CLAS Acts February 2013

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Faculty E-newsletter

February 2013 Vol. 6, issue 7

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 of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

At the start up meeting last August, in a sort of academic New Year's resolution, I called upon the faculty and staff to extend our reach in the process of professing more. I indicated six ways we might do that:  extending a personal connection, especially to first gen and non-traditional students, to keep more of them here to succeed; inventing teaching pedagogies to address our changing situation and students; finding new resources from on campus and beyond, and learning to use them in new ways to address emerging needs; working your network to attract outside events and conferences; engaging more with faculty governance; or aligning our plans and our evaluations to promote what we need done in our changing work. Opportunities present themselves throughout the year.  One instance is at hand:  you have an opportunity this month to throw your hat in the ring for a faculty governance committee.  I already see many signs of your successes in these areas, and we've celebrated some of these in the newsletter (thanks for sharing your pedagogical experiments, Cory DiCarlo and Gretchen Galbraith). Faculty are extending themselves in all sorts of ways.  Many of you have met with Ruth Stegeman to discover additional resources for community engagement.  Deborah Lown of the Biomedical Sciences Department will be part of the team of researchers conducting National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded research to examining disparities in food access for underserved of Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor. John and Elizabeth Kilbourne have partnered with the Children's Museum and Aquinas College to run a Symposium on Play on March 1.  Rob Franciosi has been working hard to promote to groups on and off campus "The December Dilemma: Christmas in American Jewish Popular Culture", a talk by Jeffrey Shandler of Rutgers (Feb. 17).  Faculty and staff have reached out to promising non-traditional students and first generations students to let them know about opportunities such as speech lab tutoring positions, fellowships, campus jobs, internships, and other campus resources to help them be successful. Your work keeps us in the spotlight in front of the public and your academic peers elsewhere.  In FY 2012, CLAS people worked to bring $3,358,025 in external grants to the university.  In FY2013 we already show $1,587,073.  What the dollar figures can't show is the creation of new knowledge, research opportunities for students, repairing natural environments, strengthening of local communities, professional growth, and scholarly collaborations these funds afford us.  2013 has already brought out Bill Ryan's new music CD.  Every time I open the GVSU homepage, Deb Herrington of Chemistry is smiling back and espousing the importance of quality undergraduate education.  Ann Keister, in her very last semester at GVSU before retirement, has arranged a show of her textile students' work that will run in the Calder Art Center February 4-8.  All of this vibrancy strengthens us and claims for us a position in an uncertain world. I know this is a lot of very hard work, but you do make it look fun, exciting, and even glamorous.  That's pretty darn good for the short, dark days of February when many resolutions have already been forgotten, while ours are being so wonderfully fulfilled.  

Consider Serving on a Faculty Governance Committee

The CLAS Faculty Council would like to encourage you to consider running for a seat on a governance committee and to encourage your colleagues to do likewise. Faculty governance plays a vital role at Grand Valley and having CLAS well-represented in that process is good for all of us. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please feel free to contact Colleen Lewis. Thank you in advance for your active participation in this process.

Please note, we will accepting application for CLAS and University Committees starting Thursday, February 7 through February 21, and the election itself will start on February 26 and run until Friday, March 12.         


What the Deans are Doing in February

Dean Antczak reports, "February is the shortest month, but it won't seem so for me.  I'm continuing to do scholarship interviews, and hoping we bring in many bright students to teach.  We'll have a couple Provost Cabinet meetings, a couple unit head meetings, a couple meetings of Faculty Council, and more planning for this summer's golf benefit.  I'm especially looking forward to the February 7 Honors Convocation because we'll have the chance to recognize so many CLAS award winners. The next day we'll have a Board of Trustees meeting.  Early the next week, the external consultants for Geology will visit, after which I'll be taking Inclusion training. February will also see a PSM Directors' meeting, a meeting of the Deans' Academic Advising Committee, perhaps a meeting or two with the Student Success Collaborative folks, my regular meeting with this year's excellent student advisory committee, monthly base-touchings with individual unit heads, lunches with our first year faculty, and in my spare time, we'll do considerable work on personnel.  Sounds like I could use a few extra days!" Associate Dean Mary Schutten continues her efforts related to several student support initiatives on orientation, academic advising, and admissions. Specifically, she will participate in the Student Success Collaborative as it begins this semester and beyond.  She will continue collaborating with the College of Education on a series of initiatives involving CLAS/COE related to student teaching, teacher tests, secondary admissions, etc.  She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, support the work of the CLAS Curriculum Committee as ex officio; and serve as a faculty mentor for Movement Science.  She will be learning about funding opportunities for research, be involved in the interview process for faculty candidates, participate in the Awards of Distinction, convene several meetings related to a grant proposal and possible certificate programs, and continue to identify curricular efficiencies. In February Associate Dean Shaily Menon will continue interviews of search candidates for faculty positions and participate in meetings related to new buildings, renovations, and facilities improvements. She will meet with the college Faculty Development Committee to brainstorm ideas for supporting faculty in their professional development. As part of her work with strategic planning, she will attend a university strategic planning meeting and will continue to work with a special projects graduate assistant on a project related to strategic planning. She will also participate in the external consultants visit to the Geology department. Shaily will work with her co-PIs on two ongoing NSF funded projects and submit an annual report for the NSF S-STEM project. As part of her outreach activities, Shaily will work with the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, attend a meeting of the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Advisory Board to review undergraduate research application, and make a fireside chat presentation on campus about diversity and leadership in higher education. She will continue to teach an introductory natural resources management class during the winter semester and mentor ongoing graduate student thesis research. Associate Dean Gary Stark will be supervising and facilitating the Winter 2013 CLAS election; interviewing candidates for the Japanese position; meeting with the external GEO consultants; serving on the Internationalization Task Force; collecting and evaluating requests for visiting faculty for 2014-15; assisting in organizing the campus visit of the president and the international director of the University of Education, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany; and recruiting faculty for Awards of Distinction interviews.  

Fellowships for Students

Students applying for nationally competitive awards and fellowships can get help at several Workshops  offered by the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships. The Workshops will give students a chance to learn about the awards, including the Gilman and Fulbright scholarships. The series will also provide assistance with personal statements for nationally competitive awards, and information about available fellowships. Walk-in advising hours Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. in room 120 of the Honors College. Visit Upcoming workshops: Fellowships 101 Workshops: Discover about nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships Thurs., February 7, 6 p.m. Thurs., February 21, 6 p.m. Thurs., March 21, 6 p.m. Thurs., April 4, 6 p.m. Multipurpose Room, Niemeyer Hall Fulbright Scholarship Information Session: Ideally suited for graduating and rising seniors interested in being an English Teaching Assistant or conducting research abroad following graduation Thurs., March 28th, 6 p.m. HON 148 Personal Statement Writing Workshop for Nationally Competitive Scholarships & Fellowships Fri., April 5, 3-5 p.m. HON 114 Computer Lab



Making Support Last-- Endowed Funds

While all gifts to the university contribute to the high quality of education, endowments are important as they generate a dependable, lasting source of funding. Furthermore, all gifts made by faculty and staff to an endowment will be matched at the end of the calendar year. Endowed gifts enable Grand Valley to offer a world-class education by creating a foundation for fiscal growth and stability.

Often a university's financial strength and stability are talked about in terms of its endowment.  Harvard's is $32 billion, and U of M's is about $7.7 billion (making it into the top ten).  Older universities with large numbers of alumni sometimes have a leg up on the sort of development campaigns that it takes to build such reserves.  State universities tend to come later to this kind of fundraising because historically the need to do so was not great.  That has, of course, changed.  In the 1980's, for instance, UC Berkeley mounted its first capital campaign with a goal of $10 million requiring its foundation to grow from a staff of ten people to 100 in less than seven years. Grand Valley has also been gearing up.  Our endowment has reached $75 million, and our recent capital campaign exceeded its goals.  We boast one of the highest rates of faculty and staff participation in giving among American universities.  Much of that giving is to what is known as endowed funds -many are for student scholarships or scientific equipment or matching grants.  What they have in common is that they award funds created through the interest on invested capital.   Many CLAS departments have created such funds, building them up over several years.   GVSU has over 300 funds  available for potential donors to browse online, many carrying the name of a CLAS discipline.  These funds are among the choices that qualify for the faculty and staff annual campaign. How much does it take to start an endowed fund? "The minimum amount for our endowed program and scholarship funds is $30,000," Kristin Linscott, Director of Endowed and Planned Giving,  explains.   In order to roll the interest earned into a spending account (program) or through financial aid (scholarships) that amount of capital should be in place.  The required minimum investment to set up the fund depends on how it will be funded.  Is it one faculty or staff member making the gift ($15,000 pledged with the university's match will reach the desired $30,000)? Or will a collective group of faculty/staff be donating to reach that total?  Are there external donors (alumni, etc.) who are interested in giving? Pledges can be paid off in various ways.  For instance a $15,000 gift from an individual faculty or staff member could be paid over 3 years in $5,000 pledge payments.  Kristin notes that "In any of these cases, the initiator would need to meet with us here in University Development to lay out a plan." Many departments have created such a plan and followed it to fruition.   In the last four years, over 15 new scholarships have been created in CLAS.  Some of these are need based and others are awarded for merit.  Some are named for their primary donor and others in honor of a person.  Some endowments spring from the close relationship a community member forms with the university or a discipline within it, which later results in a gift or a bequest.   For example,  the Arnold C. Ott  Lecture endowment that brings high caliber chemists to Grand Valley each year to speak at a public lecture and with our students, such as Nobel Laureate Ada E. Yonath (April 2-3, 2013). Many wonder what happens in an economic downturn when the yield on the endowment is lower.  Rather than disburse about 5% of the total value of endowment that year, the disbursement can be adjusted to something closer to 4%.  The management of these funds seeks to preserve them for the long-term stability of the fund and the institution.