CLAS Acts November 2012

November 2012
Vol. 6, 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

Kutsche Office of Local History Faculty Research Grant The Kutsche Office of Local History will provide funding to assist Grand Valley faculty who engage in research that focuses on marginalized ethnic or social groups in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties. Five to ten research grants ranging from $500 to $1,000 will be awarded. All tenure-track, visiting and affiliate faculty are eligible to apply for Kutsche Office Local History research funds. Applied scholarship and creative efforts that address issues pertinent to marginalized ethnic and social groups may also be considered, such as performances, exhibitions, documentary films, artifact and records management, oral history interviews, etc. Priority will be given to research and scholarly projects that include Grand Valley student participation and projects that solicit input from members of the underrepresented group to be studied in the research design and development of the product. The deadline for applications is January 11, 2013. To access the application form, please go to      

Nationally Competitive Scholarships Did you know that GVSU students have earned nearly $500,000 in nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships to support such goals as study abroad, undergraduate research, teaching English abroad, and more?  GVSU students have been the recipients of such prestigious awards as the Boren, Gilman, Fulbright, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Critical Language Scholarship, Goldwater, Freeman-ASIA, Point Foundation, Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship, Hollings, Udall, and more. The Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships ( ) serves students who aspire to pursue nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities.  Our mission is to advise and support alumni to achieve the extraordinary by matching their dreams to prestigious fellowship and scholarship awards and other opportunities.  Students are encouraged to peruse the Fellowships Finder under the Award Opportunities tab at to get a better sense of what kinds of opportunities may be of interest to them and then schedule an appointment with a fellowships advisor.  To schedule an appointment with either Amanda Cuevas, Director or Ryan Bond, Graduate Assistant, students may call (616) 331-3219 or stop by 120 Niemeyer Hall on Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. during walk-in advising hours.  

CLAS Events for your Calendar:

Teaching Roundtables November 19 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the Pere Maquette (KC). Registration.    

CLAS Faculty and Staff Holiday Open House Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. The Pere Marquette Room (2204 KC) Tuba Quartet on KC balcony 1-1:30pm Menu              


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

Gratitude is the memory of the heart. 

~Jean Baptiste Massieu

In the College Office and I suspect in yours too, October activities seem to blow the leaves off the trees like constant gale-force winds. In addition to being the spotlighted college of the month by the Sustainability Initiative; we met with our emeriti, alumni and student committees to talk about sustainability issues; the CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium had a particularly noteworthy sustainability session (scientists are telling me how great Classics' Chuck Pazdernik's talk was); the Great Lakes History Conference brought in speakers of wide interest;  we enjoyed Geology Week; Sociology and the College Office had a presence at the Homecoming Expo, delighting alumni and their families with some fun crafts salted with shameless self-promotion; School of Communications held its Carey Lecture featuring  Nathan Crick, associate professor of rhetoric at Louisiana State University; Fall Arts Celebration events continue to bring wonderful talent to campus; Faculty Council began this year's Out of the Box events on the subject of advising; we trembled at Richard III; and so much more. 

The hundreds of people involved in this bounty certainly have my thanks. Deserving its own paragraph is our Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence program.  At the luncheon the alums gave short talks that contain the sort of inspirational gas that helps drive you for the rest of the year-next year we plan to make videos to spread this as a renewable energy resource.  The buzz is always great when these impressive GVSU grads talk with our students in the classroom, in seminars, and in meet-and-greet receptions.  It is never too early to be thinking whom you will invite next time. We also had a successful meeting late in the month to check in with our CLAS Research Clusters.  We announced some funding opportunities, saw the clusters grow in membership, and heard about the Haiti water project which is a wonderful example of collaboration among the disciplines (in this case Geology, Anthropology and AWRI).

Never let it be said that we rest on our laurels, though.  November brings much to be thankful for.  CLAS Teaching Roundtables celebrate job one around here-great teaching-by spreading effective pedagogical practices and promoting sharing of experiences among colleagues in the full spectrum of our disciplines.  Faculty mentors should take a moment to describe this event and explain the value of this experience to the new faculty.  Please register at Also in November, you can squeak into the last of the Out of the Box discussions on advising (November 5). 

Whether you use the services of any of our governance committees this year or not, please join me in acknowledging their vast contributions to the work and the culture of CLAS: the openness of the CLAS governance committees through events like Out of the Box run by your Faculty Council,  the Faculty Development Committee's provision of workshops and webpages to help people successfully navigate the sabbatical process, the dogged diligence of our Curriculum Committee members who have done so much to fast-track processes and ensure quality toward improvements to Gen Ed and other curricular innovation, and the responsible consideration of our Personnel Committee which even takes the show on the road to Unit head meetings and faculty departmental meetings to deliver better understanding of the standards and processes to promote equity and lower anxiety.  The committee members speak eloquently of all they learn from their service, but we should never assume that is thanks enough. 

Also this month, Theatre is bringing us An Identified Enemy (Nov. 9-17) which sounds very topical and interesting. Before you know it, this month will blow past, too.  For your longer range calendar, I'll suggest these two notes:  on December 12 at 11:30am-1:30pm the cool place to be is the Pere Marquette Room for the CLAS Holiday Open House; on June 19, 2013, all golfers (even the hackers, especially the hackers, like me) should make a note that big fun is to be had at the next CLAS on the Green to support--and perhaps invite your golfing alumni to support--the CLAS endowed scholarship fund. In the meantime, I wish you all the best for making your connections if you are traveling to be with family or friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  If you are new to the United States, let me say this holiday has much to recommend it.  Curiously, it's become interlaced with big helpings of (American) football, spirited family political bouts, and grocery stores knee deep in French fried onions.  But what it's really about is gratitude. And let me not let this opportunity go by-even as I join faculty in being swamped with student papers in that week-to remind you how lucky we are to do what we do. Gratitude can involve not just the memory of the heart, but its highest aspiration.  


The Last of this Year's Out of the Box Events:  "Rethinking Advising: Seeking Student Retention and a Path to Faculty Equity" Exploring the best uses of faculty time and expertise Hosted by CLAS Faculty Council and sponsored by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences CLAS Faculty are invited to participate in the last of these workshops exploring the following issues: What is the role of faculty advising in student retention? How do we coordinate faculty and professional advising? How can we achieve faculty equity in advising? Where should advising fit in the Faculty Workload? Last chance! November 5 Monday 1:00-3:00pm     KC2266 (includes snack) REGISTER on the webpage

What the Deans are Doing in November

Dean Fred Antczak reports, "In November, I'll be attending at least two planning meetings for the Fall Arts Celebration 2013; will have my regular individual monthly meetings with unit heads, as well as two unit head meetings collectively.  I'll meet with the Provost Cabinet twice, the CLAS staff advisory committee, the planners for the Knowledge Market in the new library, attend Cindy Hull's retirement reception, and of course go to Teaching Roundtables.  I give one of the Hauenstein Center's Wheelhouse talks November 7.  And of course all this comes after continuing to teach my graduate seminar." Associate Dean Gary Stark will assist CLAS Personnel Committee with fall personnel actions; monitor Winter enrollments; oversee unit head evaluation process; recruit volunteers for the Awards of Distinction scholarship competition; serve as our college liaison with the Library, HRO, Honors, Institutional Analysis, and the Brooks College; oversee faculty awards process; participate in first- and second-year faculty orientation sessions; and serve on the university Internationalization Task Force. Associate Dean Shaily Menon will begin November by traveling to Seattle for the 47th Annual Meeting of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences. In early November, Shaily will make a presentation about inclusive leadership at a workshop organized by HR and facilitate a seminar for new faculty on Professional Development. In late November she will facilitate the CLAS Teaching Roundtables and a second-year faculty seminar on Review of the Personnel Process. She will also work with Facilities Planning on the requests for classroom improvements, interview candidates for faculty searches, and participate in the West Michigan Undergraduate Science Research Conference. Associate Dean Mary Schutten will be presenting a paper at the Council for Colleges of Arts and Sciences Annual Conference at the beginning of the month in Seattle. She will continue her efforts related to several student support initiatives related to orientation, academic advising, and admissions. She will be collaborating with the College of Education on a series of initiatives involving CLAS/COE related to student teaching, teacher tests, secondary admissions, etc.  She continues to implement and assess degree cognate substitution requests, support the work of the CLAS curriculum committee as ex officio; participate in GVSU recruitment activities, facilitate the curricular fast track processes, and serve as coordinator for the School Health Education minor as well as serve as a faculty mentor for Movement Science. She will participate in the Outside of the Box events, complete her portion of the federal  grant submission process for a grant involving Muskegon and Grand Rapids Community Colleges and CLAS and convene several meetings related to teacher preparation and new curricular ideas.  



English in the Wide World-Pushing Out the Borders with David Alvarez     

"Make voyages! - Attempt them! - there's nothing else.."
     ~ Tennessee Williams, Camino Real  

The idea of internationalizing a campus is not new. Most universities have had internationalization as at least an implicit goal for some time.  Additional study abroad opportunities have been sought, as well as diversity in hiring and student recruitment, curricula have been topped up in neglected areas of the globe, challenges made to canons and international perspectives promoted in the arts--all of these played roles in this movement.  Grand Valley, too, has taken the mission of providing a global perspective seriously, invested in a wide variety of initiatives, and increasingly made this goal explicit in its strategic planning.  Far beyond mere 'hole plugging' though, the university has sought to internationalize not just by bringing in those who in some way represent a wider world, but also by bringing opportunities to gain increasingly global perspective to existing faculty, students, and staff. Much is also happening at the departmental level. David Alvarez in English is a member of the Borders Research Cluster that CLAS established last year because his interests and educational path are tales of at least two continents.  His B.A. was earned at the Polytechnic of Central London and his graduate degrees at the University of Texas.  His research interests are in contemporary cross-Mediterranean migrations in literature, photography, and film as well as contemporary South African literature in English, and colonialism and postcoloniality in Gibraltar.  These areas of interest are also given expression in his teaching of the literature of the Americas, world literature in English, and British literature.  It seems little wonder that he is immersed with his English Department colleagues in the internationalization of their curriculum.  They see their key role in engaging students with the literatures of other cultures as well as their own.  In addition, the department has had international scholars in residence, such as Fulbright scholar from Ghana, Dr. Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang who spent a year at GVSU and helped establish an exchange program with the University of Ghana.  Now having international scholars is an annual practice. David's colleagues Laura VanderBroek and Pat Bloem nurtured a relationship with the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies that allows students to do their student teaching in culturally diverse schools in the Netherlands.  Other faculty-led programs are anticipated in England, China, and Ghana. For those who do not follow the developments in the discipline of English, it may seem obvious to add in areas such as the literatures of predominantly English-speaking countries (for instance, Australia) and less intuitive how literature in translation or study abroad in China fits into the picture.  In a changing world in which the lingua franca is in fact English, often works originally composed in other languages get their widest dissemination in English.  Even GVSU students who might have imagined syllabi brimming with the great books of another generation are learning to read those books and many more with more worldly eyes and with appreciation for linguistic variety and the cadence of authentic voices from many places. For these reasons and more, the faculty of English has brought in the South African novelist Zakes Mda, Antiguan writer Jamaica Kincaid, Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and other Anglophone authors who prove influential and inspirational to students and faculty. The faculty also make the most of their own diversity, translating from their native languages into English, making the most of those whose training is in comparative literature, and generally maximizing the benefits of having colleagues from six countries whose nexus is the contemporary breadth of a field called simply English but which thinks about the teaching of English, the language itself, and its wide literature and critical theory. In addition to the expansion of the international curriculum in ways relevant to their three tracks, collaborations with their international colleagues, and working with colleagues in Area Studies, the faculty is increasingly disseminating research at international venues.  David remarks on the many changes since he arrived in 1997, with particular kudos going to the Padnos International Center for its ongoing work.  He sees changes in his own classes ranging from having three international students this term who change the class dynamic to getting more perceptive answers over time to questions such as "Tell me five ways you've interacted with the world today".  Now students realize that their clothing, their coffee, and the gas that got them to class are all part of the ways the world comes to them.  They are the product of where they are, all who have crossed their paths, and the journeys they choose to take--whether with their feet or their minds.