From the Dean's Desk
Frederick J. Antczak, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay
At this time of the academic year, as everything accelerates, we nonetheless make time to celebrate many achievements. So let's strew some flowers (and babbling will be optional). Last week included the packed premier of the 15th summer student film, The Darkroom; we celebrated the next generation of scientists at the Science Olympiad; Glenn Valdez secured a prestigious grant (in fact, CLAS faculty contributed mightily to a 40% University increase in grant writing, many of which were shrewdly designed to bring opportunities and resources to our undergraduate students--truly, scholarship in support of our teaching!); CLAS faculty were well represented at the teaching with technology event and Nathan Barrows took home an award; Deanna Morse and Jim Schaub had their films accepted into even more prestigious film festivals; Chitra Gopalakrishnan of Art and Design collaborated with Computer Science on an iPhone App; a CSCE Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award was won by Christopher Lawrence of chemistry; John Weber of Geology received the CSCE Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award; PR senior Leah Zuber was one of 14 students nationwide to receive a Public Relations Student Society National President Citation; and the Library’s Author Recognition publication boasts 100 more entries than last year. I'm particularly pleased that Statistics faculty member John Gabrosek as well as Classical Languages and French student Donna St. Louis were awarded Niemeyer Awards, and that Karen Libman of Theatre in the School of Communications was just named a Professor of the Year for the Presidents Council (State Universities of Michigan). April can go on strewing flowers as far as I am concerned!
Even while we tighten our belts, our faculty and students find ways to move forward. The CLAS strategic plan for 2015 is nearly ready for consultation with faculty governance and the unit heads after some impressive feats of drafting by what the deans and my staff have repeatedly referred to as a ‘dream team’ of faculty and APs from the college. The College is also working on a few different projects that will allow people of common interests to meet in person or virtually to work in collaboration and a spirit of sharing the resources we have--and perhaps create some new opportunities for our students.
It's not news to you that we live in interesting economic times; but these projects remind me of how there are so many instances, nevertheless and therefore, of our energy, our devotion, our capacities to continue becoming a better and better College and University for our students and our many other constituents. An excellent example of this vibrancy will benefit from your participation. On April 7 from 11 to 2, please join me and your colleague for the 2010 Sabbatical Showcase and College Meeting in the Grand River Room of Kirkhof Center. Enjoy refreshments and some wonderful music as you stroll through the displays of your colleagues’ sabbatical work. Take this opportunity to make new connections and reestablish your existing ones. Awards will be presented for some inspiring service to the college, and I will be speaking (fair warning!) on the topic “For All Our Worlds: Education in the Arts and Sciences”.
During the month of April, AD Mary Schutten will continue to support student welfare initiatives by serving on the CLAS Curriculum Committee, supporting programming from the newly formed Office of Fellowships, coordinating the school health education minor, facilitating student appeals, and advising students in teacher preparation and exercise science majors in the Movement Science department. She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests [a new responsibility in the CLAS Dean's Office], supporting unit reviews of the programs on the Banner software interface named MyPath, facilitating the CLAS strategic plan retooling, presenting her sabbatical work at the CLAS Sabbatical Showcase, submitting a manuscript for BMI, fitness and academic achievement, and coauthoring a paper on reasons why K-12 physical educators do not continue in higher education.
AD Jann Joseph will be completing and evaluating new faculty orientation, teaching BIO 104, starting work on the evaluation plan for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Grant, planning the final year of the NSF-STEM project, and preparing summer facilities projects for the college.
AD Gary Stark will assist the Faculty Council and facilitate the CLAS Winter elections, monitor summer enrollments, assist the CPC and the dean with personnel recommendations, and assist with the salary recommendation process.
April may not be the cruelest month for the Dean, but with August it's one of the two busiest.
One thing we've been working on for a while is a big summit bringing together the relevant deans from GVSU and GRCC, to discuss transfer issues, and that starts out the month, along with attending the Celebrating Women awards, all on April 1. It's the first of 19 celebrations, banquets, recognitions and award ceremonies on the run-up to graduation, and CLAS always does very well there. Notably among these gatherings, I'll also help dedicate the Mary Seeger Reading Room, and hear Glenn Niemeyer and Ron Van Steeland discuss lifetime learning, and of course the University's Student Award Banquet is always a highlight. I'll be meeting with visitors, first from the Music Department at Kingston University, and then the graduate dean from Appalachian State University, attending the April 7 Sabbatical Showcase. I look forward to Student Scholarship Day April 14 too, and no unit head meeting will be held that Wednesday so that we don't draw off key people. By that point, I'm obligated to have our roughly 100 personnel cases worked through. The Staff, Student and Emeritus Advisory Committees will be meeting with the deans around that time, and I'll also be meeting and greeting the NASAD consultants. Then comes the AP Luncheon, the University Leadership Team, and the Trustees meeting. Enough to keep me out of trouble.
Commencement is now only a month away. As you continue the work ahead in direct competition with the sunshine outside, please know that you have my deep appreciation for another year particularly well done despite all challenges.
P.S. Please keep your eyes peeled for the biennial note from AD Schutten on what we owe to our students at finals.
Safety When the Stakes are High
by Monica Johnstone, Dir. of CLAS Communications & Advancement
It hasn’t taken Jim Seufert long to become one of the important go to gurus in the labs and studios of CLAS. Our Laboratory Safety Specialist since the start of 2009, Jim is a familiar sight in buildings from MAK to CAC.
In recent months, Jim found himself doing an increasing amount of work with isotopes for projects in physics, biology and chemistry. As one could imagine, radiological safety is strictly regulated by state and federal law. With six faculty members now doing work in research related to low level radioactive materials, processes were becoming more complicated and the use of an outside consultant became less convenient.
When it became clear we needed an on-site person to undertake certification, Jim’s experience and some training courses made him a great candidate. In 2010, Jim became our director of radiation safety with responsibility for compliance, documentation, preparations for inspections and other related activities. While consultants will be brought in for some particular technical matters, Jim can perform most of the day to day responsibilities, saving money and time.
Jim’s Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) certification is under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is expected to continue his education to stay current, but Jim points out that vigilance is the key: one significant mistake can lead to having a university’s or individual’s license pulled. It is clear that no matter how short the half-life or small the quantity, all of these materials are taken seriously and handled with full view of what is at stake.
Additional information on radiation safety will soon be added to the lab safety website: www.gvsu.edu/labsafety/