Dean's Newsletter

Volume 10, Issue 6

A Newsletter for Faculty & Staff in the
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Volume 10, Issue 6

The picture of a room full of smiling public figures still graces the CSU website. It captures a moment of great drama and great promise for the College. On April 15, 2016, Ohio leaders and representatives journeyed to CSU to announce that a $7.5 million allocation to establish an independent CSU School of Film, Television, and Interactive Media was written into the state’s capital budget. Ivan Schwarz of the Cleveland Film Commission, the man who is working so hard to establish a robust film industry in Northeast Ohio, stood next to Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger and President Ronald Berkman as the announcement was made. He and President Berkman convinced state leaders that to have a strong film industry in Northeast Ohio, the state needed an outstanding source of local talent for the industry. And that source was to be housed in CLASS.

falseWhile CLASS does not yet have an independent School of Film, Television, and Interactive Media, the study of these subjects is not new to our college. The forward-looking faculty in the School of Communication established a unique degree track in this area as far back as 2006, and over the short period of ten years, that degree track has grown from zero to 205 majors. Kim Neuendorf currently directs this degree program. She leads a team of six outstanding faculty—one of whom, Evan Lieberman, offered crucial support during the drafting of our proposal. Moreover, we have recently hired a seventh, who will begin her work in the fall of 2016. This is indeed a strong foundation upon which to build, and together the faculty will shape the contours of a new School with a projected national reputation.

The path from now to that happy day, however, still needs to be mapped, and there are many questions still to be answered, including the exact location of the build out and the exact construction timetable. To create an independent School, we will begin the Faculty Senate’s 10-step program alteration process in the fall. Beyond that, what I can say is that this project will be a collaborative effort, employing the talents and vision of CLASS faculty, administrators, and community stakeholders. We will listen to the best advice possible to insure that we fulfill the vision of the public leaders who entrusted us with this mission. Moreover, the development of the new School will in significant ways tie into the larger movement of the ongoing development of a key center of excellence in the CSU arts.

Speaking of the arts, the President recently has authorized the creation of a new CSU summer arts festival, to begin in summer of 2017. The purpose of this festival is to raise the profile of the arts and humanities at CSU and to make CSU a prominent summer home of the arts for Greater Cleveland. Tentatively entitled “Arts and Humanities Alive!” (AHA!), this festival will be directed by Katie Shames, the Director of our Center for Arts and Innovation and the current Chairperson of the Board of the Ohio Humanities Council. Leveraging our presence in Playhouse Square, the festival will incorporate performances, readings, master classes and intergenerational community cultural opportunities, including a CSU Book Fair. The festival will employ talent from all the arts at CSU—Music, Theatre, Dance, and Art as well as Film and Creative Writing. In addition, it will incorporate such already existing programs as CSU’s Summer Dance Workshop and Ms. Shames’ summer Arts Education Summit.

It has become customary in this issue to acknowledge our colleagues who were successfully promoted over the course of this academic year. Although no CLASS faculty member came up for tenure this year, we did have four colleagues who were successfully promoted to Full Professor. These colleagues included Matt Jackson-McCabe (Philosophy and Comparative Religion), Irina Koukhanova (Art), Wendy Regoeczi (Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology), and J. Mark Souther (History). All in this group presented dossiers filled with impressive accomplishments in teaching, research/creative activity, and service. All have provided impressive leadership at critical moments in the history of the College. And I am proud to welcome them all to the senior ranks of the professoriate.

Beginning with the current AAUP contract, lecturers who pass their all-important sixth-year review are automatically promoted from Lecturer to Associate Lecturer. Among those who successfully passed their sixth-year reviews are Dawn Aliberti and Marnie Rodriguez (Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology), and Elia Iafelice (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures). They also presented impressive dossiers documenting their contributions in teaching and service, and I want to congratulate them on this important milestone.

The college this spring inaugurated a new award for excellence in research and continued the tradition of giving an award for excellence in teaching. I am pleased to recognize Julie Burrell (English), who won this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and Richard Perloff (Communication), who won the first Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award. Dr. Burrell’s promotion of active learning in her classrooms sets an inspiring example for all of us who labor to make CSU’s “engaged learning” motto reflect the lived classroom experience of all CSU students, and Dr. Perloff, a senior scholar with joint appointments in Psychology and Political Science, has produced a steady stream of impressive journal articles, books, and journalistic pieces throughout the course of his career.

This was a banner year for CLASS faculty who applied for CSU Faculty Scholarship Initiative grants. No less than 16 of our colleagues received these awards! Among these colleagues are Shelley Rose and Karen Sotiropoulos (History), Abed el-Rahman Tayyara and Tama Engelking (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Sucharita Adluri and Stephen Taysom (Philosophy and Comparative Religion), Samantha Baskind and Kathy Curnow (Art), Neda Zawahri and Joel Lieske (Political Science), Michael Geither and Jennifer Jeffers (English), Michael Baumgartner and Greg D’Alessio (Music), Linda Francis (Criminology, Anthropology, Sociology), and Kathleen Stansberry (Communication).

More grant news: Both Wendy Regoeczi and Patricia Stoddard Dare won travel awards from the Graduate Faculty Research Support Program, and Michael Williams, Bob Abelman, Cyndi Hovland-Scafe, and Joshua Kirven all won awards from the 2016 Civic Engagement Grant Program. 

In addition, Shelley Rose and Mark Souther (History), Kim Neuendorf and Jill Rudd (Communication) won Undergraduate Summer Research Awards. They will be working with CSU students on two important projects, one entitled “Protest Voices: Using Activist Oral Histories to Teach Historical Thinking” and the other entitled “The Incarcerated Mother’s Journey: The Role of Video Journaling.” Here again we see CLASS’s “engaged learning” at its best.

Finally, I would like to recognize Jim Marino (English), who won a $6000 NEH/Folger Shakespeare Library Microgrant in order to organize a one-day Shakespeare Pedagogy Conference for university professors. The grant will also provide seed money for a new website entitled “Cleveland Teaches Shakespeare,” which will be a collaborative teaching resource for Renaissance faculty across Northeast Ohio. Congratulations to Jim and to all CLASS award winners!

As we recognize and congratulate the faculty who have recently won grants, I am aware that this activity reflects only the tip of the iceberg of faculty productivity. What we don’t have space to highlight in this newsletter are all the books, articles, art exhibits, concerts, and dramatic performances that our faculty produce each year and report on their annual eFAARs. At least, however, I can offer my congratulations to all the faculty who have had successes this year in their research and creative activity work!

falseI also want to recognize the CLASS Valedictorian for spring 2016. Lana Erin Sims is graduating this spring with a double major in Spanish and International Relations. She will complete her degrees with a cumulative GPA of 3.99. Fluent in Spanish, Ms. Sims also speaks French and has studied Arabic. She has honed her skills in Spanish by studying abroad both in Spain and in Cuba, and her studies were supported by a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. She has also worked not only as a clinic assistant at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law but also as a student assistant at the Community Learning Center for Children and Youth. Based on her strong record of accomplishment, Ms. Sims was accepted into the Ph.D. program in Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh, where her studies will be supported by a graduate assistantship. She will begin her doctoral studies in the fall. Finally, I am pleased to report that Ms. Sims will be recognized as one of the two university-level Valedictorians at this spring’s commencement ceremonies. She is truly representative of the best that a CLASS education can produce!

We had no faculty retirements this year, and I’m delighted that we will enjoy full continuity of our current faculty as well as the addition of 18 new full-time faculty next academic year. I will introduce our new full-time faculty in the first fall issue of CLASS Directions. Orysia Markovic, who was the scheduling specialist for both CLASS and the College of Science, was the only staff person who retired, and, of course, we are grateful for her many years of dedicated service. Upon Ms. Markovic’s retirement, we redesigned the position a bit—keeping the CLASS scheduling duties but expanding the role in other places—and I’m pleased to announce that Aimee Furio will begin her work in the Dean’s Office as Administrative Secretary 1 on Monday, May 16th.

I also want to recognize two Interim Chairs who were reappointed as regular Department Chairpersons over the course of this academic year. Tom Humphrey was appointed Chairperson of the Department of History, and Wendy Regoeczi was appointed Chairperson of the Department of Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology.  With these appointments, the college no longer has any interim chairpersons, and we can look forward to a good stretch of future years with a stable cohort of young, energetic, and talented leaders on the department and school levels. This can only bode well for the college.

Finally, I would like to report that two of the three CLASS units from the old Chester Building have moved.  Social Work is now housed on the 14th floor of Rhodes Tower, and our CLASS Advising Office is now located on the second floor of the Main Classroom Building. While I have not yet seen the new Advising Offices, I have seen Social Work’s new home, and it is very attractive. The third Chester unit, Anthropology, will be moving into its new space on the 9th floor of Rhodes Tower right after the end of the spring semester.

At this time of year we celebrate what Dylan Thomas called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” The problem is that during these last few weeks of the semester, we are too busy to spend quality time enjoying the products—the new leaves, the colorful blossoms, the fragrant breezes—produced by that force. My wish is that, with the last of the final grades submitted, you will be able to do so, once again enjoying well-earned leisure and re-creation. To quote the cinema: May the force be with you.

Best Wishes,