Having trouble reading this newsletter? Click here to see it in your browser.

20 Year Celebration

This year the Grand Valley State University College Student Affairs Leadership program celebrated 20 years with a reunion celebration. Former and current students gathered on the Allendale campus Friday, June 12, 2015 for a round table followed by a welcome reception in the Alumni House. Saturday, June 13, 2015 started with a campus tour, highlighting all the new facilities Grand Valley has provided for the students including the Mary Idema Pew Library, the LakerStore formerly known as the University Bookstore, and the P. Douglas Kindschi Science Hall set to open in August. The day ended with a reception honoring Lorraine Alston's contributions to this program. 

A Note from Bart

In August the following was sent by Dean Merkle to the Division of Student Services:

All Student Services Staff:

I am writing this note to inform you of my decision to retire from the role of Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the conclusion of the coming academic year – with the support of Provost Gayle Davis and former Dean Elaine Collins, I will join the faculty in the College of Education to teach in the Higher Education graduate program beginning fall, 2016.  Transitioning to a faculty role will be an exciting endeavor for me since I love teaching and I have worked with the graduate students and faculty in the program since its inception.

Leading the Division of Student Services at Grand Valley has been an honor and a privilege.  Grand Valley is a special place because of capable, hard-working, and truly outstanding students, faculty, and staff.  The vision that President Lubbers and Provost Niemeyer shared with me when I arrived at Grand Valley was exciting, compelling, and achievable – and that vision has continued to develop and expand through the distinctive leadership of President Murray, President Haas, and Provost Davis.  To be afforded an opportunity to contribute to this university’s development over the years is the most challenging, rewarding, and satisfying professional experience that I could ever hope to have.  Indeed, I am grateful and humbled to be part of such a marvelous place and to work with all of you.

I extend a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone in the division, both past and present, who have worked with me to build a strong, student-centered division that: engages students actively in co-curricular learning; provides support services that enable students to achieve personal and academic success; facilitates an inclusive institutional climate that values respect, civility, and free expression; collaborates with faculty and staff across the university to improve student learning; and challenges staff to improve their competencies as student affairs practitioner/educators.  I am proud of what we have achieved together and I hope that you are too. 

We have an exciting year ahead of us.  Please know that I will continue to work diligently with you to focus on our divisional priorities, to achieve our goals, to make the leadership transition smooth, and to make Grand Valley a better place for all students, faculty, and staff. 

Warmest regards,

H. Bart Merkle

Class of 2017

Welcome to the class of 2017! In February we had 56 candidates come to GVSU to attend the CSAL Visitation days and 13 that were interviewed via Skype for 26 positions. In addition there are 3 students that will be participating in our mentorship program. As we begin the fall semester we have a total of 58 graduate assistants and 7 participating in the mentorship program. Thank you to all of our current students and alumni for promoting GVSU as a great place for learning and professional preparation!

Alumni Updates - Class of 2015

At this time the overall placement rate is 83% and the Student Affairs Placement Rate - 79%

Mario L. Adkins -  Aquinas College
Elizabeth Clark - Michigan State University
Emily J. Davis - Grand Valley State University
Angiola Gabriel - Southwestern Michigan College
Travis  Gibbons - Calvin College
Jeff Gibson - University of North Dakota
Kaitlyn Griffin - Stony Brook University
Katie Carson - UC Berkley
Brittany Holzhueter - Arizona State University
V'Lecea Hunter - Grand Valley State University
Kevin Jacobs - SunTrust Bank
KJ (Jones) Tucker - Central Michigan University Higher Education Doctoral student
Jeff Keson - Central Michigan University
Theresa Lyon - University of Cincinnati
Joe Miller - NC State University
Kevin Moodie - Kansas State University
Laura Murnen - University of Cincinnati
Matthew Musser - Stetson University
Jamar Ragland - Muskegon High School
Kayli Skorupka - Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University
Nicholas J. Stepaniak - DePauw University
Kate Thome - Byron Center Schools
Patrick Weisgerber - Hope College
Kellie Zachman - James Madison University

Awards and Recognition

Scott Burden and Tiffany Steele 2015 CSAL Case Study Winners

Congratulations to Scott Burden and Tiffany Steele who took first place at the annual CSAL Case Study Competition.

Jakia Fuller and Carolyn McLean participated in the MCPA Case Study Competition and took home second place. Great job!!

Conference Presenters:

  • Scott Burden and Nicole Wilson

Michigan Tutorial Association:

  • Jeff Keson and Mariana Naddaf

American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Conference:

  • Mario Adkins

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education:

  • Mario Adkins


  • Matt Musser

MAEOPP (National TRiO Conference):

  • Jeff Keson


Michigan Academic Advising Association Outstanding Adviser Award- Grad Student: Theresa Lyon

Blue Apple Award: Mario Adkins

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 Honorable Mention Poster Award: Mario Adkins

2014-2015 CSAL Awards:
Outstanding Student Award: Theresa Lyon

Graduate Dean's Award for Academic Achievement: Jeff Keson

Graduate Dean's Award for Leadership and Service to GVSU: VLecea R. Hunter

Graduate Dean's Award for Diversity and Inclusion at GVSU: KJ Jones

New Executive Board for SAGA

The 2014/15 academic year marked SAGA's 2nd year as a student organization. As we start the 3rd year we are proud to announce that SAGA will be venturing beyond just the CSAL program. There are many students and GA's who work in our field of work and are not members of our cohort. We feel that changing this culture will enhance the experience of both those in the CSAL cohort and those who are in different programs. This focus will allow for more diversity in our organization to better all upcoming student affairs professionals.

This year we have a few great opportunities to be engaged on campus and with in the student affairs umbrella. SAGA will be more involved with the Graduate Student Association, volunteer for GV events such as homecoming, and host fundraising events that will engage staff, faculty, and alumni to help us succeed with our mission of figuring a way for most, if not all of us to attend the NASPA national conference that will be held in Indiana, or other conferences as desired.

As we gear up for the 2015/16 academic year, we are excited for the growth of SAGA and all of our members!

The Student Affairs Graduate Association (SAGA) introduced a new Executive Board during the Winter 2015 semester. Take a moment to help welcome the new e-board members.

Jake Stodgel- President
Jake completed his undergraduate work at the University of Illinois-Springfield where he received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He currently holds the graduate assistant position in the Dean of Students office working with Aaron Klein Haight.

Megan Ellinger- Executive Vice President
Megan graduated from Central Michigan University with her bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Service Administration with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. Megan started her time in the CSAL program participating in the mentor program. She is now holds the Campus Programming graduate assistant position in the Student Employment Office.

Ashleigh Begres- Vice President of Finance
Ashleigh finished her degree in Secondary Education focusing on Spanish with a minor in Health at the University of Michigan. After participating in the mentor program for a semester, Ashleigh was offered an assistantship at Grand Rapids Community College working in the Office of Student Life and Conduct. 

Amber DePree- Vice President of Programming
Amber joined the GVSU CSAL program from Western Michigan University where she double majored in behavioral science and anthropology. She was also a member of the mentor program when she started CSAL and is now the graduate assistant in the Student Academic Success Center working with tutoring.

Faculty Updates

The CSAL program would like to give a warm welcome to our new faculty member joining us in Fall 2015 from Indiana University, Karyn Rabourn.

Karyn grew up in Ann Arbor, MI before attending Michigan State University for her undergraduate and master’s degrees. She worked in Residence Life at Michigan State University, as well as the University of Pittsburgh, before she returned to school to pursue her doctorate. Karyn is currently finishing her PhD in higher education and student affairs at Indiana University, with her dissertation focusing on beginning college student attitudes towards educational loan debt. She is also interested in research that focuses on improving student affairs practice through successful assessment and evaluation.

Karyn is excited to return to Michigan to be closer to family and friends, especially her three nephews. In her downtime Karyn enjoys college sports, with basketball in particular being her favorite. March Madness is one of the best times of the year for her.

Outside of academics she also enjoys the outdoors, including hiking and camping, which Karyn is excited to do more of once she returns to Michigan.

Karyn is very excited to start working at Grand Valley State University and cannot wait to meet all of the students she will be working with in the fall!

CSAL Giving

Did you know that gifts to the university by an alum who has NEVER made a gift will qualify for a 2 to 1 match set forth by President Haas?

Gifts up to $500 qualify. Example: A donation of $500 to any fund of your choice turns into $1,500 toward that fund. A donation of $175 turns into $525 etc. and the alum donor gets all the credit! Pledges also qualify. (offer valid through Dec. 31, 2015) Questions? Contact universitydevelopment@gvsu.edu



This email was sent to [email address suppressed]
Click here to instantly unsubscribe.

College Student Affairs Leadership
1 Campus Drive, 202 STU
Allendale, MI 49401
Phone: (616) 331-3585 | haighta@gvsu.edu