Board of Control approves Master of Social Work program, renovations to Brandimore House, parking lots

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The SVSU Board of Control held its regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 20, where it passed the approval of the Master of Social Work program at SVSU and renovations to Merry Jo Brandimore House along with several parking lots.

The new Master of Social Work Program will be implemented in the Fall 2017 semester. The Board was keen on approving the program due to a 12 percent projected growth in the job market for social work, resulting from a shortage of workers in the Great Lakes Bay Region and Michigan as a whole.

“This is a huge move for us into this master’s degree program,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Deb Huntley said. “We have about 400 undergraduate social work students. Most recently, they go to Michigan State or Wayne State. We believe and know that they will now be likely to stay at SVSU.”

The university expects to enroll 20 students next fall into a traditional two-year master’s program and an additional 40 in May for a one-year program.

Merry Jo Brandimore House and several parking lots on campus will undergo renovations after approval from the Board. The renovations to Brandimore House include countertop replacement, re-carpeting, installing new doors and some mechanical work. The project will cost approximately $800,000.

Parking lot projects will include work on both K-lot and J-3 Lot. Specifically, walkway features will be added to K-lot. The estimated cost of these projects was originally $525,000, but was later updated to $615,000 because of the addition of the walkways.

The Board also announced the hosting of the FIRST Robotics State Competition by SVSU from April 12 through 15. There is expected to be 160 teams competing and more than 4,500 people on campus each day.

“What an opportunity we have for exposure,” said Carolyn Wierda, the executive director of STEM@SVSU. “We’re going to take every single opportunity we can.”

Other action items passed included the board granting emeritus status to former Police Chief Ron Trepkowski, who served SVSU for over 36 years.

“In my opinion, he’s one of the finest individuals we’ve employed over the years at SVSU,” said Jim Muladore, the executive vice president for Administration & Business Affairs said. “He was here during a time when we really expanded the role of University Police on campus.”

Trepkowski will now be recognized as “Chief of Police Emeritus.”

The board also granted tenure to 18 professors from the university. Faculty tenure provides continuous employment for a faculty member for at least a basic two-semester appointment during each fiscal year.

“These folks have been supported by their departments, their deans and other bodies,” Huntley said. “There’s some rock stars in this group.”

Student Association President Cody McKay, who sits on the board but is not a voting member, discussed the recent trip to Washington, where 112 students attended the Presidential Inauguration, and events such as Mental Health Awareness Week and the Cardinal Ball, scheduled for Saturday night.

“Also, a month from today (Student Association) elections will begin,” McKay said. “There’s a lot of buzz about that right now.”