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March 2011
Volume 4, Issue 8

Our Mission: 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. CLAS College Office Monthly Newsletter for Faculty

Down on the Farm: Community Garden Dinner & Benefit Date:March 3, 2011
Time:5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location :Eberhard center room 215


  • Grand Valley has a garden just south of campus. The project is called the Sustainable Agricultural Project In November 2010. The Farm Club was formed by students who were interested in working on a Sustainable Agriculture Project. 
  • The Sustainable Agriculture Project is in desperate need of funding for the 2011 growing season. Guest speaker: Mike Hamm, C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, MSU  Please join us for "Down on the Farm'~ A benefit dinner and auction to raise money for the farm on Thursday, March 3rd Time 5:00 p.m. · 8:00 p.m. Eberhard Center Room 215 Tickets $30.00/$10.00 for students    
  • Sponsored by Allies & Advocates and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Queer Theory Seminar  for faculty & staff "The appeal of 'queer theory' has outstripped anyone's sense of what exactly it means." - Michael Warner (1992) [1]   Warner's observation, insightful in 1992, is even more accurate today. In this seminar, we will explore "queer theory" - its history, its central questions, and how it is currently used in a variety of disciplines. This seminar is intended for a diverse group of faculty and staff, ranging from those engaged in studies of post-structuralist theory, sexuality, gender, and/or the body, to those who have simply been wondering "What is this 'queer theory' thing I keep hearing about?" If you at all fit within that spectrum, please join us Tuesday, March 22ndfrom 4:15-5:30pm in B-4-232 MAK for conversation, exploration, and snacks. If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Laurel Westbrook for the pre-seminar reading.

[1]Warner, Michael. 1992. "From Queer to Eternity: An Army of Theorists Cannot Fail." Village Voice Literary Supplement, June.  IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATE Sabbatical Showcase & Spring College Meeting Wed., April 6, 2011
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Grand River Room (2250 KC)        

For Your Advanced Planning:

  • CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Celebration The event is scheduled to be held Thursday, October 27th - Friday, October 28th.  Unless we decide to alter the time, the CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Recognition Luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 28th at the Alumni House.
  • Tech Info From Sherry Barricklow, IT Invitation to attend faculty training webinars from Blackboard This series is offered through the Blackboard Company and requires registration at Blackboard is hosting a faculty training webinar series entitled The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS).  This program will bring best practices and evolved online pedagogy training to you in a concise and effective series consisting of four, 30-minute "snack-sized" training webinars that have been designed for faculty members and will be led by faculty members from higher ed institutions around the country.  It's not enough just to port your offline classes into a course shell.  This online modality affords an opportunity for greater connectedness, a stronger sense of classroom community, interaction between students for peer-to-peer learning and even greater educator efficiency; so you can spend more time teaching and less time dealing with administrative load.  Who should attend?  All faculty members are invited to join, regardless of your technical know-how or experience using Blackboard or other learning management solutions.  These webinars are designed to share innovative practices -- content that is applicable to faculty of all levels and disciplines.   See the schedule and register for the first BITS series below. 

The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series, Spring 2011
Theme: Student Engagement in the Online Classroom Session #2 Ten Ideas to Help Students be More Engaged in Online Classes This session provides straight-forward methods on how to help your students be engaged in your online classroom.  Time & Date: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST, March 1, 2011 Presenter: Judy Hammock, Faculty Member, University of Nevada, Reno Session #3: Assessing Student Engagement for Continuous Course Improvement This session shares broad strategies for monitoring and assessing engagement throughout your courses, as well as provides tips and tricks to implement quickly. Time & Date: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST, March 8, 2011 Presenter: Melissa Loble, Faculty Member, Pepperdine University Session #4: Efficient Collaboration and Team Building in the Distance Learning Environment This session explores strategies for efficiently promoting student collaboration and successfully building teams in the online environment. Time & Date: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm EST, March 15, 2011 Presenter: Donna Jones, Ed.D, Senior Pedagogical Advisor, Assessment, Blackboard, Inc. I hope that you will take advantage of this faculty webinar series to enhance your training on pedagogy that promotes both educator efficiency and improved learning outcomes in an online or blended delivery.  Please note that space is limited  


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

Perhaps because it is the month that teases us with the idea of Spring, March is described by poets in terms of frustration and expectation.  As the month containing the vernal equinox, we come to expect a return to balance of night and day, lions and lambs.  Emily Dickinson wrote, "The Persons of Prognostication/ Are coming now."  All those folks who said "spring will come"? They might not have been wrong. The recent state budget news, while certainly unlikely to engender buoyant fiscal optimism, is much like the scenario for which Grand Valley planned.  No tenure track faculty member's job is at all at risk; no searches will be closed.  We will successfully complete those searches and bring in new and needed colleagues.  We will focus on teaching by sharing our best practices with one another and continuing our traditions of what are now called "high impact experiences" for our students.  We will make the most of the facilities that are coming our way in the next couple years and as Tom Haas tells us, do the best we can with what we have-which has always been the way of things here.  We will continue to support your growing efforts to secure research funding through grants, collaborations, and paperwork for the occasional gift-in-kind (such as the books donated to Classics last year and the recent gift of a mass spectrometer).  We will continue to encourage you to be recognized in the Forum, in the Library's Author Recognition program (the reception is on March 17), in radio and tv interviews, in our college publications, and on the website because your raised profile helps Grand Valley to be known for its scholarly and creative contributions as well as raising the visibility of the degree for our students. And there is good news.  In just the last month, the GVSU Student Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society received word that the Michigan Chapter has selected them  to receive the Chapter Education Award;  WZZM covered  the Playwright Project involving student Emma Carlton's work with teenagers who are oral deaf; Jim Schaub's  film Up From the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream  won "Best Film" at the Astoria International Film Festival in Oregon; Alison Reddick was named a Student Senator for the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Society; and Chris Petersmark just won the 2011 Grand Rapids Youth Symphony Piano Concerto Competition.  And a little bird tells me that we'll want to attend the Celebrating Women Award Ceremony on March 3 to cheer on some colleagues. This month, Laurel Westbrook of Sociology will lead a seminar on Queer Theory for faculty and staff on March 22, and an alumni panel will speak to students about careers in the liberal arts on March 23.  These are both new initiatives that CLAS is working on with Allies & Advocates and Career Services respectively.  Also notable is the third installment of a collective reading convened by Corey Anton in honor of Marshall McLuhan's centenary (March 25, see the CLAS Happenings poster for details).  And the last CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium of the academic year falls on March 17. Advising time is coming; I'd like to thank everyone who is keeping a keen eye out for the changes the university has made that may affect your advising.  As you know from reminders about this information that you receive from the Unit Head Mailing, this newsletter, on the CLAS Academic Advising Center website, and directly from your chair after the twice monthly Unit Head meetings, quite a bit is going on. So at the risk of redundancy: SS 300 will be dropped from the curriculum effective Fall 2011.   WRT 305 will no longer be required in the General Education program for those graduating in Fall 2011 or thereafter. The General Education Committee is proposing several revisions to the General Education Program about which they have been running fora ( the last is March 2).  CLAS would like to remind you about the availability of an important university report-the Accountability Dashboard.  This nine-page document will help you to see where GVSU stands on several different measures.  It might be interesting to check out the state of Michigan's new dashboard too, at As we approach Spring Break and then hurtle into the accelerating maelstrom of the rest of the term, it's good to know that the university's on solid ground, put there by what we do best: let's continue to educate our students to shape their lives, their professions and their societies.

What Deans Are Doing in March

In March, the Dean reports, "I'll have meetings with Deans' Council, several unit heads individually and twice with the whole group, twice with the Deans Academic Advising Group, the transfer planning group, the CLAS Staff Advisory Committee, a couple Faculty Council meetings, the PSM group, the AWRI external Science Advisory Board, and the University Leadership Team.  I'll attend the Grand Rapids Women's Commission Awards (in support I hope of a CLAS winner or two), the CLAS Colloquium on the 17th, the Grants on the Grand celebration, and Bob Connor's lecture, co-sponsored by Classics and the Hauenstein Center, on the 22nd.  I also look forward to talking plastination with some representatives of MSU, to see if we can develop a mutually useful synergy on that issue, and to two showcases showing off our graduate students' work--don't miss them at Loosemore on the 28th and CHS on the 31st.  Of course through all of this I'll be working on personnel.  With luck, I'll get one day off at spring break, to get ready for our stretch run, and of course for the opening of the baseball season."
  AD Mary Schutten will bookend the month with national conferences. The first is the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Dialogs event in Washington, DC where faculty dialog with federal funding agencies, and, at the end of the month, she will present a paper and receive an award at the  American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance convention in San Diego, CA. She will continue to coordinate the alignment process of units' existing strategic plan objectives with the CLAS strategic plan  and collaborate with university personnel and processes to support the units in this process. She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests; facilitate the incomplete grade and dusty course review process, support the timely reporting of midterm grades; support the CLAS Curriculum Committee; continue to develop processes that will support transfer student's progress at GVSU through participation in the Transfer Research Committee; and serve as an academic advisor in the exercise science program. AD Jann Joseph will be facilitating faculty orientation and seminars, continuing work on the WKK-WWF teaching fellows program including review and selection of candidates for admission to GVSU and further development of the program's evaluation plan, reviewing requests for facilities upgrades, interviewing candidates for various searches, supporting collaborations between CLAS and Van Andel Research Institute, beginning early plans for new building on the Allendale campus, preparing for the spring meeting and sabbatical showcase.
  AD Gary Stark will analyze and prioritize requests for visiting positions, assist Faculty Council with Winter elections, assist with salary adjustment process, monitor summer enrollments, and facilitate wider utilization of Digital Measures.


CLAS Faculty Governance Committees

With nominations for CLAS governance committees opening today, we thought it would be a good idea to review what our committees do, how productive they are, when they meet, and how the participants feel about this type of service. The College has four elected faculty governance committees.  During the first year of the College, a task force designed the current system and elections were held to constitute the CLAS Curriculum Committee, the CLAS Faculty Council, the CLAS Faculty Development Committee and the CLAS Personnel Committee.   

Curriculum Committee

The CLAS Curriculum Committee (CCC) reviews and recommends to the Dean on all curricular matters, including proposals for new courses or programs, course and program changes, program requirements, and general education courses. CCC reviews proposals for potential overlap with, or effect on, other disciplines, units, or colleges.  This assists the College with communication and coordination among affected disciplines, units, and colleges.

The numbers of curriculum proposals considered by year are:

2007-2008 = 89
2008-2009 = 168

2009-2010 = 206

2010-2011 = in progress

The Curriculum Committee meets on Friday afternoons from 3:00-5:00 p.m.   Sherril Soman was chair 2005-2006.  Mary Schutten served as chair for 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 with Karen Gipson serving as interim chair in Winter 2007.  Paul Murphy was chair in Winter 2009.  Bruce Ostrow was chair in 2009-2010.  The current chair is Carolyn Shapiro-Shapin.  

Faculty Council

The CLAS Faculty Council (CFC) serves as the executive committee of faculty governance within CLAS and represents the general interests of the CLAS faculty collectively. Its responsibilities include conducting elections within the College, reviewing the functioning of all standing CLAS committees, forming committees as necessary, and facilitating and supervising referenda and assemblies. The CFC serves as liaison between the faculty and the Dean, advising the Dean on policies and issues within CLAS, such as budget, the feasibility and desirability of new programs, and staff support for CLAS committees. CFC has provided advice to the Dean and other CLAS administrators about issues of importance to CLAS faculty, such as the textbook authoring policy, interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, whether the Dean should be present at personnel meetings, fall break, the Standards & Criteria for Personnel Evaluation, etc.  faculty Council also invented and runs the Out-of-the-Box series in the fall term. The Faculty Council meets on Wednesdays from 2:00-3:50 p.m. The first meeting of this committee took place in August 2005.  Ed Aboufadel was chair for 2005-2007.  Jodee Hunt served as chair in 2007-2009.  Grace Coolidge is the current chair.  

Faculty Development Committee

The CLAS Faculty Development Committee (FDC) advises the Dean on faculty development in teaching, scholarship, and service. This includes the mentoring of new faculty consistent with the goals of liberal learning. The FDC reviews and recommends to the CLAS Personnel Committee on sabbatical leave requests, and to the Dean on university-wide awards. The committee also advises the Dean on assisting faculty and student research collaboration, and will support faculty in the grant proposal process as a liaison between CLAS and internal and external audiences. The FDC came into existence in 2005. 

The numbers of sabbatical proposals considered by year are:

2008-2009:  52
2009-2010:  62

2010-2011:  47

The Faculty Development Committee meets on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Matthew Boelkins served as chair 2005-2008. Darren Walhof chaired FDC for 08-09. Steve Matchett has been chair since 09-10. 

Personnel Committee The CLAS Personnel Committee (CPC) reviews and recommends to the Dean on all contract renewals, promotion and tenure decisions, dismissal for adequate cause, as well as on personnel policies and issues.  The CPC came into existence in 2005. 

The numbers of personnel cases reviewed by year are:

2008-2009:  73
2009-2010:   96

2010-2011:   82  

The Personnel Committee meets on Fridays from 3:00-5:00 p.m.  They can extend into early evening during February and March when the workload is heaviest. Sheldon Kopperl served as chair for 2005-2006.  Charles Norris was chair for 2006-2008.  Figen Mekik was the chair from 2008-2010.  George McBane is the current chair.

Why do it?

Chris Haven (Associate Professor of Writing) explains, "In just a short time on the College Personnel Committee I've been pleasantly surprised with how rewarding it is reading the files of my colleagues in other disciplines. With this new understanding of the work going on in other units, I feel even more connected to GVSU." Classics' Melissa Morison is also on CPC and offers, "I agree with Chris! It is important to faculty to be able to make substantive and meaningful contributions to governance. The CPC offers just that opportunity -- with the added bonus that we have a chance to learn about the fascinating work of colleagues across the college." Assistant professor of Anthropology, Heather Van Wormer notes, "I have been a member of the FDC for a while now.  I enjoy being an advocate for faculty, and seeing all the interesting research going on when we read the sabbatical proposals every year.  Most of all, however, I find working with colleagues in other disciplines to be a very rewarding experience. Their perspectives, experiences, and insights have helped me navigate my own first years at GVSU immensely." "Serving the University as a member CLAS PC, " says Akalu Tefera (Associate Professor of Mathematics),  gives me an opportunity to learn from the teaching, scholarship and service achievements of colleagues from various units of CLAS. Moreover, it gives an opportunity to contribute to fair evaluation, in a consistent manner, of the records of colleagues being considered for various personnel cases. " Nominations will open on or about March 1 on the CLAS Elections & Governance webpage.