Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

September 20, 2010

Vol. 5 No.1

Welcome fall and welcome class of 2014! By now, most of our campuses are humming with the energy and activities of a new academic year. The Consortium is also buzzing with activities planned for this fall and we welcome your participation! Please read through the descriptions of our programs below and consider attending one of the meetings, encouraging your students and colleagues to attend or applying for funding to invite a speaker to your campus from another member campus.

2010 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 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposia. Students are invited to present about their research projects in a 15 minute oral or poster presentation. In 2009, 180 students and faculty participated in these meetings. 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 is open at    


This fall The University of Chicago 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.

Registration deadline: Midnight on Sunday, October 3rd

The next weekend, Washington University in St. Louis 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.

Registration deadline: Midnight on Sunday, October 10th

money bags clip artNeed Money? How to craft a proposal that makes them want to say 'YES'!



Funding whiz Jeanne Narum, the Founding Director of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and the Director of the Independent Colleges Office, will be helping us throughout the fall with a series of webinars and a weekend workshop designed to help faculty and staff prepare competitive proposals for external funding. Jeanne is very experienced in all aspects of proposal preparation and will give constructive, honest and encouraging feedback for all ideas and plans. Please consider taking part in this series of webinars designed to prepare you for a productive weekend workshop at Hope College on November 19-21, 2010. Because of timing, we know that you may not be able to attend the webinars live, but they will be recorded so you can view and listen to them later. You are not required to be part of the webinars in order to be part of the weekend workshop, but they should be useful especially for faculty and staff who are novices at proposal writing. You are also welcome to tune in to the webinars even if you cannot attend the weekend workshop. There will be opportunities to ask questions during the webinars. Tracey Nally, Hope’s Director for Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research Office, will also be helping facilitate the workshop at Hope.

Online registration for the workshop, November 19-21st, will open on Friday, October 1st.

Webinar 1: Proposal Writing Basics, Monday, September 27th 11-12pm EST

Jeanne Narum and Karen N. Pearson will host a webinar giving a general overview and some helpful suggestions for rookies about the process of seeking external funding. Topics will include: writing style, funding agencies, timelines and deadlines, individual and group proposals, first submissions vs. resubmissions, and the basics of proposal reviewing.

Register here for the first webinar on September 27th:

Webinar 2: External funding as a key component of your Strategic Action Plan, Monday, October 11th 4-5pm EST

Jeanne and Karen will host a webinar on the topic of Strategic Action Planning (SAP) and how seeking external support may be a key component of your SAP. We will also talk with several faculty members who have recently and successfully secured external funding.

Register here for the second webinar on October 11th:

Webinar 3: Preparing a winning proposal: gleaning insights from reviewers' comments Monday, November 1st 4-5pm EST

Jeanne and Karen will host a webinar on the topic of what we can learn from reviewer’s comments and the reviewing process. We will examine actual reviewer's comments to glean insights that should be useful in proposal preparation. Heeding the wisdom in reviewers' comments will help you craft a proposal more likely to be funded the first time around.

Register here for the third webinar on November 1st:

Weekend Meeting: Nov 19-21, 2010 at Hope College with two tracks for participants. Track one will be for rookies with little or no experience with proposal writing, but with an idea you want to pursue. The second track will be for experienced writers with a proposal you would like to make significant progress on maybe even complete during the weekend. 

Online registration will open on Friday, October 1st and remain open until Friday, November 5th, but please register ASAP! Contact Karen N. Pearson with questions and suggestions., (616)395-7217.


2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners

We received 11 very strong nominations for the 2010 Janet Andersen Award from which the Executive Committee chose the two winners.

Dr. PeasleePhysical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Graham Peaslee, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science, Hope College, Holland, MI

Graham will give the lecture at the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science meeting at Washington University in St. Louis (Nov 12-14).


Janet AndersenBiological Sciences and Psychology

Sarah (Sally) Elgin, PhD, Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Sally was selected to present the award lecture at the Biological Sciences and Psychology meeting at The University of Chicago (Nov 5-7).


To see more information on our 2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site.

Upper Midwest PKAL Regional Gathering at St. Olaf Collegeposter presentation

While the MCMS is not sponsoring this meeting, many of our members are also involved with Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and may be interested in attending this meeting. You may have seen the invitation from St. Olaf Professor of Chemistry Mary Walczak. The other organizers are Sue Chaplin, University of St. Thomas, Matt Richey, St. Olaf College and Marcus Webster, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict. The meeting will be held in Regents Hall (atrium pictured right) on St. Olaf's campus.

Sunday October 10, 2010

1:00-6:00 pm

Leadership Strategies:  Accidental vs. Intentional

Taking on leadership roles is a difficult choice for many young or mid-career faculty.  Sometimes leadership responsibilities land in your lap and you become the “accidental leader.”  Other people make specific choices throughout their careers in order to take on leadership roles to achieve their and their institution’s visions.  At this gathering, we will discuss the challenges and rewards of leadership, explore your aptitude for leadership and share examples where effective leadership was applied.

Tentative Schedule:

1:00      arrival and welcome

1:15      Panel:  Leadership Thoughts and Perspectives, Sue Chaplin, University of St. Thomas, Matt Richey, St. Olaf College, Mary Walczak, St. Olaf College, Marcus Webster, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict

2:30      Sharing of examples of challenging leadership situations on home campuses

3:15      Brainstorming the future of the Upper Midwest PKAL group:  What do we want to do?

4:15      Regents Hall Building Tours

5:00      Dinner

Registration for the meeting is online at

New Faculty Workshop - July 9-11, 2010

Early Career Strategic Planning: Tools for Success

cluster picture

As in 2007 and 2009, the 2010 New Faculty Workshop was held in Door County, WI at Lawrence’s Björklunden Lodge on the weekend of July 9-11th. The weekend workshop had 12 participants including six first and three second year faculty and three postdocs. Participants were from 9 of the 14 Consortium campuses and 2 faculty came from the Northeastern Illinois University. Karen N. Pearson was the primary workshop facilitator, but many others participated in the session presentations and discussions including Professors David Hall, Laura Listenberger and Jennifer Hampton who all 'tuned in' via live web meetings.

Participants spent time developing their own strategic action plans (SAP) for the next 2-4 years as well as in discussions about all the major aspects of their professional lives. One popular session was entitled "Alternatives to Lecturing". Presenters in this session included Shannon O’Leary (Lawrence), Erik Epp (St. Olaf), Ben Kolber (Wash U) and Emina Stojkovic (NEIU).  We discussed the use of clickers and Conceptests, minute papers, group problem solving, problem-based learning and Peer-led Team Learning (PLTL). group picture

Groups of 2 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. Pairs of participants met to brainstorm and refine their ideas throughout the weekend. The final morning of the workshop began with each participant writing their SAP on large poster papers, so they could be shared with the full group. Each participant presented highlights of their SAP to the full group and got suggestions and lots of encouragement from the group (see picture to the lower left). Karen made a few closing comments and gave participants their post-workshop assignments. After completing the evaluations, participants headed home.

Kelly presents SAPAs always Marlene did a great job helping plan and execute the meeting’s details. The staff at Björklunden were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed the lake, woods, trails, bonfires, sunshine, great food, pleasant meeting spaces and relaxed atmosphere. Good luck to all the new faculty and postdocs 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 another fall, brimming with excitement and possibility. I hope you had a productive summer with some down time for rest and refreshment! The New Faculty Workshop at Bjorklunden was a wonderful time to meet and talk with many of your new colleagues as well as some postdocs who are preparing for teaching and research careers at campuses like ours. I encourage you to get to know the new faculty members on your campuses. Ask them about their teaching and research passions and about the strategic action plans they developed during the workshop.

As you've seen in the announcements above, we've got a busy fall ahead with three large meetings, all before the Thanksgiving break. We are eager to have many of you and your students participate in these events. Remember, your Deans and Provosts pay for the Consortium's annual membership out of very tight faculty professional development funds, so please make the most of your campus' involvement and support these meetings. Also, funding is available year round for inviting speakers and colleagues from other campuses to give seminars or collaborate on a research or teaching project. In my 5 years as Director, we have never run out of money to support these speaker and collaboration visits.

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 great start to 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