College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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.
"Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence." - Abigail Adams
May always arrives with a sense of accomplishment and relief. April is a sprint to the finish line as we try to accomplish all the necessary grading amid a banquet of special occasions which deserve our appreciation and reflection, but among which we are forced by necessity to jog. Thank you for attending commencement and for the lovely events you have provided both for our students inducted into honor societies and for colleagues who are retiring after distinguished careers. We also have several colleagues who are embarking on sabbaticals or moving into phased retirement whom we will not see in the fall—here’s wishing all of them great adventures and wonderful stories to tell us when they return.
There are other sorts of transitions, too. This past year, Ed Aboufadel has served as the interim Unit Head for Biomedical Sciences and the interim Assistant Dean of CLAS. I want to thank him for his creative work in both roles. In BMS, I’m grateful that he helped the department in a period of transition, as faculty and staff set a new direction for the next decade. As the interim Assistant Dean of CLAS, I’m grateful that he contributed to science course placement and enrollment management policies for freshmen orientation, the “department dashboard” document for Unit Heads, and the university’s Big Data initiative. He also provided solid advice to me as part of the Monday morning “Deans’ Caucus” meeting that I have with members of the Dean’s office. Ed will be returning to the Mathematics Department as a regular faculty member and the leader of the Center for Applied Mathematics Projects, and he will be a CLAS representative on ECS.
Thanks to all of you who came out to share in our celebration of Gary Stark’s huge contributions to CLAS. As you know, Gary is making a transition out of the Associate Dean hot seat and into phased retirement. He’ll be nearby to assist us and help us get the training wheels off. We had some very big laughs at his reception. Bob Hendersen’s poem was not to be missed and Arthur Campbell arranged for everyone in attendance to receive a wristband inscribed with “WWGD” (that is, What Would Gary Do?). As it turns out Gretchen Galbraith was unable to attend so three people independently took it upon themselves to make sure to get a wristband for her.
This has been a year of great work—and my Spring Celebration speech was all about my gratitude for all that you have accomplished this year and over our first decade as a college. Our Sabbatical Showcase on April 1 saw a record-breaking 38 presenters showcasing their sabbatical projects as well as reports from the Faculty Governance Committees, the sharing of memories on our 10th college anniversary, and substantial appetizers (which I think means real food on little plates).
In our office we are wrapping up the “spring cleaning” undertaken across the College this year. We met with HR about ways to improve the online application system to help save time and frustration for our faculty and staff—thanks to those who contributed to that effort.
I’d like to do a special shout out to Mary Pirkola of University Communications on the occasion of her retirement. Mary has helped to publicize your good work and is going on to pursue some of her own writing goals. We wish her very well, especially in her trip to familial homelands in Italy.
There is a raft of heartening news to report. Russ Rhoads (ANT) was awarded a Fulbright. Alice Chapman received an NEH grant to study the collections at St. Louis University. Carolyn Shapiro-Shapin and Scott Stabler of History were presented with the Outstanding Faculty Award by participants in the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy Program. In very recent news, our students have garnered some of the most wonderful fellowship opportunities to be had. Abigail DeHart, double major in classics and philosophy, has been selected to receive a prestigious 2014-2015 DeKarman Fellowship. David Leestma (IR major with Arabic and Middle East Studies minors snagged the 2014 Boren Scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan. The student Fulbrights just keep coming (placing us very high nationally)—and we await news on yet another one.
CLAS students and alumnae who have been offered a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant for AY 14-15:
Name Fulbright Country Major(s) Graduation Year
Benkert, Lydia Ghana Theatre Dec. 2012
Lutenski, Erin Germany German/Applied Linguistics Dec. 2013
Pangle, Hayley Azerbaijan History/Anthropology Apr. 2013
Phelan, Kathryn Brazil Int’l Relations/Spanish Apr. 2011
Graduate Division awards recipients from CLAS were:
Academic Excellence in the Major
• Alynn M. Martin, biology
• Colleen L. MacCallum, biostatistics
• Brett M. Brockman, cell and molecular biology
• David A. Zeoli, communications
• Sierra C. Holmes, English
Outstanding Master’s Thesis
• Huijing Zhu, cell and molecular biology
• Anna M. Worm, English
Outstanding Master’s Final Project
• Attila Bokor, communications
• Alexandra J. VanderArk, cell and molecular biology
• Julie A. Strominger, biostatistics
• Brett M. Brockman, cell and molecular biology
• Karen E. Luidens-Alvarez, English
Excellence in Leadership and Service to GVSU
• Melissa R. Plets, biostatistics
• Meagan C. Shoe, cell and molecular biology
• Rachel L. Curtis, English
And there is so much more news.
My congratulations to Classics for ensuring the legacy of our departed colleague Barbara Fleishenreim through an already endowed scholarship in her name. With this year’s CLAS on the Green golf outing on June 18, the college hopes to follow your fine example and reach the endowment level for the CLAS Scholarship far faster than predicted. Helping our students achieve their goals seems a fitting tribute to the wonderful faculty who helped to build GVSU and our college in particular.
So I turn from the laurels and close-cropped grass to the May bulbs. Happily for us, that just about the time we have a moment to stop and smell the flowers, there actually are some. Just when there’s an academic harvest, we see signs of new growth. I wish you a very refreshing summer. May your projects go well and may you take some time for the important work of renewing and recharging. Be safe and be joyful until we meet again.
Big Tour (extra feature article)
CLAS Website and Beyond
Three Cheers for On Time Grades!
The timely reporting of grades for Winter 2014 in CLAS was one of the best ever. With exception of two units, all grades were in on time. On behalf of our students and the CLAS Dean’s Office, thank you!
Please Note: Gary Stark will become our Consulting AD on May 1--please address any Associate Dean for Faculty Resources and Scheduling queries to Gretchen Galbraith.
U.S. Student Fulbright application opening May 1 for the AY 15-16 year. Students and alumni interested in applying should contact Amanda Cuevas, Director, Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships.
Reminder: Great Service Pictures Wanted
As announced in the Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing, we’d love to have some great photos of your service endeavors.http://www.gvsu.edu/clas/unit-head-and-faculty-weekly-mailing-2-18-14-509.htm#service
By Roger Ellis,
Over semester break this year, seven Grand Valley students and a GVSU Theatre alumnus made a tour of southern Europe, presenting work from the University’s annual Shakespeare Festival to young audiences and the general public. Invited and hosted by the Festival Valle Christi in Italy, and the Prague Shakespeare Festival, the students presented six performances in Rapallo and at the National Theatre of Prague.
The Shakespeare Festival touring company, Bard To Go, has been touring regionally and internationally each year since 1998. Every fall, the ensemble visits eight high schools throughout the state bringing a 45-minute collage of Shakespearean scenes, organized each year according to a different theme: magic, love, revenge, and the like. Every other year, Bard To Go accepts invitations from international groups to host the show on tour to schools, theatres and community centers in the host countries. For the past eight years, the student group has visited China, Canada, Italy, the Bahamas and other locations.
This year’s Bard To Go director, Visiting Professor Dr. Chiara Pipino, arranged with Italy’s Festival Valle Christi to present work in Rapallo’s Teatro Auditorio Delle Clarisse for English-speaking high school students and their teachers. Dr. Roger Ellis, Founding Director of Grand Valley’s Shakespeare Festival, then made arrangements for the second leg of the tour to the Czech Republic, where the Prague Shakespeare Festival had invited the group. Bard To Go students are chosen every year by audition from the entire student population. This year’s troupe consisted of majors in the fields of Writing, Business, Anthropology, Theatre, and Public Relations.
All the housing and local transportation in Europe was provided by the hosting groups. GVSU provided student scholarship funding to cover much of the group’s travel expenses; and students and faculty paid for their own meals and incidentals as the tour developed. The tour also provided ample time for everyone to tour historic venues in Italy and Prague such as museums, palaces, cathedrals, monuments and similar sites.
The 2014 Bard To Go ensemble, from left: Ryan Farrell, Matthew Darnell, Sammie Chaness, Jessica Utter, Andrew Steward, Amanda Furstenberg, Erin Feiner, Dr. Chiara Pipino, Theatre Alumnus Jason James.
New and Continuing CLAS Faculty Governance Chairs
Faculty Council: Stephen Matchett
Faculty Development Committee: Heather Van Wormer
Curriculum Committee: Regina Smith
Personnel Committee: Don Anderson
By Monica Johnstone, PhD
In the January 2013 issue of CLAS Acts (http://www.gvsu.edu/clas/clas-acts-january-2013-436.htm) our feature article explored the use of Reacting to the Past (RTTP) pedagogy in a history course taught by Gretchen Galbraith. One of her ongoing collaborators in this pedagogy has been David Eick, Associate Professor of French (MLL).
I caught up to David recently to talk about the way he is using this game-based, high engagement teaching method in his language classes such as French 302 (Survey of French Literature: “Enlightenment and Revolution”) and French 412 (French Literature of the 18th Century: “Scandalous Literature”), as well as in Honors courses in English.
David is the first to admit the experimental nature of taking RTTP into language instruction. To his knowledge, GVSU is only the third institution in the country to do so. In a further experiment, the course is bilingual so that both French students and Honors junior seminar students can participate. This additional access allows the course to make its enrollment numbers.
David explains that the course feels a little bit like Montessori --or Quebec-- with some tables speaking French and others in English and then reconvening for discussion in English. French majors read and write in French, while Honors students read texts in translation. As a byproduct, Honors students experience a sort of advertisement for languages. For instance, the Honors students often ask the French students to provide correct pronunciations. In general, David finds the class discussions to be at a higher than usual level. “Definitely a superior register,” David notes. “While something is lost by not having the discussion in French, this ratcheting up of the intellectual level of discourse makes up for some of that.”
Initially, David observed that the two “factions” of his courses were a little intimidated by each other. One was Honors and the other had direct access to the primary texts in the language in which they were written. Part of David’s challenge is to help the students bond despite this difference.
In Fall, students played “Rousseau, Burke and Revolution in France,” an RTTP game written by historians Gary Kates and Mark Carnes. In Winter term, students played an Enlightenment game that Gretchen and David are co-authoring. “It was a risky experiment,” David admits. “It could have been a spectacular flop, but the quality of the research papers after the game says otherwise.”
In fact, four well received conference papers presented by the students at a University of Tennessee professional conference suggest that this pedagogy brought out the best in the students. David was pleased to find his colleagues envied our articulate students and asked many questions. “The students made me look good to my colleagues in the field,” David smiles.
While he finds it hard to put his finger on exactly what is better about their papers, he sees a higher percentage showing higher engagement with the subject matter. Sometimes this connection comes from the opportunity to cast a student in a role well suited to his or her interests. For instance, a French/Math major was cast as the mathematician d’Alembert in the Enlightenment game, resulting in a particularly great paper. Similarly, a Music major in Honors was cast as French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, which inspired her to bring her oboe to class and play for the greater enrichment of all of the students.
David can imagine faculty being somewhat skeptical about any pedagogy associated with play (no matter how rigorous and well documented). He recently ran a microgame for colleagues at a conference with experienced students as the praeceptors, and was happy to find them suspending such skepticism. “They were all in! They went crazy. It was a hit.” David describes with delight the country’s leading Rousseau scholar cast as a Jacobin (“He was beaming and vociferating, with none of his usual reserve”).
Not pretending to know the actual mechanism, David observes that something is clearly going on in the brain that creates this fire. He’s been reading up on the phenomena associated with games in books such as Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal. He’s also been planning to offer an independent study this fall to a couple of Honors students on the theoretical aspects of gaming.
A friend on the faculty overheard his students on the Route 50 bus arguing about the Enlightenment—in character—for half an hour. The level of engagement clearly makes it out of the classroom. It also makes an impression that comes through in students’ reflection pieces that often tell of imagining something like Dungeons and Dragons initially, but finding something rather more interesting.
“After the game, even lectures work better,” David says. “They have more context and are all ears.”
In this pedagogy the professor becomes a sort of coach and referee, while the students are clearly the players driving the action.
David did not want to close our conversation without acknowledging the support of his colleagues in French; Gretchen, who pioneered RTTP at GVSU; OURS, which helped the students with funds for the conference, as well as Honors, BCOIS, the Modern Languages and Literatures Department, Pew FTLC, and CSCE, which also provided funds. And David also thanks CLAS for funding GVSU’s membership in the RTTP Consortium. It seems it takes a village to produce a pedagogical revolution.
Frances Kelleher, Professor of History, passed away on April 21st, 2014 after a long illness. Dr. Kelleher joined the faculty of Grand Valley State University in 1988. From the beginning of her career at the university, she was asked to take on positions of leadership: she served as assistant dean of Arts & Humanities from 1989 to 1992, as Acting Dean in 1990, and then as Chair of the Department of History from 1992-2001. During her nine years as Chair of History, she left an indelible mark on the department with her vision for and devotion to combining high standards and humane practices; she led her colleagues in crafting History’s early vision and mission statements, she recruited and mentored talented young colleagues and led a curriculum reform that reflected our broadened range of expertise and commitment to General Education, thus giving us a direction we’ve maintained into our third decade. She also played a crucial role in developing and coordinating the Group Social Studies major. She also helped to shape the university in its current incarnation more broadly: she advocated for adequate release time for unit heads, drafted the initial plan for the Hauenstein Center, was instrumental in the creation of the Honors College and developing the potential of its interdisciplinary sequences, and it was her research that led to the first salary equity study at GVSU.
Fran held her Ph.D. in European and modern French History from New York University. She was awarded a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1991-1992 for her scholarly project, Teaching Transformed: Gender, Public Policy and Professional Politics among Primary School Teachers in Champagne, 1880-1914. In her final years, she blended her passion for weaving with her scholarly expertise through her current project, Art, Craft or Industry? The Jacquard Loom, Industrialization and the Weavers Left Behind.
Her devotion to providing students with teaching excellence was a hallmark of her career. During her early years at GVSU, she taught students who were preparing to become teachers, building on her years of experience in secondary school in New York State. A gifted mentor and teacher who took an interest in students from their first week of college and stayed connected to them long after graduation, she was a finalist for the American Historical Association’s Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. As she moved on from administrative work, she quickly adapted to the digital age in her pedagogy, and was the first member of the History Department to master the challenges of online courses. Fran was teaching until the final weeks of her life. She was a marvelous example of a university citizen: she always thought about what was good for our students, the department, the college, the university, and the broader community.
She is survived by her spouse Sue Swartzlander, Professor of English and Honors. her siblings and their spouses, as well as many nieces and nephews. A memorial will be held May 10th on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
People wishing to send donations in Kelleher’s memory are asked to consider two possibilities:
A memorial will be held May 10th on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
[This tribute was composed by a team of her colleagues.]
As you may have heard, James H. Zumberge Hall (JHZ) is near completion. Below is a list of departments moving into JHZ, the move date and location. The move dates are preliminary and subject to change.
Office Move date Location
Faculty Governance April 29 1000 JHZ
Institutional Marketing April 29 2090 JHZ
Accounting, Business & May 1 2015 JHZ
Finance and University Budgets
Payroll May 1 1035 JHZ
University Counsel May 8 4068 JHZ
Human Resource Office May 13 1090 JHZ
University Communications May 15 4090 JHZ
Student Accounts May 15 1049 JHZ
Office of the President May 20 3035 JHZ
The Provost Office May 20 3090 JHZ
Inclusion and Equity Office May 20 4035 JHZ
CSCE May 22 049 JHZ
FTLC May 27 068 JHZ
Disabilities Support Resources May 29 4015 JHZ
Also, the Anthropology Department will temporarily move April 30 to B-3-253 MAK until their new offices are ready in Lake Michigan Hall.
Page last modified June 20, 2016