Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

February 17, 2012

Vol. 6 No.1


Happy New Year! I hope 2012 has gotten off to a great start on your campuses. What a strange winter of unusually warm weather we're having! The tulip bulbs here in Holland are confused and some are making a very early appearance! Warm or cold, snow or rain, our programming continues. Please read through the descriptions of our programs below and consider participating. Please share any relevant information with your students and colleagues so they too can participate.

student working in hood

Join us for webinars on the following topics...

Recruiting and Retaining Undergraduates from

Underrepresented Groups in STEM programs


Going Green: Ongoing efforts on our campuses


Recruiting and retaining undergraduates from underrepresented groups in STEM programs

Thursday, March 1st 12pm (CST): Fostering a Community of Excellence in Science (FACES) at Hope College.

Presenter: Anna Bonnema, Hope College Director of the FACES mentoring program for STEM undergraduates

Description: With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Hope has created the FACES program to support and encourage students to persist in STEM fields. This webinar will describe the first two years of this new peer-mentoring program for mostly minority students in STEM disciplines. Group activities, both social and academic as well as peer-mentoring are the primary ways that Anna has fostered a strong sense of community among these nearly 40 first year and upper level students.

Going Green: Ongoing efforts on campuses around the consortium

Thursday, March 29th @ 4pm (CST): Beloit's Sustainability Fellows Program

Presenter: Yaffa Grossman, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Beloit College

Description: This webinar will be focused on Beloit's Sustainability Fellows program. In its third year, this program invites undergraduates to spend the summer carrying out wide-ranging projects related to sustainability both on campus and in the larger Beloit community. In addition to describing this program in detail, Yaffa will take a few minutes to update us on the other ways that sustainability is thriving, growing and making an impact on Beloit's campus and beyond. Please join us at 4pm CST.

Click on the links above to register for the webinars. Contact Karen N. Pearson with questions, (616)395-7217.

2012 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Nominations

Janet AndersenWe are eager to receive nominations for the 2012 Janet Andersen Lecture Award. We invite faculty, students, staff and administrators to nominate faculty members in the Consortium for this award. We encourage nominations for faculty members of any rank who have vigorous research programs involving undergraduates, who are exceptional mentors for undergraduate research students, who are engaged and skilled teachers, or who create interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate students.

The Consortium will accept nominations for the 2012 award until the April 13. The award recipients will be selected at the spring's Executive Committee Meeting on Saturday April 21st.

Please send a letter of nomination with relevant details about the faculty member and a recent CV of the nominee to Karen Pearson, Midstates Consortium Director at

Call (616-395-7217) or email Karen with any questions.

To see more information on our 2008 - 2011 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site

 meeting ideas

New Faculty Workshop - July 13-15, 2012
Early Career Strategic Planning: Tools for Success

This summer's New Faculty Workshop will be held at Hope College on the weekend of July 13-15th. We'll be starting at lunchtime on Friday and the meeting goes through lunchtime on Sunday! We're planning a workshop with lots of time for conversation, reflection, planning and fun! Hope’s campus is located in beautiful downtown Holland, MI only a mile or two from the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan.

More details about the workshop can be found on our website. Online registration will open March 1 and will continue through June 12.

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 at one of the Consortium campuses are encouraged to participate. The weekend will be a mixture of time for reflection and strategic planning for each participant, and time for discussions and presentations about teaching, pedagogies, establishing a research group, writing proposals for external funding, mentoring and much 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!

2011 Undergraduate Research Symposia

poster presentationA record 140 students and faculty came to the Undergraduate Research Symposium at Washington University in St. Louis over the shortened weekend of October 28-29, 2011. Students from all 14 member campuses made Knox poster35 oral presentations and 78 poster presentations. On Saturday morning, Dr. Bill Hammer from Augustana College presented the 4th Annual Janet Andersen Lecture entitled “Dinosaurs on Ice: Antarctica during the age of reptiles.”

Thanks to Wash U's John Russel, Jenny Lawler-Brown, Erik Herzog, the Consortium's Marlene Field and many others who helped organize and host a fantastic weekend for all of us. Also, belated congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals who won the 7th Game of the World Series the Friday night of our meeting. Go Cards!



Wash U group 2010The next weekend, November 5-6th, The University of Chicago hosted the physical sciences symposium with 110 students and faculty who made 37 oral and 52 poster presentations. On Friday evening Beloit's George Lisensky, a chemist with many ongoing interdisciplinary interests including nanoscience, gave the physical sciences Janet Andersen Award Lecture entitled "Big Chances from Small Materials." 

Thanks to Chicago's John Frederick, Shelia Naughten and Souvik De and the Consortium's Marlene Field for organizing many details so the weekend ran very smoothly!

Special thanks to all the faculty that helped students prepare their talks and posters. The careful preparation showed in the quality of the presentations. We consistently hear from visitors and faculty members that these meetings have some of the highest quality, professional presentations made by students of any similar meetings hosted for undergraduates in the nation.



Environmental Summer School for undergraduates at Cranfield University in England: June 11 - 22nd, 2012

The Environmental Futures Summer School offers a taste of Graduate School study at the United Kingdom’s leading industry-focused, research-intensive university. The Faculty are internationally recognized scholars with many years of experience in their fields, bridging the gap between Academe, the environment and the economy. Students from colleges in the Consortium are offered discounted tuition to the program. The program's spring application deadline is May 1st.

Take a moment to think of a few students who might be interested and pass the information on to them.

For more information and application materials, visit Cranfield's website for the program. (

Previously recorded webinars are now available!

External funding as a key component of your Strategic Action Plan, originally recorded on October 11th, 2010            

Preparing a winning proposal: Gleaning insights from reviewer’s comments, originally recorded on November 1st, 2010                       

Undergraduate research learning plans, originally recorded on April 19th, 2011

Contact Marlene Field for the password to access these files on our website.

Executive CommitteeExecutive Committee Meeting - April 21, 2012

The Consortium's Executive Committee will be meeting on Saturday April 21 at the O'Hare Marriott.

If you have any questions or ideas for the meeting please talk to your campus rep. The meeting's agenda will be distributed to reps and posted on the website in early April.



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!

Fall 2011 Speaker Visits and Short Term Consultations

In early December Dr. Sara Emerson from the Biology Department at Lawrence gave a seminar at Gustavus Adolphus College entitled "Predation risk, habitat use, diet selection of Samango monkeys in  South Africa."

In early November Dr. Amy Kolan from St. Olaf's Physics Department went to the University of Chicago to work with Physics Professor Leo Kandanoff on Vpython, a software package that can be used in first year curriculum.

On Sept. 23 and 24th Laura Peterson from Environmental Studies and Chemistry at Luther College consulted with Brock Spencer from Beloit College Chemistry on Environmental Chemistry courses and a possible field site in Italy.  She also gave a talk on bio-geo-chemistry climatology. 

On September 21st Liviu Mirica, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Washington University spoke at Macalester College on "Late Transition Metal Catalysts for Small Molecule Activation: Relevance to Renewable Energy Catalysis.”

On September 15th Nicholas Kooyers, a PhD candidate from Washington University gave a lecture to Sara Emerson's Plant Animal Interactions class and met with students and faculty.  

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,

Thanks to all the students and faculty that joined us for the two fantastic Undergraduate Research Symposia this fall. Our record numbers demonstrate how valuable these meetings are to students as they look for opportunities to share the results of their research efforts.

Earlier this month I accepted a new position at Hope which will begin this summer. I am Hope’s new Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship. This new position has been created to strengthen and enrich the opportunities for undergraduates to participate in closely-mentored research across all areas of the curriculum. I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the first person in this new role and I’m eager to begin the work. Excited as I am about this new job, I am sorry that it means I will be stepping down as Director of the Consortium.  I have enjoyed working with and getting to know so many talented, committed and creative students, faculty and staff over the past 6 years. Thank you for your participation in so many of the Consortium's activities over these years and I hope your involvement will continue. For any of you interested in considering the Director's position, stay tuned for information from the Consortium's Executive Committee about applications for the opening.

As you've seen in the announcements above, there are several upcoming opportunities for faculty and students to be involved. Please consider ways to engage with this community - your Deans and Provosts have committed valuable funding for all of us to tap into these programs. Don't forget, funding is available year round for inviting speakers and colleagues from other campuses to give seminars or collaborate on a research or teaching project.

Best wishes for a great start to 2012!

Karen Nordell Pearson


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