Category Archives: Economics Department

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.


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

Congratulations to all of our graduates!


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

December 2015 Maize & Blue Winners Announced

MAIZE&BLUEThe Scholarships, Awards and Special Events Committee and Provost Douglas Knerr announced that December 2015 recipients of the Maize and Blue Distinguished Scholar Award, the highest academic award bestowed upon the graduates of the University of Michigan-Flint. Join us in congratulating these outstanding students and all those nominated!

Joshua D. Ahlborn**
Bachelor of Science – Computer Science

Paul A. Fulkerson** (Double Major)
Bachelor of Arts – English-Writing Specialization
Bachelor of Arts – Economics

Nathan S. Holbeck** (Double Major)
Bachelor of Science – Health Care Administration
Bachelor of Arts – Physics

Taylor E. Mata**
Bachelor of Arts – English

Dawn M Watters**
Bachelor of Science – Applied Psychology

David T. Yeoman**
Bachelor of Science – Environmental Science & Planning

These awards will be presented at the commencement program on December 20, 2015.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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Paula Nas Named Interim Director of University Outreach

On Monday, November 2, Provost Douglas Knerr announced Paula Nas as the new Interim Director of University Outreach, effective November 1, 2015.

Read below for his comments:

NasI am delighted to announce that Paula Nas has accepted an appointment as Interim Director of University Outreach effective November 1, 2015.  Paula has served UM-Flint for over 20 years in various roles.  Currently a Lecturer in Economics, she is also Director of the Center for Economic Education in the Department of Economics.

Paula is a proud graduate of the Honors Program at UM-Flint where she received her B.A.  She also holds an M.A. from Michigan State University and a J.D. from Wayne State University.

Paula is passionate about community engagement, specifically in connecting our students with local business, education, civic, health care, and municipal leaders through a variety of initiatives.  Her students have worked collaboratively with colleagues from the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce and local municipalities on projects ranging from a seven-county wage and benefits survey to a county-wide broadband assessment analysis.

Paula’s work through the Center for Economic Education has connected her with numerous K-12 students and educators to provide financial literacy and economics programming and activities.  Most recently, she has worked with a colleague from the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce to assess and improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Flint and Genesee County, as well as ways in which the entire UM-Flint campus can integrate entrepreneurship across the curriculum.

Paula is a member of the Honors Council and serves as the Honors Program Advisor.  She is also a member of the Social Studies TCP Committee.

As an active volunteer with many civic organizations, she serves on the Grand Blanc City Council.  Paula is eager to continue to expand and broaden meaningful relationships between the campus and the community in ways that will benefit our community partners and our students, faculty, and staff alike.

Please join me in congratulating Paula!

Douglas Knerr
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.

Philosophy Alums Find Success in Grad School; Reflect on Time at UM-Flint

UM-Flint Philosophy alums have a long history of finding success in their academic and career fields. Douglas Grattan and Thomas Mann, two recent graduates, are no exception as they have both been accepted into teaching assistantships with full tuition waivers and annual stipends as they pursue their graduate degrees at separate institutions.


Douglas Grattan, 2014 grad with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Economics.

Douglas Grattan (2014) will be heading to the Master’s Program in Philosophy at Colorado State University. In addition to his academic duties, he will be working on revisions to a book he’s written. When asked how he expects to spend his time at CSU, Grattan said, “As far as plans go, most of my time will be spent teaching or working, and in my free time I hope to finish the book completely and look at getting it published, as well as continue working on another book that I have in the works. Other than that, I hope to get involved on campus as much as possible and try to present at conferences whenever the opportunity arises. The time I don’t spend on all of that will be spent exploring the hiking the mountains, biking, and exploring the state.”

When asked how his time at UM-Flint and in the Philosophy Department prepared him for this next step in life, Grattan said, “Above all else, the philosophy capstone course was a huge boost for me—I was able to work on a literary review (that was eventually published online), intern at a philosophy conference, and at the end of the semester present a paper in a conference-style setting, which are experiences that I will have to repeat as a graduate student and which I thoroughly enjoyed. Beyond that, every philosophy class that I took was beneficial to me in some way, as I used many of the ideas that I learned within them as springboards for parts of my books and for other research projects. In many ways, I have used or will use everything that I have learned at UM-Flint, and I am eternally grateful for it.”

Grattan speaks of Dr. Simon Cushing as the faculty member who made the biggest impact on his time at UM-Flint. “[He] was by far my favorite professor. I enrolled in every class of his possible because he was extremely knowledgeable, approachable, interesting, and witty, so I always looked forward to his classes. I learned a great deal from him, and in many ways I wish to emulate his teaching style as both a graduate teacher and as (I hope) a professor later in life. In addition, while I was only able to have him as a professor in the capstone class, Dr. Stevens Wandmacher had much the same effect on me and gave me a great deal of encouragement.”

Grattan’s time at UM-Flint was not entirely spent in a classroom. “Part of the capstone class that I mentioned above was a two-month internship with the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics, which is a joint collaboration between the IINN in Flint and the philosophy department at the college. Through this, students in the capstone class are given the opportunity to do research on particular subjects that are of interest to those that run the institute, which they in turn incorporate into their medical practices or use as means towards further research, as the research is published online in the form of a literary review. This benefits society because the topics are of immediate importance to the medical field and beyond, given the fact that they have to do with questions of morality, patient rights, memory, personal identity, and much more. This was personally meaningful to me because not only was I able to make an impact in some way, but the topic that I chose to research opened my eyes to a great many topics and problems that, more than anything, led to my decision to specialize in applied ethics as a graduate student. It also became the genesis for the second book that I am currently working on.”


Thomas Mann, 2015 graduate. Dual majors in Philosophy and History.

Thomas Mann (2015) will be heading to the University of Memphis for his philosophy MA this autumn. He also credits the faculty of the Philosophy Department for preparing him for this next step, “Certainly the philosophy department was extremely unique. Not only did the instructors do a wonderful job teaching, but they also got students to get excited in the subject. They also began the Michigan Undergraduate Conference and the undergraduate philosophy journal, which was very useful to me personally because it provided experience that very few undergraduates have.” When asked to describe the impact of specific faculty members, Mann said, “Dr. Cushing’s logic class for first getting me interested in philosophy, Dr. Veillet’s classes that gave me a perspective in philosophy I probably wouldn’t have been interested in otherwise; Dr. Wandmacher’s feminist ethics class and encouragement; Dr. Artis’ combination of history and philosophy, and Dr. Anderson’s classes that really got me thinking and writing better.”

Mann also found value outside of his first major’s department, “Also the history department was a big impact, especially Dr. Molnar, who not only took over the reins as my advisor but was always there for encouragement and guidance when I wasn’t confident I was much of a writer of history. There was also Dr. Kosnoski [of Political Science] and Dr. Lutzker [of Economics], who fostered and encouraged my interest in social theory, politics, and economics. I was also able to talk to Dr. Kietzman [of English] about the life and thought of some rather obscure figures, and that meant a lot to me as well.”

When asked about advice for incoming College of Arts & Sciences students, Mann said, “Do try and find what you love to do, what you are truly passionate about. And then try and find some other people who enjoy that as well. I would encourage this to be primarily academic, as it is an academic environment, but it can be extracurricular too. Sometimes students choose a major without a passion for it, or with an idiosyncratic passion for it, and it can die quickly if you think it’s too strange or too unusual. This should never be a reason to give up a/n (academic) passion! If there isn’t a club on campus, make one. If you don’t think anyone else is interested, ask around and see if there are majors in that subject. If nothing else, talk to a professor in the subject.”

Grattan added, “I would advise them to get involved as much as possible . . . and to get to know their professors. There are a multitude of opportunities on campus and within the city, as Flint is rebuilding and UM-Flint is a large part of that, giving students many unique chances to impact the community around them. In addition, professors are, in my experience, highly approachable and willing to give advice or help to students, meaning that they are invaluable to your education in a way that goes beyond just the classroom. Lastly, I would also advise them to open up in class, as many of my favorite memories at UM-Flint are the lengthy discussions within classes, as many of the professors strive to make their students part of the class and ask for their input rather than just lecturing. This allows for everybody to have a voice and hear many viewpoints or ideas that otherwise they would miss out on.”

To learn more about the Philosophy Department at UM-Flint and the ways in which they prepare students for their futures, visit their website. For updates and more news on alums and students, visit the Philosophy Facebook page.



Get to Know Suzanne Shivnen of Political Science and Economics!


Suzanne Shivnen with Professor Albert Price, CAS Interim Dean and longtime Political Science faculty member

Name: Suzanne Shivnen
Title: Administrative Assistant Intermediate
Department(s): Economics and Political Science

Degree(s), Education, or Certification(s):
Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, 1986
Major: Marketing
Minor: General Business and Communications

Professional or Personal Volunteer Activities:
Staff Council member from 2012-2014

Awards or Recognitions Received (UM-Flint or Community):
• Margaret Rogers Award
• Staff Recognition Award Winner 2015
• CAS Academic Advising certification
• Sterling Staff Award recipient

Ways in which I support or interact with UM-Flint students:
I assist students on a daily basis. I am the first person they see when they come into our office. I answer questions they have, facilitate them meeting with their advisors or professors. I also work with our Pi Sigma Alpha students (Political Science Honors Society). Many times, students have questions on how a process works. The department is usually their first stop to help guide them through the University.

Ways in which I support or interact with UM-Flint faculty:
Our faculty are busy teaching courses, working on research, serving on committees and community engagement, as their administrative support, I assist them by keeping the office running smoothly. I administer the financial work for the department and help them with various projects.

Ways in which I support or interact with UM-Flint staff:
As a departmental administrative assistant, our office suite consists of a variety of departments. Our success depends on working well together while communicating the goals and visions of the College of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty works very hard to ensure student success. Our department encourages students to visit with their faculty, get advised on their progress, and participate in student engagement. A lot of questions students have are related to how a process works or where to go to initiate the process, I assist them by explaining procedures or processes.

Ways in which I am involved with my department or program’s community engagement:
We consistently invite guest speakers to our campus to discuss a wide variety of topics. Last fall, we offered a three-part lecture series on ‘The Future of Michigan Cities” as well as a performance by Bob Weick, “Marx in Soho”.

What I feel my department or program does best for students:
The Political Science faculty want to deepen the understanding and knowledge of the function of governments, politics, public policy and public affairs in the USA and around the world. The Political Science faculty strive to teach students about the world, their political systems, and talk about relevant issues involving our government and political system. We also offer a Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society opportunity to our Political Science majors. PSA is involved in many different areas on campus.

The Economics faculty shares their knowledge with student by introducing economic tools and methods to study a variety of subjects. Economic students learn to recognize the costs and benefits with alternative choices. They also examine “cause and effect” relationships. Students can apply the concepts they learn in Economics to every day decisions and the impact one choice or decision makes over another, different choice.

The Economics Club meets on a monthly basis and is involved in a variety of areas on campus.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
Since I began at UM Flint 10 years ago, I strive to treat our students as I’d want my own children treated at their university. The reason I am here is to help our students succeed in their academic success. I hope to contribute to the educational experience by making processes or procedures run smoother for them to attain their educational goals.

What I hope for students from my department or program:
I hope students gain knowledge to help them attain their academic and educational goals. I hope they look back on their time at University of Michigan – Flint with fond memories of supportive faculty and staff.

Three things you should know about me:
1. I’ve been married for 27 years to my husband, Keith. We moved to Grand Blanc, Michigan twenty-one years ago.

2. We have two great children. Our daughter, Jennifer, is 23 years old and a MSU graduate who is applying to graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. Our son, Steven, will be 21 this month and is a Lance Corporal in the United State Marine Corps. He will be deploying on a Marine Expedition Unit in January 2016. He’s currently stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA.

3. Seven years ago, we adopted two rescue pups named Sammi and Sadie. They were litter mates and we couldn’t separate them! It was their lucky day. They are great dogs, good travelers, and are a fun addition to our family.

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Pictured: Chancellor Susan E. Borrego, Suzanne Shivnen, and Political Science’s Dr. Peggy Kahn. Photo taken at the 2015 Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony and featured on Chancellor Borrego’s Twitter.

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

Giving BlueDay – Tuesday, December 2nd

BLUEDAY_smallOn Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014, the University of Michigan is asking you to turn Giving Tuesday into Giving BlueDay – a day of online giving to the funds of U of M, including UM-Flint. The College of Arts & Sciences is encouraging donors to pick a specific fund and the amount that is right for them – even $5 donations mean a lot to our departments!

Following are links to our department and program funds, some of them discuss the specific needs your gifts will go to fill. For those that do not have a specific purpose listed, donations will go into their general gift fund and can be used as the department chooses. We hope you can help us make this a successful day of giving, and make a difference for our students!

AFRICANA STUDIES: Funds received will help establish a scholarship that supports Africana Studies Majors and Minors and honors former Chancellor Charlie Nelms who “intensified the university’s emphasis on student success, setting ambitious goals for increasing student retention and graduation rates.”


BIOLOGY: We have an ongoing need for undergraduate/graduate research support as well as scholarship support. Donations to the following funds will make a positive impact on the academic and career success of Biology students: William R. Murchie Science Fund, Eugene Studier Memorial Research Scholarship Fund, and the Holly Sucic Memorial Scholarship Fund.

CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY: The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department would like to put funds towards the purchase of equipment that will enhance and expand students’ learning opportunities. We hope to both enrich their time at UM-Flint and better prepare them for real-world experiences!





ECONOMICS: Funds given will be used to fund the Economics Club Scholarship that is given every semester to an Economics major to pay towards any aspect of their schooling, including tuition, books, and fees. Help us continue to provide this support to our club and students!


ENGLISH: We want to reinstate the English Department’s Visiting Writer Series, which was a victim of budget cuts. The series will bring nationally and internationally renowned authors to UM-Flint to meet with classes and the community. Help us bring back this meaningful tradition!

FOREIGN LANGUAGES & LITERATURES: We ask that gifts be made to the Monica Karnes Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund was established in 1985 by students in the UM-Flint Chapter of the Phi Sigma Iota Int’l Foreign Language Honors Society to “benefit students who share Monica’s hopes, her dreams, and her spirit.”



MUSIC: Funds donated to the Music Department during GivingBlue Day will be used towards the purchase of a concert grand piano. This instrument will benefit solo performers, as well as vocal and instrumental performances of many musical genres–and the audiences who listen to them!

PHILOSOPHY DEPT.’s CANDACE BOLTER SCHOLARSHIP FUND: We are just $3,000 away from having our Candace Bolter Scholarship reach endowment status. Once endowed, the scholarship will always be available to help fund future Philosophy students. Help us to help others study Philosophy!





THEATRE & DANCE: Students of the Theatre and Dance Department have a variety of high impact travel opportunities available, but often need help in funding their trips. Donations made to the Theatre & Dance Department will be used to diversify the avenues of support available to their students.

VISUAL ARTS: Funds will go to print-making equipment for our new concentration, funding student travel to museums and architectural tours, a vent for the wood shop, and torches to teach flame-working. Help us expand our students’ learning experience by giving to Visual Arts!

WOMEN’S & GENDER STUDIES: The WGS would like donations intended for them to be made to the Women’s Education Center Critical Difference Fund. This small grant is intended to help students who are facing emergency situations stay in school. The grant assists some of our most at risk students, many of whom are returning women and first-generation college students. DONATIONS MADE TO THIS FUND ON GIVING BLUEDAY WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $200!

If you do not see a fund you’d like to give to on the above list, browse all the options, including Research, Scholarships, and more, within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Whether you give or not, please share this blog’s link on your social media feeds to spread the word about Giving BlueDay!