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.
FROM THE DEAN'S DESK
Our 10th anniversary year is gathering steam. We’ve already had some wonderful events such as the Carey Memorial Lecture and the first of the Veterans panels. My appreciation to the faculty and staff who work hard to make sure these things not only happen but also do our university credit. We have also had opening night of the GVSU Shakespeare Festival’s Much Ado, but there are still performances to catch.
It is also looking like a banner year for successes. Retired but not retiring Deanna Morse whose animation we’ve celebrated many times is now a short-lister in Art Prize (at the GRAM). Meanwhile, Deborah Herrington of Chemistry and Janet Vail of AWRI were named to a Top 25 list of STEM scientists. Monica McFawn Robinson, affiliate professor in the Writing Department, has learned that her manuscript of short stories, Bright Shards of Someplace Else, won the 2013 Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction. Writing Chair Patricia Clark has a collaborative piece in Art Prize and has been receiving great reviews on her latest book of poetry, Sunday Rising.
And not to jinx anything, but CLAS is coming up on a quite notable milestone that we hope to celebrate with you in the next month or so—no spoilers here, but, please, keep an eye on your e-mail for that.
Last Saturday we met with our CLAS Alumni Board in the new library. Diane Rayor of Classics and Peter Wampler of Geology represented the faculty with briefings on their innovative and interdisciplinary work. Members of our board are active in everything from helping us raise funds for the CLAS Scholarship to being our ambassadors to the community. It is a proud day each year when we brief them on your achievements, the work in progress, and future directions.
October will be a spectacular month for events—an embarrassment of riches. October 1, you can catch the GVSU Visiting Writers Series talk by Roxane Gay. Arts at Noon graces October 2. Homerathon is an event you can enjoy at any time of the day or night, primarily in the library, from midday Wednesday, October 2 to about 1pm on Thursday, October 3. A special Homerathon feature is the lecture on Ajax by Paul Woodruff (eerily topical actually) at 6:30pm October 2 in Cook DeWitt. October 7 at 7pm in Eberhard Center will be the annual Fall Arts Celebration lecture by Laurie Garrett, who as the promotional material notes is the only person to win the three Ps of journalism–the Pulitzer, the Polk, and the Peabody. As always, Homecoming week will bring our Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence to campus on Thursday and Friday, October 17-18. CLAS will once again provide our Mindgating contribution to the Homecoming Expo on Saturday, October 19, 4-6:30pm—CLAS will have a table and so will our featured programs Chemistry and Theatre.
It is going to take at least a couple pumpkin muffins to keep your energy up for all of that, but it will be worth it. This bounty is also a good reminder that we all need to make an effort this year to do the sort of spring cleaning that clears out impediments to our best experiences of this place. If more taut meetings or a better process here and there free you up to enjoy the excellent opportunities I’ve noted above—with your colleagues and students—we’re all the richer for that.
CLAS Website and Beyond
10th Anniversary Celebration Events
CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium Schedule
The CLAS Faculty Research Colloquia will take place from 2:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. in 308 PAD:
Friday, October 18th
Friday, November 15th
Thursday, January 23rd
Thursday, February 20th
Thursday, March 20th
Please encourage your outstanding students to attend a Fellowships 101 Information Session to be held Wednesday, October 2, 9, & 16 from 12-12:50 in 216 Mary Idema Pew Library (Seminar Room off from the computer lab) to learn about the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships and the services provided to support student scholars in pursuit of nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships.
Wanted: Goldwater, Truman, Boren, and Udall Scholars!
Goldwater Scholarship: Do you have a sophomore or junior student in a STEM field who excels academically (3.7 or higher GPA), has been involved in undergraduate research, and aspires to pursue a PhD in their respective STEM field?
Truman Scholarship: Do you know an outstanding junior student (3.6 or higher GPA) who aspires to be a "change agent" in government, non-profit, or education sectors, and desires to attend a prestigious graduate school for a master's degree?
Boren Scholarship: Do you know outstanding students who desire to study abroad for a full semester or academic year to learn a language of critical need to U.S. National Security?
Udall Scholar: Do you know an outstanding sophomore or junior who is either 1) a Native American and desires to work in Native American healthcare or tribal public policy, or 2) interested in environmental policy and has already been actively involved in environmental issues and initiatives?
Please refer these students to Amanda Cuevas in the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships in 230 Mary Idema Pew Library, 616.331.2699, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The campus deadline for these nationally prestigious awards is December 2, 2013.
Amanda Cuevas, Director
College Office Profile: Associate Dean of Students and Curriculum
Associate Dean of Students and Curriculum Mary Schutten already had considerable administrative experience before coming to Grand Valley; she had been a department chair at two different universities and oversaw facilities and budgets for athletics as well as academics often while serving as head coach in multiple sports. She has also served on curriculum committees throughout her career.
This professor in the Movement Science Department is known for her commitment to advising which also makes her a natural fit for her current duties. These include:
Mary described the job as one with ebbs and flows (“lots of flows lately”) as curriculum issues become more complex with the changes in state support of universities and changing requirements in teacher accreditation. To address the added complexity, Mary likes to focus on streamlining processes where possible, and she has had considerable success improving workflow.
New Ways of Engaging Our History
This term, two colleagues in the History Department are trying new approaches to what are for them long term commitments. James Smither has been working to capture and make accessible the stories of veterans through the Veterans History Project. Carolyn Shapiro-Shapin does her research in the area of the history of medicine and health. Both have gone about their projects a little differently this time around.
Jim had developed such a strong network of Vietnam veterans through the process of working on a book on that subject that he realized he had the makings of a great series of panel discussions on various parts of the Vietnam conflict if only they could be persuaded to tell their stories in such a forum. He needn’t have worried. The call went out and the response was abundant. This academic year GVSU will welcome a panel each month under the title My Year in Vietnam.
Though not the first time Jim has run a panel of veterans, this undertaking was more elaborate in its planning and outreach. A former unit head, he knew how to line up venues and begin the process of promotion of these events to interested groups on and off campus. He is not worried about his duties as panel moderator because these are stories he has collected from these same veterans through interviews he has conducted. He knows their styles as storytellers and that helps him balance each panel. He sees his job as largely ensuring that the audience has the appropriate context to appreciate what they will hear.
There are other challenges such as parking during Art Prize, but in comparison with the hardships these veterans have known, Jim has little trouble keeping it all in perspective.
Carolyn also decided to make the most of the material at hand. When Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett was selected to speak as the distinguished lecturer for Fall Acts Celebration 2013, Carolyn saw an enormous opportunity. Carolyn organized HST 380-03, a one credit course in Medical Humanities to look at Garrett’s book, I Heard the Siren’s Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks and generally enrich students’ appreciation of these topics and Garrett’s upcoming visit. To provide the students with a multi-faceted approach to the material, this course, for an hour each Friday from September 13 through October 10, Carolyn recruited faculty from different perspectives to come to teach each week. In addition to Carolyn and her colleague Chad Lingwood speaking from a historical perspective, Danielle Leek of the School of Communications will address media responses and Jonathan White from Criminal Justice and History talked about terrorism.
Carolyn will grade the students and administer the course more generally. Having her colleagues participate balances her load and enriches her experience of this class which she is teaching for a modest and shared stipend on top of her usual load. She remembers with appreciation some team teaching she did with Rob Franciosi (ENG) a number of years ago and knows that faculty with an approach quite distinct from her own help her to grow.
She hopes that students see this one credit course as a “good nugget to have in their schedule to just go learn.” This pilot idea received strong encouragement from Dean Antczak who wants to see faculty make the most of the opportunity inherent in the Fall Art Celebration lecturer coming to campus.
And learn the students most certainly do. The assigned reading for Chad Lingwood’s hour was the first 3 pages of a fatwa attributed to Osama bin Laden. Turning from a projected map of the Ottoman Empire, Chad notices on the desk is a library book containing the full text of that pivotal fatwa which a student had sought out on his own.
What the Deans Are Doing In October
Dean Antczak reports, “In October, the Deans’ Academic Advising Committee kicks off the festivities. I have a bunch of my regular meetings with unit heads, along with a couple meetings with the unit heads as a group, the first Fall Arts Celebration 2014 planning meeting, Inclusion Advocate re-training, and meetings with the Regional Math and Science external reviewers. I’ll attend the Founders Day festivities, and then we’ll plunge into Homecoming weekend, always the time to welcome our Distinguished Alumni in Residence. I also look forward to the first meeting of CPC this year, Faculty Council, the October Research Colloquium, the Emeritus Advisory Board meeting, the Provost Cabinet meeting, and the convening of the Board of Trustees in Detroit.”
Associate Dean Gary Stark will attend the AAC&U Global Learning Conference in Providence, RI and Digital Measures Users Conference in Milwaukee; participate in the CLAS New Faculty Seminar and CLAS 3rd Year Faculty Seminar; participate in the Study Abroad Fair; work with unit heads on the 2014/15 course schedule; oversee the unit head evaluation process; and monitor Winter enrollments.
AD Mary Schutten will be participating in The Student Success Collaborative initial training sessions to academic units and other student support initiatives related to orientation (course scheduling, course capacity), academic advising, and admissions. She will continue to collaborate with the College of Education (COE) on a series of initiatives involving CLAS/COE related to the full implementation of CLAS/COE supervision of student teaching, teacher tests, securing data for new state prompts related to educator preparation institutional review, and the Professional Teacher Education Advisory Council (PTEAC).. She will support the work of the CLAS Curriculum Committee ex officio which this fall includes an expedited process to approve the new general education Issues courses and visit several units to discuss curricular reviews; participate in the national advising conference (NACADA) in Salt Lake. She will also continue to work with Records to create more effective and efficient processes for students and units, and attend inclusion advocate updates.
In October, Associate Dean Shaily Menon will host sessions for new faculty orientation for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year faculty on topics ranging from teaching excellence, personnel review processes, and professional development. She will co-facilitate a Faculty Learning Community on Collaborative Research and will attend several university and college level meetings including a Provost Cabinet meeting, a Strategic Positioning Committee meeting, a Community Engagement Core Team meeting, an Inclusion Advocate and Champion semi-annual meeting, a Big Data meeting, several space-related meetings with Facilities Planning, CLAS faculty research colloquia, CLAS unit head meetings, and regular meetings with Julie Guevara for discussions related to strategic planning and Ruth Stegeman for community engagement. Shaily is teaching Environmental Ethics as a General Education Issues course this semester. She will attend a Diversity Strategies conference organized by the West Michigan College and University Presidents’ Compact and a racial equity seminar in her role as co-chair of the newly formed Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County (DINOC).
Page last modified October 7, 2013