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E-Newsletter
 

Undergraduate Admissions E-Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2008

 
Welcome to the Aquinas College E-Newsletter - your source for the latest news and events happening at AQ! Read on to find out what amazing things AQ faculty, staff, students and alumni are up to as well as what exciting projects are going on at Aquinas.
 
Lessons Learned in the School of Education
AQ Biology Major Received Summer Environmental Research Grant
Aquinas Event Honored Native American Culture
The Aquinas College Theatre Program Presented "The Arabian Nights"
Aquinas' Fall Service-Learning Trips
Aquinas College Exhibits Faculty Artwork
Contemporary Writers Series Enjoys Another Exciting Season
New Apartment Building on Campus
Fall Sports Review
 
Lessons Learned in the School of Education
By Laura Bennett-Kimble ’95
Lessons Learned in the School of Education Lessons Learned in the School of Education
 
Nationally, Michigan teachers are known for being exceptionally well-trained. Appropriately, Aquinas College School of Education (SOE) graduates have contributed to that reputation.
 
For example, from 2003 to 2006, 91 percent of AQ education students passed the stringent Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) the first time they took it; cumulatively 95 percent passed the test. This places the Aquinas SOE in the top five programs in the state.
 
The School of Education has been growing and adapting to continue meeting not only state and federal requirements like the MTTC and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate, but also student needs.
 
A top priority, Aquinas President C. Edward Balog said, is making programs “more convenient and more consistent with the students’ needs."
 
The No Child Left Behind mandates caused a ripple effect from the federal level down to the state, college and grade school levels. With NCLB, “teachers must have endorsement showing they are ‘highly qualified,’ and that shifted things,” said School of Education Dean Nanette Clatterbuck. “We are driven by federal mandates and limited by state budget constraints. Nonetheless, our students are still doing well and finding placements in Michigan and other states.”
 
Aquinas College has always been active in its community, and the SOE is working harder than ever to collaborate with its neighbors.
 
“One of our main focuses now is recruitment and training of minority students,” Clatterbuck said, “so we want to establish mentor programs and help the students secure funding through scholarships. We want to recruit urban students [in our education programs] and then get them back into urban schools where they’re needed the most.”
 
The Aquinas SOE is also assisting the YMCA in setting up physical fitness programs for their members who have special needs, and it has partnered with Holy Name of Jesus School to provide professional development to teachers and help middle school students with college preparatory issues and career decisions.
 
In addition, the Aquinas Reading Clinic gets SOE students volunteering as reading tutors and provides diagnostic and instructional services to area students from kindergarten through high school levels.
 
Aquinas students also volunteer at the Child Development Center, which is based on the early childhood educational system founded in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, which was chartered by Grand Rapids Public Schools, and the Aquinas Child Development Center are both located at St. Adalbert Basilica in Grand Rapids and are closely aligned with Reggio Emilia philosophies.
 
Another important program is the POHI (physically and otherwise health impaired/conductor teacher preparation) program, which began in 2001. POHI places Aquinas students at the Conductive Learning Center (CLC), where they work with children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. The only program in North America directed by the International Peto Institute of Conductive Education in Budapest, Hungary, the CLC was founded by Aquinas in 1998 and is now an independent not-for-profit organization.
 
“There are many things we are doing,” Clatterbuck noted. “I want to use the resources AQ has available. We have so many bright people right here on campus.”
 
AQ Biology Major Received Summer Environmental Research Grant
Junior Molly Soper, Aquinas biology major, planned a summer-long trail walk after learning last spring that she was one of 16 college students selected for a research grant through the Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment (URGE) program at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, a biological field station located near Hastings, south of Grand Rapids.
 
Soper, a Tri County High School graduate (Howard City, Mich.),.and her faculty mentor, Dr. Summer Silvieus, planned an interactive plant identification key that is specific to common plants along Pierce Cedar Creek trails. They explored the plant communities near trails through the use of relevés and took detailed measurements from samples of plants of each species represented (A relevé is a useful technique that allows the researcher to quickly classify the diversity of plant cover in an area). By the end of the trail, the various measured and observed characteristics for each species are compiled in an electronic database called DELTA. From the DELTA software, the files were exported to Inteky and Navikey, which allow the information to be displayed via the Web. The resulting plant identification key program is simple to use e available to the public via the Internet.
 
The URGE program, in its third year, provided a $3,000 stipend for students conducting summer research at the Institute, along with up to a $3,000 faculty mentor stipend that could be used for equipment purchases, general expenses, travel, or training needed for conducting the research project. Additionally, each grant award allowed for up to $4,000 in room and board expenses for the student and faculty mentor. The student research work was scheduled between May and August. The Biological Field Station is made up of a consortium of 13 Michigan and Indiana colleges and universities.
 
Aquinas Event Honored Native American Culture
"This Land Was Their Land" featured presentations and a land blessing ritual.
Aquinas College presented the event “This and Was Their Land,” a Native American spiritual land-blessing ceremony on Monday, Nov. 19 on the field outside Holmdene. The events was free and open to the public and was organized by Deborah Wickering, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology and students of her course on “Indian Societies of Michigan.”
 
Dr. Wickering and her students were interested in what the landscape of Aquinas College looked like “pre-contact,” or, before the arrival of Europeans, when the Ottawa tribe inhabited the area. The event included a presentation by Paul Bieneman, Ph.D., chair of the Geography department, on pre-contact landforms on the site of Aquinas College’s present campus; and a spiritual land-blessing ritual in order to “honor the Native Americans who came before us,” said Wickering. The ritual was put together by students in the course, who, along with Wickering, “decided it was up to us as Europeans to honor them.”
 
The Aquinas College Theatre Program Presented "The Arabian Nights"
AQ Performing Arts Center

Many people think of flying carpets and giant blue genies when they think of "The Arabian Nights." The fall production offering from the Aquinas College Theatre Program, however, offered an intriguing and passionate glimpse into the many other folktales that comprise the Arabic text. The adaptation by acclaimed Chicago director Mary Zimmerman allowed the audience to experience tales other than Sinbad and Aladdin, stories that resonate as strange and familiar at once.

 

"The Arabian Nights was never meant to be children's literature," said Randy Wyatt, Interim Theatre Director for Aquinas College. "These are tales from folklore stretching over hundreds of years and many different cultures, including Persian, Egyptian, Arabic and Indian. They deal frankly with gender issues, human nature, political power, sensuality and the many incarnations of love. They are some of the most adult tales you will ever read, and also some of the most exotic."

 
"The Arabian Nights" was Wyatt's directorial debut at Aquinas. "I chose the piece because of its spectacle, its storytelling - which Zimmerman always incorporates into her work - but also because of the reminder that the culture that has lasted for centuries and was the cradle of civilization is also the culture we're currently at war with." Wyatt saw the piece as an "extended sensitivity seminar" created and presented by Sheherezade, who must spin tales nightly in order to keep her fiancé and captor King Shahryar distracted from killing her by the end of the night. "Shahryar is enraged to the point of madness over the infidelity of his first wife, and it takes Sheherezade one thousand and one nights to restore his humanity through the power of story."
 
With a cast of twenty-one, the play was one of the larger undertakings the department has had in its relatively short history, but Wyatt felt the program was up for the challenge. "We've used some very fine actors from the community such as Evan Heird and Sarah LaJoye. We utilized many of the skills the students already bring to the table, such as acrobatics and playing violin. We had original music and choreography and instrumentation - it's really a tour de force. I'm very excited to head up such a marvelous project."
 
Aquinas' Fall Service-Learning Trips
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Dominican Republic
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Dominican Republic
 
Students participated in community service both within and outside the U.S. Aquinas College and the Department of Campus Ministry offered five service-learning trips for students during the fall semester in Maine, New York City, South Dakota, West Virginia and the Dominican Republic. The trips were offered during Aquinas students’ Oct. 15-19 fall break. According to Campus Ministry, service-learning "engages students in civic responsibility, critical thinking and structured reflection by actively involving them in organized community service."
 
Students participating in service-learning were engaged in numerous service activities, including outdoor beautification, community rebuilding efforts, outreach ministry, light construction and maintenance. All programs were designed to reinforce the Dominican values of prayer, service, community and study, and allowed students to put their faith into action.
 
Students in Maine participated in rugged outdoor work and assisted the National Park Service in environmental projects on Acadia Island. Working within the St. John the Baptist Church community, Aquinas students in New York City helped run a soup kitchen and assisted in literacy, career development and training projects with local youth. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, student volunteers immersed themselves in Oglala Lakota culture and helped build bunk beds for the children. Other Aquinas students spent the week in the Nazareth Farm community of Salem, West Virginia, assisting in rehabilitation work including roofing, painting and carpentry. Finally, a group of Aquinas volunteers traveled to the Dominican Republic where they joined Holy Spirit International in assisting Haitians living in the mountainous border region of the country.
 
Aquinas College Exhibits Faculty Artwork
Nine faculty artists displayed work at the Aquinas Art and Music Center Gallery
"Nothing's Perfect: Dana's Broken Eggs,"
Oil on linen by Sharon Sandberg
"Untitled," Ceramic by Madeline Kaczmarczyk
 
Aquinas College exhibited the work of nine faculty artists Sunday, Nov. 18 through Friday, Dec. 14 in the Art and Music Center Gallery. An opening reception was held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.
 
Artwork in the faculty exhibit spanned a range of media and forms, featuring drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, printmaking and mixed media compositions. Collectively, the exhibit highlighted the work of Aquinas art professors and instructors Dana Freeman, Kurt Kaiser, Madeline Kaczmarczyk, Don Kerr, Chris LaPorte, Ron Pederson, Sharon Sandberg, Steven Schousen and H.J. Slider
 
The Art and Music Center Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Contemporary Writers Series Enjoys Another Exciting Season
Thomas Lynch

The Contemporary Writers Series (CWS) at Aquinas College recently completed a very successful year celebrating its tenth anniversary. The 2007-2008 season has promised to be just as exciting, with the focus on four Michigan writers who have achieved national and international acclaim.

 

On September 20, the College hosted Jack Driscoll, Writer-in-Residence at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is the author of four books of poems, a collection of short stories, and three novels. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award.

 

Thomas Lynch presented on November 1. Lynch is a celebrated poet and creative nonfiction writer whose work is often based on his real life experience as director of a funeral home in Milford. The creator of HBO’s series Six Feet Under credits reading Lynch’s book "The Undertaking" as “most helpful” in developing the series.

Poet and writer Thomas Lynch visited Aquinas in November as part of the Contemporary Writers Series.
 
Janet Kauffman, Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, will read on March 27, 2008. She has authored three novels, two volumes of poetry and three collections of short stories. Her work centers on environmental concerns; she is involved with Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan.
 
The eleventh season will conclude with Laura Kasischke on April 17, 2008. She has published six collections of poetry and four novels and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan. Her work has garnered many awards including a fellowship from the NEA. One of her novels is currently being produced as a film with actress Uma Thurman.
 
All readings take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Student Center Ballroom. For more information, contact the Series’ director, Pamela Luebke, at (616) 632-2127 or visit the CWS Web site.
 
New Apartment Building on Campus
New Apartment Building on Campus
 
The new apartment building will feature furnished four-person units with individual bedrooms, full kitchens, and more community meeting/learning spaces than in our previous generation of student apartments. The College is hoping to achieve LEED green certification in the design and construction of this new student housing. Input from over three years of student focus group meetings was considered in the design phase, along with virtual and live tours of living centers on many other campuses. It will house 64 students and will open in August 2008.
 

Fall Sports Review

With the fall season wrapped up and the winter season already in full swing here is a look at how the Saints faired on the athletic fields this fall. Heading into the winter season, Aquinas is leading the pack in the WHAC All-Sports Trophy standings. The Saints also hold down the 10th spot nationally in the race for the U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup and are looking to take their ninth WHAC All-Sports Trophy in 11 years. Look for a review of winter action in early spring.
 
Men’s Soccer
AQ Men's Soccer

Aquinas has had consistent success in the past with its Men’s Soccer team, and the tradition continued through the 2007 season. With a record of 14-6-1 and 7-4-1 in the WHAC, the Saints advanced into the conference tournament and claimed the WHAC tournament championship.

 

Coach Joe Veal (2nd year) and his Saints began their season with success on the road. They started off with a “home game away from home,” at the MVP Fieldhouse, due to the construction of the new soccer field, with a victory over Calumet 6-2. The road trip ended with a 4-2 record, including a University of St. Francis Tournament championship. Upon returning home, the Saints opened their new field with a victory over St. Xavier University 3-2. After a home loss to Cornerstone, Aquinas rolled off 6 victories in a row including a Homecoming victory following the over Indiana Tech.

 
The Saints ended the regular season winning 2 of their last 3 games making their way into the WHAC tournament as the #4 seed. The Saints traveled in the first round to Livonia to play Madonna, a thorn in the Saints side the past few years. Aquinas came out on top (3-1) in a grueling contest that proved the heart and determination of this year’s squad. The championship round was a match up between Aquinas and up and coming Davenport. The Saints prevailed with a convincing 3-0 victory to win the WHAC Tournament and advance to the Regional Championship.
 
Aquinas’ season came to a sad end when they lost to Goshen in the first round of the NAIA regional tournament. The visiting Maple leafs defeated the Saints 2-0, finalizing another successful season.
 
The Saints were headed by seniors; Ryan Robleski (Kentwood, Mich.) and Levi Swaney (Mattawan, Mich.) as they were voted WHAC first team All-Conference and NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. Jared Smith (Middleville, Mich.) and Erich Jackson (Petoskey, Mich.) were voted to the All WHAC 2nd team. Jackson led the team with goals (17) and points (39).
 
Women’s Soccer
AQ Women's Soccer

By capturing their first WHAC Conference Championship since 1999 and winning the WHAC Conference tournament championship, 2007 proved to be a major stepping stone for the Women’s Soccer team. Finishing with a record of 16-4 (10-2 WHAC).

 

Honors were aplenty for the Saints, as juniors Kristina Gladstone (Holt, MI), Jessica Greaney (Troy, MI), and Bri Hill (Kalamazoo, MI) were rewarded as first team All- Conference selections. Hill led the team with 15 goals, 10 assists and a league leading total of 40 points, earning her the WHAC Offensive Player of the Year. Greaney was second on the team with 7 assists and totaled 11 points. Goalkeeper Kristina Gladstone allowed only 4 goals all season with an amazing .913 save percentage which also earned her All-Region honors. ;Seniors Hillary Bisnett (Dowagiac, MI), Connie Rogers (Portage, MI) and sophomore Rebecca Underwood (Alto MI) were named to the WHAC All-Conference Second Team. Head coach Mark Fales was awarded WHAC Coach of The Year .

 
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
Aquinas College men’s and women’s cross country teams finished as the 5th best combined program in the NAIA as the men finished 6th and the women 14th in the NAIA Cross Country National Championships held this past Saturday at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Malone, Simon Fraser, Black Hills and Azuz Pacific were they only combined programs to finish in front of Aquinas.
 
The men’s sixth place finish follows places of 2nd (2004), 6th (2005) and 5th (2006) making this the fourth year in a row that the Saints have finished in the top six and a total of nine top 12 finishes since 1997.
 
The men’s team was lead by seniors Chris Robertz in 29th (25:38) and Scott Assenmacher in 34th (25:43). They were followed by Seth Bjorle in 48th (26:00), Chris Leikert in 49th (26:01) and Nate Straathof in 80th (26:23) to complete their 240 point total.
 
The women’s team used a 15th place finish by Amanda Strouse (18:14) to propel the Lady Saints to their highest national finish in school history. Strouse’s 15th place finish also earned her All-American honors, becoming only the second women in Saints history to do so.
 
Strouse was followed across the line by Katy Cramer in 69th (19:06), Jesse Lord-Wilder, 90th (19:21), Jessica Karl, 104th (19:35) and Samantha Rinkus, 118th (19:43) to total 395 points for their 14th place finish.
 
Volleyball
After battling through a difficult offseason with a couple coaching changes, the Saints were in a rebuilding year under first year coach David Rawles. The Saints finished last in the WHAC with a record of 5-30 record (0-14 WHAC). The season was highlighted by 3-0 wins over Calumet College (twice), Grace Bible College, and Purdue North Central. The Saints also defeated Robert Morris College 3-1. Freshman Mollie Lounds was named to the WHAC All-Freshman Team.
 
Men’s Golf
Senior Brian Hayward and Junior Dan Szatkowski led the Saints this season with overall scoring averages of 77.6 and 78.0. The Saints finished second behind Davenport University in WHAC action this fall. The Saints home course is L.E. Kaufman Golf Club.
 
Women’s Golf
Dan Pupel's Saints took home top honors in the WHAC this past fall, capturing the WHAC women's golf title in style. By finishing first in the last four WHAC matches, the Saints finished just ahead of Siena Heights to take home the trophy. Leading the way for the Saints were All-Conference performers Liz Clement (JR) and Jessica Morse (SR). Senior Ashley King was selected to the Honorable Mention All-Conference Team.
 
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