Dean's Newsletter

Vol. 7, Issue 5

Volume 7, Issue 5

After a contentious academic year, summer will be a welcome visitor. While it is true that some faculty members will be working into the summer to submit course change forms, it is also true that many faculty and staff will enjoy longer periods of time away from campus. We need a period of rest and withdrawal to renew our energy reserves and refocus our concentration on the challenges of the next academic year.

I have just about completed my “listening tour” of all CLASS departments and schools. I was particularly happy to see that staff members were included in almost all of those meetings. Two themes that came up repeatedly were lack of resources—faculty, staff, and operating budgets—as well as the inadequacy of faculty/administration communication. My sense is that, with respect to income, CSU had a good year in AY 2012-13. This should set the campus up nicely for AY 2013-14. While I can’t guarantee more college resources in AY 2013-14, I can reaffirm that we have now submitted our formal requests not only for increases in our permanent budget but also for new permanent faculty hires. We will learn over the summer how well we fared regarding such requests, but I am hopeful. With respect to the second theme, I have decided that I need to make these “listening tours” a regular part of my annual routine. They will form yet another strategy by which I will do my part to keep the stream of information flowing freely both up and down the administrative ladder. I truly enjoyed spending quality time with all of you.

I am delighted to report that CLASS and the Writing Center recently received a multi-year grant for $112,294, entitled “Three Initiatives on Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Writing at CSU,” from the President and Provost. We are grateful for this additional support. The overall goal of this project is to promote more effective teaching of writing across the CSU campus, and the proposal has three distinct parts. The first part funds an external consultant to come to campus to evaluate both the First-year Writing program as well as the Writing Across the Curriculum program. The measurable goals of this part are to improve pass rates at the developmental level by 15% and at the non-developmental level by 5% in the next 3 years. In the second and third parts of the proposal, experts will work with the faculties in the Department of History and in the School of Social Work to improve the teaching of WAC courses (as well as pass rates) in these two units. One method that will be used is to set up special summer institutes or workshops for writing instructors in both History and Social Work. Upon achieving success in these two units, the vision is to move to other departments in the college in subsequent years. This project is a joint effort by Rosemary Sutton, Mary McDonald, William Breeze, Joyce Mastboom, Liz Lehfeldt, and Josh Bagaka’s.

Other college successes include six funded Faculty Scholarship Initiative proposals. Among those colleagues winning awards are Kathy Curnow, Jim Marino, Rob Shelton, Jennifer Jeffers, Heba El Attar, and Cheryl Bracken. Congratulations to all these award winners!

In addition to these successes, we can also celebrate this year’s successful tenure decisions and promotions. First, this is the first year that we have experienced the intensive sixth-year review for continuing lecturers. I am pleased to note that both Barbara Walker (English) and Maureen Pruitt (MLA) were granted renewals of their lecturer contracts. In addition, we should recognize Wenqing Kang (History) and Kelly Wrenhaven (MLA), who were tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. Finally, Ronald Reminick (Anthropology), Cheryl Bracken (Communication), Jeffrey Lewis (Political Science), and Antonio Medina-Rivera (MLA) were promoted to Full Professor. Please join me in congratulating all these colleagues on their successes!

Among other faculty achievements, I note that Abed el-Rahman Tayyara completed his credentials to be a fully-certified Oral Proficiency Interview tester in Arabic. He was certified by the American Council for Foreign Languages. As to grants, Phil Wanyerka won a $2,400 grant from the American Archaeological Society, Judith Ryder Frumker won a $2,500 grant from the Dominion Foundation, and Wendy Regoeczi won a $51,847 grant from the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. In addition, Chris Mallet, Miyuki Fukushima Tedor, and Patty Stoddard Dare won the annual Best Paper Award from the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. Moreover, Maggie Jackson was recognized as the 2013 Friend of School Social Work by the Ohio School of Social Work Association. Finally, Peter Dunham won the 2013 CLASS Excellence in Teaching Award. Congratulations to all these faculty members on their continuing achievements!

As to the students, on Thursday, May 2nd, we met to celebrate the achievements of our most successful undergraduate students, the CLASS Scholars and CLASS Valedictorian. To be a CLASS Scholar, you must have earned a 3.8 cumulative GPA and also offer evidence of substantial student engagement. CLASS celebrated the successes of 27 CLASS Scholars, and we awarded our CLASS Valedictorian Award to Justine Keenan, who is graduating with a double major in French and Linguistics. Justine has spent many hours as a volunteer English tutor in Cleveland’s International Services Center, Lakewood Christian Church, and East Zion Lutheran Church. In addition, she is a National Merit Scholar as well as the President of the CSU French Club. Finally, she has engaged in undergraduate research projects with her faculty mentors, including Barbara Hoffman, Sara Loss, and Annie Jouan-Westlund. Her record of achievement is so outstanding that she was also chosen to be one of two spring 2013 co-Valedictorians for the entire university. Congratulations to all these successful CLASS students. We wish you both happiness and good success as you move forward beyond CSU.

The end of the spring semester is a time of transitions, when we lose some long-time friends and colleagues to retirement and gain new colleagues through national searches. While I will report on new hires next fall, here I will recognize our seven retiring colleagues: David Larson (English), David Goldberg (History), Elizabeth Chesko (Music), Michael Baumer (Philosophy), Alan Rosenbaum (Philosophy), Rodger Govea (Political Science), and Lonnie Helton (Social Work). The college, therefore, is losing significant subject expertise and experience as we wish our colleagues long and pleasant retirements. I note here that three of these colleagues, Drs. Larson, Govea, and Helton, are either sitting chairpersons or school directors, and they will be missed not only for their many contributions in the classroom but also for the leadership they exercised in faculty affairs.

Beyond these seven retirements, the college is also losing valuable young talent through resignation. This year we received the resignations of Michael Dumanis (English), Il Hyun Cho (Political Science), Yung-I Liu (Communication), and Francis Dalisay (Communication). All of these scholars are going on to other assignments at universities either in the United States or abroad. They will also be missed.

Like last year, the college’s faculty and students were heavily engaged with the local community during the latter part of the spring semester. Our School of Social Work (and particularly Michael Dover), for example, hosted the Cuyahoga County Conference on Social Welfare on March 22nd. The Music Department continued its many student and faculty concerts. A particularly notable concert that I happened to attend was an inspiring concert on April 16th with Peter Otto playing violin. This was a part of the John Flower concert series on WCLV. The department also continued to sponsor “Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel.” On April 28th, Mr. Siegel played and commented upon a moving program of works entitled “Bach and the Romantics.”

The Department of Theatre and Dance staged two performances. The Dance Program held their annual spring concert in the Second Stage in the Allen Theatre on the weekend of March 29th, while the Theatre program produced Strinberg’s Miss Julie at “The Helen” (the lab theatre) between April 18th and April 28th. In the Galleries at CSU, the 42nd Student Art Show opened to the public on March 29th and continued through May 4th.

The debut of “Beyond Curry,” a pilot cooking show produced by faculty and students in our film program, occurred on April 4th. On that date, guests ate Indian food, watched the pilot program, and were able to ask questions of a panel of experts, including our own Evan Lieberman and the “star” of the show, CSU alumnus Bill Julka. Our film faculty were also highly involved with this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival, sponsoring several important panel discussions, on April 13th and 14th, as a part of the festival.

On April 2nd, Samantha Baskind and Adam Sonstegard gave presentations in our series entitled “Ways of Knowing” on the research they conducted during their professional leaves last year. The Polish Studies Program was also active. On April 8th, the program hosted Michael Schudrich, the chief Rabbi of Poland, and on April 18th Ed Horowitz gave a lecture on his research involving the political views of today’s youth in Poland.  In addition, the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities sponsored a lecture/demonstration by Italian Professor Vittorio Marchis, who presented an “autopsy” of a vintage electrocardiograph machine! Finally, as a part of the Caporali Missal lecture series that I announced in the January newsletter, on April 17th, Fr. Michael Cusato, an expert on the history of the Franciscan order, gave a lively presentation on the Franciscan contexts surrounding the production of the Caporali Missal.

This summary reflects only a small part of the public activities sponsored by the college in the second half of the spring semester. I am constantly amazed by the vitality of our public engagement. Despite turmoil, the spring menu of academic and artistic college offerings was notable for both its quantity and quality.

Over the past academic year, the CLASS Diversity Committee, in contact with Vice President Byron White, has been working to increase our commitment and awareness of diversity. Under the leadership of Adrienne Gosselin, the committee met on a regular basis, conducted book discussion groups both in the fall and in the spring, and wrote a committee charter, an action plan, and a grant to fund an arts-based research project entitled “Bringing Henrietta to Life: The Art of Engaged Dialogue.” Next year they will submit a proposal to transform their ad hoc committee into a college standing committee. I would like to commend Dr. Gosselin and all the members of her committee for their dedication to building an important component of the CSU identity.

Best wishes for a recuperative summer. See you in August!