Category Archives: International & Global Studies

UM-Flint History Heads for Peaks and Valleys of Germany

Chris Molnar, Associate Professor of UM-Flint History and 2016-17 Wyatt Fellow

UM-Flint History and the Wyatt Exploration Program

Since 2009, the Wyatt Exploration Program has allowed History students in UM-Flint’s College of Arts & Sciences to travel the world with their faculty—at almost no cost to the students themselves.

The program is funded from a generous bequest made by Dr. Dorothea E. Wyatt, the first chair of the Department of History and one of the original sixteen faculty members of the University of Michigan-Flint (or Flint College as it was called in 1956).

Each Wyatt journey is led by a History Department faculty member (known as the Wyatt Fellow) and explores a region and topics related to their field of study. Past trips abroad have been made to Poland, Japan, Wales, and London; others have explored topics closer to home, heading to the “Old South” and even staying in Flint.

Both UM-Flint History majors and minors are  eligible to apply for the Wyatt Exploration Program.

When history major Monica Wiggins transferred to UM-Flint from Mott Community College, she was ecstatic to find out about the Wyatt program and its support for students. She said, “When I found out via email that I had been selected, I screamed, cried, and then said a thank-you prayer to Dorothea Wyatt. Having the trip paid for enables ‘broke college students’ to experience another country and culture that they might otherwise not be able to. It makes you a better informed person. You study these places and events, and then getting to see them first hand and in person is completely different.”

A Life-Changing Journey

The Wyatt Program is officially announced each year at a Kick Off Celebration. This year’s event, held in early September, included talks by the 2015-16 Wyatt Fellow, Professor John Ellis; department chair, Professor Roy Hanashiro; and one of the student travelers from the 2016 trip to London, Melissa Ormechea-Smith.

Dr. Ellis described his trip as a transformational experience, and noted how special it was to see London through the eyes of his students, saying “that is an experience as a teacher that is irreplaceable.”

Melissa Ormechea-Smith - Social Studies TCP and English Literature student - speaking on the UM-Flint History trip to London, England, in 2016.

Melissa Ormechea-Smith – Social Studies TCP and English Literature student – speaking on the UM-Flint History trip to London, England, in 2016.

Melissa Ormechea-Smith, a student of education and english literature, was also changed by her three weeks in London, England. It was her first time abroad and she was grateful for the financial support provided by the Wyatt Program. She noted that, while trips to museums, palaces, and the financial district were memorable, it was the chance to visit the resting place of Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey that will really stay with her. Amidst awe-inspiring architecture and while being humbled by the sheer weight of history, said Smith “I was brought to tears by gratitude for the Wyatt experience. In that huge crowd, I had a profound personal experience.”

Smith is working on her secondary teacher’s certificate program (TCP) in social studies. She knows her experience in London will make her a better teacher and that it’s something she’ll share with her students. “I knew I wouldn’t be the same person coming home,” said Smith, “My perspective and outlook are forever changed.”

The 2016-17 Wyatt Exploration Program—titled “Germany: Land of Peaks and Valleys”—will be led by Dr. Chris Molnar, Assistant Professor of European History. Said Molnar, “It is a great honor to have been chosen by my colleagues as the 2016-2017 Wyatt Fellow. Now I am excited to have a chance to share my interest in German history and culture with the campus community and to take a group of students to Germany and Austria at the end of the year.”

Germany: Land of Peaks and Valleys

“When people hear ‘Germany,’” said Molnar at the Wyatt Kick Off event, “they think of two things: beer and Nazis.” With this in mind, Molnar chose his Wyatt Exploration Journey carefully—intent on showing his students that there are many more sides to Germany. He acknowledged the Third Reich and the Holocaust may be the darkest spots in Germany history, but reminded the audience that they are not the whole history.

Chris Molnar, Associate Professor of UM-Flint History and 2016-17 Wyatt Fellow

Chris Molnar, Assistant Professor of UM-Flint History and 2016-17 Wyatt Fellow

Molnar plans to bring students to Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Munich—focusing on the Bavarian region of Germany and its Alpine mountain range. They will also stop in Salzburg, Austria. Said Molnar, “The mountains have shaped German and especially Austrian culture, and so Wyatt explorers will also have a chance to head up into the mountains to take in the fresh air, breathtaking views, and traditional alpine hospitality.”

Students will see the remains of a Roman fortification, visit the favorite seat of the Holy Roman Empire, cruise the Danube, ride a cable car to the peak of Untersberg mountain, and enjoy traditional fare at a variety of eateries.

Continued Molnar, “Those who take part in this year’s Wyatt trip will develop a much deeper appreciation for the complicated history and culture of a fascinating and beautiful country!”

Wyatt Events for Campus & Community

To be eligible for the Wyatt Exploration trip, History majors and minors attend a series of events in addition to the required coursework. The events consist of guest lectures and fun activities—most open to all campus and community members.

The 2016-17 Wyatt events include:

• Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Lecture: “The Many Faces of Munich: The Bavarian capital in the Turbulent Twentieth Century” with Dr. Derek Hastings, Associate Professor in History at Oakland University.
Time: 4pm
Location: 251 French Hall

• Saturday, October 15, 2016
Oktoberfest Celebration featuring a thirty-piece German brass band, a dance floor, and complementary Bavarian dinner buffet. Registration required.
Location: Flint Elks Lodge, 7177 E. Maple Ave., Grand Blanc, MI.

• Thursday, October 20, 2016
Lecture: “Terrorism and Security: or, How Did We Get Here? The Example of 1970s West Germany” with Dr. Karrin Hanshew, Associate Professor in History at Michigan State University.

• Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Wyatt Movie NightAli: Fear Eats the Soul

• Monday, November 14, 2016
Lecture: “The Modern Invention of the Medieval Executioner” with Dr. Joel Harrington, Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.

• Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Krampus: the South German Christmas Devil. Join us on St. Nick’s Day to hear Professor Molnar describe the murky origins, history, and cultural meaning of Krampus, the south German Christmas devil.

Full event details will be posted on the UM-Flint History website. Questions can also be directed to Chris Molnar at

For more information on the Wyatt Exploration Program, visit or call 810.762.3366.

Applications for the 2016-17 Wyatt Exploration journey to Germany open in November 2016 and close in early January 2017. History students interested in being considered should obtain a passport and further details from the UM-Flint History Department office.

2016 Visiting African Artist is Poet Niyi Osundare


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

New German Course Focuses on Business, Management

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures has good news for UM-Flint students!

A new course, GER 120: Basic German for Business & Management, will start in Winter 2016.

This course requires no previous experience with the German language, and will focus on vocabulary and cultural practices from the German business world. Faculty member Elke Kramer explains that this is the “only course that allows you (students) to start German from scratch and with business German terminology right from the beginning.”

The course is open to all UM-Flint students.


Kramer continues, “Taking German for more than just the core curriculum requirements has a better look on the resumes. It allows HR to see that a student can actually communicate in German and has more to offer than just survival skills or intro level German proficiency.”

She also hopes that the focused curriculum will help students looking to find employment with one of the more than 350 German companies that operate in Michigan.

The class will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:45pm. Visit to register.

As an added bonus, any UM-Flint student who registers by December 13 will be entered to win one of ten $100 campus bookstore gift cards!

If you have questions about studying German at UM-Flint, contact Elke Kramer at or call 810.762.3370.

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:

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:

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: or

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

Meet Ayana Ghosh – 2015 Alumna of CAS, UM-Flint

Ayana is the featured “New Alumni” from the October 2015 CAS Alumni Newsletter. Read below to get to know this incredible graduate!

Ayana Ghosh, UM-Flint Alumna

Name: Ayana Ghosh
Majors: Physics, Abstract Mathematics
Student Groups/Campus Involvement: Indian Student Association (Chair- 2014-2015), The Michigan Times (2011-2014), International Center (Employee and volunteer, 2011-2015), Society of Physics Students (2011-2015), Student Success Center ( Tutor- Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics- 2011-2013, Supplemental Instruction Leader- Physics – 2012-2015), First Street Ambassador (2013-2015), Dance Instructor (2014-2015), Undergraduate Research Assistant (UROP- 2011-2015)
Year of Graduation: May 2015

Where are you heading next?
I’m pursuing my PhD in Physics and Material Science at New Mexico State University. Throughout my PhD, I will be collaborating with national labs like Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Argonne via research fellowships.

I would like to be a scientist in near future. On completion of my doctoral degree, I plan to do postdoctoral studies at a national lab or an academic institution.

**UPDATE** Ayana sent us an note on November 4th with her updated plans:

I am moving to University of Connecticut from January 2016. They offered me a PhD position in Material Science department, which is among top 25 public research programs in the country. I will be working in collaboration with Pfizer and Argonne National Lab.

Also one of my papers got published last month in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A.

How did your University of Michigan-Flint education prepare you for what you are doing next?
If I have to phrase it one line, I will just say, “UM-Flint gave me all that I expected and much more to build me in every way what I am now!” My department always supported me throughout my undergraduate career, to excel in research by providing me funding as well as opportunities to travel to different conferences to present my research. I also had the chance to balance out between finishing two majors in four academic years and engaging myself on an average of five jobs on campus. All of these have really helped me to focus on my career more along with nurturing my hobbies.

Who is the person(s) who made the biggest impact on your UM-Flint career (professor, advisor, mentor, fellow student, an alum, other)? How specifically did they affect your life?
It is really hard to take one name for this question. I would mention Dr. James Alsup andDr. Maureen Thum for sure.

Dr. Alsup trusted my research capabilities from the very onset of my undergraduate career. I couldn’t excel in research without [the] effort and encouragement that came from his part.

Dr. Maureen Thum is one of the incredible personalities I have met on campus. She not only ensured my success in my majors but also helped me developing my skills for graduate schools and thereafter. I would also like to thank the staff of International Center and First Street Residence Hall for being my continuous support through those years. They gave me a home in the midst of unknown.

What is the value of UM-Flint professors developing curricula in which classroom learning & concepts are applied to real world situations?
Coming from science background, I highly think the hands-on-research environment [is] very useful for students. It is really not possible to know the science without actually doing it. You can learn from books but until and unless you try to apply it somewhere useful, it is not that valuable in my opinion. Also doing labs and research enhances learning process. To do good research, you should always have to read a lot to know what has been done before in the field. Therefore, it helps you to get the whole picture of the past and the present of the respective field.

In classroom environments, the professors ensure that students engage in collaborative learning by assigning different projects, grouping the students, discussing the ideas. I think this way the students also get to talk to their peers and see how they think about a specific topic.

The higher level courses in the curriculum generally include capstone projects where one or more students pair up to build a project which help them to gravitate and spread their knowledge.

Describe a firsthand example of an engaged learning experience at UM-Flint.
I got engaged in undergraduate research through my first semester at UM-Flint. This was a very crucial step for me since I want to be a research scientist in the future. Beginning it early has helped me to develop so many skills that are really useful in my future career. I could go to many conferences to present my research work, which gave me opportunities to connect with people sharing similar interests. Since I like to travel and see the world, this is also a great way to do science and get out of your daily world.

What do you think UM-Flint does better than any other university?
In UM-Flint you aren’t just a number! You are a student, taught by qualified professors in respective fields in a reasonable class size. This is highly important at the early stages of career, because building strong foundations is all you need to later succeed in life.

What advice would you give to an incoming UM-Flint freshman?
Work hard, grab all the opportunities that you can. It might look small but it has a lot to offer if you have an eye to look for it. Bug your professors as much as you want, because here they are ready to help any time.

Describe “the UM-Flint of the future.” What could it be? What should it be? For students? For Flint? For the world?
For students it should be the ‘learning hub’
For Flint it should be the signature of empowerment of the city.
And for the world, the students should prove what they can be, where they can reach, even coming from a small campus as UM-Flint! Go Blue!

To learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint, visit

Shelby Newport Announced as Director of the International & Global Studies Program

U-M flint faculty staff portrait on Sept. 9, 2013. Shelby Newport

Shelby Newport: Assoc. Professor of Theatre & Dance and newly announced Director of the International and Global Studies (IGS) Program

On Thursday, September 10th, Vahid Lofti, Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Programs, announced that Shelby Newport had been appointed the new Director of the International and Global Studies Program. Following is his announcement to campus:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Shelby Newport as the Director of the International and Global Studies (IGS) Program, effective September 1, 2015.  Shelby has been serving as the Interim IGS Director since March 2015.

Shelby is associate professor of Theatre and Dance. She has been actively involved in international education, including serving on the IGS faculty since 2012.  Shelby has led two IGS endorsed study abroad courses to England that focus in her content area of British Performance and Design. She also serves as the resident costume designer for the Department of Theatre and Dance and has designed costumes in England. Shelby has an interest and passion for global education and is looking forward to working with the departments that contribute to the International and Global Studies minor.

In the relatively short period of time that she has served as the Interim Director, Shelby has already made a number of procedural improvements to the program. She has worked closely with the Office of Education Abroad over the summer and assisted course leaders for the 2015 Spring & Summer IGS endorsed study abroad programs.

Shelby’s appointment was based upon unanimous recommendation of the interview panel and in consultation with Provost Knerr.  I would like to thank and acknowledge the members of the interview panel for their excellent work: Professor Derwin Munroe, Mr. Daniel Adams, and Ms. Asinda Gadzama.

I believe IGS will continue to achieve even greater accomplishments with Shelby at its helm and look forward to working with her.  Please join me in welcoming Shelby to this important position.

For more information on the IGS program, visit


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.

UM-Flint Alum Hosts Science Fiction Conference


The CCN’s conference included six panels and 16 speakers from around the world.

In late March, academics from around the world gathered at the Insight Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience in Flint, Michigan, for a conference on “The Work of Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction.” The event, from inception to production, was the work of UM-Flint College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) alumnus Zea Miller; it was supported by the UM-Flint Department of Philosophy and hosted by the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics (CCN).

Now a doctoral student of Theory and Cultural Studies in the English Department at Purdue University, Miller can boast a long connection with UM-Flint, including a 2006 BA in French and International Studies, a 2011 MA in English Language and Literature, his staff and committee positions within CAS, and his current work as a project manager for CCN where he handles administrative and technical affairs, including journal production and website design.

When asked about the idea behind his conference, which explored the topics in ways that are new to the fields of philosophy and science fiction, Miller said, “Given the box-office popularity of science fiction narratives last year, we thought that a conversation on how identity, language, and cognition interplay with neuro-substance (ab)use, neuro-enhancement and perfection, and neuro-invasive treatments and manipulation would be timely. To that end, since CCN is committed to sponsoring interdisciplinary collaborations, and since my research interests include theory and science fiction, I wanted to foster a space where scholars could explore the work of cognition and neuroethics in science fiction, and thereby begin a new critical conversation.”


Attendees listen as members of the second panel discuss their topics.

Miller’s interest in the subject matter was shared by others in academia, and participants came from as far as England for a chance to share their thoughts among peers. Following are the speakers and their topics:

• “Unrecognizably Human: Empathic Perception and Augmented Others in Recent Science Fiction Film”
– Shannon Foskett, University of Chicago
• “Being, Technologically Human”
– Meghan Roehll, University at Buffalo, SUNY
• “Black Mirror‘s ‘The Entire History of You’: Memory as a Recording Device”
– Mark Huston, Schoolcraft College

• “Electric Existentialism: The Sisyphean Subject in Greg Egan’s Permutation City
– Brandon Fenton, York University
• “Science Fiction Embedded in Neuroethics: Mindlessness and Nihilism”
– Howard Ducharme, University of Akron
• “The Quality of Life: The Implications of Augmented Personhood and Machine Intelligence in Science Fiction”
– Damien Williams, Independent Scholar

• “The Informational Substance of Human Reality: Cognitive Growth, Healing, Communication, Radical Transformation
– Susan Castro, Witchita State University
• “Experiencing Universal Interconnection Through Science Fiction Minds”
– Peter Buzby, Penn State University
• “Dual-Process, Two-Minds, and Science Fiction”
– Joshua Mugg, York University

• “Blockchain Thinkers and Smart Contracts to take over the World?”
– Melanie Swan, Kingston University, London
• “Mary Shelley’s Uncanny Consciousness: Frankenstein as a Thought Experiment for the 21st Century”
– James Tierney, Oakland University
• “Biology in/as Rhetoric in Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction: A New Paradigm for Epistemology”
– Meghan K. Riley, University of Waterloo

• “Evolution and Neuroethics in the Hyperion Cantos”
– Brendan Shea, Rochester Community & Technical College
• “Identity, Ethics, and Complex Decision Making in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
– Ellen Moll, Michigan State University

• “Moral Enhancements: What does science fiction teach us about moral improvements?”
– Jason Howard, David Bauer, and Jeffery Nyseth, Viterbo University
• “Apes with a Moral Code? Exploring the Boundaries of Moral Responsibility in The Planet of the Apes
– Paul Carron, Baylor University


Panel Two. Chaired by Meghan Roehll.

When asked about the chance to explore these unique viewpoints in such an established genre, Miller said, “While research on the relationship between cognition, science fiction, and genre is extensive, the ways in which cognition and neuroethics are deployed in these narratives remains relatively unexamined, so much so that we have a groundbreaking opportunity.” All presenters will have the option to submit their works for publication consideration in the CCN’s Journal of Cognition and Neuroethicsa peer-reviewied and open access publication that would allow the conference works, and their novel ideas, to reach a much wider audience.


Zea Miller, UM-Flint alumni and organizer of the science fiction conference.

Miller plans to continue the conference next year and feels fortunate that his experiences at UM-Flint both prepared him for such projects and afford him the opportunity to continue working with the university faculty and facilities: “While exciting, this is only one project among many. Between faculty-student research collaborations, scholarship fundraising efforts, the capstone course, and conferences and journals through CCN, the Philosophy Department remarkably and critically engages with the community. As an alumnus, it is therefore an honor to continue working with CAS faculty. We are doing amazing work, and it is a credit to our campus that faculty, students, staff, and alumni have such opportunities.”

For more information on the Philosophy Department, visit their website. To learn about the CCN’s conferences and publications, find them online or email Dr. Jami Anderson, Co-Director, at

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


2015 Global Issues Speaker Series Event on February 24th


Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is the featured speaker at the 2015 Global Issues Speaker Series

Join us for the 2015 Global Issues Speaker Series discussion on “Hunger, the Agrarian Question, and Food Justice” on Tuesday, February 24th, from 5-8pm at the Flint Farmers’ Market, 300 E. First Street, Flint, MI.

The 2015 Speaker is Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi of Trent University in Canada. Dr. Akram-Lodhi is the Chair of the Deparment of International Development Studies.

Trained as an economist, the focus of his research is in the political economy of agrarian change in developing capitalist countries, on the economic dimensions of gender relations, and on the political ecology of sustainable rural livelihoods and communities in contemporary poor countries. His most recent book is Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question.

Dr. Akram-Lodhi will be joined by a discussion panel made up of Roxanne Adair, owner of Flint River Farms; Stephen Arellano, owner of Five Elements Farm and The Noodle Underground, Food Systems/Hunger Consultant, and Technical Assistant to a Spanish-speaking co-op of Battle Creek Farmers; and Erin Caudell, co-owner of The Local Grocer.

This event is free and open to the public.

For questions please contact the UM-Flint International & Global Studies Program: 810.762.3340