Category Archives: Political Science Department

Faculty Spotlight: Daniel Hummel of Public Administration

Daniel Hummel, PhD, joined the UM-Flint College of Arts and Sciences in Fall 2017 as an assistant professor of public administration in the Political Science Department.

Daniel Hummel, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at UM-Flint

Daniel Hummel, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at UM-Flint

Read below to learn more about him and the field of public administration, or join him in one of his upcoming classes:

  • PUB 311: American State and Local Government
  • PUB 500: Politics, Policy, and Public Administration
  • PUB 502: Public Sector Management
  • PUB 518: Budgeting and Finance in the Public Sector
  • PUB 578: State and Local Public Finance
  • PUB 596: Intergovernmental Relations

Admitted students can register at or find more information about upcoming semesters at

Why are you passionate about your field?
Public administration is a central aspect of civilization. Despite the popularized hatred of government, it is hard to imagine any modern society functioning without one. I strive to understand the interconnections between local economic activity, the optimal functionality of government, citizen engagement and participation, the response of citizens to taxes and regulation and the response of government to human behavior. This is my passion.

This field is the nexus of multiple fields. There is economics, psychology and political science. I find myself reading journals from multiple fields to understand a phenomenon in public administration. It is for this reason that I have published in diverse journals. It is also the reason I have found myself on panels at conferences with historians and sociologists. I received my degree from the College of Design and Social Inquiry at FAU where I rubbed shoulders with scholars in public administration as well as planning. My dissertation was on fiscal health and right-sizing cities which combined public finance with planning practice. My first academic position was in the College of Arts and Letters at Idaho State University in a political science department and my last academic position was in the College of Business at Bowie State University in a management and marketing department. This field is vibrant and growing.

How did you fall in love with your discipline?
Interestingly, I had no interest in public administration before my final year of my Bachelor’s degree in International Politics. I was more into the study of religion and culture than how to balance a government’s budget. I wanted to study Central Asia and I wanted to work closely with Tom Gouttierre at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in their Center for Afghanistan Studies. Tom recommended that I get my MPA at UNO since the Center did not have a degree program. I was not enthusiastic about it, but I gave it a try.

My first semester I met Dale Krane and John Bartle. Both professors were exceptional, especially Dr. Bartle. It was Dr. Bartle that showed me that public budgeting and finance is an amazingly interesting topic. When I finished my MPA I decided that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in the field. My time at Florida Atlantic University solidified my love of the field and my interest in public budgeting and finance. I also became increasingly interested in local government, especially in the wake of the Great Recession. I grew up in the shadow of industrial decline in northwestern Pennsylvania and, after reading about the Youngstown 2010 Plan, I decided that I really wanted to focus my research on declining cities. This entire experience has been immensely rewarding for me.

What are your favorite courses/subjects to teach?
My favorite course to teach is public budgeting and finance. I am teaching a class at UM-Flint called State and Local Public Finance (PUB 578). I am really looking forward to this class as it combines my dual interests of local government and budgeting / finance. I also enjoy teaching public policy. I am [also] teaching PUB 500 which is titled Politics, Policy and Public Administration. I will enjoy this class because half of it will be on the foundations of public administration in the United States and the other half will be on public policy.

What is your latest or favorite research project?
Currently, I have one paper in revision that is focused on the relationship between urban population and housing density and urban productivity. I am interested in this dynamic because one of the central assumptions of smart growth and smart decline is that urban productivity is a function of urban density. In shrinking cities this would mean consolidating the population in healthy centers which is a highly controversial thing to do. So far, my research is indicating that low density development is more closely associated with higher productivity values than high density development at least for the United States in the years selected.

In addition to this project, I am presenting a paper on the relationship between student debt levels and housing vacancy this year at the Northeastern Association of Business, Economics and Technology conference. So far, I am noticing that many neighborhoods in historically declining areas of cities are attracting recent college graduates for many reasons, reducing vacancy in these places. One of the reasons is the housing affordability in these places as recent grads are unable to afford homes elsewhere due to high debt-to-income ratios.

What do you hope for your time at UM-Flint?
I want to make an impact not only in the classroom with my students, but on the community of Flint and the region. My research has implications for practice in declining regions and I want to be a part of that discussion. My hope is to continue building on my prior research in this area and defining myself within the field. I also want to see our MPA program continue to be successful as we plan for the future. Obviously, this entails the proper education of current and future public administrators who are increasingly subjected to more constraints along with higher expectations. Ultimately, my goal is to get tenure and be a permanent fixture of this program as I work with my colleagues within the department as well as across the university on important projects.

Why were you excited to join UM-Flint and the Flint community?
My research necessitates access to public officials in places like Flint. Being in the middle of my research provides me incredible opportunities to see these projects really bloom. In addition, the university and my Department are great. The people I have met along with the resources available indicate to me that this is a good place to call home.

What do you hope for students in your field?
My hope for our students is that they are personally successful, however they define that. Obviously, I want to see them achieve higher positions and higher pay as a result of completing the MPA degree. These are important indicators for a successful academic program in general. I also want them to feel fulfilled in their careers in public service. I want to provide them with out-of-the-box ways of thinking about public problems that will push them to think innovatively. I want them to do their jobs in ways that improve their own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the communities in which they work. I want people who work with our graduates to see the quality of our program through their actions.

What are three things you think people should know about you?

  • I am very friendly, but I am thinking about stuff all the time, so if you see me on campus and I walk by you without saying something please don’t be offended. If you see me grab my attention and I will definitely greet you.
  • I love spicy food. I can eat non-spicy food, but I usually do so only to survive. When I want to truly live I ask for the Ghost Peppers.
  • I have a little boy going to Kindergarten (first and only kid) this year. Big event!!

UM-Flint Political Science Explores Voter Rights

Why does voting in an election matter? What does it mean to have the right to vote? How does the United States Constitution affect the rights of voters?

The UM-Flint Political Science Department held a discussion to answer these questions and more as part of their annual recognition of Constitution Day.

Faculty, staff, and students gathered for “Voting Rights in a Brave New World.” This discussion and question-and-answer session aims to get voters thinking about their rights in preparation for the upcoming presidential election.

“The Department of Political Science regularly hosts thought-provoking events on issues of relevance to the Constitution and its modern interpretation and historical roots,” said lecturer Kim Saks-McManaway. “This year being an election year, the topic of voting rights in a modern context seemed appropriate. This is especially true given the myriad of voter rights cases in the courts.”

UM-Flint Political Science faculty at the 2015 Constitution Day event

UM-Flint Political Science faculty at a Constitution Day event


UM-Flint students are excepted to play an active role in the event, and to make full use of the Q & A session with department faculty.

Andrew Roth, a dual enrolled student from Flushing, MI, is expecting to take part. Said Roth, “Voting is about more than helping to elect your candidate of choice; voting is about being a socially conscious citizen. If we allow our voices to go unheard now, then we eventually sign away all of our power. No longer do we have the ability to be a part of the discussion of issues that affect our day to day lives.”

Jordan Tiffany, a graduate student from Davidson, MI, added, “I vote because that is the only way to get change. We may not immediately get the change that we want, but nothing will ever get better just sitting out and being apathetic towards the process.”

For more information on the Political Science Department and the ways in which they are engaging the campus and community, visit or call 810.762.3470,

CAS Alums Present Spring Career Panel

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

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

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

Life After Graduation

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rewarding Careers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions from the Audience

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

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

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

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

Advice for Students

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

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

She closed by saying, “Never be afraid.”

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

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


William Shedd’s senior picture in the 1964 yearbook.

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

Recalls Shedd:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on these upcoming events, please visit

Meet Robert Burack – 2013 Political Science Alumni


Robert Burack

B.A. Political Science, 2013, Maize & Blue Scholar
Campus organizations: Alternative Spring Break, Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honors Society), Qua contributing writer

What are you doing now and how did you get there?

Upon graduation, I faced a rather difficult choice as to how to best express my values and priorities. I had been offered a teaching Fulbright (U.S. State Department Fellowship) to Turkey (thanks in part to the diligent support and encouragement of English faculty member Mary Jo Kietzman), as well as a position at Break Away, a national non-profit based in Atlanta, where I had interned the summer between my junior and senior years. There was an immense lure to Turkey. I had spent the year immersed in regional literature in Kietzman’s “Travelers in the Middle East” course, most notably reading Orphan Pamuk’s Snow, a firsthand account of a poet’s visit to Kars in eastern Turkey and whose contents doubled as a sort of ethnic and political dialogue. The book completely mesmerized me — I glided through the chapters as Michigan’s own snow fell — as did the idea of living and teaching in Turkey, and the more cosmopolitan aspects of a Fulbright. But, ultimately, the stronger draw was the Break Away position, where I started as Programs Director a few months after graduation. The organization focused its efforts on fostering active citizenship in college students through alternative breaks, which are short-term service experiences, bookended by months of education and preparation, and a process of connecting the service experience to more local organizational and advocacy efforts. My role involved training and consultation for the service-learning and community engagement centers at 200+ universities and colleges, working with both their student leaders and staff. I felt it was important to commit to work that had a more visible and measurable impact, and personally I was drawn to the tight-knit and uplifting community among the staff. I’m delighted that the University of Michigan-Flint recently joined Break Away as a chapter school.

After two years as Programs Director, I transitioned to Pittsburgh, where I now live and am a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs at the Richard King Mellon Foundation. That’s an impossibly long title, and the work itself is equally far-reaching. I’ve been working since August 2015 on a set of projects aimed to innovate the region’s manufacturing sector, especially for small- to medium-size enterprises, of which there are 6,400.
 This has happened primarily through the scaling up of the Craft Business Accelerator (housed at the city’s community development financial institution, Bridgeway Capital), an effort to connect Pittsburgh’s makers and craft businesses with real estate development projects. Let’s say, for example, you’re a real estate developer building a large apartment building. My work is to convince you to source some of your functional objects (lights, tables, sinks, etc.) through the city’s really vibrant maker scene, and to support makers with working space, short-term capital, and access to business education services. Ultimately, we’re not only localizing the economic impact of development, but also creating new sourcing patterns that won’t need the same facilitation and bring small craft businesses to scale.

I’ve recently taken on more responsibilities at the foundation, working with a Senior Program Officer on her grant proposal pipeline. This looks like reading grant proposals, summarizing them in a write-up, reviewing grantee reports, and assisting with any connected due diligence. Additionally, I’ve been doing research around impact assessment metrics to support the foundation’s 2016-2020 strategic plan — to create ways for the foundation to assess whether its grant-making is effective and ultimately helps realize its program area goals. This has been a great deal of fun. RK Mellon is the 32nd largest grant-making foundation in the U.S. (by asset size), and is essentially equivalent, in the funding it provides, to the Mott Foundation, except that we almost exclusively fund in southwestern Pennsylvania. This is all possible through the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, which is a rather competitive, nine-month fellowship focused on diagnosing and intervening in the systems of, and issues connected to, U.S. urban centers.

How did your University of Michigan-Flint education prepare you for what you are doing?

I truly feel that my UM-Flint education changed my life. I was an undirected high schooler — smart, yes, but without a visible or imagined path forward. (I would not pay attention in math class, for example, but be reading New Yorker issues instead.) I did not really plan on going to college, and couldn’t fully grasp what it was, as no one in my family had gone before me. I enrolled at UM-Flint rather last minute, and my first time in the city was for freshman orientation. But I quickly and fully found an intellectual and social home, thanks to compelling political science courses, opportunities with University Outreach, and friends who were, smart, funny, and kind, and wanted to talk about what had happened on Rachel Maddow the night before.

So much of my own path has been stumbling into opportunities that turn out to be exactly what I needed, or that challenged and grew me beyond my own vision for myself. The great thing about Flint, and UM-Flint as well, and the thing that likely would have been different had I gone to some walled-off liberal arts college or impossibly large research institution, is that these spaces teach you humility and provide an opening for you to play a part in addressing true community needs. It’s a part of the DIY ethos that’s rich and bold and beautiful across the rust belt.

Last year I had an opportunity to consult for a grassroots organizing effort based in Ferguson, Missouri, and spent some time there throughout the spring and summer. This was personally helpful in deconstructing my own narratives about and around Ferguson, but the bigger takeaway for me was watching the way in which the lead organizers approached their work: their level of proactive action and comprehensive thinking about social, economic, and political systems. There are problems of urgency – that require something, now – and problems of importance – that require long-term, strategic thinking. For me, their approach blended the two. This is something I was first exposed to in Flint. At first I struggled to connect my own learning to some stark realities beyond the classroom. Participating in Andrew Morton’s (Theater) Collective Playwriting class was an important turning point, in that I saw a model for proactive action — we were writing a verbatim-style play about arsons in the city — that wasn’t tangled up, or frozen by, the complexity of a social issue. We weren’t always sure how the end product would turn out, and we learned and adjusted along the way, but we were doing something, creating an expressive form of dialogue, and it’s that approach that makes me think Andrew and the folks I met in Ferguson would like and respect each other. And it’s with that in mind that I would urge UM-Flint students to try to create and experiment and be bold and proactive, but to do it thoughtfully and with a high level of self and systems awareness.

I have days in Pittsburgh now where I feel so lucky to be doing what I’m doing, and I marvel at it, and I think, “how on earth does this trace back to what I’ve learned and done, to my life history?” Sometimes my professional life feels disjointed — as if the scaffolding I’ve begun to leave behind was laid out without a traceable pattern. But I solved this for myself recently, thinking about water. I’ve been immersed in coverage of, and activism around, the water crisis in Flint. As with other and past maladies in this city I love, I started off from a place of frustration and anger. Usually, this veers into temporary action, and then eventually simmers into disenchantment. But this time, I didn’t fall into that familiar cycle. I reached out to friends and colleagues to offer technical assistance. I considered what philanthropy could do, and how to build training around environmental racism. I wrote and wrote and in the end felt hopeful (Dr. West reminds us that hope goes beyond the evidence – hope says “it doesn’t look good at all,” but moves beyond what’s visible to create new possibilities based on contagious vision). I watched as my scaffolding and life history, all its bends and crooks, made sense and provided the basis for sustained action and active citizenship. This is obviously not a perfect example, given that I’m no longer in physical proximity to Flint, but it is proof from the future that, if you’re a current student, some days when you find yourself sitting in a classroom, eyes glazed over or at least unsure about the relevance of the information you’re hearing, you can be sure that, eventually, or at some point, it all matters, it all adds up, and the question is what you do with that summation. I hope you find circumstances that spur to you action, and bring your history of compelling experiences and knowledge to the table, even if that knowledge seemed previously unconnected.

Who had a significant impact on your time at UM-Flint?

I had a number of influential faculty mentors, including Drs. Peggy Kahn and Jason Kosnoski (Political Science), Drs. Thomas Wrobel and Hillary Heinze (Psychology), and Jan Worth-Nelson (English, Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching). I want to say a quick word about each of them, as I stand indebted to their kindness and attention, but first want to say, broadly: mentors matter. A great deal. And UM-Flint faculty were so willing to build meaningful relationships with me because I was interested and willing to build meaningful relationships with them. It’s the reciprocity that grows a mentorship. And it took me a while to learn that. I would have plenty of moments in a professor’s office, where I’d be talking and thought, “I sound so dumb” or “I don’t have much to offer this conversation,” but a mentorship relationship says, you do have something to offer, even if it will take a while for that to be expressed in the world.

Kahn was probably the faculty member I spent the most time talking with. There were many afternoon conversations, an independent study, and extended invitations such as the one to introduce writer Edwidge Danticat at a luncheon before her whole-campus talk.

Dr. Kosnoski was a beautiful, Socratic agitator who taught me the practice of inquiry, and whipped my thinking into shape.

I worked with Drs. Wrobel and Heinze as a peer facilitator for their UNV 100 Intergroup Dialogue course for several years, and their initial recognition of me as a freshman who could elevate into a facilitator role laid the foundation of confidence that become instrumental in the work I would go on to do.

And knowing Jan Worth-Nelson, who has since retired from the university, but by no means from meaningful work in the world (she’s the editor at East Village Magazine) was formative; her Creative Nonfiction course was the creative and emotional highlight of my undergraduate experience. Jan taught and relates with an affecting combination of strength and vulnerability, openness and intent. This class pushed me to contribute to Qua, our undergraduate literary magazine, and to be equally open, vulnerable, and strong. I once stopped into her office, which was on the second floor of French Hall at the time, overlooking the fall foliage, and interviewed her about fire and its resonance in her life. I’ve kept that audio and actually re-listened to it the other week; and started tearing up, just at the beauty and pain of it. And then I got to thinking about how fortunate I was, to find a home at UM-Flint — to have met this wonderful collection of characters who invited me into their stories, and to have had this wonderful collection of challenging and interesting experiences, most distinct to the Flint community and to the campus — and how no where else could all of this have happened.

What are your hopes for UM-Flint’s future?

There are so many verdant possibilities for UM-Flint in the future.

I’ve not met the new chancellor, but from the outside she seems dynamic, inclusive, and just sort of “gets it” when it comes to addressing racial and economic equity, as well as how the institution can be of service to the broader Flint community.

I think it’s misleading to say that rust belt communities are going to return to their previous state of prosperity — even Pittsburgh, which is in the midst of an incredible period of transformation, has only recently stabilized its population and continues to deeply struggle with racial and economic equity. But there’s potential for UM-Flint to be a leader in discovering what new urban forms might emerge in a legacy city, and for every touch point of the university (courses, student life experiences, internships) to connect students with that effort and with the city and its residents. While the Carnegie classification for engagement demonstrates that this has been happening on some level, I’ve learned from work at Break Away and work in Pittsburgh that the institution must work to extend the lifespan of partnerships that are otherwise on the university semester lifecycle.

The success of the city and the university are intrinsically tied together, and in this way I can imagine and get excited about the possibilities for students and faculty to move that success forward, and start from an institutional framework steeped in equity.

CAS Recognizes December 2015 Graduates with Honors

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


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

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

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

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

Photos are available from the evening. Visit our album at

Congratulations to all of our graduates!


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

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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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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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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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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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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Political Science Department to Hold Constitution Day Event on Sept. 17


2015 Constitution Day event – CLICK TO EXPAND

On Thursday, September 17, faculty of the UM-Flint Political Science Department will answer the question “What did the Supreme Court Say about the Death Penalty in 2015?”

The event, celebrating Constitution Day and coinciding with Common Read 2015-2016, will feature a panel discussion covering different facets of the death penalty question. This academic year’s Common Read book is Dead Man Walking, a memoir by Sister Helen Prejean.

Peggy Kahn, Professor of Political Science and the department chair, will discuss the history of the death penalty in the United States. Kim Saks McManaway, Lecturer in Political Science, will discuss Supreme Court jurisprudence on the constitutionality of the death penalty. Jeremiah Olson, Assistant Professor of Political Science, will talk on the impacts of the death penalty with respect to crime and punishment. Dauda Abubakar, Associate Professor of Political Science, will cover the death penalty in  a comparative and international perspective.

Says Saks McManaway, “A discussion of the death penalty’s position in Supreme Court jurisprudence is not only timely but exemplifies the trajectory of case law generally in the 20th and 21st centuries. The death penalty has had a storied history at the Supreme Court in the last 50 years and that history continues to this day. Just this past term, the Court dealt with an issue of method of execution and did so by relying on 50 years of active and relevant precedent. Few other areas of the law have held such a place in the Court’s jurisprudence over the past century as the death penalty. Few students realize the parameters of the death penalty let alone its history. Even fewer know that there was a period in the past century when the death penalty was temporarily halted by the Court because of concerns over its constitutionality. These are important issues to talk about in an ever-changing legal landscape and the legal definition of one of our hallmark civil liberties deserves regular and robust discussion.”

Kahn added, “In an international era of death penalty abolition, state executions in the U.S. remain a key issue of public discussion. Is the death penalty appropriate in an age when human rights and dignity have become basic democratic standards, and is it necessary in an age of modern prison systems? Is the death penalty applied ‘fairly,’ underpinned by careful and adequate judicial processes and applied consistently in proportion to the severity of the crime? As the University of Michigan-Flint Common Read focuses on Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking and prepares to welcome her to campus October 8, the Political Science Department invites students, staff, faculty, and community members to a roundtable on the death penalty in the U.S.”

This event is free of charge and open to the public. It will start at 6:30pm and will be held in the UCEN’s Michigan Room A.

For information, visit or call 810.762.3470.

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.

Q & A with Professor Albert Price, Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Professor Albert Price, Interim Dean of the UM-Flint College of Arts & Sciences

Professor Albert Price has been a part of the University of Michigan-Flint for the past 35 years. In that time he’s served as Professor and Chair in Political Science, Director of the Masters of Public Administration Program, Pre-Law Advisor, and as Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS).

His research, teaching, and service have extended outward from the university and include being a part of the advisory committee for the current Genesee County jail, hosting a multi-season political talk show on WFUM, and interacting with numerous offices of government throughout our city, county, and state.

Dr. Price will retire this summer. Read on as he reflects on his time here and talks about his hopes for the future of the CAS and UM-Flint.

How long and in what capacities have you served in CAS?
I’m completing my 35th year this year. I’ve gone through the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor over that time. I’ve also been MPA Director at UM-Flint on and off for something like 24 years of the 35 years that the program has been in existence. And I also have served as the Pre-law advisor at UM-Flint from 1994 until I came to this office in 2013. From 2013 to the present I’ve been the Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Also in that mix, during a period from 1996 to 2002 I was the creator and co-host of a television program on WFUM called Roadkill Politics. The show covered local and national politics dealing with alternative viewpoints that were not widely distributed in the mainstream media. The tapes of all those programs are now in the library.

What role was your favorite and why?
My favorite role has been professor, just teaching in the classroom. That’s the thing I enjoy the most. I like encouraging people to think about topics in ways they might not otherwise have considered. I think that’s one of the things I’ve actually done well in my life. That is, to be a kind of an academic translator. Because often times the abstractions which are necessary for some of the systematic thinking about complex intellectual issues are not easily grasped by students who have not been prepared in those, and I think that’s always fun to see people get the idea and say “oh, I can challenge this.” It’s not so much to give them anything or saying “here’s the answer,” but to get them to think about how to find the information that will answer the questions. To make them lifelong independent learners – I’ve really enjoyed that role.

Did any of the skills you learned from being a professor translate to your administrative positions?
It definitely helped – the more you learn about the world, the more you learn about the sometimes difficult paths that our students have had to take to get to their situations. If anything it has helped me to become more compassionate about the needs of others and to try to humanize the bureaucratic experience that students sometimes face. I saw myself in that role: as a mediator between the rigidity of the rules of both law school in terms of being able to be admitted but also the university in terms of helping a student to be able to complete their degree, even though it may take them a long time. I’ve had some students, particularly in the undergraduate public administration program, who took many years because they were already employed somewhere and were only taking one course a semester. To follow along and help those people meet their requirements so that they could complete their degree—that was very satisfying. So I think the learning academically helped enrich my ability to respond bureaucratically in the roles where I had authority and responsibility over some things.

What initially drew you to UM-Flint?
It was the job. Being able to be at a regional campus of the University of Michigan. And, for me—and I didn’t even know it at the time—it was a really excellent fit intellectually. The job was to help develop a potential criminal justice track in the MPA program and eventually assume a leadership role in the MPA. So the combination of public law and the application of public law in a way that would be consistent with public administration were here from the beginning. So, for me, it was just perfect because I studied applied public law which is the impact of public law in the actual world and how people get sentenced in courts, or how courts are organized, how prisons operate, how legislatures interact with the criminal justice process by changing law. I don’t think I could have intellectually articulated that when I first took the job – I was just looking for a job teaching public administration. But this one happened to be doing exactly what my interests were in political science and public administration.

So you’ve spent your whole career at UM-Flint?
Yes. In fact, this is a strange time in my life because for the first time since the fall of 1970, I’m not going to be going to college in the fall. I went and never left! I’ve been in college in my whole adult life.


Dr. Price was recently honored by the U.S. House of Representatives and received a special tribute from the State of Michigan to honor him on his retirement. “Dr. Price has devoted his life to research and higher education, and we cannot thank him enough.”

Have you seen the relationship between the Flint community and the university evolve during your time here?
Actually it’s kind of getting back to almost what it was before. It’s heading “back to the future” almost, in a strange way. When I first got here Ellis Perlman and Peter Gluck were both political science faculty involved in public administration. And they had been deeply involved in community and agency activity. We would go to lunch and things like that and they would introduce me to people. They knew pretty much everybody in the local government and non-profit world. So they introduced me to them and some of my students also were already involved. Some of the first people in my classes at UM-Flint were Bob Emerson, he was a state representative at the time and he went on to be a state senator but also budget director for the State of Michigan under the whole period of the Granholm administration; John Cherry was a student who went on to be lieutenant governor; Deb Cherry was a student who went on to be the treasurer of Genesee County. Other people have gone on to be leaders of organizations throughout the region so that has been really good. That was early on in my career that I knew people involved in all sorts of organizations. So it was almost organic, at least in the field in which I have interest, that people from my department, from the discipline, have been involved in the community. I think that dissipated a little bit as the place grew. And maybe it was the proclivities of our faculty changing. But I think as Flint has declined people tended to move farther away and that led to a kind of a lack of connection or organic knowledge of the place. We’re seeing now that it’s re-combining. I think the new Chancellor is on board with that idea of really integrating the community into all that we do. I think it’s a good direction and I think it got lost for a little while. My expectations are that people of the discipline in which I am involved will be connected to agencies and programs around the area.

What benefits do you see from those connections for our students?
A couple of different things: they get practical experience through working on projects if they are doing research with a faculty member. They get, through the internship programs, access to agencies and the more the agencies know the people who are involved in UM-Flint the more likely they are to encourage our students to get internships and then maybe turn those internships into opportunities for jobs.
Plus, it enriches the pedagogy of class. We’re moving a little more towards a traditional aged population with our dorms and early college, but at the same time we have people in our classes who are actually experienced in the field in which they are getting an education. You can really learn a lot from the students we have in our classes. That’s an opportunity both for other students and the faculty members to learn more about how the world works outside of the academic study of it.
Our students benefit by seeing what’s occurring in the world, but also being able to then link that to an academic structure or framework from which they can make conclusions about what to do or how to help. Almost all the agencies and organizations need people who are competent to think critically and make decisions and try to help resolve some of the problems in our area and region.

Awards2What do you think the College of Arts & Sciences has in its future?
I see the college returning to its roots of being more integrated into the community, and more than it ever has been before. We’ve hired a number of young faculty in the past couple of year who have that focus: to be engaged in the community. That’s gratifying, to see a return to Flint as opposed to seeing Flint as just a place to teach. I see UM-Flint, and the College of Arts and Sciences in particular, as the intellectual home of an interdisciplinary problem solving apparatus that can impact the world. And I think that’s what we ought to be doing. We tend to focus on disciplines and academic life, people identify as a Political Scientist or a Geologist – whatever their training is – problems are more complex that that, they have a number of interacting variables. What we really need is to look at a problem and see which disciplines can impact that and in what ways and focus those disciplines on that problem. I see that as a real opportunity. We’ve got so many things that we can look at here that need to be addressed, and we have a bunch of really smart people, and students who want to do things. This is really an opportunity to engage our students in real-world problem solving “out there” instead of “in here” with our faculty as intellectual guides who are also learning themselves.


Dr. Price was also awarded the Paul Wellstone Memorial Award by the Genesee County Progressive Democratic Caucus. This award honored Dr. Price for showing “personal commitment to the progressive ideals that are the foundation of American society.” This award has only been given out once before.

What are you most proud of from your time at UM-Flint?
The thing about which I have the greatest pride is probably undeserved. And it is being part of the process that allows people to accomplish what they do in their lives. So seeing the graduates of the MPA program, the undergraduates in Public Administration, and being the Pre-Law advisor, to see people go off into the world and actually have responsibilities in things, to do things important in the world, that feels good. Even though you’re only partly related to it. I can’t go to a meeting or an organization or an agency in this area without running into somebody who was either in my classes or was in the MPA program or was in undergraduate Public Administration. So to have been involved in the preparation of people for the work that they’ve done in the world has been pretty satisfying, and humbling. You can’t claim credit or blame when people do things, but to have been engaged in the process of getting to people to where they are, where they can impact the world, that is pretty gratifying.

What advice or encouragement do you have for students?
Take your education seriously, embrace it. It isn’t a hoop to jump through; it’s something that, if you embrace it, can lead to a better understanding of yourself and a better understanding of the world. We do provide a credentialing apparatus, that’s what college can be, but what I would recommend is that students not think of life like that, instead think of life as “I need to know more.” Virtually every subject in which you can take a course in the College of Arts & Sciences has a perspective and information to better understand the world. I think students don’t intuitively know that because they’ve been processed for the most part through a system that didn’t encourage a lot of learning as a valuable function in itself. To be intellectually curious is really a value that the College can provide. Our students need to think that way: that they can do anything, that they can learn anything. Really this is the process of a college education is to make you a learning machine. You can learn anything.

Do you have advice for CAS faculty?
Get engaged in the community. Find how your discipline impacts the world, then go try to solve problems using your discipline as a starting point. That solves the relevancy question. Education for its own sake is nice, and I’m not opposed to people just seeking education, but the world is just full of problems that we need to solve, and we need to solve them from a wide range of academic interests and perspectives. Going out and actually engaging the world will be more meaningful for the faculty members who are helping students to reach their objectives.
It’s our job to help students see there is a different purpose. Yes, you need to have a job, but the job should be solving some problem. We should say “what can I do to solve problems in the world”, not “how much money can I make?” “How can what I’m learning impact the world?” will lead to a whole lot more satisfaction in life. To do something where you help people and take care of your own life at the same time is what makes for a more satisfying life.
There are so many problems facing the world, and we’re not focusing the energy of society on solving the problems to make a better world for everybody.

Are there any innovations in teaching or research in CAS you’d like to discuss?
The most innovative things in the last few years have been primarily at the Masters level. But they are really interesting.
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is now available fully online Rackham program. That should expand the available audience to statewide and, if not that, nationwide. It’s one of the purest, in terms of academic purpose.
The second is the Master of Arts in Communication. That is also fully online and it is a cohort system, which is different. Students take a set of classes together as they go through the program. It’s one of the first in the country to be focused on applied communication in an organizational setting.
Computer Science has a Masters program that has been expanded over the last several years and they consistently draw 600-700 applicants per semester. To help meet their stream of students they have built three cyber classrooms, which are pretty cool. It’s a way of bringing education in that field into the digital age.
Another thing within the College is the reformatting of the Secondary Education program to be true team teaching between the disciplines in CAS, for the content courses, and someone in SEHS for the pedagogy lead. UM-Flint is leading the way in this. And the place-based part of this is really cool; you have people develop learning in the environment in which they’ll be operating as opposed to just using a textbook. This is a real innovation in education and CAS has been fully partnered in that.
Another innovation is the Zick Classroom in Physics. It’s a hands-on environment that works exceptionally well. It’s tremendous. It’s a real shift in pedagogy and it’s moving in the best practice direction and away from giant lecture halls.
We also have a very robust undergraduate research environment in CAS.

Do you have any final thoughts on liberal education for our readers?
I think the world is starting ask questions as to why we’re not valuing well the things that the College of Arts & Sciences has done in the past and we maybe are becoming over technical in our educational processes. What they say in business world is that they can help train [graduates] in the technical stuff; they can’t train them in the critical thinking, or communication, or ethical decision-making and environments. That needs to be there up front, and we can do that in the College of Arts & Sciences to prepare people for a wide array of disciplines in their careers. What enriches the life is the knowledge beyond your technical field. CAS is pretty well positioned for that.

How do you think you’ll feel once you’re retired?
That’s an interesting question. Like I said, this is the first time since 1970 that I’m not going to be going to school in the fall. I’m going to be involved more in my grandchildren’s lives. We’re moving near D.C. I’m signed up for the Brookings newsletter, I’m going to be doing reading, and I’m going to start blogging. I’ll blog about politics and things related to the world in general. The blog is called “Avoiding the Obvious.” I’ve put one thing up. It sort of summarizes what I’m about: it’s a picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.


Professor Price with the Paul Wellstone Memorial Award

At the recent MPA 35th Year Celebration, Dr. Price was honored by having a Public Administration scholarship established in his name. The first $5,000 in donations will be matched, allowing the fund to reach endowment status. If you would like to donate to this fund in his honor, contact the UM-Flint Development Office at (810) 424-5448.