Dean's Newsletter

Volume 12, Issue 3

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

Volume 12, Issue 3

The start of the new calendar year is always busier than it seems it should be, and this year was no exception. Of course, one major cause of activity was the choosing of CSU’s next President, Mr. Harlan Sands. President-Elect Sands, a J.D. with significant military experience, is a non-traditional candidate, who, nevertheless, will bring a significant amount of experience in academic administration. In addition, Mr. Sands is currently taking exceptional steps to get to know the campus and its faculty and staff in anticipation of his arrival on May 1st. He is a man with abundant energy and a commitment to listen to his constituents, qualities that will serve him well as he embarks upon his journey to build upon the impressive foundation built by his predecessors and to move CSU closer to its goal of being among the best urban public universities in the country.

January is routinely dedicated to workload meetings between the chairs and the dean. This year we had the additional challenge of successfully incorporating new contract language into our deliberations. Anytime one introduces new workload guidelines—particularly on short notice—there is a good chance that conflicting interpretations and expectations will arise. This year seems to be no exception to that rule. As dean, my commitment to you is to apply the guidelines as fairly and consistently as possible, and I think I have done so. But I look forward to any future discussions that may be needed to arrive at a clearer understanding of the implementation of these new workload rules. In addition, under the leadership of our new Associate Dean for the Faculty, Cheryl Bracken, we will be rewriting our CLASS Workload Guidelines to incorporate the mandates of the new contract as well as other important workload considerations. One such consideration is the credit we give for those who supervise internship projects. Until now, the college has had no such guidelines, but last summer, given our new emphasis on promoting internships, I asked the Dean’s Advisory Committee (Marian Bleeke, Tom Humphrey, Bill Kosteas, Laura Wertheimer, and Gary Pettey, chairperson) to create a working draft. I am grateful for the work of this committee, and their draft will now go to the Faculty Affairs committee for more vetting. In the end, we hope to present a new version of the CLASS workload guidelines to the faculty in this semester’s second faculty meeting on April 16th.

CLASS will be conducting a series of new searches, both internal and external during the spring. Until now, CSU’s budget challenges have blocked a number of critical hires made absolutely necessary by recent retirements or unexpected resignations.  While we will not be able to fill all the necessary gaps in our faculty, we will be able to make a few really important hires. Thus, for AY 18-19, we will be able to fill open positions in Communication, Film, Social Work, and Dance. We will also be able to fill the secretary position in the Black Studies program. Because there are still plenty of staffing needs in various departments, we will let CLASS chairs and directors know if and when we are asked to submit hiring requests for AY 19-20.

In addition to the regular faculty and staff hires, we will also be conducting internal searches for a new Associate Dean of Curriculum (to replace Joyce Mastboom) and a new Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program (to replace Cheryl Bracken). These are two very important positions in the college, and I urge you to consider applying for one or the other if you meet the qualifications. The job descriptions will be sent out soon, and I am very grateful that we have been able to assemble highly accomplished teams of colleagues for the two committees. Tom Humphrey (chair), Linda Francis, George Mauersberger, Matt Jackson-McCabe, and Jody Milkie will serve on the Associate Dean Search Committee. Allyson Robichaud, Tama Engelking, and Shelley Rose will serve on the Director Search Committee.

In other news, I am happy to report that Marian Bleeke has been chosen as the new CSU Director of General Education. Professor Bleeke, who is currently the Chairperson of the Department of Art and Design, started her new role on February 16th, and we wish her well. I am also happy to announce that George Mauersberger has been named Interim Chairperson of the Department of Art and Design, and he will serve from February 16th through June 30th of this year. We are very fortunate that Professor Mauersberger, who served as chair with distinction twice in the past, is willing to step in on such short notice. During the spring, then, we will also be conducting the normal internal search process for the next permanent chairperson.

I also note that Marcus Schultz-Bergin and Allyson Robichaud won a Teaching Enhancement Award of $8,800 for their project called “Improving Moral Reasoning for Engineers.” In addition, Sarah Rutherford and Anne Berry also won a Teaching Enhancement Award of $8,800 for their project entitled “Visual Technology Course Redesign.” Congratulations to these award winners!

CLASS students have also won some recent awards. Enzo Zaccardelli and Kyley Mollohan both won Undergraduate Research Awards for spring 2018 research work that they will do under the supervision of Kathryn Olszowy. Dr. Olszowy teaches physical anthropology in our Department of Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology. In addition, Olivia Cohen, who studies in the School of Communication, won an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award for her work teaching COM 101 last year. Moreover, Sarah Nemeth, who studies in our Department of History, won a Graduate Student Award in recognition of her historical scholarship. Ms. Nemeth works under the supervision of Mark Souther in the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities. These awards highlight the high quality student work that takes place when CLASS faculty members and students team up to advance our academic mission here at CSU.

In addition, I want to note that two of our faculty members contributed their expertise to make authoritative comments on recent political developments. One, Ed Horowitz, acted as a commentator on the President’s recent State of the Union address for Channel 19. The second, Rachel Carnell, based on her research on “secret histories” in 18th-century Britain, wrote an opinion piece in analyzing the public reactions to the recently published book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Based on the 18th-century histories of these kinds of political insider exposés, Dr. Carnell found nothing surprising in the 21st-century reactions to Michael Wolff’s book.

Every year in the spring CLASS schedules two “Ways of Knowing” lectures, in which select faculty members share the results of the research they undertook during their professional leaves. This spring, we have invited Steve Taysom and Miyuki Tedor to address the CLASS faculty. The lectures have been scheduled for April 17th.  Please save this date on your calendars, and we will forward more details as they become available.

The long Cleveland winters not only wear us down but also isolate us. As a remedy, Cheryl Bracken is proposing a CLASS Faculty “Happy Hour.” The Happy Hour will take place on Tuesday, February 27th, at 4 p.m. at Bin 216 in Playhouse Square. Unfortunately, given the budget situation, this must be a “cash bar” event, but Cheryl is hoping that many CLASS faculty members will take the time to interact, encourage each other, and help pass away the last of the winter blahs.

Spring is not quite in the air yet—we still have several more weeks of winter to endure—but the recent announcement of a new CSU President-Elect cannot but suggest thoughts of renewal and revitalization. With the coming of spring blossoms, we will have occasions to celebrate not only President Berkman’s long record of accomplishment and transformation but also the start of a new era in the history of our university.