CLASS Directions Archives

Newsletter May 2008

Vol. 2 No. 6
CLASS Directions

May 2008: Vol. 2, No. 6

The beginning of May brought to a close another successful academic year in CLASS.  In typing up the college’s annual report to the Provost, I was again made aware of just how much energy we have as a college and how well that energy is put to use in a large number of complex and creative ways.  I have already written about many of these accomplishments in other newsletters and won’t do so again here.  But let me mention a few new ones.

First of all, the bottom line.  CLASS SCH production went up considerably this year.  After a few years of declining enrollments, this is very good news for our college.  CLASS continues to struggle with summer enrollments, however, and as of this date, we are somewhat behind last summer.  Nevertheless, our fall semester enrollments look strong.  As of May 15, we are 4.3% ahead of last year in enrollments.  Our undergraduate enrollments are particularly impressive, but we are lagging on the graduate level.  I would ask department graduate program directors and chairpersons to contact applicants to our graduate programs who have not yet enrolled in summer or fall courses.  We need to make the case for graduate education at CSU on a personal level.

On April 10, 2008, the Republic of Slovenia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Bowling Green State University, and Lakeland Community College.  On the basis of this memorandum, we have created here at CSU a Center for Slovenian Studies (RT 1654A), which we formally opened on May 16th.  Ms. Mojca Kucler Dolinar, Slovenian Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, represented the Slovenian Government at the ribbon-cutting.

The Center will be staffed by a full-time Director, who will coordinate the Center’s activities, particularly courses in Slovenian language, culture, and history, which will be offered on the campuses of the four participating institutions.  The salaries of the Director and the visiting teaching scholars will be covered by the Slovenian Government. We may have as many as two visiting scholars at a time, and the first scholar, a language-specialist from the University of Ljubljana, will arrived for the fall semester.

The Center’s mission correlates with the goals of the college in several ways.  First, it fits in with our goal of regional engagement since the Cleveland area has the largest number of Americans of Slovenian descent of any area in the country.  Second, as we build up our contacts and exchanges with Slovenia, we will add to our commitment to global outreach.  Third, several of our departments, including Anthropology, History and Modern Languages, have particular interest in studying local ethnic populations and their heritages, and the Center may serve as a resource in that effort.  Finally, since we are building a cooperative agreement with three other regional public institutions, the Center fits in well with the recommendations of the Northeast Ohio Universities Collaboration and Innovation Study Commission.

Speaking of centers, our CLASS Advising Center is now fully staffed with the additions of Stephanie Triplett (Advisor) and Michelle Knapik (Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs).  Ms. Knapik, who comes to us with administrative experience at Stautzenberger College and Baldwin Wallace, will supervise our advising and recruiting efforts, and we are pleased to welcome her to our administrative team.  Anne Nelson, who has done outstanding work as Interim Director, will be returning to her recruiting duties as the Coordinator of Student Affairs.

With respect to curriculum development, I note that the proposal for the Master’s Degree in Global Interactions (Political Science) was approved by RACGS and now needs only the final approval of Chancellor Fingerhut to become official.  The Bachelor in Organizational Leadership, a cooperative degree program shared by the Business College, the Urban College, and the School of Communication, was approved by the Board of Trustees and will now be in the hands of the State.

CLASS students and alumni have been winning awards and honors.  For example, six students from our Department of Modern Languages were selected to present papers at the 61st Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in Lexington this spring.  In addition, the group Social Work in Action, a student organization in the School of Social Work, won this year’s Student Organization Service Award from the Department of Student Life.  Jackie Fry, an outstanding CLASS student and recent graduate, was awarded a Teaching Fulbright to South Korea.  In addition Monica Gerek, who received her M.A. from the Department of Philosophy in 1998, has recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas and has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship in Bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic.

While we are on alumni accomplishments, I am pleased to note that Dr. Robert Cutietta will receive this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for CLASS at the annual banquet on June 13th.   Dr. Cutietta received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from CSU.  He then completed a D.Ed. degree at Pennsylvania State University.  He taught at Montana State University—Bozeman, Kent State University, and the University of Arizona before being named Dean of the Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California, his current position.  Among his many accomplishments is the highly readable Raising Musical Kids: A Parent’s Guide, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2001.

There are also many important faculty accomplishments to report.  First, three faculty in CLASS, Michael Rand, Sarah Matthews, and Myong Chang, won FRD grants.  Second, Mark Tebeau was awarded another $1 million Teaching American History grant from the Department of Education.  The grant is entitled “Constructing, Consuming, and Conserving America.”  Chuck Hersch’s book, Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans, was just published by the University of Chicago Press.  In addition, Philippa Yin was awarded a Distinguished Career Award by the Ohio Foreign Language Association.  Jae-won Lee was awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award for six weeks of teaching this summer at the Kathmandu University in Nepal.  This is Dr. Lee’s fourth Fulbright Award. Finally, I have recently learned that Angelin Chang has been selected to receive the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award for Research, which she will receive at the Fall Convocation.  Congratulations to all these faculty colleagues!

We are saying goodbye to two important international visitors this spring. Visiting India Scholar Antony Palackal, who taught courses in three different departments this spring and made several public presentations, completed a successful semester at CSU. Dr. Doaa Kandil, visiting Fulbright Scholar from Egypt, completed a successful year at CSU.  Visiting scholars like these bring alternate perspectives and help us build global awareness in our college, and we were very fortunate to host them.

In the all-important categories of promotion and tenure, we had six important successes this year.  Charles Hersch, George Mauersberger, and Jill Rudd were promoted to Full Professor, and Birch Browning, Elizabeth Chesko, and Michael Geither were given tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  I extend my personal congratulations to all these colleagues.

In addition, eight of our colleagues—Thomas Donaldson, Zev Harel, Jon Harford, Leon Hurwitz, Jae-won Lee, Deborah Pearl, Sam Richmond, and Robert Wheeler—retired from full-time service although many of them will continue to serve in a part-time capacity.  We appreciate all their fine contributions to the academic life of CSU.  Dr. Hurwitz’s retirement in particular, as you may know, brings an era to a close in the CLASS Dean’s Office, for he served as Associate Dean of the Faculty in both CLASS and the old College of Arts and Sciences for 21 years.  At his retirement reception on May 1st, I spoke of Dr. Hurwitz’s accomplishments, including his Diplome de Moniteur, and they were many.I won’t repeat my remarks here, except to say how grateful I am for his loyal service over the past three years in the Dean’s Office, and I wish him and all the other retirees long, healthy, and very pleasant years in retirement.

CLASS completed 13 successful tenure-track faculty searches.  We hired Assistant Professors in Art, Communication (3), Drama, Economics (2), English, Modern Languages/History, Political Science, Social Work (2), and Sociology.  Eleven of our colleagues wrote successful applications for professional leaves and, thus, will be furthering their research and writing during 2008-09.

This has been a year of change in departmental leadership.  You already know that George Mauersberger (Art), Tama Engelking (Modern Languages), David Larson (English), and Matt Jackson-McCabe (Religious Studies) assumed leadership roles in their respective departments this year. In addition, Paul Aspelin who had been an Interim chairperson, was appointed to a full term as regular chairperson of Anthropology. The newest leader is Rodger Govea, who was appointed and has already begun his term as chairperson of the Department of Political Science.  We have an outstanding team of chairpersons and directors in CLASS.  I enjoyed working with them this year, and I look forward to working with them again next year, as we move the college forward.

As I noted last year, all this—and more—was accomplished at the same time that faculty and staff went about their normal university responsibilities.  Faculty delivered excellent courses and continued to produce insightful scholarship and outstanding artistic works.  Many new grant proposals were written.  Faculty also served admirably on various university, college, and departmental committees.  Our dedicated staff worked hard to support the faculty in their educational mission.  Finally, our CSU students were helped along toward success on their own personal life paths. CLASS produced approximately 740 new graduates this year (the exact figures for spring 08 are not yet available).  Many of these graduates walked across the stage on May 10th.  As always, commencement was a proud moment for both students and faculty in CLASS.  This one was made special because CLASS alumnus and former President of the Board of Trustees Tim Cosgrove (Political Science) received an honorary degree and gave the commencement address. Then a long stream of new CLASS graduates came up to receive their diplomas.  As they did, they passed a significant mile marker in life and walked off, armed with the knowledge and skills that we imparted, to face new challenges, new adventures.  Our hopes and best wishes went with them.

Have a great summer!  Comments on this newsletter may be sent to

Best wishes,

Greg Sadlek

engaged learning

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