Monthly Archives: October 2014

Dr. Ernest Emenyonu Featured in Faculty Research Spotlight

On Wednesday, October 29th, Dr. Ernest Emenyonu, Professor and Chair of UM-Flint’s Africana Studies Department was featured as the as the subject of a Faculty Research Spotlight by the Office of Research. The title of his talk was “Verbal Arts, Folklore, and Literary Imagination in non-Western Pre-Colonial Societies: the Evolution and Development of the Novel in African Languages.”


Dr. Ernest Emenyonu

Per the Office of Reasearch:

The research investigates the trends in the evolution and development of literature written in African indigenous languages from its antecedents (oral performances–folklore, epics, legends, myths, etc.), to the emergence of the novel. The focus is on the historic emergence of OMENUKO, the first ‘African Language Novel’ (ALN) in Nigeria and, possibly, West Africa, written in the Igbo language and published in London in 1933.


Dr. Terry Van Allen, director of the Office of Research, introduced Dr. Emenyonu.


The Research Spotlight was well attended by students, staff, and faculty, including CAS Interim Dean, Dr. Albert Price.

Dr. Emenyonu spoke to a packed house on his own history with African literature and on the challenges and roles of recent and current African writers. He touched on the long tradition of storytelling in African culture, and the the mistakes made by the colonizing world in failing to recognize these traditions. He also discussed his current work, both research and writing. Among his prolific works are translations, critiques, literary journals, and children’s books. His two most recent publications are Remembering A Legend: Chinua Achebe and an English-language translation of Omenuko by Pita Nwana.


Dr. Emenyonu brought books of his own and by others for attendees to explore.

This research spotlight comes on the heels of the Africana Studies department hosting world-famous author Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie and just before the department will take a group of UM-Flint students, faculty, and staff to Ann Arbor for a talk given by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple.

To learn more about the Africana Studies department, its faculty members and their research, visit their website.





UM-Flint Math Students Compete in Year’s First Competition

MathHorzOn Saturday, November 1st, students from the UM-Flint Mathematics Department will gather on campus to compete in the Michigan Autumn Take Home (or M.A.T.H.) Challenge. Over 83 teams from 25-30 undergraduate universities and colleges in numerous states participate in the annual event. The competition, in its 20th year, is organized by Alma College.

According to Mathematics professor Dr. Ricardo Alfaro, “The competition consists of providing solutions to 10 problems. You work in groups of 3 people and have a 3-hour limit to develop and write the solutions. Each team stays at its institution’s campus.” Following are examples from the 2013 competition:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.20.09 PM

The competition starts at 9:30 a.m. Once the competition period is up, solutions are sent to outside institutions where faculty members will grade them. The problems are complex, with the winners usually receiving only 50-60 points. UM-Flint is going on 15 years of participation in the event, and generally has more teams than the other institutions. their highest placing was third.

The 2014 participating institutions are: Albion College, Alma College, Anderson University, Aquinas College, Butler University, Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Colgate University, Connecticut College, DePauw University, Diablo Valley College, Ferris State University, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Illinois College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Kalamazoo College, Lawrence Tech, Macomb Community College, Madonna University, Manchester University, McDaniel College, Northern Michigan University, Northwest Missouri, Olivet College, Palm Beach Atlantic University, St. Norbert College, SVSU, Taylor University, UM-Flint, and Wheaton College. Hope College has, by far, the most teams in the competition with 17 teams entered!

The University of Michigan-Flint is looking for one more student to complete the six teams registered for the competition. The six entered teams are as follows:

Team Gauss: Matthew Sutter, Ayana Gosh, Brendt Gerics

Team Euler:  Aingeal Miller, Dallas Woodward, Josh Csapo

Team Galois:  Bayarjavkhlan Batbaatar, Enkhtur Narantungalag, Usukhbayar Enkhjargal

Team Noether: Daniela Goetz, Rebecca Robinson, Michael Berlinger

Team Poincare: Patrick Ross,  Shawil Daoud,

Team Riemann:  Jin Sakuna, Daniel Bloink, Ethan Bush

For more information on the MATH Challenge, visit their website.


November 3, 2014 update: Following are photos from our teams at the 2014 MATh Challenge:

IMG_3776_online IMG_3779_online IMG_3780_online IMG_3773_online IMG_3774_online

Get to Know Dr. Charles B. Thomas, Jr., Assoc. Professor of Sociology!

Thomas_Charles13(04) Name: Charles B. Thomas, Jr.
Title: Associate Professor of Sociology
Department: Sociology/Anthropology/Criminal Justice

Classes I’m teaching: Race and Ethnic Relations (AFA-SOC-270); Social Psychology (SOC-220); Black Families (AFA-SOC-WGS-359)

Professional Interests/Activities: I’ve served as a former vice president of the Michigan Sociological Association, and have served on its board. I’ve served as a reviewer for professional journals in my field. I greatly enjoy the intellectual stimulation, and opportunities to interact with colleagues, available when attending annual meetings of my professional groups.

In May of 2014, Dr. Thomas was a member of the Michigan Road Scholars’ Tour, “a five-day traveling seminar on the State of Michigan. This educational tour exposes participants to the state’s economy, government and politics, culture, educational systems, health and social issues, history, and geography.” ( These tours allow faculty members to gain a deeper understanding of the environments their students call home, and encourage the faculty to be involved with the issues of those communities. They also encourage discussion and cooperation between faculty members who may not have otherwise met.

For a detailed view of his Road Tour, visit the 2014 Tour site.

Research Interests: study of human values; racial and gender inequality

Awards: Olivia P. Maynard and Olof Karlstrom Faculty Award for Civic Engagement (2009); Faculty Distinguished Service Award (2006); Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award (2004)

Degree(s)/Education: Ph.D., Social Psychology, Harvard University; M. A., Social Psychology, Harvard University; B. A., Psychology, Cornell University

Memberships: American Sociological Association; Michigan Sociological Association; Association of Black Sociologists; Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

How I fell in love with my field: As an undergraduate, I took eye-opening social science courses dealing with issues related to social inequality and social justice. I developed a strong interest in these concerns, and pursued them in my undergraduate honors thesis, in graduate school, and have continued to focus on them during my professional career.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: I’ve been active in the life of the university for many years, and I eagerly anticipate continuing to make the contributions I can to its mission and to promoting its values in the future.

Three things you should know about me:

  • I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • I very much enjoy the benefits of traveling, and have lived in or visited numerous states in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, West Africa and Europe.
  • One of my fondest memories is regularly attending performances of blues artists in numerous small blues clubs when I lived in Baltimore, MD many years ago.

UM-Flint Wind Symphony Begins ‘Horns in the Attic’

Contact: Chris Heidenreich, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Michigan-Flint (810) 424-5315 or

The University of Michigan – Flint Wind Symphony is sponsoring a community service project seeking gently used wind instruments for use in two Flint area schools. The project is titled “Horns in the Attic,” and the band members are seeking to help create an inventory of wind instruments for the Beecher Community High School and the St. Pius X Catholic Elementary School. These instruments include flutes, clarinets, oboes, saxophones, trumpets, French horns, trombones, baritones or tubas. Cash contributions will be used to provide repair supplies or materials needed to restore the instruments to playing condition.

The collection of instruments will begin on Thursday, October 16, at the UM-F Department of Music’s Collage Concert, and conclude at the Wind Symphony concert on Thursday, November 20. Donated instruments will be collected by members of the band, catalogued and repaired before the distribution to the schools. Member of the Wind Symphony are available to pick-up donated instruments in and around the Flint area.

Chris Heidenreich, conductor of the UM-Flint Wind Symphony, stated the following: “I began by thinking about ways in which the Wind Symphony members could give back to the community. We could help out with a clean-up in the community that would certainly benefit everyone, but I wanted to create a project that would help other musicians. I have seen other communities sponsor instrument drives, and I thought this might be a perfect way to marry community service with music. I had not realized how great the need is in both Beecher and at St. Pius until I spoke with the directors involved. Now, I think that myself and the members of the band realize what a difference a project like this can make to the instrumental musicians of these schools.”

A fund will be established for any individuals or corporations that wish to contribute to the project exclusively for the repair of instruments. Students will provide the labor on minor repairs which could include cleaning, sanitizing, pad repair, rod adjustment, replace of cork bumpers or water keys, replace valve springs, and minor dent work. Any left over funds will be used to provide materials such as reeds, valve oil, cork grease or other maintenance items for student use. Questions and potential donors should contact Chris Heidenreich at (810) 424-5315 or

To learn more about the UM-Flint Music Department, visit their website.

Writing Center Spirit Week at UM-Flint

The Marian E. Wright Writing Center presents WRITING SPIRIT WEEK – October 20th-23rd!

Throughout this week, the staff members of the Marian E. Wright Writing Center will be celebrating the joy of writing with fun activities and challenges, both in the Center and around campus. The Writing Center is located on the 3rd floor of the Library – the same floor as the main entrance.

The Traveling Story
, UCEN, noon-1pm. Add to our collaborative story, one line at a time! Check out the Writing Center Facebook page for updates on the story’s progress.
Social Media Challenge: Write a 20-character message WITHOUT using technology (yes, a pencil is technology!). Use items around you in creative ways to make your message. Send a picture of your message to the Writing Center Facebook, the one with the most likes by 4pm on Friday, October 24th, wins a gift card! (Winner must be a UM-Flint student, currently registered for the fall 2014 semester, and present your UMID to claim prize).

The Traveling Story, UPAV, 12:30-1:30pm. Add to our collaborative story, one line at a time! Check out the Writing Center Facebook page for updates on the story’s progress.
SCI-FI DAY: Join us in the Writing Center from 12pm-1pm or 4pm-5pm! Make a tinfoil hat! Discover the elements of the sci-fi genre. Try your hand at creating a character, setting, or plot outline. Light refreshments will be provided.
OPEN HOUSE: Come visit the Writing Center from 2-4pm to learn about who we are and what we do! Tour facilities, meet tutors, and more! All are welcome!

The Traveling Story: UCEN, noon-1pm. Add to our collaborative story, one line at a time! Check out the Writing Center Facebook page for updates on the story’s progress.
HORROR DAY: Join us from 11am-noon or 3-4pm. Check out the living novel elements and displays around the Writing Center. Discover the elements of this genre. Try your hand at creating a character, setting, or plot outline. Light refreshments provided.

The Traveling Story, UPAV, noon-1pm. Add to our collaborative story, one line at a time! Check out the Writing Center Facebook page for updates on the story’s progress.
WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE? Dress as your favorite author, character, or novel and come to the Writing Center so we can take your picture! The best costume wins a gift card! Write a 250-word essay about why you feel an author, character, or novel is the best. One essay will be chosen in each category to receive a gift card! (Winners must be a UM-Flint student, currently registered for the fall 2014 semester, and present your UMID to claim prize).

For more information, visit the Writing Center website or Facebook page.

Dr. Kenneth Waltzer to Present Public Lecture

The departments of Political Science and Africana Studies, with the support of the Office of the CAS Dean, presents “The Turn Towards Testimony and What Can Be Learned in Holocaust Studies,” a lecture by Dr. Kenneth Waltzer. The lecture will be held Wednesday, November 12th, from 5:30-7:30pm in French Hall 111. This lecture is free and open to the public.

MSU Professor Kenneth Waltzer. Kenneth Waltzer is professor of history at James Madison College of Michigan State University and the former director of MSU’s Jewish Studies Program. He has had a long career at MSU as a scholar-teacher, winning the State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award and the Mid-Michigan Alumni Quality in Teaching Award, and he has served as Dean and Associate Dean of James Madison College and as Director of Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities at MSU.

He is co-author of The American Identity Explorer: Immigration and Migration CD Rom (1999, 2002) and is currently completing a book on The Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald. He research work at Buchenwald has resulted in a full length feature documentary, Kinderblock 66, in the naming of two former prisoners as Righteous Among the Nations, and in the discovery and outing of a Holocaust memoir fraud, Angel at the Fence.

Trained as an American immigration historian, Professor Waltzer employs similar methods, drawing on testimonies and camp documents, to enter the Nazi concentration camp universe and explore the social history of life beyond extremity. In 2011-12, Professor Waltzer served as the Myron and Margaret Weingarden Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.

For more information on this event, please contact the Department of Political Science at 810-762-3470.

Welcome to Seung-Jin Lee, Asst. Professor in ERS and CSEP!

LeeName: Seung-Jin Lee
Title: Assistant Professor in Sustainability and Mechanical Engineering
Departments: ERS/CSEP

 Classes I’m teaching:
GEO 380 (Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development)
GEO 491 (Sustainable Systems Seminar)
EGR/POL 235 (Global Energy)

Professional Interests/Activities:
• My previous position was as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio.
• My first research grant was awarded by a Michigan corporation – the Ford Motor Company.
• I was part of the inaugural group of Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professionals.

Research Interests: Life cycle assessment, industrial ecology, sustainable design and engineering, renewable and clean energy systems, end-of-life management

• Symposium on Industrial Ecology for Young Professionals (SIEYP) Travel Grant, International Society for Industrial Ecology
• Graduate Student Scholarship, Korea-US Science Cooperation Center (KUSCO) & Korean American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA)
• Graduate Student Research Grant, Ford Motor Company
• Pratt & Whitney Award for Outstanding Senior Design Project in Mechanical Engineering, Boston University

• Ph.D Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2011
• M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005
• B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, 2003

• International Society of Industrial Ecology (ISIE)
• Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA)

How I fell in love with my field: I’ve always been for leading a sustainable lifestyle, but never thought about implementing it as a field of expertise. I had a great research opportunity that was literally given to me, and I never looked back ever since.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: In simple terms, to be an active contributing part of the UM-Flint family. I want to share as many ideas with students, faculty and staff, such that the campus and the local community can continuously improve towards being one of the best universities in the world.

Three things you should know about me:
1. I’m a third culture kid – born in South Korea, raised in Malaysia and Singapore, and matured all across the United States (Boston, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Cincinnati).
2. I love traveling – I’ve visited approximately 120 cities across 20 countries, mostly in North America, Europe and Asia.
3. Three out of four U.S. metropolitan areas I’ve lived in have won the super bowl within the past decade. The Lions could be next…someday.

Social Studies Teachers’ Night at UM-Flint

social studiesEarth and Resource Science professor Dr. Victoria Morckel, along with her EDS 343 students, will host UM-Flint’s Second Annual Social Studies Teachers’ Night on October 22nd, from 4pm-6:45pm. Four teachers from area schools will be on campus to participate in this two-part event. In the first portion, the teachers will each present a lesson of which they are particularly proud. For the second, they will answer questions pre-written by the UM-Flint students in a “beauty-pageant style” session.

This event is being supported by the ERS department, University Outreach, and the Provost’s Office (via a Civic Engagement grant).

According to Dr. Morckel, “the event allows students to learn about best practices in social studies, while also providing an ‘on the ground’ perspective of what is really happening in today’s schools.”

At the first event, held last year, the teachers were limited to just a Q&A session. Dr. Morckel decided to expand the event for this year when it became apparent the teachers had a real passion for sharing their best lessons.

She hopes that by attending the event, her students will have a better idea of how to, “identify and use engaging teaching strategies to convey social studies content knowledge. Create effective lessons plans and unit plans. Assess student learning of social studies content knowledge via formative and summative assessments. Reflect on teaching and make adjustments. Identify challenges and opportunities facing today’s social studies teachers.”

She also views this as an opportunity for UM-Flint students to connect and engage with educators and the community beyond our campus. “Inviting practicing teachers into university classrooms demonstrates that our faculty and university care about what is actually happening on the ground in our K-12 schools. Since education is vital to the health of a community, the community greatly benefits from our teacher candidates being more prepared to handle he challenges faced by educators today.”

This event is free and open to the public.

To learn more about Social Studies Teachers’ Night, email Dr. Victoria Morckel at


UM-Flint Theatre Dept. Hosts USITT Regional Workshop

On Saturday, October 4th, the UM-Flint Theatre Department hosted students and faculty from Notre Dame at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Midwest Sectional workshop. The workshop covered two special topics: theatrical tailoring techniques and theatrical lighting.


Those who participated in the tailoring workshop received in-depth instruction on approaches to advanced tailoring. Their project involved taking apart a traditionally tailored coat and putting it back together for use in a theatre setting. Theatre tailoring techniques are very different from traditional tailoring; For example, those used for stage often require resizing for different actors throughout the run of a production. Adam Dill, UM-Flint Costume Shop Supervisor and Theatre Department Lecturer, was excited for students to observe and learn techniques that they wouldn’t normally encounter in an undergraduate environment, “these are techniques they wouldn’t see until grad school or on the job. They are very advanced.”


The tailoring workshop was led by Dill and Rick Tuckett, a University of Michigan-Flint Theatre alum and Associate Professor of Film and Television at the School of Theatre, University of Arizona. UM-Flint student Kaitlyn Pitcher was asked about what she learned at the workshop, she said, “I will be able to take the knowledge used both in working with fabric and in patterning and apply it to my work outside of classes. To know how to create a base pattern for anyone based on their measurements is something that will come in handy many times, and I wish I had known how sooner.”


Participants in the lighting portion of the workshop were able to work with digital equipment that is on the cutting edge of theatre technology. The morning was devoted to “a foundation of programming skills on the ETC Ion console, including navigation, patch, cues, groups, and subs.” In the afternoon they progressed their new skills.

When asked about the entirety of the workshop experience, Adam Dill said, “The event went wonderfully – we had a great set of students willing to learn advanced techniques that we don’t have time to cover in our normal coursework. . . it was quite an amazing and rewarding experience – for the teachers and the students.”

To learn more about the UM-Flint Department of Theatre and Dance, please visit their website.

Photos provided by Shelby Newport.

Welcome to Stephanie Gelderloos, Lecturer III in English!

Gelderloos2 Name: Stephanie Gelderloos
Title: Lecturer III
Department: English

Classes I’m teaching: English 100 College Reading and Study Skills, English 109 College Writing Workshop and English 112 Critical Reading and Writing

Professional Interests/Activities: I am interested in any program or strategy that works to increase the success rates and retention rates of at-risk students. In coordination with other faculty, I helped design and implement a supplemental instruction program at a community college. I also helped to create two bridge programs for at risk high school students to help them transfer into college with a more solid foundation in reading and writing skills. I am looking forward to working with Emily Feuerherm on a bridge program for international students here at UM-Flint.

Stephanie spent a year studying abroad in the Netherlands where she learned to speak Dutch and Frisian. She also interned at the Frisian Academy working on the first comprehensive Frisian-English dictionary!

Research Interests: I am interested in finding new ways to improve the success and retention rates of at-risk and minority students. I am also interested in the efficacy of supplemental instruction programs in improving student success.

Degree(s)/Education: M.A. of English Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University

How I fell in love with my field: I fell in love with my field while watching students realize their potential. I fell in love with my field while attending graduation commencements and seeing students graduate who never really thought they even belonged in college. I fell in love with my field when I realized that the success of my students was my own success.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: I hope to continue to improve my skills as an instructor and mentor for my students. I hope to help students here realize their dreams, and through them, have a positive effect on Flint and the surrounding area.

Three things you should know about me:
• I am a tireless advocate for my students.
• I am from Detroit, and I love my city!
• I love to travel and learn to speak new languages. I speak Dutch and Spanish and some Frisian, and I have a good basic knowledge of French that I am working on improving.