Monthly Archives: June 2016

Phenom Fire 2016 at UM-Flint

PhenomFire 2016 logo

On Friday, June 24, 2016, the University of Michigan-Flint will host Phenom Fire: A Talk About Feminism, Womanism, and Female Fusion. This symposium aims to be “intentional about cross cultural conversations. A dialogue about intersectionality.”

The event will feature break out sessions, a lunch with performances, a panel discussion, and end with a finale performance in the UM-Flint Kiva. Phenom Fire is free and open to the public.

Says organizer and faculty member in the UM-Flint Communication Studies program Dr. Traci Currie, “This event comes out of a lunch conversation with two colleagues who are passionate about the work women do and the way we as women and men define ourselves (i.e. womanist, feminist, neither, both, activist, ally, so forth). With the support and encouragement from so many like the Women’s Educational Center and community partners, this symposium wonderfully [came] together. This event is a labor of love.”

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics in UM-Flint’s English Department added, “I’m basically looking forward to the chance to have real conversations about our different experiences of race and gender (among other things) and the ways that our personal insights can influence a broader movement for social change within our institution and in the community.  I am particularly eager for this given that women, men, and queer people of color are often marginalized in institutional structures.  This symposium will allow us to really amplify voices that are often not ‘heard.’  Overall, I’m looking forward to having uncomfortable but deep and healing conversations, because I really believe that these types of conversations are key for building solidarity and stimulating our collective desire to create lasting social change.”

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at UM-Flint

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at UM-Flint

Dr. Britt will be speaking in Breakout Session 1: Race & Feminism at 10:30am in Michigan Room A.

Phenom Fire 2016 Schedule:

10am: Introduction, UCEN Happening Room

Emcee for the symposium is Leah Bailey.

10:30am-11:50am: Breakout Sessions, UCEN Michigan Rooms

  • Session 1, Michigan Room A: Race & Feminism – Drs. Rushika Patel & Erica Britt
  • Session 2, Michigan Room B: Men as Feminists – Jeff Bean, Tom Moore & Delma Thomas-Jackson
  • Session 3, Michigan Room C: Socio-Political Activism and Spirituality – Do They Mix? – Natasha Thomas-Jackson
  • Session 4, Michigan Room D: How to Heal & Create Solidarity between Women  – Ayanna Jordan

12pm-1:15pm: Luncheon, UCEN Happenings Room.

Special luncheon performances by:

  • Speed Painter Martina Hahn
  • UM-Flint Poets: Linda Samarah, Jordan Johnson, Jessica McLone, Tiffany Harris,

1:25-3pm: Panel Discussion, UCEN Kiva

Panelists include: Kristin Lindsey, Mama Sol, Muna Tareh-Sahouri, Jia Ireland, Lilianna Angel Reyes, and Elena Herrada

3:30pm: Finale Performance, UM-Flint Theatre

Finale Performers: Crystal Turner, Cherisse Bradley, Brinae Ali, La Shaun Phoenix Moore, Mama Sol, and Closing Out with Raise It Up. Emcee Amber Hasan

Phenom Fire finale performer Brinae Ali

Phenom Fire finale performer Brinae Ali

Jordan Johnson, a pre-med student in the Psychology Department, will be one of the Phenom Fire luncheon performers. Says Johnson, “My poetry/performance’s main themes are being happy with who you are, enjoying your personal journey, and not allowing anything to get in the way of your self worth, especially [as] a woman. It will show that women are strong beings and that we must give ourselves credit and the freedom to live.  My performance will display my own story as a young woman who had struggles with these things.”

Additional luncheon performers include Tiffany Harris – Health Care Administration Major; Jessica McLone – Social Work Major; and Linda Samarah – Communication Studies Major.

Johnson continued, “I believe events like this are a great way for the UM-Flint Campus & Flint Community to come together and love on each other. With all the negative things that have been happening in our city and our world, events like this are reminders that not all are bad and that there is hope and love in our communities. Events like these keep me encouraged and grateful.”

In closing, Dr. Currie noted, “It’s is key that we not only own our voices but that we also share our personal narrative as a way of helping people understand how we live out our activism in our local, national, global communities, especially in the 21st century where we are inundated with 20 second sound bites and endless digital catch phrases.”

Phenom Fire is brought to the Flint community by its partners/sponsors: UM-Flint’s Women & Gender Studies program, Women’s Education Center, Black Student Union, and Communication Studies program and 3W Beyond Words and a Share Art Flint grant.

Additional gratitude goes to Shon Norman for the Phenom graphic art AND to Brittini Ward for creating the programs.

For more information on Phenom Fire, visit

The University of Michigan-Flint University Center (UCEN) is located at 400 Mill St, Flint, MI 48503. Parking is available in the Mill Street Parking Ramp.

Dennis Viele Named 2016-17 Collegiate Lecturer

Per an announcement by Provost Douglas G. Knerr on Tuesday, June 21, 2016:

Dennis Viele Named 2016-17 Collegiate Lecturer

Dennis Viele, 2016-17 Collegiate Lecturer

I’m delighted to announce that the 2016-17 Collegiate Lecturer Award recipient at the University of Michigan-Flint is Dennis Viele, Lecturer of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Requirements for the Collegiate Lecturer Award include ten years of service and successful completion of two major reviews. Candidates are nominated based on exceptional teaching and service and additional contributions to the University.

Dennis received his B.S. in Biology from UM-Flint in 1989 and his M.S. in Biology from Eastern Michigan University in 1994. He joined the faculty in 1992 and has served as Director of Applied Science since 2005 and as a lecturer in the Honors Program since 2009.  Dennis has taught over 15 different biology courses ranging from introductory to graduate-level. Biology Chair Steve Myers describes Dennis as a phenomenal instructor. Noting that students in Biostatistics are “a tough crowd to please,” Myers cites Dennis’ teaching style that consistently turns around the attitude of students while achieving extremely high ratings for excellence in instruction.

Dennis has an impressive record in program development having spearheaded the development of the Bachelor of Science Program in Wildlife Biology that continues to grow each year. In addition he has developed five other courses within the department and has made comprehensive improvements to other courses as well.

Dennis advises all science students at freshman orientation in addition to holding numerous advising appointments throughout the year. He has served as the thesis advisor for 10 graduate students and mentored 13 honors thesis students, often arranging for international research sites in Ireland, Australia, and South Africa. In 2002 Dennis was the recipient of the Lawrence D. Kugler Academic Advisor Excellence Award in 2002.

Dennis’ scholarly activities are noteworthy with six peer-reviewed publications and ten presentations, and he has also co-authored many poster and abstract presentations and research forums with his students. Dennis’ service has been widespread across the University and community having served on the CAS Academic Standards Committee, Learning Accessibilities Committee, and the Environmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee.

The University of Michigan-Flint is fortunate and proud to have Dennis as a faculty member.  He is a valued member of the Department of Biology and is an exemplary student-centered instructor.  Please join me in congratulating Dennis Viele as the 2016-17 Collegiate Lecturer for the University of Michigan-Flint.

Best –

Douglas G. Knerr
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

New TESOL Certificate Opens Doors to Work, Travel Abroad

Emily Feuerherm of UM-Flint English, coordinator of UM-Flint's TESOL certificate program.

Emily Feuerherm of UM-Flint English, coordinator of UM-Flint’s TESOL certificate

The University of Michigan-Flint’s English Department has added a TESOL Certificate to its offerings. This 15-credit certificate for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages will allow students to qualify for teaching English in many countries, often without the requirement of additional teaching credentials.

Says Emily Feuerherm, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, “The TESOL certificate is for all undergraduates who are interested in gaining experience abroad after graduation. Employers in all fields like to see job candidates who are able to work with people of diverse backgrounds, are mature and worldly, and have found success outside of their comfort zone. All of these are attributes of people who study or work abroad. As a certificate program of only 15 credits, this program can be tailored to students’ schedules. Students who may be particularly interested in this certificate program are students with an international background or an interest in traveling internationally; students who study foreign languages, English, education, international relations or international communication; and business, economics, or marketing students.”

Students at UM-Flint are already interested in this new program. Senior Morgan Troxell is a double major in English with specializations in literature and professional communications. She notes, “I’m interested in teaching English abroad because I’ve always wanted to teach, and, most importantly, I really enjoy learning, especially about other cultures, languages, and places. My greatest hope is to experience the world, to make friends all around the globe, and bring a little bit of the people and places I’ve met back with me. After teaching English abroad for a few years, I’d love to be a professor of literature and, one day, publish a book. And I feel like my experiences teaching English abroad will both challenge and inspire me and help me to develop my skills as a communicator and educator.”

Emily Feuerherm speaks with students about the new TESOL certificate at UM-Flint.

Emily Feuerherm speaks with students about the new TESOL certificate at UM-Flint.

Teaching English Aboard

The TESOL certificate at UM-Flint has its roots in Feuerherm’s own experiences traveling the globe: “My first experience teaching English abroad was in Switzerland. I had recently graduated with my BA in anthropology and I found work in Switzerland as a teaching assistant to a high school English teacher. I supported students’ speaking, listening, and conversational skills. I was not trained at all in TESOL, but I had so much fun teaching English that I decided to return to school to pursue a MATESOL degree (which later turned into a PhD in linguistics). To put it another way, I found my passion while living and working abroad, and I know the same is true for many of my friends and colleagues.”

Students interested in teaching English abroad may be surprised to know that they don’t need to know the majority language(s) of the country. Says Feuerherm, “Many English teachers abroad arrive to their post with limited or no skills in the majority language and will learn while they are there. Most English teaching jobs abroad only require that teachers have native-like fluency in English.” Feuerherm is sympathetic to the challenges of living and working abroad as well as the fear of the unknown and the culture shock that can be felt upon arrival. She says, “Everyone experiences this, and it is hard, but the benefits are so worthwhile. Overcoming this hurdle makes you grow and learn so much about yourself and the world.”

Senior Elexis Nelson hopes her own experiences will echo that sentiment. She’s adding the TESOL certificate to her English degree that will have a specialization in linguistics. Says Nelson, “Language, the study of languages, and teaching language has been my passion since I started college. Being someone who is a native-English speaker, I can still see the difficulty in learning such a language that has become the lingua franca in the most advanced corners of the world. English has a global history and the patterns and customs of the language are not easy to master. This is why I chose to teach English as a second language with a linguistics background; because with linguistics it is much easier to explain aspects of the language to non-native speakers. I’m hoping with the TESOL certificate I will be able to teach English as a second language in South Korea. I have begun my fluency in the Korean language as I feel it, plus the linguistics background, will improve my ability to thoroughly teach English as a second language. In previous years studying here at UM-Flint, I was unable to take the TESOL program here. This was unfortunate because I would have to receive the certificate at another institution or online which is not ideal. Fortunately Professor Feuerherm was able to receive approval for this program before my set graduation date and I will be able to have certification to teach right after undergrad.”

Emily Feuerherd discusses the requirements for the UM-Flint TESOL certificate

Emily Feuerherd discusses the requirements for the UM-Flint TESOL certificate

Earning a TESOL Certificate at UM-Flint

Earning the TESOL certificate will take some foresight by students. Notes Feuerherm, “The program takes 3 semesters, and courses are not offered every semester, so students should plan ahead if they want the certificate.” The course rotation is flexible, allowing for classes that will cover the teaching of other languages abroad besides English or for focusing on teaching children.

She adds, “Most TESOL certificate programs are offered by private organizations or trade schools, are online, and do not require that students be enrolled in college. The benefit for our students is that many of the TESOL jobs abroad require at least a BA/BS in some field and prefer that the teachers have some experience in the classroom. Because our program has a practicum component where students will get real experience, and will have a college degree, they will be able to access better positions.”

When asked about the direction she’d like to take with this new program, Feuerherm says, “Looking to the future, I think that once we get this program started we will look into the possibility of teaching some of the courses online. We will also research the possibility of developing an MATESOL program, or getting an endorsement for the teaching certificate for TESOL (the endorsement would allow students to teach ESL at US public schools). This would make the program more accessible (in the case of online courses) and provide access to more jobs in more locations. However, these are big dreams which will take time to work out, so I wouldn’t expect to see this in the next few years.”

For more information on the TESOL certificate, students should speak with their advisors, visit, or contact Emily Feuerherm at 810-766-6613 or

2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition


Janice McCoy, student artist at UM-Flint

The Greater Flint Arts Council (GFAC) Gallery is currently filled with a wide variety of artwork created by UM-Flint students. The exhibit opened in May with a an awards ceremony and reception honoring the student artists. It will remain open until June 6.

This annual exhibition gives UM-Flint students a chance to not only display and sell artwork, but, as a juried show, it allows them to receive critiques and praise from an expert in the field.

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.”

In addition to the juried awards that recognize individual pieces of art at the show, the students are eligible for “choice” awards if their pieces are selected by state government officials or university administrators, and department awards that take into consideration the students’ larger body of work and academic performance.

Senior Janice McCoy, pictured above, is pursuing degrees in Visual Arts Education (B.S.) and General Studio Art (B.F.A.) and a minor in Art History. She is also a member of the University of Michigan-Flint Honors program. McCoy won two awards this year: “I was not only recognized for Exceptional Merit for ‘Carousel in Motion’ by guest juror Donovan Entrain, but I was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts by the faculty of the visual arts [program]. Both of these awards were extremely exciting and humbling to receive. All of our students are talented and hardworking, so to be recognized as exceptional among this talented group is something really special. I am overjoyed that my hard work this year has led to this recognition from my instructors and the local art community. Being acknowledged in this way only motivates me to further develop my skills and strive to create more exceptional pieces of art.”


“Carousel in Motion” by Janice McCoy received an award for exceptional merit at the 2016 annual student art exhibition.

Continued McCoy, “I was inspired to create ‘Carousel in Motion’ by a photograph I took during a study abroad program with Dr. Sarah Lippert last year to Paris, France, and surrounding areas. The photograph was of a display mimicking a carousel in the Château de Chantilly’s Museum of the Horse, located in their Great Stables. I loved the drama and movement created by the dynamic poses of the carousel horses, bathed in flickering lights. Additionally, I have some fond memories of riding the carousel repeatedly as a child. These experiences inspired me to research and create an original composition driven by an exciting combination of movement, light and color, divided between two canvases. I love this piece because of my nostalgia attached to the carousel and the trip to France, and the movement that draws the viewer’s eyes across the canvases.”

Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

2016 Juried Award Winners:

  • Best in Show: SARAH COULTER “Map” Cast Glass
  • Exceptional Merit: JANICE McCOY “Carousel in Motion” Diptych, Oil on Canvas
  • Artist’s Voice: EMILY LEGLEITNER
  • Patty Morello Memorial Award: NICOLE FENECH “Octavia” Mixed Media Sculpture
  • Best Art-Historical Recreation Award: KERRY ANN MOREY “Cleopatra Recreated” Oil on Canvas

2016 Choice Award Winners:

  • The Arts in the Legislature Award: BREANNA KERRISON “Bits and Pieces” Digital Print
  • Chancellor’s Choice Award: RACHEL PAPPAS “Magical Forest” Stained Glass and Wood
  • Provost’s Choice Award: WENDY BROWN “Imagine, Believe, Achieve” Digital Print Collage
  • Dean’s Choice Award: LINSEY CUMMINGS “Lego Logan” Digital Print
  • Library Collection Choice Award: SARAH COULTER “Map” Cast Glass

2016 Academic Award Winners:

  • Achievement in Research (Symposium Presenters): ANGELA WHITLOCK, LEON COLLINS, MARY KELLY, MARTA WATTERS
  • Excellence in Art Education: CHEYENNE SERRATO
  • Excellence in Civic Engagement: MARY KELLY and LENA GAYAR (tie)
  • Outstanding Overall Achievement: JANICE MCCOY
  • Excellence in Art History Award: TAYLOR FRITZ
  • Excellence in Ceramics: SYMANTHA FOREMAN
  • Excellence in Drawing: KERRY ANN MOREY
  • Excellence in Graphic Design: HEIDI HALS
  • Excellence in Media Design: ALEXANDER THEODOROFF
  • Excellence in Painting: ASHLEY THORNTON
  • Excellence in Photography: ALICIA MUSIC SHAVER
  • Excellence in Sculpture: RACHEL PAPPAS
  • Martin Anderson Excellence in Printmaking: EMILY LEGLEITNER
Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Graduate student Mary Kelly received awards for Excellence in Civic Engagement and a Certificate of Award for Research for her work “Overlooked Ornamentation: Italian Devotional Art as Images of Power” that was presented at the Art & Art History Student Symposium at the Flint Institute of Arts in April 2016. Kelly also works with the Visual Arts faculty to promote department and student work through social media and the Art Scene blog she created.

Said Kelly, “I came to UM-Flint intending to complete a degree that had been delayed through interruption in my education.  Once here, I accomplished not only that goal with my BFA in Painting & Drawing, but I added a second degree with my BA in Art History. The offerings at UM-Flint inspired me to approach art from both of these perspectives and to continue my education with the Arts Administration [graduate] program with the goal of using my knowledge to aid other artists to navigate the many options available to them as professional artists as a bridge between these artists and institutions organizations and venues.”

Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Senior Breanna Kerrison’s digital print “Bits and Pieces” received the Arts in the Legislature Award. Said Kerrison, “I feel very honored to receive an award like this, the past semester has really pushed me into becoming the artist that I want to be and I am ecstatic to have it recognized!”
Breanna Kerrison stands with her photograph "Bits and Pieces"

Breanna Kerrison stands with her photograph “Bits and Pieces”

 When asked about her experience as a UM-Flint Visual Arts student, Kerrison replied, “My experience as a UM-Flint art student has been challenging, engaging, and an incredible journey. There will never be anything else like it and for that I am grateful. The  art professors at U of M not only teach you, but inspire you to become something the world will never forget.”

For more information on UM-Flint programs in Art and Art History, visit the visual arts website or call (810) 766-6679.

The Annual Student Exhibition will be on display at the GFAC Gallery through June 6. The gallery is open to the public and free of charge. They are located at 816 Saginaw St, Flint, MI 48502. Visit their website or call (810) 238-2787 for hours or more information.