a bookshelf with the title "What Literature Lends"

What Literature Lends: An essay by English major Joshua Schantz

Within the sphere of education, literature finds itself in an awkward place. It is true that even among college English departments, the vast majority of students will not seek higher education for the purpose of becoming a university professor. Rather, most will pursue a career in primary or secondary education as teachers or combine it with another major to enter the business world. That being the case, the question may be posed: exactly what is the value of a literature department except for those who aspire to becoming professors of literature? From my own experience, there is much that I could say in favor of literature in general, and enough to where I believe it ought to be dignified with its own autonomous department in public universities.

A picture of Josh Schantz

For myself, literature was not something I took pleasure in until senior year in high school. In my perception of the subject, reading classics or even contemporary works (fictional or otherwise) was a wasted exercise. In my mind, I would have said that whatever could have been digested through reading could just as easily be introduced through superior media like film or television. And in what does literature consist if not in writing?It was while reading the prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in groups in my honors Brit Lit class that the first sparks of passion for literature lighted in me. I became particularly enamored with the heroic couplets with which much of the poem was written, and shortly thereafter I asked for the complete work as a gift for Christmas, received it and ended up reading the whole thing within a month. From that point forward, I was hooked for good. I went back instantly to read Shakespeare’s Macbeth which my Brit Lit class had read and discussed some four months before. At that time, however, I scarcely read the text in depth. I would finish the required readings just minutes before class started and merely try to sound like I knew what I was talking about. It worked for the moment, but I regret that I had not been engaged to the material sooner.

From there I proceeded to read more Shakespeare, starting with Othello, and going to read several other plays in turn. I read some of the great Italian classics: Dante’s The Divine Comedy and much of Boccaccio’s The Decameron. I found myself particularly attracted to Renaissance poetryand theatre, much of which also contained vast amounts of verse dialogue. It is particularly in my appreciation of the classics that I learned reasons for why literature as a whole, with its diverse cultural influences, periods, and perspectives, deserves to be revered in academia, and in public, as well as private, life.

It would be a tremendous injury to literature to think that its stomping grounds ought to be primarily private. On the contrary, literature is, by nature, public. Yet, literature is not merely the creative exposition of philosophical inquiry or communication via fictional narrative. That is to say, it is not merely a vehicle for public debate about contemporary issues, but also about what it means to be a human being. As Neil Gaiman once said, “Without our stories, we are incomplete.” Literature therefore invites us, not only to share our views, but also to see people in new ways. Part of the way it is achieved is to see the diverse characters poets, novelists and even biographers have sketched throughout the history of our species.

There are more than merely experiential merits to literary study, of course. From my own experience reading Shakespeare alone, a rich store of rhetorical power may be distilled by the student who is willing to dissect the speeches delivered by his many characters on any number of issues ranging from political tension to relationship troubles. And even on the topic of personal relationships, literature has the potential to lend emotional intelligence. The personal drama of characters towards each other may be fictional, but how they interact may serve as a model to be followed or avoided. It is, therefore, in experience, expression and emotion that literature thrives.

As a student I find myself indebted to what I have read for much of my outlook on life and human interactions. This has not been achieved to nearly the same effect by reading philosophy or textbooks on politics and sociology in my own experience while attending university. Sufficed to say, literary study has the undeniable potential to build bridges between people in a society, and the more diverse the stories from which we completion through the same, the greater the breadth of understanding from one person to another may become. Furthermore, we can gain priceless lessons on finding ways to express our thoughts and feelings with precision and clarity, as well as becoming more aware of the endless potential interactions we may face and how we might engage in them.

Learn more about the UM-Flint Department of English: https://www.umflint.edu/english/english-department

April Bartle and her friends in the crowd at Michigan Stadium

My first experience inside the Big House

You can feel the energy surge through you from your first step inside the stadium. You’re one of 100,000 people in the crowd, together in a sea of Maize and Blue. It instantly feels like home stepping into The Big House.

Since it was announced today that the Big Ten would move forward with an eight game season (without fans in the stadium) I thought it would be fun to remember my first time attending a game at Michigan Stadium.

Like any gameday, the excitement starts well before kickoff. A friend and I were staying in a friend’s dorm at UM-Ann Arbor. We got up, got ready, and headed for the door full of anticipation. 

The cool, crisp air made for perfect football weather as we made the trek across campus. More and more people filled the streets until all you could see was a steady current of football fans. The warm smells of pizza and salty pretzels along with the shouts of prices swarmed in the mix of the parade. 

All that anticipation before the game was nothing compared to that first glance into the Big House. It’s appropriately named; I couldn’t take it all in with one look. I scanned the stadium in awe and suddenly felt like one tiny grain of sand on a beach. As the game started, I learned the chants of the student section and yelled at the top of my lungs. I felt so proud to be a Wolverine. The electricity around me was contagious; it didn’t feel like the game would ever end.

Sadly though, all good things must come to an end. We won the game, as expected, and I left with a new sense of pride in my university. I’m so excited for the day when more Wolverines can feel that excitement inside the Big House!

Myesha Cannon in the library

Career Advisor Myesha Cannon Joins the CAS Advising Staff

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences graduate with skills that are highly attractive to employers, regardless of major. Studying in the arts & sciences provides key preparation in problem solving, communication, collaboration, intercultural fluency and more–all skills that lead to success in a fast-paced and increasingly global workplace. Despite gaining these sought-after skills, students in the liberal arts can sometimes find it challenging to connect their educational experiences with what employers are looking for. After working with UM-Flint Career Services since 2016, Myesha Cannon joined the CAS advising team to help students make those connections, and much more. 

“It’s very exciting to be focused exclusively on the College of Arts & Sciences. It was a privilege to serve the entire university community, but being a resource specifically for CAS brings some exciting opportunities,” Cannon says. “I can be more in-depth and create meaningful partnerships with academic departments and advisors.” 

That collaboration between academic advisors, faculty, and Cannon will create a seamless approach to career readiness for CAS students. Academic advisors will be better equipped to tailor a student’s degree plan to best fit their future career, and faculty will gain additional tools to incorporate career planning in their curriculum and class discussions. 

“We want to make sure all of these different areas–academic advisors, faculty, and myself–have a shared vocabulary so students receive consistent messages no matter who they are talking to. We will make a much bigger impact for students when we are all working together,” Cannon says. 

Just weeks into her new position, Cannon has already developed priorities for the coming year. At the top of the list is ensuring students create their Handshake profile. In this online platform, students can register for career events, search and apply for internships and job postings, and network with fellow students and alumni. Cannon, along with academic advisor Megan Presland, is also leading the 2020-21 CAS Fridays for Success event series; these monthly sessions bring faculty, academic advisors, and career advisors together for discussions on how best to prepare students for professional life after UM-Flint. 

According to College of Arts & Sciences Dean Susan Gano-Phillips, career advisors like Cannon play an invaluable role in ensuring CAS students get the most out of their degree. 

“Our goal is to provide students with an education that will serve them in every facet of their lives; we must prepare students to find a rewarding career after graduation and develop adaptability for our constantly changing circumstances. Attending college is a significant investment, and we have a responsibility to give our students the tools to see a return on that investment. Through strategic initiatives and individual career counseling sessions, Myesha will be a difference-maker, helping CAS students to identify and reach their professional goals.”   

What to expect from Music and Theatre & Dance in their fall seasons

Most classes are remote this semester, but performers in the College of Arts & Sciences are still preparing to entertain audiences while keeping themselves and fans safe.

Read on to learn what’s in store from the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Music Performances

Look forward to a virtual release of MusiCollage in October. Featuring the University of Michigan-Flint Chorale, Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Wind Symphony, student soloists, and student chamber ensembles, this fast-paced event will offer both live and recorded performances.

As the semester continues, be sure to check for additional video releases by the Chamber Singers, Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and student chamber ensembles.

Be sure to visit the Department of Music website and the University of Michigan-Flint YouTube channel to enjoy a wide variety of music and our students’ artistry this fall.

Theatre & Dance

Look forward to video productions of scenes from work by African American and female artists, directed by Arts Administration graduate student Kelli Crump. These pieces, each of which will last 20 minutes, will be released in October through December. Release dates:

  • October 23
  • November 6
  • December 4
  • December 18

The Fall Dance Concert will also be delivered in a virtual format. Consisting mainly of solo pieces and duets, you will see student capstone performances and work completed by choreography students. Release date: November 20.

Visit the Department of Theatre & Dance to see performances as they are released.

Meet Jeyoung (Jenny) Oh, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

The College of Arts & Sciences community grows with the addition of Jeyoung (Jenny) Oh to the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies!

According to department chair Sarah Rosaen, “Not only is Jenny a phenomenal instructor, but she brings expertise in how new technologies like social media impact message strategies and effectiveness in the advertising and public relations industries.”

Read on to learn more about Jenny in this Q&A.

Classes I teach:

Public Relations, Advanced Public Relations, Advertising, and Advanced Advertising

Recent Publications:

Britt, B. C., Britt, R. K., Hayes, J. L., & Oh, J. (2020). Continuing a community of practice beyond the death of its domain: Examining the Tales of Link subreddit. Behaviour & Information Technology.

Oh, J., & Ki, E.-J. (2019). Factors affecting social presence and word-of-mouth in corporate social responsibility communication: Tone of voice, message framing, and online medium type. Public Relations Review, 45(2), 319-331.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:

Public relations and advertising, new media and emerging technologies, public engagement, and message strategies.

Degree(s)/Education:

Ph.D. in Mass Communication, University of Alabama (expected)

How I fell in love with my field:

As I grew up, I saw how the rise of social media changed the way people communicate. To better understand the impact that social media and new technologies have on organization-public relationships, I decided to study public relations. The fact that public relations and advertising can make a positive social impact by engaging the public in pro-social campaigns and other initiatives fascinated me.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:

UM-Flint provides its students and faculty with great resources, and Flint offers unique opportunities for community engagement due to its revitalization of the downtown area. As a professional communication scholar, I hope to work with organizations based in Flint (especially nonprofit organizations with limited resources) to help them find ways to improve their online presence. It would also be gratifying to have my students participate in these experiences, allowing them to apply their knowledge and make a positive impact on the community.

What I hope for students in my field:

I want my students to become highly competent and to apply the knowledge they learn in class. With my help, they will develop the skills they need to make a positive impact locally and globally. I also want them to be passionate and to believe in themselves. Another one of my goals is to work with students who are interested in learning more about how to communicate with the public effectively.

Three things you should know about me:

  • I like to cook and experiment with new recipes.
  • I have a pet hamster called Ham-Z.
  • I enjoy participating in volunteer work and community activities.

5 Resources for UM-Flint CAS students in 2020-2021

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint can expect so much more than just attending classes! We love seeing our students have amazing experiences outside of their normal class schedule, and we’re passionate about providing students with the resources to have those experiences.

Here are five opportunities CAS students can take advantage of in the 2020-2021 academic year.

1. Professional Academic Advisors

Psychology advisor Nicole Altheide advising a student

Every major in the College of Arts & Students has a dedicated professional advisor to help students create a personalized degree plan to fit their needs.

Meeting with your advisor helps to ensure that you graduate on-time, meet requirements for your degree, and gain the experiences needed for life after graduation. For example, advisors help students who are preparing for medical school to ensure they meet application requirements.

And don’t miss out on other academic supports like the Writing Center, Tutoring, and Supplemental Instruction.

2. CAS Opportunity Fund

The CAS Opportunity Fund helped Art & Design students open a pop-up t-shirt shop.

The CAS Opportunity Fund helps to fund research projects, travel, professional development, and more for our faculty, staff, and students.

Recent projects funded with help from the CAS Opportunity Fund include archaeological field school in Massachusetts, a pop-up t-shirt shop in Flint, and a language immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We will let everyone know when the application period begins for the next round of Opportunity Funding!

3. Research with Professors

Sabrina Dougherty (left) and Dahlia Kassel (right) presented their research at the American Psychology-Law Society in New Orleans.

Your interaction with professors can be so much more than hearing them lecture in class. Many students work directly with professors on research projects, allowing them to explore their interests further and build their resume while still in school.

And with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program, students can even get paid while gaining valuable research experience.

Biology students are studying the ecology of the Flint River with their professors, and two psychology students studied eyewitness testimony and presented their findings at a national conference.

4. Scholarships

The Office of Financial Aid can help you with all aspects of financing your UM-Flint degree.

Did you know that most CAS majors have specific scholarships at UM-Flint? For example, Political Science or English majors can apply for the Richard S. Harris Scholarship, which is open to students intending on entering the legal profession, along with GPA and credit hour requirements.

And don’t think that these scholarship opportunities are out of reach–The Department of Music awarded more than $33,000 in scholarships in 2019. Incoming freshman should read more about the scholarships available to them.

5. Minors and Certificates

The Department of Africana Studies offers both a minor and a certificate.

You’ll learn so much more in college than just your major, and there’s no better way to broaden your horizons than by adding a minor or certificate to your major field of study.

CAS offers four undergraduate certificate programs and UM-Flint offers close to 80 minors, so you’re sure to find something that both interests you and complements your major.

There are plenty of other resources to help you have a great 2020-2021, but this list should help you get started. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact CAS at UMFlintCAS@umich.edu.

Juneteenth header in the colors of the pan african flag

Recognizing Juneteenth: 5 CAS Courses to Take This Fall

Today is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The day memorializes the events of June 19, 1865, in which Major General Gordan Granger of the Union Army announced the emancipation of slaves in Texas, freeing the final remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy.

Learning about the history of the United States, particularly the history of African Americans, is a complicated and often times emotionally harrowing process. We’ve all heard the phrase “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” and that has never been more relevant than at this moment in our country’s history. Gaining a well-rounded education prepares you to be a responsible and effective citizen—someone who can make positive changes in their community.

Here are five courses offered  this fall from the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint to help you learn more about the past, present, and future of the United States.

History of African Americans to 1877

The course instructor, Guluma Gemeda, conducting a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

This course explores the African American experience from African origins to 1877. Among the topics covered are survival strategies of the enslaved and free, struggles for freedom, the role of African Americans in the Civil war and in reconstruction.

  • Course Prefix: AFA/HIS 335
  • Instructor: Guluma Gemeda
  • Social Science General Education Distribution Credit
  • Format: Online Asynchronous

Origins of Modern Racism

Explore the moral, social, and legal practices used to justify the colonization, enslavement, and denial of equality to members of racial minorities.

  • Course Prefix: PHL/AFA 203
  • Instructor: Jami Anderson
  • Global Studies General Education Distribution Credit; US Diversity Credit
  • Format: Online Asynchronous

United States to 1865

The course instructor, Thomas Henthorn (left), is highly engaged with Flint’s history. Here he is pictured dedicating a historic marker in Flint’s Civic Park neighborhood.

Gain a solid understanding of the history of the US from its foundation to the end of the Civil War. The course instructor, Thomas Henthorn, is leading a Ride the “Red Line” Bike Tour in Flint on June 30. Sign up for the tour to learn more about Flint’s historical redlining/housing segregation.

  • Course Prefix: HIS 120
  • Instructor: Thomas Henthorn
  • Social Science General Education Distribution Credit
  • Format: Online Asynchronous

Race & Ethnic Relations

Analyze the implications of racial differences, structural aspects of group conflicts, and the possibility of change in America with this course.

  • Course Prefix: SOC/AFA 270
  • Instructor: Sasha Drummond-Lewis
  • Social Science General Education Distribution Credit; US Diversity Credit
  • Format: Online Asynchronous

Corrections: A Critical Perspective

Shelley Spivack co-founded Youth Arts: Unlocked, a non-profit dedicated to providing a creative outlet for justice-involved youth.

Taught by Genesee County Family Court Attorney/Referee Shelley Spivack, this course pays special attention to how political, economic, religious and technological forces disproportionately impact minority groups and the poor in the correctional system.

  • Course Prefix: CRJ 388
  • Instructor: Shelley Spivack
  • Format: Online Synchronous

If you’re a current UM-Flint CAS student, contact your academic advisor to discuss how you can best incorporate these courses into your degree plan. And if you’re not yet a UM-Flint student, applications are still being accepted for Fall 2020!

See what people found during the CAS scavenger hunt

Since May 24 was National Scavenger Hunt Day, we asked the CAS community to find these items in celebration:

  • You, in Michigan gear
  • Something that represents your CAS major or department
    • Fine arts major? Maybe a paintbrush.
  • Best Non-Michigan “M”
  • Something you normally use on campus
  • Maize in other ways
    • We see a lot of “maize” at UM-Flint. Can you find maize in another context?
  • A relaxing moment in the outdoors
  • A furry/scaly/feathery friend
    • Pets are an important part of the UM-Flint CAS community too.

And we received some amazing responses! Take a look at these submissions:

Michele

Michele, a Lecturer II for our Physics program, found all of the items on the list!

There’s Michele in Michigan gear (and a banana hat).

Michele’s laptop shows off some physics facts and a cool cow.

A collection of Michele’s furry friends.

Something Michele normally uses on campus: an HDMI to VGA adaptor.

A Non-Michigan “M,” or upside-down “W” on a container of disinfectant wipes.

One of Michele’s furry friends enjoying a relaxing moment in the outdoors.

“Maize” in other ways: Corn! And a cool dino in the background.

Hannah

Hannah, a Mathematics Teacher Certificate Program student, also found every item and fit them into one picture!

-Lots of Michigan gear
-An apple, to represent her math education major
-Non-Michigan “M”: M&M candy
-Something you normally use on campus: Backpack
-Maize in other ways: Package of corn
-Outdoors: “I am on my front porch.”
-A furry friend: A cute stuffed dog

Wendy

Wendy is a Psychology major with a History minor!

She shared a photo of herself in Michigan gear (looks like she was at the Big House!).

And some books she is reading over the summer that represent both her major (Psychology) and minor (History).

Latinos United for Advancement

The UM-Flint chapter of Latinos United for Advancement (LUNA) teamed up as an organization and found some great items!

Sydney (Computer Science major) found:
-Michigan Gear: Campus Activities Board shirt
-Something that represents your major: Computer code on the screen
-Non-Michigan M: M&M’s
-Something normally used on campus: A textbook
-Maize in other ways: M&M wrapper
-Relaxing outdoor moment: Soccer and music
-Furry friend: Leo the Lion

Stephanie Vidaillet Gelderloos, Lecturer IV in the Department of English, shared this photo of Bubby the hamster hanging out with Frida Kahlo.

Alysia (Anthropology major) doing some summer reading related to her major.

Mia, an Art & Design student, showing off some masterpieces from her sons

And for something Mia usually uses on campus, her laptop!

Manny (Anthropology) calls this “Socially Distanced Portaiture.”

Thanks to everyone who participated. Go Blue!

Get creative with this scavenger hunt (at home!)

Looking for a fun way to pass the time at home this week? Since May 24 is National Scavenger Hunt Day, we’ve created this scavenger hunt to have some fun and help you stay connected to the College of Arts & Sciences!

FIND THESE ITEMS:

  • You, in Michigan gear
  • Something that represents your CAS major or department
    • Fine arts major? Maybe a paintbrush.
  • Best Non-Michigan “M”
  • Something you normally use on campus
  • Maize in other ways
    • We see a lot of “maize” at UM-Flint. Can you find maize in another context?
  • A relaxing moment in the outdoors
  • A furry/scaly/feathery friend
    • Pets are an important part of the UM-Flint CAS community too.

HOW TO PLAY:

  • Find as many of the items as you can
  • Post pictures on social media, tag @umflintcas
    • Or email FlintCAS.ScavengerHunt@umich.edu
  • Bonus points for creativity!
  • Deadline to submit: Monday, May 25 at 11:59 PM.
  • Prize: Pride! Just for fun.
  • Winners posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter on Tuesday, May 26

Have fun! We look forward to seeing what you find!

See more than 200 student artworks online this Friday

The Department of Art & Art History’s annual Student Art Exhibition, which normally takes place at the Greater Flint Arts Council Gallery, is moving online for 2020. The virtual gallery featuring more than 200 student art pieces launches May 8 at http://go.umflint.edu/2020VirtualGallery.

The top five pieces from each art course offered throughout the 2019-20 academic year are selected for display in the exhibition. Ranging from ceramics, painting, photography, animation, printmaking and more, the selections represent the breadth of artistic disciplines students pursue at UM-Flint.

Selections are reviewed by an independent juror and are eligible for a number of awards, including overall recognition such as Best in Show and discipline-specific recognition. Additional awards consider students’ overall activities from the academic year, such as the Outstanding Civic Engagement and Overall Achievement in Visual Arts awards. The juror for 2020 is Tylonn J. Sawyer, an American figurative artist, educator, & curator living and working in Detroit, Michigan.

Associate Professor of Art & Design Ben Gaydos believes that continuing with the exhibition while remaining socially distanced is crucial for UM-Flint’s community of artists. While he will miss showing off his students’ work during a Friday Art Walk, moving the exhibition online provides an opportunity for even more people to see the creative work that occurs in Flint.

“This is one of very few opportunities that we have to really see the diversity and creative output of our students in one place. It’s an opportunity to be inspired by your student colleagues and to come together as a community.”

This Exhibition will also be the first in which the Dr. Sarah Jordan Lippert Memorial Scholarship will be awarded. Close to a year ago, Dr. Lippert, who was an associate professor of art history with UM-Flint, passed away unexpectedly. The scholarship was established by fellow faculty member Dr. Linda Johnson to memorialize Dr. Lippert and recognize the achievements of students studying art history.