Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

May 21, 2009

Vol. 3 No.5

We just finished up our Tulip Time Festival in Holland and the tulips did not disappoint us. The April showers that frustrated many of us were a real blessing to the tulip beds. We are known here in Holland for our tulips but we also have a wide variety of wild flowers such as the dutchmen's breeches, pictured here.

New Faculty Workshop - July 17-19, 2009

Early Career Strategic Planning: Tools for Success

This summer's New Faculty Workshop will be held at Björklunden, Lawrence's 'northern' campus in Door County, Wisconsin on the weekend of July 17-19th. Björklunden, pronounced "Bee-york-lun-den", meaning birch forest by the water, is a large property with a gorgeous lodge on the shores of Lake Michigan. For more information about Björklunden, visit

More details about the workshop can be found on our website. Online registration is open now and will continue through the end of June. Graduate students and postdocs interested in teaching at liberal arts colleges, newly hired tenure-track or term appointment faculty, and faculty just completing their first or second years are encouraged to participate. The weekend will be a mixture of time for reflection and strategic planning for each particpant, and time for discussions and presentations about teaching, pedagogies, establishing a research group, writing proposals for external funding and more.

As you complete searches for new colleagues, please make them aware of this opportunity. Participants from the last several summer workshops found the weekend valuable and fun!

Executive Committee Meeting April 25, 2009

The Consortium's Executive Committee met Saturday April 25, 2009 at the O'Hare Marriott. The Executive Committee is assembled from all of the 14-member campus representatives. Reps from 12 of the 14 schools attended the meeting! We briefly discussed the activities from the past academic year and did some planning for the 2009-10 year. The campus reps are not compensated for the time they invest promoting the Consortium and communicating about the programming, so if you see your campus rep, please thank them for their time!

If you have any questions or would like a copy of the minutes please talk to your campus rep or contact the Program Assistant Marlene Field ( .



2009 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners

We received 11 very strong nominations for the 2009 Janet Andersen Award from which the Executive Committee chose the two winners.

Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Robert Jacobel, PhD, Professor of Physics, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Biological Sciences and Psychology

Ken Yasukawa, PhD, Professor of Biology, Beloit College, Beloit, WI

Robert will give the lecture at the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science meeting at the University of Chicago (Nov 7-9). Ken was selected to present the award lecture at the Biological Sciences and Psychology meeting at Washington University in St. Louis (Oct 30-Nov 1).

To see more information on our 2009 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site

Women and the Academy: Defining our Roles and Shaping our Communities

Co-sponsored by the Midstates Consortium (MCMS) and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM)

The ACM and the MCMS will co-host this meeting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA September 25-27, 2009. ACM and MCMS campuses continue to add women to their faculties and on many campuses, nearly 50% of the professors are women. It is exciting to see women securing tenure-track positions, demonstrating excellence as teachers and scholars, receiving grants and awards, earning tenure and promotion and making major contributions to their departments, colleges, and broader scholarly communities. However, women faculty still face particular obstacles. Women report working longer on class preparation including lectures and labs in order to avoid confrontations with students who directly challenge their authority about grading, assignments and workload. During committee work, women sometimes perceive their abilities, experiences and knowledge are not as highly valued as those of their male colleagues.

The ACM Committee on the Status of Women and the leadership of the MCMS would like to invite women faculty to come spend a weekend considering these issues including practical solutions, strategies and best practices that may help women address these challenges. We are hoping that through this meeting and further conversations, women professors who feel isolated and marginalized will be supported and encouraged by other women faculty who are also feeling similar challenges, but have found ways to successfully navigate these obstacles and capitalize on the opportunities that allow them to flourish.

Online registration will open in July at


Is your campus going green?

Let's share information about how our courses, research projects, campus strategies, and other math and science contributions are contributing to the sustainability of our campuses!

We're planning a series of two meetings about campus sustainability. The two meetings will be hosted in the new LEED-certified green science buildings at St. Olaf and Beloit Colleges. The first of the two meetings will be October 2-4, 2009 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Please contact Karen if you'd like to help with the planning of these meetings or if you've got ideas about how students, faculty, staff or administrators on your campus can contribute to this important and timely topic!



Upcoming Workshop: Using X-Ray Diffraction in Teaching and Research

Andrew Knudsen in the Lawrence Geology Department has agreed to host a weekend workshop at Lawrence in January, 2010. Please let Karen know if you would be interested in such a workshop.


Visits supported by the MCMS Speaker Series, Speaker Consultant Exchange or Short Term Consultation Programs

Reminder: you can apply for these funds to support visits during the remainder of this academic year, this summer and next year too!

If you have a seminar that you would like to give please add your name to our database.


Speaker Series

On April 16th Dr. Ellen Damschen a biologist from Washington University presented a seminar entitled "Corridors and plant species richness" at Luther College. Luther biologist Eric Baack was Ellen's host.

Daniel McGehee from the Biology department at the University of Chicago came to Hope College on April 17 to give his talk "Cellular mechanisms of nicotine addiction." Host Vicki Isola from Hope's Biology department was pleased with his talk.

Short Term Consultations

Recently Dr. Stephen Remillard and several of his students from the Physics Department of Hope College traveled toWashington University to gain familiarity with the SEM. They characterized several samples with Ty Daulton in the Wash U Physics Department and William Buhro in the Wash U Chemsitry Department.

Over the weekend of May 15 Elaine Marzluff from Grinnell Chemistry went to Knox to finalize the CCLI grant that she and Mary Crawford, Chemistry, had been collaborating on since last spring. The grant is due next week and they were able to wrap things up over their weekend meeting.

Comments from the Director

Friends and Colleagues,
We're getting ready for a busy summer and fall of 2009. The fall will be especially busy with several weekend workshops followed by the two annual Undergraduate Research Symposia in early November. We are eager to have many of you participate in these events. And as always, we could use help planning these events, so let me know if you've got time, energy or expertise that would be valuable for either the women's meeting or the campus sustainability meeting.

Thanks to the members of the Executive Committee who committed a precious spring Saturday to working on behalf of all your campuses on the programming, planning and finances of the Consortium.

I'm always eager to hear your ideas and to find ways to support what you'd like to accomplish, learn and explore. Please give me a call at 616-395-7217 or send an email to
Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable start to the summer!

Karen Nordell Pearson


Augustana College Beloit College Carthage College Colorado College Grinnell College Gustavus Adolphus Hope College Knox College  
 Lawrence University Luther College Macalester College St. Olaf College University of Chicago Washington University