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University of Detroit Mercy: Estate gift endows Arnold Jarboe Chair of Business Administration

Detroit Mercy recently received a $6.1 million estate gift to endow a new chair in the College of Business Administration  (CBA). This is the largest single gift in the history of University of Detroit Mercy.

When he died in 2016, Arnold Jarboe ’54 left his bequest to establish the Arnold Jarboe Chair in Business Administration in the College of Business Administration. Jarboe was an attorney for the Social Security Administration.

“This extraordinary and large gift by our unassuming alumnus, Arnold Jarboe, is the best affirmation that he truly lived the Jesuit values he learned as a University of Detroit student,” said Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. “Mr. Jarboe’s generous endowment will make it possible for generations of students and faculty at Detroit Mercy to receive and deliver, respectively, a high quality education in Business and leadership.”

Joseph G. Eisenhauer, dean of the College of Business Administration, has appointed Evan A. Peterson ’06, ’09, a lecturer in Business Law, to serve as the first Jarboe Chair.

“I am deeply grateful to Arnold Jarboe for his remarkable estate gift to the College of Business Administration and profoundly honored to have been chosen for this prestigious appointment,” Peterson said. “Through this gift, the College of Business Administration will continue to enhance its reputation as a national leader in providing students with innovative, cutting-edge business programs.”

Peterson holds B.S., J.D., and MBA degrees from Detroit Mercy, and a Ph.D. in Management from Walden University. A licensed attorney who has practiced law in Michigan, Peterson also serves as director of Undergraduate Business Programs and co-director of the Honors Program. Since joining the University full-time in 2014, he has helped create a minor and a concentration in Business Law and published more than a dozen scholarly articles in professional journals. In addition, he has actively engaged students as co-authors on many articles and research papers.

The Jarboe Chair will become part of the CBA’s Center for Practice & Research in Management & Ethics (PRIME), which Peterson will serve as director. The PRIME Center will offer enhanced opportunities for Detroit Mercy business students to interact with leading business executives and thinkers, and develop a number of activities and scholarship endeavors, including the following:

  • Creation of a speaker series that brings nationally prominent leaders of businesses, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions and governments to campus for presentations.  These executives and entrepreneurs will share their expertise and practical ideas with students and faculty, which will help ensure that CBA academic programs and research are relevant to the real world.
  • Expansion of experiential learning and leadership opportunities for students in business.  These include hands-on coursework, such as the Integrated Field Project, in which MBA students serve as business consultants to nonprofit organizations on live case projects; service-learning projects, in which students use the skills developed in the classroom to benefit the community while gaining practical experience; internships, through which regional employers can hire an energetic labor force while students gain resume-building professional experience and income; leadership workshops, such as those offered by our Center for Social Entrepreneurship; and teamwork projects, in which students work collaboratively with diverse colleagues to solve managerial problems.
  • A student-run journal that solicits, edits, publishes and distributes research from around the nation on topics relevant to the PRIME Center mission. Detroit Mercy students will serve as the editors and peer-reviewers of submissions from students at other universities, helping them develop their research into publishable form. In this manner, the PRIME Center will serve as a resource for enhancing management and ethics education nationwide.
  • Professional research on Management and Ethics will be conducted by PRIME Center affiliates, including Fr. Gerald Cavanagh, S.J., the Charles T. Fisher III Chair of Business Ethics, who is recognized nationally as a founder of the business ethics field. The Center will share this research at professional conferences and publish it in leading journals for the benefit of scholars around the world.

According to Eisenhauer, “the activities of the PRIME Center will expand both academic and professional opportunities for students, and ensure that we maintain our leadership position both regionally and nationally in management and ethics.”

Future plans for the PRIME Center include a Behavioral Dynamics Lab, in which teamwork and leadership are studied first-hand through audio and video recording of group interactions and remote conferencing. Other centers of excellence in the College of Business Administration include The Center for Social Entrepreneurship, America’s Business High School, The Financial Markets Lab and Institute for North Korean Studies.

The College of Business Administration’s accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) places it among the top 5 percent of business schools in the world.

In addition, the College’s graduate and undergraduate Management programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.

To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration, click here.

SAU alumnus Dr. Jacob Atem receives CCCU Young Alumni Award

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) has announced that Dr. Jacob Atem, a 2008 graduate of Spring Arbor University and the co-founder, president, and CEO of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization, has been named the 2019 CCCU Young Alumni Award winner. The award was presented on Wednesday, Jan. 30, during the 2019 CCCU Presidents Conference in Washington, D.C. The CCCU Young Alumni Award is presented to individuals who have graduated within the last 10 years and have exhibited uncommon leadership or achieved notable success in a way that reflects Christian higher education.

“Jacob was one of 40,000 children orphaned by the Second Sudanese Civil War. His story of perseverance in the midst of trauma, despite unimaginable odds, inspires such hope,” shared CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra. “As we continue to engage in national conversations surrounding immigration, Jacob’s story reminds us of the power of individuals to make a difference, the life-changing work of higher education and, most importantly, the unparalleled glory of our God.”

Atem’s passion for helping others and his love for South Sudan stems from his own experience as one of Sudan’s Lost Boys. Atem was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on Southern Sudan. After walking over 2,000 miles with other lost boys, he found refuge in Kenya before coming to the United States at 15. With the support of his foster family in Michigan, he graduated high school and went on to study at Spring Arbor University (SAU), where he experienced the antithesis of his lost boy experience: a welcoming community of faith, full of mentors and friends ready to invest in his life.

After personally witnessing the effects of malnutrition and disease, his experience in America propelled Atem to continue his education in order to give back. In the midst of his studies, Atem co-founded the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO) and raised $800,000 toward building a clinic in his hometown. Today, SSHCO sees over 3,000 patients monthly for less than $5 a person, fulfilling Atem’s hope of bringing hope to where it is lost. After Spring Arbor, he continued his education by earning a Master of Public Health at Michigan State University and, eventually, a doctorate in Environmental and Global Health at the University of Florida. Atem is currently a postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.

“For me, I wouldn’t be who I am today without God,” Atem said. “One of my favorite verses says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ After coming to America, I found myself being blessed in a land of freedom, a place where you can learn and actually practice your faith, and I was blown away. This scripture has truly impacted my life, and after realizing I could work hard to help others, now I am returning to give to my country and share my story.”

“Jacob is an exceptional alumnus and represents the truly transformational experience an intentionally Christian education can have upon a student,” added SAU President Brent Ellis. “When Jacob immigrated to the United States, he brought nothing with him but his courage, perseverance, determination, and passion. These characteristics served him well as he worked diligently during his years at SAU. Mentored by professors and staff, Jacob graduated prepared not only for graduate school, humanitarian work and global advocacy, but ready to serve our world as an ambassador of Christ, as a minister of redemption and reconciliation and a as critical participant in the contemporary world.”

Olivet College Earns Recognition as Top 10 Gold-Level Military Friendly School

Olivet College has been designated as a 2019-2020 Top 10 Gold-Level Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, ranking third in the category of private schools not offering a doctorate degree. Military Friendly® serves as a standard to measure an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.

The designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

“The tremendous courage soldiers risk deserves our lasting gratitude. As our veterans return, it is our goal to align ourselves with the programs and support designed to help these men and women make the most of the educational opportunities Olivet College has to offer,” said Leslie Sullivan, registrar and VA certifying official. “What we receive in return from their experience can only be perceived as valuable.”

OC Dedicated to Student-Veterans
Olivet College recognizes and honors the sacrifices that U.S. service members make in the defense of our nation. The college is dedicated to assisting veterans, guardsmen, reservists and others receiving U.S. military benefits in making a successful transition to the college community. The Olivet College Veteran Scholarship for veterans, active military members and their families equals 50 percent of tuition costs. In addition, the student services office assists veterans, active duty military students and dependents of veterans with certification, registration and financial aid. Further, the campus is home to a support organization for veteran and active duty students and their families.

Learn more about Olivet College’s service to military students, or connect with the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

When is the best time to visit colleges?

(Albion College, voted 12th Most Beautiful College in Winter)

It’s winter, and the tundra is setting in – at least it is here in Michigan. The last thing you are thinking about is planning a trip to visit campuses. Those long walks across snow-covered quads are certainly less appealing when the temperatures are teetering at the same level as the number of layers you’ll be wearing to stay warm. Or maybe you are a freshman or sophomore, and it’s just “not time yet.”

So, “When is the best time to visit?”  The answer may not be what you expect.  Here are some tips for getting the most out of campus visits:

Time of year:
As summer strolls in and the school year winds down, families across the country are gearing with plans to visit college campuses. Tours are crowded, staff is minimal, and quads are relatively barren. Although the summer months are more convenient for your time, ideally you should try to plan your visits when classes are in session and the campuses are full of life.  Think of it like trying on a pair of new shoes: do you get the proper assessment while sitting? No, you get up, walk around, and perhaps jog in them… as it should also be done visiting campuses. Simulate the day-to-day as if you are attending the school. It doesn’t necessarily mean go in the dead of winter, but consider this: it may be cold, but it’ll also be cold while you attend, won’t it?

Age of student:
It can be very rewarding to visit colleges and universities before your junior and senior year (read: before it’s decision time). You are less concerned about choosing and “buying” when you are simply “window shopping” and more interested in checking out the inventory. Expose yourself to as many different kinds of places—big schools, small schools, research universities, liberal arts colleges, urban campuses, places way out in the country—to develop a broad perspective of all the different options. Then, when it is time to make a decision, you’ll have a better foundation on which to choose.

Before stepping foot on the first campus (and each one after that…):
Your new mantra: Relax, enjoy, decide later. Resist the impulse to judge immediately, good or bad. Your first reaction is bound to be emotional, and usually overly positive—college is really cool! Sleep on it. Weigh your impressions against the other schools you visit and try to remain as objective as possible so your rose-colored glasses don’t allow you to overlook things.

How to choose:
As you visit the campuses, allow your senses to guide you. Really like something? Take note of it. Feel like something’s missing? Take note of it. Gut instinct is usually pretty accurate. Additionally, the perceptions from your visits will come in handy when completing your college applications. Remember this: tying personal experience to the campus environment will blow the minds of the admissions department!

What to look for:
Focus on fit. We perform at our best when we have a level of comfort, belonging, and value. Questions to ask yourself: How does the college meet my academic needs? Will I be challenged appropriately? Is the style of instruction a good match for how I learn? Does the college offer a community that makes me feel “at home?” Does the college offer extracurricular activities that interest me?

After the visit, before you leave:
Connect with the recruiter. Colleges and universities typically assign admissions personnel to different areas of the country for recruiting efficiency. If your area’s recruiter is available, definitely introduce yourself. Either way, get that person’s contact information. Consider him/her as your “go to” person when you have important questions later in the admissions process. And remember this: there is nothing insignificant nor too embarrassing to ask. The admissions staff is there to help!

What to do next:
Record your visit. Make notes as soon as you are able. The more campuses you visit, the more they will begin to blend together, especially from memory. Take pictures to give yourself a visual index of what you’ve seen to avoid confusion later.

And finally:
Enjoy the process. It can be easy to get lost in the excitement and have that energy turn into anxiety. Relax. Start the search early. Visit during the school year to witness the campus’s true environment. Trust your senses and take notes.

As you map your college visit road trip, include a few of Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities on your list. These schools are purposefully smaller and emphasize “community over crowds.” Often comparable in cost to Michigan’s public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates, outstanding faculty who help students forge their own paths, and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and personal experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Your One-Stop, College Admissions Connection: Virtual College Fair

We’ve said it before.  The best way to choose your own path is to visit a college campus… or three.  Breathe the air.  Wander the student center.  Sit in on a lecture.  Chat up a few professors.  Grab a meal in the dining hall.  Stroll through the quad.

But the college search doesn’t usually start with a visit to campus.  You might begin by looking at websites or admissions booklets, or attending a college fair to learn more.  Pixels and pages are a start, but nothing beats talking to a person, and college fairs can be time consuming to attend.  Now, there’s a solution!

Enter the Virtual College Fair.  It’s never been easier to connect with a college admissions office and get your big questions answered.

The Virtual College Fair offers free access to video recordings and live streams from Michigan’s top private colleges and universities.  Watch the recordings, pick your favorites (or pick them all!), and then register – individually or with your family – to attend a live and interactive web-based Q&A session with admissions and other college representatives.  Learn more here.

Like what you hear?  Reach out to the college to continue the conversation and maybe even schedule a visit!

Upcoming Live Q&A Sessions

December 4, 2018 at 7 PM:  Alma College
December 4, 2018 at 8 PM:  Aquinas College
December 5 , 2018 at 7 PM:  Madonna University 
December 6, 2018 at 7 PM:  University of Detroit Mercy 
December 6, 2018 at 8 PM:  Calvin College
December 11, 2018 at 7 PM:  Albion College 
December 12, 2018 at 7 PM:  Spring Arbor University
December 13, 2018 at 7 PM:  Hillsdale College 

Irish Dance and Culture at Aquinas College

Aquinas College loves Irish culture!  Since the early ’70s, Aquinas has embraced Ireland. As the only college in Michigan to offer an Irish Studies minor, Aquinas’ interdisciplinary program offers a comprehensive understanding of Irish culture in both historical and contemporary contexts. For more than 40 years, students and faculty have studied in Tully Cross, Ireland, to gain a unique perspective of Irish history and culture.  And new in fall 2018, Aquinas students can now join the only Michigan collegiate Irish Dance Club to offer scholarships to dance athletes!

Trained Irish dancers enrolling with previous experience will have the opportunity to continue their love and study of Irish dance, music and culture. Eligible students can earn annual scholarships to join the club team. Dancers will collaborate and choreograph dances under the direction of Liz Heinzman, TCRG, and showcase these dances at performances and competitions against other teams.

The club will also offer workshops to non-experienced students who would like to learn the basics of Irish dance.

“ Aquinas has embraced Ireland, providing three signature programs that allow students to immerse themselves in the culture through study, experience and dance.”
– President Kevin G. Quinn

Learn more at aquinas.edu/irish-dance.
For information about Aquinas’ Irish Studies program, visit aquinas.edu/irish.

Major Gift to Albion College Will Transform U.S. Pre-Medical Education

The Wilson Institute for Medicine, created through a $5.1 million gift from Lisa and James Wilson, ’79 ’77, will empower faculty across disciplines to meet head-on the rapidly evolving medical-school landscape.

Through updates and enhancements to the curriculum, Albion will be at the vanguard of American pre-med programs.

 

With medical education’s significant changes in the 21st century—recalibrating to give increased emphasis to the discipline’s universal human and social aspects—there is growing concern in the field that the core pre-medical curriculum, virtually unchanged for decades, must similarly adapt.

Some say the need is urgent. And a major gift to Albion College will put the liberal arts institution out in front nationally, leading the way in closing the undergraduate preparation gap.

In what amounts to a $5.1 million statement, Dr. James Wilson, ’77, and Lisa Wilson, ’79, have established the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine at Albion College. It’s the largest gift by an individual or couple in the history of the College, which quickly has seen a distinct goal emerge on campus as it forms plans and action steps for the months and years ahead.

“It’s time for us to once again take the lead in innovating pre-medical education,” said Dr. Mauri Ditzler, president of Albion College. “Medical schools have changed dramatically in the last decade. We need to make certain that pre-medical education keeps up with that. We’ve always been a leader in this field; it’s time for us to be a role model.”

An evolution from the former Institute for Healthcare Professions, the Wilson Institute for Medicine will rethink and advance undergraduate teaching and preparation so that all Albion students who aspire to become physicians can realize their dreams in a fast changing medical-education environment. Through updated and more pertinent pre-med and pre-health coursework, Albion students will have a competitive advantage in gaining entrance to top-tier medical schools and in their overall career paths.

“People have been thinking about this idea for a while, but no one has really tackled it yet,” said Dr. Bradley Rabquer, associate professor of biology and director of the Wilson Institute for Medicine. “As the MCAT has changed, as medical schools have revamped their curricula, there is this large gap at the pre-med side, in the undergraduate curriculum. So we’re really striking while the iron is hot. The opportunity now is great.”

Increasingly, medical schools are incorporating patient care and interaction—traditionally the focus of the later clinical years—into the curriculum’s first two years, which previously had been dominated by “heavy, hard sciences” according to Rabquer. Today, he said, “there is more exposure to patients earlier, an emphasis on caring for people right at the start.”

This fall, a group of 10 faculty from the departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Psychological Science will review changes in medical school curricula, read current literature on some of the resulting outcomes, and begin to merge those findings with current best practices in undergraduate teaching. Following that pedagogical groundwork, the professors will move into course development in the winter and spring, Rabquer said, “so that we can roll out some new integrated, novel courses in time for the fall 2019 semester.”

The Institute, and Albion’s intentions, are already being noticed at the medical-school level.

“The practice of clinical medicine has changed dramatically in the last 20 to 30 years,” said Dr. James Woolliscroft, professor of medicine and former dean of the University of Michigan Medical School. “And yet when you think about the whole preparation that students go through in their undergraduate years, it hasn’t changed that much. Prerequisites to most medical schools have remained essentially constant for over a hundred years despite dramatic changes in the practice of medicine and the scientific basis thereof.

“It’s very timely that this is being looked at and readdressed,” Woolliscroft continued. “I see Albion leading what will hopefully be a national movement of liberal arts colleges who are intent on preparing their students not for the past, but for the future.”

The gift follows several years of conversation between Albion faculty and the Wilsons, acknowledging a gap that appeared to be widening in the discipline and tapping into their passions and expertise to do something about it.

“We’re at a time in the whole ecosystem of medical schools and colleges and residency programs where this kind of change would be welcome,” said Dr. Wilson, Rose H. Weiss Orphan Disease Center director’s professor and director of the gene therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan after graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in chemistry from Albion. “I’m confident that the Albion College community will have the resolve and the agility to be able to move in this very different and transformative direction.”

“Over the years, I’ve gotten to know many of the students Jim has taught who have worked in his lab, and I saw their struggles and I saw how difficult it was for them,” said Lisa Wilson, who after receiving her B.A. in economics and management from Albion worked in hospital administration for a number of years. “What I hope the Institute accomplishes is that every pre-med student at Albion College who qualifies and works really hard reaches their dream to become a doctor.”“Our hope,” Jim added, “is that with the kind of resources we can bring and leverage to bring in other resources, we can enable this to happen.”

And Albion College, its president added, is the ideal place to fulfill the vision.

“A liberal arts college like Albion is nimble. We can make changes in a year or two that a bigger institution might take a decade to accomplish,” said Ditzler, himself a chemist by training. “The innovative work we’re doing in pre-medical education through the Wilson Institute should not be underestimated. This is a fundamental change in the way we and others will think about preparing students to become doctors. But it’s something that we’re well prepared for. The faculty and staff from all over the institution, as well as our alumni, are committed to making this work.”

Alma College Alternative Fall Breaks Include Local Service Options

Students learn about the impact of genocide, interact with special needs youth, remove invasive shrubs and participate in wildlife rehabilitation during Alma College’s Alternative Fall Break.

Alma College’s mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.  Students of Alma College strive to take this mission statement and transform it into a way of living. One example of these efforts is the nearly 200 students who participate in the Alma College Alternative Break Program.

This program began in 2003 as a single service trip with 20 participants. Students now participate in 10 or more volunteer opportunities throughout the course of the academic year.

Alma College had the third highest percentage of alternative breakers last year according to the Break Away national survey. A total of 193 schools responded to this survey hosted by the national organization supporting the development of alternative break experiences.

Alternative Fall Breaks offer several one- or two-day trips across the State of Michigan. Meanwhile, the holiday and spring service options allow students to serve throughout the nation for an entire week. More information on fall service and upcoming trip options can be found at https://www.alma.edu/academics/experiential-learning/leadership-programs/alternative-breaks.php.

“I went on my first Alternative Break in the spring of 2017. The destination was Mammoth Caves National Park and the experience was wonderful,” says program student co-leader Erin Goggins of Hastings. “Learning about the environment, making new friends and serving others have made this program extremely important to me.”

“Helping others become active citizens in the community is something else that I find especially great about organizing these trips,” says Goggins. “I am thankful that Alma College has provided me with the opportunity to do this.”

Adrian College Welcomes 1,500 Visitors to Campus for Annual Sneak Peek Day

Adrian College hosted its annual Sneak Peek Day in July, welcoming over 1,500 attendees to campus.  As in the past, the event offers visiting freshmen a glimpse of campus accommodations, student life and the opportunity to meet with their roommates to plan for the fall semester. Students and their families perused the Adrian College Bookstore, dined at Ritchie Marketplace and toured around the Mall to meet fellow incoming Bulldogs.

Corinne Fereshetian, a freshman from Farmington Hills, Michigan, attended Sneak Peek Day despite previously touring campus on recruitment visits. “I am so excited to start school at AC this fall. The campus is beautiful and everyone is always friendly,” she said. “I am most looking forward to spending time in all of the new facilities and cheering on other teams in Arrington.”

Staff and faculty were available throughout the event to answer questions, discuss the upcoming fall semester and provide a first-hand tour to incoming students, family and friends.  Sneak Peek Day also provided full access academic buildings and dorms, as well as offered drawings with prizes such as mini-fridges and an iPad. Many students also pre-registered for their fall classes in anticipation of Welcome Week in August.

“It was really helpful to have so many professors and students on campus during Sneak Peek Day, but I also liked that we had our own time to explore campus,” said Elizabeth Hume from Wheaton, IL. “Being on this kind of campus is so unique because you’re able to get to know all of your classmates, and there are ample opportunities for every single person to excel both in and outside the classroom.”

Experience the magic of Sneak Peek Day, check out the recap video!

Ready to visit a campus for yourself?  Check out our listing of on campus events and visit days.

How Michigan colleges and Google are Reinventing Classroom Learning

When Alma College Professor Anthony Collamati sat down with all the students in his winter semester Media Theory and Culture class for the first time, the course was almost over.

You read that right.

Collamati was part of a revolutionary pilot program led by the Michigan Colleges Alliance that allowed students at Alma, Albion and Calvin colleges to take courses at member campuses using video conferencing technology from Google and interactive 55-inch “jamboards” to communicate.

That means Collamati had seven students in a classroom at Alma, six Albion undergraduates dialed in from their campus and three from Calvin attending from Grand Rapids.

The collaboration between the Michigan Colleges Alliance — a group of 14 of Michigan’s best private colleges and universities working together to provide opportunities for students in and outside of the classrooms — Google, which donated technology, and Steelcase, which outfitted learning environments for optimal communication, is the first-of-its-kind nationally.

The idea behind the interactive multi-campus class sharing is to maximize limited resources and provide students wider learning opportunities, said Michigan Colleges Alliance President Dr. Bob Bartlett.

“Nothing like this is happening in the country other than right here,” Bartlett said recently to students and instructors involved in the pilot. “It’s cutting edge. You’re a part of something brand new and it’s happening right here in Michigan and with Michigan Colleges Alliance.”

“We’re on to something that is going to have a national scope. I think that’s pretty exciting.”

Students agreed with Bartlett’s assessment.

Nichole Brown, an Albion junior studying math, was part of Collamati’s class. She registered for the section specifically to experience and learn the technology. Brown said any initial skepticism ended with the interactive nature and excitement of being part of something new.

“This is opening up opportunity for students to take classes we’ve never had access to and to be a part of something that’s never been done,” Nichole said. “Technology has such a wide range of applications in other fields that learning it now will benefit me later.”

The pilot was structured around three classes that are unique to the school or typically have lower student registrations. Bartlett said the courses, “Earth, Art and the Environment” offered through Albion, “Visual Sociology” through Calvin, and Collamati’s, were chosen to highlight that the program could tackle demanding topics.

Collamati described building a close connection to and between the students despite the distance between the campuses. He and the students had to lean-in and engage each other, developing seminar-style robust discussions. Each class session felt like an event, Collamati said.

“It supports the type of personalized teaching that we value and know is most valuable,” Collamati said.

Collamati reflected on the recent lunch at which he physically met two-thirds of his students, saying it didn’t feel like their first encounter.

“I knew their personalities just like I would if they had been sitting in front of me the entire semester,” he said.

The colleges are studying how to improve the experience while planning to expand the partnership in Fall 2018 to include seven classes. Roman Williams, a Calvin College sociology professor who taught one of the three pilot classes, said the evaluation will help all parties understand the program’s strengths and how it can develop.

“We have a hunch that there are two entirely different experiences when you’re in class and when you’re video-conferenced in,” he said. “What are those differences?  How did the student react and how did the professor adapt? I know, for me, the technology forced me to reinvent some of the ways I taught and I think it challenged everyone for the better.”

The second edition of the collaboration will focus on more traditional math and science courses to explore how the technology works in those arenas.

Bartlett praised the institutions for being innovative.

“Our presidents are really visionary and wanted to create something different, something exciting for students,” he said. “I’m amazed at the degree of collaboration that I’ve seen in this process. The way work gets done now is what our students are experiencing in the classroom. Everyone is working together to lay the tracks for our future.”