Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grandma's Tattoos

On December 7, 2011 the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted the third North American Screening of a newly released documentary film Grandma's Tattoos.  The film used the relationship between filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian and her grandmother, who was a survivor of the Armenian genocide, to tell the story of thousands of Armenian women and girls that were sold into slavery and concubinage to Turks, Kurds, and Arabs in the early 1900's.

The film was a powerful experience that took a capacity audience in 1030 of the CASL Building through a range of emotions that evoked both laughter and tears.  Ms. Khardalian fielded questions candidly for nearly an hour after the screening.   

The first two screenings occurred in Los Angeles.  Ms. Khardalian has made three films focusing on the Armenian genocide.  In addition to Grandma's Tattoos she made Return to Ararat (1988) and I Hate Dogs (2005).  The film will soon be released in a DVD format that is compatible with U.S. technology.

The following trailer for the film is from the Detroit Free Press website.o see a trailer for the film

The screening of Grandma's Tattoos is the latest in excellent programming for the Armenian Research Center planned and executed by Director Dr. Ara Sanjian.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Congratulations to Toni Bunton

Toni Bunton, a student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program is the recipient of a National Writing Award!  The award is part of a National writing competition for students enrolled in Liberal Studies programs.  Students are nominated by professors for awards in categories including academic essays and creative writing.  Toni won first place for her creative nonfiction essays.  The essays are excerpted from her M.A. thesis being completed under the supervision of Literature, Culture, and Communication Professor Carolyn Kraus.   As a winner of this National award Toni will receive a monetary prize, a trip to New York for the presentation of the award, and publication in Confluence, the National Liberal Studies Program's Journal.

Congratulations to Toni and to Professor Kraus!

Post from material forwarded from Professor Jacqueline Vansant, Professor Carolyn Kraus, and  Professor Marilee Benore.

Friday, September 9, 2011

UM-Dearborn and CASL Are Venue For 9/11 Commemorative Program

The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is hosting a four day conference entitled U.S. Rising:  Emerging Voices in Post-9/11 America.  This morning the University of Michigan-Dearborn and CASL hosted one of the programs for the conference.  The program was entitled How 9/11 Changed Our Lives.

The program was moderated by WDET talk show host Craig Fahle.  It featured preliminary remarks by Hassan Jabar, Executive Director of Access, UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little, Michigan State Representative Rashida Tlaib, and William Clay Ford, Jr., Chairman of the Ford Motor Company.

The panelists for the program included:

Linda Sarsour, the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities.  Ms Sarsour was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and brought a unique and proximal perspective to the discussion.

David Knezek, the President of the University of Michigan-Dearborn Student Government.  Mr. Knezek was born and raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  He was in his early teens in 2001, subsequently enlisted in the United States Marine Corp, and served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Will Youmans, is a writer, community and human rights activist, and hip hop artist who performs under the name Iron Sheik.  He is a founder of the student group Students for Justice in Palestine.  His music serves as a vehicle to address issues of human rights.  He was living in California on September 11, 2001.

Asif Kahn is a University of Michigan-Dearborn student.  He was 10 years old on September 11, 2001 and living locally. 

The panelists discussed the myriad of ways 9/11 influenced and shaped their lives.The discussion was thoughtful, thought provoking, and lively.  It included a question and answer period with the overflow audience. 

While there were many thought provoking moments from the discussion I was especially struck by an experience related by Linda Sasour.  She recalled being told that Arab Americans and Muslim Americans were not entitled to commemorate 9/11. 

There were 2,996 fatalities from the 9/11 attacks.  The U.S. Department of State indicates that 9/11 victims came from 90 countries of origin and included followers of every major world religion.  I was reminded of the words of political commentator Andy Ostroy who wrote "No American owns this tragedy more than any other American, and no one gets to speak for the rest of us." 

The 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is a time to remember those who gave their lives.  It is a time to remember their families.  This morning's panel discussion helped the audience reflect on the ways 9/11 has affected all of us. 

In the coming weeks CASL will host a series of programs reflecting broadly on how 9/11 has shaped the United States and the world.  I hope you will join us for this thought provoking series that includes programs from each of the College's six departments and several of its college wide programs. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recognizing Extraordinary CASL Staff Members

Six outstanding CASL staff members were recently nominated for Chancellor's Staff Recognition Awards. 

Some of the award winners have yet to be announced but as of this writing we know that Rachel Buzzeo of the Department of Behavioral Sciences was the 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Service to the Metropolitan Community and University Award.  The Outstanding Service to the Metropolitan Community and University Award is presented annually to a regular staff member who meets at least three of the following criteria: 

1) Extends the University's mission to the metropolitan community, 2) Forges partnerships with business,  industry, educational institutions and governmental agencies, 3) Makes a significant impact on the quality of the University's community life, 4) demonstrates the best interest of the University and the people who work within it, 5) Contributes to the solutions that promote significant University communal agenda, 6) Promotes the University of Michigan-Dearborn as an institution actively engaged with the metropolitan community that it serves; and/or 7) has a recognized contribution to our metrpolitan community that has promoted the University.

Congratulations to Rachel for being recognized for her outstanding service to UM-D and to Metro Detroit!

A description of other Chancellor's Staff Recognition Awards for which CASL staff were nominated and the list CASL nominees follows.
The Exceptional Service Award is given annually to a regular staff member who has consistently demonstrated a focus on outstanding service to his/her customers and colleagues and has made exceptional contributions toward the effectiveness of his/her unit or department.  CASL nominees for the Exceptional Service Award were:

Sharie Beard, CASL Administration
Rachel Buzzeo, Department of Behavioral Sciences
Linda Grimm, Department of Natural Sciences
Christine Kelly-Williams, Department of Social Sciences
Lori Petrick, Department of Language, Culture, and Communication

The Exceptional Long-Term Achievement Award is presented annually to a regular staff member who has worked for the University of Michigan-Dearborn at least ten (10) years and whose acts or achievements have extended beyond expectations or contributed in a significant way towards the achievement of the University's mission for several years.  The CASL nominee for the Exceptional Long-Term Achievement Award is:

Michelle Rushman, Department of language, Culture, and Communication--Writing program

The Exceptional Performance Award is presented annually to a regular staff member who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to help achieve the University's mission by contributing in a significant way to the success of a project with institutional importance, developing innovative ideas and solutions that contribute to improved efficiency and effectiveness, and/or performing his/her assigned duties with extraordinary effort, deduction, and special pride. CASL Nominees for the Exceptional Performance Award were:

Sharie Beard, CASL Administration
Rachel Buzzeo, Department of Behavioral Sciences
Christine Kelly-Williams, Department of Social Sciences

Congratulations to these outstanding CASL staff members for their nominations.  Thank you for the extraordinary contributions you make to the College, University, and Community.  Additional announcements will follow as award recipients are revealed.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10th Annual Worldviews Seminar Kicks Off

This past Sunday CASL's Center for the Study of Religion and Society hosted the kickoff dinner for the 10th annual Worldviews Seminar.  The Worldviews Seminar is a six day course designed to acquaint students with the foundations and cultural identities of the world's religions. 

The Worldviews Seminar was created in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 and in response to a growing cultural and religious divide that followed those tragic events.  The idea was spawned by the leadership of the Episcopal Church in Metropolitan Detroit.  They contacted UM-Dearborn Anthropology Professor Claude Jacobs who also directs the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the seminar was collaboratively developed.  

Over the six day course students will carry on discussions with religious experts and one another, and will embark aon a series of site visits to major places of worship throughout Metro Detroit. The seminar helps students understand the foundations of diverse religions that are found in the metropolitan area, to engage in intelligent dialogue with members of those religions, to understand the role of religion in American life, and to develop skills that will help students function in a multi-religion country and region.

The Worldviews Seminar kickoff dinner featured musical entertainment and short presentation from four former Worldviews students.  The students' accounts of their seminar experiences highlighted four discoveries resulting from seminar participation.  First, many students experience a self discovery as they reconnect with the religious traditions of their childhoods or consider a new religious tradition.  Second, students also experience an other discovery in that they gain a greater understanding of world religions and shared and different experiences of the practitioners of those religious.  Third, seminar students experience a world discovery as they explore the interdependence of world religions and their followers.  Fourth, students experience a dialogic discovery and are able to discuss the underpinnings, similarities, and differences of world religions in an atmosphere of mutual respect without contentious rhetoric or debate. 

The kickoff event included a chance to meet seminar students from each of the ten Worldviews Seminars UM-Dearborn has held.  The event underscored the importance of Worldviews and of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society to the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Metropolitan Vision and our outreach to Metropolitan Detroit. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inside Out Video

In 2007 under the direction of Sociology Professor Dr. Lora Lempert the University of Michigan-Dearborn began participating in the national Inside Out program.  The Inside Out program has incarcerated men and women and UM-Dearborn students together in classes taught at two Michigan correctional facilities.  Inmates (Inside students) and UM-D students (Outside students) agree that the non-traditional learning environment is transformative.  Inside students learn that they can succeed at college classes upon their release.  Outside students have a more informed and complete understanding of crime and punishment as a result of their experiences.

In December 2010 I was a guest at the Inside Out Completion Ceremony held at the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit.  University Director of Communications Ken Kettenbeil and a video crew were there videotaping the event.  Links to the edited videos from the evening are posted below.  Check out the videos from the groundbreaking CASL program.

Friday, May 20, 2011

CASL Students Excel in Cooperative Learning Experiences

Cooperative education is a nationally recognized educational plan that integrates academic study with applied, real world work experience for which students are paid.  More than 1,000 educational institutions have cooperated with business, industry, government, and other private and public agencies to offer work assignments related to students' educational programs and career objectives.

The CASLCo-op program was established in 1973.  Co-op students are degree seeking and generally work at the co-op experience for a minimum of two terms.  Cooperative education is not work study or merely work experience.  Many students hold jobs while going to school, but only students in officially recognized, college-monitored programs are cooperative education students.  Cooperative education allows the student to apply what he or she has learned in the classroom to a vibrant and successful work environment.  

To participate in CASL Co-op experiences students must be admitted to a CASL degree program, have sophomore or higher standing, have completed at least 12 credit hours at UM-Dearborn, and meet program grade point average requirements.  

CASL is proud of the great work of its co-op students.  CASL Co-op students earn upper level credit in Liberal Studies (LIBS 395) and they earned an average of $11.85 an hour last term.  Of the CASL co-op placements, 87% were part-time, and so the placements did not interfere with students’ progress toward graduation.

Some of the companies that hosted co-op students this past Winter term were Ameriprise Financial Services, Bodman Law Firm,City of Dearborn, DTE Energy, Eagle Eye Brands, Economic Alliance for Michigan, Fox Sports Network Detroit, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, Red Level Networks, State of Michigan, TechBA, and University Laboratories. 

Some of the job titles held by CASL co-op students included Litigation Clerk, Research Assistant, Marketing Assistant, Environmental Program Coordinator, Research and Analysis Assistant, Financial Assistant, Public Policy Office Assistant, Production Assistant, Public Relations Assistant, Media Technology Assistant, Project Management, Chemistry Lab Technician, and Financial Planner's Assistant.

CASL co-op is a great way to connect or reconnect with CASL and UM-Dearborn.  If you are a CASL friend or alum think about a partnership with CASL Co-op for your workplace or business.  The members of your outstanding workforce of tomorrow are CASL students today.

Thank you to Patricia Jones, Coordinator of CASL Experiential Learning.