03.03.16 – Luncheon Notes
SPOKES Notes by Nick Kroeze
President Derek Aten welcomed all present to this special luncheon at Davenport University. After a few reminders of upcoming events, Derek invited Carl Verbeek to the podium for our invocation, followed by Michael Loughman‘s introduction and welcome of guests. After a good salad lunch, we went directly into the program with Jackie Taylor providing a robust introduction of Dr. Rick Pappas, today’s speaker.
Dr. Pappas was lighthearted and thoroughly engaging as he interacted with the club and highlighted several affirming facts about Davenport, the second-largest not-for-profit private university in Michigan. He noted that the now-completed strategic plan—Vision 2015—held 13 Key Performance Indicators which affirm the tremendous growth, impact, graduate placement and employer satisfaction that the university has attained. The establishment of the Employment Guarantee was an important promise to students that occurred in these years and has also served the university as an accountability factor ensuring continuing improvements, quality and connectedness with internal and external communities.
Though DU has eliminated its associate degree (Dr. Pappas noting that GRCC “does that really well”), 17 new majors have been added. The creation of the College of Urban Education came as a direct response to the needs of our community and the desire of the university to be part and partner in serving disenfranchised sectors of K-12 education. CUE seeks to empower faculty and administration to serve well in the urban environment. Another step DU has taken to affirm and advance its mission is its competency-based MBA program which focuses on students’ ability rather than years in class to achieve. Dr. Pappas also sees DU moving toward a three-years-to-degree capability in the near future.
We then enjoyed a 150th Anniversary video, Dr. Pappas having emphasized that “To know where you are going, you also need to know where you have been.” The video encapsulated well the development, challenges, and impact of Davenport since its founding in 1866. Upon the conclusion of the video, the Q & A which followed revealed that the Employment Guarantee has worked well and is manageable in DU’s budget; that DU intends to stay present in downtown; that DU has one of the highest minority student populations in the state; and that enrollment stands around 8500, with some 800 students residing on campus.
President Aten expressed thanks and affirmation to Dr. Pappas, honoring him with the water filter donation and embracing him with a selfie. President Aten also made note that Wayne Muller is celebrating his 51st year in Rotary—congratulations (and thank you), Wayne!