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Spring 2018 Community of Learners


Over the Homecoming 2017 weekend (Sep. 29-30), SAU dedicated the newly renovated and restored Ralph G. Walker Memorial Track & Field Complex and the new, state-of-the-art Weatherwax Microbiology Lab. Spring Arbor University president Dr. Brent Ellis presided over both ceremonies.

The Track Complex dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, Sep. 30. The new complex is located near the SAU Fieldhouse on 2nd St. The lead gift for the Track Complex was generously provided by the Martin D. and Mary J. Walker Charitable Foundation. The new facilities feature long jump, triple jump and pole vault runways and pits, and a combined hammer- and discus-throwing cage. This first throwing cage on SAU’s Spring Arbor campus will greatly benefit the growing number of throwing athletes. Construction of the facility is currently being finalized.

The Weatherwax Microbiology Lab dedication immediately followed. The new lab is located in the Whiteman-Gibbs Science Center. Due to the generosity of the Weatherwax Foundation, the new and improved lab has added to the existing high quality of the science and nursing programs at SAU. This remodel is intended to become the impetus for future renovations to the entire Whiteman-Gibbs Science Center.


Dr. Donna Bergman, professor of education and director of special education programs at Spring Arbor University, co-authored and published an article in the medical science journal “Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,” titled “Assessment of Self-Determination in Adolescents with Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy.” The article and the research that helped produce it were written and conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan Health System through the MedSAU joint venture. In addition to Dr. Bergman, the team for this study included a number of University of Michigan faculty from a variety of disciplines.
Neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) is the weakness or loss of movement of the arm at birth. The researchers looked specifically at the effects of NBPP on self-determination — the ability of an individual to make meaningful choices within his or her own life. Dr. Bergman’s role in this project included the recruitment and assessment of participants, as well as data analysis. “The writing of the article was really a group effort,” said Bergman. “My contribution was primarily an explanation of the results and discussion of information regarding self-determination data-analysis.”
Bergman continued, “The most significant finding of this study was that the adolescents with NBPP scored as high as the non-disabled adolescents in overall self-determination — possibly the most critical component for successful transition into adulthood.” Bergman hopes the study can help teacher-educators address this discrepancy. Until then, Bergman and her colleagues have presented the study at several conferences, due to the multidisciplinary approach. The article was published on June 23, 2017. You can preview the article at


For the second year in a row, a film produced by Spring Arbor University students was selected for screening at the Royal Starr Film Festival in Royal Oak, Michigan.

“Static” tells the story of a despondent young man who finds the will to live through a radio. The film was directed by senior Brianna Buller and written by sophomore Eric Lester and alumni Joseph Faultersack ’14 and Logan Hurtado ’15. “Static” was shot by Lester and Christian Yonkers ‘16. Dylan Sanders ’16 edited the film.

The 2017 Royal Starr Film Festival ran from Oct. 12-15 at the Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan. “Static” was showcased alongside some of the finest film submissions from Michigan, other states and other parts of the world.

Hurtado and Sanders previously received recognition for their short film work in SAU’s Department of Communication and Media. The Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the organization responsible for granting Emmy Awards) presented them with a “Student Production Award of Excellence.”

You can view “Static” and the work of other SAU students at For more information on the Royal Starr Film Festival, visit