Monthly Archives: June 2014

New History Courses for Fall 2014

The History Department of UM-Flint is adding three new courses to their catalog offerings. Starting in Fall 2014, students can take “Post War Europe” and “France and the World”—both taught by Professor Chris Molnar—and “Gods of the City: Religion and the Urban Landscape” taught by Professor Thomas Henthorn.

Post-War Europe will explore Europe’s struggles and transformations from 1945 to the present day. Following a long history of nearly continuous fighting, and the overwhelming destruction of two World Wars, European countries entered a period of relative peace in the postwar era. The class will look at Europe’s journey from destruction to cooperation, and its place and standing in the world since the end of World War II. Course discussion will focus on a variety of topics such as the Cold War, and the divide it created between eastern and western Europe—but also the remarkably similar experiences each side had with issues like reconstruction, population deficits, and reconciling former enemies to new societies. Students will also explore the challenges Europe faced, and faces, as countries known for emigration have become lands of immigration and culturally diverse populations grow.

Gods of the City: Religion and the Urban Landscape
Gods of the City will encourage students to explore the distinctly urban and suburban forms of religious experiences that have developed in the United States. American cities have been the site of much of what is most creative in modern American religion. Through readings, site visits, and an oral history project with the Arab American Heritage Council, students will learn about the way the urban and suburban physical environment has shaped religious expression—from storefront churches to suburban mosques.
A major component of this course will be engaging Flint’s Arab-American community in a civic engagement project. Students will be able to learn about the rich diversity of traditions within the Arab-American community by interviewing local practitioners, recording their experience, and then making the interview available on the web.
Students will walk away from this course with more than knowledge of different traditions. They will learn about the ways religious expression contributes to the mosaic of America’s communities. Such knowledge is critical in developing cross-cultural competency—a characteristic that is increasingly important to navigate and succeed in a global society.

 France and the World will look at France from 1789, the time of the French Revolution, to the present day. Students will learn about France’s influence on the world as well as the ways that France has been influenced by developments in the wider world. Professor Molnar wants to include social and cultural topics such as music, imagery, art, and the experiences of everyday citizens in addition to political topics. Molnar also wants to explore the call for universal human rights that sprang from the French Revolution—a novel idea at the time—and their impact on French history across the centuries. This will include a close look at France’s overseas territories and Frances treatment of immigrants and minority groups. Another unifying theme of the class will be France’s stance on U.S. involvement in Europe and how it differed from other European opinions.

To learn more about the History Department at UM-Flint, please visit their website.  For information about their other course offerings, visit the UM-Flint Course Catalog.

UM-Flint Biology Professor and Students Conduct Lamprey Research

LampResUM-Flint’s Department of Biology professor Dr. Heather Dawson recently conducted research with students on the Great Lakes Sea Lamprey. This research has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.

When asked about the value she finds in working with student researchers, Dr. Dawson said, “I have never conducted a research project that didn’t include students. It really is a win for both parties. Students gain experience and get to find out what research is all about. The research can also help guide the students regarding the direction they go after graduation. Faculty get great research assistants who help faculty to get much more research done than they could do by themselves. Faculty also get a chance to mentor future leaders in their field. I have worked with students on multiple research projects. Students can get involved on a volunteer basis, through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, or get class credit while conducting research. Conducting research with a faculty member also provides students with a reference (someone to write them a letter of recommendation) they will need to enter the work force or continue with further schooling.”

Dr. Dawson then explained the research she and her students conducted:

research2My research focuses on researching ways to improve the management of Great Lakes sea lamprey in an effort to protect native Great Lakes fish populations. Sea lamprey are non-native fish who invaded the Great Lakes in the 1930s, and have had devastating negative effects on native fish populations since that time. Sea lamprey are parasitic fish which attach themselves to large-bodied fish and suck out their blood and body fluids. Their main prey are native lake trout, whose populations collapsed soon after the invasion of sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. Sea lamprey have an interesting life cycle that starts with eggs laid in Great Lakes tributaries that hatch into larvae which burrow into stream beds. They spend approximately 3-7 years in the larval stage, and are harmless filter-feeders until they gain enough fat reverses to go through the process of metamorphosis. During metamorphosis they get eyes and teeth and head out to the Lakes where they spend their parasitic life stage feeding on large-bodied fish. They spend approximately 12-20 months in the parasitic stage, after which they head into Great Lakes streams in the spring and mature into adulthood. They quickly become sexually mature in streams where they spawn and die.

research4Danielle Potts was interested in studying animal behavior as part of her Master’s thesis at UM-Flint, so we discussed working together to study larval sea lamprey behavior. We wished to determine whether larval sea lamprey, who burrow into stream beds, change their habitat preferences and move downstream as they grow. An undergraduate at UM-Flint, Alex Maguffee, also joined us in conducting some of this research. Streams are ranked for chemical treatment where a lampricide is applied based on the number of large larvae that are projected to be killed per dollar spent. Larval populations are assessed by sea lamprey control agents on a regular basis to inform the ranking of streams for treatment. Sea lamprey control agents electrofish the preferred habitat of larval sea lamprey to catch sea lamprey at points along the streams so they can estimate the entire stream abundance of larval sea lamprey. Danielle and I wished to determine whether large larval sea lamprey also spend time in acceptable, but not preferred, habitat and whether they move downstream as they grow. If some large larvae do spend time in acceptable habitat, then sea lamprey control agents will not collect them, as they are only assessing preferred habitat, which could lead to underestimating populations of large larvae. If large larvae move downstream as they grow, then sea lamprey control agents may need to assess populations further downstream to get an accurate estimate of large larvae.

We investigated the feasibility of tracking individual sea lamprey to study their behavior by using passive integrated transponder (PIT) technology to detect sea lamprey larvae in their burrows underneath the stream bed. PIT tags are small tags that can be implanted internally into an animal and has a unique identification number that can be read using an antenna. We found that the smallest tags available (8 mm in length) are still too large to be implanted into larval sea lamprey >100 mm in length without causing significant mortality. We also found that the burrowing ability of tagged larval sea lamprey was significantly worse than untagged larval sea lamprey. Tagged larval sea lamprey took much longer to burrow, which likely increases their susceptibility to predation. We did find that large larval sea lamprey have a tendency to move downstream as they grow. However, to really study larval sea lamprey in streams, smaller tags are needed to track individual larval sea lamprey to ensure that the majority can survive tag implantation and that their natural behavior is not affected.

Dr. Heather Dawson can be reached by email:

For more information on the UM-Flint Biology Department, please visit their website.

To view current student research opportunities, please visit the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) page.


Engineering Students Attend International Conference

On June 15-18, 2014, faculty members of the UM-Flint College of Arts & Sciences Mechanical Engineering Department attended the 121st American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference and Exposition in Indianapolis, Indiana—and they took 15 students with them!

The international conference was large, with around 5,000 attendees, and focused on all disciplines of engineering education. The audience was a varied mix of graduate students, government representatives, industry professionals, and academics. The theme of this year’s conference was “360 Degrees of Engineering Education!”

Dr. Quamrul Mazumder, Program Director for Mechanical Engineering at UM-Flint, believes it was important for the students to attend the conference for both the learning experiences found in such a large environment, and the chance to connect with one another and make industry contacts. One of the students, Morgan Vauter, found great value in being exposed to the variety of ways in which an engineering education could be applicable to future job possibilities. She said the experience has sparked her interest in joining more engineering groups in the future.

Three of the undergrad students were able to present papers at the event. Toufiq Hussain and James Tristan Pung presented “Analysis of Wind Power Generation with Application of Wind Tunnel Attachment” with Dr. Mazumder, and Kawshik Ahmed joined him in presenting “The Effects of Teaching Style and Experience on Student Success in the United States and Bangladesh.” Morgan said she learned a lot from watching them, but was glad she did not have to join in presenting just yet. The entire group gained understanding of the conference environment through their observations, participation in activities and audiences, and through hands-on engineering exhibits.

Dr. Mazumder was able to gather unique insight by asking his students’ opinions on the technology exhibited and pedagogical opinions being offered in conference sessions. Because of their responses, changes have already been made to the course structure of Engineering 102. The class will now have more interactive and experiential activities to complement the lecture base.

The subjects of enriching education and improving the quality of teaching methods are ones about which Dr. Mazumder feels strongly and for which he has gained international recognition. On July 3rd he will attend the Conference on Quality in Higher Education, held at the Independent University of Bangladesh, as their keynote speaker. He will also participate in a roundtable conference with the Daily Star on July 10th, both events are held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

To learn more about the ASEE and their annual conference, visit their website.

For information on the Mechanical Engineering, please visit their department page.


UM-Flint’s Psi Chi Receives Award


The Psi Chi Chapter at the University of Michigan-Flint received the Midwestern Regional Award from Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. UM-Flint Psi Chi officers were awarded a plaque and a check for recognition of the chapter’s service work.

According to students, the UM-Flint Psi Chi International Honor Society has maintained a three-year vision of becoming a successful, active chapter that is dedicated to excellence of scholarship while remaining focused on positive visibility within the community. The chapter advocates the importance of developing a campus culture that promotes emotional and mental well-being and support for students as they face the various stressors common to college life.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Psi Chi chapter organized several events, benefitting both campus and community. Recognizing the benefits of raising awareness of the risks of depression among university students, Psi Chi began the year by co-sponsoring a public event on suicide prevention with the nursing association on campus.

Psi Chi also teamed up with the UM-Flint Psychology Club to create a Depression OutReach Alliance (DORA) on campus. DORA is a peer-based suicide prevention and mental wellness program comprised of workshops. DORA offered Psi Chi members the opportunity to gain experience, assist others, and raise awareness of the importance of the field of psychology.

Reprint from UM-Flint News.

Photo: UM-Flint Psi Chi members Becca Horning, Amber Mach, Sam Turner, and Sarah Dyszlewski.

UM-Flint and Vintage Baseball

Faculty members, students, and alumni of UM-Flint join community members over the summer to make up the Lumber City Baseball Club–Flint’s vintage baseball team. Their goal is to “entertain audiences with authentic competition in a way that provides a meaningful connection with the sport, recreation, and history.” It’s also a lot of fun!

Home games are held on the UM-Flint campus alongside the Flint River at 509 Harrison Street, starting at 2pm.

There are many home games remaining in the 2014 season:

Saturday, May 10 – Wyandotte Stars
Saturday, May 31 – Union BBC of Dexter
Saturday, June 7 – Port Huron Welkins
Saturday, June 21 – Detroit Early Risers
Saturday, June 28 – Bay City Independents
Sunday, July 13 – Wahoo Club of Royal Oak
Sunday, July 20 – Richmond Bees
Saturday, July 26 – Saginaw Old Golds
Saturday, August 2 – Northville Eclipse
Saturday, August 10 – Chelsea Monitors
Saturday, August 23 – Walker Wheels

The public is welcome, games are free of cost, and the players are happy to stick around afterwards to visit with fans.

To learn more visit their website or Facebook page.

Criminal Justice Fall Internships


Dr. Joan Mars is available in the month of June to meet with you about reserving space in CRJ 398: Special Topics in Criminal Justice – CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNSHIP. This class provides experiential learning for professional development.

Internships allow students to maximize opportunities for knowledge acquisition, investigate the real world of criminal justice, and gain experience and contacts that will aid in their search for employment.

A variety of placements are available to match specific career interests, including: 7th Judicial Circuit Court – Family Division, Genesee County Circuit Court with Judge Sandra Carlson, Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office, 67th District Court – Probation Department, the Flint Police Department, Michigan State Police, Flint Center for Civil Justice, and more! These spots are available to multiple programs, so it’s important to meet now and confirm your spot!

Dr. Mars can be reached by email at

Mathematics Department Awards

Please join us in acknowledging some outstanding achievements by our Mathematics Department faculty:

Dr. Kenneth SchillingReceived the Distinguished Teaching Award by the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America
“Ken is recognized for his clear instruction, for engaging students in problem solving, for providing career preparation for students, for encouraging high school students to become mathematicians, and for his editorial work with Classroom Capsules in the College Math Journal.”
Read a full description of Professor Schilling’s accomplishments and merits for this award.

Dr. Ricardo AlfaroNamed a UM-Flint David M. French Professor
The David M. French Professorship is one of several created by the Board of Regents to “honor faculty who have attained national or international recognition for continuous scholarly achievement, teaching excellence and recognized breadth of interest.”

Dr. Cameron McLemanReceived the UM-Flint Student Involvement and Leadership Dr. Matthew Hilton-Watson Distinguished Professor Award
“The Dr. Matthew Hilton-Watson Distinguished Professor Award is awarded to one outstanding faculty member who has contributed significantly to their students through individual teaching style and attitude towards teaching. The criteria for this award is as follows: good lecturer, must keep the individuals in their class interested, academically active and student friendly, encouraging them to learn, ask questions, discuss and is willing and available to help.”

Dr. Laura McLemanReceived the UM-Flint Dr. Lois Matz Rosen Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
This award is presented to candidates who posses the following characteristics:
• Consistent level of excellence in teaching diverse groups of students
• Demonstrated commitment to teaching through course development activities, attendance at campus teaching workshops, participation in conferences on pedagogy, publications related to pedagogy, etc.
• Recognizable commitment to UM-Flint students both inside and outside of the classroom (through advising, mentoring, or research/performance activities)”


To learn more about the UM-Flint Mathematics Department and their events, faculty, and course offerings (including the Master’s Degree, General, Teacher Certificate, and Actuarial programs) visit their website.