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Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News February 24, 2014
Snowbrawl Strikes Back: An invitation posted the night of February 4 on Facebook resulted in several hundred fearless Terriers braving winter's onslaught the following day on the Esplanade. Photo by Scott Eisen (COM'14)
A Tale 500 Million Years in the Making
Five hundred million years ago, what is now present-day New England lay near the equator and was relatively flat. Then suddenly—geologically speaking—a change in plate motions sent the neighboring oceanic plate sliding into and beneath the North American plate, or craton. This was the first in a series of tectonic collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains.

A little more recently—seven years ago, to be exact—BU Professor Ethan Baxter led a group of Boston-area high school students and BU undergraduates on a pilgrimage of sorts. Their mission? To collect rock samples in various sites in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont that would help them tell the story of these ancient collisions. The new, National Science Foundation-funded program was called Rocks Beneath Our Toes, or RoBOT. Read about RoBOT’s most recent adventure.
Investing in the Humanities
Over the past decade, the Boston University Center for the Humanities (BUCH) has become a meeting point for humanities scholars and a key reason why humanities scholarship is vibrant at the College of Arts & Sciences.

In recent years, Director James Winn has steadily increased the center’s efforts to foster interdisciplinary research and dialogue among humanities scholars, while also sponsoring lecture series, seminars, and performances. Now, for the first time in its history, the center will include graduate students among the ranks of its research fellows. Read more about the BUCH’s efforts.
English’s Gene Jarrett to Become Next Associate Dean of the Faculty for Humanities
Professor Gene A. Jarrett of the English Department and African American Studies Program will become CAS Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Humanities this summer, succeeding Pat Johnson, who has decided to return full-time to her faculty role. Gene earned his AB in English from Princeton and his AM and PhD in English from Brown University. He has served as Acting Director of the African American Studies Program and is completing a term as Chair of the English Department. Gene has been exemplary in both capacities, demonstrating great skill in leading and navigating colleagues through sometimes challenging circumstances. Read more in a letter from Dean Sapiro.
New CAS Communications Director Takes the Helm
The CAS Communications Office serves as a guide to departments, programs, and the College as a whole on communications matters. Newly minted Communications Director Jeremy Schwab, who served for the past five years as CAS Communications Specialist, plans to encourage more departments to take advantage of his office’s resources. Chairs, directors, and individual faculty members can contact Jeremy (x8-1056) for guidance and assistance with web, print, and email communications; event promotion; and overall communications planning. Learn more about these communications resources.
Today: Bethany Ehlmann Gives First Annual Silas Peirce Lecture: “Following the Water on Mars”
Join Bethany Ehlmann (California Institute of Technology) as she gives the first annual CAS Silas Peirce Lecture. Professor Ehlmann, a member of the science team for NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity mission, will describe why the Curiosity rover was sent to Mars and what it has found since landing 18 months ago. The Curiosity represents the latest chapter in NASA’s exploration of Mars. It was designed to assess whether the Red Planet ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. The rover’s onboard laboratory is currently studying the rocks and soils it encounters, searching for the chemical building blocks of life.

The Silas Peirce Lecture Fund was established by the heirs of Silas Peirce, treasurer of Boston University (1911–1922) and University Trustee (1899–1922), with the intention of providing for special lectures at the College of Liberal Arts. Awareness of the fund disappeared for some time, but it is being rebuilt as one of the notable events on CAS’s annual academic calendar. Further event details are available.
Call for Proposals: Silas Peirce Lecture, Gitner Family Lecture
Thanks to the generosity of alumni and other friends of the College of Arts & Sciences, CAS is now in a position to offer two special endowed lectures annually that are intended to bring the Boston University community together for the consideration of fascinating and important questions and topics and be signature annual events. This is a call for proposals for the 2014/15 Silas Peirce Lecture, which will bring an outside speaker of note to BU; and the 2014/15 Gerald and Deanne Gitner Family CAS Lecture, which will allow us to showcase our own faculty in a presentation of major import to the BU community. Please see the specific calls for proposals here. These opportunities are open to all fields of study represented in CAS. Proposal due date: Friday, March 21, 2014.
Improved Calendar Gives CAS Faculty a One-Stop Shop for Meetings, Deadlines
Did you ever wonder why CAS doesn’t have a convenient web page where you can find out about all upcoming faculty deadlines and meetings? Well, now you can find the information you are looking for on the CAS Administrative Calendar. Bookmark it in your browser! And please, if you have any suggestions for improving the calendar or notice any omissions, contact Communications Director Jeremy Schwab (x8-1056).
Key Sections of CAS Faculty & Staff Handbook Updated
As ongoing improvements are made to the online CAS Faculty & Staff Handbook, please note that substantial edits have been made to the following sections: Sabbatical, Junior Scholar Leave, Leave of Absence, and the Process for Faculty Recruitment. These changes have been made to clarify the processes for leave and faculty recruitment. You can find the sabbaticals and leave policies here, and the faculty recruitment process here.
Students Selling Class Notes on Flashnotes: A Disturbing Trend
CAS faculty should take note that a business called Flashnotes—which recruits and pays students to take notes in class and then sells these notes and other academic materials to other students—has been active on BU’s campus. Participation in such a business is something the CAS administration would consider a violation of our academic code. There is no way Flashnotes can guarantee the quality of the notes students buy or the academic quality of the students who are being paid to take notes. Flashnotes recently tried to recruit a CAS undergraduate advisor to recruit students to serve as note-takers. Faculty and staff should be on the lookout for these recruitment activities, and faculty should be aware that there might be people sitting in their classes who are there simply to take notes for payment in order to have them sold to other students.
more news
Lectures & Events
Silas Peirce Lecture: Following the Water on Mars
The American Bible: A Discoveries Lecture with Stephen Prothero
Asia and the City: The Changing Meanings of Beijing
The Passage to Europe—A Lunch Talk
Fifth Annual Transatlantic Dialogue on Gender Issues
Susannah Heschel: Joy and Obligation (Leo Trepp Lecture)
Godly Nationalism in Indonesia: A Lunch Talk
The Multilingual Local in World Literature
View Calendar
Faculty Meetings & Deadlines
Natural Sciences CCD Meeting
Humanities CCD Meeting
Faculty Actions Reports Due
Tenure and Promotion/Promotion-Only Reviews: Department-Level Deadline
External Activity Reports—Online Submission Deadline
CAS Faculty Meeting
Summer Term Appointment/Reappointment Papers and Final Salary Sheets Due
CCD Meeting
2014/15 Bulletin: Department Page Deadline
Social Sciences CCD Meeting
Natural Sciences CCD Meeting
External Evaluators Lists for Tenure and Promotion Due
CAS Faculty Meeting
chairs/faculty calendar
Faculty Meetings
Faculty News and Notes

BU Today recently published a four-article series exploring the work of Mark Grinstaff, a CAS professor of chemistry, and his colleagues in the Grinstaff Group. The lab, which consists of over 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, attracts members of varied expertise—including chemistry, pharmacology, and biomedical mechanical engineering. The Grinstaff Group is working on three key projects: a team focused on treating early-stage lung cancer by designing chemotherapy-releasing films that can be stapled along lung tissue where a tumor has been removed; a mesothelioma group creating chemotherapy-releasing nanoparticles that are absorbed by and expand within late-stage tumor cells; and an osteoarthritis group researching better ways to diagnose and treat damaged cartilage tissue.

Professor of Biology Richard Primack was awarded a Humboldt Research Award from the government of Germany. This award is granted “to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.” Primack will spend 6 to 12 months in Germany over the next three years, based at the Munich Botanical Garden while pursuing research on the effects of climate change on plants and animals. Primack is also leading an effort to make textbooks in the field of conservation biology more widely available around the world, having spent the past 18 years working with local scientists to produce translations and adaptations of these textbooks for individual countries and regions. Recently, an edition for Nepal with two Nepali co-authors was published in English, making it the 29th book in the project. Twelve more editions are in production. An article Primack wrote about this translation project appeared in the high-impact journal BioScience.

Associate Professor of International Relations Thomas Berger’s most recent book, War, Guilt, and World Politics After World War II, was named one of the best political and international relations books of 2013 by foreign relations council Foreign Affairs. Read more

Professor of Biology Adrien Finzi and colleagues recently published their findings on the role played by microscopic fungi in plants’ roots in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere. Current global climate models often fail to account for this effect. Finzi’s work was featured in Science Daily.

BU Today recently featured John Finnerty, associate professor of biology and winner of the 2013 Metcalf Award, showing his innovated teaching techniques of using games to illustrate his biology lessons.

The Department of Economics was ranked 12th nationally by international clearinghouse Research Papers in Economics, with four faculty ranked in the top one percent of the field. Read more at BU Today.

this month's accolades
Alumni News

At a Daily Show taping, BU alum Adam Engel (CAS’12) used humor and ingenuity to strike up a conversation with host Jon Stewart. Impressed with Engel’s credentials, Stewart encouraged viewers to call in with job leads. Engel is one of the founders of Culture Shock, the official blog of BU’s Howard Thurman Center. Read the BU Today article.

Keep us in the loop
Let us know about news or upcoming events. Announcements about upcoming events, new faculty book publications, and news items can also be submitted online. If you prefer, you can send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Jeremy Schwab at 617-358-1056. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Development & Alumni Relations Jeffrey Murphy at 617-353-5881

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