November 2010
Volume 4, Issue 3

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     

Interviewers needed Interviewers for the Awards of Distinction Scholarship Competitions are still needed for Jan. 22, Feb. 5, and Feb. 19. Please consider serving the college by being an interviewer.   

Advising Students re SS 300 SS 300 Research Methods in the Social Sciences has been used as a BS degree cognate for several units in CLAS and other colleges. The SS courses have no home unit, and units who have traditionally taught sections of this course have created their own version of "research methods". In Fall 2009, all units using this course were contacted to alert them that SS 300 will dropped from the curriculum effective Fall 2011. All affected units have developed a plan to replace this course.   Please advise students through this transition time to either take the few remaining sections of SS 300 [last sections will be SP/SU 2011] or the alternative your unit has developed. Thank you for your help in transitioning our students smoothly.  

Advising Corner Faculty Workshops offered by the CLAS Academic Advising Center:   Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation Wednesday, November 10 12:00 - 12:50 or 1:00 - 1:50 C-1-130 MAK   Information Session for Faculty Regarding Teacher Certification at Grand Valley
Tuesday November 16, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Or Wednesday November 17, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Location: C-1-133 MAK RSVP by 11/10/10 to Sandra Briggs at (616) 331-8585.    

Workshops for Students:   Pre-Professional Day Saturday, November 13 10:00 - 4:00 Henry Hall Atrium Representatives from many professional schools will be in attendance plus workshops for students to attend. Please encourage your pre-professional students to register by calling the Center at 1-8585.   Advising Tidbit: Did you know about the new options for students to choose from to fulfill the WRT 305 requirement? If a student has completed both WRT 150 and one SWS course with a grade of 'C' or higher, a waiver of the WRT 305 requirement can be requested. If those grades were not achieved, students can request an appeal, submit writing samples and ask that a waiver be considered. Of course, students still have the option of taking the course in order to improve their writing.  

First CLAS Teaching Showcase! Monday,Nov. 22 Read all about it! Sign up for the session of your choice.        

1 year anniversary of the full version of Wimba Pronto   GVSU purchased the Wimba Suite last November. The application Pronto, as of 10/27/10, has 4,979 faculty staff and students who have created Pronto accounts.  As the university looks at sustainability issues, Pronto demonstrates yet another positive way students and faculty may interact without leaving a carbon footprint.   Pronto is an easy to use instant messaging system that is excellent for on-line office hours.  The students appear in Pronto groups by the courses they are taking.  Faculty and students may use Pronto for Application Sharing which allows a faculty member to view the materials the student is working on.   Many of the universities support services are now available to students on Pronto, including Financial Aid, College of Education - Information Center, Blackboard Helpdesk, Pre-major advising, SAP,  Tutoring - Accounting & Economics  and the Writing Center.   Some of the services such as the Writing Center and Tutoring - Accounting  & Economics  are open evening when students most need assistance.   The next  Wimba Pronto for Virtual Office Hours & Collaborative Groupwork seminar will be held in 111 HRY on 11/19/10 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Registration is required at You may also contact Sherry Barricklow at  or 331-2324 for more information    

Graduate Recommendations Online An electronic process for the submission of graduate recommendation forms and letters of recommendation is under development by the Office of Graduate Studies, the Office of Admission, Information Technology, and Institutional Marketing.  Graduate Program Directors in CLAS will be contacted directly about a meeting to discuss this process and solicit their input by the end of the Fall semester. So now is the time to make any recommendations you may have to our Graduate Program Directors (Dave Elrod, Debra Burg, Erik Snyder [while Mark Luttenton is on sabbatical], Ben Lockerd and Alex Nesterenko).  Many faculty and their best students will benefit when a universal form is developed that will have sufficient flexibility to allow graduate programs to collect all the information they desire from the applicant online.  It is the intent that this project be ready for implementation by July 1, 2011.                                                        

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

Near the beginning of Moby Dick, Melville has the character Ishmael reflect about the dark, drizzly November of his soul causing him to want to knock people's hats off in the street.  Ishmael's response is to go to sea; you know how well that worked out for him. So instead my approach is to enter into the spirit of Thanksgiving.  At this time of the semester, I'm grateful for  a great group of students in my seminar, and the forward progress we see on so many fronts-- despite state cuts and the stormy weather.  That doesn't happen without our Unit heads working hard to prioritize and execute the various initiatives being put forward.  More gratitude goes to the College Office staffers who are putting amazing energy into making our processes increasingly inclusive and sustainable.  We will be undertaking additional inclusion training together and pushing our office practices to be as lean and clean as practicable. There are times that I am particularly grateful to work in this excellent place; I'm grateful for the strong case made in the Accountability Report.  I hope you'll take a moment to read this important annual document which will prepare you for the kinds of conversations we all need to have with friends and neighbors about the resource stewardship here, as well as the excellent and efficient job we are collectively doing for our students and our community.  I have former colleagues in Texas, and I can tell you that our Accountability Report is an approach in almost comically stark contrast to that now being taken in Texas.    As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Texas A & M posted on its website a rather ruthless "profit-and-loss statement for each faculty member, weighing annual salary against students taught, tuition generated, and research grants obtained."  We will have to be accountable one way or the other, and I think you'll join me in being very grateful for GVSU's way. As part of that on-going effort, in late October the Associate Deans and I had very productive sessions with our Student Advisory Committee and our Emeriti Advisory Group.  The students gave us positive feedback on the work of our CLAS Academic Advising Center and what they consider to be the principles of good faculty advising.  For them accessibility goes far beyond the body being present during posted office hours for advising.  Instead, they stress the encouraging word in the hallway to come in to discuss their progress, the little push to try new things such as internships and study abroad, and other signs of genuine interest in their learning.  These exemplary students, at least, also seemed to understand their own role in initiating contact, making relationships in large departments, and figuring out which faculty member was their best source of a particular type of guidance.  One thing for departments that have already invested the work: a few students were surprised to hear about the availability of the major plans-so it is worth reminding students about that important resource. Meanwhile, our emeriti supply us with the perspective of long and productive careers, the long-term view of the university, and how current initiatives fit onto the larger GVSU story.  To belabor the metaphor--who, me?--they help us keep the sage in our stuffing. In the month of November, you have a couple opportunities that I'd be grateful for you to consider.  First, on November 15 is the last of three Out-of-the-Box events on Academic Integrity which is of both perennial and topical interest.  Our Faculty Council provides all the faculty of CLAS a productive forum through these events. I participated in the one last week, learned a lot, and thought that it might be especially useful for faculty in their first years of their careers.  Second, on Monday, November 22 at 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  in the Grand River Room of Kirkhof Center will be the first CLAS Teaching Showcase.  The format allows you to meet in a small group with one of 14 presenters on a teaching technique or innovation.  We'll even buy you lunch.  By the time you read this, descriptions will be posted on the website, and you'll be able to sign up for the topic and table of your choice.   This event is produced in consultation with the FTLC and is open to tenure track, visiting, affiliate, adjunct, and AP teachers in the College.  Please help us spread the word.  Unit Heads, Mentors, this might be a particularly good event to call to the attention of your younger colleagues. We very much hope that this new tradition is a great way to start off your Thanksgiving week and that you'll be counting it among your blessings that you work in a community that holds teaching in such high regard, that cares about students, and that values the contributions of every single staff and faculty member.  Let me just say thank you for all you've done.  I'm very grateful to have colleagues like you.    

Deans in November

During November, Dean Antczak says, "I'm really looking forward to the Teaching Showcase; from all I've heard of what our faculty leaders will be doing, it'll be, as our students say, awesome. This month,  I'll also welcome the English external consultants, chair a couple unit head meetings, participate in an articulation agreement signing with our Music Department and GRCC's, attend Jim Scott's retirement event, attend a University Leadership Team meeting, participate in a couple Hauenstein leadership program events, make time to attend the memorial for my former colleague Rod Mulder, take part in a donor seminar, attend a Deans' Council meeting and the transfer committee meeting, and continue to teach my seminar." AD Jann Joseph will be running the new faculty orientation series including activities for second year activity, organizing the CLAS Teaching Showcase, reviewing and making recommendations on Facilities requests, and attending the CCAS Annual Meeting. AD Gary Stark will be assisting CLAS Personnel Committee with Fall applications for promotion, facilitating Faculty Council's governance election, monitoring low-enrolled Winter courses, supervising triennial unit head evaluations, and participating in seminar for second year faculty. AD Mary Schutten will continue to coordinate the alignment process for the alignment of units' existing strategic plan objectives with the CLAS strategic plan  and collaborate with the Provost's Office to support the units in this process. She will also continue to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests; support the CLAS Curriculum Committee; revise a manuscript on body mass, socioeconomic standing, fitness and academic achievement, continue with other scholarly activities in progress, and attend the CCAS annual conference.  She will serve as co-developer of a health education workshop presented by the Midwest AHPERD at the Michigan AHPERD event slated for mid-November.


Out of the Box Consultative Collaboration in CLAS

Grace Coolidge, Associate Professor of History also wears the hat of chair of the CLAS Faculty Council, the peak body advising the dean from the faculty perspective.  In addition to running CLAS faculty elections, prioritizing the list of potential hiring  lines, and serving as a committee on committees, the Faculty Council diligently and creatively devises ways to consult CLAS Faculty on everything from feedback on the dean's performance to proposed policy. It is little wonder that new members of the Council quickly achieve a wide ranging knowledge of how things run at the university and what issues are under discussion at any given point.  One of the Faculty Council's strategies for consulting the faculty sprang from the desire to give faculty a way to be heard in a format other than the usual forum in theatre-style seating  which typically involved a presentation and  then Q&A.  To address this desire for a better consultative forum, the Out of the Box (OOTB) concept was designed by the 2008 Faculty Council chaired by Jodee Hunt (professor of Biology) and funded by the College.  Fruitful discussions about research impediments (some even conducted on Halloween in costume) brought about initiatives such as the tailored distribution of grant announcements, streamlining of some internal grant applications by the CSCE, better sharing of resources, and a much clearer conception of the faculty culture in CLAS on matters relating to research which continue to inform policy. In 2009, a performance-based approach proved valuable as the Faculty Council used the OOTB series to consult on drafts of the Standards & Criteria for Personnel Evaluation.  This second series proved that the format was malleable enough to take on a very different topic in a new way-through discussions about realistic (if fictional) personae whose stories could be tested against the draft  policy document, exposing any holes or points of confusion  and displaying its strengths. Faculty evaluating each session of OOTB have mentioned that they enjoyed this opportunity to meet, break bread, and talk with faculty in other disciplines.  On a soggy October 28 morning, a very different sort of topical issue of proposed policy brings Grace to a room full of appropriately round  tables for the second of three Fall 2010 OOTB events to discuss Academic Integrity.  She prepares the whiteboard as more than a dozen colleagues build sandwiches at the buffet and settle into the tables to take a quiz on the grey areas of academic cheating, fostering discussion, the sharing of experiences, and offerings of  tips for prevention.  These are easy conversations, oiled by passions for teaching held in common.  Faculty from departments as varied as AWRI, Movement Science, Chemistry, History, and Writing also have the ability to surprise each other.  One never realized how academic dishonesty might be avoided for lab write ups while another had never thought of using peer review for that type of writing assignment, and a third makes a quick note to try having group work evaluated anonymously by all members of the group.  When the flow of tips finally subsides, Grace steers the group toward its final consideration for the session, what to do when prevention fails and a faculty member is faced with an example of academic dishonesty or a challenging lack of citation skill.  Faculty examine the proposed flowchart for the policy document under consideration by means of a fictionalized scenario.  If you were Professor Green and both Sally and Jean submitted virtually identical papers under the circumstances described, how would this procedure serve the interests of the faculty, other colleagues who might one day teach these students, the university as a whole, and the students themselves?  How could it be better? As the discussion draws to a close and the faculty scratch out the session evaluations, Grace quickly jots down the last of the suggestions to provide to Dan Vaughn who is chairing the Academic Policies and Standards Committee which is considering the proposed policy. On November 15, a third group of faculty volunteers will have the OOTB opportunity to share teaching tactics and be heard on this important new policy document.  But for now Grace collects the evals, thanks her team of Faculty Council members, and grabs her coat to dash off to teach her class in Honors, one hat quickly exchanged for another.     

Integrating Science Education through Application  

"The great power of science derives in part from specialization into disciplines.  But much of the power also comes from open criticism and communication across disciplines.  Indeed, some of the most significant discoveries have emerged from the productive friction that occurs when different perspectives rub up against each other and produce the spark of new insight." Al Gore in Integrated Science: New Approaches to Education, eds. Michael C. Shaw et al. (Springer, 2009)   The Integrated Science Program had its roots in discussions among the science education faculty such as Jann Joseph (BIO), Paul Huizenga (emeritus BIO), Steve Mattox (GEO) and Julie Henderleiter (CHM).  These important early discussions on common needs led to the decision to start meeting as a group. In 2002, the program formed as a response to the mandate from the state on requirements for teaching K-8 science.  What was then a group sciences program has since emerged as the Integrated Sciences Program. The faculty of this program (from AWRI, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Health Sciences,Mathematics, and Physics)  are science educators in their respective fields who are recognized for the work they do in their home departments as well as in the Integrated Science Program where they provide this robust major  for future teachers as well as advising for that population.  Over time, the Integrated Science Program has expanded to match the interests of the faculty and prepare preservice teachers for K-12 education endorsements.  The program also provides an appropriate reporting structure required to accredit students using National Science Standards guidelines for professional development of teachers. The faculty of the program, in addition to their teaching, help the Regional Math & Science Center to provide professional development for primary and secondary school teachers as well as help to create relationships between those teachers and GVSU preservice teachers .  Research  such as the Target Inquiry approach taken by Deborah Herrington and Ellen Yezierski have helped in this development.  The faculty also nurture the NSTA Student Chapter by assisting in  funding student trips and  making arrangements for conference attendance. Classes required for the major include three specifically designated as science courses, but also include courses in geology, chemistry, physics, and biology which are specifically designed for future K-8 teachers.  Sometimes there have even been the opportunities to broaden horizons by holding a class in Hawaii or the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.  Courses are all based on best practices of a constructivist learning theory.  A hard look at the TIMSS, Trends in International Study of Mathematics and Science, also informs their work, pushing the courses to include  "minds on" not just "hands on" activities. The goal is to go beyond interdisciplinary to actual integration.  This takes lots of collaboration to keep the teachers on track to produce the best possible student experience.  When students move to the capstone course, they get hands on experience developing curriculum that has the virtues of the classes they've taken. Increasing engagement, whether it is through the use of inquiry or other techniques helps to ensure that students are getting the full benefit of their education at any given moment and also preparing them with a  wide arsenal of techniques when they become teachers. Through inquiry and other engagement techniques the 200 major students and those in the comprehensive minor come to understand that they are doing science as scientists-making the leap from technicians to professionals.  And in a larger sense, the activity of the Integrated Science faculty members flows back to their home departments and benefits all of the science majors at GVSU. The immediate future holds some work related to accreditation for secondary ed and on-going efforts to have the program recognized by increasingly wider audiences.       

Update on ICE   Last year GVSU approved a new Intercultural Competence and Experience Certificate, ICE, which is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice skills of intercultural interaction.  Intercultural competence is the ability to work successfully within and across various groups.  ICE is designed to give students skills to work with people of different genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Intercultural competence is approached with respect to knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and focuses on pragmatic skills that will help students navigate our global world.  The ICE certificate will not only provide students with personal growth opportunities, but will provide a great advantage in competing for jobs. The ICE certificate is comprised of five courses, many of which count for more than one requirement.  There are three courses specific to the certificate, Introduction to Intercultural Competence and Communication, Practicum in Intercultural Competence, and Culminating Seminar in Intercultural Competence (AKA ICE Cap).  In addition, there are two elective courses, culled from academic units across campus.  The certificate is now official, and will begin offering courses winter 2011.