Volume 4, Issue 6 Our Mission:
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a student-centered and diverse learning community that engages in critical inquiry extending knowledge to enrich and enliven individual and public life.
CLAS College Office Monthly Newsletter for Faculty
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FROM THE DEAN'S DESK
Frederick J. Antczak, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
We will open the book.
Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce
On the first day of what many see as a whole new decade, I've been trying to think of a well known literary or cinematic work that attempts to prognosticate about this coming ten year period. We've run past those Arthur C. Clarke years (2001 and 2010), 1984 is long behind us, Fahrenheit 451 seemed to be set sometime in the latter part of the 1990s, Star Trek parked the Eugenics Wars in 1996, Terminator put the end of things as we know them in 1997. So unless you are worried about the running down of the Mayan calendar, we might now have a clear space to compose our own future. Happily, we've recently received some help. The state has appropriated some funds for university infrastructure on the Allendale campus. With ground already broken for the library, Grand Valley will realize the next priority item on its building list-a building to provide more labs/classrooms/faculty offices of various kinds. There has been phenomenal growth in the areas of Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, and Physics. Between Fall 2006 and Fall 2010, the total number of undergrad student credit hours in these four areas combined rose by 28.5%. BMS alone increased by 60%! The number of graduate student credit hours taught in these four areas rose by 124% between F06 and F10; BMS alone was 77%. And only in the sciences have we seen such compression of AP and Faculty offices. All AP lab supervisors share standard offices--we would need 6 additional offices to accommodate them to university standards. Many adjuncts from BIO, BMS, CHM, PHY, and GEO share offices. CHM affiliates and visitors all share offices. We have several adjuncts, visitors, and TT faculty from departments in PAD/HRY who now have offices on the 4th floor of MAK, far away from department support. No other units except the sciences have faculty in offices so far away from their department homes. And the labs and classrooms finally had sufficient appeal for the Legislature to fund it, and the Governor to sign off. The good news is that the labs/classrooms/offices building will help us to address these severe needs and with the help of the new library will start the cascade of openings in some other buildings on campus. That cascade will be designed to help many additional departments. It also means that we can move on to other key building priorities that are never far from my mind, from Jann Joseph's mind, or from Gayle's and Tom's minds. Priority needs of our arts can finally make their way up the list. Discussions with relevant faculty are already taking place so that well formed requests can be made for funding in future rounds. So while it can be hard to see progress before the tractors arrive, big wheels are turning. Last month we had some other wonderful news which augurs well for 2011 and beyond. Student Angela Antonio has been named one of 50 Most Promising Minority Student finalists by the American Advertising Federation. Associate Dean Mary Schutten (professor of Movement Science) has been selected for the American Association of Health Education College/University Health Education Specialist Award for 2011. Peimin Ni of Philosophy wrote a wonderful column for the New York Times. Four Grand Valley students-three of whom are majoring in CLAS departments-- were named Gilman Scholars for the winter 2011 semester. We've made progress on the CLAS website too. We've been upgraded to the current content management system (CMS 3.2) which helps us to lay out the pages a little better and add some new components. Grace Coolidge, chair of our Faculty Council has been working with Monica Johnstone to provide content about Academic Integrity that is the promised outcome of the fall Out-of-the-Box events. We've made an auspicious start. I wish you well for the Winter semester and for all your endeavors in 2011.
What Deans Do in January
"In January," Fred reports, "I'll be involved in starting up our very important faculty/staff campaign, to see if we can extend the success we enjoyed last year. I'll be involved in the Music accreditation visit, the University Leadership Team meeting, three Hauenstein Center events, and have been invited to visit the Student Senate to talk about a Fall Break, an idea that CLAS's Student Advisory Committee is promoting. I'll be going to CLAS's developmental seminar for third year Faculty, the "I Am Grand Valley" event, the CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium, the University's committee on transfer students, Deans' Council, CLAS's new faculty and second year faculty seminars, a unit head meeting, a meeting with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation folks, and of course the events of the Martin Luther King Day celebration. In my spare time, I will be reading personnel files as they come in." AD Mary Schutten will continue to coordinate the alignment process for the alignment of units' existing strategic plan objectives with the CLAS strategic plan and collaborate with the Provost's Office to support the units in this process. She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests; support the CLAS Curriculum Committee; present a paper on the relationship of body mass, socioeconomic standing, fitness and academic achievement in K-12 students at the Hawaii International Conference on Education, and serve as an academic advisor in the exercise science program. AD Jann Joseph will be continuing the new faculty orientation series, coordinating a workshop for second and third year faculty on career mapping, continuing work on evaluation of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation teaching fellows and reviewing applications for admission to GVSUs program which begins in June 2011, as well as beginning planning for the new academic building. AD Gary Stark will visit the Pedagogical University of Schwäbisch Gmünd (Germany) to discuss our exchange program, supervise the Winter personnel review process, prepare for the annual salary adjustment process, monitor Winter enrollments and course changes, and continue reviewing units' revised standards and criteria for personnel evaluation.
myGVSU and You
For any initiative, 100% participation by the entire GVSU community is a lofty goal, but rarely will the results be as critical as those of the climate survey which will take place February 1-14. MyGVSU, as the survey is called, will become not only a snapshot of our attitudes and concerns at this point in GVSU's history, it will also set priorities for action. Faculty such as Neal Rogness of Statistic have given considerable time, expertise and effort to making this an effective mechanism for detailing what matters to all of us now. "I am honored." Neal explains, "that Jeanne [Arnold, VP for Inclusion & Equity] asked me to serve with her as co-chair of the myGVSU survey committee. I only had a minimal, 'after the fact' role with the 2000 and 2005 climate studies, so it's been great to have a more pronounced role on the front end. The myGVSU survey serves as an ideal way in which I can put my skills in questionnaire design and as a statistician to good use, plus I've always enjoyed the challenge of helping to organize large initiatives. " While many universities are just beginning to understand the merits of periodic climate surveying, Grand Valley is now preparing for its fourth survey. Previous surveys have proved clear indicators of the need for change or increased resource in key areas. "People may not know that establishing the Women's Center, hiring more international faculty, adding the Children's Enrichment Center and many more successes have resulted from past studies," said Rogness. Neal has seen the way the survey has added resources in ways that have been meaningful to him and is enjoying the role he is now playing to produce myGVSU. He said, "my involvement with the committee (whose members, by the way, are a wonderful and dedicated group of individuals) provides a nice way in which I can give back to the university community-in recognition of the university's support of LGBT matters. The formation of the LGBT Faculty/Staff Association, an organization for which I served as president for several years, was a direct result of the 2005 climate study." For many of the newer faculty, this survey will be their first chance to be heard on aspects of campus life that directly affect their work atmosphere and needs. Neal, and all of the members of the myGVSU committee, encourage everyone to be heard. "I'm truly excited to have members of the GVSU community take the survey starting February 1, and I'm eager to see the results so we can learn of ways in which we can join together to make GVSU an even better place to learn, to live, and to work!"