November 2013 CLAS Acts

November 2013
Vol. 7, 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.


Frederick J. Antczak, Dean

As you know, this year we're recognizing CLAS's 10th anniversary year. In that context, I'm very happy to announce all sorts of recent accomplishments and activities.  To start off, not only has the teaching of our subject area education specialists been acknowledged (as you read in the Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing); our students continue to succeed on other fronts.  For instance, Allie Bouza, a junior chemistry major, was selected to take part in the prestigious ACCESS program at MIT. If I'm sounding pretty pumped up, it is probably from the infectious energy of the Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence that we hosted in mid-October.  They took everything we could hope for from their education here and turned it into beautiful lives.  Also in mid-October, CLAS and its two featured disciplines Chemistry and Theatre were the life of the party at the Homecoming Expo.  And hats off to our Marching Band who made us proud despite weather that would make a mail carrier shudder. A whole new meaning for "Hail" to the victors. Thanks to all of you who donated to the Ott-Stiner Fellowship Fund in the last month or so while the Stiner family provided matching funds.  You helped to build this student resource at twice the usual speed.  CLAS received a lot of input in October, too.  Our Emeritus Advisory Committee gave us some perspective and insight into issues we can address in our "spring cleaning" year.  CLAS Faculty Council ran a couple Out of the Box events to look at assessment.  And the CLAS Student Advisory Committee met and provided us with great tips on making summer term more accessible. Congratulations to our faculty who put a great deal of work to reap great rewards presenting special events in October, such as the MI GreenUP 5th Annual Michigan Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, the Great Lakes History Conference, the Ott Lecture, the ongoing series of panel discussions called Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories, our Faculty Research Colloquium, and more. Upcoming in November we have Super STAT-urday, KINDERTRANSPORT, West Michigan Undergraduate Science Research Conference , Reading and Improv by Jenni Lamb, our own CLAS Teaching Roundtables, and more of the veterans series After Tet, and Arts at Noon.  A break (at long last!) for Thanksgiving is wedged in there somewhere too.  I'm thankful for the people here-collaborative colleagues, students eager to be here, supportive alumni and community members.  Speaking of good people, we're seeking a special one.  As you've heard in an October 15 e-mail to the faculty and recent Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailings, the search is on for the next CLAS Associate Dean for Faculty Resources and Scheduling.  Applications are due on Monday, November 4. If you have any questions, please direct them to search committee chair Mark Richards.  You will, of course, have opportunities to hear from the short-listed candidates, ask questions and have input. May your November be bountiful, and not afflicted with too many turkeys.  

10th Anniversary Celebration Events Philosophy Colloquium: Accelerationism November 1, 2013
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Does Autonomy have an Authenticity Component? November 8, 2013
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Super STAT-urday November 9, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
CLAS Research Colloquium November 15, 2013
2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
KINDERTRANSPORT starts November 15, 2013
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
West Michigan Undergraduate Science Research Conference November 16, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Reading and Improv by Jenni Lamb November 19, 2013
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories--Tet 1968 November 20, 2013
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
The History of Philosophy vs. The History of Ideas November 22, 2013
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
CLAS Teaching Roundtables November 25, 2013 November 25, 2013
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m 


CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium Schedule

The CLAS Faculty Research Colloquia will take place from 2:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. in 308 PAD: Friday, November 15th Thursday, January 23rd Thursday, February 20th Thursday, March 20th  

Fellowships Goldwater and Boren Scholarships     December 2, 2013 is the campus deadline for Goldwater and Boren Scholarships.  The nationally prestigious Goldwater scholarship awards sophomores and juniors who have strong undergraduate research experience, 3.7 or higher GPAs, and aspire to pursue a PhD in a STEM field $7,500 scholarships.  The Boren Scholarship awards undergraduate students who desire to learn critical need languages and serve in U.S. national security up to $20,000 to study abroad.  Do you have students who fit the bill?  Please refer them to Amanda Cuevas, Director, Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships, 230 Mary Idema Pew Library, 616.331.2699, or  

CLAS Teaching Roundtables
November 25, 2013
The CLAS Teaching Roundtables brings together faculty from across the college for lunch, round table discussions, and sharing of ideas about effective teaching. Faculty members will present teaching techniques in small group settings to encourage discussion. Monday,  November 25, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the Pere Maquette (KC).  Registration will open soon on the website: "Creating a Supportive and Engaging Environment in Introductory Courses - Helping Students Persist and Succeed" - Shannon Biros and Thomas Pentecost (Chemistry Department) "Game-playing Across the Disciplines: How Roles and Victory Objectives can Deepen Students' Ability to Explore Complexity" - Gretchen Galbraith (History Department) "The Undergraduate Student Thesis: Understanding the Major and Showcasing Scholarship" - Amy Masko and Corinna McLeod (English Department) "The Distance Between Us" - Jo Miller and Lisa Miller (English Department and Center for Adult and Continuing Studies) "Support and Accountability: Developing Research Projects for Millennials" - Michelle Miller-Adams (Political Science Department) "Designing for Lifelong Learning Using the Inverted Classroom" - Robert Talbert (Mathematics Department)  

Faculty Governance Report

A Summary of ECS Meetings, October 4 and 11, 2013

by Felix Ngassa and Douglas Montagna

At the 10/4 ECS meeting, we agreed to hold the fall faculty forum on how service should be evaluated during personnel reviews, one on Friday, October 25th in LHH 132 from 11am. Helen Klein, Chair of FFPAC, led a discussion about how to better prioritize projects to repair and restructure learning spaces. At its 10/11 meeting, the ECS deliberated on three key issues: Annual Salary Adjustment, Graduate Student Representation on Committees, and Student Evaluations. The FSBC request for 2014-2015 salary adjustment of at least Midwest CPI plus 1.5 percent was approved by ECS. Motions were tabled to reconsider the issues of Graduate Student Representation Committees and Student Evaluations at the next ECS meeting.


John Koches and the Lessons of Sustainability

John Koches, Associate Research Scientist at the Annis Water Resources Institute, calls himself an anomaly among his biologist colleagues. But his undergraduate and graduate work in environmental sciences with a long-standing interest in sustainability make him a natural complement to the work at AWRI which is known for its community engagement. John notes that sustainability used to be discussed in terms such as "carry capacity" and a sole emphasis on what effects various practices had on the environment. Now it is seen in its actual greater complexity as a matrix of environmental, economic, and social justice matters. Throughout this transition to a more thorough understanding of the factors and stakes, John has been involved locally. For instance, he began a local conversation about sustainability with an annual conference held in the early 1990s. That conference was later called the "Growing Communities" Conference hosted by the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council for almost a decade. John has been working with this group ever since its beginnings. Starting with a small grant from the Kellogg Foundation, John worked with various partners to work toward a vision to rebuild the Muskegon downtown using sustainable principles. In part he was inspired by books such as Kent Portney's Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities (MIT, 2003). In fact, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell helped them to host the author for discussions of sustainability thus creating a great deal of interest in Muskegon about sustainable principles such as the "triple bottom line" of environment, economics, and social justice. John admits that the social justice component can be the most difficult. Consultation is key and then you have to figure out the best way to assist. For the last half-dozen years a coalition has come together to create a vision, principles and a game plan. They saw that they needed ways to measure so they had to determine appropriate indicators. They weren't alone in this. The West Michigan Strategic Alliance was also seeking appropriate indicators. A manageable number were decided to use as a starting place with room to add more later. These niche indicators were made possible in part through work contributed by our Statistics Department. When a "prosperity index" rubric was designed with six indicators for environment, six for the economy and six for social equity they were able to marshal indicators such as the unemployment rate and median household income with other types of sustainability factors in a helpful way. Along the way, John has learned of the many complex realities of doing this sort of work. Decisions in Lansing effect your projects, some people fall through the cracks, the small pot of money only does so much, not everyone wants help, and norms can't be imposed. Despite these realities, the science tells him that the work has never been more important. For instance, climate change doesn't affect all groups equally. When the storms escalate the impacts on impoverished groups are often higher. And John is optimistic that as similar groups in many communities from Spring Lake/Grand Haven to Holland to Grand Rapids progress their projects better communication can be fostered and lessons learned can propagate into regional community sustainability partnerships. This is happening through forums such as the May 2013 summit suggested by Mayor Heartwell, with another regional summit being planned for early 2014. Evidence of progress can be seen in the Grand Rapids new resiliency plan. John explains that while consequences of climate change will be quite complex, we still have some control over land use decisions. A scale of risk is involved so if we start planning with our current comfort level, we can build from there. We need to be thinking not only about resizing storm water pipes, but give emphasis to green infrastructure alternatives because when the water comes, it can come all at once (see also feature article from a previous issue of CLAS Acts about this phenomenon on the Allendale campus). John points to successes such as local farming making use of more sustainable practices and reminds that this requires awareness. Volunteers accomplish a great deal through recycling programs, events, LEED certification, food initiatives in schools, etc. He is optimistic about what is accomplished when people come together from the three legs of the sustainability triad to work together, often for the first time. His optimism is officially shared-Muskegon County now has a sustainability coordinator, one of the first in the state (and a former GVSU student and AWRI Technical Call-in).  

What the Deans Are Doing In November

"November is intensely busy with meetings until the holiday," Dean Antczak notes. "I start it off at the Board of Trustees meeting in Detroit, presenting the shiny new School Psychology program (more kudos to Amy Matthews, Jamie Owen-Deschryver and Amy Campbell for a great proposal).  We'll be having a meeting of CLAS Deans with the arts and sciences deans from GRCC. Also that day I participate electronically as a committee member in a dissertation defense in English at UT-Austin; I still have some reading to do for that.  We have a Unit Head meeting early in the month that will explore the "spring cleaning" theme at the department level, a Provost Cabinet meeting, and a bunch of my 1-on-1 meetings with Unit Heads.  There's also a Hauenstein Center Advisory Cabinet meeting.  A reminder for that first week: the benefit window closes November 6.  The CLAS Student Advisory Cabinet meets, as does the Deans' Academic Advising Committee meeting, and Faculty Council.  The second week also has a meeting on the Student Success Collaborative and the Faculty Research Colloquium.  The third week has a Provost Cabinet meeting, a transfer committee meeting, and the kickoff for the Civil Discourse endowed professorship before I fly off to Washington D.C. for the meeting of the National Communication Association, at which the Executive Committee of the Rhetoric Society of America also meets, so I'll be doubly busy there; come to think of it, I have some reports to get ready for that.  The Monday of Thanksgiving week, as is our custom, has the Teaching Roundtables, and more meetings before the holiday.  I will need a few days to recover!  Bring on the turkey and tryptophan!" Associate Dean Mary Schutten will be participating in  the Council for Colleges of Arts and Sciences Annual Conference as a member of the associate dean's panel at the beginning of the month in Jacksonville, FL. She will continue her efforts related to several student support initiatives related to orientation, the Student Success Collaborative, and admissions. She will be collaborating with the College of Education (COE) on a series of initiatives involving CLAS/COE related to new CAEP (Council on Accreditation of Education Programs) standards and curriculum.  She continues to support the work of the CLAS curriculum committee as ex officio; participate in GVSU recruitment activities, facilitate the curricular fast track processes, and engage units in conversation about links between curriculum development and the university smart growth initiatives. She will travel to Lansing for an Institutions of Higher Education meeting for health and physical education, develop more community college articulations, and convene several meetings related to teacher preparation and new curricular ideas. Associate Dean Gary Stark will be assisting the CLAS Personnel Committee with Fall personnel cases, monitoring low-enrolled courses in Winter, supervising the unit head evaluation process, soliciting volunteers for the Scholarships of Distinction Award interviews, preparing processes for Winter personnel actions, attending the GRCC/GVSU deans meeting, and attending the 45th year reunion of my Junior Year in Freiburg group. In November, Associate Dean Shaily Menon will attend a CLAS deans meeting on collaboration with GRCC and will attend the annual deans meeting of the Council of Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CCAS) in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to the regular sessions at the CCAS meeting, she will attend a meeting of the Michigan deans, a meeting of the CCAS Standing Committee on Gender Issues, and will facilitate an informal lunch discussion on responding to recent media reports about the humanities. Shaily will host a new faculty seminar for 1st year faculty on professional development and internal and external grants, the CLAS Teaching Roundtables, and a meeting of the CLAS Staff Advisory Committee. She will co-facilitate a Faculty Learning Community on Collaborative Research and will attend several university and college level meetings including a Provost Cabinet meeting, a facilities improvement request meeting with Facilities Planning, CLAS faculty research colloquia, CLAS unit head meetings, and regular meetings with Julie Guevara for discussions related to strategic planning and Ruth Stegeman for community engagement. She will also attend an Educator's Luncheon at Van Andel Research Institute. Shaily will continue teaching Environmental Ethics as a General Education Issues course this semester with student group projects involving community engagement. She will attend a racial equity training on institutional and structural aspects of inclusion, in her role as co-chair of the Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County (DINOC).

College Office Profile: Director of Communications and Advancement

Director of Communications and Advancement Monica Johnstone came to GVSU in 2007.  Her doctorate in Rhetoric and experience (in teaching/research/service, in university development, and in NGO management) combine to support the communications and connections of our large college. Areas of responsibility for this position include: Production of CLAS publications such as the annual report, the CLAS Acts e-newsletter, some aspects of the Unit Head and Weekly Mailing, CLAS brochures, and various reports Development and maintenance of the CLAS website  and assistance to those running departmental websites within CLAS Sustaining CLAS social media such as @CLASComm and the GVSU CLAS Alumni Facebook page Promotion of CLAS faculty and students, and assist departments in the promotion of their events Liaison with Alumni Relations, Institutional Marketing, News & Information Services, University Development Drafting of CLAS documents ranging from speeches to inclusion plans to grants Occasional teaching (in School of Communications, English, and Writing) Support for advisory committees (faculty, staff, alumni, student, emeriti) Serving as Inclusion Advocate, Allies & Advocates trainer and communication volunteer Serving on the Shakespeare Festival Committee, G3 Committee, GLAD, CLAS on the Green Committee, Ott Lecture promotional subcommittee, various search committees, etc. CLAS events such as Mindgating at Homecoming, and starting in 2014 the Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence program Other tasks as assigned by the Dean.