03/14/18

CAS Alumni Spotlight: Marissa Pierce

UM-Flint alumna and Flint resident Marissa Pierce graduated in 2003 with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Africana Studies; she later returned to earn her MA in English Language and Literature, graduating in 2009.

Currently, Pierce is the Public & Community Relations Coordinator for the Flint Institute of Arts and a part-time English Instructor at Mott Community College. She also maintains an entertainment and lifestyle website, phashionphish.com, and is in the beginning stages of starting Surprise! — a non-profit that will provide mentoring and host “parties for kids and teens that would otherwise be unable to have one.”

Marissa Pierce, UM-Flint alumna, in the FIA's under-construction glassworks studio.

Marissa Pierce, UM-Flint alumna, in the FIA’s glassworks studio.

Pierce’s decision to attend UM-Flint was an easy one. “I had always been a Michigan fan, and being able to get a Michigan degree close to home appealed to me,” she noted. “I also was drawn to the course offerings and small class sizes that made for a more ‘intimate’ educational experience.

“I chose to return for my Masters degree because I was interested in teaching and knew I would need the degree to position myself for that next step in my career,” Pierce continued. “I also consider myself a lifelong learner, and although I had vowed to not step foot in a school again until I took my child to kindergarten, I knew that continuing my education was important and would be worthwhile. It has not only helped my career, but also enriched my personal life.”

Choosing her path at UM-Flint

At UM-Flint, Pierce selected academic programs that gave her room to explore her strengths and interests, and that would allow her flexibility in her future career. “UM-Flint has great programs, committed faculty and staff, and continued growth that not only meets the needs of students, but the community,” she reflected. “Those strengths make it not just a good school, but a great one.

“What I loved about the Communication and English programs was the freedom. I was able to really tailor my college experience to my interests. I would definitely recommend these programs, because they both have a number of options career wise, and I have found that I have been able to ‘write my own ticket’ so to speak. The variety of options that have been available to me with these two degrees is astounding, and in many instances have been things I didn’t even realize I was interested in.”

Pierce found her UM-Flint faculty to not only be supportive mentors, but to be friends as well. She is still in touch with a number of them and they continue to be resources in her professional life. When considering her most influential faculty, Pierce noted Dr. Charles Apple of Communication Studies and Jan Worth-Nelson of English. “They were always available to chat and I knew they were not only committed to the success of the program, but to the students,” she reflected.

Pierce found many valuable experiences outside of the classroom as well. “I was a writer for the M-Times (UM-Flint’s student newspaper) and College Representative for Def Jam Records while in undergrad and those were some of my greatest experiences,” she said. “I began writing about entertainment in high school and continued that at the M-Times and I got to cover some great shows, including Ricky Martin during the ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ craze. And being a college representative for Def Jam was so much fun! I made some lifelong connections and one of my best friends still works there! I returned to write for the M-Times while working on my MA.”

Connecting Coursework and Community

In early 2018, the Flint Institute of Arts hosted Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. The exhibit showcased bead art created by a community of women in South Africa and was featured as a community event by UM-Flint Africana Studies for their annual Africa Week celebration. It was also a chance for Pierce to connect her undergraduate minor and her career. “I loved learning not only about African American history, but also African history,” said Pierce as she reflected on her studies. “I think being able to make the connection and ‘bridge the gap,’ if you will, is essential to really understanding the history of African Americans in the United States.”

UM-Flint alumna Marissa Pierce at the Flint Institute of Arts

UM-Flint alumna Marissa Pierce at the Flint Institute of Arts

Pierce has found that the impact of her courses still strongly resonates in her life. “I frequently talk about how the classes were some of my favorites during my time at UM-Flint, and how what I learned has shaped me as a person. I think learning about your heritage at the collegiate level is always beneficial, and exciting. I learned things that made a light bulb go off, and had many ‘ah-ha’ moments. In my career, I am able to bring many of the things I learned into conversations as it has relates to working with different cultures and ethnicities in the community.

“Exhibitions like this and the programming in the Africana Studies Department are important because they allow you to see art and the world through a very different lens than many of us are used to,” continued Pierce. “It does really allow us to make connections between the African and African American experience, and see beyond what we already know. Learning, be it at the Flint Institute of Arts or through the Africana Studies Department not only benefits the student, but the people and greater community that student interacts with. It really is a win-win for everyone!”


UM-Flint students can take advantage of the many learning opportunities provided by the FIA through their College Town program that provides free membership to college students. Learn more at flintarts.org/join-and-give/college-town.

For information on Africana Studies, Communication Studies, and other programs and majors offered through UM-Flint’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit umflint.edu/CAS.

04/19/16

CAS Alums Present Spring Career Panel

UM-Flint alumni speak to current students about career options and lessons they've learned.

UM-Flint alumni speak to current students about career options and lessons they’ve learned since graduation.

In April 2016, two College of Arts & Sciences alumni returned to the UM-Flint campus to discuss their careers and share what they’ve learned since graduation. Those attending were treated to a great conversation, lunch, and raffle prizes.

Life After Graduation

Dawn Demps, 2008 alumna of Political Science and Africana Studies, and Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the MPA program, sat with Alumni Relations‘ Brent Nickola on the third floor of the UCEN for the informal chat with gathered students. They took turns answering questions like “What is life like after graduation?” “What do you wish you would have known as a student?” and “How do you turn passion into success?”

Demps, who is currently running a non-profit focused on community advocacy, spoke first.

Blog_demps

Dawn Demps, graduate of UM-Flint’s Political Science and Africana Studies departments.

After talking about some of the the specific work she’s been doing in the community she noted, “you have to have a passion for the area you go into. You really have to believe.” She also mentioned the importance of flexibility within your job, adding that in her case, her job is “never a 9 to 5 thing.”

Demps also spoke about the skills she felt were most important to her career: the ability to prioritize, being able to communicate effectively with “people on so many levels,” having cultural competency, being open to learning and collaboration, and “putting your pride aside, because someone always knows more than you.”

She noted all of these skills are vital to being successful, and that it’s also important to be clear about your goals, because “passion without any sort of a plan is chaos.”

Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the UM-Flint MPA program

Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the UM-Flint MPA program

Henderson Allen came to UM-Flint for his Masters in Public Administration after earning an undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Ferris State University. He currently works with a diverse group of detained youth, ages 12 to 21.

Allen agreed with Demps on the skills needed out in the world, noting “communication is number one.” He also added that one should “be open to new methods; see what’s changing in your industry.”

When asked what he wished he would have known as a student, Allen answered, “take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Go to seminars, gain knowledge. Network—don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself, be proactive!” He added that students should enjoy the time they have in school and appreciate it for what it is, “have patience; be in the moment.”

Rewarding Careers

In their careers, both Allen and Demps have had a chance to implement what they gained at UM-Flint, but they’ve also been learning new lessons.

When asked about what’s been especially rewarding, Allen said, “Seeing your work and being part of at team; interacting and being effective.” He noted that as a state employee he has excellent benefits, but “there is more than just pay” and that students should be prepared to “put [their] time in.”

Demps added that she enjoys “working with young people, parents, and the community; seeing the change as you build trust and relationships… having your expertise recognized.” She noted an especially rewarding moment came when a group of young men she’d been working with reached graduation. She’s especially passionate about her on-going work in the Flint school system focused on “unpacking the prison pipeline.”

Demps emphasized to the audience that work in non-profits is important to the community, stating, “non-profit work is needed. A lot of times what lies between what the state provides and what people need is non-profits.”

Henderson Allen (left) and Dawn Demps (right) talk about their time at UM-Flint and their careers.

Henderson Allen (left) and Dawn Demps (right) talk about their time at UM-Flint and their careers.

Questions from the Audience

Audience members were given a chance to ask Demps and Allen questions.

One student wanted to know their biggest initial challenges after graduation.

Allen noted the challenge of companies wanting new employees to come with experience, and of new employees needing jobs to get experience. He reassured the students that the skills they learn at UM-Flint will play a part in answering that issue. He added that often volunteer work or an internship is “just as good as work experience in that particular field.”

Demps seconded the value of volunteering, noting, “I created opportunities for myself to build up my portfolio. If there wasn’t something for me, I created it.”

Advice for Students

In closing, the alums were asked for one piece of advice to give to current students.

Said Allen, “The main thing is never lose contact with your UM-Flint instructors. They are resources, vital, and connected to your field. Check in. Say hello.” Demps agreed, noting “your professors today are your letters of recommendation tomorrow.”

She closed by saying, “Never be afraid.”


For more information on the alumni of the College of Arts & Sciences, visit our Alumni Resources page. If you’re a CAS alum, please be sure to update your information so we can feature you in future stories!

02/29/16

2016 Visiting African Artist is Poet Niyi Osundare

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Dr. Niyi Osundare – 2016 Visiting African Series Artist

The Visiting African/African Diaspora Artist Series is a partnership between the University of Michigan-Flint and the Flint Public Library, funded in part by the Ruth Mott Foundation. The Series brings authors, poets, playwrights, and journalists of African descent to Flint, Michigan. One purpose is to expose our university and communities to the complexity and richness of modern African culture, as well as the heritage of Africans and people of African descent, and so to embrace diversity. Another purpose is to engage people with the many interesting and challenging issues created by the historical and modern African Diaspora.

On March 16, 2016, the award-winning poet, author, and educator Dr. Niyi Osundare will be visiting the UM-Flint campus for a poetry reading and public discussion. This is the first of his Visiting Artist events. The event is free and open to the public and takes place from 10am-12pm in the UCEN Kiva. Dr. Osundare’s book, City Without People: The Katrina Poems, recounts his personal experience with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. During the discussion we will explore the connections between those affected by Katrina and those dealing with the Flint Water Crisis.

Other events for the visit include a forum for area school students and an evening reception – both at at the Flint Public Library on March 17, and an Educator’s Workshop on the UM-Flint campus on March 18. Each of the events will connect Dr. Osundare with a different audience, allowing him to connect on different levels with readers and audience members.

For more information on Dr. Osundare or the week’s events, visit umflint.edu/africana/niyi-osundare.

01/29/16

William Shedd, 1964 Alum, Recalls Malcolm X Visit to Campus

Shedd

William Shedd’s senior picture in the 1964 yearbook.

The Flint College (as UM-Flint was formerly known) was less than ten years old in 1964, yet it was already fostering an engaged and independent student body interested in promoting cultural awareness. So Political Science student and Senior Class President William C. Shedd considered it to be only natural that he should invite Malcolm X to speak on campus while he was visiting Flint.

Recalls Shedd:

“I was president of the World Affairs Club and I had seen in the Flint Journal that he was going to come to a mosque in Flint. So I got their information and called and said we would like to invite him to come to the university and speak. They took my name and my phone number. About 10 days later I got a call saying he would come. Then, having that confirmation, I thought ‘well, I had better tell [Assistant] Dean Plummer.’ I didn’t think it was particularly controversial, and he didn’t say it was controversial, but he certainly was excited. He said, ‘oh my, we’ll have to get permission for this.’ I said okay and then I left him. I’m sure the phone lines then crackled to Dean French’s office.

It didn’t occur to me that this was monumental; I just thought he would be really interesting.

Within a few days they had approved the program so we set it for one afternoon in room 1040, the auditorium. I was also the electronics person for the science department, so I got some of our wire and some speakers and things and put speakers in [room] 2040 so we could have space for overflow. They didn’t want press and they didn’t want outsiders, only faculty and students.

He came, he spoke for about an hour, and he told us all of the ills.

At the conclusion of Malcolm’s speech he told us how historically we had done a lot of wrong things; you couldn’t fault anything that he said. It was all totally accurate and honest. Even seen through anybody’s eyes in the audience that day, they had to acknowledge this was history. And so the whole room got up and applauded. And that took his breath away! I don’t think he had been in that kind of circumstance where the essentially white audience had said, ‘you’re right.’

So he and his entourage left. It was a great sorrow that later he was assassinated. He had a lot of skills and a lot of things to say; it was unfortunate that he was eliminated from the picture.”

StudentGovernmentCouncil1964

1964 Student Government Council. William Shedd is third from right, back row.


Since Shedd’s undergrad days, the University of Michigan-Flint has grown in size and in dedication to connecting students with political, social, and artistic leaders from around the world.

In February, UM-Flint will host its second annual Africa Week to kick off African American History Month. This week of free public events is hosted by the Department of Africana Studies and the Office of Educational Opportunities Initiatives with support from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Highlights include Detroit poet Jessica Care Moore on Monday, February 1; films from Senegal on Tuesday, February 2, and from Nigeria on Thursday, February 4; and the Oromo Community Youth Dancers at the Flint Farmers’ Market on Saturday, February 6.

Our special guest for the Lunch & Lecture on Wednesday, February 3, is Dr. Rita Kiki Edozie of MSU. She will present, “Malcolm ‘Omowale’ X (Re)Turns to Africa: Pan Africanism and the Black Studies Agenda in a Global Era.”

In March we will welcome poet Niyi Osundare as the 2016 Visiting African/African Diaspora Artist, brought to campus by a collaboration between the Africana Studies Department and the Flint Public Library with funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation.

For more information on these upcoming events, please visit https://www.umflint.edu/africana.

01/27/16

Africana Studies and Theatre Enrich Actor’s Role in The Call

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Kenyatta Brown on the set of “The Call”

Kenyatta Brown is a senior majoring in Africana Studies and minoring in Theatre. He is playing the role of Alemu, an immigrant from western Africa, in the upcoming UM-Flint production of The Call by Tanya Barfield.

Thanks to his courses in Africana Studies, Kenyatta was able to bring unique insight to the role. His own personal experiences from family life and growing up in Flint also helped to enrich his portrayal. Read on as he discusses his role in this new production.

How did you connect with this character?
When you get a character, one of the exercises that most directors will do is have the actors give that particular character a backstory. The backstory is the thing you think the character was doing before this particular box of two hours happened. What was this character doing before this happened? Why is this character like this? What happened in this character’s life? Because we all have a turning point in our lives that makes us think a certain way and act a certain way. So creating a backstory for Alemu—definitely my Africana studies helped me. Because of the genocide in his country, the guilt that he carries because he made it out—it’s kind of similar to how I felt growing up here and then going away to the Navy. I grew up in a rough neighborhood—so my friends were kind of stuck doing the same thing. When I came home to visit, I kind of felt guilty. They would see me and think ‘oh, you’ve got it going on,’ which I didn’t, but to them I did.

Another thing in the backstory, I try to find similarities to me and the person, the character. One similarity is that Alemu’s father had died of sickness and my father died of cancer. There’s a part in the story where he’s wishing he could do something, but there is nothing he can do—same here, you know? So, that allowed me to kind of feel where Alemu was coming from.

How do you feel about this role?
It’s funny because with this role there were so many qualities that I could relate to in him. But then, on another note, it was very challenging because of things like the accent. He’s a little weird, so he brings a little comic relief, but I don’t want him to come off as stupid or just as the ‘funny guy.’ That’s my goal for the character. You have to walk that thin line and you have to be careful. Because you want to portray the right thing—what you want the audience to get.

How do you feel about the ambiguity surrounding some of this play’s characters and situations?
That’s the beauty of this playwright. She doesn’t answer any questions. So I think this particular play is a great play to come and see. Especially if you like to debate afterwards or if you like to have a dialogue with those you’re with when you see it. It’s a good piece for conversation. She leaves it out there, and there are so many issues in this hour and thirty minutes!

I’m excited about the last day that we perform, that has the Q & A session [with the audience] afterwards. I’m curious about what people will ask. All she says is that Alemu is from West Africa; she doesn’t say what country. It’s not just his character that’s ambiguous; there are five characters and for each there are questions that can still loom after the play.

What advice do you have for audience members?
Come with an open mind, because it will benefit you. Be open to things that you don’t agree with—lifestyles you don’t agree with, or cultures that you don’t necessarily get into. Just come open.

What did you take away from this role and this play?
This play made me think about trust. In Flint the term “genocide” is floating around with the water issue. I thought about things like the Tuskegee experiment. When the people don’t trust the powers that be, there’s something happening within that. It’s a scary thing sometimes.

I dug deep into this. I thought, ‘What if I didn’t have the water issues here? Would I have dug so deep?’ Being human, I had to ask myself that. I have to check myself in a way, wondering if I am as sensitive to others as I need to be.

What has it been like being a student of Africana Studies and Theatre?
For me, it’s great and it’s challenging, too, because I’ve been away from college for some years and just came back this year. From the Africana Studies standpoint, it’s great, just learning more about my culture that I didn’t even know, which I love.

It’s learning about the thing that I love and who I am, and then learning about what I love to do. . . Combining the two is perfect. I think this play, for me, it came on time. Opening night is my father’s birthday. I haven’t been on the stage in three years. In LA, I was doing film and TV, too, but I got custody of my daughter three years ago and theatre takes a lot of time. So this is my first play being back on stage, on his birthday. So, I’m excited.


The Call opens on January 29 and runs on select days through February 7, 2016. For show times and ticket information, visit umflint.edu/theatredance and click “current season.”

There will be a Special Discussion with the Director on Wednesday, February 3, at 2pm in the Thompson Center for Learning & Teaching, 134 Thompson Library. Join in to learn about the play and gain insight into the artistic choices used to present this dynamic story.

12/18/15

CAS Recognizes December 2015 Graduates with Honors

On December 16, 2015, the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint held a ceremony to recognize their students graduating with honors, including the CAS Maize & Blue Award winners.

DeanGP_Dec2015honors

Dean Gano-Phillips welcomes students and their families to the December 2015 Honors Recognition Ceremony at UM-Flint

Dean Gano-Phillips opened the evening with a quote from Vince Lombardi, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. That’s the price we have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal.” She went on to praise the students for their perseverance and dedication to excellence. She also acknowledged their families for the important support they provide to students.

The honors recognition ceremony allows each student to be individually recognized by a faculty member from their department. The faculty talked about our students’ work ethic, research, and community service; they often noted the great strength of character, humor, and thoughtfulness shown by students.

One graduate noted that the event left her feeling humbled and and extremely impressed by the accomplishments of her peers.

Photos are available from the evening. Visit our album at facebook.com/UMFlintCAS.

Congratulations to all of our graduates!

DECEMBER 2015 CAS GRADUATES with HONORS:

Majd Abufarha
Joshua Ahlborn
Mohamed Allam
Ranim Baroudi
Linda Batrow
Sade Blanks
Amanda Bodine
Jessica Bostian
Jake Brejnak
Caleb Bullen
Genelle Bundle
Melissa Butzow
Gino Cabadas
Dana Cardinal
Ryan Clark
Katie Cobb
Jason Dameron
Jennifer Dieck
Mohammad Dlewati
Robert Downer
Elizabeth Elston
Connor Everhart
Chandler Fish
Paul Fulkerson
Alexander Giddings
Anthony-Jacob Girard
Holly Goetterman
Melody Groomes
Noelle Herzog
Nathan Holbeck
Taylor Hollis
James Johnston
Michael Joslin
Richard Kagle
Kyle Knight
Andre Linden
Amy Majorana
Bradley Maki
Taylor Mata
Candice Mayer
Kayla McIntire
Michael Meddaugh
Krystal Miller
Alireza Mirahmadi
Nicole Moffitt
Jessica Morgan
Krystal Murphy
Shelby Myers
Emily Palmer
Chelsea Parkinson
Brekke Pichette
Jacob Reuther
Ashley Rich
Patrick Ross
Nakshidil Sadien
Hayley Schroeder
Haley Smith
Nina Smith
Elizabeth Speicher
Jared Sterba
Tyler Szczepanski
Thomas Thompson
Monica Towns
Roger Turkowski
Ryan Turvey
Cara Walker
Samantha Walling
Dawn Watters
Marcina Wheelihan
Tarah York

12/1/15

Giving Blueday – December 1, 2015

Impact students. Start a journey. Fund the future.

On Giving Blueday, Tuesday, December 1, 2015, we are asking you to donate any amount you can to the departments or programs that mean something to you. Even $5 makes a difference if everyone gives!

We also ask that you share the stories of our programs’ requests–so others can give, too!

Read below for specific requests and links for each of our programs.

Give proud, give loud, and GO BLUE!

 

AfricanaStudies.StampAfricana Studies
The Africana Studies Department is dedicated to diversity and global awareness. To do so they utilize literature, theatre, film, and traditional academic studies. Each year they bring Africa Week to the Flint Community and they work with the Flint Public Library to present a visiting writer or author.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/AfricanaGBD

Anthro.StampAnthropology: AIYER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Dr. Aiyer was an associate professor of anthropology and a passionate researcher and teacher. The Regents of the University of Michigan regarded him as “a valued student advisor [and a] respected leader in his department.” Make a gift to his namesake scholarship and help future students who demonstrate a special commitment to education.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Aiyer

Biology.StampBiology: STUDIER and SUCIC SCHOLARSHIPS
The Biology Department is celebrating two of its dedicated faculty by requesting gifts to their memorial funds. The Eugene “Doc” Studier Scholarship offers research support to Biology graduate students. The Holly Sucic Memorial Scholarship serves students in the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology programs.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Studier or go.umflint.edu/Sucic

ChemBio.StampChemistry & Biochemistry: BLECKER CHEMISTRY SCHOLARSHIP
Professor Harry H. Blecker was the founder of the Department of Chemistry and a faculty member from 1957 to 1989. This fund honors him and helps Chemistry students complete their studies at UM-Flint. In his obituary, Professor Blecker’s family said “It was important to him to help future generations. This vision was his passion for working with thousands of students at UM-Flint.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ChemistryGBD

ComVisArts.StampCommunication: UM-FLINT DEBATE TEAM
The UM-Flint Debate team has had a winning tradition at national-level debate for the last few years. Gifts made to this fund will allow the team to continue traveling and debating at tournaments near and far. Although housed in the Communication Program, the team is open to all UM-Flint students. Give today and keep them the Victors of Debate!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Debate

ComScience.StampComputer Science & Information Systems
Help fund study and research by Computer Science & Information Systems students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ComputerScienceGBD

CriminalJustice.StampCriminal Justice
Help fund study and research by Criminal Justice students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/CriminalJusticeGBD

EarthScience.StampEarth & Resource Science
Help fund study and research by Earth & Resource Science students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the department leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EarthResourceScienceGBD

Economics.StampEconomics: SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Department of Economics awards $500 scholarships every semester to our highest achieving majors. These scholarships allow students to cover any cost associated with attending, such as tuition, books, fees, etc.  Our students are very grateful to the generosity of our donors, as these scholarships make a meaningful impact on their lives.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EconomicsGBD

Engineering.StampEngineering
Help fund study and research by Engineering students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EngineeringGBD

English.StampEnglish: STUDENT BOOK SCHOLARSHIPS
Every student has to buy books, but English majors have to buy a LOT of books! In the department we try to keep book costs as low as we can, but the reading remains essential. We were all cash-strapped English majors ourselves, and that’s why we want to establish the English Book Scholarship Fund. For us, anything we can do to defray these expenses is worth doing, but we can’t do it alone.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EnglishGBD

FLLshortForeign Language & Literatures: MONICA KARNES SCHOLARSHIP
Monica Karnes was a student in Spanish at UM-Flint. Although she was seriously ill, she “continued to pursue her education . . . demonstrating a commitment to excellence which is in the best tradition of the University.” Our UM-Flint Chapter of the Phi Sigma Iota Int’l Foreign Language Honors Society established this fund in 1985 in her memory “to benefit students who share Monica’s hopes, her dreams, and her spirit.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ForLangGBD

History.StampHistory: MUSEUM OF LONDON INTERNSHIP
Help one of our students travel to London, England, for our first international internship! This experience will have a profound effect on their love of history and future studies and career. The student will work at the Museum of London.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/HistoryGBD

InterGlobalStudies.StampInternational & Global Studies: STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIP
Named for Dr. Matthew Hilton-Watson, associate professor of Foreign Language and the Director of the International and Global Studies Program, this scholarship helps undergraduate and graduate students travel the globe. Give the gift of experience, diversity, and expanded horizons to UM-Flint students while you pay tribute to Dr. Matt.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/GlobalStudiesGBD

Math.StampMathematics: FAMILY MATH NIGHT
Twice each year the Math Department hosts Family Math Night, a free event where young children and their families have fun together with math. The kids learn two important lessons: math can be fun, and they can do it! Help us continue this tradition of community engagement and inspiring future mathematics majors!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/MathGBD

Music.StampMusic: MUSIC MAJOR SCHOLARSHIP
Voice. Instrumental. Classical. Jazz. Contemporary. Music can mean so many things, but, at UM-Flint, each definition has passionate students in common. Your gift to this scholarship will help future Music majors follow their dreams toward a life of making music. Encourage them to embrace creativity! This is an endowed scholarship, so your gift will be continuous.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/GBD

Philosophy.StampPhilosophy: CANDACE BOLTER SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT
Our Candace Bolter Scholarship is $2,500 away from reaching endowment status. Once endowed, the scholarship will always be available to fund future Philosophy students. Says past recipient Thomas Mann, “[scholarships] give the student the sense that someone else believes in what they’re striving for, and for the student, that can mean the world.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PhilosophyGBD

Physics.StampPhysics
Help fund study and research by Physics students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PhysicsGBD

PoliticalScience.StampPolitical Science
Help fund study and research by Political Science students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PoliticalScienceGBD

Psychology.StampPsychology
Help fund study and research by Psychology students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PsychologyGBD

PublicAdmin.Stamp-2MPA Program: ALBERT C. PRICE SCHOLARSHIP
Professor Albert Price served as Director of the Master of Public Administration Program for 24 of the its 35 years. He was also one of the program’s best known faculty members and a mentor to many of its graduates. Donations to this scholarship will help future MPA students complete the program that means so much to Dr. Price.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Price

Sociology.Stamp-2Sociology: MARSTON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AWARD
Gifts to this fund will benefit our students AND our city! Established in 2010 to honor the memory of Professor Wilfred Marston,
this endowed fund supports students who undertake a civic engagement project with a sociologically relevant research component that focuses on the improvement of Flint.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Marston

Official.Theatre.Horz.Sig.png.binTheatre & Dance: FRIENDS SCHOLARSHIP
This fund supports Theatre & Dance students as they cultivate the necessary tools, both artistic and personal, to meet the demands of an ever evolving world and profession. With your support our students will stand ready to take a place of responsibility in the community at large and excel as fearless artists, flexible workers, and compassionate citizens. Thank you for giving!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/TheatreDanceGBD

Untitled-1[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkv8B1VeXaE[/youtube]
Visual Arts & Art History: STUDENT TRAVEL
The Visual Arts and Art History Faculty would like support for students and student travel for Giving Blueday. In summer 2015 our students traveled to Paris, France. They loved the experience and can already see the benefits of their time there. Your gift will allow future Visual Arts & Art History students the chance to expand their horizons and find new inspiration!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/VisualArtsGBD

WomenGenderStudies.StampWomen’s & Gender Studies: CRITICAL DIFFERENCE FUND
The WGS would like gifts to be made to the Women’s Education Center Critical Difference Fund. This small grant helps students facing emergency situations stay in school. Says one recipient, “I believe this grant is important because everyone needs help sometimes and even the littlest thing can save a life.” Give today and be a victor for those who need it the most.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/CriticalGBD

WritingCenterlogoWriting Center: C. SCOTT RUSSELL SCHOLARSHIP
The C. Scott Russell Scholarship helps writing students with the expense of higher education. The scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in English 109: College Writing Workshop based on their writing improvement and financial need. ENG 109 is designed as an independent study in writing. Students focus on writing issues that interest them and are important to their academic success.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/WritingCenterGBD

09/2/15

CAS Faculty Welcomed and Honored at 2015 Convocation

On Monday, August 31, both new and seasoned faculty gathered together for two events: the Academic Affairs Convocation that welcomes new faculty and celebrates our award-winning, promoted, and long-serving faculty members, and the Thompson Center for Learning & Teaching‘s pre-convocation workshop titled “The Actual and the Possible: Cultivating Learning at UM-Flint.”

The workshop featured sixteen faculty presentations, with representatives from each school or college at UM-Flint, focused on innovative and effective teaching methods used in (or out of) classrooms.

The College of Arts & Science was well represented with six faculty speaking on topics ranging from technology to storytelling.

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Brian DiBlassio discusses teaching musical elements online.

Brian DiBlassio, Associate Professor and Chair of Music and recipient of the Provost Teaching Innovation Prize, was the first CAS faculty member to present. He discussed the ways in which he brings music alive for online students–where formerly they had only static words on a screen to inform their lessons. By incorporating video, moving graphics, sound, voiceover, and popular media, DiBlassio is able to answer the “challenge of teaching arts purely through text.”

Nicholas Kingsley, Assistant Professor from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and recipient of the Lois Matz Rosen Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, spoke to his peers about technology that works for both his teaching style and his students’ needs. From interactive digital presentations to a pen that allows recording and playback of his method for working through complex problems, Kingsley demonstrated how his technology choices serve students in the classroom and create resources for future use.

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Pat Emenyonu from the departments of English and Africana Studies listens to a presentation at the TCLT pre-convocation workshop.

Jill Slater, Lecturer of Biology, presented on this past spring’s Cell-ebration: a science symposium she created to inform and inspire students from all of her classes. Slater combined more seasoned students’ experiences and newer students’ questions to present cellular research being done across her courses. Her event engaged students in new ways and allowed there to be a focus on what happens after they learn research methodologies in lower level courses. All students came away with skills they can use later in their academic studies and in their professional and research careers.

Thomas Henthorn, Assistant Professor of History, spoke on an oral history project from his class Gods in the City. Henthorn uses the lesson to emphasize listening and communication skills while students explore new topics and religion through their interviews with community members. He spoke about the value of an assignment that can’t be simply gathered from online sources. Said Henthorn, “as wonderful as technology is . . . most of the world’s important business happens face to face.”

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Erica Britt talks about Vehicle City Voices and the stories of Flint residents.

Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the English Department, continued with the storytelling theme by talking about her Vehicle City Voices project. Britt has utilized both graduate and undergraduate students in her collection, coding, and presentation of stories from residents around the city of Flint. In addition to being a documentation of memories, her project is a study in the vocal patterns of speakers in Flint. Students created transcripts and developed word-level, phrase-level, and sentence-level analysis on their collected stories.

Margaret Ware, Lecturer in Biology, was the final CAS speaker of the day. In her discussion she showed how combining factual health histories with fictional characters allowed her students to have a more involved and engaged experience when completing a case study project. Students worked individually to create a story from lab data and then as a small group selected their favorite story or combined elements to create a new one. Ware noted the students were able to utilize a wide variety of skills, including the unusual combination of creative writing and scientific data collection.

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UM-Flint faculty, staff, and administrators listen to presentations at the TCLT’s 2015 pre-convocation workshop.

After all the presentations were made, participants had small table discussions to talk about their favorite methods from the day and also to share their own unique methods of teaching. The event was closed by TCLT’s Tracy Wacker who spoke to the joy of teaching and learning as she wished all a successful Fall 2015 semester.


The focus on UM-Flint’s teaching excellence continued later that afternoon at the Academic Affairs Convocation in the UM-Flint Theatre.

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Provost Doug Knerr welcomed faculty back to another year of excellent teaching.

The event began with an introduction by Chancellor Susan E. Borrego and a warm welcome from Provost Doug Knerr.

Faculty Awards were announced, with CAS faculty claiming eight of the nine honors:

Lois Alexander, Professor of Music: Teaching Excellence Award

Lixing Han, Professor of Mathematics: Scholarly or Creative Achievement Award

Kathy Schellenberg, Associate Professor of Sociology: Distinguished Service Award

Ernest Emenyonu, Professor of Africana Studies: Alvin D. Loving Senior Faculty Initiative Award

Karen Salvador, Assistant Professor of Music: Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Junior Women Faculty Award

Peggy Kahn, David M. French Professor and Professor of Political Science: Dorthea E. Wyatt Award

Nicholas Kingsley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry: Dr. Lois Matz Rosen Junior Excellence in Teaching Award

Traci Currie, Lecturer of Communication and Visual Arts: Collegiate Lecturer Award

Ricardo Alfaro, David M. French Professor and Professor of Mathematics, was also honored as the UM-Flint nominee for the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award.

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Traci Currie receives a congratulatory hug from Chancellor Susan E. Borrego

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Professor Ricardo Alfaro receives his Presidents Council Sponsored Faculty Award from Provost Doug Knerr

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Assoc. Professor Kathryn Schellenberg receives her Distinguished Service Award from Provost Knerr as Chancellor Susan E. Borrego looks on

Services awards were given to those who have been at the university for 10, 20, or 40 plus years:

Ten years or more: 
Jacob Blumner, English; Traci Currie, Communication & Visual Arts; Michael Farmer, CSEP; Janet Haley, Theatre & Dance; Terrence Horgan, Psychology; Jason Kosnoski, Political Science; Maria Pons-Hervas, Foreign Languages & Literatures; Jie Song, Chemistry & Biochemistry; and Jeannette Stein, Psychology

Twenty years or more:
Jamile Lawand, Foreign Languages & Literatures; Paula Nas, Economics; Stevens Wandmacher, Philosophy

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Assoc. Professor Jason Kosnoski receives his Faculty Service Award for 10 years or more of service

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Interim Dean Susan Gano-Phillips announced new and promoted faculty of CAS.

Promoted faculty were celebrated (click here for a full story), with those moving from assistant to associate or associate to full professor being named by Interim Dean Susan Gano-Phillips.

From associate professor with tenure to professor with tenure:
Lois Alexander, Music; Jami Anderson, Philosophy; Roy Barnes, Sociology; John Stephen Ellis, History; Michael Farmer, Computer Science and Information Systems.

From assistant professor to associate professor with tenure:
Dauda Abubakar, Africana Studies and Political Science; Julie Broadbent, Psychology; Daniel Coffield, Jr., Mathematics; Rajib Ganguly, Physics; Christopher Heidenreich, Music; Daniel Lair, Communication; Vickie Jeanne Larsen, English; Shelby Newport, Theatre and Dance; Greg Rybarczyk, Earth & Resource Science.

In addition to honoring our more seasoned faculty, the convocation also serves as a welcome to new faculty. The College of Arts & Science welcomed ten new faculty members:

Karen Bedell, Lecturer of Psychology; Halil Bisgin, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; David Duriancik, Assistant Professor of Biology; Jason Jarvis, Lecturer of Psychology; Jacob Lederman, Instructor cum Assistant Professor of Urban Sociology; Jeffrey Livermore, Lecturer of Computer Science; Brian Schrader, Lecturer of Communication; Amanda Kahl Smith, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice; Matthew Spradling, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; and Amanda Taylor, Lecturer of Psychology.

Each of the new faculty will be more thoroughly introduced to the campus and community through CAS Faculty Spotlights, located on the CAS website, throughout the Fall 2015 semester.

The College of Arts & Sciences would like to offer sincere congratulations to all of our faculty on their awards, recognition, promotion, or introduction to the University of Michigan-Flint. We are looking forward to a wonderful academic year of service and teaching.

05/26/15

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.

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Professor Lois Alexander

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

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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.

ellis

Professor John Ellis

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

farmer

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.

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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.

rybarczyk

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!

 

 

05/18/15

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 go.umflint.edu/testimony.

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