Monthly Archives: May 2015

UM Regents Announce New Appointments for Promotion and Tenure

On Thursday, May 21st, the Regents of the University of Michigan approved recommendations for new appointments and promotions for regular associate and full professor ranks, with tenure and/or promotion of faculty on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The CAS promotions are presented below in alphabetical order.

Dauda Abubakar Africana Studies Assistant Professor

Associate Professor Dauda Abubakar

Dauda Abubakar, associate professor of Africana studies, with tenure, Department of Africana Studies, and associate professor of political science, with tenure, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, UM-Flint.


Professor Lois Alexander

Lois L. Alexander, professor of music, with tenure, Department of Music, College of Arts and Sciences.


Professor Jami Anderson

Jami L. Anderson, professor of philosophy, with tenure, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences.

Roy Barnes

Professor Roy Barnes

Roy C. Barnes, professor of sociology, with tenure, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences.

Julie Broadbent, associate professor of psychology, with tenure, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences.

Daniel Coffield Mathematics

Associate Professor Daniel Coffield

Daniel J. Coffield, Jr., associate professor of mathematics, with tenure, Department of Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences.


Professor John Ellis

John Stephen Ellis, professor of history, with tenure, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences.


Professor Michael Farmer

Michael E. Farmer, professor of computer science, with tenure, Department of Computer Science, Engineering and Physics, College of Arts and Sciences.

Associate Professor Rajib Ganguly

Rajib Ganguly, associate professor of physics, with tenure, Department of Computer Science, Engineering and Physics, College of Arts and Sciences.


Associate Professor Christopher Heidenreich

Christopher Heidenreich, associate professor of music, with tenure, Department of Music, College of Arts and Sciences.

Dan Lair

Associate Professor Daniel Lair

Daniel Lair, associate professor of communication, with tenure, Department of Communication and Visual Arts, College of Arts and Sciences.

Vickie Larsen

Associate Professor Vickie Jeanne Larsen

Vickie Jeanne Larsen, associate professor of English, with tenure, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences.

Shelby Newport

Associate Professor Shelby Newport

Shelby Newport, associate professor of theatre, with tenure, Department of Theatre and Dance, College of Arts and Sciences.


Associate Professor Greg Rybarczyk

Greg Rybarczyk, associate professor of earth and resource science, with tenure, Department of Earth and Resource Science, College of Arts and Sciences.

Congratulations to our new associate and full professors on their hard work and dedication to teaching and research. Your talents help create a quality experience for our College of Arts & Sciences students!



Congratulations CAS Staff Award Winners!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015, the UM-Flint Staff Council held their annual Staff Assembly Spring Meeting and Staff Recognition Awards Program. The College of Arts & Sciences was well represented!

Lynn Barbee, Administrative Assistant in the Department of Mathematics and the Staff Council Recognition Coordinator, presented the 2015 Staff Recognition Award Recipients: Suzanne Shivnen, Administrative Assistant of the Department of Economics and Political Science, and Monique Wilhelm, the Laboratory and Classroom Services Supervisor for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Per Staff Council, “The Staff Council Staff Recognition Award was established in 1995 as a way to recognize those members of the Staff Assembly who consistently serve the campus and university in an exemplary manner. The award criteria includes: providing leadership on a consistent basis; nurturing a spirt of team effort and cooperation; performing assigned duties with enthusiasm, competence, and cordiality; and dedication to the university’s goals and mission.”


Suzanne Shivnen receives the Margaret Rogers Award for Excellence from CAS Associate Dean Roy Barnes.

Suzanne was nominated by Peggy Kahn, Professor Political Science, and by Chris Douglas, Associate Professor and Chair of Economics. Peggy presented the award, noting Suzanne’s value for her skills in both the personal and professional spheres. She spoke of Suzanne’s willingness and ability to help both faculty and students, and her compassion and high ethics. Earlier this month, Suzanne was also the winner of the College of Arts & Science’s Margaret Rogers Award for Excellence. She is also a recipient of a Sterling Staff Award.


Chancellor Susan E. Borrego, Staff Recognition Award Winner Monique Wilhelm, and Chemistry & Biochemistry Dept. Chair Jessica Tischler

Monique was nominated by Jessica Tischler, Associate Professor and Chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. She talked of Monique’s extensive list of responsibilities and proficiencies within the lab setting–both in their department and others. She also discussed Monique’s dedication to both UM-Flint students and community youth as exemplified through her work with the award-winning Chem Club, the demos that are brought to area schools, campus events like Super Science Friday, and her work with the Curiosity Academy – a STEM-focused community club for girls interested in science. Monique was also honored for being a part of the Excel Professional Development Program.


Karri Spoelstra of the Department of Music, Staff Recognition Award Nominee and winner of the 2015 Dr. Mary Jo Sekelsky Staff Appreciation Award

Another award winner recognized during the Assembly was Kari Spoelstra, Administrative Assistant of the Department of Music. She was a nominee for the Staff Recognition Award and the winner of this year’s Dr. Mary Jo Sekelsky Staff Appreciation Award from the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership. As her department page says, “Congratulations to Karri, everyone’s first contact in the Department of Music, by phone or in person. And a great supporter of students!”

Laura Bender, Secretary Senior for the Earth & Resource Science Department and Carol Chaney, Media Consultant for the Department of Music, were also nominees for the Staff Recognition Award.

Sterling Staff Awards were also earned by Linda Blakey of Public Administration, Lesa Callcut of Psychology, Samantha Grathoff of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Linda Letts of the Department of Theatre & Dance. The Sterling Staff Award  is designed to acknowledge staff members for their contributions to the campus. Staff members are nominated by others who want it to be known that they are making a difference, that what they do is valued, and to recognize them for going the extra distance in their work. All staff members who are nominated receive a certificate via campus mail, and their supervisor is notified.

Many CAS staff members were also recognized for being a part of the UM-Flint Engaged Staff Program which was “designed to help emphasize the ways in which UM-Flint staff contribute to the overall vibrancy of the institution and support the work of faculty, staff and students.”

Jennifer Vincke of the Biology Department was recognized as a December 2014 graduate.

Congratulations to all of our staff members who received awards and were recognized at the Spring Staff Assembly!

For more information on Staff Council, visit their website:

For a list of those recognized at the 2015 Staff Recognition Dinner, visit

UM-Flint Summer Vocal Academy Auditions Start May 21st for 5th-12th Grade Students

Students in grades 5-8 and 9-12 will soon have a chance to audition for the 2015 Summer Vocal Academy of Music, held at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Continuing a tradition of over thirty years, the UM-Flint Summer Vocal Academy of Music welcomes middle and high school students who have musical potential and a love for singing. Academy students are offered the opportunity to participate in music classes that develop musical abilities and artistic potential for vocal performance and other creative arts. The curriculum of classes will enrich the students’ understanding of music as an art. Students will learn, create, and perform on stage under the direction of experienced UM-Flint music professors, Department of Music alumni, and Guest Conductors.

The Academy offers two camps: the Junior Academy for grades 5-8, held July 6-17, and the Senior Academy for grades 9-12, held July 20-31. Classes are held in the friendly environment of the UM-Flint campus, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-2:45pm for the duration of each program.

This year’s Academy curriculum includes Choir, Men’s and Women’s Ensemble, Music Investigation, Theory Composition, Vocal Technique, Percussion Ensemble, Dance and Movement, and Art Class. The 2015 conducting faculty includes Garth Starr of Davison Community Schools for the Junior Academy and Dr. Joshua May and Dr. Gabriela Hristova, both of UM-Flint, for the Senior Academy.

A final concert for each Academy will be held on the last day of camp at 7 pm in the UM-Flint Theatre.

Says Senior Academy Conductor, Dr. Joshua May, “Our program provides students with a unique musical experience that helps them develop their skills as performing artists. They work one-on-one with faculty to explore music through many lenses, which include art, dance, theory, and vocal ensembles. We help nurture and develop these talented young singers in a variety of vocal styles, so that they are able to share their passion for music in our summer performances! We create a fun-filled learning environment for students to share an unforgettable summer experience making music together!”

Audition dates are Thursdays, May 21 and 28, 6pm; Fridays, May 22 and 29, 6pm; and Saturdays, May 30 and June 6, 11am. Auditions will be held on the UM-Flint campus. Please call to reserve an audition spot: (810) 762-3377. The audition process includes students singing the first verse of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (the student will be accompanied by a piano); a test of voice range, sense of rhythm, and the ability to match pitch; and a basic theory test.

Scholarship funds are available for Flint and Genesee county students on a first come first serve base by June 1st. To be considered for a scholarship, students must audition and enroll by June 1. After June 1, students will still be able to audition (by appointment) and enroll to Academy, however, no scholarship awards will be available at this point.

For more information, visit or call the UM-Flint Music Department office at (810) 762-3377.


UM-Flint to Offer Summer Workshop on Holocaust and Rwanda Genocide Testimonies: July 13-17, 2015

This summer the University of Michigan-Flint will host a workshop focused on using Holocaust and Rwanda genocide testimonies in research and education.

Working with UM-Flint’s Thompson Library, Dr. Theodosia Robertson, Associate Professor Emerita of History; Dr. Dauda Abubakar, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science; and Dr. Kenneth Waltzer, a past Winegarden Visiting Professor at UM-Flint and Professor Emeritus and former Director of Jewish Studies at MSU, will present five days of instruction, from July 13 to 17, for area educators, graduate students, and community members interested in studying or teaching genocide materials. Participants may choose the three-day secondary educator track or the five-day intensive research track. SCECH credits are available for teachers.

Much of the workshop will focus on UM-Flint’s access to the USC Shoah Foundation‘s database of audio and visual testimonies from survivors and witnesses of genocides. Over 52,000 video testimonies of the Holocaust alone are housed within the database. According to Emily Newberry, Web Services Coordinator and Reference Librarian at the Thompson Library, “We are one of the few institutions in the world who subscribe to the Shoah Visual History Archive through our subscription with Ann Arbor. Participants will have full access while they are here, to use the archive and learn how to use testimonies with the full database. After they leave, they may either come back and use it as a guest, or they can access a subset of freely available videos called VHA Online. Secondary educators have access to an educational module tool called iWitness, which also uses this free subset of videos in a format where they are included within modules for classroom use.”

When asked about the impetus for this workshop series, Dr. Robetson said, “The Summer Workshop on Testimony evolved from Professor Ken Waltzer’s appointment in 2012-2013 as Winegarden Visiting Professor at UM-Flint. In 2013, the summer after Ken’s Winegarden year, he and I, together with Emily Newberry, mounted the first Workshop. We had great support from CAS, the Provost, and Library Director, Bob Houbeck.  This year promises to be even better.  Dauda has joined us and participants can examine testimonies from Rwandan genocide as well. Our goal is to help teachers and scholars understand the value and use of testimony in both teaching and research.”

The workshop objectives include expanding information literacy and critical skills that aid teaching and research with testimony; increasing use of iWitness in the classroom; and raising awareness among both educators and the Flint community about survivors of genocide.

Says Dr. Abubakar, “It is anticipated that secondary and college educators, graduate students and researchers will learn . . to comprehend the social, political and historical contexts of the Holocaust and Rwanda genocide. Presenters at the Workshop include well known experts in the field of Holocaust & Genocide Studies drawn from universities and research centers including UM-Flint, Michigan State University, University of Southern California (USC) – Shoah Foundation, and the University of Toronto.”

2015 Presenters include:
Henry Greenspan, Professor of Psychology, Residential College, University of Michigan. Author of On Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Beyond Testimony (2nd ed.)
Karen Jungblut, Director of Research and Documentation, Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, University of Southern California
Claudia R. Wiederman, Ph.D., Associate Director – Educational Technologies and Training, USC Shoah Foundation
Marie-Jolie Rwigema, Ph.D. candidate in Social Work, University of Toronto, involved with the film Rwandan Genocide as Told by Its Historian Survivors
Solange Umwall, Central Neighborhood House, Toronto, involved with the film Rwandan Genocide as Told by Its Historian Survivors
Laura Apol, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, writing workshop project with child survivors in Rwanda; poet, Requiem Rwanda
Irene Butter, Holocaust survivor and Professor Emerita of the School of Public Health, University of Michigan

All classes will be held in the UM-Flint Thompson Library; participants will have access to computers. Lunches and some dinners will be provided. Cost for the three-day educator track is $75; cost for the five-day intensive research track is $100. Scholarships are available. Overnight accommodations are available in our dorms.

Registration deadline is June 15. Visit

To register, or for more information, visit the Summer Workshop website. If you have questions, email or call (810) 424-5302.

2015 Annual Student Art Exhibition: Held May 8-June 5, GFAC Gallery in Flint


2015 Exhibition Poster designed by student Emily Legleitner.

Friday, May 8th, is opening night for the 2015 UM-Flint Annual Student Art Exhibition in the Greater Flint Arts Council Gallery at 816 S. Saginaw Street, Flint. (Many know this building as the one with the Vernors mural on the side!) The Opening Celebration will be held from 6-9pm. This free event coincides with the Second Friday Flint Art Walk and is open to the public.

Says Ben Gaydos, UM-Flint Assistant Professor of Design, “This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their art, and a great opportunity for the public to see what the Visual Arts program at UM-Flint provides to students.”

This year’s exhibition received over 230 entries from art students of all levels, freshman to senior. The show will feature pieces from a wide variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, design, photography, public art, and furniture pieces. The entries come from a pool of work selected by the faculty of the Visual Arts program.

Chris Waters, Professor of Art and the Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at UM-Flint, was instrumental in starting the first Student Art Exhibition years ago. When asked about the importance of such an event, she said, “The ability for students to show their work is vital to their Visual Arts education. It is also vital they understand art as a communication and learn if their work is effective in this regard.
Having work selected for the exhibition, and then having an independent juror select awards helps students develop critical thinking skills about their own work and that of others while also preparing for what they will be asked to do in their professional careers in art.”

The opening night awards presentation will start at 6:30pm. This year’s juror is Corrie Baldauf of the Eastern Michigan University Art Department.

Several of the awards are related solely to the students’ work in the show: Best in Show, Exceptional Merit, Artist’s Voice, Art History Recreation, and the Patty Morello Award. The exhibition also allows for special recognition by the Chancellor, Provost, College of Arts & Sciences Dean, and a state official as they each select a work that will be displayed in their respective offices.

Additional department awards take into consideration the students’ entire body of work and activities from the academic year. These include Outstanding Civic Engagement, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Painting/Drawing/Print Making, Excellence in Art History, Overall Achievement in Visual Arts, Excellence in Art Education, and Excellence in Photography.


The exhibition will also allow the Visual Arts Program to acknowledge community partners who help enrich and expand student learning. Exceptional partners this year include the Thumb Area Correctional Facility, the Flint Institute of Arts, the GFAC, Davison Community Schools, Applewood Estate, Buckham Gallery, the Flint Public Art Project, the Neighborhood Engagement Hub and Friends of Max Brandon Park. These organizations afford UM-Flint students new venues and expanded experience in displaying their work, opportunities for education and interaction, and a chance to do something meaningful with their processes and pieces.

The Student Art Exhibition will be on display through June 5th. GFAC Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

For more information, contact Ben Gaydos at or call the GFAC at 810.238.6875.

To learn more about the Visual Arts Program at UM-Flint, visit their website.

Content from this post may be reprinted in whole or part, as long as credit is given to the UM-Flint College of Arts and Sciences or a link is provided to this blog.