CLAS Acts June 2012

CLAS on the Green

On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host the first ever CLAS on the Green golf outing. Come enjoy The Meadows with faculty, staff and alumni. Fun activities and a chance to catch up while you help our students. All proceeds will benefit CLAS Scholarships. Gather a group to play or suggest a contribution to the event that you and your colleagues might make. 

June 2012
Vol. 5, issue 11

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

CLAS Research Clusters The research clusters launched this year are putting some wins on the board.  here are a couple updates:   Water cluster - The Deans office and CSCE contributed to funding a videographer to join the Haiti project field trip this summer.  You can read more about this project in our upcoming Quadrennial Report of CLAS which comes out in August.   Brain cluster -  Psychology and Chemistry Education faculty had discussions about use of eye-tracking software in research. Psychology hosted a tour of psychology laboratories and eye-tracking software. Participants on the tour included Bob Hendersen, Benjamin Swets, and Bradley Morris from Psychology, Tom Pentecost and Jessica Vandenplas from Chemistry and Fred, Shaily, and Aaron Perry from the Deans office.                                                                  


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

In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.  ~Aldo Leopold During May and June the magnitude of the good year we had starts to sink in.  Record numbers graduate, the accumulating grant figures speak to great projects that will go forward, and we get a steady stream of good news about how our students have been successful in snagging nationally competitive grants, jobs and graduate placements.  

It's good to remember some of the reasons we do what we do, so please allow me the pleasure of sharing some of these with you: Anthropology major Meagan Roche and international relations major Matt Brainovich have been awarded prestigious Boren Scholarships to study a foreign language in another country for the 2012-13 academic year. Six of the nine Grand Valley State University students to have been named Gilman Scholars for the summer 2012 semester are from CLAS, and will use their scholarships to study abroad.  Grand Valley ranks among the top schools in terms of Gilman Scholarship winners. Collectively, the nine students will get $34,500 in scholarships. Lydia Benkert, a theatre and women and gender studies major, will study in Ghana; Megan DeKievit, a music and anthropology major, will study in Thailand; Chaz Hernandez,  a cell and molecular biology major, will study in Costa Rica; Nikole LeCompte, a psychology major, will study in Jordan; Joe Swartz, a history major, will study in China; Morgan Talbert, a biomedical sciences major, will study in Ghana; Megan DeKievit is the recipient of the nationally competitive Freeman-ASIA Scholarship to study music in Taiwan this summer and fall semesters. International relations major Aubrey McMahan was one of five students worldwide to receive a full Ibn Battuta Merit Scholarship for Peace and Diplomacy for a four-week session in summer 2012. Two students have won the annual Angela Andrews Ryan Scholarship to study in Perugia, Italy:  Angela Tramontelli, a senior a psychology major and applied linguistics minor, and Mario Amaya Velazquez, a junior an international relations major and plans to minor in Arabic. Special thanks to all those who had a hand in making their success possible. 

At the same time, let's not forget that the faculty have been busy on many fronts that bring success to their projects and enhance our institutional reputation at the same time. Assistant Professor Mario Fific of Psychology has received a grant from the National Science Foundation of $111,743 to support his work on Stopping Rule Selection Theory. Hundreds of people showed up to take part in the joint Grand Valley/Lake Express open house which featured AWRI. Roberto Prosseda at the Grosser Saal of the Berliner Philharmonie, as planned encore, on May 6 played a klavier arrangement by GVSU assistant professor of Music Giuseppe Lupis. The piece was Gounod's Marche Funebre d'une Marionette. Associate Dean and Professor of Biology Shaily Menon has been accepted into the 2012 Leadership Development Program for Higher Education (LDPHE). This intensive and prestigious program features one-on-one mentoring in addition to classes and talks. Hats off to our Regional Math & Science Center for their great work preparing for our first ever Grandparents/Grandkids/Grand Valley camp.  G3 Camp that has attracted 99 participants!  Most of the faculty who will teach at the camp June 26-28 are from CLAS.  Thanks for your support of this initiative. Thanks also to the team working to make our first CLAS on the Green golf outing on June 20 a big success.  The committee has been working hard on recruiting players and sponsors.  This should be a fun day and will get our CLAS Scholarship Fund off to a fine start.  Please do come out and join us for the golf, or just for the meal. Whether summer finds you testing hypotheses in Padnos Hall, looking for internet connectivity in a monastery, playing concerts in enviable places, renewing collegial links at conferences or cleaning equipment you took into the field, I hope you're doing something you care about, that renews you, and that helps you to grow.  A vital part of the garden we must tend is our own flowering.  June is a wonderful time for that!    

  What the Deans are Doing in June

Fred reports that in June, "I begin my June with many events, including scooting back to Iowa to honor my former dean on her retirement after 15 years, hosting a table of alumni at the Enrichment Dinner, playing in the Irwin Outing, and of course being part of our first scholarship benefit golf scramble, CLAS on the Green, June 20.  Then we settle into meetings about goal-setting.  22 of the 25 CLAS unit heads will meet with me about their fulfillment of last year's goals and their ambitions for next year.  In addition, there will be a fair amount of budget activity in the last weeks of the fiscal year.  So, plenty to keep me occupied!" AD Gary Stark will be working with Unit Heads and Provost's office to finalize visiting positions for next year and to provide enough seats in high-demand courses, working with the Dean and Provost's office on new position requests for next year, planning the August Unit Heads retreat, representing GVSU at the 50th anniversary celebration of our partner institution the Pedagogical University of Schwäbisch Gmünd  (June 11-15) and delivering keynote address on June 14, attending Michigan deans meeting at Central Michigan University on June 19, participating in panel discussion of NEH grant applications June 20, and attending Emeritus Advisory Board luncheon June 26. The timely reporting of final grades is the focus at the end of the month for AD Mary Schutten. She 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 major declaration processes.  She is busy with many data gathering projects due this month including the review of courses for transfer credit and the Presidential Honor Roll.   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 participate on the review team for the newly revised Michigan Model for Health high school curriculum.  She will continue work related to curriculum and also begin enrollment management tasks. In June, Associate Dean Shaily Menon will participate in a second Gen Ed Issues work group for conversion of a Theme course to an Issues course, in discussions about campus sustainability programs, in a community engagement work group, in an advisory group for the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, and will attend a Michigan Deans meeting at Central Michigan University. She will continue to review self-study and assessment reports, revise and update the college strategic plan, begin reporting on progress towards college strategic goals for this year, and continue work on a data entry and tracking project with Julie Guevara and a Special Projects Graduate Assistant. Shaily will continue to mentor graduate student research and will host, in her research lab, a GVSU alumna enrolled for a Ph.D. at Leiden University in the Netherlands.    


Nationally Competitive Scholarships & Fellowship Opportunities-What is Your Role?  

Did you know that GVSU students have won over $400,000 in nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships over the last two years?  Awards CLAS students have received include: Fulbright, Boren, Gilman, Goldwater, Hollings, Udall, DAAD Young Ambassador, Rotary Ambassadorial, and more.  Visit the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships website at to learn more about these prestigious opportunities. ~Amanda Cuevas, Director, Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships   Now that GVSU is fortunate enough to have the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships, our students are exceeding the expectations of many to win some of our country's most prestigious and sought after fellowship opportunities.  Many of these allow our students to study abroad without financial hardship or to make the most of graduate opportunities in their fields.  They also gain a feather in their caps that will be an impressive addition to their resumes for many years to come.   In fact, these awards can provide some of the most transformative experiences a person can have. Increasingly, faculty refer their best and often most advanced students to Amanda Cuevas, Director of the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships.  That's great and has been part of our current success, but faculty should be on the look out for students with extraordinary potential, too.  The earlier these students can be identified, the better. In addition to students who stand out for their exceptional brilliance, faculty ought to think about those smart students with well-balanced majors, minors, and activities.  For instance, a candidate who is an International Relations major and an Arabic minor with a record of strong leadership and service commitment could be a strong candidate.  A student who is exceptionally strong in the sciences and has engaged in research since freshman or sophomore year might also be a stand out. A junior who wrote a great paper on ethics, spends alternative spring breaks building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and desires to leave a memorable mark on this world could make the cut.  It can be a little harder to know students well enough to spot these underclassmen who are candidates of extraordinary potential, and it might require discussion between departmental colleagues to identify them.  Five minutes of departmental brainstorming about your promising freshmen and sophomores could result in some world class experiences for those students down the road. Faculty can also help our students to better understand what these nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships are.  Students are sometimes confused by these terms which also pop up in financial aid or even religious settings.  As the Fellowships Office website explains: "Nationally competitive scholarships/fellowships are highly selective funding opportunities for bright and talented students to pursue study, public or foreign service opportunities, research opportunities, and more at both the undergraduate and graduate level in the U.S. and abroad.  They are an award for past performance -including stellar grades, leadership, community service, campus involvement, research, recognition of your future promise, and are often springboards to greater opportunities! " If you were fortunate (and brilliant and well rounded) enough to have experienced one of these scholarships or fellowships yourself, perhaps you be willing to assist Amanda in getting the word out with the huge impact for our students that a person "who has lived it" can have.  To nominate students for national award advising, visit . Not only will these awards benefit individual students, they shine a bright light on Grand Valley and enhance the reputation of our programs.  Everybody wins.