College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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From Conversation to Realization—Shari Bartz, a Collaboration Village, and the Injury Care Clinic

Associate Professor Shari Bartz-Smith is in her 15th year at GVSU in the Movement Science Department.  For much of that time, she has seen a need for a clinic to treat injuries such as those sustained by athletes or during exercise.

Colleagues such as Brian Hatzel had initiated conversations about this need with Bob Stoll in the Office of Student Life.  That was about ten years ago.  Eight years ago, Shari started talking about this need with Amy Campbell in the Rec Center.  Students and friends were asking for consultations by those with training in this area which reminded them of the need on a regular basis.  Shari also talked with Laker rowing head coach John Bancheri who was also seeing the need since club sports and intermural sports aren’t plugged into the athletic trainers provided for intercollegiate sports.  Students on these club and intramural teams who come from out of the area didn’t know where to go. read more


RTTP in a New Context

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. read more


Empowerment of the English Capstone Conference

Assistant Professor Ashley Shannon shares a passion for the success of graduating students that is characteristic of those who teach the capstone course.  In English, attention to this critical juncture has the added charge of helping students navigate the public perception that humanities degrees may not be ‘job oriented’.  The capstone course is asked to not only prepare students but also to make them conscious of that preparation.

In English, students can take the capstone course in either Fall or Winter terms in any of the 4 or 5 sections offered.  Ashley, the department capstone coordinator, notes that students in the education, linguistic, and literature studies emphases may take any one of these sections.  No matter which professor runs a given section, students are encouraged to work with a mentor in their concentration in addition to their teacher.

“You have to be able to communicate fluently to do the full job of a scholar,” Ashley points out so the capstone courses culminate in a conference at the end of Fall and Winter terms so that students meet the challenge of presenting their culminating projects. read more


A Boy Called Bowie and the 99%

“It never crossed my mind to be a professor,” insists James Dunn, professor of Biology.  “I got into this field out of a love of nature.”

It must have been love that led a working class boy from Detroit to seek out a ten acre remnant woods to collect snakes, rats, and insects.  It even earned him the family and then neighborhood nickname of Bowie (as in the knife) for the bows and traps he employed in his collecting within sight of the smokestacks of manufacturing plants.  He wasn’t even on a college track in the alternative school in which he had been placed, and when his teachers spotted his aptitude they were not initially successful in motivating James to consider college.  He started on the Ford assembly line and had to be prodded to try a community college course before discovering that he really liked it. read more


Removing Impediments to Success with Colleen Lewis

Associate Professor of movement science Colleen Lewis likes to remove obstacles. When she noticed that her MOV 309 students were having trouble using a book-based assessment tool to track the development of children’s motor skills, she could see that it wasn’t easy to go from the printed page to the assessment of an actual child in motion.

Renee Zettle Sterling

Singing the body eclectic: Renee Zettle-Sterling teaching the alchemy of a liberal art

As an act of faith, in the liberal arts we hold as a truth, whether it is self-evident or not, that all of the disciplines contribute in their own unique ways to critical thinking.  In practice, we may only be able to speak to exactly how that works for a half-dozen disciplines which are usually related to our own. 

So when teachers of art and design speak of problem solving, it can be a little hard for the uninitiated to imagine what that looks like in the studio.  A single hour in the Intermediate Metalsmithing and Jewelry (Art 346) classroom provides a vivid picture.   more

Special Feature on the CLAS Budget

How CLAS Prioritizes the Budget and Resources 

"Budgets are a way of expressing over time a community's values and aspirations within the limits of resources," says Dean Antczak.  "So it's appropriate that the CLAS community know how our resources get distributed.  Forgive me for burdening you with specifics, but I think it'll help you see the scope and the progression of our budgeting process." 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has an Annual Budget in FY 2010 of $58,609,090,of which 93% is dedicated to personnel expenses (big ticket benefits such as health for CLAS faculty and staff are included in the personnel allocation).   more 

First CLAS Teaching Roundtables

Many Voices of the Teaching Showcase Roundtables

In an often quoted line of the Faculty Handbook, the centrality of teaching at GVSU is underscored:Teaching in the liberal tradition, whether in general arts and sciences or the professional degree programs, has always been at the heart of Grand Valley's educational mission.”  The College’s mission is no different; CLAS is “a student-centered and diverse learning community”.  The nurturing of that community was at the core of a new CLAS event last week. more

Out of the Box

Out of the Box Consultative Collaboration in CLAS

Grace Coolidge, Associate Professor of History also wears the hat of chair of the CLAS Faculty Council, the peak body advising the dean from the faculty perspective.  In addition to running CLAS faculty elections, prioritizing the list of potential hiring  lines, and serving as a committee on committees, the Faculty Council diligently and creatively devises ways to consult CLAS Faculty on everything from feedback on the dean’s performance to proposed policy.

It is little wonder that new members of the Council quickly achieve a wide ranging knowledge of how things run at the university and what issues are under discussion at any given point.  more


A Strong Combination

If you missed the relevant season one episode of the TV series Numb3rs and if you aren’t a mathematician, you might not have heard of the field of combinatorics. Happily for GVSU, Akalu Tefera, Associate Professor of Mathematics, is not only studying this field involving the permutations of sets, combination and enumeration, he has been enthusiastically spreading the word to students. Akalu explains combinatorics as "how objects are arranged, the finding of formulae that minimize waste. For instance, how many ways can you line up 100 people? We design algorithms for that. Some of the expressions are very complex-so these days, computers help." more


Learning, Street Cred and the Cow Lady

Associate Professor of Mathematics, Pamela Wells, has been at GVSU since 1995 preparing pre-service elementary teachers to teach mathematics, improving the mathematical content knowledge of elementary and middle school teachers, and studying children's mathematical thinking.

Pam’s journey started with an interest in getting a PhD in Mathematics, but that plan was slightly adjusted when she became quite interested in pedagogy—how students do and do not learn.  So she received her master’s degree and then went on to study Higher Ed with an emphasis in Mathematics for her PhD.  As soon as she arrived at GVSU, a colleague interested her in working with elementary teachers. more


Shawn Bible

Perpetual Motion as Dance—One Term in the Life of Shawn Bible

Somehow Shawn Bible, our sole tenure-track faculty member in dance (as at August 2010), managed to find some time to sit down to talk with me about his work.  For Shawn, even sitting down is a fairly active pursuit, legs seeming to tuck underneath him in his desk chair in a way Steelcase probably never imagined. more

Jodee Hunt

Making Sustainability Ripples with Jodee Hunt and Friends

Jodee Hunt, Professor of Biology and self-described “wet person” knows better than most that a stone dropped into a pond creates many ripples.  Not only does her faculty web page show her sporting hip waders, her in-with-both-feet approach to sustainability has sent ripples as far as Nicaragua. more




Page last modified July 2, 2014