The Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching at Valparaiso University has selected Robert Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, and Douglas Tougaw, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering, as the recipients of the Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award for 2015–2016. 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.

Professor Clark earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. He believes that being a mentor is a critical part of his vocation and an integral part of his identity as a teacher-scholar both inside and outside of the classroom. Bridging the gap between professor and student, Professor Clark invests time in listening to his students and offers personalized feedback to help them grow personally and professionally in and beyond college.

Professor Tougaw earned his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1995 and his MBA from Valparaiso University in 2005. Dedicated to researching and implementing the best educational tools and experiences for his students, Professor Tougaw places an emphasis on active learning in his courses. He applies a “spiral of learning” method, giving students the opportunity to gain an experience, reflect on that experience, generalize and abstract the lessons learned, and then transfer their knowledge to other contexts.

Performance caps first U.S. tour in more than a decade

One of England’s oldest and most respected choirs will perform at Valparaiso University in the Chapel of the Resurrection on April 29 at 7:30 p.m. The choir’s 2015 tour is its first since 2003, with limited engagements in seven states and eight cities.

“We’re thrilled to host the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir,” said Lorraine S. Brugh, University organist and director of Chapel music, Frederick J. Kruse Chair in Organ, and professor of music. “The Chapel of the Resurrection’s acoustics and organ are particularly well-suited to the organ and choral music of the choir, and this concert is the only one in the metropolitan Chicago area.”

Valparaiso University’s College of Business has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Valpo’s College of Business is among the elite 5 percent of business schools worldwide accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“The College is dedicated to a high-quality learning environment to ensure the success of each student,” said James D. Brodzinski, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business. “AACSB Accreditation drives us to exceed these standards and secure the College’s future as an extraordinary University committed to graduating students of promise.”

Valpo consistently achieves national recognition for best teaching and value and as one of the best universities in the Midwest, and the most recent College of Business report revealed 95 percent of 2013–2014 graduates are currently employed or attending graduate school.

Opening Reception is April 15

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art continues to grow its permanent collection with major acquisitions from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. These works, along with select original artwork by Valpo students, comprise an exciting spring collection, which debuts with an opening reception April 15 at 7 p.m., free and open to the public.

On display in the Wehling and McGill Galleries, the annual student art exhibition features a variety of media including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, graphic design, printmaking and video. The pieces are hand selected by Valpo’s studio instructors, and the April 15 opening reception includes an award ceremony to recognize the students’ work.

“I am consistently impressed by the quality of work that comes out of the art studio classrooms,” said Brauer Museum director and curator Gregg Hertzlieb.

Valparaiso University is celebrating its second annual day of giving, encouraging alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and friends to contribute to the University. The day’s theme is “Proud to be Valpo.”

“Proud to be Valpo” is an ambitious, University-wide, one-day effort to engage the entire University community across the country and around the world. The event emphasizes Valpo’s mission to prepare women and men for lives of leadership and service while it increases alumni participation and raises awareness about Valpo.

On campus, students will participate in a Canstruction competition at 4 p.m. on the Harre Union lawn. The event challenges 10 teams of students to construct immense, Valpo-related structures entirely made up of canned goods, which will be donated to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.

Alumni Ed ’68 and Janice ’68 Wesemann, from Savannah, Ga., have pledged to match the first 2,000 donors who make a gift of any amount, to any area of the University. They will provide an additional $25 for each donor, up to $50,000, to support College of Business student scholarships.

The Athletics Alumni Challenge allows athletics alumni to provide additional support to individual teams when they make a gift to any area of campus. The challenges include:

  • $5,000 will be awarded to the team that has the greatest number of their alumni make a gift to Valparaiso University.
  • $5,000 will be awarded to the team that has the highest percentage of their alumni make a gift to Valparaiso University. This challenge grant is made possible by a generous gift from Ann Bowman ’77L of Valparaiso, Ind.
  • $5,000 will be awarded to the team that has the greatest number of new donor alumni make a gift to Valparaiso University. New donors are defined as those team alumni who have never before made any gift to Valparaiso University. This challenge grant is made possible by a generous gift from Leroy Schramm ’66 of Helena, Mont.

The Guild Board of Directors is also sponsoring a challenge to increase membership and support of the Guild Scholarship Fund. Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous member of the Guild, all gifts to the Guild on the Day of Giving — both memberships and gifts to the Guild Endowed Scholarship fund — will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000.

Throughout the day, students, alumni, faculty and staff are observing “Proud to be Valpo” day by wearing their Valpo gear and posting to social media with the #valpoday.

Those who give to Valpo during the day of giving may direct their gifts to the fund of their choice, allowing the event to benefit a variety of initiatives from scholarships and innovative classroom experiences to athletics programs and essential strategic priorities.

Visit valpo.edu/proudtobevalpo to learn more and get involved.

Valparaiso University is constituted by people from different backgrounds, belief systems, and cultures joined together in the common pursuit of truth. As the University’s president, I am conscious of the importance of cultivating an environment in which all are free to engage in open dialogue and expression while treating one another with dignity and respect. These values run deeply throughout our community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

During the past week, many of these members have expressed concerns about the impact Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) may have on the state of Indiana and on this University. In particular, concerns have been raised about the University’s position on non-discrimination. While this University does not routinely issue statements concerning legislative actions, when the University’s position on non-discrimination is called into question, as Valpo’s president, I am compelled to respond.

Valparaiso University stands with numerous Indiana organizations, businesses, and communities of learning in its longstanding commitment to renounce discrimination. Regardless of personal opinions about the RFRA, we must engage in open and respectful dialogue among people who may hold fundamentally opposing and irreconcilable beliefs. We must find a way to live and work alongside one another in community. We must love one another. As Paul writes in Galatians 5, “For the whole law is summed in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Valparaiso University was one of the nation’s first coeducational institutions, in a time when women faced educational discrimination. Valpo welcomed African-Americans and participated actively in the civil rights movement. Valpo commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day when Indiana’s legislature would not recognize this holiday. Valparaiso University’s Board-approved non-discrimination statement welcomes all people regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. As an independent Lutheran University, we will continue to welcome people of all faiths, cultures, and walks of life to join us in this community of dialogue across difference under our distinctive Lutheran model of education. And we will continue this commitment even when our elected leaders make decisions, like the RFRA, that operate in contradiction to our values. We will seek to model for our state and nation what it can be like to live in a community of love and mutual respect.

I call upon our elected leaders and our governor not only to amend this legislation, but also to use this opportunity to advocate for the values held by all those who strive to make Indiana a welcoming and inclusive state.

Valparaiso University will offer an academic camp for elementary and middle school students June 15 – 26.

The camp, “Summer Smart, Summer Fun,” continues the legacy of the late Valpo professor Alan Bloom, who led its development in 2013. The program helps children 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.

The American Society of Church History has elected Ronald K. Rittgers, Ph.D., Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies and professor of history and theology, as its next president. Rittgers will serve a three-year term as president.

Rittgers joined Valparaiso University’s faculty in fall 2006 after he taught for seven years at Yale University. He is particularly interested in the religious, intellectual and social history of medieval and early modern Europe, and he is considered an expert in Reformation studies.

“Those of us at Valpo are very pleased with Professor Rittgers’ election to be the president of the American Society of Church History,” said Mark Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This election is a clear endorsement of the high quality of his scholarship and of his outstanding contributions to his professional community.”

WHO/WHAT: Valparaiso University students and faculty will display original artwork in the fifth annual Soup Bowls for the Hungry silent auction. In addition to ceramic bowls, the auction will include digital, painted, and drawn interpretations of bowls.

Admission is free, and soup and cornbread will be served. Guests are invited to try their hands at throwing a pot while they wait. All proceeds from the auction benefit the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana in Gary.

WHEN: Friday, March 27, 4 – 6 p.m.

WHERE: Art–Psychology Building (west of parking lot 43), Valparaiso University

WHAT: Valparaiso University will celebrate the groundbreaking and blessing of the sorority housing site.

“This is such an exciting time of growth and development for the Valparaiso University sorority community,” said Carolyn Whittier, Ph.D., assistant dean of students for Greek Life. “Sorority women lead and serve in many capacities at the University, and these facilities will allow the women to increase their involvement and connection to the University and the larger community.”

Six townhouse-style units are planned, with move-in scheduled for December 2015. Each unit will house 25 beds for a total of 150 sorority women, and there will be a carriage house for a full-time residential learning coordinator.

WHEN: Monday, March 16, 10 a.m.

WHERE: The sorority housing construction site, located on the northwest corner of Union Street and University Park Blvd., across from Valpo’s Athletics–Recreation Center

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