CLAS Acts May 2013

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Faculty E-newsletter

May 2013
Vol. 6, issue 10

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

I've been trying to write the perfect opening line.  I started with "One rainy afternoon in April," but that seemed redundant.  I almost filched and adapted Grantland Rice's famous line "Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again," but no characters corresponded to famine, pestilence, destruction and death."  So I tried again. On a typically rainy April afternoon, with Assistant Vice President James Moyer as a guide, I had the pleasure of accompanying members of our CLAS Student Advisory Committee and a couple of the Associate Deans on a hard-hat tour of the new Mary Idema Pew Library.  Even with construction still underway, it was clear this grand new building is going to address some of our greatest needs and provide us with a great place for our students, for all of us, to learn.  This has been accomplished through generous donors and means other than state or tuition dollars; it's amazing what we as a community can accomplish responsibly, even during a financial crunch.  I'm proud to say that many in CLAS had a part in making this happen, whether they were consulted on paint colors, helped to build the Speech Lab from scratch, made financial contributions, attended the briefing sessions to provide their perspectives on the ratio of books in stacks to publications in the automated retrieval system, or had some other sort of input.  You've all contributed to a very proud day which is coming very soon: on June 24, everything is scheduled to be open.  We're so excited that we are dedicating the majority of this issue of CLAS Acts to the Mary Idema Pew Library and our great partners, the librarians.  Perhaps you'll find here the answers to many of your questions, and to some you had not thought to ask. On another soggy April afternoon-there I go again-we broke ground on the new science building.  This is something we've desperately needed for a long time; the fabulous new space for labs, offices and classrooms will take scheduling stress off a number of buildings, and a much larger number of people.  In our usual GVSU style, the iron skeleton of that great resource will be springing out of the Lot F parking lot before you know it, and we'll start using the building in May 2015.  Now, the plaza abutting Campus Drive will make two intersections-the ones crossing to Padnos/Henry and to STU--much busier with foot traffic.  So let me be the first to say, whether you walk or drive past, be careful.  But whatever the inconvenience the work brings us, this is another occasion to celebrate our growth. Thanks to all of you who joined our graduates to celebrate their commencement day, particularly our CLAS Commencement Marshals Dwayne Tunstall and Danielle Leek.  I'd also like to thank departments that were working hard to make sure their best and brightest were recognized.  With honor cords or honor societies, through hard work and planning you have helped to acknowledge fine work in your discipline and propel these students forward to the next stages of their lives. Some of the recent graduates have shared their future plans with us, and we'll be posting them on the website soon-you'll find it very uplifting reading.  Monica would like me to remind you that she can still consider some more photographs for our annual report if they come in very soon-in high resolution, please, and just your very favorite ones. The Media Ecology conference is coming up and I understand that a price break on registration is available through the middle of the month.  By that time I really believe it will have stopped raining, and we can begin honing our golf games for the CLAS scholarship benefit golf scramble, "CLAS on the Green,", which will take place next month, June 19. A big turnout would get us much closer to the level where we can start disbursing funds, so if you golf, consider joining us for prizes, fellowship, and the chance to help our students. I'd be remiss if I didn't congratulate you again on a year of great accomplishment.  I wish those of you who'll be going to glamorous places (Morocco, Brazil, east Kentwood) a spring/summer that is restful and recharging (and not overly rainy). Because when you come back, we'll be talking about the very special year to come.  2013-2014 is the 10th anniversary of CLAS, and we intend to mark it in creative and characteristic ways.  But for now, let's celebrate the opening of the Library we have awaited for so long, and all that it will mean for our campus now and for decades to come.  We are privileged to be here to be the first witnesses of, and participants in, this Grand Gamechanger!  

Wondering what that image is in our May CLAS Acts banner?  That's a close up of a glass wall in the new library.


What the Deans are Doing in May

Dean Fred reports, "May starts out as busy as the end of April for me.  I have several retirement events on the schedule, crowding around the Traverse City graduation, where I'll also be meeting with some alumni.  The PSM Directors, the Hauenstein Cabinet and the Provost Cabinet all meet before I fly off to Baltimore for the meeting of the ACLS.  I have a Deans Academic Advising meeting and three orientation talks scheduled for mid-month, a meeting of the emeritus committee, three meetings of the group planning the CLAS Scholarship Golf Benefit (it's not too soon to register your team!), and the transfer committee. And of course there are the usual tasks, salary assignments and summer appointments and what not. It's not as busy as April, but it looks to me that May will be busy enough to keep me out of trouble." Associate Dean Mary Schutten continues her efforts related to several student support initiatives on orientation, academic advising, and admissions. Specifically, she will continue participation  in the planning sessions for the Student Success Collaborative for initial implementation in the Fall 2013 semester and beyond.  She will continue efforts related to high impact practices by overseeing the Presidential Honor Roll data collection process (service learning, internships, research etc.). She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, will attend the Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum (EPEC) state meeting in Lansing; and serve as a faculty mentor for Movement Science and CSAT.  She will continue to engage individual units in discussions related to curricular efficiencies, and will advise transfer students during transfer orientation. Associate Dean Gary Stark will collect and distribute units' new position/search requests to the CLAS Faculty Council and the Associate Deans for review and prioritization, monitor Summer and Fall enrollments, and take a two-week personal vacation. May will find Associate Dean Shaily Menon continuing her work on space renovations, new building planning, and research space allocations. She will begin planning for professional development events in 2013-14 including first and second year faculty seminars, a new third year faculty seminar on personnel review, teaching roundtables, alumni-in-residence, and sabbatical showcase. She will continue work on the NSF S-STEMS and NSF WIDER grants and will facilitate a Faculty Learning Community for the latter during summer 2013 and will attend a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) conference and together with her colleagues, present results from the GVSU inventory of instructional practices. She will attend a Provost's Cabinet meeting, a Stewardship Seminar through University Development, and a Board of Trustees meeting for Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Shaily will also help graduate students with their thesis research.

Upcoming Events  

Saturday, May 11 Filmmaking with Youth: Using Art and Poetry as Inspiration Koning Micro-cinema 1 PM Wealthy Theater 1130 Wealthy SE Grand Rapids FREE This screening and discussion will include highlights of two exciting recent artist-youth animation projects in Grand Rapids, and provide information and tips for creating your own animations, or initiating or participating in future projects. The two featured collaborative projects used art and poetry as inspiration elements in workshops designed to teach media skills, increase visual literacy, and create youth animations.       

Do you have summer or fall events coming up?  Let us know so we can add them to the CLAS web calendar (it is never too early):


A Rich Partnership

With hard hat tours already underway and scheduled physical completion almost upon us, the new Mary Idema Pew Library captures our imaginations for what a library can be as a resource for student learning.  In all that excitement, we shouldn't forget that along with bricks and books, libraries house a sometimes untapped human resource-our librarians.  Their commitment to our students is legend and they serve as wonderful colleagues in service around the campus, but too frequently, faculty are unaware of the ways the librarians may be able to help them directly in their teaching and research pursuits. Julie Garrison, Associate Dean of Research and Instruction for our university libraries, sat down with CLAS Acts to review some of the better and lesser known things that the librarians can do to support faculty.  Many faculty are aware that the librarians purchase books at the request of departments and work with librarian liaisons in departments to help balance the collection in our disciplines.  They are also willing to come to classes to provide instruction and provide resources so that faculty can enhance their students' information literacy skills.   It is also well known that librarians take an active role in advising and assisting students to achieve the academic outcomes that faculty desire. Less familiar are the librarians' participation in shepherding scholarly communication whether by students or faculty.  They help to promote research through the Author Recognition Bibliography and enhance digital access to research.  Whether providing the funding to assist with publication costs or inviting the authors of peer reviewed articles to put them in Scholarworks (, a librarian may be a faculty member's best friend when it comes to gaining readership for their work. Our librarians are also knowledgeable on the preservation of author's rights in the fast changing publication landscape.  They can also assist faculty to better understands the complexities of copyright. They can also get you over some of the smaller scholarly hurdles by helping you track down a reference in a poor citation or acquiring a resource that defied a faculty member's initial searches. When an article is ready for submission, the librarians can also help to find an appropriate journal.  For instance, Associate Dean Mary Schutten worked with a librarian in her discipline to identify a journal interested in work falling between the major divisions in her field.  Others have found the librarians indispensable when it comes to finding a workable location for resources such as online textbooks or a visual resource package, or faculty members' own course materials so that students can access them well. Those editing their scholarly societies' journals have found that our librarians can help them take those journals to the next level.  They can provide help with digitizing back catalogs and providing journal hosting services.  They can even help students to enhance their student journals (as they have with our History students' publication). Julie explains that, "We can work with your chair and dean on setting up a journal so that it is sustainable.  And if you are hosting a conference, we can partner with you to develop a platform to promote the outcomes." The library team can also play a role in your grants by supporting the management of your data. In the new library, the focus will be on enhancing student learning so the librarians invite faculty to help them develop programming for students.  This could mean exploring how to demonstrate a concept visually.  With new meeting spaces, including one that holds 100 people, author talks are an attractive option.  Exhibition spaces will lend themselves to the visual arts.  Spaces of many different configurations may also entice faculty to hold some office hours in the library. April 26 was the last day of normal operations in Zumberge Library and that building will reopen as a centrally located administration building in May 2014.  April 29 through June 23, librarians will staff the Thornapple Room in the Kirkhof Center and answer the main library phone number on a somewhat limited schedule awaiting the June 24 intended day of opening for the new library.  Not all librarians can be accommodated in the Thornapple Room, so they will camp in in various campus locations in the short term.  E-mail will be the most advantageous form of communication with individual librarians during the spring term. Once the new library opens, the librarians will have offices on the second floor where they will enjoy more opportunity to see one another and their new neighbors the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of Fellowships.