August 2013 CLAS Acts

August 2013
Vol. 7, issue 1

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.


Frederick J. Antczak, Dean

In this, my 72nd column for CLAS Acts and my first of AY 2013-2014 in which we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of CLAS, I'm conscious of both those things that are perennial and those which keep the academic life always fresh. Among the perennials are that our annual report will be available about the middle of this month.  We'll post links in the Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing and printed copies will be sent to all departments and are always available by request. The focus of this issue will be the scholarly and creative achievements of the college over the last year because these are so closely tied to our vibrant teaching.  We've had quite the task of paring down your voluminous accomplishments to samples that can fit in a manageable publication.  I'm not complaining. Next here's a reminder of the 19th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning on August 21.  We also have important upcoming events in CLAS such as the always inspiring New Faculty Reception (by invitation), our Unit Heads Retreat, the CLAS Faculty and Staff Meeting on Thursday, August 22, and the many events associated with our 10th anniversary year.  The University Convocation will be held on Friday, August 23-so please remember to RVSP for that and have your regalia handy. The official dedication of the new Mary Idema Pew Library is September 3 in the evening, but as you know, the building is already open and the subject of many excited tweets from our students.  The librarians have nicknamed the automated retrieval system Spot (because it fetches). Our Board of Trustees have confirmed two elevations to emeritus status for our wonderful recently retired colleagues Cindy Hull (ANT) and Tom Herzog (PSY).  Cindy is an alumna of GVSU, a long-time chair, author of books, and member of our alumni board.  Tom had a career of startling productivity culminating in the Distinguished Contribution to a Discipline Award.  Both of these wonderful teachers are very deserving of this honor.  The Trustees also adopted a budget and set tuition. If you have not been on campus this summer, you may be a bit surprised to encounter some driving and pedestrian detours around the building site for the new science classroom and lab building.  The good news is that fences are coming down around the library.  There is a bit more pressure on some of the parking lots closest to some of our buildings, so I've chosen to think of the slightly longer walks as part of my wellness program rather than an inconvenience.  There is no way to get our needed facilities without making some dust and detours. It also seems that our recent building has shaken up the local habitats.  A faculty member snapped a picture of a large snake nestled against a second story window-gone arboreal with all the construction noise, poor thing.  Psychology Chair Bob Hendersen dubbed this "snakes on a pane."  I wanted to charge this critter out-of-state tuition, but our biologists reliably informed me that the snake, a blue racer, is a Michigan native. On a more serious note, the feature article in this issue is on how CLAS allocates our budget.  We provide an update on this once per academic year and hope that it helps you to get a general view of how our system works. I look forward to talking with you at our start up meeting on August 22 if not before. This is an exciting time of annual renewal in our academic life and I wish you a raft of bright and eager students, inspired teaching, the best of collegial hallway experiences, and a very productive AY 2013-2014 as we celebrate our decade as a college.    

As we celebrate our anniversary year, you'll see some changes in this publication.  In addition to our usual column explaining the focus of the deans'  work that month, a feature on a faculty member or special topic, and the Dean's monthly column, CLAS Acts will provide information about  the many 10th anniversary celebration events around the college.  In a recent survey, faculty requested more information about administrative workings and the college office functions, so we'll also provide descriptions of the functions of the deans and administrative professionals.  

Putting the green in next generation science standards 13-Aug-13
Events for CLAS Faculty & Staff During Startup Week 20-Aug-13 CLAS Faculty and Staff Meeting 22-Aug-13

CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium 20-Sep-13
James W. Carey Memorial Lecture (24-Sep-13
Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--Send the Marines!

25-Sep-13 Opening Night: GVSU Shakespeare Festival--Much Ado

27-Sep-13 HOMERathon 4: a twenty-four hour reading of Homer's Iliad

2-Oct-13 Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--The Army and Special Forces Go In

2-Oct-13 CLAS Research Colloquium   18-Oct-13 CLAS Mindgating at Homecoming  

19-Oct-13 MI GreenUP 5th Annual Michigan Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

23-Oct-13 Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry-Prof. W. Carl Lineberger

Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--Piling On

Molecular Reaction Dynamics in Time and Frequency Domains

CLAS Research Colloquium   1


Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--Tet 1968

Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--After Tet 3-Dec-13
CLAS Research Colloquium 23-Jan-14

The Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships has moved. We are now  in Room 230 of the Mary Idema Pew Library & Learning Commons, sharing an office suite with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.  Please stop by to say hello and send your students our way!  Seeking your best and brightest graduating seniors to apply for the following prestigious award opportunities: Rhodes, Marshall, & Gates Cambridge
Campus Deadline: Sept. 9 U.S. Student Fulbright Scholarship (English Teaching Assistantships and/or Research/Study Grants)
Campus Deadline: Sept. 27 Interested students should contact Amanda Cuevas, Director, Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships at to further discuss these opportunities.  Serious and qualified students should be developing their applications over the summer-now!!! Please contact Amanda Cuevas u if you would be interested in scheduling a nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships presentation in your classes this fall. 

College Office Profile: Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Pat Haynes has a Master's degree in Sociology and a work history at GVSU spanning three decades.  She joined the CLAS Dean's office in May of 2004.  Faculty often work with Pat on the financial sides of grants or when they become Unit Heads with responsibility for departmental or school budgets. Pat's role includes Evaluation of grant proposals and budgets. Develop annual budget request for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Work with the University's grant accountant to monitor active grants Monitor the Department and College Budgets Work with Departments concerning accounting or budget issues Log and monitor College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Assistantships Tasks as assigned by the Dean  


How CLAS Prioritizes the Budget and Resources

Each year, CLAS provides the faculty with an overview of how budget priorities are assigned and with information about the scale and general landscape of the CLAS budget. "Budgets are a way of expressing over time a community's values and aspirations within the limits of resources in a given year," says Dean Antczak. "So it's appropriate that the CLAS community know how our resources get distributed." The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has an Annual Budget in FY 2013 of $65,821,870, of which 93.82% is dedicated to personnel expenses (big ticket benefits such as healthcare for CLAS faculty and staff are included in the personnel allocation). Student wages represent roughly 1.32% of the budget. The Operating Budget is 4.13% of the Annual Budget for consumables, supplies, services, and maintenance (now you know what "CSSM" abbreviates). The final .73% is earmarked for equipment.  Most discretionary decisions are made with this last 6%. "Personnel" in CLAS means the 678.01 fiscal year equivalent (FYE) regular faculty, APs and COTs (2012-2013) in our college. There were another 9.04 FYE positions funded from designated or restricted funds, which are a separate budget. In addition, from the personnel allocation comes what is known as the Adjunct Overload Budget. In simple terms, any money available from vacant positions and from sabbatical and other leave is recycled to fund adjunct and visiting instructors. This is a constantly moving target at a given moment because of sudden decisions to retire, faculty members giving short notice of a leave or departure, intended half-year sabbaticals receiving unanticipated grant funding which suddenly become full-year sabbaticals, the salary level of the particular faculty who are covering summer courses in a given year, teaching resources absorbed by reassigned time, and other unavoidable fluctuations in who is available to teach at any given moment  and the exact amount of funding needed to provide that coverage. To complicate matters, even external factors can have an influence: e.g., a sudden rise or drop in the stock market can change the pattern of anticipated faculty retirements in a given year. "Since we can only squeeze our budget to the maximum for the College each year if we plan based on the ponderables," says the Dean, "such imponderables intruding from the outside world can present us with conditions to which we must adapt on the run. Over the long run these changes may offset each other and even out, but they rarely do so in the course of a single fiscal year." In addition to the Annual Budget is a small, annually variable Working Budget. Assistant Dean Pat Haynes notes that "we were allocated $35,000 for 2012-13. The amount allocated each year is very variable." From this working budget the College office squeezes funding for one-time spending requests such as special events and one-time purchases. Examples of this type of funding in recent years include speaking labs, support for licensing for Athletic Training, career day and experimental lab supplies for Statistics, lab supplies for a Physics lab in Grand Rapids, and cameras for visual communications. And for the last three years, the College has been fortunate to have, through the support of private donors (including many faculty; thank you!), the CLAS Fund for Excellence from which the Dean can assist several projects annually. The Fund for Excellence supports College programs for faculty and students which are exemplars of our mission. Director for Communications and Advancement Monica Johnstone worked with University Development to establish this fund. "I wanted Fred to be able to say yes to more of the many worthy student and faculty initiatives," Johnstone said. "We also do what we can to suggest germane sponsors to match our funding when that is appropriate so that we can do as much good as possible with the fund." Within these constraints, the Mission Statement of the College and the CLAS Strategic Plan are used as guiding principles for decision making. In general terms, this means maximizing the benefit to students, selecting to fund high-(and wide-) impact projects, and helping the faculty and staff to do their jobs increasingly well and efficiently. In some cases, there is an added layer of urgency associated with a specific request to support compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or safety standards. These can be seen as part of our commitment to an inclusive, healthy, and sustainable environment for the faculty, students, staff and all visitors to our college facilities. While many mundane or mechanical matters are dealt with independently by the College Office, those most directly relevant to the teaching mission are conducted in close consultation with the Unit Heads and faculty governance. For instance, to prioritize a limited number of faculty lines that the University can sanction in a given year, such consultation is critical. Units are provided with enrollment and staffing statistics for prior years to help them set their internal priorities based on a firm foundation. Units then submit a prioritized list of new or replacement faculty positions (including affiliate positions) requested for the coming year, with justifications. The CLAS Associate Deans and your elected CLAS Faculty Council independently review and prioritize position requests and both submit these prioritized lists to the Dean. The Dean reviews all of this input and sends the Provost a final prioritized list of all CLAS faculty position requests for the coming year-which the Provost may choose to re-prioritize on strategic grounds. All of the participants in the College's winnowing and sifting process base their prioritizing on enrollment and staffing trends; areas of highest student demand; curricular, accreditation, and certification requirements; impact on liberal education; retirements and resignations; availability of adjuncts; and efficient use of the existing staff. For obvious reasons, a clearly articulated and compelling rationale for each requested position is vital to its success. For those interested in seeing how this process plays out over the year and in each of the several separate processes, a calendar of CLAS's prioritizing process for budget and resources is available online. While a dean cannot by individual fiat approve new personnel or erect buildings or reconfigure classrooms shared by all of the academic units in the university, the Dean and Associate Deans have seats at the table where such priorities are set. They provide information that makes its way to legislators, Trustees, donors, and the senior management team of GVSU. In short, they become the voice of CLAS in the larger planning and resourcing processes of the university as a whole. New projects, while part of our academic lifeblood, come into being through an often messy combination of inspiration, perspiration, external funding, precipitous timing, unanticipated opportunity, and rank happenstance. Of course, funding from the college and the university is only part of what it takes to fuel our values and aspirations. External grants, private donations, and gifts-in-kind play a larger role each year. For instance, the CLAS on the Green golf outing raised over $9,000 this year toward an endowment for the CLAS Scholarship Fund; the great success of this event may allow us to "vest" and start distributing the scholarship a year or even a couple of years early.   Elbow grease never shows up on the CSSM spreadsheet, the dedicated hard work of students and faculty isn't easy to quantify in the bottom line, our increasing credibility with the general public that can be detected in newspaper articles and anecdotally from our neighbors is impossible to assign a dollar value, but all of this goes into the equation the shifting sum of which brings us more and better students, a greater impact on our community and a trajectory towards the future we have planned.  

What the Deans Are Doing In August

Dean Antczak is anticipating a busy academic year. "The new year is full of activities for me. There are many contracts to generate, check and sign. We'll be completing the search for a new Director of the PSMs. Provost Cabinet meets, the S3 Summer Showcase happens, I'll be supporting the Mathcounts Fundraiser, and many other preparatory activities will occur. Then, mid-month, it's the rituals of the new year: the New Faculty Orientation begins (in our fabulous new Library); I meet with the Laker Marching Band to distribute some awards for leadership and longevity; the Provost Cabinet Retreat happens. On its heels is our Unit Head Retreat, then the FTLC conference. I look forward to our College Meeting, at which we get to nominate an unusual number of accomplished CLAS people, and welcome some really talented and promising faculty and staff colleagues. Picnic to follow, by the Z-Pond (no climbing on the skeleton of the new Zumberge Annex!). Then we have Convocation, and we're at it full speed again. That feels about right, doesn't it? To mangle a line from the movie Gladiator, "not yet, but soon." Associate Dean of Students and Curriculum Mary Schutten will be supporting student success by continuing to work with CLAS Academic Advising Center and the Student Success Collaborative project. She will also be working with the mathematics and science unit heads to develop an advising guide for mathematics tests, advanced waivers, and AP scores. She will be co-presenter for the August 16 EDI 431 and EDI 432 startup meeting associated with fully implementing CLAS supervision in student teaching. She continues to work on student issues, support the work of the CLAS Academic Advising Center, and registration and orientation activities, facilitate transfer agreements, and will be working on a grant proposal revision as well as facilitating efforts to develop a partnership with CLAS faculty, local intermediate school district health coordinators and Blue Cross Blue Shield for a community (K-12) based wellness program. She will also support the grade reporting processes for timely and accurate submission of spring/summer grades. She will participate in both CLAS and university Fall start up activities. In August, Associate Dean for Professional Development and Administration Shaily Menon will attend S3 Summer Scholars Showcase, New Faculty Orientation, and CLAS New Faculty Social. During start-up week she looks forward to attending the various start-up activities including CLAS Unit Head meeting, CLAS faculty and staff meeting, FTLC Fall teaching conference, and Convocation. She will continue to work with units and Facilities Planning on space related problem solving, and plan new faculty orientation and mentoring activities. Shaily will put final touches to her course materials for Environmental Ethics and looks forward to teaching it as an Issues course for the first time in Fall. Associate Dean of Faculty Gary Stark will monitor Fall and Winter enrollments and low-enrolled courses for Fall semester, organize and lead the unit heads retreat, coordinate 2013/14 searches for tenure-track faculty positions, plan the new unit heads orientation, compile the reassigned time report for 2012/13, determine departmental budget allocations for Spr/Sum 2014 teaching, work on a conference paper, and complete a book review.