The CLAS Teacher August 2019

Newsletter for Visiting, Affiliate and Adjunct faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 


A Note from the Dean

As we start a new academic year full of firsts, I wanted you to have useful information and resources in time for finalizing your syllabi.

As you’ve heard, we have just welcomed a new university president.  Philomena Mantella started at Grand Valley on the first of July.  As the academic year begins, we will have the opportunity to learn more about her leadership style and institutional priorities, but it goes without saying that excellence in lower-division teaching is critical to our mission.  In other words, your courses are key to early student success, to understanding what college is in the vulnerable first weeks, and to recruiting into the majors.  I’m grateful for the many hats you wear, especially in the fall.

I wanted you to be aware that in mid-September the Making Waves Initiative will be officially launched—keep an eye out for “The Big Splash.” There will be many opportunities for faculty, staff, students and the wider community to connect and learn about the many aspects of water.

You may also have seen in GVNow that this academic year will be my last as dean of our college before I step back into teaching, which is, after all, my truest vocation.

And as always in The CLAS Teacher, we want to share with you resources to support you in the art of teaching well and to encourage your participation in our campus community in ways that supports you as a lifelong learner, too.


Frederick J. Antczak, Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Frederick J. Antczak

CLAS Faculty and Staff Start Up Meeting

Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Haas Center for Performing Arts in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, followed by “Follow the Dean to Lunch under the Tent."

For details, please see:  Meeting documents will be live links closer to the event.

Risk reduction for experiential learning

This will be a reminder for some of you, but we want to make sure everyone remembers that we have resources online for risk reduction.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences developed guidance for faculty and staff interested in providing experiential learning opportunities to students. Experiential learning often involves students working in various settings both on and off campus and may or may not be part of formal course/program requirements. These settings, and the work our students do while in them, present risks that are not present as part of traditional classroom learning. These risks can, and must, be managed to ensure successful learning experiences for our students and meaningful service for our external constituent groups. 

For more information about working safety in research and academic activities, visit the Lab Safety Program at

Congratulations to the Winners of the CLAS Teaching Excellence Awards for Affiliate Faculty

Join us in congratulating Stephanie Bender (BMS) and Sarah Clark (CHM) as the 2019 recipients of the CLAS Teaching Excellence Awards for Affiliate Faculty for their top notch work in 100- and 200-level courses.


The CLAS Faculty Council with other university partners ran a series of events last winter term to discuss ways of using metacognition to enhance student learning.  The Psychology Department posted some helpful resources in conjunction with these efforts.  More on metacognition

Syllabus Construction, a proactive tool for student success

– Associate Dean Kevin Tutt

As faculty consider syllabi construction for future semesters, we would like to remind you that a complete syllabus is a proactive tool to support student success throughout the course. The most troublesome grade appeals are those where course information is incomplete or absent on the syllabus. This includes, but is not limited to, the academic integrity statement, grading scale, basis for assigning grades, Disability Support Resources statement and related issues. The absence of course information makes it difficult to support faculty grading decisions when students are concerned about faculty clarity in grading. 

The Pew FTLC website is an excellent resource for syllabus construction.

You are encouraged to contact your unit head for example syllabi and the Syllabus of Record.

2019 Fall Break

GVSU’s official Fall Break is scheduled for Monday, October 21 and Tuesday, October 22, 2019. The university remains open but classes will not be held. Please keep this in mind as you are preparing syllabi and course materials for the upcoming semester. In addition, classes will be held on Tuesday, September 3 which differs from past years. The Registrar’s website provides a full list of all important academic dates and deadlines.

Syllabi for Fall 2019 (from the Provost’s Office)

As faculty prepare their syllabi for fall semester, there are a few policy matters to keep in mind:

  • All course syllabi need to include the learning objectives from the updated Syllabi of Record (SOR), per Higher Learning Commission requirements. 
  • A list of information to be given to students at the beginning of the semester can be found in University Policies.  Faculty are expected to include a link to the University's list of policies that apply to all courses.  Recommended: “This course is subject to the GVSU policies listed at”  (See University Policies FH 3.03 A-E for more details.)
  • Grand Valley maintains a Religious Inclusion Policy (PC 9.6) that commits the university to accommodate religious and faith observances and holidays for students, faculty and staff members.  Please review themultifaith calendar before scheduling exams or similar course events.

Student Advising and Tutoring Resources


Scheduled Tutoring is available for many 100 and 200 level courses. Students meet weekly with a qualified peer tutor in small groups based often on the specific course and section being taken. Students can request a tutor online any time during the semester but the earlier the better to get the assistance needed.

Drop-In Tutoring Centers are available for a wide variety of courses and programs. Students can simply visit these Centers as needed to receive help from qualified peers on an as needed basis. The list of centers with locations and hours are located on the Tutoring website.


Academic Advising

As a complement to faculty academic advising, the CLAS Academic Advising Center is located in C-1-120 and C-1-140 MAK and provides professional academic advising services for all CLAS majors as well as our Exploratory (Undecided) Study students. The Center is open from 8:00 – 5:00 every day and students can schedule individual appointments online or over the phone at (616) 331-8585. The advisors in the Center are skilled in serving the needs of all students pursuing a major and/or minor in CLAS. In addition, the Center provides information for students pursuing teacher certification, professional programs such as medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary studies, pre-law studies and offers a wide range of student success services.


Students in your courses that are pursuing majors and/or minors outside of CLAS also have access to critical academic advising services in their own colleges. The GVSU Academic Advising website provides a list of these Centers as well as their locations and contact information.

The CLAS Faculty Advising Repository is available for all faculty in CLAS and provides a wealth of information to support your students, including policies and procedures, important forms and quick links, and critical referral information in support of student success.


Additional Academic Support is available for all students

Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors – the Center provides assistance to all students with any writing project throughout their academic careers. Scheduled appointments and drop-in hours are available.

University Libraries – a variety of services, resources, study and presentation spaces are available for students, faculty and staff.

The Knowledge Market – Drop by the Knowledge Market at the Mary Idema Pew or Steelcase Library or make an appointment to meet with consultants from the Library Research Center, the Writing Center, the Speech Lab or the Data Inquiry Lab. Consultants work one-on-one or in small groups to develop research strategies, analyze data, improve writing  and polish presentation.


Student Conduct, Intervention and Support

Academic Integrity – The Student Code provides clear information on the principles of academic honestly and integrity. When incidents occur, faculty are encouraged to file a report to request additional action. This keeps record of all incidents and allows the full University Conduct Process to be initiated.

Students of Concern Care Form – Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to refer a student who may be struggling with academic, personal, and/or emotional difficulties and may be exhibiting concerning behavior.  Questions on this process should be directed to Aaron Haight, Assistant Dean of Students.


Course Registration Changes

Through the first week of classes, students are able to make changes to their course schedules without penalty and faculty will see fluctuations in their enrollment during this first week. After the first week, if students wish to make changes to their schedules, there are additional steps to follow:

-          The Late Add process requires permission of the instructor, unit head and the CLAS Deans Office before the course can be added by the student. This will likely impact tuition charges and there could be additional late fees. Students should check with the Registrar’s Office to determine the additional costs associated with adding courses late.

-          Students who drop courses after the first week can do so on Banner and will be subject to the published tuition refund schedule. Students should always consult with the Financial Aid Office located in 100 STU to assess the impact on their financial aid eligibility if the course is dropped. The student will be issued a “W” on their transcript for any dropped course.

-          Each semester, the final drop deadline is set for the end of the 9th week of classes. Students who wish to drop courses after this final deadline should be referred to the Late Drop process

-          Questions regarding course registration and the drop and all procedures should be referred to AD Betty Schaner at or 331-2403.

Additional Resources

Repair Clinic

Free repair clinics for all GVSU students are held on campus.  Volunteers repair clothing, broken glasses, backpacks, and more. Date, time and location will be posted on CLAS social media (@CLAScomm on Twitter and @GVSUCLAS on Facebook and and on posters in living centers and elsewhere.  The first clinic of the year is scheduled for October 15, 6-8pm, Holton Hooker Multipurpose Room.