Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

March 17, 2011

Vol. 5 No.3

marsh marigolds in bloom

Spring is almost here - the marsh marigolds will be blooming soon! We've had a long, cold, snowy winter - as have most of you - so we hope a warm, sunny, spring is just around the corner! A wonderful group of mid-career faculty gathered on Augustana's campus in late February to spend a weekend reflecting on our professional and personal lives. See the details in the newsletter below as well as read more about our recent and upcoming activities.

Seeking 2011 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Nominations

Janet AndersenWe are eager to receive nominations for the 2011 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 award recipients will be selected at the spring's Executive Committee Meeting, and nominations will be accepted until April 4, 2011.

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.

To see more information on our 2008 - 2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site


 meeting ideas

New Faculty Workshop - July 7-10, 2011
Early Career Strategic Planning: Tools for Success

This summer's New Faculty Workshop will be held at Hope College on the weekend of July 7-10th – yes – that’s Thursday through Sunday! We've extended this summer's workshop to provide more 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 April 1 and will continue through June 6.

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!


A workshop focused on

Undergraduate Research in Astronomy

Invitation for a workshop at the AAS meeting in Boston May 21 - 26

Undergraduates are ready, willing, and able to take on interesting and important research in astronomy.  Whether the projects involve analyzing archival data, conducting observations from both small and professional observatories, or remote observing, student projects can both enhance the education of the student and build additional knowledge in the field. Areas where undergraduates have traditionally been involved include variable star and double star measurements, data mining of major data sets (such as SDSS), positional tracking of asteroids, supernova hunts, as well as many other subfields. The forum will allow faculty and students to share their experiences and outcomes, and motivate others to involve undergraduates in research programs. The potential to not only move research programs forward, and even more importantly to recruit and involve more students in the field, are important reasons to get undergraduates involved. Doug Arion, Carthage Planetarium

This workshop will consist of two panel discussions, one by faculty and one by students who have been involved in undergraduate astronomy research, and a poster session of undergraduate astronomy projects presented both by students and faculty. Participants will be invited to participate both by direct contact by the organizers, and a general announcement to the membership. Please consider attending and presenting!

For more information and details, contact Carthage Professor of Physics, Doug Arion (


meeting ideas

Executive Committee Meeting - April 16, 2011


The Consortium's Executive Committee will be meeting on Saturday April 16 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.

Re-energize, re-imagine and re-invest!

Midcareer Faculty Development Workshop

Augustana College

Feb 18-20, 2011

group picture 2011

eagle watching on the Mississippi

We all enjoyed seeing many eagles sitting regally in trees along the shores of the mighty Mississippi on the sunny, but chilly February afternoon.

Sixteen faculty from six campuses gathered in Rock Island at Augustana College for a weekend of conversation, reflection and planning. Jeanne Narum, Karen Pearson facilitated the weekend of briskly paced sessions and activities. Thanks to all the participants for their engagement all weekend and the encouraging ways they worked together on the planning and the Lego exercises.

Augustana host Dell Jensen coordinated an eagle-watching tour late on Saturday afternoon and two van loads of participants braved the chilly afternoon and were rewarded with some spectacular views of many, many bald eagles sitting in trees along the river and soaring above areas of open water. Thanks to Dell for arranging for the eagles to be 'in view' and Marlene for capturing the adventure on film!

The group gathered Sunday morning to present the individual 3-5 year strategic plans that were created by each participant. The group offered suggestions and comments on the action plans. Chased home by an oncoming winter storm - the group dispersed just before lunch on Sunday.

eagle pair sitting in a tree along the Mississippi

A mating pair of bald eagles sat high in a tree above the river.

Lego creation during the workshop

One group works to create their vision of the ideal environment for midcareer faculty members using Legos. The results were fun, creative and whimsical.

Congratulations Students!

We've received word from Washington University that at least a dozen Consortium undergraduates will be doing research at Wash U over the summer as part of several programs including the AMGEN Scholars, CD-BioRap and C-SURE. Campuses represented so far are Grinnell, Gustavus Adolphus, Hope, St. Olaf and Washington University. Thanks to the faculty who helped many students apply including writing letters of recommendation!

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!

Paul Overroode, from Macalester's Biology department met with faculty and students at Lawrence University in early January. Biochemist Kim Dickson and Paul spent time discussing Kim's NIH proposal and Paul gave a public lecture too.

On February 24, mathematician Ben Newton from Beloit College hosted Tim Pennings and his Corgi, Elvis Bogart Wales, from Hope College’s Math Department.  During Tim’s talk Do Dogs Know Calculus? Elvis demonstrated his canine calculus skills.

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 the faculty that came to Rock Island and Augustana College last month for a weekend of conversation, Lego-building, eagle-watching and career planning. Jeanne and I enjoyed getting to know many of you, seeing your plans develop and discussing the challenges and opportunities associated with these middle years of a faculty member's career. Best of luck to all of you as you work to refine and implement your strategic plans.

We are looking forward to seeing most of the members of the Executive Committee in Chicago in about a month. And we are eager to meet early career folks including graduate students, postdocs and new faculty at this summer's workshop in Holland. We've already ordered superb weather for the 4 day weekend!

Thanks for your continued interest and involvement in the Consortium. We hope you're taking advantage of what we have to offer. Happy Spring on March 20!

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