Dean's Newsletter

Volume 12, Issue 5

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

Volume 12, Issue 5

“I don’t know why you say ‘goodbye’; I say ‘hello.’”   –Beatles

The end of the spring semester is often a time of saying "goodbye" to colleagues and friends as many of us head off for a summer of research and/or relaxation. However, for many of us who stay on campus, it's rather a time to say "hello," and let's roll up our sleeves for the summer term. This year we have reason to offer even more profound "goodbyes" and "hellos" as Ron Berkman leaves the President's Office, and Harlan Sands moves in. Grateful for all the progress CSU made during the Berkman years, we are heading confidently into a new CSU era, when the challenges will still be great but the potential for groundbreaking new advances even greater. However, Dr. Berkman will not be leaving campus because he will be joining the ranks of the full-time faculty in the Urban College. So while we want to extend a warm welcome to President Sands, we also want to say "hello" to Dr. Berkman as he resumes the role of faculty member.

We do say "goodbye," of course, to all our new CLASS graduates. On May 1st, at our Scholars' Dinner, we celebrated the successes of our 34 new CLASS scholars, those graduates who achieved a 3.8 cumulative GPA or better. To honor the scholars, 34 CLASS faculty and advisors were present. As a result, we had the largest crowd ever for a Scholars' Dinner. At the dinner, we also honored Enzo Zaccardelli, a double major in History and Anthropology, as this spring's CLASS Valedictorian. We later learned that he will also be honored as one of two university-wide Valedictorians at the spring morning Commencement ceremony. A transfer student from Tri-C, Mr. Zaccardelli received a large number of scholarships and other recognitions from both campuses. Among these were the Butler Jones Scholarship on Race and Ethnicity, the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, and the All-State Academic Team Scholarship. In addition, Mr. Zaccardelli was also a member of CSU's Honors College. As for his future plans, Mr. Zaccardelli has a scholarship to support his Ph.D. studies in Anthropology at The Ohio State University. He is truly a wonderful representative of the best CLASS has to offer.

I don’t normally mention the John Konstantinos Athletics Academics Honors program in my newsletters, but that, I realize, is an oversight. This year’s luncheon was held on April 19th, and I was pleased to attend and honor all of our scholar-athletes who have earned at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. This year 43 CLASS athletes were honored at the luncheon. They came from departments and schools across the college and participated in a diverse range of sports—from fencing and swimming to soccer and softball. Given their notable successes in both academics and athletics, they are an impressive group, and I was proud to see our college so well represented.

At the spring Commencement on May 12th at 9:30 a.m., CLASS will celebrate the successes of all our graduates by awarding 405 undergraduate degrees and 110 graduate degrees. Mr. Zaccardelli, of course, will deliver the Valedictorian remarks at this ceremony, and I hope that many CLASS faculty members will join us in this festive communal celebration.

Several of our faculty colleagues will be retiring this spring. We pay tribute to the long service of Larry Foster, George Ray, and Joyce Mastboom. Larry Foster, who conducts much of his research at the Cleveland Clinic, has been a member of the School of Social Work since 1995. George Ray, a specialist in intercultural communication, has been a member of the School of Communication since 1987, and he served as Director of the School from 2011 to 2015. Joyce Mastboom has been a member of the Department of History since 1988. Dr. Mastboom served in several important leadership positions. From 2002-2009, she was the Chairperson of the Department of History. When her second term ended, she took on the task of leading our Liberal Studies program. Then, in 2011, she was named Associate Dean for the Curriculum in the college. She did a wonderful job carrying out the duties of that position for seven years. All three of these colleagues made major contributions to the university over the span of their careers, and they will be missed!

Spring is also the time that the college recognizes exceptional accomplishment. At the second spring CLASS Faculty Meeting, we do this by recognizing faculty with outstanding records in either teaching or research. This year, Mark Cole (HIS) was given the CLASS Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Rachel Carnell (ENG) was given the CLASS Award for Distinguished Research. Thanks to the CLASS Faculty Affairs Committee for carefully reviewing all the applications and making the very difficult decision about who will get the awards. I want to congratulate both these award winners for their significant achievements.

Continuing on the theme of exceptional accomplishment, I would like to recognize all those who were either officially promoted or approved after a key evaluation. Among the Lecturers, Jeffrey Bolt (COM), Melanie Gagich (ENG), Aycan Koksal (ECN), Michael Skladany (CAS), and Phillip Wanyerka (CAS), all underwent a successful sixth-year review. Professors Wanyerka, Koksal, and Skladany were already an Associate College Lecturers, but Professors Gagich and Bolt, who were Assistant College Lecturers, were promoted to Associate status. In addition, Michael Dover (SWK) underwent his 9th-year Lecturer review and was reappointed. Matias Martinez Abeijon (WLC), George Tsagaris (SWK), and Valerie Wright (CAS) underwent successful tenure reviews and were promoted to Associate Professors. Finally, we had a large class of those who were promoted to Full Professor. Among these were Birch Browning (MUS), Gregory D’Alessio (MUS), Hebat El Attar (WLC), Michael Geither (ENG), Stephanie Kent (CAS), Qian Li (ART), Victor Liva (MUS), Adam Sonstegard (ENG), and Patricia Stoddard-Dare (SWK). Congratulations to all these successful colleagues, and best wishes for success as you continue your careers at CSU!

There will be a change in leadership in the Department of Art and Design this summer. You may have been aware that Marian Bleeke, the former Chairperson, was promoted to Director of General Education in the middle of the spring semester. We are fortunate that George Mauersberger, also a former Chairperson, was willing to step in and lead the department during the balance of the semester and into the summer. On July 1st, however, Irina Koukhanova will become the next regular Chairperson. Professor Koukhanova is a successful sculptor, who has exhibited her works around the United States and in Europe. I am pleased that she has accepted the task of leading this dynamic and very productive department.

As of this writing, we are in the final stages of the searches for the new CLASS Associate Dean for Curriculum and the new Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. I am grateful that we have four strong candidates for each position. I should finish the Associate Dean interviews this week, and the interviews for the Director position early next week. Soon afterwards, I hope to make job offers to the top candidates. I will send out an email early in the summer to share the results of these searches.

CSU_Poster_WebAs I announced in the second CLASS Faculty meeting, our ad campaign called "The Story of Us" will begin to roll out early this summer. The campaign has been professionally designed by alumnus Mark Lantz and his team at Factory Detroit, Inc., and is enthusiastically supported by the CSU Marketing Department. Mr. Lantz is an active member of the CLASS Visiting Committee. We are very grateful for this generous in-kind contribution.

“The Story of Us” posters will soon start to appear around campus, and you will be receiving an ad campaign email blast, containing links to three faculty interviews. Please do share this email blast with your circle of contacts (particularly those outside the university in the Greater Cleveland community) either through email or social media. We often remark how the important work done by CLASS faculty is one of the “best kept secrets” on campus. By sharing these materials, you will help to start to get the word out about the incredible talent housed in our college!

So I will say “goodbye” for the summer to most faculty (but not to staff and faculty who will continue over the summer). I hope that you enjoy a summer that is both relaxing and productive. However, this is, after all, just an au revoir, not an adieu, and I look forward to again saying “hello” when I see you back on campus in the late summer, rested and ready to go under new CSU leadership.