April 25th, 2014

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End Of The Year, End Of The Beginning

President Dunn had his e-newsletter out today. Besides the usual about the end of the school year and the numbers of students graduating tomorrow -- before final grades are done (grin) -- he also had some info about Western's new medical school:

The WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

logoAfter nearly six years of discussion and planning, our community's new private medical school is about to become a reality. And that medical school has a name—the best one in medical education.

The WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine owes its more than $100 million in foundation funding to Ronda Stryker, granddaughter of Homer Stryker, and her husband, William Johnston, a WMU trustee.

They have our gratitude for embracing a vision and expressing confidence in the University and its hospital partners. More than 3,500 applications were received for 50 seats in the inaugural class that will enroll this fall. Please mark your calendars now for the gala grand opening events on Sept. 18. The entire campus community is invited.

The question is, of course, did we need a medical school? Did we need another medical school in Michigan? Did we need another medical school in West Michigan?

It's hard to answer, especially as the fallout from the start of the Affordable Care Act and the continued giant hospitalization of doctors isn't clear. However, I will say that Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo have each fostered large medical hospitals -- some of which have merged -- which provide a huge number of spots for medical student internships and residencies. But when we moved down here twenty-plus years ago, there were no medical schools on this end of the state. They were all in East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

WMU has talked about doing a medical school for years, just as it talked about trying to get into the top tiers of the Carnegie Research University classifications -- to be taken seriously against the Big Boys of Michigan State, Michigan and Wayne State. This during a very tight time of finances, when there was even some discussion about whether Western should be shut down. GVSU, which has a large nursing program, also talked about a medical school. But in the end two things happened: (1) Michigan State decided to move its School of Human Medicine from East Lansing to The Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, chock full of hospitals and major research centers, and (2) Western was able to fund its own medical school in Kalamazoo without, so they say, a dime of state or tuition money.

And 3500 applications for 50 places in the inaugural class is certainly one level of either success of the proposal or desperation amongst students trying to get into medical school, any medical school, anywhere.

So we'll see how good the program comes in. But I for one will give it the benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of doctors in the area who are already teaching medical students -- they just didn't have a medical school in their backyard to do it in. I'd like to think that a WMU medical school might even be able to make a small dent in the shortage of GPs... though I suppose you could consider that wildly optimistic given everyone else's track records.

Meanwhile, back to grading worksheets...

Dr. Phil
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Ah, Grade-a-Thon

It's that time of the year when I have two big piles of Topic 1 -- the Science Literacy Book Report -- and Topic 2 -- the real world data worksheets.

So far... I haven't run into the perennial favorite word in the papers, defiantly. As is, I defiantly agree with the author...

But this year, everything is futuristic. In a paragraph where futuristic is used six times, I begin seeing futuristic novel as something which is post-Kindle electronic...

And on the worksheets, despite being warned that towards the end of the course they will in a given problem tell me that there is a non-zero acceleration in one part and in the next, cheerfully use d = v t, which assumes constant or average speed... basically a = 0. AND I get a lot of people pulling that on the real world data worksheets.

Or failing to use the correct time. They have to figure out their car's acceleration, by going from zero to V mph in T seconds, and also figure out a longer trip of TTTTT seconds. And of course if you go from 0 to 60 mph (26.8 m/s), then a = v / t = 26.8 m/s / 12 seconds is going to give a very different answer than 26.8 m/s / 16,450 seconds...

PTPBIP -- Put The Physics Back Into the Problem is our battle cry. The problem is not done when the calculator spits out an answer and you write it on the paper.

I tell 'em. I warn 'em.

Doesn't do everyone any good. (sad-grin)

Grade-a-Thon continues.

Dr. Phil
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A Taste Of The Professional World

We ventured up to Celebration North tonight. May have been my first time at the Big movie theatre since I got wheels. (grin) Every summer GVSU's School of Communication does a film project -- a mix of experienced professionals and faculty with GVSU students. They learn the job of a film shoot by participating and watching. Some are shorts. They've done at least one full-length film -- we were extras at a basketball game, but weren't in any shots.
The public is welcome to the premiere of “The White Bag,” the 19th annual Grand Valley State University Summer Film Project, produced in 2013. The short film was written and directed by filmmaker Marie Ullrich, assistant professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley. Admission is $5, including a post-screening reception.

“The White Bag” screening
Friday, April 25, 8 p.m.
Celebration Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Drive NE, Grand Rapids


DVDs of the film will be on sale in the lobby for $10. All proceeds help fund future GVSU Summer Film Projects. The 16-minute comedy centers on an old woman who loses her temper with ”kids today” and becomes a local hero in her one-woman crusade for politeness. The lead role of Pearl Baskin is played by local actor Victoria Mullen. The supporting role of Sam Puck is played by Chicago actor Ashley Black.

Ullrich assembled a team of professionals to work with the students, including Producer Liz Merriman, from West Michigan; Director of Photography Tony Santiago, DP on Faster! and manager of the Media Production Center at Columbia College, Chicago; and Sound Department Head Joseph McCargar, Grand Valley affiliate professor in the School of Communications.

The Summer Film Project was established by the School of Communications in 1995 to offer Grand Valley junior and senior students in the Film & Video major an opportunity to work side-by-side with industry professionals to produce a short film. Each year, students may enroll in the six-week practicum summer course that handles the pre-production and filming. Post-production is done during fall and spring courses.

This summer, Grand Valley will undertake the 20th Summer Film Project, “Lucky Jay.” The comedy-drama will be produced as a Web series of eight short episodes about one semester in the life of a young film professor at a fictional college in the Midwest. Associate Professor John Harper Philbin will be directing. It is his 10th Summer Film Project. He wrote the script, along with collaborators John Dufresne, a novelist and creative writing professor at Florida International University, and Angelo Eidse, a Vancover-based screenwriter. - See more at: http://www.gvsu.edu/gvnow/?articleId=2E10BAA6-965C-6C2A-C7D22B7BC6E4780C#sthash.gZ88kCQx.dpuf
We had a lovely Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dinner just up from the theatre, then sat in the comfy seats of the Bravada until it was a reasonable time to head into Threatre 14.

Cute movie. Well made.

Of course The Making Of documentary was just about as long as the short. Was quite amused by all the gear stuffed into a city bus -- Grand Rapids DASH bus -- and delighted to see them using Red cameras. Couldn't see what lenses they had, I seem to recall they had Cookes the other year. Top flight equipment, made available to Grand Valley. I mentioned to one of the top dogs on the way out that they should have arranged for the Made With RED logo in the end credits, let everyone know a good resume builder. She agreed, surprised no one had thought of that.

Dr. Phil