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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

OUAG exhibits are cutting edge, convenient and free

The OUAG hosts 4-6 exhibits by regional and international artists each academic year.
As a part of the Department of Art and Art History, the Oakland University Art Gallery maintains a focus on the academic identity of the department – namely enriching students' learning experiences through intellectual and emotional enjoyment of the visual arts.

For more than 40 years, it has exhibited diverse, museum-quality art that ranges from cutting-edge contemporary projects to works exploring historical and global themes. The four to six exhibits it presents each year feature both regional and international artists of notable success and renown.

"We've got over 200 art majors here at OU, and I think it benefits them to see national and international art," said Dick Goody, director of the gallery. He explained that seeing diverse perspectives, techniques and styles helps students find inspiration to develop their own means of communicating through art.

The gallery also hosts lectures, performances, tours and other special events.

And while the OUAG's mission is first and foremost academic, it offers all in the campus and broader communities a convenient, affordable means of seeing outstanding art during the fall and winter terms.

"We're very accessible to the community, I think," Goody said. "We get a lot of regional attention because of the work we're doing with very accomplished artists, whether they be regional, national or international. There's always something new to see."

The OUAG website notes that exhibiting artists have gone on to participate in world-renowned invitationals and have been represented at major art fairs and other prestigious projects. As a result, the gallery has enjoyed both an increasing level of national exposure and a growing number of patrons.

Goody said that while the OUAG's success can be measured a number of ways, the best indicators can often be seen when patrons come to visit.

"It's somewhere you can come and be contemplative," he explained. "You can come with your friends and talk about what you're seeing. We actually encourage people to come and talk about the work."

The OUAG is open from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday during the months of September through May. It also opens on select evenings for Meadow Brook Theatre performances and other special events.

The gallery will open the 2011-12 season with "African Art from the John Korachis Collection." The exhibit will run from Tuesday, Sept. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 20. To learn more about this and the OUAG in general, visit

IRB strives to balance research oversight, assistance

Oakland University faculty and staff worked to generate more than $18 million in external grant funding for research last year, and this number promises only to grow as the university expands in terms of its enrollment, staffing and academic mission.

Much of this research would not have been possible had it not been overseen by the university's Institutional Review Board. This 13-member, mostly volunteer group of academics and community members is charged with considering the ethical implications of any proposed research endeavor involving human subjects, as well as any project involving previously collected data about specifically identified human subjects.

Dr. Jim Cipielewski
For those not familiar with the IRB, it may seem that weighing the potential impacts of research on human subjects would be an intriguing, yet simple, common-sense process of applying the "do no harm" ethic. In reality, however, reviewing proposed inquiries is far more detailed, not to mention regulated by volumes of federal, institutional and granting agency guidelines.

"There are so many intricacies and ins and outs when you begin to look at these questions," said Dr. Jim Cipielewski, who recently stepped down as chair of Oakland's IRB to accept a position as associate dean in the School of Education and Human Services.

Dr. Judette Haddad
"Sometimes it's pretty easy to tell what sort of impact you're talking about, because the risks to the subjects are not that high," he explained. "Some projects are much more difficult, though, and they engender a lot more discussion and a lot more scrutiny. You can have some very hairy questions come before you."

Both Dr. Cipielewski and Dr. Judette Haddad, the university's regulatory compliance coordinator, say they most enjoy finding oversight solutions that both protect the interests of human subjects and allow investigators to gain new insight into myriad scientific inquiries.

Dr. Brad Roth
Dr. Cipielewski said that prior to the implementation of this kind of review, history offered many stories of horrendous human rights violations in scientific experimentation. Today, oversight by OU's IRB and others like it helps prevent such violations from occurring.

"This deals with issues of human rights, so for me, it is something very close to my heart," Haddad said. She explained that the overarching focus of the IRB's work is to ensure that experimenters respect the rights and interests of subjects, that research holds the potential to significantly benefit society, and that the benefits of the research will impact all people in society rather than select or privileged demographies within it.

Of course, a primary mission and passion of IRB members is to help advance research at OU, although at times its oversight obligation may be seen as getting in the way of that. Both Dr. Cipielewski and Dr. Haddad said that finding an appropriate balance is among their greatest challenges, but at the same time one of their most important objectives.

In addition to the complexity involved in reviewing individual project requests, Oakland's IRB faces a growing number of requests to review. Where there were only 57 approved applications in 1998, there have been roughly 200 per year for the last three years running. The demands associated with managing this number of requests are already challenging, and they promise only to multiply as the university grows.

Still, IRB members are committed to the process, because they see how vital it is to ongoing research at Oakland.

"We're doing this work for people in the campus community and the broader community, and we're doing it to support our faculty researchers," Dr. Cipielewski said. "Really, you couldn't get a better combination of people to be working for."

Dr. Brad Roth, OU's interim vice provost for research, said the university is both proud and grateful to have such a dedicated group of people devoting as much of their time to this process as they do.

"The IRB has an important job to do, and each member makes an important contribution to research at OU. I particularly appreciate the effort of our community members," Dr. Roth said. "An IRB must have representation from outside the institution, and without their generous gift of their time and expertise we couldn't carry out research with human subjects."

Getting to know yOU!
Editor's note: As the Oakland University community continues to grow, Points of Interest provides an excellent venue to learn about the people in it. In this edition, we'll learn more about Dr. Keith Berven, associate professor of biological sciences.

Dr. Keith Berven
Where did you grow up?
I was born in San Francisco, where both my parents were born and where my grandparents also lived. We moved to Seattle when I was in the third grade, to Southern California when I was in the ninth grade and then back to Seattle when I was in the 12th grade. So Michigan represents quite a change from where I grew up!

Tell us about your family. My better half, Dikka, is also a faculty member at OU. She is in the French section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Share a fond memory or favorite aspect of OU. A very recent fond memory is my trip with OU biology students and faculty members to Costa Rica this past winter break. It was incredible to see such a diverse array of tropical habitats, plants and animals, but it was especially fun for me to observe the excitement of the students in this new environment. It was an eye-opening adventure for all of us.

What's on your reading list these days? In addition to Sue Grafton's "L is for Lawless" (somehow I skipped it), I am also reading "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman and "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins.

What do you do in your spare time? I am an avid gardener. I am a member of the Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society and American Dahlia Society. I raise and show dahlias competitively throughout the region. I also enjoy woodworking and making furniture, as well as home remodeling projects. In August, my wife and I spend a few weeks on a beautiful lake in the wilds of Northern Idaho where we have a cabin.

The POINT | Office of the President | Board of Trustees | The News @ OU

News worth noting

MPD helps bring music to life for non-music majors

Many people in the campus community may be aware that the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance has strong, highly respected academic programs for performing arts majors and minors. Many may not know, however, that through the department's Music Preparatory Division, the very same, top-quality instruction is available to campus and community members of all ages. To learn more about this, view the News at OU article.

Congrats to our campus standouts 

OU faculty and staff continue to distinguish themselves as leaders and scholars. The following links are to articles highlighting the exemplary work of just a few:
  • Meredith Long and Madelyn Rzadkowolski authored "Images of America: Rochester and Rochester Hills," after six months' work combining historical information with rarely seen images of the area.
  • The Bernard Woma Ensemble performed the world premiere of a new composition that Mark Stone wrote in a concert with the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony.
  • Alex Kozlowski was recently selected as one of the Detroit Free Press' Michigan Green Leaders for 2011.
  • The Oakland University Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) collegiate chapter recently claimed 11th place out of 84 teams that faced off in the Formula SAE California event.
  • Sophomore Mike Morris created a non-profit foundation in honor of his close Friend, John Hitz.
  • Oakland University senior center Keith Benson will take his nearly 7 -foot-4 wingspan to the the Atlanta Hawks.

SBA to launch new entrepreneurship minor

We're looking forward to the launch of a minor that will have budding entrepreneurs researching, testing and fine-tuning the ideas that one day could result in new businesses.

This systematic approach forms the basis for the new, interdisciplinary entrepreneurship minor offered by the School of Business Administration. It was approved this spring
and is scheduled to launch its first classes this fall.

To learn more about the new minor, view the recently posted news article.

University policy updated

The following Administrative Policy and Procedure was reviewed and approved by the President's Council, Administrative Council, Academic Council and a representative of the Office of Legal Counsel.

The updated policy has been posted to the Administrative Polices and Procedures website and is available for review using the link below.

Campus updates posted at The POINT

Information on the FY2012 general fund budget approval
and state appropriations is among recent updates made to the president's information and news site, The POINT. Those seeking information on any campus administrative issue are encouraged to contact the president's office.