

He is chair of the Multicultural Studies Division of the Broadcast Education Association, has authored many book reviews and scholarly publications, and is frequently invited to present at national conferences and seminars.

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