CLAS Acts Sept. 2008

September 2008
Volume 2, Issue 1

Our Mission: 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.

CLAS College Office Monthly Newsletter for Faculty  
Dean Antczak Declares Casual Costume Friday on October 31 On Halloween, feel free to come in costume.  Treats available in the College Office.       

Center for Scholarly & Creative Excellence Opens   The Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence was established this year with the goal of fostering a culture of scholarship by supporting faculty and students in their research and creative activities. The University has appointed Robert Smart as director of the Center.  Bob comes to this position after twelve years as a faculty member of the Chemistry department in CLAS.  He has personal experience in the faculty balancing act with roles as teacher, scholar, and university leader.  He has worked with many of you in the past and looks forward to serving you in his new role in the future. More information about the Center, its services and mission are available at the Center's website:    "We have embraced this opportunity to develop a teacher-scholar centered plan that is transformative and addresses the needs of the University's diverse faculty population.  Our strategic plan will promote a culture of scholarship on campus while at the same time enriching the quality of education for our students," Smart said. At their annual retreat last month, all CLAS Unit Heads received a briefing on the Center.    

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

Welcome to our 43 new colleagues and welcome back to you all.  I've got a particularly good feeling about this academic year.  At our CLAS start up meeting I noted the thoughtful applause for the Provost when she spoke about the recent policy decisions of the Board of Trustees to fund a quality education here and to provide partner benefits.  For eight units the long awaited moves to new premises are now complete (or nearly so).  There is an excited buzz about the new campus facilities.  The strategic plans are up on websites and almost anyone you ask--faculty, staff, innocent passers-by--can tell you that the accreditation team from North Central will be here October 13-15.  In other words, many long awaited plans and projects are coming to fruition. While we are celebrating the new, please join me in welcoming to a new position Aaron Perry, who will be filling the position of Director of Lab Support. Sandi Bacon is working closely with Aaron during the transition and in particular until the new person comes aboard to fill Aaron's shoes as Lab Support Supervisor. We have a lot to look forward to this fall and it all starts this month.  Sometime when your calendar is open, have a look at your Fall Arts Celebration brochure lest you miss a wonderful event like the Debut concert by our remarkable new Music faculty on September 8 or the lecture by Stephen Greenblatt on the 24th.  September 24th will be a very big day-the Open House for the new Mackinac Hall addition will be held from 9:30-11am.  We're eager to welcome staff and faculty to the addition and hope you'll make a point of coming over to have a look.  Details will be available soon.  Family Weekend will be held on and around September 27 and will once again feature participation by the Shakespeare Festival, an AWRI research vessel, and demonstrations by faculty from Movement Science. The CLAS Alumni Board will be meeting on Saturday, September 6.  I'm happy to report that two of the newest Board members are both faculty and alumnae, Cindy Hull (ANT) and Shannon Biros (CHM).  What an invaluable perspective they will bring! And that got me thinking.  At such a young university we are not always accustomed to the legacies that older institutions often enjoy.  But that is changing quickly.  If you or someone you know is a faculty or staff member here who has a son or daughter attending GVSU, please bring it to my attention.  We'd like to profile these GVSU parents and students.  There is simply no stronger endorsement of a university than the approval the people who know it best.  And there is no stronger approval than entrusting your son or daughter to us. The flow of good news continues.  Congratulations to Robert Rozema of English on the publication of Literature and the Web, Reading and Responding with New Technologies (Heinemann, 2008).  Deborah Herrington is going this month to Cape Town, South Africa as a visiting scholar in chemical education.  The E Coli research of the younger and elder Rediske seemed to be in every newspaper in the state.  And it looks good for future faculty media coverage in coming months with the unveiling of the new GVSU website on our faculty expertise germane to the election campaign. In the College Office the pace of life remains brisk.  I'm co-teaching with Danielle Wiese a course on the rhetoric of the election. Associate Dean Gary Stark is teaching a History course on Fascism, and our Director of Communications, Monica Johnstone is teaching Business Communication.  Interim Associate Dean Donna Larson is working with the Curriculum Committee, developing tracking systems for our student issues as well as for assessment reports and self-studies, and will be involved in the smooth transition to the new permanent Associate Dean.  AD Jann Joseph is at the time of writing making her way around Hurricane Gustav and back from a conference to us so that she can attend a training workshop of the National Council of University Research, represent us on PTEAC, assist in the orientation of our new Lab Safety Specialist, and continue her work on our behalf with Facilities.  Gary will be working with units to build the 2009-10 schedule of courses, confirming the personnel actions for 2008-09 and the sabbatical eligibility list, assisting units with faculty searches being conducted this year, and facilitating the Fall faculty governance election (if needed). As many of you heard in my talk at start up I've set the College the challenge of improving our graduation rate by 2012 by 10%.  The curricular reviews many departments are engaged in and our new CLAS Academic Advising Center certainly have a role in making this happen.  I imagine as we look closely at this challenge, we'll see many factors are involved and that some creativity will be involved in finding solutions.  I'm glad to have such a devoted and talented team to crack this nut.  I'll be giving graduation data to units soon, but it's not too soon to begin the departmental discussion.  

Save the Date: Announcing Three Out-of-the-Box Events! You are invited to participate in one of the Out-of-the-Box events being offered for the first time this fall.  These new workshops will facilitate our research efforts and productivity by helping CLAS faculty members help themselves.  Philosophy underlying the workshops: CLAS faculty can facilitate one another's research by developing flexible, creative, innovative, and cooperative solutions to common problems. How will we do this?  Workshop participants will identify common impediments to research productivity, then collaborate to develop potential solutions that draw upon the creative use of existing resources, skills and expertise.  The ideas generated in each workshop will be reported back to the faculty as a whole so that all may benefit. We encourage faculty from all disciplines to participate.  We expect innovative, creative thinking to emerge as faculty with diverse perspectives develop "out-of-the-box" solutions to common problems. Events are tentatively scheduled for: Thursday, Sept. 25   12:00-2:00 p.m. (lunch incl.)   
Friday, Oct. 31        8-10:00 a.m. (breakfast incl.; costumes encouraged!)   Monday, Dec. 1       12-2:00 p.m. (lunch incl.) Details about registration will be announced soon. Come be part of the solution!      

CLAS Center Feature  

The CLAS Academic Advising Center- Open for Business

The newly launched CLAS Academic Advising Center, located on the first floor of Mackinac Hall in C-1-140 on the south end of the building, opened its doors to the Grand Valley community on August 8, 2008.  The new center centralizes the previous CLAS major advising offices, including psychology, arts and humanities, and the SMART center, which assisted science and math students.  Serving students with any major or minor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the focus of the center staff. The CLAS academic advisors do not replace a student's faculty advisor, but will complement that relationship by providing students with more general assistance.  Some of the services include: providing general education and basic skills information, assisting with university forms and procedures, guiding students to existing resources, connecting students with faculty advisors, and provide workshops for faculty on a variety of advising topics.  The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 8 am to 6 pm, and Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm.  The office phone number is 331-8585.   An open house is planned for the morning of September 24th.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by and meet the staff, and see what the new center has to offer.