Dean's Newsletter

Volume 9, Issue 5

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

Volume 9, Issue 5

The sweet color of eastern sapphire, gathering in the cloudless aspect of the air, pure to the first circle,
Began to delight my eyes again, as soon as I came forth from the dead air that had weighed my eyes and breast with sorrow.


It is, perhaps, going too far to compare my delight over the coming of spring to Dante’s delight, recorded above, at seeing the sky after having traversed the horrors of the underworld, but after a particularly harsh Cleveland winter, I feel something akin to Dante's sense of relief and gratitude as I look to the East on clear and warm spring mornings. It's related to the sense of relief and gratitude that I always feel—and perhaps you do, too—at the end of a successful but challenging academic year. Moving toward the summer terms—my late April/early May calendar replete with festive celebrations of all kinds—I look to the "eastern sapphire" of our college's metaphorical horizon with renewed hope and joy.

Last year at this time, I wrote of tasks completed and tasks to be accomplished. We had completed the four- to three-credit hour conversion, but CLASS strategic planning and the program prioritization process were still unfinished and positioned to be major tasks for the current academic year.  At the end of this year, we have posted on the web our new CLASS strategic plan, which was ratified at the April 6 CLASS faculty meeting (, and we are awaiting the results of the May 6 Faculty Senate meeting, which we hope will be the penultimate step in the advance of the on-going strands of the program prioritization process. To have reached this stage required the work and commitment of many CLASS faculty members, staff, and academic leaders (both inside and outside of the college). I am proud of and grateful for all those who made these accomplishments possible. One of the results of our successful program prioritization process (as well as of the convincing justifications authored by the chairs) was the response of the Provost to our requests for hiring authorizations. CLASS was authorized to conduct an impressive 17 new searches next year for full-time faculty, and these searches will be conducted in a timely fashion because we received the news in plenty of time to organize search committees before the end of the spring semester.

There were other successes this year. Beth Pask (Communication), Sucharita Adluri (Philosophy and Comparative Religion), Miyuki Fukushima Tedor (Sociology and Criminology), and Linda Francis (Sociology and Criminology) all were promoted to Associate Professor and tenured. Stephen Cory (Philosophy and Comparative Religion/History) was promoted to Full Professor. Finally, lecturers John Ban (English), Michael Dover (Social Work), and John Ban (Communication) all passed their critical 6th-year renewal reviews. Congratulations to all these colleagues!

The winners of the 2015-16 CSU Faculty Scholarship Initiative Awards were recently announced, and CLASS scholars and creative writers did very well. Seven of our colleagues were honored with these awards, which are internal grants of between $2000 and $5000. A list of the winners reflects the broad and interesting range of research and creative activity that is being carried out by our colleagues in the humanities. Among the projects funded are Stephen Cory's project entitled "Morocco in the Eighteenth Century," Rachel Carnell's project "Prosecuting Satire in the Reign of Queen Anne," Mike Geither's project "Creation Myth: A Full-Length Devised Theatrical Experience," Kelly Wrenhaven's project "Animate Tools and Invisible Men: Themes in Classical and American Slavery," José Solá's "Killing the Perfect Beast: The Eradication of Malaria in Puerto Rico's Sugar Fields, 1900 to 1940's," Gary Dyer's project "Lord Byron on Trial: Literature and the Law in the Romantic Period," and Caryl Pagel's project "The Reality of the Unseen." 

In addition, I would like to congratulate Bob Abelman, who recently received the 2014-15 "Excellence in Journalism" Award from the Press Club of Cleveland for the arts journalism he contributed to the Cleveland Jewish News.

Our spring 2015 CLASS Valedictorian, Jennifer Kate Berkey, has also been named University Valedictorian. Ms. Berkey, a non-traditional student, transferred to CSU from Tri-C, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree.  A double major in Social Work and Liberal Studies, Ms. Berkey earned an overall GPA of 3.93 and also completed a minor in biology as well as a certificate in Bioethics. Her curricular choices have prepared her well to accomplish her next goal, which is to complete graduate study in Genetic Counseling. Along the way, Ms. Berkey, who worked as an intern in grief counseling at Cornerstone of Hope, was awarded the James Dodman Nobel Award in Human Relations Scholarship as well as two Undergraduate Summer Research Awards. As a result of her accomplishments, she was inducted into Social Work's Phi Alpha Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. She is clearly an outstanding representative of the CLASS student body—a gifted, hard-working, and resilient non-traditional student, with a commitment to give back to society through the talents she has cultivated at CSU. Congratulations, Jennifer!     

As always at this time of year, we also pause to congratulate and offer our best wishes to the colleagues who have chosen to retire. These include Mary Ellen Waithe, Diane Steinberg, Dick Schneider, Ron Reminick, Andy Edwards, Maggie Jackson, and Edith Anderson, all of whom have served the institution well and faithfully for many years. In addition, a good number of chairpersons or school directors are stepping down at the ends of their terms. These include Myong Chang, Phil Manning, Maggie Jackson, Jenn Visocky O’Grady, George Ray, and Leo Jeffres, who came out of retirement to serve as Interim Chair of Music this year. Serving as chair requires a clear vision, a strong work ethic, good people skills, and an exceptional ability to communicate. It is one of the hardest jobs in the university, and, therefore, I am very grateful for the service of these wonderfully dedicated individuals.

There are always too many spring events in CLASS to be able to attend them all, but I’d like to highlight just three events that I was fortunate enough to attend, one each from the arts, the social sciences, and the humanities.

The Spring Dance Concert, which I attended on March 28, was particularly memorable. In celebration of CSU's 50th anniversary, Lynn Deering put together a program with present and past dancers from the CSU Dance Program. Included was a special dance, set to the music of Odetta, and choreographed and performed by Dianne McIntyre. Ms. McIntyre is a pillar of the modern dance community, both in Cleveland and nationally. In recognition of her contributions, CSU awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2013, and so it was a special honor to have her perform on our stage. In addition to Ms. McIntyre, the evening included a Korean drum dance and another dance, "Unraveling #2," by Helanius Wilkins, who is the artistic director of EDGEWORKS Dance Company of Washington, D.C.  In addition, we witnessed the performance of Antonio Brown’s powerful "Knock, Knock."  Mr. Brown, who danced in the CSU Young People's Dance Concert while he was only in 8th grade, is a graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts, and he is currently a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.  The evening ended, memorably, with Lynn Deering’s tribute to fifty years of CSU history, "The Land of 1000 Dances."  The music was taken from chart-topping single hits from 1964, including the title song by Cannibal & the Headhunters. Much of the material for the talking parts of the dance was taken from Regennia Williams' book Cleveland State University: 50 Years. 

The Fifth Annual Cuyahoga County Conference on Social Welfare, ably organized by our own Michael Dover, was also memorable, and it took place at Cleveland State University on March 27. As the website declares: the conference presented "an opportunity for social workers to enhance their role in analyzing, formulating and advocating for social welfare policy; [to] assess the changing context of social welfare policy in Cuyahoga County; and [to] identify policy issues arising from practice and community settings in Northeast Ohio." This year the conference, which is sponsored by CSU, Case Western Reserve University, and the National Association of Social Workers, brought over 500 enthusiastic participants from dozens of agencies to campus to hear keynote speakers John Corlett from the Center for Community Solutions and Anna Santiago, who is a Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Science at CWRU. In addition, County Executive Armond Budish gave a brief address to the conference at the lunchtime awards ceremony.

During the awards ceremony, our own Larry Foster received the 2015 National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter, Region 3, Lifetime Achievement Award. Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Foster has conducted ground-breaking research at the Cleveland Clinic on the important role professional interventions by social workers play in the cancer healing process. Congratulations, Larry!

Finally, for the humanities: This year we also profited from the contributions of visiting scholars who were housed in CLASS: Ying Tang (Department of Modern Languages), Yanli Li (Department of Political Science), Rita Gardosi (our first Hungarian Fulbright scholar/Department of Modern Languages), and Tomasz Markiewka (our first Kosciuszko Scholar/Department of History). The work of our humanities scholars from Central Europe was on display in a CLASS panel discussion organized by Ed Horowitz on April 21. Three CSU visiting scholars, Luka Zibelnik (Center for Slovenian Studies), Dr. Gardosi, and Dr. Markiewka gave presentations on Central Europe 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Dr. Markiewka gave an overview of main currents in contemporary Polish prose writing; Dr. Gardosi gave a similar overview of main currents in Hungarian cinema; and Mr. Zibelnik analyzed the "ostalgie" (nostalgia for life in the old Soviet bloc) in the revival and marketing of Cokta, Slovenia's answer to Coca-Cola. Joanna Trzeciak, Professor of Russian Translation at Kent State University, acted as commentator on all the papers. It was a well-attended and enlightening evening, which underscored not only our commitment to global education but also our connection to Central European ethnic communities of Cleveland.

As we complete this academic year, we bring to a close the celebrations of our 10th anniversary of the college and 50th anniversary of CSU. If our academic work did not keep us busy enough, we had plenty of memorable celebratory events to keep us moving. I will not, for example, soon forget our fall faculty/staff anniversary reception, the "Meet the Dean" Student Center event (organized by our Student Senate reps.) at which I individually greeted about 250 CSU students, and the spring CLASS/Graduate College panel discussion on "Preparing a 21st-Century Workforce through the Liberal Arts." I would like to thank everyone who had a hand in making these celebrations so memorable, particularly all those who attended the events. I particularly want to highlight the work of Katie Shames, Director of the Center for Arts and Innovation, who, by the way, was recently appointed Chair of the Ohio Humanities Council. Her creativity and organizational skills were put to the test in planning and executing all the university's 50th anniversary panels, and the high quality of those panels was obvious to all who attended them.

Now it's time to set our sights on the "eastern sapphire" glowing on the horizon of our next 10 years. Have a great summer, everyone!

Best wishes,

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