Archive for July 2016

Marygrove College Offers New Program to Improve Police Relations

These are tense times. Snipers are killing police. Unarmed motorists are dying at the hands of police. Common ground between law enforcement and African Americans can seem elusive.

The answer, as it always does, begins with education. And as they always have, Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities are stepping forward to lead the dialogue toward solutions.

This week, Marygrove College announced a new online bachelor of arts in criminal justice degree. What makes it unique is its approach.

Rather than focusing on punishment, it emphasizes what’s known as restorative justice, an approach that focuses on the needs of both victims and offenders and how crime affects community.

“In this time of crisis, where there is distrust between law enforcement and the community,” Marygrove College Provost Sally Welch recently told Hometown Life, “our institution is prepared to help bring about peace and reconciliation through its online bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice based on Restorative Justice principles.”

The program is aimed at working criminal justice professions and accepting applications for fall semester that starts Sept. 6.

The program’s intent is broader than simply preparing students for careers. It does that spectacularly. But its goal is to also change the mindset that perpetuates distrust between police and communities, taking a holistic approach to crime rather than simply locking people up.

Victim-centered, restorative justice gives victims and offenders the opportunity to take steps to repair harm to communities. Because crime isn’t simply an attack on individuals. It’s an affront to communities.

And community is at the core of Marygrove College and the other Michigan independents. Their mission is to lift all boats, preparing students for awesome careers and preparing them to help the world at large.

Community infuses everything about the independents. Unlike big schools, class sizes are small and taught by incredibly faculty who help students forge their own path.

Students form lifelong bonds with professors, as well as an impassioned, caring network of alumni who help after graduation.

And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates that big state schools.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Unique Hope College Program Helps Bring Great Ideas to Life


You never know what will spark your inspiration.

For Isaac Newton, it was an apple falling on his head. For physical therapist Joseph Ross, it was struggling to put a wheelchair into a car trunk and thinking, “wow, this is heavy.”

But inspiration is one thing and innovation is another. And Ross, who works at Spectrum Health Center, knew just where to turn to lighten the load.

After experimenting by using a crutch as a lever, Ross took his germ of an idea to Hope College’s Center for Faithful Leadership, an innovative program that pairs students with experts to bring awesome ideas to fruition.

A unique mentoring program, the center believes that college is as much about solving real-world problems as theoretical principles. It complements the classroom, pairs freshmen and sophomores with experts and stresses that productivity is integral to happiness.

In short, the program is about going to work.

So that’s what four Hope College students did with Ross, the therapist with a fuzzy idea.

The result is LoadMate, which looks like a pitchfork but makes heavy lifting a breeze

“I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed working on this project,” Brenden Merriman, a biomedical engineering major who worked on the project.

“Spectrum Health was always extremely helpful whenever we ran into a question we couldn’t answer, and I think it’s a great program they have set up with Hope College students.”

The idea seems simple. But the real world applications could be huge. Ross wanted to develop the product to give freedom of movement back to some of his clients, who think twice about travel because of the prospect of lugging around a wheelchair.

“An elderly gentleman was able to load his wife’s wheelchair into the back of his car with one hand while holding his cane in the other,” Merriman said. “Seeing his excitement at being able to so easily do this simple task again for the first time in years was really touching.”

The product isn’t ready yet for market. But it won a $1,000 prize this year at MWest Challenge 2016, West Michigan’s regional business plan competition.

And it’s a great example of the unique spirit at Hope College and Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities. They’re proudly different, committed to human betterment and all about fostering lifelong bonds between their award-winning faculty and students.

All emphasize community over crowds and an ethos of cohesion that just doesn’t exist at big state schools.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Calvin Nursing Camp Strengthens Community Bonds

They sat in a circle, these girls from inner-city Grand Rapids, laid their hands on their neighbor and listened for a pulse.

So began an innovative, soul-searching week at Calvin College last month, which brought in 50 girls from three neighborhoods to learn about their health, God and themselves.

They were there for HEALTH Camp — Health, Education and Leadership Training for a Hopeful future. The first-of-its kind day camp at Calvin is an outgrowth of an eight-year outreach between Calvin’s nursing department and three Grand Rapids neighborhoods.

The girls learned some basic nursing skills, assisted at Calvin’s Health Service department and were taught by faculty and others about reproductive health, exercise, nutrition, chronic disease and more.

“These girls are the future of these neighborhoods, and it’s empowering for them to understand how their bodies work and how to keep themselves healthy,” said Elise Veurink, a Calvin senior and nursing student.

The camp was an effort of 10 Calvin departments. One main goal is to prevent unintended pregnancies. Another is self-respect. Long-range plans call for the idea to spread, empowering girls in other communities to respect their bodies and themselves.

“We want (this) to grow, even beyond our Grand Rapids neighborhoods, to continue to make an impact,” said Adejoke Ayoola, a nursing professor who launched the program.

“We hope the camp brought an increase in knowledge to the girls, but we also hope for change in behavior down the road, that they would actually adopt a culture of health.”

Community. It’s what sets apart Calvin College and Michigan’s other top 15 private colleges and universities.

They’re not merely in towns and cities. They are an integral part of their fabric, reaching beyond campus walls and greens to improve the lives of those around them.

It’s one of many differences with traditional universities.

Unlike big state schools, class sizes are small and taught by incredible faculty who help students forge their own path.

They have a deep and committed network of alumni who help after graduation. It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities.

And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Adrian College Daycare Doubles as Learning Lab

Baby Bulldog

Doing good for students. Doing good for the community.

It’s a way of life so ingrained at Adrian College and Michigan’s 14 independent colleges that it’s practically second nature.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise this month when Adrian announced the creation of the Baby Bulldog Center, a daycare designed to help both working parents in the Michigan community and education majors at the college.

The center on the first floor of Valade Hall is full-fledged daycare, accommodating up to 12 children from birth to 3 years old. But it’s also a lab for Adrian College students pursuing early childhood education certificates.

“As schools are increasingly under pressure to do more with less, they will look for teachers who have credentials, such as the early childhood endorsement, beyond the basic certification,” Andrea Milner, Adrian’s director of the Institute for Education, told the Adrian Daily Telegram.

“We want to provide all our students — babies and undergraduates — the best start we can.”
Rather than seek jobs outside the college, students will work in the daycare alongside licensed childcare professionals. That will help them meet the 60 hours of internship required for an early childhood education certificate.

And it will help ease a childcare crunch in Lenawee County, where an estimated three quarters of youths under 5 have two working parents.

It’s Adrian College’s second venture into childcare. Its first, a collaboration with Little Maples Preschool for toddlers, was so popular it had to open a second location in 2014.

“We’re glad we can address that need while helping our students become the best teachers they can be,” Agnes Caldwell, Adrian dean for academic affairs, told the Daily Telegram.

A daycare might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering colleges. But it’s the sort of detail and dedication to both students and surrounding communities that make Adrian and other Michigan independent colleges unique and truly special.

National leaders in education, the schools recognize that college is about both preparing students for careers — and experience.

All emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion that just doesn’t exist at big state schools.

With low class sizes and award-winning faculty, the schools are proud that students forge lifelong bonds with professors.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.