Category Archives: Philosophy Department

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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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.



UM Regents Announce New Appointments for Promotion and Tenure

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

Dauda Abubakar Africana Studies Assistant Professor

Associate Professor Dauda Abubakar

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


Professor Lois Alexander

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


Professor Jami Anderson

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

Roy Barnes

Professor Roy Barnes

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

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

Daniel Coffield Mathematics

Associate Professor Daniel Coffield

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


Professor John Ellis

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


Professor Michael Farmer

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

Associate Professor Rajib Ganguly

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


Associate Professor Christopher Heidenreich

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

Dan Lair

Associate Professor Daniel Lair

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

Vickie Larsen

Associate Professor Vickie Jeanne Larsen

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

Shelby Newport

Associate Professor Shelby Newport

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


Associate Professor Greg Rybarczyk

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

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



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.


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!

Congratulations to the December 2014 CAS Maize & Blue Award Winners!


The Maize and Blue Award is the highest academic award bestowed upon graduates of the University of Michigan-Flint. Recipients not only have to show excellence in their coursework and GPAs (3.75 or better), but must also be nominated by their faculty/department to be eligible. Nominees are considered based on their intellectual maturity and depth, character, talent, and service to their department, community, and UM-Flint. The Scholarships, Awards, and Special Events Committee and the Provost then chooses up to thirteen outstanding students from each graduating class to receive the Maize and Blue Award.

The College of Arts and Sciences would like to recognize and congratulate our student recipients for this great achievement! Read below to learn more about our winners through the faculty who nominated them:

Grace A. Carey, BA double major in Anthropology and Sociology
Graduating with High Honors

Nominated by Hisyar Ozsoy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology:

“Grace has an excellent academic record and graduated with a 3.99 GPA in August 2014 (Anthropology and Sociology Majors, Honors Program, and a minor in International and Global Studies). Her academic record speaks for itself. She is very intelligent, diligent, resourceful and open-minded. Her intelligence, intellectual curiosity and dedication truly distinguish her scholarship from others. The quality of character she displays in interpersonal relationships and the talents she demonstrates in extracurricular activities also distinguish her from others. Grace has displayed an extraordinary rapport with other students, staff and faculty and has been singled out by many as a treasured member of the UM-Flint community. She has been an active member of several student intellectual communities and clubs and someone who enriches the intellectual life of the community. I simply could not think of a more deserving candidate for this award. Seven faculty gave Grace their strongest recommendation possible, for she fully embodies the pillars of the Maize and Blue Award – intellectual depth, talent, character, and service to the community – and has effectively used these to contribute to the efforts to ‘revitalize Flint’ toward making it a better place for all.”

Rebecca A. Horning, BS in Applied Psychology
Graduating with High Honors

Nominated by Dr. Hillary Heinze, Assoc. Professor of Psychology:

Becca was unanimously supported by our faculty [for the Maize and Blue Award], most of us have been fortunate to work with her in various capacities and contexts. Throughout her time at the University of Michigan-Flint, Becca has demonstrated a range of interests, being involved in virtually all aspects of psychology–research, community service, supplementary instruction/tutoring and peer mentoring. I will highlight the many ways in which Becca personifies the core pillars of this award: intellectual depth, talent, character and service to the department, university and community.

Perhaps most importantly, Becca is truly passionate about psychology. She is curious, engaged in her learning, consistently going above and beyond what is required to enhance her knowledge, skills and experience in psychology. Dr. Bellamy describes Becca as “a student who clearly has a zest and curiosity for learning that makes her standout amongst her peers and is at the top of her class”. Dr. Stein notes that Becca is a pleasure to work with because she is so eager to learn: “…Becca seems to see challenges as opportunities for growth. She takes responsibility and seeks out additional material and guidance.  It has never been ‘how can I get an A’. It has been about committing to changes that will allow her to get the most from her education.”

Becca not only has excelled in courses required for her degree; she has pursued numerous supplementary and/or elective departmental and university opportunities, further demonstrating her passion for psychology and love of learning. She has presented her research at student and professional research conferences (Midwest Psychological Association), she has attended leadership workshops, engaged in study abroad (Netherlands), completed a psychology internship (Fenton Schools), and assumed leadership roles in student clubs and organizations (Psychology Club; Golden Key; Psi Chi). In addition to her own research, she has assisted ongoing faculty research projects.

As noted across achievements and involvements, Becca is clearly not motivated by grades or building a resume, but by her passion for learning, doing good work and helping others. Interpersonally, she is one of those students you hope to have in class or collaborate with (hence, her involvement with so many department faculty and richness of faculty comments). She is engaged in courses and discussion, thoughtful, and she always seems to be smiling and bubbling over with excitement, whether discussing her organizational involvements, courses, internship, research activities, study abroad, or academic plans.

Even when facing significant challenges, Becca remains positive and solution focused. Dr. Stein notes, “Things don’t always go as planned. Becca’s positive attitude allows her to easily overcome obstacles. As a researcher, she was flexible and able to make adjustments as necessary. She responds well to criticism…I find this to be quite rare among our students.” Another common thread is her conscientiousness and dedication to helping others, whether it be her classmates, children in the schools, UMF students or vulnerable individuals within the Flint community. She is kind, warm and always willing to help, often putting the needs of others above her own.

In all that she does, Becca personifies intellectual depth, talent, character, and commitment to service, to not only excel in her coursework, campus and community activities, but to inspire excellence in others. We believe she will continue to inspire positive change in future endeavors. She has the [Psychology] department’s highest recommendation.

Andrew M. Slabchuck, BA in Philosophy
Graduating with High Honors

Nominated by Dr. Jami Anderson, Assoc. Professor of Philosophy; Dr. Benedicte Veillet, Asst. Professor of Philosophy; Dr. Simon Cushing, Assoc. Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Anderson: “As both his instructor and his advisor, I believe I have gotten to know Andy during the past few years and am well positioned to assess his merits for this award.

Andy possesses all the traits that make him an ideal student. His papers are excellent: his analyses of the issues are intelligent, his writing is clear, his arguments well-structured and his reasoning persuasive. Andy is engaged: he comes to class prepared for enthusiastic discussion and, while he takes the matters seriously, he is genuinely pleasant to discuss ideas with. He obviously values input from his classmates and they enjoy his company and respect his ideas. What is most impressive, though, is the commitment Andy brings to his university education. . . during the past few years Andy has had to face and overcome amazing obstacles—ones that would prove far too much to handle for many of us. Yet, not only has Andy survived, he has succeeded.

During the past year, I have watched Andy move beyond simply being an excellent philosophy student in the classroom to becoming what I think of as a genuine citizen of philosophy. In February 2014, he presented a paper (“Chess and Regress”) at the undergraduate conference hosted by the Philosophy Department and the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics; he later published his paper in the student managed undergraduate journal compos mentis. This year he is a very active Vice President of our Philosophy Club and helped grow that club from last year’s flabby four-member group to the throng that now meets for hours on end every single Thursday afternoon. (I am witness to this group’s weekly enthusiasm as I teach my Metaethics course in the same room they hold their meetings and every week I have to hustle them out of the room because they cannot tear themselves away from the conversation—and there is Andy, right in the midst of it, not only sharing his ideas but mentoring our younger, new majors and minors.) He will also help organize the upcoming 3rd Annual undergraduate philosophy conference in February 2015 as well as help organize the two compos mentis journal publications that will be published during Winter semester.

Andy told me a week or so ago that he has finally settled on a career plan, which is to go to law school to study disability law. He is fully aware of how difficult it is for individuals who have disabilities to enjoy the full accessibility they have a right to, which would allow them to live to their full potential. I am confident that Andy will not only succeed in law school, but will work hard to make the world a fairer and better place. Andy Slabchuck is one of the best students I have had the honor to teach at UM-Flint and therefore it is with mixed feelings that I contemplate his upcoming graduation. On the one hand, I regret that he will no longer be a student in my philosophy courses, yet on the other I look forward to news of his future accomplishments. I have no doubt that he will do honor to both the Philosophy Department and the University of Michigan-Flint.

Elisa C. Taylor, BFA – Performance
Graduating with High Honors

Nominated by William Irwin, Assoc. Professor & Chair of Theatre: 

I could think of no one more deserving when I was asked to nominate candidates for the Maize and Blue Award. While working with Elisa in the Theatre Department I have been amazed by her vigorous commitment to bettering herself and her peers’ experience in the theatre. Even in the face of some adverse circumstances, Elisa conducts herself with poise and with sensitivity to her fellow classmates. She always exhibits compassion and sincere empathy.  She is also passionately curious about the world and how things work. Further, I can attest without hesitation that her work ethic, sincerity, preparation, communication skills and generosity make her a true delight to work with and know. Similarly, she possesses a natural ease and engaging vibrancy, which make her ideally suited for any classroom, rehearsal hall, and/or social situation. Students of theatre will be hard-pressed to find a better peer-mentor while exploring the craft. She has a great, off-beat sense of humor, never takes herself too seriously and possesses a sincerity that makes all with whom she comes in contact feel comfortable. She is a team player and is exemplary in her conduct, solidarity and maturity. Our entire department has been enriched by her presence.

Finally, her service work has been impressive and impactful. She has been deeply committed to serving our department, our university, and the community (both locally and internationally.) As Treasurer of the UM-Flint Student Theatre Group, she has worked tirelessly at securing funds and organizing travel arrangements in order for theatre students to attend meaningful master-classes and/or professional workshops. She also contributes regularly to F.U.E.L., future minded University-students for environmentally-conscious living, as the organization’s vice-president. She serves as the vice-president of the UM-Flint College Democrats where she promotes progressive public policy and encourages her peers to actively participate [in] local, regional and national politics. Additionally, she contributes regularly to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the Flint River Clean-up initiatives. Her most impactful service, in my estimation, has been her work in Tanzania where she has volunteered with the Aston Vision Orphanage teaching English and Math where she also worked tirelessly to raise funds and initiate the construction of new restroom facilities for the orphanage. I find this level of service to be incredible when combined with her level of academic success, creative productivity and employment responsibilities. She is truly impressive and selfless.

JoAnn S. Zak, BA in English
Graduating with High Honors

Nominated by Dr. Jacqueline Zeff, Professor of English – Literature


UM-Flint Philosophy Students, Professors Host International Conference on Free Will

The Philosophy Department of UM-Flint is partnering with the Insight Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience (IINN) to present a professional conference by the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics (CCN). The interdisciplinary conference, focusing on Free Will, will be held October 10th and 11th at the IINN in Flint, MI. Presentations will be made by over sixty scholars from Africa, Asia, West Asia, South America, and North America, including 22 separate states.

This second annual event has been coordinated by UM-Flint Philosophy Department faculty member Dr. Jami Anderson and will be realized through generous support from UM-Flint and IINN. Says Anderson, “This year, we had a donor sponsor the Kane-Dennett award to the top two papers that address the classic philosophical puzzles in area of free which concerned Robert Kane and Daniel Dennett, both philosophers who wrote some of the most important works addressing philosophical puzzles concerning free will.”

Dr. Anderson will not be the only representative of UM-Flint present at the event. As part of his capstone experience, Philosophy major Dustin Scruggs will also be there. Scruggs will gain hands-on experience that will later be implemented as he works at the 2015 Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, hosted by his department.

Thomas Mann, Philosophy Club president and dual-major in History and Philosophy, had the same experience during his capstone class in 2013. Mann found value both in learning the practical side of how a conference runs and the opportunity to “find someone who works professionally in the topics you are interested in pursuing. Next thing you know, you’re having an invaluable one-on-one conversation with someone you probably would have never met without the conference. Even beyond that, it provides an opportunity to meet with graduate students from across the United States and talk about their experiences–experiences that I will (hopefully) be having beginning next year!” He was able to apply what he learned by observing the CCN conference to running the Undergraduate Philosophy Conference later on, “I had an advantage especially last year (my first conference) because I already had an expectation of how things should go.”

Participants in the CCN Free Will conference will have the opportunity to turn their talks into full papers and then submit them for consideration for publication in the Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics.

For more information on the Free Will conference, and to see the program, please visit them online or email Dr. Jami Anderson at

To learn more about the Philosophy Department of UM-Flint, please visit their website.

Philosophy Department Announces Lecture Series


The Philosophy Department of UM-Flint has announced the first event in its Visiting Lecture Series.

On Thursday, October 16th, Dr. Hilde Lindemann, member of the Philosophy Department at Michigan State University, will present her lecture “Struggling to Catch Up: Families, Identities, and Narrative Care.”

Families perform many morally valuable functions for their own members, not the least of which is providing care when they are ill or injured. I argue that a second family function–that of sustaining their members’ personal identities–is deeply implicated in that care. After explaining the narrative nature of identity maintenance, I discuss three cases where family caregivers must find the right stories to repair the identity of one of their own: where the identity has been repudiated, where the identity lies at the limits of responsibility, and where the patient has lost her second nature. As I examine these cases, I argue that if health care professionals recognize and respect this familial caring labor, they can do a better job of providing the patient with their own form of care.

Her lecture will be held from 5:30-7:30pm in 302 Murchie Science Building.

The second lecture in the series will feature Dr. David Shoemaker. He will be presenting “Psychopathic Responsibility: From Anger to Disdain” on November 20th.

To learn more about the Philosophy Department and their Visiting Lecture Series, visit the department website or email the department chair, Stevens Wandmacher at

CAS and DEEP Programs


The dust is settling from the first rush of back-to-school. Among those who headed to the classroom after the Labor Day holiday were scores of students who attend classes at the Lapeer County ISD Education and Technology Center building in Attica, Mich. Some of these participate in the Dual Enrollment Education Partnerships, or DEEP program, offered by Lapeer County ISD and UM-Flint. This program allows capable and interested high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credits. These credits are applicable to four-year degree programs at UM-Flint, and potentially to other institutions.

In addition to offering extra challenges to high school students, the DEEP program encourages enrollment in college after high school and retention in college courses after the first year. According to a study by the University of Iowa’s College of Education, “dual enrollment students who completed 20 or more credits in the first year of college were 28% (p<.01) more likely to persist through the second year in college than were students who did not complete dual enrollment courses.” A major finding of the study was that participation in dual enrollment “indicated statistically significant impacts upon studets’ academic momentum.” The study also indicated positive trends for dual enrollment students completing their degrees in less than average time.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Lapeer’s ISD is offering two programs: Pre-Engineering and Medical Careers Acceleration. Each consists of four courses, two in the fall semester and two in the winter semester. Enrollment is limited to 30 students in each of the programs. At the end of this academic year, students who have completed both semesters will have earned 13 college credits.

The Medical Careers Acceleration Program (MCAP) is jointly managed by UM-Flint’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and the School of Health Professions & Studies (SHPS). Courses for Pre-Engineering are managed by the Computer Science, Engineering, and Physics (CSEP) Department of CAS.


This year’s curriculum for MCAP includes BIO 113: Principles of Biology, HCR 206: Health Sciences Applications, BIO 328: Genetics, and PHL 168: Philosophy of Bioethics. The Pre-Engineering classes are CSC 101: Fluency with Information Technology and Computing, EGR 165: Computer Aided Design, CSC 175: Problem Solving and Programming I, and EGR 102: Introduction to Engineering.

The courses selected for inclusion in the Lapeer ISD DEEP program are considered by faculty to be desirable because they will help students develop a stronger academic foundation in the profession being studied and accustom students to the rigors of college-level work.

The Lapeer ISD DEEP program is just one of several for UM-Flint faculty involvement. Another example is just around the corner from the university at Powers Catholic High School. There, students can participate in two separate 12-credit Humanities Programs. The Senior Humanities Program includes ENG 111: College Rhetoric, COM 210: Introduction to Public Speaking, ENG 112: Critical Writing and Reading, and ARH 112: History of Renaissance to Modern Art. The Junior Humanities Program includes ENG 213: American Ethnic Literature, PHL 202: Intro to Logic, ENG 111: College Rhetoric, and HIS 114: Twentieth Century World History.

Sites also exist within the Lapeer Community Schools, Livingston County Schools, and Utica Community Schools. More DEEP program locations are being considered.

For more information on UM-Flint’s DEEP program, please visit their website.

View a video from one of UM-Flint’s DEEP sites in Davison, Mich: