July 2012 Vol. 5, issue 12

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.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Faculty E-newsletter


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

As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.
- Ben Hogan

On a very sunny Wednesday in June we assembled 48 golfers at The Meadows for a fundraiser to establish our first CLAS Student Scholarship Fund.  Some non-golfers joined us for a barbeque dinner afterwards to listen to tall tales and share in the spirit of starting something great for our students.  I'm very pleased to announce that we made almost $6,000 thanks to our generous sponsors and participants.  I'd like to thank Paul Stephenson and his organizing committee including JoAnn Litton, Betty Schaner, Aaron Perry, Jan Kuzee, Shannon Biros, Mark Williams, Patrick Fischer, Mitri Zainea, Bob Smart, Dave Tanis, Carl Arendsen, Kirsten Bartels, and Rob Franciosi.  I'd also like to thank the hole sponsors Deb and Martin Burg.  Also helping us with sponsorships were the Women's Center, the Children's Enrichment Center, Women and Gender Studies, and the Brooks College.  We also had a great crew of volunteers who made the event a success.  We made even more than hoped for the new fund and had a great time doing it. A few days later, our first ever Grandparents/Grandkids/Grand Valley Camp (G3) had its first outing.  Over three days and two nights, kids 8-12 and their grandparents learned about everything from Adventures with Mathematics to Zombie Brains. 

Special thanks to the Regional Math and Science Center for recruiting 99 campers and many teachers from CLAS to create a great experience for these alumni and other members of our community.  Thanks also to those on the steering committee.  Mary Schutten enjoyed speaking at the opening and Monica Johnstone tells me she had a good time giving one of the graduation speeches-in her regalia no less-despite the heat. I enjoyed helping move everyone in!

If you are feeling a little extra warm, you might ask Kelly Parker (PHI) about his recent experiences at a conference in Rio that revisited the Earth Summit that was (can you believe it?) 20 years ago.  Newly elected chair of the CLAS Personnel Committee Melissa Morison (CLA) is braving the heat in Greece at an archaeological dig, and Elizabeth Arnold (ANT) will begin work at the biblical site of Tell es-Safi in Israel this summer.

Talking with our Unit Heads and faculty always opens up not only administrative accomplishments, but also the wider world of their fields.  For instance, I liked the changes in Mathematic's personnel rules that Ed Aboufadel described in our meeting.  It was fun to discuss with Jeroen Wagendorp (GPY) how their new hire will facilitate the rolling out of their Planning courses.  And I learned from Rich Vallery (PHY) how likely is any imminent announcement of a Higgs boson discovery. Over the summer, we are putting final touches on the Quadrennial Report of the College of Liberal Arts & Science 2008-2012.  Thanks to all who sent photos and made themselves available for interviews.  Thanks to our faculty governance chairs who submitted reports on their committees.  We are very glad to be able to incorporate all of these perspectives on this important period in our history. 

In a brief report, there are things we didn't get a chance to share.  For instance, last year the deans had brown bag open conversations with faculty on three occasions in LSH, PAD and MAK.  This was the second year of this initiative.  Appointments with the deans are always an option, but we know faculty like more informal settings to talk with the deans, too.  A couple times every year we make a walking visit of all the buildings where CLAS faculty have their offices; we attend the CLAS Research Colloquium whenever possible; we participate in Out of the Box seminars run by your elected Faculty Council, we facilitated the launch of our Research Clusters; and we enjoyed getting to know your work and concerns better at our fall start up, Teaching Roundtables, holiday lunch, and spring college meeting and Sabbatical Showcase.  The last four years were a time to ensure that we were making the most of what and who we have on board.  We improved our communications with help of the unit heads and faculty, promoted the good work of our people, and in many different ways enhanced the transparency of our operations. We began tailored e-mail distribution of many hundreds of grant opportunities and media clips to our departments so they would know the impact that they are having and could better seek out the funding to build upon it.  Monthly WGVU radio interviews with Shelley Irwin and this faculty e-newsletter CLAS Acts have profiled the work of over 100 of our faculty, the staff of the CLAS Academic Advising Center, our Safety Officer, and other staff on topics such as the Grandparents/ Grandkids/Grand Valley initiative.  Our e-newsletter also clarified many of our processes from how the College budgets its funds to how CLAS prioritizes hiring to how faculty governance addresses personnel decisions to the optimal handling of incomplete grades. In these four years, our office produced 168 e-mailed weekly bulletins.  Annual Reports, alumni newsletters, and 440 news stories were posted on the CLAS website.  I've shared my work online as well-annual Dean's goals and reports on those goals, and eight bi-annual speeches have been posted. We kept the news flowing about our students too. We asked for and received the future plans of hundreds of our graduating seniors for posting on the website. We spotlighted the wonderful achievements of our students and reports from internships conducted in every place from Chicago theatres to villages in Africa.  We made posts to @CLASComm on Twitter and our CLAS Alumni Facebook page.  On one memorable evening, a CLAS alumni panel spoke to a packed room about careers.  This means that the good news from CLAS has gone out to our various constituencies to promote our faculty, clarify our policies and services, or celebrate our students and alumni on average at least once for every working day of the last four years. The Quadrennial Report will appear about August 17.  As usual, it will be available online on the CLAS website, and printed versions will be sent to all units as well as many other constituencies of the College.

No resting on those laurels, though.  I've publish my 2012 goals on the website. I've been meeting one-on-one with all of the CLAS Unit Heads about their goals, too.  This gives our office perspective on what your units are working to achieve over the next year so we can figure out ways to support your efforts.  Your strategic plans, assessment reports, FARs and workload plans, self-studies, interactions with accrediting bodies and external consultants, and even our part in the faculty hiring processes also fill out the picture.  We are often asked if we actually read "all that stuff."  The answer is an emphatic, "Yes."  Looks like we are in for a long hot summer.  I hope you find a nice cool spot to do your reading and planning -and don't forget to take some time to recharge your batteries with all that solar power. 

What the Deans are Doing in July

Dean Antczak notes that in July, "The big thing I'll be up to is writing fall contracts.  There'll be a Board of Trustees meeting, and of Deans' Council, along with meetings about the PSMs and transfers.  Mostly, though, contracts." Associate Dean Mary Schutten will be supporting student success by continuing to work with Records to create efficiencies, most notably the change in the prerequisite error process (more automation) and aligning the major declaration process for Banner and MyPath.  She is busy with the many ongoing  data-gathering projects due this summer including the Presidential Honor Roll which lists service learning and co-curricular student activities.  She is working on administrative and curricular processes in partnership with the College of Education associated with fully implementing CLAS supervision in student teaching, ED 431.   She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, work on student issues, support the work of the CLAS Academic Advising Center, and registration and orientation activities, the transfer research group, and participation in a consultation project with the Michigan Department of Education.  She will continue work related to curriculum and also support enrollment management activities. Associate Dean Shaily Menon will attend a 4-day leadership workshop in California in early July. Later that month, she will attend a Deans Council meeting, finalize reviews of self-study and assessment reports and submit them to the University Assessment Committee. She will also work on converting her Theme course on Environmental Ethics to an Issues course. Together with colleagues in the Dean's office, she will coordinate CLAS participation in sustainability month in October, help to proof the CLAS quadrennial report, facilitate completion of a planning folder for CLAS events, and plan start-up related events. Other ongoing activities through the summer include revising and updating the college strategic plan, beginning to reporting on progress towards college strategic goals for this year, continuing work on a data entry and tracking project with Julie Guevara and a Special Projects Graduate Assistant, hosting in her research lab, a GVSU alumna conducting her Ph.D. at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and mentoring graduate student thesis research. Associate Dean Gary Stark will monitor 2012-13 enrollments, organize the August unit heads retreat, and teach study abroad course in Berlin, Warsaw, and Krakow, July 8-29.


A Quick Rotation with Heather Gulgin

The golf swing is like a suitcase into which we are trying to pack one too many things.
 - John Updike

Heather Gulgin, Assistant Professor in the Movement Science Department is certainly not the first person to think long and hard about the golf swing.  While some are ruthless in an aesthetic assessment of themselves (such as Lee Trevino who said, "My swing is so bad I look like a caveman killing his lunch"), others, as Heather has found, are, well, pretty hard on themselves, period. Since graduate school, Heather has been looking into the factors that create detrimental stresses on the body with particular attention to what happens in the hip joints during the couple seconds of the oft-repeated golf swing.  In her dissertation at the University of Toledo,  Hip Rotation Range of Motion Asymmetry in Elite Female Golfers, and in related articles that have come out just about every year since, she and her student researchers have looked at key aspects of what makes the golf swing what it is-hard, fast and repeated. Having played college golf herself and with a background in sports medicine, Heather looks at what can cause labral tears of the hip-that is, tearing or fraying of cartilage at the juncture of the femur and the hip socket.  People naturally have a certain range of motion which often is measured in clinical settings with a patient seated or flat on an examination table. Heather realized that more relevant data would be to know the internal and external rotation of the hips under load-in other words, when a person is standing as they would be playing golf. Her initial work studied this sort of measurement in 35 professional female golfers on the LPGA tour.  She found that the unilateral repetitive motion tended to give the players about 5o or more asymmetry in their hip rotation range of motion.   With this in mind, it was Heather's next project to measure and compare whether this natural rotation was extended during the golf swing.  Did the swing cause people to go beyond their normal limits?  With the 3D motion capture system available to her at Toledo she was able to look at the actual hip motion of the swing. (It should be noted that GVSU does have 3D capture equipment in the biomechanics lab.) What she found was that most golfers do not exceed their natural limits on the right side, but under the load of their golf stance posture, they do exceed their internal rotation natural limits on their left hip.  That stress causes them over time to lose range of motion.  While baseball pitchers have been shown to gain range of motion with repeated movements, golfers do not. Could this be microtearing and tightening in the muscles?  Could the surrounding musculature be resisting over-stretching during that moment of exceeding the normal range of motion?  Could going past the limit be overworking and fatiguing the joint and associated muscles as another research group working with male PGA subjects had suggested? Heather decided that she should investigate another aspect of the motion, its velocity.  As it turns out, the left hip movement is significantly faster than the right.  Is that more loading and stress on soft tissue? "Potentially, yes," Heather agrees.  "Labral tissue may be tearing and fraying due to these higher velocities. Some pros like Jack Nicholas have had a total left hip replacement and other golfers have left hip tears." So quantifying the stress becomes important.  She is interested in torn labrums and the relationship to osteoarthritis in the hip. At Grand Valley, her interest in functional movement screening is also of interest to her students.  Like her, they want to look at the effects on joints and determine problem areas in order to see why people get injured. To gain some first-rate training in a useful screening system, Heather attended the Titleist Performance Institute for their certification in TPI Golf Fitness Level 1, TPI Medical Level 2, and TPI Junior Level 2.  She learned a screening system that uses a dozen physical tests to assess flexibility, strength, balance, and movement coordination. In fact, as part of the CLAS Student Scholarship fundraising efforts, Heather will donate a TPI-1 level assessment of a lucky bidder's golf swing at an event to be announced in the fall. She likes the idea that knowing about these factors allows elite or amateur athletes to address their physical issues using corrective exercises prior to trying to fix their golf mechanics.  An Honors student named Brian Schulte has been equally enthusiastic about the possibilities.  A couple years ago she offered the opportunity to do research as a service learning option in her class.  Brian's sister was in the course and knew her golf-enthusiast brother would jump at the chance.  The then freshman engineering student signed up, met a number of exercise science majors in the process and promptly fell in love with the major. Now a junior, Brian has helped Heather measure 35 male and female golfers using TPI-1 level screening and videoed their golf swing so that they can do a 2D analysis of their 14 possible swing faults. "The two most common faults are early hip extension and loss of posture," Heather explains. Heather has involved other students with the help of Neal Rogness' statistics class.  These students found relationships between what they learned from the screenings and the swing faults they observed.  This work resulted in a Student Scholarship Day poster and a poster session at the American College of Sports Medicine conference. While there are enough golfers to make Heather's work relevant (perhaps 37 million in the U.S. alone), her work has application to other sports.  She also is interested in the baseball swing and especially the kicking motion of soccer players because it is weight bearing as well as having a range of motion aspect.  The same question can be put to these motions:  are the athletes going beyond their normal range of motion limits? She also likes the application for the students.  "I like the hands on side of this research, and I like teaching students how to do this sort of assessment because it helps them in athletic training and physical therapy, too. " Phyllis Diller once quipped that "The reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can't see him laughing."  Heather knows better-it's because loss of posture can hurt you and your game.