CLAS Acts December 2013

December 2013
Vol. 7, issue 5

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

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
~J. B. Priestley (English novelist, playwright and broadcaster)

I grew up in this area but at this time of year it occurs to me that as new faculty and staff from elsewhere are feverishly grading or tweaking finals or working to meet end-of-term deadlines, outside the snow starts to fall and you may be faced by an utterly new-to-you set of wonders and challenges.  My advice in the short term is to make sure your wiper fluid is topped up and a scraper is in the car, give yourself plenty of room to brake, and clear your car well-piles on top invariably tend to slide over windshields, and snow-covered head and tail-lights are less effective. More importantly, at some point, find a vantage point from which to take in our beautiful campus when it transforms into a winter wonderland.  Should we get a freakish amount of snow during finals (unlikely), here is a link to the procedure:[link removed]. So many great things happened recently.  Amy Masko of English received an award for her paper from the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum.  Nine out of the twelve Gilman Scholars were CLAS students.  History's Alice Chapman welcomed the arrival of her new book.  History was also pretty excited about student Katrina Mayne's acceptance into the medieval history master's program at Cambridge.  Two Classics students, Chani Jones and Jared Groth, have received substantial scholarships to study in Rome in a prestigious program.  The faculty members have also been hard at work getting the news out about the good work being done here.  For instance, in Puerto Rico Geology's Pablo A. Llerandi-Román gave a talk on "Analyzing the shoreline change of cays in Puerto Rico due to geoenvironmental factors: An important step towards a coastal management strategy".  Some of our faculty and staff are helping to promote us to the community and potential students down the road by donating their time and talent to the Grandparents/Grandkids/Grand Valley Camp and have sent in class proposals.  ( G3 Camp could be an inspired holiday gift.) We had a very productive meeting of our staff advisory committee which came up with additional areas we can address with some more Spring Cleaning.  New Inclusion Advocates came on board at the end of October.  Searches progressed in several departments. Our Teaching Roundtables event filled quickly and is proving a robust tradition after only a few years. Some new collaborations have been undertaken.  For instance, there are plans to link the Student Success Collaborative advising initiative and last year's Out of the Box events on advising by forming an advising task force for Winter 2014.  And as a result of two open fora with CLAS affiliate faculty held in October, a Blackboard site for affiliate faculty has been established. Information relevant to affiliates is posted there, including information about the range of affiliate responsibilities in CLAS. Approximately 25 affiliates have volunteered to help develop a CLAS Affiliate Advisory Committee. That group will be meeting early in Winter semester---more information to follow.  We know that tenure-track faculty are interested in the voices of all types of faculty being heard. As you would have seen in a recent Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing or in the Lanthorn article a couple weeks ago or response to it, I've invited all of you to participate in a Fall Breather.  It is my hope that with high participation in this experiment, we will produce some data to help guide our future decisions about the effect and advisability of instituting a Fall Break someday. Even as the semester ebbs, there are a few last and very worthy events upcoming.  Student art exhibitions continue, some wonderful concerts are on the calendar, the university holiday bash is set for Dec. 5, and CLAS holds its holiday open house in the Pere Marquette room (KC) December 10, 11:30am-2pm featuring music, camaraderie, and great food. But before you hit the grading and the eggnog, here is one item most definitely in your enlightened self-interest--please make time in your schedule for the important work of learning about your colleagues who have been short-listed in the search for a new Associate Dean for Faculty Resources and Scheduling.  CVs and meeting details will be available and the password will be e-mailed to you. My thanks to all of the distinguished faculty who applied and to those who have served all of us on the search committee including committee chair Mark Richards.  I am a very fortunate Dean. May the snow fall softly on your driveway, may your grades be complete on time (before noon, Tuesday, December 17) including Last Date of Academic Activity for any cases requiring it, and may you find much to cheer for at Commencement on December 7.  This is, of course, the early winter in west Michigan version of the Irish blessing.        

10th Anniversary Celebration Events   Arts at Noon   December 2, 2013 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--After Tet   December 3, 2013 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
CLAS Research Colloquium   January 23, 2014 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Faculty reading by Professors Amorak Huey and Caitlin Horrocks   January 28, 2014 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium Schedule The CLAS Faculty Research Colloquia will take place from 2:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. in 308 PAD: Thursday, January 23rd Thursday, February 20th Thursday, March 20th    

CLAS Holiday Open House Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m The Pere Marquette Room
(2204 KC) 1-1:30pm Low Brass Quartet on Kirkhof Center Balcony Please stop by and celebrate with food and friends.     

Faculty Governance Highlights

by Felix Ngassa and Douglas Montagna

ECS/ UAS executed several actions of interest to CLAS this past month. At the UAS October 25th meeting, the UAS passed an Academic Policies and Standards Committee (APSC) memo recommending against a fall break, which means we will not be getting a fall break in the near future. At its 11/01 meeting, the ECS supported the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center Advisory Committee (FTLCAC) recommendation for the adoption of a standardized measure of student evaluations of faculty teaching.  There was consensus to hold Town Hall meetings and use the feedback gathered from them before sending any motion to the UAS. Two Town Hall meetings have already been held, and there is another one scheduled for Friday, December 6th.  In response to faculty fora on service, the ECS made a change by deleting "pro bono" to allow needed flexibility on the "Service to the Community and/or the Profession" section of the Faculty Handbook.    


Tips to Make Your Work Life Easier

Our mantra this academic year in celebration of our 10th anniversary as a college is streamline and simplify.  Most of us are so busy that it can be hard to find the time to figure out what might help us to save time.  Here are three tips that will take you a minute or less each to implement and will save you time or reduce errors ever after. PC Users 1.  Put your e-mail on speed dial (MS Outlook) There are people you e-mail much more than others (chair, co-PI, office coordinator, publisher...).  You can open a new e-mail and pop an address in the To field in just one click using Outlook Quick Steps. Open MS Outlook. Look at the ribbon across the top for Quick Steps (in the middle) and click on the tiny arrow in the bottom right corner. This brings up the Manage Quick Steps menu which has two columns.  Beneath the left column is a button called New.  Click it. Select "New Email To", navigate to or enter the e-mail address of your frequently e-mailed person and adjust the title to specify that person's name.  Finish and Okay. Now that will display as one of your Quick Step options.  Do you have a bad habit of erroneously e-mailing someone (accidentally, of course) because that person has the same first name as your frequent contact?  This could be the solution to that problem. 2. 3 Easy Excel manipulations that save lots of time and avoid drudgery This video takes one minute and six seconds to teach you 3 Excel tips that most people don't know about. 3. Always Forget to Turn On (or Off!) Your Outlook "Out of Office" Message? Special thanks to Sherry Barricklow for this quick tutorial on how to set your out-of-office message when you think of it so it starts and stops at the appropriate time.    MAC Users Lifehacker has 10 tips for Mac users including some great keyboard shortcuts: The Huff Post has 25 more:  

College Office Profile: Associate Dean for Professional Development and Administration

As an experienced researcher, teacher, and former unit head, Shaily Menon brought to the position of Associate Dean for Professional Development and Administration an appreciation for the importance of resources and planning that undergird her current work.  Much of the work  to facilitate self-studies and strategic planning is done in consultation with others such as Julie Guevara, the UAC, and CLAS units.  And when major new resources are in development, such as the new science building, her role involves shepherding information, advocating, and negotiating for those who have resource needs with those who can do something to address their needs.  As part of her outreach activities she also has occasion to work with the Office of Community Outreach.  The major components of the role are: Facilities and space requests Resource needs including computers Research and grants Strategic Planning Liaison with other colleges Professional development of faculty, APs and COTs New Faculty Orientation First, second and third year faculty seminars Sabbatical Showcase Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence program CLAS Teaching Roundtables Assist the Dean with general administrative needs