CLAS Acts May 2010

May 2010
Volume 3, Issue 9

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  

Serving on a Doctoral Committee?  The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences values the work of those serving our students' education needs beyond GVSU.  If you are serving on a Ph.D. committee and your department is willing to support your endeavors, I am willing as well. When a department commits $250, I will commit additional College funds up to $500 per committee. These funds will support the travel costs associated with service on this committee. This is a one-time commitment per doctoral committee. Please fill out the form below and submit to our office (B-4-232 MAK). ~Fred Support for those service on PhD committees    

Welcome to CLAS:  Autism Center Starting this month, the Grand Valley State University's Statewide Autism Resources Training ( START) will be housed in CLAS.      

From the Dean's Desk

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

The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine

As we merrily dance and we sing, Tra la,

We welcome the hope that they bring, Tra la,

Of a summer of roses and wine,

Of a summer of roses and wine.

~Gilbert & Sullivan

In our line, the flowers of April come in the form of awards, Tra la.  I attend something like 19 awards ceremonies during the last full month of the term and the associate deans cover me when there's a conflict.  It's quite uplifting to hear about the achievements that brought our students this special recognition. I think this year of Ashley Keller who has won our first Udall Scholarship  and who agreed to star in the video about CLAS to be featured at the university's upcoming Enrichment Dinner.  It's also a season of special recognition for the exceptional accomplishments of our faculty and staff.  For instance, Jim Schaub's film Up From the Bottoms won the prestigious Paul Robeson Award, and Jodee Hunt won the award for Graduate Mentorship.  Aaron Perry was recognized at the AP Awards for his innovation on a project that has pooled our resources and made sense of our holdings, and Monica Johnstone had bestowed upon her the AP Commitment to Diversity Award for her work on the CLAS Inclusion Plan and two search committees.  Congratulations are due to several faculty (and the Regional Math & Science Center) who have received Michigan Space Grants.  Steve Mattox snagged an NSF grant.  Norwood Viviano received the New Directions Initiative Grant.  Donna Henderson-King received the Barbara Jordan Award.  Jim Visser and Figen Mekik were honored for their service to the College this year.  Ross Reynolds and Jim Scott were recognized by the College for their lifetime service--Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. The bouquets keep coming.   With grades due on Tuesday, May 4 at noon, some of the congratulations may have to wait, but I hope you can spare a moment to slap a few backs before going off to your summer pursuits.   Congratulations also to those departments that successfully hired faculty this year.  In this year of fewer jobs nationally, I know your were deluged with applicants and worked very hard to bring excellent candidates to campus.  The interviews were particularly good this year; we all look forward to meeting the fruits of your labor.   I'd like to thank all of those who participated in our annual Sabbatical Showcase which was full of great exhibits from the humanities, social sciences, sciences, arts, mathematics and statistics; I was pleased that the event was very well attended, because I believe these good examples provide some inspiration.  The work on display is a wonderful illustration of the benefits of time devoted to your own development and scholarship.   If you were unable to attend the Showcase, we'll have some pictures up on the CLAS Web site soon; for those who can endure a dose of deathless prose, my speech--containing some news about us, and previews of key goals for the coming year--can  be accessed here.  I'd also like to draw your attention to the new material developed by our Faculty Development Committee to help sabbatical seekers; now available on the Web site.   And the work goes on.  In May, I'll attend Commencement (with a record number of students walking, the over/under on my handshaking time is 40 minutes; please pass the Purell). I also love to go up to the Traverse City Commencement.  I'll be working with the West Michigan Humanities Council, working on the Capital Campaign, and working in two committee meetings and some parent orientations to assure good levels of fall matriculation.  I'm looking forward to witnessing Karen Libman being presented her Michigan Teacher of the Year Award.  I'll meet with my colleagues on the Hauenstein Advisory Cabinet, and with Deans Council. Finally I'll go off to participate in the meeting of the Rhetoric Society of America, one highlight of which is joining the ritual parade of former presidents; I am practicing my dour and distinguished look.  During the month of May, AD  Mary Schutten will continue to support student welfare initiatives by gathering data on high impact practices such as service learning, complete the alignment process for the CLAS strategic plan, supporting programming from the newly formed Office of Fellowships, coordinating the school health education minor, and facilitating student appeals,.  She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests supporting unit reviews of the programs on the Banner software interface named MyPath, submitting a manuscript  for body mass, socioeconomic standing, fitness and academic achievement, as well as coauthoring a paper on reasons why K-12 physical educators do not continue in higher education.  AD Gary Stark will be collecting and analyzing new faculty position requests, monitoring 2010-11 enrollments and assisting units resolve enrollment bottlenecks, and working with units on the revision of their unit personnel standards. AD Jann Joseph will be working with facilities and planning on developing a proposal for building projects to support lab/creative courses across the college, and working with HRRC and the Grants Administration office to develop a course on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).   Thank you for a year that ended up coming up roses in spite of the many challenges.  Once the grades are in, you can rest on your laurels-for a few sunny days in May. A safe and happy summer! Faculty


Change You Can Feel-the Tangible Fruits of COM 380

by Monica Johnstone, Dir. of CLAS Communications & Advancement  

School of Communications' Danielle Wiese Leek knows a thing or two about high impact practices.  Not only did she receive a 2008 Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award, she's an admitted "debate geek" and even took her own civic participation to local airwaves as WZZM13's expert on all things online during the 2009 election season. Her personal commitment to making the link between communication and civic engagement led her to teach in Winter 2010 a COM 380 course, Special Topics-- "Evolution of Communication" focused on service learning in all its theoretical and practical glory.  Not only did her class wrestle with Aristotle, Jane Adams and W.E.B. DuBois to explore the connection between communication and vibrant society, they also explored first-hand their own position on what constitutes effective civic engagement here and now. Tyler Hamersma, a junior in Communications Studies with a minor in Advertising and PR, explained that "all 32 students volunteered to run the debate tournament," the first Grand Valley State Debate Championship tournament for high school students, which took place February 4, 5, and 6.  "Afterward, we reflected on it-that's the difference between service learning and just service." What they learned from that experience was applied to projects on behalf of the Community Service Learning Center ( CSLC).  Teams of students work to assess the levels of awareness about the center, to promote it, to improve its web site and create a development plan for the Center. Bunmi Fadase, the Community Service Learning Center Coordinator, was enthusiastic about the results.  "The work the students did was needed and appreciated.  They gave us tangible suggestions and feedback from faculty, staff and peer institutions.  It was constructive and useful for us, and we took it very seriously.  Professor Wiese Leek wove service learning into her course so well that the students really get it." Some of Tyler's favorite parts of the course included studying change agents such as MLK, Studs Terkel, Lech Walesa and Dorothea Day.  What makes them change agents?  How did they make a difference?  To Tyler's mind, "they were non-violent and outside-of-the-box thinkers who used their personal experiences to influence what they stood for.  They were leaders, focused on the perception of what would be better and how to build from there."  Tyler noted that all of them were quite different and that his own perception of Malcolm X was greatly changed by the course. "Overall," Tyler concluded, "the main purpose is not only to educate about volunteerism, but to let you understand what service learning is.  This is an interesting twist on the usual learning styles students experience and is tested in reality in a way that is very tangible." The class blog has clearly enabled the students to articulate what they have learned and created the sort of class community that Wiese Leek described in the syllabus.  "This is not a class to sit back in.  It's a chance to do something in the world."  From the perspective of everyone from high school debaters to the CSLC to the students themselves, it looks like a very tangible success.