Dean's Newsletter

Volume 10, Issue 1

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

Volume 10, Issue 1

I would like to start by welcoming back all CLASS faculty and staff for the new academic year. For those of you who are new to CSU, this newsletter, written specifically for faculty and staff, is published about six times a year and is my attempt to keep the CLASS community abreast of important college issues, events, and successes. Comments on the newsletter are always appreciated.

Having spent last year celebrating our 50th anniversary as a university (and our 10th year as a college), writing our strategic plan, and implementing program prioritization, we might have reasonably expected this year to be more quiet and uneventful. Early signs, however, indicate that this will not be the case. The demolition of the Chester Building in February of 2016 means that our School of Social Work, our program in Anthropology, and our CLASS Advising Center will be moving to other locations over the course of the winter break. Now that our new strategic plan has been completed, we need to move forward on several fronts indicated in the plan. We need, for example, to strengthen our advising, increase internship opportunities, and heighten awareness of our college and the value of our degrees. The aftermath of the program prioritization process includes tying up loose ends regarding suspended programs and continuing to build up our top-ranked programs in the arts. We also have the enviable task of recruiting 17 new full-time colleagues to the college’s faculty ranks, a task that will demand our constant care and attention to detail. Finally, the President’s “Path to 2020,” a program designed to help CSU thrive in an increasingly challenging environment, will demand our attention.

These are just some of the major tasks on our agenda for the year. Others include fortifying links to our Chinese partner universities, creating the Liberal Arts Edge Lounge on the first floor of the Main Classroom Building, and building upon our very successful record of fund-raising—over $1 million raised!—to have an even more successful year this year. We have the leadership to move forward confidently. Our cohort of departmental and school leadership is newly recruited, and these chairs and directors are talented and enthusiastic. Our new Interim Provost, Jianping Zhu, has served previous Provosts for many years and comes to the office with energy and a fresh perspective. New opportunities have appeared on the horizon, but old challenges persist, including building up our student body through aggressive recruiting and improved retention.

Last year the college was given no authorizations to hire tenure-track faculty and only two authorizations to hire lecturers. However, we were given authorizations to hire a number of visiting faculty members, and we will be welcoming one new tenure track member who was recruited during AY 2013-14 but who could not start until this year. Our new tenure-track colleague is Brooke Conti, a specialist in Early Modern English Literature, who holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale and who comes to us via SUNY Brockport. The first new lecturer is Ahmad Hamo, who has taught in our Arabic program for several years and has an M.A. degree in International Studies from Birzeit University. As a result of Abed Tayyara’s successful Title VI grant, which funds the creation of a new major in Arabic, we were authorized to hire Mr. Hamo. The second new lecturer is Nicole McElroy, who will teach in our Criminology program and who comes to us with an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Akron. In addition, she will be completing her Ph.D. at the University of Akron during the fall semester.

The list of our new visiting faculty members includes:

  • Kathryn Olszowy, Biological Anthropology, Department of Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology
  • Pablo Garofalo, Department of Economics
  • Jintae Kim, Department of Economics
  • Thomas Dorrance, American History, Department of History
  • Barry Hartz, Music Education, Department of Music
  • William Simkulet, Ethics, Department of Philosophy and Comparative Religion
  • Michael Wiitala, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Comparative Religion
  • Todd Nelson, International Relations, Department of Political Science

We are also delighted that several international scholars will be visiting this year:

  • Denes Matyas, Hungarian Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Matyas is a faculty member at the University of Szeged, Hungary.
  • Raka Shome, Visiting India Scholar. A specialist in Indian film, Dr. Shome will arrive on campus in January 2016.
  • Tomasz Markiewka, Kosciuszko Foundation Fellow from the University of Bielsko-Biala, Poland. The Kosciuszko Foundation renewed Dr. Markiewka’s support, allowing him to spend a second semester at CSU.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome these new staff members:

  • Judy Terrigno, Dept. of Music (Ms. Terrigno actually started last spring.)
  • Jessica McRitchie, Dept. of Art
  • Thelma Shepherd, School of Social Work

In addition to new faculty and staff, the college is again fortunate to induct a large new cohort of faculty leadership on the program or department/school levels:

  • John Perrine, Chairperson, Dept. of Music. Dr. Perrine leads our Jazz Studies program and is himself a successful saxophone performance artist.
  • Marian Bleeke, Chairperson, Dept. of Art. Dr. Bleeke is an art historian, specializing in medieval art.
  • Lynn Deering, Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance. After successfully serving one year as Interim Chairperson, Ms. Deering was appointed to the Chair position for a four-year term.
  • Jeff Karem, Chairperson, Dept. of English. Dr. Karem is a specialist in American literature. He will begin his term as chair in January 2016. In the meantime, David Larson will continue to serve as Interim Chairperson of the department.
  • Bill Kosteas, Chairperson, Dept. of Economics. Dr. Kosteas, a specialist in labor economics, served many years as Graduate Director in the department.
  • Wendy Regoeczi, Interim Chairperson, Department of Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology. Dr. Regoeczi, former editor of the journal Homicide Studies, was the long-time director of our Criminology Research Center.
  • Gary Pettey, Director, School of Communication. Dr. Pettey is a specialist in mass communication and served as Graduate Director in the School of Communication for many years.
  • Lydia Grebenyova, Director, Linguistics Program. After successfully serving as Interim Director for one year, Dr. Grebenyova was given a four-year term as Director.
  • Abed Tayyara, Director, Middle East Studies Program. After successfully serving as Interim Director for one year, Dr. Tayyara was given a four-year term as Director.

Finally, we should celebrate the fact that, after a national search, our own Liz Lehfeldt was awarded the new Mandel Chair in the Humanities and also named Dean of the Mandel Honors College. As a result, Tom Humphrey has agreed to serve an additional year as Interim Chairperson of the Department of History. We will be conducting official chairperson searches in both History and CAS this year.

Student success arises from engaged interaction between students and faculty mentors, and summer research grants support this. CLASS undergraduate researchers and their mentors won nearly $20,000 of support to conduct research during the summer of 2015. The faculty mentors included Mark Souther, Phil Wanyerka, Lynn Deering, and Shelley Rose. The students conducted research in oral history, archaeology, and dance. The results of their research will be on display during a poster session in the Student Center on September 3rd. In addition to these summer grants, I am happy to report that we have helped the Career Success Network to implement a grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and the Fenn Educational Fund. Through the grant, 41 CLASS students were placed in paid internships over the summer. In addition to these placements, we surveyed CLASS students on their work and internship experiences, and Rob Kleidman also met with all the CLASS chairs to help us get a better sense of where internships fit in the curriculum of each of our programs. These were significant steps forward in our college’s attempts to increase student internships.

Please mark your calendars for our annual Welcome Back Reception on September 17th, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Waetjen Lobby in the Music and Communication Building. All CLASS faculty, part-time and full-time, as well as all CLASS staff members are invited. A festive occasion, there will be drinks, food, and music. There will be door prizes, and we will again present our CLASS Engaged Service Award to one of our hard-working staff members. I look forward to seeing you there!

Best wishes,

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