CLA Highlights


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2015-2016 Departmental & Program Highlights

Alworth Jr. Institute for International Studies

The Alworth Institute held a series of programs on global immigration and refugees entitled, "Global Migration: Challenges for People, States & the World."

  • The Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Memorial Lecture featured Pulitzer-Prize winner Sonia Nazario, author of the book Enrique's Journey, which focuses on the issues of mother and child immigration to the U.S. from Central America.
    Alworth logo
  • Director Cindy Christian won the 2015 Staff Sustainability Inspiration Award.
  • The Alworth Institute hosted its 9th WorldQuest International Trivia competition with 27 teams from UMD, UWS and St. Scholastica as well as community members. South Korea was the featured country for 2016.
  • The CLA/Alworth Institute Passport Program was initiated to encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities.

American Indian Studies Department

  • The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, which represents members from each of Minnesota’s 11 tribes, signed a resolution in support of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute (TSI), which is housed in AIS.
    American Indian beadwork art
  • Professor Erik Redix and Professor Brian McInnis were awarded $50,000 by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council to create a website containing over 100 hours of original Ojibwe curriculum materials.
  • Professor Linda LeGarde Grover received Wordcraft Circle 2015 Fiction Award for her novel The Road Back to Sweetgrass.  
  • AIS faculty publications: Jill Doerfler published her book, Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship Among the White Earth Anishinaabeg. Joseph Bauerkemper published an article, “The White Earth Constitution, Cosmopolitan Nationhood, and the Fruitful Ironies of Relational Sovereignty” in the Transmotion journal out of the University of Kent.

Communication Department

  • The U of M Board of Regents approved a new major in Journalism, which will go into effect in Fall 2016.
  • The following faculty members published their work in 2015: Rebecca de Souza, Hairong Feng, Edward Downs, Ryan Goei, David Gore, and Jacquelyn Harvey.
    Communication logo
  • Professor Deborah Petersen-Perlman had a notable trip to Eastern Europe in the fall devoted to Holocaust themes and venues. Her trip has provided helpful background for Baeumler Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration events as well as her course on Holocaust memoirs.
  • Instructor Brian Matuszak was named Best Actor in the 2015 Duluth Reader Best of People and Media poll for his work with the Rubber Chicken Theater.

English Department

  • Professor Joshua Bernstein published four short stories in literary journals and four creative nonfiction pieces this year. His story "Ponderous Things," published in The Madison Review, was a finalist for the Chris O'Malley Prize in Short Fiction.
  • Professor Burke Scarbrough published a book chapter on "The Role of Video in a Literacy Collaboration to Re-Engage Struggling Students." Professor Scarbrough was interviewed for the "Voice of Literacy" podcast about his 2014 Journal of Literacy article.
  • Professor John Schwetman presented a paper at the annual Modern Language Association convention in January and Gretchen Geer, an undergraduate major in English and History, will be presenting a paper at the International Conference on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan in May.
  • Professor Joshua Bernstein organized two well-attended UMD creative writing readings in the Atrium of the Zeitgeist Arts Center. Both students and faculty shared their work.
  • Professor Katie Van Wert continues to advise the Storytelling Project, a campus-wide writing collaboration between UMD students and adults with disabilities.

Foreign Languages and Literatures Department

  • Many faculty members published their work this year.
  • Professor Jennifer Gómez Menjívar received the Institute for Advanced Study Residential Fellowship and Professor Aparna Katre received a grant from the Center for Regional and Urban Affairs to fund creation of apprenticeship program for Cultural Entrepreneurship. In addition, Professor Dan Nolan has been named COIL Fellow for UMD for Spring 2016.
  • Professor Dan Nolan, hosted delegation from Petrozavodsk, Russia to dialogue on best practices for child welfare and families at risk.
  • Professor Seth Peabody organized Environmental Humanities Day with panelists from UMTC and the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, along with a teacher-training seminar “Teaching Environmental Issues in the Foreign Language Class.”
  • Study Abroad courses took students to Salamanca (Spain), Passau (Germany), Beijing (China), and Petrozavodsk (Russia). In addition, department faculty members presented papers at conferences in Canada, Russia, Spain, Hong Kong, Germany, Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Geography, Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies

  • GUESS Department welcomed Assistant Professor Ryan Bergstrom, who was hired in a tenure track position.
    Geography logo
  • The following faculty members have received promotional awards: Tongxin Zhu has been awarded   promotion to Full Professor and Adam Pine has been awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. In addition, Assistant Professor Randel Hanson has become a graduate faculty member in the Center for Environmental Education.
  • Students Hitomi Nakamura and George Lyall attended the 25th Annual NACIS Conference in Minneapolis, co-presented with Kate Carlson.
  • A new cutting-edge assessment for the GIS program was launched. In addition a Graduate GIS Certificate program is forthcoming.

History Department

  • The Museum Studies Certificate program has begun this year with greater than expected enrollment.
  • Dr. Steven Matthews and David Woodward, Coordinator of the Museum Studies Program, traveled to Galway and Dublin, Ireland to develop collaborative research and student internships with state and private museums.
  • Dr. Steven Matthews will continue his work on modern science and medieval philosophy and Dr. Gideon Mailer will develop his research on the relationship between moral philosophy and slavery from the 17th century to the Civil War era.
  • The department is completing two tenure track searches in the History of Africa and the History of Russia and will be welcoming two new scholars next year.
  • The department continued its guest speaker series by hosting Professor William Caraher who gave public presentations at the Historic Glensheen Mansion and UMD.

Philosophy Department

  • The Philosophy Department welcomed their new tenure track faculty member, Assistant Professor Eve Rabinoff, who presented a paper at the Ancient Philosophy Society meeting in Portland, Maine.
    Philosophy logo
  • Professor Jeanine Schroer won the UMD Outstanding Academic Advisor Award, received a substantial grant for creating a research database on stereotypes and slurs, “The Stereotype Project,” and presented two papers at Central Michigan University. 
  • Professor Sean Walsh developed a new course in Eastern Philosophy.
  • The Center for Ethics and Public Policy hosted a number of well-attended events, including talks and panels on prison reform, Native American food rights, economic inequality, and assisted suicide.

Political Science Department

  • Professor Paul Sharp became the new department head, replacing Jeremy Youde who accepted a position at the Australian National University in Canberra.
  • Professor Geoff Sheagley received several honors, including a teaching award from the Honors Program in Spring 2015, the UMD Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in Spring 2016 and a fellowship for the Institute for Advanced Study for Spring 2017.
  • Several faculty members have had academic articles accepted or published in journals this year.
  • Professor Shannon Drysdale Walsh was awarded an Imagine Fund Grant.
  • Political Science student Derek Dirckx completed a UROP in Spring 2015 titled “Unregulated Democracy and Campaign Finance Reform” which was published in the UMD d-Commons.

Sociology–Anthropology Department

  • Professor and author Eduardo Bonilla-Silva from Duke University spoke on "Colorblind Racism: Racism without Racists," as part of an African and African American Studies Roundtable event.
  • After reintroducing the Criminology-Sociology double major option a couple of years ago, the department has seen an increasing number of students choosing this path.
  • In celebration of CLA’s 30th Anniversary, the department co-sponsored a presentation, "The Black Lives Matter Movement: Common Questions, Local Issues," by Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds from St. Thomas Law School.

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

  • The department had a successful Women's History Month 2016, featuring WGSS faculty presentations, Margaret Randall, feminist poet, writer, photographer, and social activist and Keynote Speaker Winona LaDuke, activist, author, economist, and mother.
  • Faculty Showcase featured WGSS collective project "Making Waves: A History of Grassroots Feminist Organizations in the Northland: 1975-2015", written by Beth Bartlett, and was presented to the public in March.
  • Professor Beth Bartlett was named UMD's Community Engaged Scholar Award Campus recipient.

Writing Studies Department

  • The U of M Board of Regents approved a new major in Journalism, which will go into effect in Fall 2016. The revised BA in Writing Studies and the BS in Linguistics continue to flourish.
  • The department hosted a visit and special guest lecture by eminent Princeton University linguist Adele Eva Goldberg as part of the CLA 30th anniversary celebration. Dr. Goldberg is best known for the Construction Grammar approach to Cognitive Linguistics.
  • More than a dozen faculty and students led panels and workshops, presented their creative and scholarly work, and participated in the Lake Superior Summit on the Teaching of Writing; the Minnesota Writing & English Conference; and the 105th National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention.
  • The journalism program received a Knight Foundation grant for the One River, Many Stories project, which asks area news organizations and storytellers to work together in a regional media collaboration project about the iconic St. Louis River. This project has placed paid student interns at news organizations like KUMD, the Duluth News Tribune, WDSE, and Perfect Duluth Day.