Monthly Archives: December 2014

Dr. Susan Gano-Phillips Appointed as Associate Dean of CAS

Dr. Susan Gano-Phillips, Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

On December 18th, 2014, the Regents of UM-Flint approved Dr. Susan Gano-Phillips as Associate Dean of the UM-Flint College of Arts & Sciences. Her appointment is retroactively effective December 1, 2014, and extends through June 30, 2018.

Professor Gano-Phillips received her B.S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1988, and her M.A. degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991 and 1995, respectively. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint in 1994 as a lecturer cum assistant professor, was appointed as an assistant professor in 1995, promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 2000, and to professor in 2011. Professor Gano-Phillips served as a research and training coordinator for the Early Childhood Development Center from 2002-03, director of the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching from 2003-07, Fulbright Scholar in general education at the City University of Hong Kong in 2008-09, acting assistant dean, College of Arts and Sciences during 2010, chair, Department of Psychology in 2012-13, and interim associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences, since July 2013.

Professor Gano-Phillips’ research interests are in the area of General Education reform and institutional change.  She has published one book, A Process Approach to General Education Reform (2010) and over a dozen refereed articles. She has also made over 30 conference presentations, and delivered almost 50 professional development workshops. Her service record is very extensive including serving on the Psychology Department’s Freeman Scholarship Committee, Graduate Program Development Committee, many faculty searches, coordinator of the Harriet M. Wall Lecture; and within the College, Executive Committee, Curriculum Committee, Academic Standards Committee, and STEM Initiatives Work Group.

Her university work has included chair of the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee, Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for Budget and Strategic Planning, Ad Hoc Committee on University Admissions Standards, North Central Association Reaccreditation Self-Study Committee, and General Education Design Team and Steering Committee, to name a few.

Her professional service has included serving as editorial reviewer and/or consultant for several journals as well as for Division 2 proposals for the American Psychological Association Conference.

Says Dr. Albert Price, Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, “Susan Gano-Phillips appointment as the Associate Dean of CAS is a continuation of the leadership she has demonstrated throughout her tenure at UM-Flint. She has successfully served as the Director of the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching, Chair of the Psychology Department, an Executive Committee member, and Interim Associate Dean. My role as Interim Dean has been made greatly more enjoyable due to Susan’s administrative skill, incredible work ethic and positive attitude.”

Saying Goodbye to Dr. Eric Freedman of Psychology

FreedmanThe University of Michigan-Flint College of Arts & Sciences would like to extend deepest condolences and best wishes to the family of Dr. Eric Gordon Freedman.

Dr. Freedman, a longtime member of our Psychology Department, passed away on December 10th.

He was a beloved faculty member, touching the lives of thousands of students over his time at UM-Flint.

Per his obituary: Dr. Freedman received his BA from Brandeis University, and his PhD from the University of Maine. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Memphis State University. He was a professor of cognitive psychology at Michigan Technological University from 1988-1993 and at the University of Michigan-Flint from 1993-2014. Dr. Freedman’s research is widely published in scientific journals and psychology books. He mentored numerous undergraduate psychology students who worked with him on his research on perception and executive function. Dr. Freedman shared with students his love of conducting research to explore how the mind works.

His family has asked that the funeral service truly be a celebration of Eric’s life, and not a sad affair. In that spirit, his wife Donna plans to wear purple – his favorite color – instead of black. She invites all attending to wear purple or another bright color in honor of Eric and his wishes. Following is the remaining text from his obituary which contains details on his funeral services.

FREEDMAN, Eric Gordon Ph.D. – Age 56, of Flint, died December 10, 2014 at his home. Funeral services will be held 11 AM Friday, December 12, 2014 at Temple Beth El, 5150 Calkins Road, Flint Township. Rabbi Karen Companez will officiate. Family and friends will gather for Shiva from 7:00 to 9:00 PM Saturday at Temple Beth El. All are welcome to attend and may share favorite stories of Eric. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Temple Beth El – FLRTY (Flint Reform Temple Youth) to support youth programs at Temple Beth El.

Dr. Freedman was born June 26, 1958 in Boston MA, the son of Edwin and Ruth Freedman. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Donna Fry; children, Hannah of Flint and Samuel of Lowell; step-daughters, Kathryn Welch of Cleveland, OH and Kristina Welch of Chicago, IL; father, Edwin Freedman; sister, Jacki (Michael) Fallman of Boston, MA. He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth. Online condolences may be posted on the obituaries page of

Dr. Freedman relished exploring life with his wife Dr. Fry whether it was traveling to see other cultures, trying new culinary experiences, wandering through art museums, or simply exploring nearby points of interest. Dr. Freedman recently fulfilled a life-long dream by traveling to Israel. He also enjoyed engaging friends and family in intellectual conversations on a variety of topics and had a great sense of humor.

As an active member of Temple Beth El in Flint, Dr. Freedman served on the Board of Directors, Ivriah Board, and Ritual Committee over the years. He was also an active participant in the Temple Beth El Brotherhood. He recently served on the Bollywood Fundraising Committee and Board of Directors for the Jewish Community Federation.

Four From CAS to be Honored at Retirement Reception

After years of dedication and service to the University of Michigan-Flint, four members of the College of Arts and Sciences were recognized by Chancellor Borrego at a Retirement Reception on December 8th.

Our CAS retirees are:
• Dr. Thomas Foster of the English Department
• Dr. Richard Hill-Rowley of the Earth & Resource Science Department
• Ann Niemann of the Biology Department
• Dr. Paul O’Donnell of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Read more about these dedicated members of the College of Arts and Sciences:

Dr. Thomas Foster, Professor of English

Dr. Thomas Foster
Per Dr. Stephen Bernstein, Chair of the English Department

Professor Foster received his B.A. degree with high distinction from Dartmouth College in 1974, his M.A. degree from Michigan State University in 1977, and his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University in 1981. From 1981-82 and 1983-87 he served as temporary assistant professor in Michigan State University’s American Thought and Language Program, and in 1982-83 he was an assistant professor at Kalamazoo College. He joined the University of Michigan – Flint faculty in 1987 as assistant professor.
For twenty-seven years Professor Foster was a popular instructor in a wide array of courses for undergraduates and graduate students. His courses ranged from introductory courses in classical literature and literary genres all the way to upper-level and graduate classes on modern and contemporary British literature. Hundreds – if not thousands – of students owe at least part of their understanding of some of the twentieth century’s greatest writers to Professor Foster. He served on numerous department and university committees, and was instrumental in the establishment of the English Department’s Master of Arts in English Language and Literature in 2007. He then served as the program’s first director, designing numerous policies and procedures for its continuing success over the five years of his tenure.
Aside from his fine work as a teacher and an administrator, Professor Foster was also a tireless researcher and writer. He was the author of many academic articles and of eight books, some written for academic audiences and some for the general reader. His How to Read Literature Like a Professor became a bestseller, and Professor Foster spent many hours talking with high school classes who had read the book, visits that made him a de facto ambassador for higher education.
The Regents now salute this distinguished literature educator for his dedicated service by naming Thomas C. Foster professor emeritus of English.

R Hill-Rowley

Dr. Richard Hill-Rowley during construction at the Urban Alternatives House

Dr. Richard Hill-Rowley

Research Interests:  Land Use, Sustainable Urbanism, and Urban Redevelopment

Dr. Hill-Rowley is retiring from the Earth & Resource Science Department. In recent years, he was the driving force behind the Urban Alternatives House – an energy efficient structure designed to use water and other resources in a sustainable way. The house is both a living and a learning space with classroom facilities and apartments located within. In October 2014, the ERS celebrated the Urban Alternative House’s LEED Platinum Certification–the highest certification of the U.S. Green-Building Council.

Professor Hill-Rowley received his B.Sc. degree in Economics from the University of London in 1969, his M.A. degree in Geography from University of Georgia in 1973, and his Ph.D. degree in Geography from Michigan State University in 1982. From 1975 to 1981 he was Research Specialist and Project Manager for the CRIES Project, Important Farmlands Mapping Project and the Remote Sensing Project at Michigan State University. In 1982 he came to the University of Michigan-Flint as an instructor and was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Resource Science in 1983. In 1989 he was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Resource Science. While at UM-Flint he also served as the Director of the Regional Groundwater Center, UM-Flint (1990-1998) and Director of the Center for Applied Environmental Research, UM-Flint (1998-2000).

Richard was among the early core faculty in the years when the Department was known as Resource and Community Science and was largely responsible in the formation and growth of the department and programs into what has become the Department of Earth and Resources Science. Professor Hill-Rowley was a leader in classroom teaching, faculty development, and was an active researcher. He was active in faculty governance in the department, college, and University. As a scholar, Richard produced several significant publications in the areas of forest management and sustainability, and was an early pioneer in implementing a full on-line course at the UM-Flint.

Professor Hill-Rowley’s exceptional achievements are related to his service and applied research, and these include: helping to obtain significant amounts of grant money to fund the newly formed Regional Groundwater Center; establishing the transfer of scientific knowledge to many communities about their groundwater and potential contamination risks to their wells; and, creating an environmental component to the UM-Flint campus outreach efforts. His signature achievement, however, was creating a vision for an energy and water efficient home located near the campus to serve as a model for the surrounding community and region, This vision was implemented in 2013 after 5 years of tireless work that brought together local community organizations, campus faculty and staff, student assistants, and a diverse set of funding organizations including the Mott Foundation, Flint Rotary Club, Kresge Foundation, and Consumers Energy. Today, the UAH stands as the only house of its type affiliated with a U.S. university that blends a classroom seating 25, energy and water efficient monitory systems, a working garden, rain harvesting system, and live-in low-income qualified tenants. This structure is truly a lasting resource for the entire University, community, and region.


Ann Niemann

Ann Niemann
Per Dr. Steve Myers, Chair of the Biology Department:

Ann was originally hired on February 21, 1989 as a part-time secretary for the Theater and Dance Department chaired at the time by Dr. Thomas Bloom. Ann enjoyed many theatre and dance productions during her 14 ½ years there.  She was able to see the production process from beginning to the opening night – many hours of practice, behind the scenes work involving the set, and costumes in each of their productions.  One of her jobs there she will never forget was the season brochure bulk-mailing every summer.
In August of 2003, Ann was one of approximately 20 UM-Flint employees who received word in August of 2003 of job cutbacks.   She was called back to work part-time in the Philosophy Department in December 2003.
In the fall of 2004, she transferred to Biology Department, which became much more than her home department.  Right from the start, the biology department appreciated Ann as the great asset she was.
Her appointment in biology included serving as a “floating secretary” within CAS for three months during summer.  This gave Ann the unique opportunity to experience operations in a wide range of departments (e.g. MUS, COM/ART, ECN/AFA, POL SCI/PUB ADM, FOR, CSEP, CHM/ERS, MTH, PSY, SOC/ANT/CRJ, and THE).  Ann enjoyed meeting new people and brought back to the biology department many new ideas to enhance office operations.
While Ann enjoyed working with people across the college, she was always very happy to return to the biology department where she felt most at home.  The biology department recognized what a gem Ann was. She has a wealth of knowledge about the university that made her a great resource person.  She also was very much a people person who brightened the office and made all who entered feel welcome.  Ann was amazing at multitasking. She often was the first contact for anyone entering the Biology office and, as this [is] a very busy department, she endured regular interruptions as a matter of course.  Ann astounded many, especially her department chair, with her ability shift her full attention quickly to help a student or faculty member and then quickly shift her attention back to her other multitudinous tasks. Over the years, Ann demonstrated that she was dedicated to the success of our students, the department and the college.
The biology department whole heartedly thanks Ann for her many years of exemplary service and wish her all the best in her retirement.

Dr. Paul O’Donnell

Professor Paul O’Donnell begane at the University of Michigan-Flint in 1986. He was awarded tenure in 1991 and promoted to full professor in 1997. He taught in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, teaching Spanish.

COM 399 Students Present “The Passion of the City” on December 8th

Students of Dr. Danielle De La Mare’s COM 399 class have been exploring the topic of Communication, Culture, & Place this semester. As a culminating event, on December 8th, 2014, from 5:30-8:15pm, the students will present “Passion of the City” in UM-Flint’s KIVA.


Throughout their semester, the class mission has been to explore “how place is central to our lives, from our hometowns to the places we live, work, and play. In this writing intensive course, students will explore what it means to be from a place: how it shapes identities, experiences, and habits of communication. They will also learn the ways contemporary culture prevents us from fully connecting to place, the various consequences this disconnect has for communities and individuals, and communication strategies one may use to connect to place in meaningful ways.”

The course carries a Civic Engagement designation and students worked with a chosen organization for at least 10 hours over the fall semester. Towards the end of class, they took a bus tour of Flint which included stops at each of the students’ chosen organizations and a discussion by those students about the organization, its mission, the people served by it–and how they are all situated within Flint.

These experiences will all come together in presentations on December 8th. All members of the campus and community are welcome to attend Passion of the City to hear about what students have learned throughout their time in COM 399. Audience participation is encouraged!

To learn more, contact the Department of Communication and Visual Arts at 810.766.6679 or emailing


WEC Critical Difference Grant Makes a Real Impact on Students’ Lives

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We could all use a little help sometimes.

The Women’s Education Center at the University of Michigan-Flint uses the Critical Difference Grant to help at risk students stay in school by solving small problems that could otherwise have a huge impact. Their intervention often helps deter students from dropping out of school.

On the University of Michigan-Flint’s GIVING BLUEDAY, Tuesday, December 2nd, the WEC is joining with the Women’s & Gender Studies program to ask donors to give to the Critical Difference Fund so they can continue to help those in need at UM-Flint.

To give, visit:

Following are some testimonies to the true impact of the Critical Difference Grant:

Testimony 1: My rent had just increased by $150. I had just used all of the remainder of my previous paychecks to pay my tuition. I had nothing left over to pay for my living expenses. I had no money left to pay to keep a roof over my head, nor did I have money to put food on my table. I also had no way of safely getting around to find a new job because of the same health complications that had caused me to lose my previous job. I needed a car. I was heading toward homelessness. I needed the assistance from the Critical Difference Grant to hold me over until I could get my next check. Because of that assistance, I could pay my rent and it held me over until my next check. I got exactly what I needed from the Critical Difference Grant. I am sincerely grateful.

Testimony 2: I am a senior here at the University of Michigan-Flint. I have recently been experiencing some hardships within my life and I didn’t know who to turn to for help. I usually keep things to myself and try to get through them. Walking through the French Hall one day I spotted a poster for the Critical Difference Grant. I decided to call and ask more questions about it and I went to apply for it. I can honestly say this grant was very crucial for me because I didn’t have any money for anything at the time and it provided a way for me to do so many things that I needed to do. I believe this grant is important because everyone needs help sometimes and even the littlest thing can save a life. I had driven to school on an empty tank of gas just so that I wouldn’t miss class. I was going to just pray that I made it back home. This grant allowed to put gas in my car to last me for the next two weeks. I was able to purchase the rest of my books and put food in my house to feed my two children. This grant is important because it helps people out in their time of need. I am extremely grateful for this grant and I hope it continues to be a blessing to others as it was to me.

Testimony 3: Coming from a background were ones most immediate concern is basic survival of course comes with its own unique kind of stress. Being a low income African American female that ended up divorced and raising my children alone in a high crime community only complicated matters. When basic survival and safety is your primary concern, the mere thought of contemplating higher education seems to be a luxurious dream you have no right having. Without the Critical Difference Grant, when an unexpected event happened in my life, I found myself accepting that I had no choice but to give up the fairy tale of college only to seek out further employment to make sure that my children and I would have an immediate safe place to sleep. That was until the Women’s Educational Center told me that there may be a way for them to help me. Truthfully, I wasn’t even looking for help, I was just looking for someone to talk to, someone to listen to me and hear my story.  There are so many different individuals each with their own stories, but women are usually carrying someone such as a child or family member during their survival journey. Making the journey alone without help is close to impossible and this is why I feel that funds that are available such as the Critical Difference Grant allows people not only to feel as if they have the right to dream but to actually be able to pursue and continue with them despite any stumbling blocks they may encounter along the way. With the help of the Women’s Educational Center and the Critical Difference Grant I was able to stay in college.

Testimony 4: Due to the help I have received in the past from the Women’s Educational Center I was able to obtain a B.A degree from the University of Michigan-Flint, I now live in a safer environment in the college district, I presently have a full time employment position, and I am now also a graduate student in the Health Education program here at the University of Michigan-Flint. I believe that the small grant was well worth it. I have confidence that my success has not only broadened my life opportunities but has increased the odds of my children’s future success. The Critical Difference Grant was a sort of “pebble in the pond,” a positive investment that I feel will span generations putting a greater gap between my present and future progeny and poverty.

Testimony 5: The Critical difference Grant allowed me to pay my utility bill and also make some needed repairs to my vehicle. Without it I probably would have been dealing with having no power or resources and I am a single mother. I cannot do homework with no lights on! Also, my broken car and shut off notice both would have directly impacted my ability to perform and make it to class.  As a student it was wonderful to see that the Women’s Educational Center is aware that there is such a need in the student body. I know many people that are working, single parents attempting to do an internship and finish a degree and they just are barely surviving.  The Critical Difference Grant saved me from a hardship that otherwise could have been much worse.

Testimony 6: In a time where I wanted to drop out of school and just give up on everything the Critical Difference Grant program literally saved my life. My mother had been critically ill in the hospital in Ann Arbor for months. My son was acting out in school. I was only working nine hours a week or less because of Federal Work Study policies, my bills were all behind, my car was broken down, my children were stressing and so was I. I am the strong person in my family. I did not want everyone to know that I was literally losing it. My grades were all below passing, I could not concentrate or focus on anything for that matter. I was completely in a place that I thought there was no hope for me.  I went to the Women’s Educational Center to seek Christmas help for my children because I knew I would not be able to give them anything, not even their basic needs. My immediate concern was that I did not have appropriate transportation to even make things like coming to my classes or my work study job happen. After filling out the application, the center was able to get the funds to me the same day. I was able to get the repairs needed to my car and put gas in it too. This helped me tremendously because it allowed me to have transportation to seek other opportunities. The Critical Difference Grant also helped me to partially fix other parts of my situation as well. I think this grant is important because there is not another place on campus with anything as readily available for students who are going through rough and unexpected hard times. The grant gives students an opportunity to remove barriers and focus more on their education. Combining the Women’s Educational Center and the Critical Difference Grant as a whole, I would have to say that it was one of the best things that happened to me during my time as a student on this campus. I could never thank nor repay the center for the blessing that is has been in my life.

Testimony 7: The critical difference grant that was awarded to me through the Women’s Educational Center was a blessing. As a non-traditional student returning to finish my degree, I had exhausted my Pell grant allocation. All my savings were also exhausted. I wasn’t awarded work-study, so the only other alternative was to find an off campus job to substitute any lack of additional financial aid needed to cover all of my expenses. I couldn’t find an off campus job because there are so few jobs available that would also give me the flexibility I need to take care of my family as a single mom and go to school so I can make a better life for my children. After searching for a long time I found something, and the grant assisted me in paying rent for a month, before I was able to start employment. I truly appreciate any donors that would be considering and/or continuing to donate to this grant funded program, because it can make a difference in a mother’s life. One would be surprised at how little can both assist and uplift someone or break their spirit. This grant assists in financial support, but the emotional support from the Women’s Educational Center is also phenomenal.

UM-Flint Faculty Members Awarded Research Grants

Congratulations to the following faculty, who were recently awarded grants from the Research and Creative Activity Committee:

• Jessica Kelts, Assistant Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry, received $10,975 for her project The Effect of Media Changes and Cell Washing on Cellular Glutathione Content and Potency of Cytotoxic Compounds.

• Mark Allison, Associate Professor of Computer Science, received $14,487 for his project Autonomic Control of Cyber-Physical Systems using Domain-Specific Models.

• Mihai Burzo, Assistant Professor of Engineering, received $19,542 for his project Noninvasive Real Time Detection of Human Comfort for Increased Energy Savings in Building

• Seung-Jin Lee, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Earth and Resource Science, received $15,515 for his project Energy and Environmental Implications of Electric Vehicle Adoption: A Scenario-Based Life Cycle Assessment Study of the Future of Advanced Transportation in Michigan.

• Frank (Yu-Cheng) Liu, Assistant Professor of Engineering, received $17,282 for his project Investigation of Preferential Vaporization of Multi-Component Fuel Mixtures Using Mid-Infrared Absorption Techniques.

• Charlotte Tang, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, received $16,025 for her project Designing Technologies to Enhance Visitor Experiences at an Art Gallery.

Congratulations to the following faculty, who were recently awarded grants from the Dr. Ben Bryer Fund.

• Joe Sucic, Professor of Biology, received $ 8,162 for his project Environmental Stress as a Trigger for Metastasis in Breast Cancer Cells.

For more information on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UM-Flint, visit their website.

Welcome to Dr. Jeremiah Olson, Assistant Professor of Political Science!

olsonName: Dr. Jeremiah Olson
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Political Science

Classes I’m teaching: Political Environment of Public Administration, Administrative Organizations and Behavior

Professional Interests/Activities:
American Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association

Research Interests: Criminal Justice Policy, Prisons, Race and Ethnicity, Mental Health Care, Organizational Theory, Drug Policy

Degree(s)/Education: PhD, Political Science, University of Kentucky, Masters of Public Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Bachelors of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Olson’s dissertation focused on the relationship between race and treatment in American prisons. His main areas of interest are organizational behavior, decision making, and criminal justice policy.

Memberships: American Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association

How I fell in love with my field: I used to work in law enforcement. I thought it would be better to study criminal justice policy than to be part of it.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: I hope to have a positive impact on students and to make strong connections with the community.

Three things you should know about me:
• I am prejudiced against farmers’ markets
• My niece is smarter than your niece.
• Kentucky won a national championship in basketball when I was there. I proctored an exam for one of the players. I’m basically the reason they won.