October 2012
Vol. 6, issue 3

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

LAS Research Clusters meeting Please join us for the Fall 2012 CLAS Research Clusters Meeting, from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 29th in the Pere Marquette Room (2204 KC). The five research clusters we have currently are Borders, Brain, Health, Urban, and Water. We will discuss the vision and goals of the initiative, availability of funding support for projects, and invite nominations for a steering committee. We will also have a presentation showcasing a collaborative research experience. Anyone interested in learning more about research clusters and opportunities for collaboration is welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Details about Research Clusters are available at the link below:          

The Office of Sponsored Programs is offering Grant Writing Workshops with David Bauer for GVSU faculty and staff on October 11 or 12. To register Please share this information with anyone who may be interested in attending. Here are the sessions. You may register for both a Federal Grants Workshop and the Corporate/Foundation Grants Workshop, or pick only one:

How to Find and Win Federal Grants
Thursday, October 11 8am - 12 pm 302E DeVos -or- Friday, October 12 1pm - 5pm 307E DeVos

How to Find and Win Corporate and Foundation Grants Friday, October 12
8am - 12pm 307E DeVos  

The Department of Geography and Planning presents: Dr. Morgan Schmidt Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Pará, Brazil Xinguanos: An Amazonian People, their History and Prehistory. Tuesday, October 2      
1 - 2:15pm          103 LTT    

Drop/Add Students can drop courses until October 26, 2012 and receive a grade of W (with a gradually. Requests to drop a course after that date. There are separate procedures for that process that do not involved the College Deans Office. Students need to write a letter specifically stating why they are dropping the course(s) so late in the semester and append any relevant documentation. A late drop/add form needs to be completely filled out by the student. The completed add/drop form & the letter needs to be presented to the unit head for approval. All documentation needs to be taken to the Student Academic Success Center (Mike Messner) in 200 Student Services Building (STU) for review and final approval.  

Family Weekend is October 5 - 7, 2012. This weekend is a wonderful time for families to come back and visit their students. There are many activities for families to participate in and have a great GVSU experience. The wide variety of activities appeal to a broad audience. Thank you to many CLAS participants for their services. Events are open to faculty and staff to attend.


From Cell & Molecular Biology and the Regional Math & Science Center  Guest presenters from the National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Van Andel Institute will offer a trio of events:

CMIST (Computational Modules in Science Teachers) for Secondary Biology Teachers / Workshop on Thursday, October 25 from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm in C-1-130 MAK.  The CMIST program provides ready-to-use classroom modules that supplement traditional pedagogy with a visually engaging, highly accurate view of biological / medical physiology.  Registration required.

The Next-Generation Biologist: A Mathematical Outlook with Computational Skills / Public Lecture on Thursday, October 25 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in BLL 126 MAK.  The panel of speakers will address the questions, "How is biomedical research revolutionizing healthcare through genomics?" and "What does the future hold for those who are interested in mathematics, statistics, and high performance computing?" No registration required.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Minisymposium on Friday, October 26 from 9am-2:30pm in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center.  The purpose of this meeting is to bring together all faculty and students who are interested in the quantitative, computational aspect of biology and biomedical research. Organizers include Van Andel Research Institute and GVSU (CLAS, Honors, OURS, RMSC and CMB). Contact: Dr. Agnieszka Szarecka, if you would like to attend.     During the month of October, the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships is highlighting the following awards: W.K. Kellogg Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship, Study Abroad awards, Truman Scholarship, and Boren Scholarship.  Details about the workshops and awards can be found at        


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

October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.
~Hal Borland

As I commute to work I now see signs by the side of the road the nearby pumpkin patches, and the trees are starting to turn in earnest.  October always seems like a metaphoric harvest season for us at the university, too-more work than can be plausibly squeezed into a single month and a bountiful haul of good news. Exhaustion and cornucopia. We celebrate our own kind of turning leaves (of paper)--Michelle Miller-Adams' appearance in an article in the New York Times, Amorak Huey's poem "Memphis" selected for The Best American Poetry 2012 (Scribner), and Modern Languages and Literatures produced a magazine called Waves.  We see the bounty that comes to our colleagues in opportunities such as John Bender's Fulbright and to our students when impressive examples of the crops from previous seasons return for the alumni-in-residence program.  At Homecoming, CLAS will highlight our Sociology Department and will provide some coloring fun with the help of art student Monica Lloyd's illustrations.  We are in the midst of the Fall Arts Celebration and the Shakespeare Festival.  There is still time to enjoy music and metalwork, poetry and Richard III. This month, CLAS is in the Spotlight of the Sustainability Initiative.  Though our sustainability work is, by design, ongoing, this month we have some special offerings.  We've themed our annual meeting of the Alumni Board in October 6 and will be bringing in Al Steinman (AWRI) to speak about the blue economy.  Our CLAS Student Advisory Committee will also have an opportunity to discuss sustainability practices and how they might be improved or expanded.  Geology Week is bringing in an impressive array of speakers. Several other departments have special sustainability events, too-so be sure to have a look at the webpage.  This issue of CLAS Acts features an interview with James Moyer, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning, who works closely with several of our faculty to make our campus a place to push out the boundaries of sustainability. The Great Lakes History Conference gets rolling on October 12 and has some speakers that will be of interest to several other disciplines.  I hope that you won't get so caught up in midterms that you forget to sample some of the events this month.  Savor it like a pumpkin latte on a crisp Grand Valley morning.   OOTB

Announcing the Annual Out of the Box Event:  "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 one of three 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? Options: October 25 Thursday 12:30-2:30pm KC2266 (includes lunch) October 31 Wednesday 9:00-11am   KC2266 (includes breakfast) November 5 Monday 1:00-3:00pm     KC2266 (includes snack) REGISTER on the webpage

What the Deans are Doing in October

"In October," Dean Antczak notes, " I'll be representing CLAS at the University Foundation's annual business meeting, going to the Deans' meeting on Academic Advising Policy, attend a couple Deans' Council meetings, a PSM Directors' meeting, and a Student Advisory Board meeting.  I'll have to miss the Great Lakes History Conference-I've enjoyed welcoming them these past several years-for a board meeting of the Rhetoric Society of America, which I must attend as Executive Director. Then the semi-annual Inclusion Advocates meeting comes up, along with the monthly transfer committee meeting. We'll have a couple unit head meetings, I'll continue with my monthly meetings with individual unit heads, and of course my teaching continues-I have a seminar of very bright graduate students this term." Associate Dean Gary Stark plans to assist units with scheduling for 2013-14, assist College Personnel Committee with Fall promotions, assist Faculty Council, supervise unit head evaluations, monitor Winter 2014 enrollments, conduct training sessions for Digital Measures, participate in new faculty orientations seminars, attend CLAS Alumni Board meeting, serve on Internationalization Task Force. Associate Dean Mary Schutten will be participating in 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 will be attending the NACADA (academic advising) national conference. The facilitation of midterm grade reporting will also occur.  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 CLAS student advisory meeting, the CLAS alumni advisory meeting and the Alumni-in-Residence program. During October, Associate Dean Shaily Menon will help coordinate several Sustainable College of the Month events for CLAS. She will participate in the CLAS Alumni Board Meeting and the CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Program. Shaily will attend an Inclusion Advocate and Champion semi-annual meeting and the CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium on the theme of Sustainability. She will facilitate a seminar for new faculty orientation on 'teaching excellence and personnel review' and a second year faculty orientation seminar on 'nuts and bolts of advising'. She will work on various space and facilities related issues including steering committee meetings for the new building, lab-specific workshops with architects, and ongoing facilities improvements. Shaily will also implement activities for the second year of the GVSU S-STEM grant and travel to Washington D.C. in mid-October to attend an NSF S-STEM PI meeting.


Designing Beyond the Bottom Line

Sustainability depends not only on instituting practices that reduce waste and lower the environmental impact of our activities, but also on working together innovatively and creatively to allow these practices to build new and valuable resources for the future.  As part of CLAS's celebration of sustainability in our college (we are in the spotlight  throughout the month of October), we wanted to bring to the faculty an update on some exciting campus initiatives, to note the involvement of CLAS faculty in these projects, and to suggest ways that others can become involved and benefit.  We went straight to our planner-in-chief, James Moyer, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning. Educated as an architect, James Moyer is a tireless champion of what is possible.  He sets himself and the campus daunting goals and then harnesses the design talents of many to produce far-reaching results. "You need for the space to take care of what you have," Moyer begins.  He goes on to describe that what we have is not merely inventory or facilities, but a more holistic sense that encompasses the natural environment.  He also means our corporate knowledge of why certain practices are in place.  He explains that staff turnover can have unanticipated effects as the institution grows and clerical staff and faculty may not know facilities personnel the way they once did.  The growth and change pose both opportunities and challenges. Moyer knows how dependent his facilities team is on having others in the university bring questions and concerns to the table so they can be addressed.  Understanding what is truly at issue is key to assigning appropriate people to the task of addressing  problems at an effective level.  Making those assessments becomes more challenging as we grow-and growth creates challenges in and of itself. Energy consumption is the first example Moyer uses to illustrate this challenge.  We grow and add buildings and extend them for more students.  Simultaneously we look at the impact on our ability to pay the energy invoices.  Clearly, we had to manage what we consume in buildings.  The questions become how do you adjust the set of standards you are working to, assess their effectiveness, get people on board?"   A big part of the answer was to adopt LEED standards.  These internationally recognized standards gave GVSU a platform to use in the design stage as well as during construction and in post construction.  "We build to LEED standards and get the certification," Moyer acknowledges, "and LEED improves itself in each iteration."  Version 4 is expected in 2013.  "It becomes more difficult to attain LEED Silver over time." With the energy bills ever in mind, Moyer applies new techniques and approaches to older buildings.  In addition to meeting ever tougher standards in new building projects, GVSU also harnesses viable ideas for what is already here.  "We push back in time as well," Moyer notes. He admits that we've reached the upper limits of passive control of our energy footprint.  We've improved our systems but the next part of the solution is dependent on people.  By observing how people use a building, the energy profile can be pushed further down. Quite the student of how people use buildings, Moyer has been known to ask how often an office occupant in the LEED certified portion of MAK turns on her lights.  He's delighted to hear that overhead lights are rarely used because the large windows provide enough light except during storms or at night. He finds quite willing partners among those involved in the Seidman Business School building project and the new library.  The surveying about usage is ongoing and seeks to identify rarely used equipment.  Moyer explains that using a different plug strip for different sorts of equipment costs just a bit more initially but quickly pays off.  Plug strips with motion sensors makes equipment available for use only when it is actually needed, while equipment that needs to remain continuously powered can be.  Most people will not be in any way inconvenienced when their pencil sharpener or desk lamp sleep or wake up with their entries and exits from their offices, while their computer remains on as the user wants. "Similarly, lab energy consumption is being examined because there are some things that can be throttled back," Moyer explains.  "We can even throttle back some buildings in the summer by shutting off empty refrigerators, for instance. To find these savings you have to go through the space and observe." Moyer also wants to see the important energy uses stay up.  He uses as examples faculty computational projects that ought to be on a UPS (uninterruptible power source) to deal with any brief outages. In addition to wise energy usage, Moyer has a passion for storm water projects.  Starting with his arrival in 1996, he witnessed some significant failures of even new storm water control systems in places such as parking lot N and near the Calder Art Center.  "I looked over the hillside and the devil was looking back at me," Moyer remembers a project supervisor saying when his structure failed and tumbled into the ravine. Moyer and others searched for the causes of the system failures.  They learned that the campus generated so much storm water per event due to our clay soils that another approach was needed to effectively slow down the erosion of our ravines, to slow their growth toward the campus buildings.  The 1960s approach involved running the water up to the edge of a ravine and letting it go.  That was then.  The next approach involved building pipes to take water to the bottom of the ravine in order to protect the tree canopy.  Costly and difficult, they were not solving the problem either.  "Enter SWAG," Moyer continues, "The Storm Water Action Group made up of faculty and students, civil engineers-they helped us go a new direction."  Moyer eagerly credits faculty such as Peter Wampler, Erik Nordman and Michael Lombardo and others who turned their thinking toward reducing and recycling.  In periods beginning about 2006, aggressive diversion schemes were instituted.  Every Allendale project shouldered some of the burden. With his flair for goal setting, Moyer explains, "We want to make the campus disappear-in terms of storm water."  Planting, green roofs, building design, increased consumption onsite in gardens-a many pronged attack on the problem started to provide the campus with a way to slow the runoff and notable features that were often enjoyable in their own right. But quantities of water were so large that even these efforts did not completely address the challenge.  Sometimes big problems call for big solutions, so Moyer moved mountains-or at least fashioned one from displaced soil on campus.  The 55 foot tall Bob's Mound (AKA Brown's Mound) named for a project manager provides a windbreak behind Laker Village.  It is next to a 55 acre storm water management site which takes water by diversion to ease the strain on the ravine behind the Calder Art Center.  This site helps to irrigate the golf course and other sites.  Most of all it slows the water down and allows it to be used productively. Moyer feels this project has put his team about 15-20% of the way toward their audacious goal.  At the same time, the site became a habitat for deer, ducks, geese, frogs, and insects.  Moyer notes that while storm water management doesn't have the sort of return on investment of some campus projects, it is now possible to watch eagles hunt from atop Bob's Mound.  Professor Lombardo and his students are involved in a long term bird study at the site.  The value of being able to conduct wildlife studies on campus is great.  The press has been good.  Recognition of our campus efforts comes in the form of visits by elementary teachers, other university representatives, and employees of the State Department of Environmental Quality. To make the projects more resounding wins, Moyer is searching aggressively for outside funding for these sorts of projects so that they aren't hindered by the financial considerations of the work involved in setting them up. As a cautionary tale, Moyer recalls the July 2011 rain event which he calls the mother of all rainstorms.  Lake Michigan hall took on a huge volume of water. The tunnel for the library project took on water, parking lots were inundated and sucking noises could be heard from the overburdened drains.  But GVSU didn't see the worst of it. Neighboring housing areas had first floor flooding and came to us to learn how we had fared better. "We are at the bleeding edge of some of these efforts," Moyer explains.  Increasingly that edge is not about engineering or technology, but rather about people.  Moyer notes that when students are hired to keep snow away form a building entrance, they need to be properly trained so that they don't clog with salt on our porous concrete surfaces-these specially designed draining walkways should only be treated with a sugar-based compound.  The grounds crew has to learn that the parking lot surfaces and walkways act differently and must be treated differently.  Because we are on the frontier of these methods, Moyer finds that everything we can go to see, hear or read about represents a valuable opportunity.  The way he looks at it, we are putting time back into the equation.  He is taking the rush out of the rushing waters and that sometimes is enough to make the water valuable again. Anyone who wants a walk-through of the campus projects is cordially invited to request a guided tour.  Moyer reminds you to "bring DEET and sturdy shoes" for some of the areas, but notes that easier tours are also possible since more stable paths have been made in some of the areas.