Valparaiso University’s Christmas Concert returns the first weekend in December with two performances in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Continuing a 90-year tradition, the Valparaiso University Christmas Concert: A Carol Festival features more than 200 student performers in the Chorale, men’s and women’s choirs, Chamber Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra.

Abass Abdul-Rahaman and Gopal Yeruva, graduate students in Valparaiso University’s information technology master’s program, have been honored for a mobile application they created for undergraduate students.

During their time as IT interns at Valpo, Abdul-Rahaman and Yeruva collaborated with departments across campus to develop the app to be used during new-student orientation. It includes schedules, electronic roommate requests, useful links, and interactive maps. Following orientation, they released an update for Valpo’s Welcome Week.

The app won Best in Class for General Service Campaign Materials, awarded by Special Interest Group for University and College Computing Services. The recipients were honored at the organization’s annual conference in Salt Lake City.

Valparaiso University has named Heath Carter and Jan Westrick the 2015–2016 University Research Professors. The program recognizes and encourages scholarly accomplishments and honors faculty members for original research and creative work.

Assistant Professor of History Heath Carter, Ph.D., joined Valpo in 2012. He plans to write his second book, which will tell the story of American Christians who have preached and practiced social gospels, titled “ ‘The Kingdom of God May Yet Reign’: The Social Gospel in American Life, 1815–2015.”

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s hope that “the kingdom of God may yet reign,” Carter’s book will challenge American religious historians to rethink their concepts of the Social Gospel and its influence on American society. Carter was recently named a Young Scholar in American Religion and holds a doctor of philosophy in United States history from the University of Notre Dame.

Professor of Education Jan Westrick, Ed.D., joined Valpo in 2004. She will research Oman’s Child-Friendly Schools to inform the international education development community about scaling models based on research about school improvement internationally rather than on technical–rational philosophies currently advocated by major donors and development agencies.

Valparaiso University has received funding from the Caterpillar Foundation to support study abroad in China, as a partner in the United States Department of State’s 100,000 Strong Initiative.

Recognizing the importance of studying abroad to an increasingly globalized economy, the Caterpillar Foundation has designated funds to help those students who wish to study abroad in China but might not otherwise be able to have the opportunity. Study Abroad programs have a long history at Valparaiso University, with the first program in Cambridge and Germany going back nearly 50 years. The study center in Hangzhou, China, is celebrating 25 years as one of the longest running academic exchanges between the United States and China.

Valparaiso University will be able to award nine $5,000 scholarships, on behalf of the Caterpillar Foundation, for students to study at the Hangzhou study center. Valpo received this award in recognition of its strong relationships with Chinese institutions of higher learning and the success of its exchange programs.

Valparaiso University has named Scott R. Harrison, J.D., as director of human resource services. Harrison comes to Valpo from the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he served as director of human resources.

In his role as director, Harrison reports to the vice president for administration and will be responsible for the administration of policies and programs governing employment, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and employee development and training, working in close cooperation with the deans, department supervisors, human resources staff, and the special assistant to the provost for inclusion.

“Scott will serve as a valuable addition to the human resources team,” said Susan Scroggins, vice president for administration. “His expertise will help the office continue the good work that it has already accomplished, and he will play an integral role in enhancing the University’s reputation as an exceptional workplace that is sensitive to diversity, inclusivity, and the needs of its employees.”

WHAT: The women and men of the Valparaiso University Air Force and Army ROTC programs, the Military Veterans Law Association, and the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band are sponsoring a Veterans Day observance ceremony.

The program is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Center for the Arts lobby, Valparaiso University

Display tells the story of Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War

“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibition premieres at the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources at Valparaiso University with an opening reception on Thursday, Nov. 13. The collection examines how President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War — the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

“We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Rachael Muszkiewicz, assistant professor of library services. “As a new president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with enormous challenges. This exhibition shows how Lincoln grappled with difficult issues and helps visitors understand why Lincoln’s struggle with the Constitution still matters today.”

The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.

WHO: Mary, Szybist, the 2013 National Book Award Winner for Poetry for her second book, “Incarnadine.”

Szybist holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a teaching-writing fellow. “Granted,” her first poetry collection, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. She is also a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize in 2012. Her work has appeared in the Iowa Review and Denver Quarterly and was featured in Best American Poetry.

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an A2 rating to Valparaiso University’s 2014 bond issuance with a stable outlook, which indicates low risk to investors.

The global credit rating, research and risk analysis firm has also affirmed Valpo’s A2 rating on outstanding debt, which, according to the report, reflects the University’s conservative financial management driving positive operations and generating sound debt service coverage.

“This rating is a positive indicator of Valparaiso University’s strength, particularly at a time when higher education faces significant challenges,” said John A. Palmucci Jr., senior vice president for finance and administration. “We’re pleased Moody’s believes investing in Valpo is financially sound decision.”

Valparaiso University has honored Amanda Zelechoski, Ph.D., as the inaugural recipient of its Arts and Sciences Emerging Teacher Award, which encourages and recognizes excellence in teaching among junior faculty members.

“It is an incredible honor to receive the inaugural A&S Emerging Teacher Award. As I am surrounded by some of the best teachers I have encountered in my career, to be recognized in this way is truly humbling,” Professor Zelechoski said.

Professor Zelechoski joined Valpo’s psychology department in fall 2011. Her scholarship focuses primarily on investigating psychological issues faced by underserved children and adolescents in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Professor Zelechoski strives to improve the systemic experiences of at-risk youth through research to reduce their future risk of engaging in violent behavior.

“Amanda has established herself as a highly effective and engaging teacher,” Jon Kilpinen, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “It is clear that both students and peers recognize her as a superb teacher.”

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