John Uglietta

November 2011
Vol. 5, issue 4

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 Faculty Research Colloquia: 2:30-5:00pm, 308 PAD Meet colleagues in other departments and enjoy the varied program and Dean-sponsored nibbles. Fri., November 18 Thurs., Jan. 19 Thurs., Feb. Thurs., March 15,      

CLAS Deans Brown Bag Lunch Conversations As promised, the CLAS Deans will be available for two brown bag lunch conversations this semester-open agenda, everyone welcome, and we'll provide drinks and cookies. Only have a few minutes? -come for 20 minutes and a cookie; or brown bag with us the whole time. Here are the details: Thursday, Nov. 10 11:30-1:00 in B-2-226 MAK* Thursday, Dec. 8, 12:00-1:30 in 271 LSH *Associate Dean Mary Schutten is not able to attend on this occasion    

Is your career feeling off balance... we have the Out of the Box for you!   CLAS faculty are invited to participate in one of three exciting workshops offered this fall for a successful and sustainable academic career. The workshops will draw on university, college and faculty expertise to explore how to have a sustainable lifelong career in academia, successful in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service as well as how to thrive when your job description changes by choice or by chance. Come join us for great conversation, new ideas, and good food! Nov. 8 or Nov. 18 or Nov. 30  


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

"O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being.
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing."

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

At Homecoming last weekend, to the theme of "GVSU, you put a spell on me," several groups from CLAS including a couple from the dean's office,  faculty, students, and our CLAS alumni chapter members hosted tables at the Expo to mingle with our young and young-at-heart alumni.  I want to thank especially our featured disciplines Anthropology and Archaeology whose faculty ran fun and family-friendly activities. In the last month, our faculty and students have made their marks in many ways-some quite glamorous.  Our colleagues in Writing, Charley Lowe and Keith Rhodes had a series of briefings at the White House in their hats as board members of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (and wearing GVSU neckties!). Caitlin Horrocks (WRT) had her "Sun City" story included in the October 24 issue of the New Yorker.  The 2011 Michigan Sociological Association Annual Meeting was hosted by Joe Verschave and colleagues in Sociology. Bard-to-Go is back from a trip to the Bahamas, and Karen Libman has been sharing some of the photos with us.  Tim Penning, associate professor in the School of Communications, through a feat of blogging, motivated Ford Motor Company to bring the Focus Electric to campus last week.  Five from CLAS (including yours truly and our own Courtney Sherwood) received Sustainability Champion honors; Art adjunct Christine Hornby took the prize at ArtWalk; Allison Metz, visiting assistant professor in theatre, with the ReACT troupe of student actors raised awareness of dating violence; and Rachel Powers and Matthew Hart of Chemistry were very proud when the American Chemical Society (ACS) student chapter at GVSU received a Commendable Award.  And please join me in congratulating Patti Rowe (MOV) for being named Leader of the Year by the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) Board of Directors.  We have an outstanding faculty! November presents some special opportunities for faculty (and not just Thanksgiving break).  In this issue of CLAS Acts you can find information on three opportunities to attend an Out of the Box event.  These are a fall tradition that CLAS faculty governance designed to find creative solutions and come together to build resources for one another.  We will also use our considerable collective expertise to help one another on the Monday of Thanksgiving week at our newest (and soon to be traditional) event-the second annual Teaching Roundtables. I'm frequently asked if attendance at these events should receive mention in your FAR-the answer is a definitive yes.  I will look for it when I read them! This month is an embarrassment of riches.  The Ott Lecture will be of interest to lovers of science, Evolution for Everyone will be continuing a series of talks that will be of interest to the highly evolved, and Crimes of the Heart will interest all those who have one.  Our CLAS Research Colloquium continues, and for those like me who can't get enough of our Laker Marching Band, Bandorama will feature highlights of the 2011 season.  In a semester as fast-paced as this one has seemed to me, you may have to remind yourself that while you can't do everything, you should embrace something among these treasures flying by.  While it can be tempting to just collapse into the nearest pile of leaves, in the long run your soul is even better fed through the enjoyment of the arts and rich intellectual harvest laid out on our groaning board.  

What the Deans Are Doing in November

"November keeps me busy," Fred reports.  "There's the CLAS open brown bag with the deans, the Out of the Box sessions and the Board of Trustees meeting, as well as the University's breakfast honoring our students who are veterans.  The Hauenstein Advisory Cabinet will meet, and then I'm off to the National Communication Association conference.  Our Teaching Roundtables come up the Monday of Thanksgiving week.  And I currently have 32 meetings scheduled with departments, individual faculty and students.  Busy, but good busy." Gary Stark will be monitoring Winter 2012 enrollments, reviewing schedules and staffing plans for 2012-13, facilitating the unit head review process, recruiting faculty for the Awards of Distinction Student Scholarship interviews, participating in our Second-Year Faculty Seminar, and attending the annual Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences meeting. AD Mary Schutten will be collaborating with the College of Education on a series of initiatives involving CLAS/COE related to student teaching, teacher tests, secondary admissions, and will participate in the PTEAC committee.  She will continue to coordinate the submissions for the alignment process of units' existing strategic plan objectives with the CLAS strategic plan. She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, support the work of the CLAS curriculum committee as ex officio;, facilitate the curricular fast track process for study abroad course designations, and serve as coordinator for the School Health Education minor for Movement Science.  She will participate in the CLAS OOTB event, Teaching Roundtables, serve on the associate dean panel for the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) as well as present on "Breaking Down Silos" as part of an associate dean panel at the CCAS annual meeting in Montreal. AD Shaily Menon will continue tours of the facilities, meet with representatives from different departments, coordinate facilities improvements based on requests, and continue to work with a graduate assistant to collate college-wide data on strategic plans into a database. Following up on a successful first year faculty seminar on teaching excellence and personnel review, she will facilitate a second set of orientation sessions for new faculty on professional development and grants, and one for 2nd and 3rd year faculty on personnel portfolio review and integrative statements. She will also teach a graduate course on landscape ecology, conduct research with students, and attend a Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences meeting in Montreal. Teaching Roundtables Coming November 21 The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, working with the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center will be hosting the second annual Teaching Roundtables on Monday, November 21, 11-12:30 p.m. in the Grand River Room (KC). Like last year, CLAS will showcase some of the faculty's excellent teaching practices. Faculty recognized in the past as one of our College's outstanding teachers will serve as presenters and share their talents and ideas. We invite you to join us for lunch and to listen to the presentations and participate in a discussion of teaching ideas and innovation.  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet more of your colleagues and share what we do best. Detailed information and a registration link will be posted on

Faculty feature

Doceo ergo sum -in the broadest possible sense

John Uglietta is the new chair of the Philosophy Department.  He's aware that he is presiding over an enterprise that not everyone understands.  "The joke in the department is that at the Majors Fair, the answer to the question we are most frequently asked is, "No, Psychology is over there." "We don't carry a lot of stuff," John admits.  "No equipment, no lab coats."  And he points out that even the books they read tend to be short-but difficult.  And then you think. This kind of thinking can be somewhat unfamiliar territory for students.  In courses John teaches, such as ethics, he finds that particularly the younger students imagine that they will be learning some sort of standard against which they can judge others.  Instead they find their teacher is not pulling answers from his back pocket and keeps guiding the discussion back to them.  "The point is about yourself.  Really good students read the material, but can struggle with conceptual imagination." "Somebody like Galileo did thought experiments but didn't test all of them in the way a scientist would," John illustrates. Of his classes and more generally, John notes that it can be risky to throw your beliefs up for challenge because you may not get all of them back.  Do multiple concepts in fact cohere or just, as John phrases it, live near one another? John cites Wilfred Sellars who held that "The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term" (Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man). Acknowledging that people's thinking tends toward either simplification or complication, he can count on lively classroom discussion on a topic such as recent attempts to pass constitutional amendments defining the beginning of life at conception.  If one holds that there is such a thing as justifiable killing and that abortion is murder, how are the cases different?  What if "life" predates conception?  The teacher's role is to complicate. Some of the sacred cows of contemporary pedagogy are also potential subjects for some productive complication.  For instance, isn't "collaboration" a difficult idea in philosophy?  Even if one sees one's work as transactional, is that truly collaboration?  Is thought ultimately individual? When asked about his own work, John observes that it is moved by what he is teaching.  Sometimes it involves the Philosophy of Law (John has a JD as well as a PhD) in areas such as the differing views of justice defining the debate on affirmative action or the identity of groups.  Sometimes he works in the areas of the Philosophy of Mind or Social and Political Philosophy. On his recent sabbatical, John was working on what makes life meaningful.  "Do we judge based on objective standards or is it purely individual?"  This leads him into questions about everything from practical judgments based on economic matters and happiness to questions of what counts as self-interest. "If there is a standard beyond the subjective it reconfigures what we mean by self-interest.  We have things conceptually backwards.  Think first about what is good and then what is good for us.  In a meaningful life are we attracted to what is good?" John imagines that in some disciplines teaching the intro course might be pretty far removed from the really interesting questions for the faculty teaching it (and then subjects that assumption to some scrutiny), but that in Philosophy the questions in an intro class are "pretty interesting."  "People have the basic conceptual maps from their lives to contribute to the discussion in many cases," John says and immediately tempers his own point:  "Aristotle thought that it takes some life to be ethical, that we need to see more of the particulars."  He admits that it may be pretty hard to come up with something completely new in Philosophy given its long history, but looks at the goal differently.  "The new thing you are going to get to is understanding, seeing the light.  Plato reserves it for so few," John adds in his fair-minded, dialectical way.  He seems optimistic about this project, Plato notwithstanding, and very likely to bring his students closer to seeing the light, too.

How to Use Banner to Help Students Find Viable Classes

Betty Schaner of the CLAS Academic Advising Center composed instructions on how to use Banner in your advising to assist students in finding courses that will fit in their schedules.  This can help you to encourage students to get the most out of each term.

Banner Registration - Searching for Classes with Filters Click on myBanner from Quick Links on the GVSU home page Enter User ID and Pin Click on Student Click on Registration Click on Search for Classes Select Winter 2012 from the Term List Click Submit To search all Subjects: Click on Accounting in the Subject Box Hold down the Shift Key and hit End This will highlight all subjects for the search Or choose specific subject (s), if preferred: Click on the first subject and then hold down the CTRL key for subsequent subject areas This will filter only classes from those specific subject areas Scroll down the screen and identify any specific filters SWS courses Specific Themes Campuses Credit Range Or leave them all open To filter by specific openings in student schedules: Go to bottom of screen Enter Start Time by Hour/Minute/AM or PM Enter End Time by Hour/Minute/AM or PM Click on specific days Click on Class Search The screen will display all classes offered during that specific time block - students can choose from the open classes provided they have the appropriate pre-requisites. To view those, click on the blue CRN and then click on View Catalog Entry. Any specific registration information will be displayed. Students can register directly from this page by clicking in the open box and scrolling to the bottom and clicking on Register. Any attributes - general education, SWS, etc. - is listed on the far right of the screen so students can see where the course might fit.