April 2012
Vol. 5, issue 9 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. College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Faculty E-newsletter

FROM THE DEAN'S DESK Frederick J. Antczak, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. There is no universal definition of a heat wave; the term is relative to the usual weather in the area.

Who would have believed that the only thing hotter than the battery in the new iPad 3 would be the March weather in west Michigan?  We had to display some of our characteristic nimbleness to bring the temperature down in some particularly susceptible locations and to sidestep our snow boots to pull out our shorts and sandals.  As a native of west Michigan, I'd like to assure our newest faculty members that this isn't the way it usually (not to say ever) happens.  A special thank you to those people who had to work extra hard to get us through this period. Speaking of hard work and hot climates, Biology's Erik Nordman is our latest Fulbright Scholar and will spend the next academic year at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, thanks to a Fulbright Scholar grant.  Congratulations, Erik! Hot off the press, Brianne Docter, Chemistry major and Honors College student, has been named a 2012 Goldwater Scholar!  Brianne conducts research in the lab of Chemistry professor Brad Wallar. Meanwhile, Dale Johnson, a senior Writing major and writing consultant, has won the East Central Writing Centers Association Tutor of the Year award. Also to be commended were our many faculty honored at Grants on the Grand last week.  You've set another record and are proof of the success our faculty have through their efforts to fund projects of direct and indirect value to our students and the wider community.  We have copies of the Grants on the Grand book in our office-definitely worth a look. Hats off also to Laurie Witucki of Chemistry and Médar Serrata of Modern Languages & Literatures who were named the Educational Support Program's Professors of the Year.  Well done! Perhaps it is best now to turn to some cool science and technology that helped to balance the heat wave.  As usual, we were infected with the spirit produced by the Science Olympiad.  My congratulations to the team who make this an annual success story.  And Shawn T Bible should take a bow for organizing the standard bearers from each participating school in a dance flash mob that rocked the Fieldhouse. Kudos also to CLAS's participants in the 2012 Teaching and Learning with Technology Fair. Don't blink or some wonderful April events could slip past you. The run of the wonderful production of Antona Garcia has commenced, so it is time to make a call to the box office and experience it for yourself.  Also early this month is our CLAS Sabbatical Showcase.  On Wednesday, April 4, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in the Grand River Room (2250 KC) and the Pere Marquette Room--a record number of our colleagues will display the fruits of their sabbaticals.  Fun things to learn and eat.  We will also present some awards, and I will give a state of the college address.  Even faculty for whom a sabbatical is still a few years away should make a point of coming down because this is an event in which collaborations are born, junior faculty see first-hand the sort of proposals and work that the university supports, and we celebrate the buzz that always surrounds those colleagues fresh from this invigorating and refreshing time in their careers.  We must never take these very special opportunities-or the very special, very talented people we work with-for granted. Also in April are some memorable events to honor the best and brightest in our departments and the university more generally.  Student Scholars Day on April 11 will be a great celebration of our student researchers.  And it is a great time for the arts.  Our dancers and musicians have a series of concerts to delight us with their skill and talent.  Senior shows in the visual arts also mark this period.  Some of our wisest colleagues have made it a point to take in some of this bounty, as a way of dealing with the stress of year's end. Speaking of stress, we also have some grading to do.  Banner opens on April 23, and all grades must be in by May 1 at noon, lest there be cries of "May Day!"  It is very important that grades are in on time so that those who commence on April 28 will actually graduate, so that students finish prerequisites in time for Spring term, and-for some people, equally critically-so that academic status and financial aid matters are not muddied.  Please allow yourself enough time to enter the grades and please be very careful to check that all grades are present and accurate.  You have my appreciation, and that of our and your office staff, for your care in these matters.  Sprint through the finish line! Until we get there, though, thank you for a successful year in which you enriched your students and your colleagues, faced the budget pinch with sustainable ideas and prudence, expanded your own horizons courageously, and made this a great place to work.  I'll save my summer wishes for May, but for now I'll close with my gratitude to work with faculty and staff like you in any weather.
~Fred P.S. to the weather gods, in case you're reading this: our groans at the heat are not to be taken as petitions for finals week snow!

What the Deans Are Doing in April

April is the busiest month, as T.S. Eliot apparently did not find time to say.  For Dean Antczak, early April will bring the Phi Kappa Phi induction ceremony, the Sabbatical Showcase, Faculty Council meetings, the Student Advisory Committee meeting, Student Scholarship Day, the Graduate Showcase, a PSM meeting, a Deans' Council meeting, and a visit with Anthropology to discuss their external consultants' very positive report.  "Following closely is the annual celebration with scholarship donors and recipients, and the Dean's Academic Advising meeting.   Then it all gets thick with celebrations and graduation-related events, over 20 this April.  And of course this is the time of year when the rubber meets the road for personnel; the College owes its thanks to the hard-working and wise CPC, led by George McBane.  And sometime in late April, I'll gouge out time to write the 300+ spring-summer teaching contracts.  Enough, I think, to keep me out of trouble." In April, AD Shaily Menon will facilitate Sabbatical Showcase, attend Allies and Advocates training, attend a Media Services Group meeting, and participate in a meeting with Van Andel Research Institute. As part of her work on supporting faculty professional development, she will present to the CLAS Faculty Development Committee, results of feedback from new faculty on their first year orientation and mentoring programs and seek their inputs on enhancing the program for next year. Shaily will work with the Advisory Board of the NSF S-STEMS grant to award scholarships to several bright students who were interviewed in March. She will attend the Graduate Showcase and meetings of the High Impact Experiences Undergraduate Research Subcommittee and Implementation Committee. She will participate in the Women's Center 10th Anniversary Celebration. She will also participate in qualifying exams for two master's students. AD Mary Schutten will be supporting student success by continuing to work with Records to create efficiencies, most notably the change in the prerequisite error process (more automation). She is busy with many collaborative efforts with the College of Education related to teacher preparation and continues as a member of the PTEAC committee. She will be coordinating the curricular proposals related to the ED 431 pilot program.   She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, support the work of the CLAS curriculum committee as ex officio, support the work of the CLAS Academic Advising Center, interview candidates for various CLAS positions, and attend a Michigan Department of Education meeting as coordinator for the School Health Education minor for Movement Science.  She will facilitate the timely reporting of grades and begin the service learning, internship, co-curricular student learning data gathering process. AD Gary Stark will monitor summer enrollments, work with unit heads to finalize visiting position requests, assist dean with personnel action recommendations from the College Personnel Committee, solicit requests for new faculty positions and replacement searches for 2012/13, process course change requests, facilitate work of the Faculty Council, and travel to Chicago with delegation of Polish language students to meet Polish Consul General.  

Faculty Feature

A Sabbatical Responding to Opportunity-A Conversation with Arthur Campbell  By Monica Johnstone, Dir. of CLAS Communications & Advancement

Clarinetist and Professor Arthur Campbell is a teacher of applied lessons and a renowned international performing artist.  Somehow, he manages both at a virtuoso level.  I arrive at his office to interview this celebrated performing and recording artist only to have the tables immediately turned.  First, he wants to hear about the clarinet playing exploits of my middle-schooler son and-ack!-my terribly out-of-practice self.  I admit that my son is hanging in there for high school marching band and that my 50-something-year-old-instrument is in desperate need of two pads.  Somehow, Arthur makes me feel that we are in the clarinet club anyway.  Clearly, Arthur would like my son to persist in his playing and for me to keep a hand in, suggesting strategies for both.  If he were a medical doctor, he'd keep up the CPR a lot longer than many would.  I suspect he'd save many patients that way. Faculty often experience some re-entry issues after a sabbatical.  It can be a little hard to change gears and the return to campus is often accompanied by super-ambitious plans to tweak all of the courses one teaches or bouts of nostalgia for the uninterrupted period of scholarly and creative work. Arthur terms his a "post sabbatical depression" while belying any signs of it.  While on sabbatical, Arthur worked on multiple projects.  In addition to his impressive performance schedule (often 40 per year), he records for the prestigious European classical label Audite (usually 17th, 18th and 19th century works) and for smaller avant-garde  labels, frequently on new works composed expressly for him. Arthur leans back in his chair to pick up a newly minted Audite CD, "Music for Clarinet & Piano" on which he and his partner Helen Marlais perform Schumann, Debussy, Saint-Saen, Poulenc and Arnold.  I later discover that this generous gift to me clearly demonstrates why his work has garnered praise such as "eloquent", "beautiful", "stirring", and "magnificently played".  And the recording has since won Record of the Month from Stereo Magazine in Germany. It also begins to explain why he is sought after by composers to perform their cutting-edge contemporary works such as a current project that involves real-time adjustments of the acoustic sound. Arthur explains that it enables him to achieve timbres beyond those you can achieve in the natural world.  In fact, it opens up an infinite color spectrum.  "These composers have really good artistic voices," he notes.  "That CD [Through Ripple Glass, Composer: Elizabeth Hoffman] will be out-hopefully-in time for Sabbatical Showcase." He describes other compelling projects (such as one involving Tibetan singing that has received great audience response) and gives a peak into the marked difference between recording the work of a long dead composer and performing the work of one very much alive and cutting deadlines very close.  Scores can become messy with late improvements.  Systems can crash just before you go one.  Arthur is clearly having fun despite the challenges.  One piece makes use of a motion sensor that is affected by movements of his instrument, creating sounds which are very far from those he usually produces. "It is a soliloquy in a new language." Arthur is quick to credit Helen Marlais, his teacher Robert Marcellus, the composers with whom he works (Qui Dong at Dartmouth, Elizabeth Hoffman at NYU, Morris Wright at Temple, Benjamin Broening at Richmond, and Colby Leiden at the University of Miami).  He's also looking out for opportunities to involve additional GVSU colleagues. He encouraged Audite to record some beautiful pieces by Carl Stamitz using a GVSU string trio (Gregory Maytan, Paul Swantek, and Pablo Mahave-Veglia).  They will warm up with seven school concerts and public concerts in Muskegon and Grand Rapids.  That CD is expected in the fall of 2012.  The Music Department and the university contributed to getting all of the musicians to the German recording session. That three such different (and Arthur is quick to add "satisfying") projects will all result in published recordings within a year of his sabbatical does not seem to surprise Arthur.  He quickly puts this work back into the context of his students. "Some want to know all about the recording work, and some just don't have that on their radar," he muses.  Some take the initiative to study Arthur's recorded performances and work out for themselves what the different is between his performance and their own.  The conversation is also opened up to include the functional level and the abstract levels of performance and to make the link between the two.  "The intellectual activity brings the creative and analytical mind to work at the same time.  I want that for my students," Arthur says.  "The avant-garde repertoire and the 1700s repertoire actually inform each other and serve me well-and I want to draw my students into those connections." The liberal education context for his work at GVSU is a good fit.  Arthur believes in being informed and forming connections.  He's become bilingual, reads "a lot of economics", and finds that architecture informs his understanding of musical architecture, for example. He's trying to be and trying to inspire in his student the desire to be "the complete package".  "Take Yo-Yo Ma, superstar due to his bow technique or his other knowledge?  What else beyond technique and practicing and better reeds is the solution to getting better always?  Do something beautiful here and now.  What we say matters-not the squeak."  He refers to the bane of all clarinet players, that tendency especially among those new to the instrument to produce a high pitched unintentional noise.  "Say something good the best way you can.  Make audiences and critics respond and be an artist. I want to give students the capacity and tools to respond to opportunity."