Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

September 3, 2009

Vol. 4 No.1

As summer fades into fall, we hope you are looking forward to cooler weather, colorful leaves, fresh produce, football games, students returning to school and much more. The Consortium had an active summer with the New Faculty Workshop in Door County, WI, and we are getting ready for a busy fall. Please read through the brief reports and announcements below and take advantage of the programs that interest you and encourage your colleagues to do the same!

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)

HURRY! Registration is about to close on this meeting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA September 25-27, 2009. The ACM and MCMS invite women faculty to come spend a weekend sharing experiences, frustrations, solutions and opportunities about all aspects of their careers in academics. We are hoping that through this meeting and further conversations, women professors will feel empowered to be fully engaged leaders on their campuses as teachers, scholars and members of the larger campus community and leadership. See our website for more information about the conference and the keynote speaker, Joey Sprague, Bauer Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas who will present the seminar “Gendered Assumptions in Students’ Evaluations of Teaching” on Friday evening.

Online registration will be open through midnight on Friday, September 4th. A tentative schedule for the meeting is posted on our MCMS website.

Is your campus going green?
Moving Campus Sustainability Forward through Collaborative Student-Faculty-Staff Projects

Faculty, staff and students are invited to a meeting on the very timely topic of campus sustainability. The weekend workshop on October 2-4th will be hosted in the new LEED-certified science building at St. Olaf College. Below are some pictures from the new Regents Hall at St. Olaf. The workshop will explore questions about the benefits and challenges of creating and sustaining student, faculty and staff collaborative partnerships aimed at campus sustainability.  We will discuss how we, as students, teachers and staff, can be effective in bringing about positive change at our institutions.  We will consider how collaborations infuse and give rise to curricular innovation as well as encourage interdisciplinary thinking. 

See our website for more information about the conference including a tentative schedule and further description of the topics. Online registration will be open until September 18th, but please register ASAP!

Based on early registrations, here are a few of the participants and their presentation/poster titles.

  • Yafa Grossman and Brock Spencer from Beloit College, "Mapping sustainable activities at Beloit"
  • Howard Drossman from Colorado College, "Teaching the President's Climate Commitment at Colorado College"
  • Karen and Mark Pearson from Hope College, "Using student-faculty-staff research projects to promote sustainability at Hope College"
  • Paul Jackson from St. Olaf College, "Green Chemistry's Impact on Science Building Design and Undergraduate Education"

STO green roof

The green roof and greenhouse on top of Regents Hall.

STO classrooms

Two beautiful glass meeting rooms.

STO atrium

A corner of one of the atrium spaces.

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.
Janet Andersen

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 6-8). 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

2009 Undergraduate Research Symposia
poster presentationUndergraduate students are invited to present their research projects and results to peers from the 14 MCMS member campuses at either of the 2009 Undergraduate Research Symposia. Students are invited to present about their research projects in a 15 minute oral or poster presentation. In 2008, more than 135 students and faculty participated in these meetings including these two students who are discussing a poster at the Wash U meeting. These meetings are wonderful opportunities to meet peers from many colleges, learn a little bit about graduate school in science and math, visit campuses with vibrant, diverse and nationally recognized research programs and have fun in St. Louis and Chicago!

The Consortium covers all the expenses for up to 8 students and 2 faculty members from each campus to attend each meeting. Students are encouraged to discuss registering for the meeting with their research advisor(s). As part of the online registration, students will need to submit an abstract as an MSWord file (200 word maximum).

Online registration and abstract submission will be open until Friday October 2nd at    


Biological Sciences and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, October 30-November 1

On Halloween weekend Washington University is hosting the Biological Sciences and Psychology Symposium. Students are welcome to make their research presentations on subjects ranging from ecology, zoology, biochemistry, medicine, and molecular biology, to behavioral and cognitive science, pharmacology and neuroscience.

Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of Chicago, November 6-8

The next weekend, The University of Chicago is hosting the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science Symposium. This meeting will feature student presentations on topics including computer science, environmental science, chemistry, physics, mathematics and geology.  On Saturday afternoon students and faculty will have several hours to explore one of the many attractions on Chicago's waterfront including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History.

New Faculty Workshop - July 17-19, 2009

Early Career Strategic Planning: Tools for Success

cluster pictureThis summer's New Faculty Workshop was held at Björklunden, Lawrence's 'northern' campus in Door County, Wisconsin on July 17-19th. Nineteen first and second year faculty and two graduate students from 9 of the 14 Consortium campuses were part of the weekend. Karen Nordell Pearson the Consortium's director was the primary workshop facilitator, but many others participated in facilitating and contributing to the sessions and discussions.

Participants spent time developing their own strategic plans for the next 2-4 years as well as in discussion about all the major aspects of their professional lives. One of the most popular sessions was entitled "Alternatives to Lecturing". Presenters in this section included Doug Martin (Lawrence), Mark Pearson (Hope), Vicki-Lynn Holmes (Hope), Mathys Meyer (Knox), Laura Listenberger (St. Olaf), Karla Marz (Gustavus) and Todd Zimmerman (Gustavus). They lead discussions on the use of clickers, think-pair-share, Conceptests, minute papers, group problem solving, debates, using primary literature and much picture

Groups of 3 or 4 participants met in clusters throughout the weekend to share ideas, critique each other's plans, discuss strategies and actions and compare experiences on different campuses. During some of the sessions, clusters (as shown here on the right) prepared posters and shared their ideas with the full group.

Thanks to Ben, Kim and Mark, our hosts at Bjorklunden and Marlene Field, the Consortium's Program Assistant for organizing many of the meeting's details. Good luck to all the new faculty and graduate students who attended on following through with your strategic plans and making the next few years productive and successful.

As you plan for your seminar and colloquium series, take advantage of funding to support speaker visits and short-term consultations.

You can apply for these funds to support visits anytime during the academic year or in the summer!

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



Comments from the Director

Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the whirlwind of activity that we all associate with the start of the fall semester or term. I hope you had a productive summer with some down time for rest and refreshment! The New Faculty Workshop up in Door County was a wonderful time to meet and talk with many of your new colleagues as well as some graduate students who would like to be faculty members someday soon. I encourage you to get to know the new faculty members on your campuses. Ask them about their teaching and research passions and their career goals. All of them are talented, ambitious and have great ideas for new projects, courses and outreach activities.

As you've seen in the announcements above, we've got a busy fall ahead with four large meetings. We are eager to have many of you participate in these events. And as always, if you're either not available or not interested in these topics, but know of students, faculty and staff on your campus who might be - please pass the invitation on to them.

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 the start of another academic year!

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