CLAS Acts August 2008

August 2008
Volume 1, Issue 11

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

Dean Antczak's Office Hours Contact for a 15 minute slot. Please be prepared to supply an agenda.

911 Emergency Calls: Faculty and staff have access to standard 911 service from office telephones.  To assist emergency personnel with finding the exact location communicate it to the dispatcher when dialing 911.   Example:  GVSU Allendale Campus - One Campus Drive - 225 Manitou Hall.   Contact the Telephone Business Office x1-2148 if you have questions. ~CTS Helpdesk  

Accreditation Update Here is a list of NCA Site Evaluators coming October 13-15, 2008:

Dr. Timothy J. Schibik (Team Chair)
Professor of Economics, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence University of Southern Indiana

Dr. Douglas D. Knowlton President
Dakota State University

Mr. Steven L. Ludwig
Vice President for Administrative Affairs St. Cloud State University

Dr. Michael A. Maggiotto Dean, College of Sciences and Humanities
Ball State University

Dr. Charles D. Moon
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Dr. Siobahn Morgan Professor of Astronomy
Department of Earth Science University of Northern Iowa

Dr. Njeri Nuru-Holm
Vice President for Institutional Diversity Cleveland State University

Dr. Scott R. Olson
Provost Minnesota State University, Mankato

Dr. Michael R. Shirley
Dean, College of Business Admin. University of Central Oklahoma

Dr. Charles R. Strain
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs DePaul University

Dr. Cheryl B. Torsney  Associate Provost for Academic Programs (Includes Office of Graduate Education)
West Virginia University

Dr. Joaquin Villegas  Associate Professor, Teacher Education
Northeastern Illinois University

Dr. Vicki W. Wilson Professor of Nursing
University of Northern Colorado

Summer 2008 final grading in Self-Service Banner (SSB) will open on the first day of final examinations, Monday, August 4. Grading will open at 8:00 a.m.   The deadline to post final grades in Banner is Noon on Monday, August 11.   

Frederick J. Antczak, Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

  ...breathe the sweetness that hovers in August about the tall milkweeds --Denise Levertov  

As I was uprooting the dandelions, almost as tall as I am, in my garden last weekend, it occurred to me just how fast this summer went and also how very productive everyone has been, my weeds included.    One of the delights of my job is your news.  It's quite motivating to hear that Ross Reynolds of Physics gave a paper at the Northwest Crystallographic Workshop in Oregon on the results of his continuing collaboration with the Xu group at Van Andel Research Institute ("The Structure of the Ligand Binding Domain of COUP-TFII conformationally folded to prevent the binding of a of a Ligand").  And it is hard to contain my joy when our science news is well reported in the media-for instance, by WZZM and the GR Press in the instance of the research of Bob Smart, Rod Morgan and Bill Schroeder (with very articulate student A.J. Walker) on a novel class of potent antibacterial substances.  And Karen Libman's work in so many areas, especially Bard to Go, was honored with the 2008 Lin Wright Special Recognition Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.  Have a look at the video on the NCAA II Web site that is holding our marching band up as an example of best practice.   And things are coming together in other ways.  On August 7, both the CLAS Academic Advising Center and the Regional Math and Science Center will move into their new premises on the ground floor of Mackinac Hall.  Expect phone service disruption from mid-afternoon the day before.  Phone numbers remain the same.  You'll find Director Betty Schaner and the advising team in C-1-140 MAK, and Director Karen Meyers and the RM&SC crew in C-1-120.  Do give them a moment to get clear of the boxes, but I encourage you to have a walk sometime soon around the new and renewed MAK to get your bearings.  The official open house will be held on September 24, but we are happy to show you around before then, too.   While I'm encouraging you, please have a considered look at the position description for the Associate Dean for Students and Curriculum.  My thanks to Gretchen Galbraith who is chairing the search committee.   I also would like you to reflect on the freshmen, sophomores and juniors you taught last year.  The CLAS Student Advisory Committee graduated most of its membership last April so we are looking to populate it with a diverse group of students with varied perspectives.  The commitment is not onerous-just a few meetings a term (usually with pizza or subs).  This is a real opportunity for students to let us know what is and isn't working within the college (and university) so that we can address student concerns and implement their best ideas.  Send your suggestions to me.  It will be very useful to know the students class, major, extracurricular interests, commuter or resident, etc., if you have that information.   On Wednesday, August 13 the start up activities get rolling.  A schedule is on the website and has been provided to Unit Heads.  Your attendance at these events serves the new faculty and the college well.  I look forward to seeing you at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty and Staff Meeting on the morning of the 21st (with lunch under the tent, weather permitting!).   And looking just a bit further into Fall, preparations for the Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence program (on and around October 10), Homecoming (October 11) and our accreditation visit (October 13-15) are underway.  Look for an announcement soon about a new online form for Alumni in Residence sign-ups.  At Homecoming, our Mindgating event will be a film festival featuring alumni as well as an interactive discussion on the legacy of William James College (1971-1984) and the relationships between liberal and professional education.  And as the Provost's Office requested a year ago, do plan to be on campus as much as practical for the accreditation visit.  Websites and bulletin boards should be up-to-date for their visit so that we can present ourselves as well as we truly deserve.   In your last summer days of relative freedom before the start of the academic year, I wish for you the gift of inspiration.     

Faculty Feature
Visible Impact and the Face of Geology

by Monica Johnstone, Dir. of CLAS Communications & Advancement

Steve Mattox really wants to talk about his GEO 319 course; you just have to catch him after his trip to the Galapagos and before the patience of his student in the hallway runs out.  It becomes quickly apparent that the schedule he's keeping and the continuing mentoring of students over the summer are part of the reason he was recently chosen as Michigan's science teacher of the year (see Success Story). When you talk to Steve for a few minutes you come to understand that he has a talent for getting people to engage geology more personally.  He asks me if I want to know my coal footprint.  Something tells me I'm not going to sleep any better knowing that each American consumes about 20 pounds of coal each day and that amount is roughly the size of a volleyball that he is miming with his hands.  And then there are the 16 grams of mercury that "will be released in your name" if you live to be 80.  He's already got my attention about the findings of his student Molly Hazel that they've worked up into a piece for the media.  "Making our impact visible," Steve aptly calls this. GEO 319, Earth Science in Secondary Education is designed to expand the perspectives of the teaching of Earth Science and prepare students for professional life. Though the catalog description doesn't say so, the course also seems designed to compel students to take their engagement of the subject of earth science to a new level.  The projects range from Supervolcanoes to Mars Science to Using GIS to Teach Michigan's Glacial Landforms to Urban Water Cycle.    Sometimes the projects go beyond the confines of the course, become the subject of even a year's worth of additional meetings to hone both writing and data, and  result in meta-studies of geology such as "How Gender and Race of Geologists are Portrayed in Physical Geology Textbooks" (Mattox, Bridenstine, Burns, Torresen, Konig, Meek, Ritchie, Schafer, Shepard, Slater, Waters, and Wigent).  In a world that is looking at a shortage of geologists, the importance of exposing the disproportionate portrayal of white males in the textbooks aimed at foundation-level courses can hardly be lost on the students involved or those who read their paper in the Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 56, n. 2, March 2008, p. 156-169. In another such study, a group of students reviewed a year's worth of the GR Press to look at the coverage of the various sciences.  Steve's teaching mission extends far beyond his current students or the halls of Padnos; he's quite concerned about the science education of the community and finds ways for his students to use their scientific skills to quantify the problem and address it.  Simultaneously, he's addressing his concern that too few earth science positions are available in high schools, so his students can use the boost to their job hunts that such projects can give them. The final lines of the "How Gender and Race..." article sum up very nicely what the course and its spin-off projects seek to achieve:  With a pool of hundreds of thousands of potential geologists in our classrooms we must present our science as available to all.  We are part of a dynamic and interesting endeavor.  Our public "face" needs to better reflect the people we serve and the community we wish to be.