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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: September 15 2010
First-Year Students Receive Warm Welcome from CAS

Despite the extremely hot weather, students were out in droves for the school-opening events that took place in the days leading up to the first day of class, September 2. On Tuesday, August 31, the Class of 2014 was welcomed to campus with the first-ever Comm Ave Fair. Each school and college was represented along Commonwealth Avenue, introducing students to the many opportunities afforded to them at BU, as well as free food and gifts. The CAS contribution included students who shared the results of fascinating research they had done, and a chance to earn a free book by participating in a reading of scenes from Shakespeare sponsored by the Core Curriculum. CAS also provided slushy drinks, fruit kabobs, and free flash drives to file the many papers and projects students will be creating throughout the semester.

On Wednesday, September 1, we launched the Class of 2014 CAS First Year Experience (FYE) with the second annual Ice Cream Social on Marsh Plaza. Deans, faculty, and staff from the College scooped ice cream and mingled with the new students while being entertained by Fish Worship, a blues band made up of Boston University faculty members and friends. With classes underway, a lively group of first-year students and faculty participated in the first CAS Café of the season to discuss Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness, a book based on social science research that explores the reasons why people have trouble choosing life strategies that make them happy. CAS Café, with its small table setting, enticing refreshments, and enjoyable intellectual and social activity, is designed to help integrate freshmen into the College by helping them get to know and become comfortable with faculty members at an informal setting outside the classroom.

CAS Café II is scheduled for October 4 and will consist of a discussion of the play Good (later cafés will include viewing the rehearsal, viewing the show, and an after-show discussion). The café, which involves students and faculty, will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Trustee Ballroom, One Silber Way, 9th Floor. All CAS faculty are encouraged to participate.

Fresh Faces

View a photo gallery of first-year students at the recent Comm Ave Fair and Ice Cream Social.

Celebrating the New Academic Year and Introducing the New Faculty of CAS

Longtime CAS faculty members will recall the annual faculty dinner at which new members of the CAS faculty were introduced, often amusingly and sometimes in verse, by their department chairs. Because of the size of the faculty and expense of catering, we no longer have the dinner, but we certainly have not given up introductions and celebrations.

On September 22 at 4 p.m. in CAS 522 the first CAS Faculty Meeting of 2010/11 will be devoted largely to introducing the newest members of the CAS faculty. Department chairs will rise and introduce their new colleagues in the traditional CAS manner. We hope that all CAS faculty eligible to participate in the monthly CAS Faculty Meeting will attend and learn about their new colleagues.

The Annual CAS Faculty Reception, designed to celebrate the new year and especially the newest members of the faculty, will take place in the Tsai Lobby in CAS on September 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Speaking of Faculty Meetings and Receptions...

CAS Faculty Meetings take place once a month during the academic year, usually on the second Wednesday of the month, usually in 522 CAS. At these meetings the faculty of CAS engage in the important collective business of College governance, including approving courses and programs and deliberating over other important academic matters. Beginning during 2009/10, after a pilot experiment, the CAS faculty redesigned the structure of decision making to distinguish between “automatic consent business” and the “agenda for discussion” in order to make the meetings less routine and pro forma and create more time for discussion of academic matters. All items on the list of automatic consent business can be moved to the agenda for discussion by any faculty member simply by flagging the item with the Executive Assistant to the Dean. Agendas are circulated a week in advance by email and all materials are placed on the web. Dean Sapiro welcomes suggestions of agenda items from faculty. This is an important opportunity for faculty to become more involved in the College. Click for more information.

Most months, a “sherry hour” in Dean Sapiro’s office follows the CAS Faculty Meeting. All participants in the meeting are welcome to join in for a drink, appetizer, and social conversation with colleagues. The Dean has indicated that she hopes these monthly social hours get too big to contain in her office and challenges the faculty to make that happen.

Bats and Birds Inspire Aircraft Design

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a five-year, $7.5 million grant to a team of researchers from Boston University, the University of Washington, the University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The grant will fund a project entitled AIRFOILS (Animal Inspired Flight with Outer and Inner Loop Strategies), which will focus on the development of unmanned aircraft inspired by the flight mechanics and flight behavior of bats, birds, and insects. 

The BU team on the grant includes John Baillieul, Calin Belta, and Ioannis Paschalidis, professors in the College of Engineering, and Thomas Kunz, professor of biology, and Margrit Betke, professor of computer science, in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Learn More NEH Grant Allows African American Studies Program to Host Workshops for Teachers

The African American Studies Program recently received notification from the National Endowment for the Humanities that it has been awarded a grant of approximately $180,000 in support of two weeklong summer workshops for K–12 teachers on the subject of “African Americans in Massachusetts.” The grant falls under the auspices of “We the People” and “Landmarks of American History and Culture” and is designed to introduce teachers to important sites in American and, in this case, African American history. The workshops will be held in Summer 2011 and will be attended by teachers from across the U.S.

In planning these workshops, the African American Studies Program will be strengthening ties with organizations across the state, including the Museum of African American History; the African American Heritage Trail in Boston; the Isaac Royall House & Slave Quarters; Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House; the Du Bois Homestead and Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail; and the National Center for Afro-American Artists. In addition, the program will be collaborating with a number of units across the University, including the School of Education and the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

NSF Funds Major New Cloud Computing Project

The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million to fund a new research project, “Towards Trustworthy Interactions in the Cloud.” This is a collaborative, multi-institutional award, under the aegis of the Center for Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security (RISCS) at BU. Approximately $1.5 million will fund the research team, which includes Professors of Computer Science Azer Bestavros (BU PI and project lead), Jonathan Appavoo, Leo Reyzin, and Nikos Triandopoulos. Researchers at Brown University and UC Irvine round out the team.

Learn More Institute for Philosophy & Religion Announces New Lecture Series

From headscarves to school prayer, the intersection of religion and politics raises important philosophical questions. How do American and European approaches to the issues of toleration and religious freedom compare? What are the best historical and contemporary arguments for toleration in an increasingly secular society? The Institute for Philosophy & Religion (IPR) will probe these issues in a new lecture series and course for 2010-11 titled “Toleration and Freedom in a Global Age.”

Visit bu.edu/ipr for more information.

What Was That Name Again?

As 27 newly hired faculty members join CAS, and many departments and programs change chairs, now is a great time to learn who is who at CAS. Here are a few links that might be helpful (you may want to bookmark these pages):

Bacevich, Prothero on Ground Zero Mosque Debate

On the evening of Wednesday, October 27, Professor of Religion Stephen Prothero and Professor of International Relations Andrew Bacevich will discuss the Ground Zero mosque debate as well as a broader conversation on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the relationship between religion and politics in the U.S. and abroad. The event will be streamed live via Ustream. This event will take place at 7 p.m. at the George Sherman Union, Conference Auditorium, Second Floor.

At the signing of the partnership, (l to r) Santander Chairman Emilio Botín, Boston University President Robert Brown, and Sovereign Bank CEO Gabriel Jaramillo.

Sovereign Bank to underwrite CAS and SPH programs

Boston University and Sovereign Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banco Santander (Spain), have entered an agreement by which the bank will provide BU $300,000 a year for three years to support a number of programs related to Hispanic studies. The funding from Banco Santander will be split evenly between CAS and SPH. Read the articles in The Boston Globe and CAS News.

Learn More Globally Speaking

Looking for a fun, low-stress way to start learning a new language? Globally Speaking offers the BU community free, informal, non-credit introductory courses in Arabic, Dari/Tajik, Hausa, Turkish, Chinese, Russian, IsiXhosa, and Wolof. All classes are for beginners, with no prior knowledge necessary.

Learn More

Upcoming Meetings and Events

“The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy: What You Need to Know”
7 p.m., CAS Room 222

Arts & Sciences Faculty Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 522

Annual CAS Faculty Reception
5-7 p.m., Tsai Lobby, CAS

Lecture: "The Role of Friendship in Bob Dylan's Lyrics"
Professor of Humanities Christopher Ricks
6 p.m., Mugar Memorial Library, 771 Commonwealth Avenue, Richards-Roosevelt Room, First Floor

Academic Policy Committee Meeting
4 p.m., TBD

Academic Policy Committee Meeting
4 p.m., TBD

CAS Café #2
The first of a four-part series on the play Good; discussion of the play (later installments will include viewing rehearsal, viewing the show, and an after-show discussion)
4-6 p.m., Trustee Ballroom, One Silber Way, 9th Floor

Council of Chairs and Directors Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 313

Due Date for Academic Planning Self-Studies, Budget Requests, Class-Scheduling Data, TF Assignments: due to CAS Dean's Office per upcoming memo

New CAS Faculty Orientation
8 a.m., The Castle, 225 Bay State Road

Arts & Sciences Faculty Meeting
4 p.m., Location TBD
5:30 Sherry Hour, CAS 106

Social Sciences Chairs & Directors Meeting 4 p.m., CAS 132

Academic Planning Committee Meeting
4 p.m., Location TBD

Parents Weekend Begins
Parents Weekend Reception
4 p.m., Tsai Lobby

Major Choices Week

Faculty Assembly
3 p.m., Tsai Center Auditorium

Discussion on Ground Zero mosque
with Stephen Prothero and Andrew Bacevich
7 p.m., George Sherman Union, Conference Auditorium, 2nd floor

Alumni Weekend Begins

Chairs' Calendar

Ground Zero Mosque Forum Today

"The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy: What You Need to Know" begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 16, at the College of Arts & Sciences, Room 222, and is free and open to the public.

Learn More

The Office of Communications provides comprehensive media relations services to all CAS faculty and staff members. We encourage you to tell us about research, grants, book publications, and any other news you have to share. If you're not sure how to move forward with a story idea, please feel free to contact us. We'll work with you to find the appropriate news channel, whether that involves drafting and distributing a media release or working with our colleagues at BU Public Relations and BU Today. To discuss a potential news item or to learn more about the media services available through the CAS Office of Communications, please call or email Patrick Farrell (617-358-1185/ pmfarrel@bu.edu) or Jeremy Schawb (617-358-1056/ jschwab@bu.edu).

Newsletter Archives


Professor Emerita of Psychology JEAN BERKO GLEASON will be featured on the PBS series The Secret Life of Scientists in the season that begins this fall. The show explores the personal or “secret” lives and interests of scientists and how they nourish their work lives. Professor Gleason specializes in psycholinguistics, and her publications include The Development of Language, now in its seventh edition.

Professor of Political Science CATHIE JO MARTIN received the Jack Walker Award and Professor DINO CHRISTENSON received the Political Communications Award at the recent American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Recognizing excellence in the profession is one of the most important activities of the American Political Science Association. To this end, the association has established a number of awards covering such areas as dissertations, papers and articles, books and career achievement. Professor Martin received the Jack Walker Award for “an article published in the last two calendar years that makes an outstanding contribution to research scholarship on political organizations and parties” for her APSR article co-authored with Duane Swank, “The Political Origins of Coordinated Capitalism: Business Organizations, Party Systems and State Structure in the Age of Innocence.” Professor Christenson, who recently joined the department, received the Political Communications Award for the best paper by a graduate student presented at the previous convention for his “Learning From Campaigns: Political Information and Context in Presidential Elections.” Also during this year's conference, GRAHAM WILSON, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, was formally invested as president of APSA's British Politics Group. Wilson will serve as the group's president for two years starting this month. For more information, click here.

Department of Classical Studies PhD student TYLER TRAVILLIAN has won the Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize, and will spend this academic year in Rome. Each year, the prize is awarded to 30 emerging artists and scholars in the early or middle stages of their careers who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. Tyler will create a comprehensive introduction, textual edition, and scholarly commentary of the Priapea, a collection of 80 poems that scholars have generally avoided on account of their risqué contents.

Keep Us in the Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Alumni Relations Coordinator Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

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