CLAS Acts August 2010

Shawn Bible dancing

Students performing

August 2010
Volume 3, 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     

Special Back to School issue includes 2 feature articles:

Faculty profile on Dance's Shawn Bible

Roger Ellis' account of the Bard-to-Go trip to Nova Scotia      

CLAS Faculty & Staff Fall Start-Up Meeting on Thursday, August 26 in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, PAC 10:00 coffee & conversation 10:30 Faculty & Staff meeting Followed by lunch nearby (exact location TBA) This year we are going paperless!      Dee Ann Sherwood Bosworth, MPA, MSW, Director of  Intercultural Training in the Office of Inclusion and Equity is available to come to CLAS departments at their convenience to facilitate the 90 minute workshops  "Respect in the Global Workplace" or the "Crucial Conversations". Please call 1-5034 to arrange.           

Announcement: CSAT major is approved. David Coffey is coordinator.
The Comprehensive Science and Arts for Teaching major when paired with the COE Special Ed major = special ed certification.           

August 28 The West Michigan Whitecaps will host the Women in Baseball night featuring the GVSU Veteran's History Project and its special project on the WWII era women's baseball league.  7:00pm.         


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

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ~Alvin Toffler

The July Board of Trustees meeting is of importance to faculty for reasons that never make the newspapers.  Not only was Lynn Mapes (History) added to the ranks of our honored Emeriti, the tenure and promotion decisions become official.  Please join me in congratulating, now and at our start up meeting on August 26, your colleagues entering the next stages of their careers.  

Chemistry                     George McBane               Professor

English                          Shinian Wu                       Professor

Biology                          Shaily Menon                    Professor

Biology                           Roderick M. Morgan       Professor

Geology                         John Weber                      Professor

Mathematics                 Salim Haidar                    Professor

Psychology                   Donna Henderson-King   Professor

Writing                           Dan Royer                         Professor

Biology                          Robert Holister                Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

Political Science          Michelle Miller-Adams    Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

AWRI                              Richard Rediske              Tenure

Sociology                      Hermann Kurthen            Tenure

Movement Science     Colleen Lewis                   Tenure 

Anthropology                Mark Schwartz                   Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

Art & Design                 Sigrid Danielson              Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

Art & Design                 Hoon Lee                           Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

Art & Design                 Katalin Zaszlavik               Tenure/Assoc. Prof.

Biomedical Sciences    David Linn                        Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Chemistry                     Christopher Lawrence     Tenure/Assoc. Prof C

Classics                         Peter Anderson                Tenure/Assoc. Prof

English                          Rachel Anderson              Tenure/Assoc. Prof

English                          Robert Rozema                 Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Geography/Planning  Gang Xu                               Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Geology                         Peter Wampler                   Tenure/Assoc. Prof

History                           Mathew Daley                     Tenure/Assoc. Prof

History                           Scott Stabler                        Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Mathematics                 Shelly Smith                        Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Modern Languages & Literatures                     Donovan Anderson            Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Modern Languages & Literatures                     David Eick                            Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Modern Languages & Literatures                     Janel Pettes-Guikema      Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Philosophy                    Ronald Loeffler                   Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Philosophy                    Johns Uglietta                     Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Physics                          Maja Krcmar                        Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Political Science          Heather Tafel                       Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Psychology                   Tara Cornelius-Reece       Tenure/Assoc. Prof

Psychology                   Jamie Owen-DeSchryver   Tenure/Assoc. Prof

School of Communications         Danielle Wiese Leek          Tenure/Assoc. Prof  

Please also help me to provide a warm welcome to Roxanne Mol, the newest member of the Deans Office team.  Roxanne will be supporting two Associate Deans and the CLAS Curriculum Committee and will help ensure all the grades come in each term among other duties.  Roxanne brings a skill set that makes her a great addition to our office.  Paula Wicklund has moved up to a key position at AWRI, and we thank her for all her good work.   Your support of our new and interim unit heads is also appreciated.  These are big shoes to fill.  Brad Ambrose is looking after Physics while Karen Gipson is on leave.  Bill Osborn is the new chair of English.  Ginny Peterson is the new chair of Geology.  Stephen Rowe is serving a one year term in Philosophy.  And Yan Yu is holding down the fort in Sociology while Marshall Battani is on sabbatical.    As we begin to hurtle towards fall, there are several things I'd like to mention.  As you know, the academic year for Faculty officially starts on August 9, and many events follow soon thereafter.  CLAS will hold its event for new tenure track faculty on the evening of August 18, a retreat at Alumni House for our Unit Heads on August 24, and of course our start up meeting for all CLAS faculty and staff is on Thursday, August 26 in the Louis Armstrong Theatre in PAC.   This year we are taking serious steps toward sustainability.  Going paperless at our Faculty and Staff Meeting seemed a good start.  Moreover we are providing you with reusable magnetic name tags so that we can stop using the disposable variety at CLAS events.  We anticipate that, apart from the waste saved, this shift to magnetic tags will pay for itself in a little over 2 years.  Besides, I'm pleased that we're able to recognize your status and contributions with a more professional (and legible) look.   The President's 50th Anniversary Celebration Picnic will be held Tuesday, August 24 from 5-8pm in the Fieldhouse.    Before you know it we will be talking about the Fall Arts Celebration, Homecoming and departmental strategic planning tweaks, but for now we can all concentrate on the syllabi for our Fall courses, sharing inspirations with our colleagues born of our summer exploits, and welcoming back our students who make the whole enterprise possible. What the Deans will be doing in August   August is the busy month for the Dean.  "Of course, I'll be sending a bunch of contracts to staff up our teaching.  I'll have a Michigan Humanities meeting, a Woodrow Wilson Foundation meeting and a Deans Council retreat, just to prime the pump.  Planning will take up the early part of the month for several CLAS events: we'll be doing the New Faculty Social and participating in new faculty orientation.  The Unit Head Retreat will precede the all-university celebration.  Our College meeting will precede the University's convocation.  And sometime before all that, I'll have prepared the materials and Blackboard site for the class I'm teaching this fall."   AD Mary Schutten will continue to complete the alignment process for the CLAS strategic plan and collaborate with Provost's Office to develop an alignment process for the units to use during the upcoming AY, coordinate the school health education minor, and facilitate any student appeals.  She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, submit a both a manuscript and a grant proposal with Kent Intermediate School District for body mass, socioeconomic standing, fitness and academic achievement, as well as author the school health education report for NCATE, and attend several student events throughout the month.   AD Jann Joseph will focus her time on new faculty orientation, start up events, and submitting an NSF grant proposal.   AD Gary Stark will be planning the annual unit heads retreat, monitoring Fall enrollments, supervising the  hiring of visiting and adjunct faculty, and facilitating the use of Digital Measures. Faculty Feature  

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

by Monica Johnstone, PhD, Dir. of CLAS Communications & Advancement

Somehow Shawn Bible, our sole tenure-track faculty member in dance, 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.   Our initial idea was to provide in this article a sense of what a year in the dance life was like, but we stopped at December in a state of overload (mine, not his).    It is the month of July, a month the Grand Rapids Art Museum has dedicated to dance, and  Shawn is working with student dancers and professionals on a performance for which he is choreographer, director, tech and general roustabout.  On July 30 he'll be providing a lecture on dance for GRAM, too.  That seems like a lot for one month, but Shawn explains he's just finished teaching at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp-commuting daily.  And to illustrate how normal this is, he points out that in addition to GVSU, he's also working with students at Zeeland High.   All of this activity is focused on a mission that undergirds much of his work.  He wants to educate the wider community to an expanded notion of dance that stretches to encompass more than ballet only, beyond the dance recitals we attend because our small children are in them, beyond the competitive paradigms of So You Think You Can Dance on tv.   He's seeking an appreciation of the fundamental nature of movement in our lives ("simple human movements as dance").  He'd also like to put an end to the prejudice that contemporary dance is "just walking around".  That means days that start at 8am and end at 10pm.   For Shawn, whose own story of coming late to the formal study of dance (in college) suggests a touch of Billy Elliot, the focus is on the postmodern dance forms that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s rejecting many of the previous theories of dance.  For instance, he is interested in dance that is site specific.  In a recent work, the dancers moved at random in response to movements called out by the dancers themselves ("sit", "run") confined only by the space.  Sometimes the line between performer and audience is blurred. So just as a post modern painting might take paint as its subject or a play might tell the tale of the supernumeraries rather than Hamlet, Shawn has created downtown performances that fleetingly subsume the passers-by into the work.    "Dance always creates its own culture," he tells me.  One suspects that he means to facilitate that process mightily through his teaching.  He sees the process of exposing students to new forms as a way of helping them find themselves.  He also doesn't imagine this must happen in the manner of the shouting taskmaster.  He believes that though ubiquitous in some forms of dance, class need not be an hour of being yelled at.    He points out that ballet careers are such that college-age dancers are already at an age considered "mid career" for professionals.  That's part of the reason he wants them to be realistic about their careers, to have wide exposure and training in diverse dance disciplines.  Of his students he says, "They have choices."   He describes his own college years, and his own choices.  "Very busy, never home, never sleeping."  Though I am already convinced, he assures me that physical exhaustion is a considerable part of the experience for dance students at GVSU, too.  They do know what they are getting themselves into, though, since most have danced all their lives.  He feels strongly that GVSU should be a place for them to become versatile, to get their skills, to make their mistakes.   In the fall, as part of the Fall Arts Celebration, Shawn is bringing a very ambitious and famous work to GVSU, Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring (first performed in 1944).  Aaron Copland won the Pulitzer Prize for the score.  The license to perform this work comes with many strings attached.  The original--and now irreplaceable--set by sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) must travel here from New York.  The costumes will be built to specification of the Graham Foundation and will become their property afterward.  Peter Sparling on behalf of the foundation came out to approve the dancers.  The paperwork has been considerable even for one as organized as Shawn is.  It is worth the trouble because Graham is "a classic modern dance person."  To be taken seriously, Graham insisted on technique.  That technique became the basis for all of the modern dance techniques today that were to branch from it.   Susan Kikuchi, with a trail of credits including Broadway, will come to GVSU to teach Appalachian Spring to Shawn, others on the dance faculty and some students to ensure the 45 minute work will reach the exacting standards of the Graham Foundation.    Shawn stresses the importance of intelligence for dancers who must be ready to learn complex works sometimes very close to the scheduled performance.  Appalachian Spring will require about 50 hours of rehearsal. At the beginning of the semester, Susan Kikuchi will work with our dancers for 10 days from 6-9pm.  She will return 10 days before the November 1 performance in the Louis Armstrong Theatre (PAC) to "clean" the performance.  A video will be made as proof of the fulfillment of the Graham Foundation's standards and the licensing agreement.   Shawn's very much hoping that the college community avails itself of this superb opportunity.    I could easily excuse Shawn if his entire plate was full with three classes to teach, advising, and Appalachian Spring.  But that would be to neglect the collaboration he's engaged in with poet Patricia Clark (Writing) that will take its inspiration from the ArtPrize sculptures to be installed on the Pew campus.  And it would be to forget Shawn's plan to advance another project that merges movement and video images.    "Dance is very suitable to interdisciplinarity," Shawn points out.  His own background includes not only choreography but also design (he shows me a product he designed for Target stores in a previous incarnation).  His vita shows he had a major in Sociology.  "You can go anywhere in your field-for instance, you need to video edit your own dance performances so I get students to try that-it's a wonderful transition for dancers to use computers."   On the October slate, GVSU will host Michigan Dance Day for the first time.  Teachers from all over the state will come to teach, and Grand Valley will conduct its dance scholarship competition.  In November the dance program show will take place.  Three guest artists will work with our students:  Thayer Jonutz  on the Modern Faculty at Oakland University, Corinne Imberski  on the Modern Faculty at Hillsdale and Lisa LaMarre -a dancer  with the Detroit Dance Collective.  Shawn tries hard to bring a well balanced group.  Dawnell Dryja from the Grand Rapids Ballet will also be providing choreography as will our own talented dance faculty.  And then in December, as part of a community outreach program, there is a performance at a charity event.  "This is a typical fall.  Come to see it," he tells me. "It's free."  

    Theatre Students Take to the Boards in Nova Scotia  

By Professor Roger Ellis, Theatre Program in the School of Communications  

A group of six Theatre students hit road north in Spring/Summer session to present their stage work to audiences in Canada's Maritime Provinces at the 10th biennial Liverpool International Theatre Festival.  The event featured troupes from North America alongside global touring companies.  Hosted by the Nova Scotia Drama Association, LITF offered fourteen performances, six workshops, school residencies, daily adjudication responses, and exciting social events.    The Liverpool Fest is a biennial celebration that has been growing in popularity since 1992, and is one of the world's most prestigious amateur theatre festivals.  To many who have visited this charming celebration over the decades, it is unique among other fests in the size of its local audiences who turn out in large numbers to attend the plays and who also accommodate foreign visitors in their homes.  This year's LITF hosted productions from Algeria, the United States, Italy, Canada, the Czech Republic and Wales.  Performances were held in Liverpool's historic 1902 Astor theatre, as well as in local K-12 schools.    The six GVSU students toured in Fall 2009 with the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival's "Bard to Go" players, prior to receiving the invitation to Canada.  Each year, Grand Valley Shakespeare produces a fifty-minute collage of scenes that travels for a month to K-12 audiences around Michigan.  And for the past decade, the University's Shakespeare Festival has responded to numerous invitations from abroad inviting CLAS students to present work in international venues.  Sponsored by the Padnos Center, the School of Communications, CLAS, and other campus organizations, student actors have also presented their work in Jamaica, China, and Italy.   The Liverpool Festival places special emphasis on performance outreach by scheduling tours to local schools.  Three separate shows were offered this year for elementary, middle school children, and senior high school students.  In fact, this season LITF invited two special youth performance troupes to serve young both young audiences in special shows as well as to present work to the general public on the mainstage program.  The "Bard-to-Go" company from Grand Valley Shakespeare  presented a collage of love scenes from Shakespeare's plays entitled LOVESTRUCK.    Students contributed a portion to the overall expenses. The rest of their expenses were paid through a generous special grant from the Padnos International Center, grants from Integrative Learning, the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival, and fundraising that the students themselves did through benefit performances. Karen Libman solicited all the funds and arranged for their transportation. Sally Langa was responsible for getting them packed and to the airport. Ben Cole, their director, remounted the show and made sure they were ready to go.  Roger Ellis met the students in Nova Scotia and made the initial contact and solicited the invitation.  The group of five actors and a stage manager included Ann Dilworth, Darion Murchison, Kat Lee, Aaron Sohaski, Jill Zwarensteyn, and Maureen O'Brien.  They were led by Dr. Roger Ellis, founding director of GV Shakespeare and faculty member in the School of Communications, who arranged the tour for the Grand Valley students.  Ellis was also presenting one of the performance workshops for the international participants, and representing the International Amateur Theatre Association where he chairs the Artistic Development Committee.      The students spent six days presenting work, participating in workshops and public "talkbacks" of the plays, in addition to enjoying social events and local tours of the Nova Scotian seacoast.   A short video documentary of students on the Bard-to-Go's 2008 tour to China can be found on the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival website.