News - 5/2/13

Placement Exceeds 90 Percent for 20 Consecutive Years


Valparaiso University has achieved a 95.7 percent placement rate for 2011-2012 graduates, marking the 20th straight year of placement rates higher than 90 percent.

Through dedication to preparing students for a post-Valpo life and a time-tested career services strategy, the independent Lutheran university graduates accomplished students who attain job and graduate school placement throughout the country and the world.

"Valparaiso University's high placement rate is a testament to the intellectually rigorous and innovative education we offer and to the supportive community we foster for our students," Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D. said. "Valpo's brilliant faculty and dedicated staff provide the resources and mentoring necessary for students to achieve great success, and our extraordinary students achieve this greatness every day." 

Valparaiso University's 2013 Graduate Report compiles student survey responses completed at the distribution of caps and gowns, subsequent online surveys, data collected from academic departments, social media, phone calls and emails to 2011-2102 graduates.

Highlights of the 2013 Graduate Report include:

  • Salary offers increased in six of the 10 reported categories compared to 2010-2011.
  • Graduates are working or studying in 38 states, the District of Columbia and eight foreign countries. Thirty-six percent of 2011-2012 graduates are working or attending graduate school in Indiana. Of those attending graduate or professional school, 20.8 percent are studying at Valparaiso University.
  • Ten respondents are involved in full-time service: two in AmeriCorps, three in the Peace Corps, one each in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Loretto Volunteers, Lutheran Volunteer Corps and one undisclosed.
  • Three were awarded a Fulbright scholarship and currently are in France, South Africa and Nepal.
  • Eighty-three percent of the respondents indicated that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their job or graduate school situation.

Valpo Professors Mark Budnik, Lissa Yogan, Kevin Jantzi Win Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards


Valparaiso University's Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching has selected Mark Budnik, Kevin Jantzi and Lissa Yogan as recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award for 2013-2014.

"We are very proud of the excellent teachers that we have here at Valparaiso University," said Rick Gillman, assistant provost for faculty affairs. "We are pleased to have been able to expand both the number and value of our teaching awards this year so that we could recognize both more individuals and more diverse contributions to the teaching and learning enterprise. As always, it was difficult for the committee to select the three winners from among the outstanding pool of nominees." 

The award recognizes outstanding faculty who demonstrate teaching excellence, with particular attention to excellence in any of three areas: curriculum/course development, pedagogy and faculty-student rapport. Each award winner will receive funding for a pedagogical project intended to promote excellence in teaching on the Valparaiso University campus.

Budnik, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, was awarded for his excellence in faculty-student rapport. Budnik generates enthusiasm in his students, mentors students in their personal and spiritual development, and uses innovative techniques to enhance student learning. He has also received multiple grants in pedagogical funding to transition his classes from traditional lectures to a lecture-laboratory format which focuses on active, problem-based learning.

Yogan, associate professor of sociology and criminology, was recognized for curriculum/course development. Over her career, Yogan has taught many different sociology courses at different levels and various delivery formats. She sets standards and develops rubrics to help students achieve academic growth and development.

Jantzi, associate professor in chemistry, received the honor for his excellent pedagogical work. Jantzi encourages his students to shift their thinking from memorizing chemistry facts to critically thinking about chemistry concepts. His teaching methods help students think about the material in different ways and reinforce fundamental concepts.

Nominees for the Excellence in Teaching Award included:

  • Associate Professor Mark Bartusch, Department of Theology
  • Assistant Professor Julie Brandy, College of Nursing
  • Assistant Professor Kevin Goebbert, Department of Geography and Meteorology
  • Associate Professor Stacy Hoult-Saros, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Lecturer Edward Upton, Humanities, Christ College

A reception honoring the award winners and nominees will be held Wednesday, May 8, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Harre Union Brown and Gold Room. All faculty and staff are welcome to come.


Professional Educators Partnership to Host Meet and Greet With State Superintendent


The Professional Educators Partnership, of Valparaiso University's Department of Education, will host a Meet and Greet Reception for the newly elected state superintendent, Glenda Ritz. The reception will be held in the Community Room on May 8 at 4 p.m.

According to her biography, Ritz has "always been a strong vocal advocate for students and educators." Ritz's election was a major upset in the Indiana state elections in November 2012, and many people in the education profession are anxious to hear about her vision for the Indiana Department of Education. The K-12 curriculum is experiencing major pedagogy shifts both at the state and national level.

In 2001 the Department of Education established the Professional Educators Partnership with 25 schools. The mission of the partnership is to establish mutually beneficial relationships between Valparaiso University and community educators. The partnership has evolved into many new professional relationships with administrators, professors, principals, teachers, and teacher candidates. The partnership sponsors several professional development opportunities for the community including the Autumn Harvest Middle School Conference, IASP Regional Workshop, and a spring Literacy Workshop.

Doors for the reception will open at 3:15 p.m. and light refreshments will be available. Please email Literacy.Workshop@valpo.edu to request tickets; there is no cost to attend the reception.